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CertifiKID Field Report: Educational Play with Square Panda

"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood." ~ Fred (Mr.) Rogers

Here at CertifiKID we subscribe to the Mr. Rogers philosophy. Whether it's outdoors in nature, exploring at a museum or helping history come to life by getting out and seeing where its happened, play is important. After all, raising kids is an EDventure (educational adventure), right?

When we got word that a new learning tool was out that uses an iPad coupled with smart letters to teach early reading skills, we were excited to learn more about Square Panda. It seemed like such a great way to get more out of screen time.

There were some big questions, though. Would it be entertaining enough to draw the kids away from mindlessly flinging digital birds at green pigs? Would kids really learn and have fun at the same time? Was it going to be one of those things they played with once and were done?

Right away one thing stood out about Square Panda. It isn’t just an app. It's an accessory for your iPad with actual physical letters that are read by a Smart Playset. Combining a tactile experience with adaptive software that identifies how your child learns really sets Square Panda apart. Would kids be excited to see the letters literally come to life? Um... we were, and we’re grownups (most days!).

Another ingenious aspect of Square Panda is its ability to learn what your child's individual learning style is. It's a learning tool that learns! As it picks up on your child's preferences it then serves them tailored games and activities from a huge library of cloud-based programing that keeps your child challenged and engaged.

For this Field Report we enlisted some expert help from within the CertifiKID community. Beth B. is CertifiKID subscriber and mother of three. Her oldest is seven and she has a set of adorable three-year-old twins as well. Beth also happens to be a first grade teacher, which makes her especially suited to the task of putting Square Panda to the test.

After several weeks of fun and play, here is what Beth reported back to Team CertifiKID:

"Square panda is interactive, fun, colorful and very appealing to toddlers. It's great for identifying letters and sounds as well as reading readiness! My 3 year olds love it. They love the hands on aspect of it. I observed them repeating the letters and sounds and words. They love knocking down the bowling pin "guys" and then searching for the letter they need. It's great to have vowels and consonants in different colors. As an educator I'm highly impressed with this!!!!"

Lending more clout to Square Panda as a learning tool that combines play with adaptive education is the fact that Andre Agassi -parent, tennis legend and founder of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education- was so impressed by the product that he both invested in it and joined the company board of directors. Agassi's foundation was built on the belief that, “With education there is hope,” a mantra that is a perfect fit for Square Panda as well.

Want to know more about how Square Panda works? Check out this video.

Play and learn on CertifiKID families!

Tags: CertifiKID Field Reports, learning, education, square panda


CertifiKID was founded by a mom with a passion for helping parents provide the best experiences for their children on a budget. From outings to adventures, classes to camps, theater to sporting events, amusement parks to getaways, CertifiKID provides the best family-friendly experiences at unbeatable prices. Sign up for family-friendly deals in your area and start saving!