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Bringing a sense of fun to learning language is a tall order. Only the best teachers ever manage it in school, and even they require the students to engage in something, anything in the first place, before they can start inspiring. One of the upsides of the digital age we live in is that people are starting to find new ways to communicate with kids and bring a sense of involvement to their education. Throwing their hat in this particular ring, German developer Linguino offer us their ‘Monsters Behave!’ app, an ingenious little creation which aims to inspire children in the seemingly long lost art of creative language. Initially released in German, Linguino have adapted their hit app into English, and made more than a few improvements and additions along the way.
‘Monsters Behave!’ takes the form of a house of monsters, like something straight out of a fairytale. There’s eight of the little critters, each one displaying an array of bad table etiquette, with one put-upon Mother Monster attempting to keep control of the whole show. The kids are going to love this set up straight off the bat, with the monsters each acting up in ways that will be instantly familiar to both parent and child alike. Spitting, banging, crashing and throwing are the orders of the day here; the only way to reign the little terrors in are to play (and succeed) at word games with them.
You can play individually with any of the eight beasties. Each one has three options; a rhyming game, a word puzzle or a fun mini-game. The rhyming game has the kids finding the correct rhyming word to complete a humorous, nonsense sentence. The value here isn’t focused primarily on grammar and syntax, more creativity and fun, learning to use words in new ways. The word puzzle provides an incomplete sentence with a variety of options for the missing words. Again, the sentence is silly fun, but the use of the words are still correct and unique. This is a refreshing attempt to inject learning with a spontaneous, creative streak. Now, I haven’t been seven for a long time, and it’ll be a good while before I have a seven-year-old of my own. But I can’t imagine any kid not engaging with this app immediately.
The graphics are bright, well drawn and imaginative. The monsters themselves come in all shapes, sizes and colours; kids are going to have fun picking their favourite right away. The gameplay features professional voice-overs which encourage the kids as they progress. This is an intelligent, forward-thinking app which succeeds on equal fronts at that elusive holy grail of ‘edutainment’. In short, a triumph.
Monster mash your way to the iTunes store to get your paws on ‘Monsters Behave!’