A while ago, I had an opportunity to try out a new game called Bonk! Bonk!
Designed by Red Wagon Software, Bonk! Bonk! is a toddler game that you can download to your iPhone (or Android).
Now, as a conscientious mother, I
always often play new games I download before introducing them to my children. It’s really about assessing the game for it’s complication and frustration level more than anything else. I know my kids best and I know myself pretty well. The last thing I want to do is give them a game that is frustrating because it will just end up driving me mad.
With Bonk! Bonk!, I didn’t want to hand over my phone to my kids because I was having too much fun.
The first thing I noticed is that its beauty is its simplicity. I happened to download it at a time when I was feeling a little overwhelmed with things that needed to get done yesterday. (Really not the best frame of mind for trying out a new game.) But it turned out that the game was like a deep breathing exercise that calmed me right down. You know those stress balls you can get to squeeze when you’re feeling under pressure and the squeezing is supposed to relax you? Well, that was the effect of Bonk! Bonk! Tapping my phone screen and watching the little ladybugs appear all over the place was strangely calming.
And with a quick visit to the settings, I discovered you could set images and sounds and whether or not the images faded after they appeared on screen. The list of images was long enough to provide something for everyone without being unnecessarily long.
Same went for the sounds. Good list. Great sounds. Not too many, but enough.
Eventually, I passed my phone to my five-year-old. She had a blast. It took her about eight seconds to figure out how to change the images and the sounds. And she would have spent an hour playing the game had her younger brother not insisted that he needed a turn. He had equally as much fun, if not more. He did figure out how to change the sounds and the images, but he can’t read yet so I had to help him choose if he was looking for something specific in the list. Other than that, he just worked his way through the images and tried them all until he found one he really liked and then he stuck with that. (He’s a big fan of the “Breaking Glass” sound.)
As I watched my kids play Bonk! Bonk!, I realized a few things:
- I could use this simple yet fun game to teach my son colours, numbers, letters and shapes.
- I could use this app to help reinforce numbers with my daughter by playing “guess that number” every time she taps the screen and a new number pops up.
- How this simple game was teaching both my kids the skills needed to operate my phone (skills that could later be translated to a tablet).
- My kids were having a blast!
Ever since I introduced Bonk! Bonk! to them, that’s all they ask for when I allow them some play time on my phone.
In terms of availability, I’m not sure if you can get it just yet for Android. (I had an advance copy for review.) It is available for iPhone and iPad. I recommend downloading it for your kids. It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s educational and it will keep your little ones entertained while you grocery shop. Plus, if you can get your phone back from your child, it has a surprising calming effect on adults. I admit, I play it quite frequently when my kids aren’t around.