Game Name – Tap the Frog
ESRB Rating – N/A
Genre –Casual Mini Games
Educational Values – Reflexes, Hand to Eye Coordination, Counting, Visual Discrimination
Platforms – iOS, Kindle, Google Play
Where to buy – iTunes Store, Amazon, Google Play
When should you buy it? – If you are looking for a game to play with a small child on your phone or tablet, this is the one.
About the Game
Tap the Frog is a kid’s game I picked up on the iPad while searching the app store for something to play with my 3 year old niece. The list of games that a 3 year old can play and enjoy is growing longer, but most games, even casual games, are aimed at older audiences. We sat down, tapped the titular frog together, and we were off playing several of the mini-games. She loved it.
The mini-games range from “Tap the frog when it turns pink” to “Tap all of the frogs you can in 10 seconds”, to “Put the frogs in order by number”, etc. Some of the games were over her head at the time, but we still had a great time sitting on the couch playing together. It is also fascinating to see how she has grown into the more complex games over time. She is now 5 years old and can play through nearly every mini-game on her own, and my 3 year old nephew has taken over as playing the easier games with me.
Avoid the cones and try to hit the speed boosters!
What the Game Teaches Us
It is an oft-remarked point that games improve hand to eye skill. Even some doctors and surgeons are finding benefit in video games. Tap the Frog may not be training your children to become doctors, but it is the first step. Having to use a bike pump, or pick out only the yellow frogs from a group in a set time helps a gamer process visual information more quickly and completely. This is a core component in learning to read as well as reading comprehension, math, etc. As Winnie the Pooh said, “to the uneducated, an A is just three sticks”. Tap the Frog helps young gamers see those three sticks as a letter, and a separate part of a larger structure in a word, or help them see the difference between a 7 and 1.
As this is a children’s game, there are points that an adult will likely not appreciate as much. Specifically the counting games such as the “pick the highest number”, or “Tap the numbers from lowest to highest” are going to be basic. But to a young gamer, Tap the Frog is fun and engaging. They are learning without realizing it, and while games that are specifically about learning can still be fun and worthwhile, I know from my own experience that sometimes you have to be sneaky when you are trying to “teach through fun”. Tap the Frog is a sneaky way to get your young gamer to learn.
Look at all of the games you can play!
General Feelings on the Game
The opening up of casual games for multiple platforms has been a boon not only for developers, but also for anyone interested in video games. With the cost of games being traditionally in the $40-$60 range, it was always a big investment to purchase any game, especially an “educational game” that may or may not spark your young gamer’s interest. Now that there are so many “Free to Play” or, in this case, extremely cheap casual options, finding a high quality educational game does not have to be so risky.
Put another way, if there is a young gamer in your life, Tap the Frog is the best dollar you can spend right now. The visual aesthetic is spot on, and the frogs are fun and funny. The games are varied and interesting. The learning opportunities are subtle, but built into the game play mechanics. This is everything you could want out of a casual game for children.