I'm always on the look out for high quality, affordable apps that have a valid learning purpose for the classroom... recently I discovered two FREE apps - 123 Ninja and ABC Ninja from Alligator Apps that I just LOVE!
ABC Ninja is just like that other addictive fruit slicing app that so many adults have mindlessly played... I think that this, however, is a great learning tool to reinforce letter names AND sounds! I don't feel guilty letting my three year old play this on the commute to and from work and my students just about beg to play the 'ninja game!' The sound effects and music are subtle and not annoying in the least -- and are even minimalist compared to some apps, which is great for my students who have hearing loss; too much background noise & sound effects can be overwhelming and confusing! The game play is customizable with three different levels of difficulty (easy, medium, hard), can be adjusted to focus on capital, lowercase letter names and sounds and can be set for a time limit from 1-10 minutes! At the end of each session, data is displayed but cannot be emailed - I've used the screenshot function on my iPad to capture data when I need it.
123 Ninja is the exact same concept, except it focuses on numbers 0-99. Again, a hit with my students and my own child. It's customizable with different levels of play, the ability to select target numerals and time limits.
With both apps being free to download & also free of in-app purchase opportunities, it's really a win all around!
The only thing that might make this set of apps better would be to have the letter/number repeated somehow, as my students sometimes miss the target when it's announced. And the ability to email data after the game is played by a student and/or the ability to set up individual student profiles so that you don't have to go back and forth changing the settings every time a new child comes to play would be great. I'd also like to see this game expanded to include a version for shapes and colors - my youngest preschoolers would really love reinforcing options for practicing listening & basic concepts!
p.s. just for the record, I was not asked to write this review and did not receive any sort of compensation for my opinion.