Reviewed by: Eric Jerman, COMS
Where to Buy: Find Sago Mini Sound Box at the iTunes Store
Developer: Sago Sago
Devices: Compatible with iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Operating System: Requires iOS 3.0 or later
Categories: Games & Recreation, Cause & Effect
Description of Sago Mini Sound Box
In a nutshell: With each finger tap (cause) on the screen colorful spheres appear and make a sound (effect). With a finger touch-and-hold on the screen a colorful sphere appears and expands in size and changes colors, while making different sounds with each expansion, until, on the eighth expansion, the sphere pops and a small red bird "hatches," as if from an egg, tweets, and flies off to exit the screen on the left.
Each time a sphere appears on the screen or grows it makes a sound related to the category you've chosen. For example, if you choose the Xylophone category, each time your sphere grows you'll here a note from a xylophone. The notes get higher and higher with each expansion until CRACK! the egg hatches!
In Detail: Mini Sound Box responds to several different touch interactions with the screen: with a tap of a finger, a sphere appears or grows in size; with a finger touch-and-hold, a sphere grows multiple sizes, even leading to the "hatching" of the bird; with a finger touch-and-slide spheres can be moved across the screen while they are expanding.
This app offers more complexity than some of the other apps previously reviewed here as there are multiple means to interact with the screen. For this reason, Mini Sound Box offers an educator or parent some insight into the fine motor skills of a child with low vision or no vision by observing how the child interacts or doesn't interact with the screen with his or her fingers.
The spheres on the screen are also affected as if by gravity: tilt the iPad screen and the spheres roll off in the direction of the floor. The spheres make sounds each time they make contact with the sides of the screen, and they bounce away from the edges, similar to a pinball machine.
You can choose from among nine different categories of sounds that will be heard each time spheres expand in size or make contact with the screen edges. These sound categories range from flute, chimes, piano, drums, and automobiles to dogs or barnyard animals (my personal favorite). The instrument sounds are relatively soft and gentle, whereas the automobiles, dogs or barnyard animals can get pretty chaotic and exciting, so you can choose the sounds that best suit your own child.
Mini Sound Box works equally well on an iPad or an iPhone. My 3-year old son, who is highly motivated by sounds, gets excited when Mini Sound Box is on his personal iPhone!
Why it's Good for Visually Impaired Children
Mini Sound Box can be enjoyed by blind and low vision users alike. No vision is required to interact with the screen and make fun sounds. Low vision users will appreciate that the multicolored spheres contrast well against the white background.
One way to play with Mini Sound Box is to ask your child with low vision to find and touch different color spheres, i.e., "touch the yellow ball," or "touch the purple ball."
Another game that would be fun for kids with both low vision or no vision would be to ask them to touch the screen and then pull away when they hear a particular sound. For example, if the sound category of barnyard animals is selected you could ask that your child remove their finger from the screen when they hear the sound of the pig, cat or horse.