Busy Shapes by Edoki is an app that I use on a weekly basis. It allows you to quickly assess the thought processes of a child and witness how direct experience impacts their ability to make decisions. Based on Piaget’s research on cognitive development, this app begins with cause and effect play and evolves into an exercise in problem-solving and tool use. It bridges the gap from being reactive to environmental stimuli to being proactive through decision-making. Gameplay is simple and basically, it is to match and sink a shape into its corresponding hole. Sounds simple, but there are plenty of obstacles to overcome along the way!
There are six different levels to Busy Shapes; each level is scaffolded off the foundation of the previous level. Kids test out shapes, colors, and size in overcoming obstacles. Learning is organic and organized as kids begin to expand their scope and view of what is possible. Ultimately kids discover that everything is a tool and are constantly scanning and alerting to changes in play and making needed adaptations in the scope of play. It is quite addicting, and there are always requests for one more game! Solutions foster creativity and “thinking outside of the box”. If an error is made, simply starting the play screen again with a different approach will eventually lead to a solution. There is no judgment or buzzers placed in this app for failure to sink a shape, and therefore it provides the space for confidence to arise and try another approach. In summary, this is a preschool “essential app”. It is a great assessment tool in finding out how kids think and problem-solve, as well as where they get “stuck”. This is one app that can help nourish that spark in a beginning learner, and turn them into a lifelong learner.
Busy Shapes 2
Busy Shapes 2 ups the challenge of Busy Shapes 1. It is outstanding in its contribution to facilitating preschool cognitive development and play. As with the original Busy Shapes, this app is gorgeous in its design and layout. In the sequel, there are more complex puzzlers and increased demands to filter out extraneous information. The Busy Shape universe is filled with 4 different skins on the boards and even the Shapes have a true to life representational quality. Problem-solving involves a keen coordination of the body’s systems and includes timing and syncopation when moving your shapes to their destination. Surprises are aplenty, and you don’t know what may be underneath a mini tarp or cover. Tools are varied and include such novel instruments as springs, bombs, and sliding platforms.
Spatial abilities take children from an egocentric point of view and assist them in reaching out and discovering the world and how it works. It is also the basis for navigation and participation in the arts and sciences. The shapes themselves serve as a sensory anchor and it is the guidance of the shapes with the finger that cements the exploration and experience of space in relation to oneself. Edoki has an uncanny knack for making apps that keep kids engaged and filled with awe. Using these apps is a privilege and one where data can be assessed easily on a number of children (40). Both these apps are heartily recommended and will prove to be an asset for any parent, teacher, or clinician’s toolbox.