Our mornings are usually pretty crazy here. A little back and forth on the breakfast menu – but what 3 1/2 year old doesn’t give push back? – and then typically I try to suggest a little ‘quiet play’ so I can get ready. Typically that doesn’t work. But I keep trying.
This morning, my girl got a hold of the iPad and dove right into this new app by Ruckus Media Group called Spot the Dot. Do you know what? I could have done a full yoga routine, bathed, ironed my clothes, put on make-up AND had an extra cup of coffee for how much time she was quietly focused on that app.
I was stunned.
Our house was so incredibly quiet! Well, the app does talk to you, so maybe not quiet quiet, more like no drama quiet.
Spot the Dot is an app aimed at kids 2 and up, so it’s perfect for my older girl, though perhaps not great for kids older than, say, 4 or 5. The narrator gives directions, like ‘find the blue dot’ which are easy enough to understand. I thought at first my girl wouldn’t be good at following directions because, well, in my experience I have to say them repeatedly, but clearly she can follow directions because she did fine.
Basically, the game is all about finding the colored dot hidden in a visual puzzle that the player has to figure out. One dot floats across the screen in a pack of same sized, but different colored dots and the goal is to ‘spot the yellow dot.’ The player then tries to press it when it flies by in order to move on to the next dot.
Each dot puzzle remains the same, whether if floats, is in pieces that need to be reconstructed or hidden behind a box that must be ‘flipped’ over to see what is underneath. All fun mind games.
The first time I watched my girl go through each puzzle I desperately wanted to help out when she struggled. But I didn’t and she figured it all out, much to her delight. I thought great – but what happens the next time she plays, won’t she get bored because she knows how it works?
Well, the makers of this app thought of that, too, because while the riddle stays the same, the mechanics of the puzzle changes each time the game is played, so no mastery of the dots. Pretty smart. My girl can and does play it over and over.
The app was created by noted children’s book author David A. Carter, creator of One Red Dot and the Bugs in a Box series. The app is currently available only for iPad, so if you don’t have one you’re out of luck. That being said, I can’t imagine this game being played on a tiny iPhone screen, so it makes sense that it’s only for iPads.
One thing I don’t like about the game is that the narrator says ‘good job’ each and every time the dot is spotted. Now, I know it’s a thing for me, the whole ‘good job’ kudos. I honestly think saying ‘good job’ over and over diminishes the worth of the phrase.
In fact, I try not to say that all all, instead opting to praise the work done rather than the outcome. For example, if I see my girl has gotten herself dressed when I asked her, instead of saying ‘good job’ I try to say ‘yea! You got dressed.’ It’s a small difference, but it’s a difference that makes a difference, as an old professor used to say.
So hearing the narrator say, over and over, ‘good job’ sorta grates on my nerves. I’d much rather hear, ‘you found it!’ or ‘good spotting the dot’ or whatever. But that’s just me.
The graphics are good and simple without being simplistic. The concept of concentrating to accomplish a goal is great. And the ability to capture the player’s attention makes this app one to try in my opinion.
Here’s the best part: all Ruckus Media apps, including Spot the Dot, are on sale for $0.99 at the AppStore. But hurry – the sale only lasts to Labor Day, after which the price goes back to $3.99.