Wednesday, July 10, 2013

TOS CREW Review Dig It Games

Many of you know by now that I have given up keeping the iPad away from kids.  I tried.  It did not last.  Let's face it, there are just too many good apps out there to not share with the kids.  And honestly, they love using them.  That is why I said Yes, please! to reviewing Mayan Mysteries from Dig-It Games.  Well, that and the fact that we are enthralled by anything remotely related to Central America. 
Dig-it Games Logo photo dig-it-games-logo_zps61887cb9.png  


Mayan Mysteries iPad app, intended for children grades 5th-9th, is a Mayan Adventure that uses the platform of a fun game to teach reading comprehension, geography, science, and math skills as well as the history of the Maya people.  While trying to solve a mystery about looters, your kids will solve riddles, look for clues, visit ancient Maya sites and learn a lot of history along the way.  The game provides over 12 hours of play and can be used by one player at a time.  Each time you stop play  your place will automatically be saved or if you wish you can begin a new game.

Dig-it Games On-line App photo dig-itgames-mayanmysteries_zps7a4409ab.jpegThe game begins with an introduction of the characters who go to Central America to help solve the mystery of unknown looters and what they are looking for.  Your child goes through various screens that supply information about different aspects of the Maya people, to include art, language, math, customs, and more and then take a short quiz on the information just read.  Questions answered correctly get you more points and move you ahead of the looters, ones answered incorrectly allow the looters to catch up with you.  At different points in the game there are challenges presented where you solve puzzles and riddles.
There is no violence or graphic images in Mayan Mysteries, but the subjects of war and sacrifices are mention in some detail.  If this bothers you, I would advise you to look carefully at this program.  Personally speaking, this gave our family an opportunity to talk about our past and how war has affected people throughout the centuries as well as compare the histories of different cultures. 

What we did and what we thought-

We played the game, of course!  As with most downloads, this one is quick and easy to install.  I had my 11 year old start first since he is right in the suggested age range. We did find that, like many other games we have downloaded, you have to feel your way around a little to know what to do.  That really would be my only complaint, but again, we seem to find this with most games we have used on the iPad.  It can be a bit frustrating at times, but you know kids - they are quick learners.  Because my son likes history, a lot, this game was a good fit for him.  Of course, the mystery part did not hurt either!  Who doesn't like a mystery? 

One of the neatest features...there is a button you can hit to have the information read to you!  Genius!  Not only is that a bonus for any struggling readers you may have, but it is also a great way to reach your auditory learners like my son.  Have him read something and he will eventually remember it to him and it is sealed in his memory instantly!
I also love the fact that a world renowned expert in the Maya culture was consulted for this program!  Because we have an adopted child from Guatemala with Maya roots, it is important to us that we learn accurate information about his birth country and ancestors.  While he was too young to play this game, he did enjoy watching his siblings play and it allowed us to open conversations about his heritage.  He always seems drawn to games as well as books that have pictures of people that look like him and I eagerly await the day that he is old enough to play Mayan Mysteries himself.  As for his siblings, I think it gave them some extra insight and respect for their brother and the culture in which he was born into and spent 21 months of his life in. 

Small spoiler - when you finish the game you do not have the mystery solved.  I know, a little frustrating for my son especially, but it does set the stage for a second adventure which we hope is coming soon!
  Mayan Mysteries is an easy download for $9.99, or you can purchase an online subscription for $21.99.

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