November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Skill Building with “Fiete” Apps | Touch and Go

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A cheerful sailor invites children to join him on his daily activities and in games in a series of colorful apps produced by Ahoiii Entertainment. The apps, which have been designed by parents for young children, can be purchased individually for iOS and Android devices (see prices and links below).

screen520x924In a blue-striped shirt, a white sailor’s cap, and black pants, Fiete (iOS $0.99, Android $2.81; PreS-K) the sailor goes about his island home completing his chores. Featuring background expanses of bright, flat colors and familiar creatures and scenes, the hand-drawn illustrations will appeal to young children. As they progress through the app, viewers help Fiete make a sandwich, put wheels on his car, sort socks, and so on.  There is no narration or instructions, but there are sound effects (waves, gulls, etc.). The interactivity is fairly intuitive, especially for children who have used a digital device before. With a little exploration, others will quickly discover that a tap here or a touch there will produce the desired results.

Fiete—A Day On a Farm (iOS, $0.99; Android; PreS-K) opens with the sound of waves gently lapping against boats resting in a harbor. In each game in the app, the music and sound effects enhance the images and activities on the screen. For example, when users progress to a picture of sailors quietly snoring in their beds, they can trigger the alarm clock and wake the characters, which advances the game to the next screen. There, a rooster is heard crowing as the sailors begin their day picking carrots, shearing sheep, tending pigs, milking cows, sawing wood, and so on. Each of these activities must be completed with viewers’ help before moving to the next activity. As day turns to night and the moon rises, a flickering bonfire can be seen in the distance, and crickets and seagulls can be heard.

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Which one is different?/ Screen from Fiete (Ahoiii Entertainment)

In Fiete Choice, (iOS, $0.99, Android, $0.99; PreS-K) children must determine which image on the screen (of three, four, or five) is not like the other. Objects and creatures are distinguished by color, shape, size, direction, species, articles of clothing, or other distinctive feature. Which fish is a different size? Which triangle is a different color ? Which glass is nearly empty? Which animal is facing in a different direction? Selecting the correct object or animal becomes perceptively more difficult as children travel with Fiete through each level (99 in all). The sailor rewards each brief series of successes with red stars, a smile, and his arms raised in congratulations.

Ready for a trip to a lighthouse? Fiete Match (iOS $.0.99, Android $0.99; PreS-Gr 1; all Ahoiii Entertainment) brings to mind the game of concentration…with a twist at the higher levels. As kids explore the lighthouse with the sailor and play differently themed games, they must match one image to another to form pairs. Later, as they ascend the lighthouse the pairing becomes more difficult: a boat pairs with water, a balloon with a pin to pop it, and an addition problem with its sum. Options include choosing the number of cards played during the game of memory, and deciding how well Fiete, who plays against viewers, operates.

The number of activities and the levels of engagement will have children returning again and again to these apps, which are charming in their simplicity and touches of humor. The games offer users an opportunity to flex their  pre- reading and numeracy skills, and could be used effectively to enhance language and fine motor development. These productions do not include any in-app purchases, are ad free, and have no links to the Internet. They are available in a number of languages.—Mary R. Voors, Children’s Services, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, IN

Screen from Fiete-A Day on the Farm (Ahoiii)

Screen from Fiete-A Day on the Farm (Ahoiii)

 

Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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