Recently I’ve been introduced to the fun and quirky educational app Bugs and Buttons – and while it’s been around for a few years, it still hasn’t lost its appeal.
There are so many great features of this game, that it’s hard to know where to start! The moment you load the game it’s captivating, with bees swarming on the screen that just tempt you to touch them. And when you do, they follow your movements – great to get little fingers moving and working on fine motor skills! This game has lots of other hidden surprises that are waiting to be discovered by curious minds.
Kids get creative with Bugs and Buttons
The aspect I love the most about the game is the potential for adventures out in nature and learning about environmental sustainability. Bugs and Buttons promotes curiosity, and keeps it going even when the children put the device down. Also, there’s a do-it-yourself / make-it-from-odds-and-ends theme throughout the game.
Whether it be the tic-tac-toe mini-game made from wool and buttons, or recycling paper, plastic and aluminium with the help of some ladybugs and ants, it definitely encourages kids to get creative with whatever bits and pieces they have on hand and to think more about reusing and recycling.
Characters in the game
The main characters of the mini-games are insects: butterflies, ants, spiders, cockroaches, fireflies, bees and beetles. Don’t worry, if your child isn’t keen on spiders and cockroaches, you can hide these creepy crawlies. These adventurous creatures do all sorts of captivating things that had the children in fits of giggles (and very engaged). There are death-defying bees who are loaded into a slingshot made from dandelions and string, and flung at a flower to collect pollen. And rev-head ants and cockroaches who race each other.
More calming mini-games include butterfly valley, where the player steers the butterfly through flowers, or catching coloured fireflies in a jar at night. Along the way, players collect stars, and also earn special insect stamps to go in their stamp collection.
Challenging and suitable for a wide age range
Each of the mini games focusses on a different skill, and the game play is adaptive, so it adjusts depending on the players ability. This means that it’s suitable for a wide age range, and is always challenging and interesting. There are 18 different games that can be played – either in “explore” or “guided” mode.
Different skills that are targeted include sorting, matching, patterning and learning about letters and numbers. There are computer-related skills, too. For example, dragging and dropping, tapping and tracing on the screen and pinching (to pick up tarantulas, of course).
The music that accompanies the game is whimsical and varies from loud and dramatic to quiet and classical, and there are great sound effects too (who knew that a bee yelled “yippee” and “yahoo” whilst collecting pollen?)
Why I love this kids’ app
A game like Bugs and Buttons has the potential to influence kids even after screen time has finished. They can go outside and collect bugs, learn more about recycling, follow an ant trail, research the types of foods that different insects eat (or indeed, the crucial role that insects play in our ecosystem), plant flowers to attract bees and butterflies…and so on!
This article is written by Wenone Hope (Australia).
Wenone was born and raised in the farming region of Wagga Wagga. Being a teacher for 13 years, she has a background in Early Childhood education, Special Education, Early Intervention and ESL Teaching.
Wenone is currently teaching in the Blue Mountains of Australia, abd is also an Early Childhood Consultant at Lipa Learning. In the past she has developed a curriculum for young ES learners, and has also been a Preschool Educational Leader in the Blue Mountains, an ESL teacher in the Czech Republic, and a Primary School Educational Director in Canberra.
Wenone is an advocate for inclusive education, where diversity in the classroom (and life) is celebrated. When she’s not in the classroom, she’s out hiking and camping, playing roller-derby, travelling, or enjoying a good book.