This app is designed for children between ages 2 to 8, and it contains some enjoyable colouring, reading and puzzle like activities so that your children can begin to enhance their knowledge about the related topic in a gentle manner. They will earn trophies each time they progress their way through an activity, and after all the trophies have been collated, children have the option to download and then print out a certificate. This means that they will have some actual proof to confirm that they have successfully completed al l the tasks. We think that the trophies are a nice incentive and motivate children to put some extra effort into the activities and focus on completing them successfully.
We really do like the rationale that underpins the making of this app and strongly believe that it has the potential to serve a useful purpose and to benefit both Muslim and non-Muslim kids. For instance, we can imagine it being utilised in schools during language classes with children from mixed races and religions. It is also a great supplementary resource to use during religious education classes or social studies - to emphasise the importance of respecting and valuing other cultures to children, and getting them involved in multi-cultural activities from a young age.
In addition, we feel that parents can use this app at home with their children as a supplementary activity to complement any language learning materials that they are using at present.
Even though we like the overall look of this app and enjoyed all the colourful and animated characters that it introduces, we feel that it really lacks substance and that there is plenty more room for improvement. We are aware that the app is still in the early stages of development; nevertheless, we still feel that it should have been released with more content and a diverse range of activities – it’s a bit on the empty side at the moment. Therefore, we have made some suggestions later on in this article that we hope prove to be useful to the developer. We are really keen to find out how it pads out in the future
This app has the following features:
- Entertaining, stimulating and informative activities for all children aged 2 to 8
- Beautiful Award winning artwork and graphics all designed by Peter Gould
- Team up with 26 beautiful children from the Ummah to explore the Arabic and English alphabet, and learn some wonderful Muslim names and cities.
- Finish all the activities and collate all the trophies to download and print a certificate.
- Puzzles, Colouring and reading modality for enjoyment.
- Can be used everywhere once you buy—Universal use for iPad, iPhone and iPod.
- Uplifting music playing in the background to keep you excited.
What You Need to Know
It is important that all parents know that this app will not really offer a completely informative learning experience to their children, not yet anyway. This does not mean that you rule it out completely because it does have some good features that have been highlighted above.
The app will assist children to learn to recognise the English and Arabic alphabets, but not in any great depth. Your child can pick one of the animated characters who they want to be introduced to and begin to solve some interesting puzzles all from the comfort of their home screen.
Each character will introduce themselves by telling your child their name and the country that they come from. Once your child enters into the world of their chosen character, they then only have two activity options: a colouring exercise or a completing a basic puzzle.
Colouring Exercise - This activity is easy, and you have a range of different colours to choose from. Plus, there are plenty of characters that are waiting to be coloured, so your child can get creative and spend hours on this activity. We found some of the colours a bit sensitive to touch, and you might encounter the same issue. If so, your child may get a bit fed up, lose interest and ask to do something else. If you tap the colour that you want to use once only, carefully follow the character’s outline and use longer strokes whilst colouring, you should overcome this problem though. We did anyway!
Solve the Puzzle - This activity simply involves dragging the square pieces on the screen and putting them in the right shaded slots where a picture is waiting to reveal itself to you. The pictures in the puzzles are mostly beautiful buildings, such as mosques, that are all representative of an Islamic country.
Once your child has got to know one character and finished all the activities that go with him/her, they can tap the arrow on the left hand corner of the screen to go back to the main menu and get to know another character. They can work their way through all 26 characters one at a time and will learn to recognise the alphabet as well as the English and Arabic names of Muslim cities and Muslim names in general.
There is some invigorating music that plays in the background whilst your child works their way through all the activities. We found that people around us, especially other kids, were keen to find out what we were doing and wanted to get involved when they heard the melody. Also, on the main page, there is an option to turn the background music off. You might use this because the music can sound a bit loud, particularly if you use headphones.
Release Date: 15/05/2012
Available on: iOS, Tablet, Mobile
What activities are included in this game?
The game has three vibrant and child-friendly sections:
1. Choose a character and listen to / read their name and the country they come from.
2. Solve a Puzzle – moving a slate and dropping it into the correct square. You can collect your trophy after completing this activity.
3. Colouring – choose a character and colour him/her using a collection of vibrant colours.
Unfortunately, there are no more interactive activities apart from the ones mentioned above.
What your children will not learn
This app only focusses on learning to recognise letters of the alphabet in both English and Arabic. Children will not be introduced to all the alphabet sounds individually or get the opportunity to practice saying them by themselves. The app also doesn’t have any activities that pay attention to how words/sounds can be blended or even develop any kind of fluency in reading.
We do feel that the app is a bit misleading, especially when you see the English alphabet on the home screen. Because of this, we expected to see quite a few exercises that involved learning the Arabic alphabet itself, not just recognising the letters. It doesn’t really make that much sense to us - surely you want your children to learn the alphabet fully and not just one aspect of it!
