Fish School HD is a supplementary app that reinforces a young child's knowledge of letters, numbers, colors and shapes with the use of eye-catching colors complemented by cheery voice-overs. There are eight educational activities which cover different topics. The execution for these ranges from simple, flash card type animations up to interactive games. Each activity comes with lively narration that serves to encourage the child to explore the app. Because this is a Duck Duck Moose creation, it also features the team's signature nursery rhyme songs to set the tone.
The app's appeal would depend on your child's age. The games are pretty basic, with less focus on spontaneous game play and more on repetition. While this may not be the most exciting app for an inquisitive 5-year-old with a sugar rush, it is just the thing for a tot who is taking his first steps in reading and recognition.
This app is a wonderful supplement to topics covered in the classroom. The "fish school" part refers to the app's clever animations. These serve to help players remember letters, numbers and shapes by combining narration and familiar elements with the text. For instance, the letter B is shown in both its upper case and lower case forms and it comes with both a voice-over and a bear illustration. Touching the illustration will playback a voice clip saying its name aloud. Add that with animated swimming fish that form the letter and you've got yourself a cocktail of memory tools to help your tot learn to recognize the letter.
The numbers works almost the same as the Alphabet activity but instead of an illustration at the side, there are eggs at the bottom. Tapping these releases fish, making counting an interactive experience.
Meanwhile, shape recognition matches the word and illustration with the swimming fish, using different types and colors to make each one distinct and easy to recall.
If your child is still having difficulty learning his ABCs, activating a playback of the Alphabet Song is also included in the list of activities. This time tested mnemonic device also comes with the upper case and lower case examples but forgoes the object illustration to keep things focused.
The Colors activity works differently than Alphabet, Numbers or Shapes. Touching a fish will fill the screen with similar colored undersea creatures while the Differences game requires players to tap on the fish that does not belong to the group.
The matching game is played by tapping on the fish to uncover sea creatures underneath. It is then up to the player to remember the position of each and locate its partner to eliminate both from the board. This goes on until all matches have been found.
For a quick break from Fish School, your little one can access the Play activity. This is basically an interactive aquarium wherein they can move the sea creatures, hold one and watch that fish grow and make one swim faster by tapping on it. It's not a complicated activity by any means so it does make for a relaxing activity for a hardworking preschooler.
Because it lacks virtual rewards and the content is restricted to memory games, the app's use is much more limited compared to other Duck Duck Moose titles. That's not to say that Fish School HD is not worth a try, only that you have to know how your child is motivated. If colorful graphics accompanied with verbal encouragement are enough to keep his attention, then by all means make good use of this app. On the other hand, if he is used to playing for rewards (like new aquarium objects in Monkey Math School Sunshine) then this may not be a good pick.
From the animations to the narration, the app is absolutely kid-friendly. Discerning parents will appreciate the absence of third-party ads and the frustration-free controls for little fingers. The creators list Fish School HD for kids 2 to 5 years of age. It is available for the iPad (requires the device to be updated to iOS version 5.0 or later).