The app Piano Ball is a great way to begin to bring colors and sounds into your babies’ and toddlers’ lives, especially since they can make their own music with just a simple swipe or tap of their little hand. Young children are not very coordinated at this young age, so something as simple to use as this app, is just the key for little ones. It’s an easy way to develop motor skills. Older babies can just shake the iPhone or iPod, hear an array of musical notes and see a shower of stars. Then a random musical picture pops up on the page and its word repeated, “drum.”
You can introduce your young ones to new sounds by letting them listen to you playing the drums, horn, piano or xylophone. As they get older, you can tell them the names of these instruments. (I remember as a kid how I thought there were only two “X” words in the alphabet: X-ray and xylophone.)
The app has a variety of choices. First, there are four different balls: Color Ball, Tune Ball, Rainbow Ball and Instrument Ball. The piano keyboard is transformed into different colored pallets with the Color Ball, so the young musicians can learn their colors. With the Tune Ball, older children can play five popular songs by following the lit-up stars—and then get a rousing applause for their efforts. Then the song is played again for listening. More songs are to come in the future.
Or, if your children want to be more creative, they can play their own songs as the stars swirl around the keys. They can also change instruments, to the jazzy drum for example, and make up a song. If parents want to keep toddlers from switching from one mode to another every two seconds, there is a feature lock. This way, the child can be focused for what? About three minutes, which is par for a two-year-old. The Rainbow Ball turns the keyboard multihued. The tiny little arrow in the back left corner brings to back to the menu.
Of course, this app actually does not teach music. There are no notes, scales or musical letters. However, it’s a fun way to stimulate your child’s auditory and visual senses. The app says it’s for players nine months to five years of age. Think more along the lines of the younger ages. With all the other musical apps available, your five-year-old will be ready for something more challenging.