Smarty Shortz 1st Grade – iPhone App Review

Looking for a fun and educational app for your 1st Grade child, or soon to be 1st grader?  If so then you may be interested in Smarty Shortz 1st Grade. Developed by Smarty Shortz LLC the developers admit to being parents that just wanted to integrate fun and education into their child’s iPhone gaming experience.

Let’s take a look …

When you first open the app you’ll notice that there are quite a few educational categories to pick from. This gives your child the chance to change things up and learn something new each time. Clicking on a subject will take you to another page which gives your child different lessons to try.

My first criticism with this app is that I had no idea what to do once I clicked on a lesson. There are no Settings nor a Help option .. so I spent a good chunk of time scratching my head and tapping the screen with no success.

Each category has 4 lessons and then little mini games as a reward for passing the lesson.

Anyway .. Spelling has you either match names to objects, write words, find similar sounding words and so on. Part of the lessons almost felt more like reading than they did spelling, but regardless there was still an opportunity to learn something in it.

Reading takes you to where you click on a story part, try and read it outloud, then play back the word to see if you said it correctly. One note on this is that the audio quality is really poor in this category .. unfortunately.

Science teaches you about different processes such as the plant cycle, the process of seeds to fruit, and a few more. Again, the audio quality needs improvement here.

Geography shows you a map of the world and displays words along the bottom. The object is to correctly drag the word onto it’s corresponding location .. i.e. North America or Pacific Ocean.

Math has measure things such as length, height, and quantities (see below). Unfortunately, when you open a lesson it is not immediately clear what they want you to do.

History shows a timeline on the bottom and items at the top and you have to correctly place the items in the correct order along the timeline.

All in all, I think this app has potential to be nice and educational for children, but I think it comes with its share of downsides. The lack of instructions within the app was very frustrating .. it took me five minutes to realize what to do in the History lessons. The graphical and audio quality of the app are much lower than what you find in other apps offered for a cheaper price.

My other major complaint is that each category only has 4 lessons. That’s it. After $1.99 and 35 minutes, your child may be done with this app. It needs a lot more substance behind it because it feels more like a Lite version to a paid app than something you would actually purchase.

If you are interested in an educational tool for your young child this app may be worth keeping an eye on. With some application enhancements, more instructions, and more substance this app could be very handy at improving your child’s learning curve.