Lipa Knight by Lipa Learning is a fabulous introduction to early STEAM activities. Set in the times of knights, princesses, and evil cyclops, gameplay centers on building ever increasing complex bridges so that our shining knight can rescue the princess from the cyclops’ lair. Building activities keep kids active in the process of doing, and they are in fact engaged in feats of engineering and design. The activities found in Lipa Knight facilitate foundational skills through the repetition of applying their experiences with spatial relationships and orientation, visually crossing midline, and problem-solving. These skills are not only needed for later academics such as smooth coordination of reading and writing, but also math and science. Kids learn best when given a chance to form a hypothesis and to test it out. In addition, this provides experience with failure and ruling out what doesn’t work – and that is a powerful lesson. When a conclusion is organized and systematically realized, there is no better sense of satisfaction because it’s reproducible. Initial successes spur on further explorations and discoveries in practical life. Many children who have not been given the chance to fail have a hard time persevering and completing work. Lipa Knight presents the “just right challenge” where kids learn from past experiences and helps to reinforce and solidify constructs.
Inside the App
On opening, we see our princess and her beloved knight shortly before the cyclops carries her away. Our prince, in pursuit, begins on foot. He comes to one of many bridges (20 to be exact), which he must rebuild to follow and catch the cyclops. Each bridge presents new ideas on geometry, balance, and proportion, and are scaffolded on previous levels to help kids apply their knowledge in a different way. The story unfolds a level at a time, keeping creativity and motivation high to finish the game. Players are rewarded with a suit of armor, a trusty steed, and sword with their successful bids to build connections over land.
Kids loved this game and did sit mesmerized in order to finish. A very nice touch was in the end when the princess is saved – I will not go into detail – for that you’ll need to play the app. Suffice it to say, that is why the lad in the story is a prince! Available on iOS or Google Play.
I do wish that the flash of a “Lipa Knight” panel could be eliminated between scenes as sometimes it is just a flash – and therefore disruptive to the visual system – placing extra stress on young players. I would much prefer a visual of fading out then into the next scene, or a continuation of either the knight running or on his horse.
Books: Roberto the Insect Architect by Nina Laden
Published by Raincoast Books, 2000
Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing by April Jones Prince
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005
Toys: Blocks, Lego type building materials, K’Nex
Games: Smart Games – Castle Logix or Camelot Junior
Disclosure: I do work for Lipa learning part time as a contractor 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.