We took a few days off from Appidemics for the holidays, but return with one that may help up out a bunch of kids out there. Did you get some Laser Peg kits this year? If so, you’ll want to grab the free Laser Pegs app, too. If you didn’t get a kit, you may want to grab the app anyway. It’s kind of a cross between a CAD program and your typical building blocks. More importantly, it lets you build light-up dinosaurs.
What is it?
We should first talk about what Laser Pegs are. With apologies for mentioning the competition, they’re kind of like LEGOs, but with a more diverse building set and with the ability to light up; connect one piece to the light source, and any connected piece then lights up with it.
Pegs can be purchased in specific kits, but you can also combine them to create your own designs. That’s what Laser Pegs for iPad is about.
How does it work?
You start with a peg board, then grab the pegs from a left hand toolbar to place on the board. You can affix the pegs to the board, or first put them together in the virtual 3D space before placing them on the board. The controls on the bottom right to rotate the pieces may seem a little awkward to use at first, but my kids (ages six and nine) had no problem getting used to them. Pay attention to the instructions, because they’re not always intuitive.
The whole point of the app is to promote creative and abstract thinking. At this, Laser Pegs certainly excels. But the app doesn’t come with any kits to get you started, so kids and adults may be a bit overwhelmed at first. My family found it easier to go off a physical Laser Pegs kit’s instructions to get the hang of what we were doing, and were then able to start experimenting on our own. Once you’re comfortable, you can create manuals of your designs to then share via Facebook or to send directly to Laser Pegs Ventures.
Manuals you create and retrieve are stored in a library of sorts so you can recreate them and alter them whenever you want.
Is it contagious?
For the target audience, it’s about as contagious as an app can be. It’s easy to lose all kinds of time in the design of a new object, but it’s productive time. My designs never quite came together as I envisioned them, but kids sought simpler goals, and were quite successful. Whether you plan to design your own or complete kits designed by others, there’s plenty here to keep you busy.
And I applaud Laser Pegs Ventures’ decision to not only make the Laser Pegs app free, but also keep it free of in-app purchases. The app is here to promote the toy line, so it still serves its money-making purpose (there’s a link to purchase kits right on the launch screen), but it’s not invasive and, honestly, anyone who enjoys the app should buy the actual kits. As a parent, I’d even appreciate a guide on what kits to buy so I could create some of the iPad designs. But until then, working in this virtual space will suit me and the kids just fine.
Oh, and did I mention the pegs light up on the iPad? Guess that’s kind of important.