Is it any good?
Whilst this app has some fun and unique artwork, as well as some adorable characters and letters against a brilliant background, it is a bit disappointing and tends to lack variety and substance. We are not saying that the app is a complete waste of time, plus the information that it does present has been done very nicely. The best part about it is the visuals, they look amazing and the added multicultural aspect to learning is very appealing to many.
However, we do not feel that you get any value for money at $9.49 and strongly believe that you should get a lot more for your money. Actually, all the activities that it offers currently should be free samples that help you to decide if it’s worth buying the full version or not. So, we have decided to share what we feel this app needs to give it a much needed boost.
What we would like to see
- There are several additional things that we would like to see included in this app:
- Various activities that actually teach children all the letters of the alphabet in English and Arabic as well as just being able to recognise the letters.
- Activities that teach children the sounds of all the letters in Arabic and English and the opportunities to practice each individual sound too.
- All the alphabet letters introduced in small case as well as upper case and activities that teach children to recognise the difference between the two sounds.
- A better repeat option on each character screen where the child just has to touch the character if they want them to introduce themselves again. At the moment, you have to keep on going back to the main screen, which can get a bit annoying at times.
More Detailed Recommendations
We don’t just want to list all the things that are missing from this app, therefore, we have clarified in more detail the types of activities that would make it feel much more comprehensive and give it some proper educational value, rather than just being something that your children uses on the odd occasion to pass a bit of time.
All the activities that we have mentioned below have the potential to be encapsulated into the main theme of the app, although this is a bit vague at the moment and needs further clarification from the developer. Nonetheless, we have made up our own goals for now: to introduce children to the English and Arabic alphabet and to increase their basic knowledge and understanding of important Muslim customs all over the world.
We feel that all the activities that we have mentioned below could enhance a child’s overall learning experience when using this app.
Scramble and Unscramble - This activity would involve giving the child the Arabic and English letters that they need so that they can make a given word, which could be one of the characters names or an Islamic city, and their job is to put them into the correct order.
A Flashcard Activity – This type of activity would involve revealing flashcards for all the different letters in the English and Arabic alphabet along with an additional word that begins with every letter, and its picture on the same card. Obviously the words would have something to do with Muslim culture, like hijab, mosque, Imam etc. The child has to touch the flash card in order to listen to the name of each letter and the word that is associated with it.
Recognise the Character – In this activity you could reveal one of the characters from the main screen and ask the child to guess their name and the country that they are from correctly. To begin with, you could give children four possible characters that they can choose from and eventually get to the point where no options are offered so that the child develops problem solving skills by working things out by themselves. This would certainly stop anyone from getting bored because they find things too easy.
A further expansion to this activity would be to introduce a whole new group of words – for instance - adjectives and ask the child to describe each characters personality like Happy Hanna.
Mix & Match Activity – you could mix up the vowel and consonant sounds in Arabic and English in this activity and ask the child to tap each sound and move it to the correct side.
Introduce Colours and alphabetize them: you could have two boxes on either side, and the box on the left should contain a list of colours. Ask the child to click on or drag the words to the box on the right hand side and put them in alphabetical order. This could be a further expansion to the existing colouring game and you would need to introduce the names of colours prior to doing this activity
Tell a Story: here you could introduce a simple but delightful story explaining the origin of all the Arabic names, and follow it up with an easy quiz afterwards.
Kids of the Ummah Is a fancy looking app and does a reasonable job of introducing children to the Muslim culture by using some wonderful artwork and offering a few fun activates to play. It is something that you can easily download onto your iPhone/iPad and take it with you anywhere, plus the controls are fairly instinctive, which means that any 2 year old will be able to learn them in no time.
Nevertheless, as already stated, we do feel that it lacks variety and doesn’t really have a clear educational purpose at the moment. Moreover, the fact that it can’t be used as a way of teaching children to learn the English and Arabic alphabet fully with phonics is somewhat disappointing. Although it does nicely introduce children to a different culture, the activities are not in depth or varied enough to firstly keep children stimulated for a decent length of time and secondly to gain any real meaningful insight into the Muslim culture. Moreover, whilst it is good for children to become familiar with different Arabic names and cities, we fail to see how useful this is for a child’s overall language development and in the grand scheme of things in general.
This app might provide children with a bit of light entertainment when they are short of things to do, but we need to see some significant improvements if it wants to claim that it offers something meaningful and comprehensive that is worthwhile using. We feel that it only deserves a 4.5/10 at the moment, simply due to its lack of depth and unclear purpose. This score could change a lot in the future because we intend to review this app again if it gets developed any further.
Kids of the Ummah is developed by Peter-Gould.com.