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As a homeschooling mom to three, one of whom visits an Occupational Therapist for fine-motor skills help, I spend a few minutes a week checking out new educational apps. This isn’t a very expensive pastime, since many kids’ apps cost no more than a few dollars, and the ones we love are so very worth the money.

But, I recently was introduced to an amazing preschool and special-needs app that is A) full of  a bunch of learning games; B) graphically beautiful, without lots of frenetic craziness or overly cutesy voices; C) $49.99 to upload to your iPad.

The cost, it gives me pause.

The Injini Child Development Game Suite* is an entire virtual toy box of games that were designed primarily to help kids with special needs practice their fine-motor skills, spatial awareness, memory–all those things they’d practice one-on-one with a parent or teacher, but can be reinforced with time spent with a touch-screen.

The games themselves are so fun and gentle, I often find my older kids playing on their own. Put the puzzle together and the scene will move. Trace the lines with a little finger and it’ll turn into a pretty bubble-blowing scene.

Injini tracing

Each of the main games (shown in “toy box” at top) has about nine levels of difficulty ranging from the most basic to more challenging. And within each level are about fifteen different games, so the chances that a child will run out of games to play anytime soon is slim.

Injini has really taken care to make sure that this is not a “yay, everyone wins no matter what” kind of game, but a real learning game. When a mistake is made, there is gentle correction and also a little clue to help the child move forward. In the tracing game shown above, if my finger strays too far from the designated area, the marker stays within the drawing area so I can pick up where I left off.

Of course the question I’ve struggled with since I first came upon this app: Is it worth $49.99?

If my kids were younger, I’d have a hard time swallowing the cost unless, as their primary teacher, I could justify it as part of their overall curriculum. But if I had a classroom of kids with various needs (and an expense account), I may find enough here to make the cost well worth it.

Now here’s the one thing that has me pretty excited: this weekend only, Injini is marked down 40% to $29.99.

If I were choosing between a battery-gobbling, plastic handheld game system with $25 game components, or Injini, I’d pick Injini for my preschooler or special-needs child. There is also talk of more games coming soon, and I love the free printables that take this online game offline too.

Another option? Try Injini Lite for free and decide on a purchase later this weekend. It’s a nice way to dip your toe into the pool before making the plunge. -Christina

* PLEASE NOTE: Project Injini has closed and will not be creating further updates for this app. Downloads will still be supported by NCSoft who helped fund this app’s development. The cost for Injini is set at $29.99, though we do not recommend purchase without any hopes for additional games to be added.

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