If you have little kids and an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you know that you’ll be spending time fending them away from your precious device. Don’t. Your toy is also a seriously cool and fun learning tool for your toddler that will teach them everything from hand-eye coordination to numbers, letters (even reading), shapes and imagination. It also is a great way for you to either play with your kid or keep them blissfully occupied for a little while. These are cherished stolen moments that will allow you a time of peace, relaxation, and the ability to get something done. There are tons of games for your kids on the iTunes App Store, some free, some not – Elmo’s Monster Maker is one of the few paid games out there that is definitely worth the $3.99.
I hummed and hawed over this for a bit before I bought it for my iPhone – I’m cheap when it comes to software, and $4.99 is a steep price for an iPhone app. I read a few reviews, checked some screenshots, and then bit the bullet and decided to try it out. It was actually very cool, I thought, but the real test was whether my kid would like it. I needn’t have worried…
When my then one-and-a-half-year-old daughter sat down with this game and I showed her how to play, she was absolutely delighted to see all of the funny Sesame Street style monsters she could interact with. She poked one she liked and then Elmo asked her to give it eyes and a nose. You can cycle through many combinations, with hats too, and create your own monsters that will play with Elmo. Once the new monster is finished, your child can just watch it and wait, poke it to make it laugh and such, or do one of Elmo’s suggestions, which ask the child to touch one of the buttons on the bottom of the screen (camera, Elmo, music notes). Your toddler can go back to the monster maker screen at any time to redesign the monster or pick a whole new one and start from scratch.
The Camera Button brings Elmo out to take a picture of the monster, which will show up in the iPhone’s camera roll for later viewing, complete with fun frames and backgrounds.
The Music Notes Button, when pressed will put the monster on different backgrounds and with different music from country to polka, and the child’s monster will get down and boogie. Your toddler can then poke the monster and drag him about the screen, as well.
The Elmo Button is the most fun! It will bring Elmo out to play with the monster, doing random things like pretending to ride a roller coaster, head-bumping a soccer ball back and forth (my kid love’s that one!), ducking a rubber chicken, tickling, and more. Different monster-types do different things, though many overlap, so the fun is an interchangeable delight for your little one.
My daughter, just now a two year old, has been having a blast with Elmo’s Monster Maker for months. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a toddler from one+ to four or five years old. Every time my daughter plays the game, her look of delight and engagement makes me think it is one of the expenditures of four bucks I have ever committed to. As mentioned, Elmo’s Monster Maker is also available for the iPad and iPod Touch. Try it out!
rating: 10 for Kid Awesome
What are your favourite iPhone games for toddlers? Let us know in the comments!