Picky Kid Rating: 2.8
The Itsy Bitsy Spider was a disappointment to us. We had high hopes; we’d read several favorable reviews and we really like Fish School (also by Duck Duck Moose). This game has a lot of interactivity, but limited educational appeal, and it’s essentially only three screens, so it becomes quite repetitive.
The app is an illustrated and interactive version of the classic “Itsy Bitsy Spider” song. It’s advertised as an “interactive book,” but that’s a misnomer, since there aren’t really “pages” and the story is limited to the song, which — as most of you know — is only four lines long. (Apologies if it’s now stuck in your head.)
When starting the game, children are greeted with soft background music and an outdoor scene featuring several creatures: notably our hero, the spider, and a hovering fly. Almost everything in the scene is interactive and kids will have fun discovering the hidden surprises. Beginners may need to be coached into touching different areas of the screen as it’s not immediately obvious what to do. Tapping the spider advances the song and changes the scene.
The game takes advantage of its outdoor scenes to present some natural science facts. The hovering fly (she tells us her name is Chloe) gives brief lectures on various items in the scene when touched. For example, “A plant needs lots of water and sunlight to grow.” The picky kids tend to ignore the fly, probably because listening to Chloe is less gratifying than most other actions on the screen, like throwing things out of windows or dropping hats onto the spider’s head.
In the rooftop scene, a squirrel collects nuts one-by-one, potentially helping children learn to count. Unfortunately, the sound effects for the squirrel’s feet on the rooftop are much louder than the counting voice. We’d like to see the relative volumes reversed to make this more effective.
On the plus side, this game is easy for very young children to use by themselves and has no technical glitches. There’s good attention given to the graphics (you’ll recognize some assets re-used from other Duck Duck Moose games). And for extra fun (or to see just how tone-deaf you are!), you can record yourself singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song to use in the game. You may also turn off the music entirely. (This option is only available from the first scene, so if you miss it there you’ll need to restart the game.)Review: Itsy Bitsy Spider iPad app,
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Played on: iPad 2, iOS4
- Duck Duck Moose