Incidental learning is what this new app is all about. Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy playing with their ABCs as they color and animate the letters of the alphabet. A new twist on standard alphabet apps, ABC Gurus by Colto is a great app for young fingers. It's intuitive to use, creative, and educational. Children swipe the globe back-and-forth to view the entire alphabet in either uppercase or lowercase letters. After selecting a letter, children let their creativity run wild.
A selection of five colored crayons stands on the right side of the screen. Children freely decorate the letter, adding patterns and designs with their fingers. Stickers adorn the left side of the screen. Users can choose from a variety of mouths, eyes, mustaches, stickers, or hats.
With each stroke of the crayon or sticker placement, the letter says it sound, reinforcing the phonics behind each letter. As an added bonus, the mouth and eyes open and blink, and some of the stickers have cute animations. Once finished with your letter, tap the play button in the top right-hand corner and your letter comes to life with an animation featuring something that begins with the same letter. Most animations are interactive, a tap to the screen initiates a response. Use the camera button to snap a picture of your creation. Photos are saved to your device's camera roll.
ABC Gurus is a cute app and one I can see being a hit in households with young children. I like the idea of playing as you learn, and this app does just that. Creative minds will be able to color and decorate letters to their heart's content. The added reinforcement of hearing the letter sound while you color and seeing an animation featuring an object that begins with that letter are clever ways to camouflage learning.
The colors and graphics are bright and kid-friendly, and the stickers make a nice change from illustrating. The only downside I see is that the only way to exit the animation is to click the camera button. If parents allow the app access to the camera roll, I can see the camera roll filling up with pictures of letters quickly. I'd like to see a back button out of the animation without having to tap the camera button.
ABC Gurus is a cute app for children just learning the alphabet. It is engaging and creative, all while reinforcing the underlying educational aspects.
At the time of this review, app had no ads or in-app purchases, and external links were hidden behind a parent gate.
This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.
This review was originally published by FunEducationalApps.com on March 11, 2015. This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, teacher, and technology coach. She is a self proclaimed tech nerd and is passionate about technology in education. You can follow her ed. tech. blog at The iLesson Lady.
Nathalie is a mom of three, always looking for top fun educational apps to support kids learning the fun way! She is the founder of Fun Educational Apps and Co-funder of AppStar Picks, a free app listing top reviews for kids, from trusted websites. She created Fun Educational Apps as a way to help parents, educators and teachers discover great apps. Together with her kids, they try new apps on an ongoing basis.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Colto Smile & Learn
20 - 30 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: Yes
Age: 2 - 5
Designed by a mum/teacher with preschool teachers, game developers and a children’s special needs phonics expert, this app teaches the phonemic sounds letters make, associating them with their letter form, the names of letters and the meaning and pronunciation of new words starting with each letter.
Scroll through the alphabet on a rotating planet, choose a letter and get creative coloring it, adding cartoon eyes, a toothy mouth and quirky accessories. Each time you color and add features, you hear the phonemic sound of the letter. Tap the play button and a word starting with the letter comes to life in a hilarious interactive animation!
The phonemic skills children learn in this game are key skills for preschoolers based on the American Core Knowledge Preschool Sequence curriculum.
This App is designed to be non-addictive with an average playing session of 15 minutes. It is an open-ended play experience with no levels or rules that stimulates kids’ imagination and senses.
Recommended Ages 2-5 years
Required iOS 7 or +
> Easy for kids to play on their own
> Add animated eyes, mouths, moustaches, stickers and accessories
> Choose from 5 different colors
> Audio of phonemic letter sounds
> 26 animated words starting with each letter
> Audio of letter names and a word starting with the letter eg. E is for elf
> Take a snapshot of your characters
> Create your own alphabet album on your device’s photo gallery
> No in-app purchases
> No third party advertising
HOW DOES THIS APP TEACH CHILDREN?
ABC Gurus appeals to a child’s innate desire to interact, color and create. Children play with the letter repeatedly while listening to the phonemic sound it makes. This incidental learning is one of the most powerful learning forms for preschoolers. By repeatedly coloring and personalizing the letter, kids learn to recognize the letter form and its associated phonemic sound through repetition.