My brother suggested that I have a look at this app, Mulberry FingerPlays for iPhone, so I gave it a try and figured, naturally, that I would blog a review!
Fingerplays are simple rhythmic songs or rhymes with accompanying hand actions, sometimes actions that your child imitates and sometimes actions that you perform on your child by tickling them or wiggling their fingers or toes. They are a fun way to interact with your young children and actually promote intellectual, social-emotional development, and physical development as your children learn rhyme, rhythm, cadence, melody, and actions and are encouraged to maintain eye contact and mimic your facial expressions and emotional reactions – Who knew that a simple song could do so much?
You probably already know lots of them by heart – “The Eensy Weensy Spider,” “Round and Round the Garden Like a Teddy Bear,” “This Little Piggy,” but I bet there are lots more that you will recognize but can’t for the life of you remember all the way through, like “Where is Thumbkin?” or “Five Little Pumpkins.” There were lots of times when Ben first started at nursery school and came home singing a rhyme that I recognized but couldn’t remember well enough to sing along with him, and at 2 years old he wasn’t much help!
This super-simple app by Mulberry Media Interactive is a collection of HD videos of a calm, soothing-voiced woman who looks just like your kindergarten teacher in 1983 reciting and demonstrating each fingerplay slowly enough that you can easily learn it. My children (5 1/2 and 2 1/2) also quite enjoy watching her themselves.
You can tap the info icon to bring up a short description of the fingerplay followed by lyrics (but beware, I had trouble taping the tiny iPhone icon accurately with my pudgy fingers and kept restarting the video instead.
The first time you open the app on a device, you view video introduction by Canadian author Paulette Bourgeois, creator of the Franklin the Turtle books, who finishes by demonstrating a really neat Franklin fingerplay. Unfortunately I can’t figure out how to make that video replay, which is too bad because it would have been very appealing to my Franklin-loving kids but was too long to learn in one viewing.
The first time you view each video it takes a few seconds to download but this only happens once for each video. There is no discernible difference in video quality between the iPhone/iPod sized screen and the iPad. The free version of the app is actually just a demo and gives you access to five videos. You can then choose to purchase 20 more videos for $0.99, which I thought was quite reasonable for the amount and quality of the content. You can also sign up for a newsletter that will let you know when new videos are added to the library; I don’t know however if these will be included in the original purchase price or if you will have to pay for them in addition.
All in all, I thought this was a really neat, simple little app and excellent value for the price. It would be an excellent resource for any parents, daycare providers, ECE specialists and students, Sunday school teachers, babysitters, grandparents, aunts, uncles…really, anyone with contact with young children and a few minutes to kill! My only complaint is the inability to replay the Franklin fingerplay video, which I would love to have included in the library.
Well done Mulberry Interactive – keep ’em coming!