App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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Parents who are interested in educational apps for young children will be interested in checking out Duckie Deck Huff n’ Puff - an early science app for babies and toddlers that encourages digital exploration using their breath to move 25 unique objects on the screen such as snowflakes or dandelion fluff and also to blow out candles or to spin a pinwheel.
After first demonstrating to children how to blow on their device, this app is utterly intuitive as children explore different colorful, delightfully stylized scenes each with its own object to blow on. From stream billowing out from hot chocolate to a feather that will float around the screen, each area possesses small details seen corresponding to each breath. Duckie Deck Huff n' Puff is a polished app in this regard as music, ambient sound effects, and fine details are all added to make exploring this app with one’s breath quite a satisfying experience.
Also nice are the more kinetic movements of an interesting, cartoony character who leads players through these pages. Tap him and he will will lead children to the next object to be explored as he incorporates screen wipes and other creative transitions while introducing a new screen color used as the background for the next activity.
This app contains a variety of areas that can be experienced indefinitely such as playing a trombone or sending a paper airplane around the screen. Other tasks such as blowing up a balloon can only be performed one time before needing to move on to the next interaction. I can imagine children wanting to choose favorite activities at specific times, which is unfortunately not possible, but I do appreciate how simple yet a bit unpredictable this app is for babies and toddlers, really keeping their attention.
It is worth noting that, although a universal app, I found the gameplay better on the iPhone than our iPad as I needed to really blow into the microphone to get movement, thus holding the iPad at an awkward angle and making it hard to see the screen. This could be because of the iPad case we are using, but as my husband pointed out, the mic is not covered so this is not the best explanation. Our iPhone works great though, with simple breaths aimed in the general direction of the screen, making this app very simple to use for young children without needing to get their drooling mouths close to any ports - which I find important. I don’t know if the issues I have with using the iPad are isolated to our family as they very well may be because the iPads seen in the associated video work as well as the experience we have had with our phone.
Either way, I see this as an app that parents will want to download onto their iPhones as a lovely distraction when out and about - making the difficulty we have when using the iPad unimportant. This is a very early educational app about the physical effects of wind and the world around us, making this easy to recommend as a first app for toddlers.