Square Panda gets kids hooked on phonics from an early age.

Square Panda is a combination play set and app-based system that teaches kids ages 2 to 8 the basics of reading, and helps them grow as readers.

The advantage that Square Panda has is that it’s a full multi-sensory experience for kids. There is tactile play with placing the physical letters on the play set’s tray and audio/visual stimulation through the app. Each level of game challenges kids in a different way to become familiar with the basics of reading and phonics—from sounds and shapes to building full words on their own. The interactive games keep kids engaged and learning as they progress deeper into learning skills.

In Letter Lab, kids become scientists to create letters and build up animal words. The Letter Lab takes kids through multiple steps, reinforcing how the letter looks and sounds. First, we see an outline of the animal we’re about to create. Then, the audio modulator challenges kids to find the letter by recognizing its sound. Once the letter is in place, kids move on to the transmogrifier, which changes the letter into an animal or object that starts with that letter, such as “Turkey” for T or “Envelope” for E. Kids can repeat each step of the process as many times as they’d like for reinforcement. Next up is the lowercase zapper, which shows kids what each letter looks like in lowercase form. Then, they can change the color of the letter, use the fan-o-matic to dry it, and then it drops into the machine. After the word is spelled, the whole animal will appear and the app spells the word again and repeats the animal name. Kids can’t skip any steps in the Letter Lab, so each part of learning letters and word construction is repeated multiple times.

Bowling has the same basic learning principles, but gamefies the learning a bit for kids. Kids bowl their coconut down the island to hit the Roc-Roks. Each Roc-Rok is hiding a secret letter and knocking them over reveals that letter. By unveiling the letters, kids can spell words, then hear them phonetically, then hear the full word and see a picture. This app also has the additional benefit of tuning fine motor skills, as kids aim their bowling coconut at the Roc-Roks.

Lagoon is an app that is a little more free play, which lends itself better to more experienced spellers. In the Lagoon, kids can put letters on the tray of the play set in attempt to spell different words. Each letter they place on the tray produces a “Letter Fly” in the lagoon. When they think they’ve got a word spelled, they poke the chameleon, and he eats up the Letter Flies to try to sound out the word. If the word they spelled is a real word, he shows you a picture, changes color, and celebrates. If not, kids can try again. Kids can spell anything from simple three-letter sight words such as “cat,” to longer, more advanced words such as “island,” and all are recognized by the app.

There are multiple apps that kids can try that range from everything from Farming and Fishing to Letter Lullaby and Monster Rhymes. Each app is aged graded, so parents know where they can start their kids off. Parents can also visit the Playground on Square Panda’s site to see their kids’ progress. And for families with multiple kids: You can set up to three profiles on a single account, so one Square Panda play set can provide for a whole family.

Get kids interested in reading and phonics early! Square Panda can help.