Our family has always had a special affinity for everything Winnie the Pooh. What’s not to love about this classic, charming, and lovable character? The new iPhone and iPad Education app — Letters with Pooh (by Disney) delivers a wonderful, interactive alphabet learning and tracing experience for young children. Letters with Pooh features professional narration, familiar graphics and sounds, a cute storyline that includes Pooh’s woodland friends, 3 activity learning modes with 2 levels of difficulty, 1 free-play sticker mode, multiple-players-on-the-same-device functionality, and simple progress reports.
Immediately, kids will be drawn into the storyline as Pooh’s usual dilemma unfolds: how to get more honey to satisfy his “rumbly tummy.” This will require your child to complete a variety of letter activities in the 3 different learning modes to help Pooh find his coveted honey. But Pooh can’t reach the beehive until enough letter balloons are earned to carry him up to the tree branch where he can snag his tasty treat. The learning is made fun in this Education app by cleverly disguising the objective in an engaging storyline and interesting activities. This Education app helps kids identify, recognize, name, and properly draw alphabet letters through a bunch of line-tracing activities that are segmented into 3 main areas: practice (for initial curved, straight, circular and diagonal lines), tracing letters (A-Z, upper and lowercase ), and games where kids identify and match the letters they learned. Limited interactions and animations should help to keep kids focused on tracing and completing the tasks at hand.
Children must complete the practice mode, which has 6 pages of simple tracing (to lead Pooh to the honey location) before they are allowed to move on to the other activities. They must work their way through this app page by page initially because the app doesn’t allow kids to freely move from page to page the first time. But they’ll get a kick out of tracing over the dotted lines to help Pooh knock over jars of honey, as well as to get him up and down a hill as they learn the ropes. Once they complete the practice, kids can move onto tracing actual letters. Here, kids are presented with a letter, verbal instruction and a visual dotted line reference (stroke by stroke) to complete the specified letter. The 2 difficulty settings have apparent differences here: when in Easy letter tracing mode, as long as kids make the right number of strokes, it doesn’t matter if they actually form the right letter — whereas in the Hard setting, kids will continue to get a “blink-blink” sound until they make the correct stroke by stroke movements to form the letter properly.
You will find that are plenty of encouraging words to motivate them along the way — like “Wonderful” and “Bravo.” In either setting, kids will hear the letter being learned and get a cute letter reference picture (like “h” for honey) to reinforce the letter, as well as a chance to record the alphabet letter sound in their own voice (and hear it). For another fun factor, your kids can shake the iPhone or iPad to clear the screen and start the tracing activity over. For every letter the child completes, Pooh gets another lettered balloon added to his bunch and these completed letters are added as “stickers” earned in the sticker mode: where kids have 4 changeable background scenes to add their stickers to, as well as the option to save them to the camera roll.
But my favorite area in this Education app is the games mode (Chapter 3/Friends First), which has 3 games: find hidden letters from Tigger’s book, match letters in Piglet’s painting (to complete the picture and reveal a cute animation). The 3rd game is a catch-the-letter game that requires you to tilt your device right and left to help Pooh catch Owl’s falling upper or lower case letters. But I know many parents will be more enthused with the app’s ability to track their kids’ progress individually with the multi-player functionality (1-4 players) and to see how they are doing across 4 areas (Letter Tracing, Letter Find, Puzzle, Letter Catch). Reports is a nice feature, however I think this reporting area could offer a little more comprehensive information, especially since Disney worked with education experts (according to their iTunes description) to develop this application.
Overall, I think Disney did a great job (as usual) on this iPad Education app by creating a worthy, fun, and adorable letter learning experience that should appeal to most young kids. Heck, my 18-year-old is still captivated by Pooh.
Letters with Pooh iPad App Download