Spot the Dot is a wonderful interactive book for iPad from Ruckus Media based on the pop-up books by David A. Carter.
I have always been a huge fan of pop-up books as a child. As an adult I may love them even more as artwork that I admire greatly but am personally not skilled at. I was very excited to hear that David A. Carter, author of many famed pop-up books geared for adults and slightly older children, was working together with Ruckus Media Group to create an app based on his books such as One Red Dot, a book that I have been eyeing for my boy, but must wait until he is older as he would surely mishandle such a fragile piece of art.
My son simply adores this app, which consists of ten pages, each with a different colored dot that is hidden, sometimes in plain sight, blending into brightly colored geometric shapes that fill up the pages and or hide behind other shapes that need to be turned over, as well as other creative ways of searching for these hidden dots.
This app has excellent spoken prompts that explain to the player exactly what he is looking for and how these specific mini-games are played, and I appreciate how each page has a new way of looking for these dots. The graphics, consisting of bold and bright geometric shapes, re-enforce nicely the knowledge of colors and shapes, great for pre-schoolers, but which will be enjoyed by older kids and adults as well.
I am proud of my son for falling so heavily in love with this app, as this application was not easy for him to master at first and he had to work his way up to thoroughly enjoy this interactive book. In the beginning he had trouble finding these dots past the first pages, as the level of difficulty progresses. He would repeat, “Why is this so hard for me?” as he has had most things come easy until now, picking up all his milestones early and with little effort. My son is not used to being truly challenged.
After playing with this app for a while, he has been able to master all these search puzzles on his own, with the exception of the last two where he still needs help: a black page full of dots to uncover, one of which is the dot in question, and the last page, where one small white dot is hiding among a page of geographic shapes, very well camouflaged on a page so large that it needs to be scrolled in every direction to be fully searched - somewhat of a task to look for, even for an adult.
My boy, feeling accomplished with his ability to find dots, now wants to show this app to everyone who enters our house - something he has done with few other applications.
The music included in this app is also quite nice, as is the melodic musical sounds used for each dot found on the page of hidden rows of dots, one of the harder mini-games to solve.
I especially like the narrator a great deal as he has a very sincere, warm, and enthusiastic- sounding voice that I enjoy listening to, and I am sure that his encouragement and congratulations at spotting these dots is a large part of why my son enjoys this app as much as he does.
I like that on the top of the screen is a row of dots that one will progress through to the end, but one can tap on a favorite color which will lead to a specific page and mini-game. Each time the application is re-opened, the dots are randomly hidden, but it would be nice if this was the case each time a color was chosen. At my son’s age, 3.5 years, he does not remember where the dots are found, just how best to play these games so this is not much of an issue for him.
I do wish, however, that the pages with hidden areas were fully uncovered when the dot is found. My son loves to turn over the object he needs to look under, even after discovering the dot, but sometimes the app progresses to the next page before he is done, I wish more time was allotted for kids to continue playing this way. Another favorite moment is where one must move a telescope-type circle around a blank page, looking through this circle for the orange dot. When found, the entire background is shown for such a short moment that it seems more like a glitch than an intentional action, but I think it really adds to the fun to see the very colorful background as a whole as well. I really like that the page of hidden dots is fully shown when complete, something that I think could be taken advantage of more as the revealing of the entire pages is great fun to look at and gives a certain closure, especially for children who may have struggled with this app.
We love Spot the Dot in our house. I think it is a great application for kids of pre-school age, as well as an app for special needs kids of any age who would benefit from such clearly spoken tasks that one must accomplish - great for cognitive skills, I would think.
I am happy that this app has challenged my son, and that he took this challenge head-on, mastering what he can and asking for help when he needs it instead of having a meltdown over areas that can frustrate him. I am thrilled to see him work to achieve the goals he sets for himself, and for these reasons, I consider this app a great learning tool.