Choo Choo! Lipa Train needs an engineer to steer the train through the countryside to pick up fruit and get it delivered! This app is part of Lipa’s series for preschoolers (4-6 y/o) teaching skills in prediction and anticipation, as well as helping to coordinate vision with motor functions. It is part of Lipa’s core curriculum in Science. Lipa Learning has a suite of apps divided into three age groups: Essentials, Preschool, and Ready for School, and all the apps teach skills from 8 areas of child development. You can learn more on their website lipalearning.com. Lipa Train, for example, falls under the Key Skills needed for Science and Math. When children begin to explore the world around them, they begin to observe inherent rhythms or predictable activities. Understanding the temporal concepts of how a day is organized helps them put order and activities into perspective. They begin to see a beginning, middle, and an end to activities and begin to understand If/Then statements in terms of delaying gratification and waiting for a reward. These are essential skills that promote critical thinking and problem-solving” or “that promote critical thinking and help children be better problem-solvers.
On opening, hop aboard for 40 separate puzzlers in all. The games start out easy and get busier as the game progresses. Gameplay centers on directing the train around a track using directional arrows to guide the train on the tracks. Whilst traveling from the beach to the mountains, there are increased demands for visual scanning and routing – making each run novel and a chance to try new ways to solve problems or adapt previously successful strategies. The challenges are scaffolded to always be presenting a new and “just right challenge”. AND that is what keeps kids in this game. Some of the feedback I was given from parents was that every level was the same – pick up an apple, a melon, the banana, and then the grapes. I had initially had the same reaction, but upon observing the kids I began to see something different. They didn’t give a hoot about mixing up the order of items. In fact, the order of items was providing a sensory anchor by being consistent. It was the consistency itself that freed up time to explore varying avenues to pick up the fruit as well as facilitated working memory. Most children we tested wanted to play straight through – a sign of a clever design. A clever addition to the display is a button for blowing the horn – a definite plus for train crazy kids, and a warp speed button to see if you can get all the fruit at its freshest and on time for delivery. A big asset is that the sensory input is controlled by children on screen for music. This is a bonus for kids who may have trouble focusing or are auditory sensitive. Sound effects are the default setting but can be removed under the parental gate.
Lipa Train is available on both iOS and Google Play. It is currently available for purchase on iOS and is free on Google Play. There are no ads or IAPs – Lipa values the safety of all children and is KidSafe certified. A new addition to Lipa apps is a Time limit setting for parents under the parental gate. Parents can monitor game playing from 15 minutes to 120 minutes, and give kids a transitional activity for off screen fun – like lining up the kitchen chairs, blowing a whistle, and headed for sights unseen!
Disclosure: I do work for Lipa learning in the Education Department – mainly editing curricula. This is where I was exposed to their suite of apps. My opinions are my own, and not influenced by others.