Review: Sharing with Duckie Deck iPad App

by Steph K on May 31, 2013

in App Reviews, Apps for 2 year olds, Apps for 3 year olds, Apps for 4 year olds

Scenes from Sharing with Duckie Deck: Left - Trying to give each kid something they want; Right - Oops, some kids don't have watermelon!

Picky Kid Rating: 4.2

Sharing with Duckie Deck is a wonderfully illustrated app loosely focused on teaching kids the importance of sharing. There are six different activities (some more focused on sharing than others) that are great for ages 2-4, some super cute characters, and best of all, this game is currently FREE. (Not anymore, but it’s still a great deal!)

Our complaints about the app are minor, but one crops up right away… The first time you start it up and tap the start arrrow, you’ll be prompted with a popup that prompts you to “Try it on TV with Airplay!” I suppose this goes right along with the “sharing” theme (share your screen, share the whole experience with everybody in the room), but we don’t like it for two reasons:

  1. The game is disrupted for kids before it even starts!
  2. Even if you wanted to try Airplay, it’s unclear how to do it. Tapping the popup does nothing…

Luckily, this popup only appears the very first time you launch the game. It hasn’t come up again for us.

Assuming you’ve dismissed the Airplay popup, you’ll see a group of six hands on the screen, each holding a different object. These represent different activities, and until you’ve tried them, you won’t really know which object goes with which activity, so here’s a guide:

  • Sharing with Duckie Deck iPad app - Picky Kid Rating: 4.2/5Tap the rocket for a simple toy swapping game.
  • Tap the donut┬áto distribute toys based on what kids want.
  • Tap the slice of cake to decorate a cake and then serve it!
  • Tap the cards for a memory matching game.
  • Tap the apple for a food sharing game.
  • Tap the pencils for a drawing/coloring activity.

Most of the activities are straightforward enough to for kids to figure out on their own, and in some, a visual clue is given that helps get things started. Strangely enough, the game that we found least intuitive was actually the simplest! In the toy swapping game, you’ll see a room with three kids sitting in it and playing with toys. There’s also a toy front-and-center that nobody is playing with. It turns out that’s your toy to play with! If you would rather play with someone else’s toy, tap on that character to trade toys. Now, a different toy will appear front-and-center on the screen. This simple activity is good for very young players, but can get boring for older kids. I’m also not sure it works how it’s supposed to… The description in the For Parents area says that occasionally someone will refuse to trade with you, but as long as we’ve played the game, this hasn’t happened. Maybe we’re just lucky?

When you are finished with any activity, tap the red arrow in the upper left to get back to the home screen with the hands. You’ll receive a sticker for playing! It goes into a “sticker drawer” accessible from the right side of the home screen. You can move stickers around, but two-fingered actions, such as resize and rotate, aren’t available. The sticker drawer empties itself every time the game is restarted. You’ll also find that you get a sticker even if you didn’t do anything (maybe you picked the wrong activity, and went immediately back to the home screen)!

My favorite activity is the one where you give toys to kids based on what they want. In this game, three kids are sitting on sofa, and each has a thought bubble with two objects in it. I think it’s safe to assume that the kids want one of these two objects (though would they really want a cactus?). On the floor in front of the kids, there are three objects. The goal is to distribute the objects so that each kid get something that he/she wants. Get it wrong, and not everyone will be happy (they’ll let you know with a “meh” and “so what” face). Get it right, and everyone will cheer and you’ll get to play again. Since each kid would be happy with only two out of the three objects, there’s a little bit of logic required to figure out how things should go.

B likes this activity too, but her favorite is cake decorating. And it’s easy to see why! There are lots of fun things to drag and drop onto the cake, like sprinkles, candles, flags and even toys! When you’ve finished decorating (which could be forever, there seems to be no limit to how much stuff you add to the cake!), tap the green checkmark to serve it up. Drag one slice onto each plate and it will disappear quickly! Then you’ll get a new cake to decorate.

The memory match and food sharing activities are similar to the ones you’ve likely encountered in other apps. The memory match game has a grid of 12 cards (6 pairs), so we’d consider it medium difficulty. You’ll have a team of kids cheering you on as you correctly make matches. The food sharing game does a good job of showing how kids feel if they’re not treated equally. Try piling all the food onto one or two plates and watch the other poor kids’ faces.

The drawing/coloring activity feels the least about sharing. You’ll get to select a picture and help draw it by tapping on the screen. I think you’re supposed to attempt to trace the dotted lines, but the game is very lenient about that — you don’t have to be anywhere close for it to autocomplete the lines for you. When the drawing is complete, you’ll get to color it in by selecting colors on a spinning color wheel in the lower right of the screen, and dragging in the areas you want to color. There are no fancy brushes or tools, and no way to save your work within the app, though that doesn’t really feel necessary. Tapping the green arrow in the upper right will take you back to select a new drawing. We initially thought this was a “reset” button to restart the current drawing. Of all the activities, this is the one that feels like it may not belong in this game (though we’re not complaining about that — more bang for your buck!).

In all activities except the drawing one, you’ll find lots of friendly kids and lots of other interactive treats to explore. Try tapping everything to see what happens. Many things have simple and sweet animations or sound effects that help enliven the scenes.

Speaking of that, the artwork, animations, and music in this app are all top-notch! The graphic style is fairly flat and stylized with a slightly retro color palette. Each activity has different background music. The background music is a fairly short loop, so it gets repetitive quickly, but it’s generally not annoying… and that’s a good thing because there’s not a way to turn background music off but leave other sound effects on.

In fact, there are no options or settings at all. From the home screen, you can tap the Duckie Deck logo in the upper left to go back to the start screen, where you’ll find a “For Parents” area to tap in the upper right. This isn’t protected — kids can easily tap it — but the chances that they will are small, since it’s on the start screen (not the home screen) and it’s labeled only with text. And if they do get into this area, no big deal… There are no links out of the game in the parents area, just some descriptions of the game and ideas about how to help kids learn to share better. This text is available in English only, but the rest of the game could be easily navigated without knowing English.

Download on the App StoreOverall, Sharing with Duckie Deck is a great app, full of engaging activities that will hold the attention of kids ages 2-4. It’s currently FREE to boot! That’s limited time offer, so we’d recommend downloading now, even if you think it may not be right for your kid at the moment. You can always save it for later.

[The developer of this app requested a Picky Kid review. No fees were paid.]

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Picky Kid Rating: 4.7/5

Content
Graphics
Sound
Technical
Usability
Education
Engagement
Review: Sharing with Duckie Deck iPad App, 4.7 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

App info

Sharing with Duckie Deck

Played on: iPad 2, iOS6

Developer(s):

Price: $1.99

Get it on the App Store!


( 1 comment… read it below or add one )

Steph K July 2, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Update — this app is no longer free, it’s now $1.99. Still a great deal for the quality and amount of activities though!

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