The Making of Kindergarten Shapes

After creating Kindergarten Math, I went back to work as a contractor 3 days a week. I also started teaching Java coding at UW PCE. I had no idea if Kindergarten Math would be successful or not. It is successful. But, even with a successful app that is earning a little, it is not possible to live on what little it earns. The app is 99 cents or similar in all markets. It makes on average about $300 per month. I would need quite a few apps to be able to stop working completely.

Kindergarten Shapes started with the concept that all that we see around us is simply made of a few shapes. I picked 10 basic shapes and imagined pictures using those shapes. The first was a christmas tree. I was reminded of how we used to draw a christmas tree using triangles as a kid. Add a few different shaped decorations and I had my first picture. Gradually… working only 1-2 days a week on it, it took 2 months to build 10 different pictures – butterfly, rocketship, flower, windmill, boat, fish, house, castle, train…

Matching images to the pictures is the kid’s favorite game so far, even the 3 year old. She did not know any of her shapes before she started playing the game, and now she knows them all. I can see the sense of achievement she feels when she completes a match game.

I added Sequences of 2, 3 or 4 shapes. My older daughter, who is almost 6, often gets homework that asks her to complete shape sequences. The game is a little tougher than her homework – more than 1 shape can be missing in later exercises. The shapes, sequences and mazes are fun, but I wanted to challenge the 6 year old more. So, I added a shapes based Sudoku game, to give her a chance to learn some logic.

My favorite part of building the app is doing the video. We took videos last saturday evening in our living room. It is our version of craft work. It is girls fun time. There was lots of bloopers, and the girls went into giggle-fits when Nora said something innocuous.

It took more than 4 months to build this app part-time. This time I built the lite version after the full version was done. I am adding more pictures (dinosaur, helicopter…) to the app slowly, because the 3 year old loves to play them. Even if it does not have many downloads or does not make much money, I had lots of fun building this app with my family.

I am discovering that if I was building only to be successful, it would be tougher to continue. But, since I create for a reason – my kids learning – success is secondary. I would continue building the apps even if only 2 kids enjoyed them.

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