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Learn with Rufus

Groups and Categories

For iOS (iPad, iPhone, etc.) and Android tablets and phones

The iOS version for the iPhone and iPad is available in the Apple Store right now!

The Android version for tablets and phones is available in Google Play right now!

The Kindle Fire/Android version is available in the Amazon Store right now!

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Rufus Robot


Have fun learning colors, shapes, and other groups of common objects!

The ability to form groups and categories is important for language learning and provides organization to a world that may otherwise seem confusing to a young child. As they develop, children learn "typical" or "more common" examples of category members (e.g., red apple) before they learn "less typical" or "less common" examples of category members (e.g., yellow apple).

Learn with Rufus: Groups and Categories aims to help children learn groups and categories such as colors, shapes, fruits, and other common objects. Children will learn a variety of typical and less typical examples to help them form broad categories and to increase generalization. The game is highly customizable to meet the needs of children with varying skills, ability levels, and learning styles.

This game was designed by Dr Holly Gastgeb, a clinical and developmental psychologist with over ten years of experience working with typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her research has shown that children with ASD have difficulty forming categories from an early age. Since this ability is developed throughout childhood, the game is also beneficial for a wide range of children including those early achievers without any diagnosed learning difficulties.

Learn with Rufus: Groups and Categories is organized into three parts, a learning phase and two separate games:

  • Learning - A preview of the category is shown to the child before the game starts.
  • Find It! - Shown a number of category members, the child is directed to select a specific item.
  • Name It! - Shown a single category member, the child is asked to name the item.

To keep children interested and motivated, the following features are included:

  • Reward sets - Choose from nine different colorful child-friendly reward sets including bugs, cars, cats, dinosaurs, and more.
  • Toy break - The child is given periodic breaks with a fun on-screen spinning top that draws on the screen while responding to both touch and tilt commands. This feature can be turned off if the child does not need breaks or finds them distracting.
  • Positive reinforcement - Rufus does a "happy dance" and gives positive verbal reinforcement when the child answers correctly. If the child answers incorrectly, the correct answer is restated.
  • Music and sounds - Child-friendly music and sounds are included throughout the game. This feature can be turned off if the child is sensitive to or distracted by sounds and music.
  • Text - For children who enjoy reading, the word that corresponds to each picture is presented above the picture. This feature can be turned off if the words are distracting to the child.

Additional customizable features that are present include:

  • Multiple category sets - Colors and shapes category sets are included. Periodically, new category sets will be made available either for free or for paid download.
  • Level of difficulty - The level of difficulty can be adjusted to match the child's ability level:
    • Easy - All typical examples of category members
    • Medium - A mix of typical and less typical examples of category members
    • Hard - All less typical examples of category members
  • Training - The practice session before the games may be disabled to increase difficulty.
  • Group Size - Choose from a group size of 2 or 4 for the game phase depending on the child's ability level.
  • Languages - Choose from English and Spanish.

For parents, educators, and therapists:

  • Profiles per child - More than one child can play the game and all data is stored under each child's name.
  • Track data and statistics - At the end of the game, a graph of the child's data is presented. Touch the graph to enlarge it, and then touch each data point to gather information about the child's performance.
  • Email data - From the graph screen, if the device is capable of email, select the Export button to send yourself a CSV file of the child's progress.

For Ages 3 & Up

Enjoyable for All Children from Early Achievers to those with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Other Learning Difficulties

Game Trailer

Video of Learn with Rufus: Groups and Categories

See Learn with Rufus: Groups and Categories in action!

Screen Shots

Screen shot #1
Choose the correct member of the group
Screen shot #2
Take a break and play with a toy
Screen shot #3
For the parent or teacher, gather progress statistics
Screen shot #4
Celebrate successful play with animated rewards

What They're Saying About Us

After looking at the info, I see that this app could be a wonder for younger children on the spectrum or children with comorbid intellectual disabilities.

- Dr. Tracy Spencer, PhD in Special Education with Focus on Asperger's and High-functioning Autism (Lumberton, TX)

Excellent app for autistic and otherwise! (5 stars)
My 6- and 2-year-old daughters both love the game! Teaches colors, shapes, and even fruits! So customizable and lets you select a player and saves your settings. Multiple reward choices are awesome. My older daughter said, "This is the best game ever!" The younger one said with glee, "I did it!"

- Molly Rawlins, Mother (American Fork, UT)

The breaks are an awesome part of the app. I tried it out with a few kids I work with, and they loved it.

- Brian Zajac, B.S. in Psychology, Mental Health Worker at the Matilda H. Theiss Child Development Center (Pittsburgh, PA)

Release Notes

1.0.0 - May 18, 2013

  • Initial release

1.0.1 - May 19, 2013

  • Added interim play screen for rewards selection
  • Moved play button to center right on menu screen
  • Moved player name button to bottom center

1.0.2 - May 23, 2013

  • Fixed back button for reward choice / "play" screen on Android
  • Fixed back button for reward picker on Android
  • Fixed widget theme issues (new widget library uses "widget_theme_ios", not "theme_ios" any more)
  • Fixed suspend issues; game doesn't exit on incoming call now

1.0.3 - May 30, 2013 (iOS only)

  • Moved play button to center of menu screen
  • Moved player name button to center of menu screen if no player names exist (“New Player”)
  • Moved back button to left side of options and labeled it
  • Added jump to statistics screen in options menu
  • Moved category data into subdirectory of Documents directory
  • Tagged category data files with “do not copy” for iOS on initial expansion; retagged them for backup after user downloads new category data

1.0.4 - June 8, 2013

  • Fixed Internet (and other) permissions for Android
  • Fixed iPhone 5 startup image (Default-586h@2x.png)
  • Added export data via email

1.0.5 - October 18, 2013

  • Bug fixes related to switching players, rewards, and languages
  • Bug fixes on graph screen
  • Bug fixes with toy screen title

1.1.0 - November 11, 2013

  • Added Name It! game
  • Added training on/off switch
  • Added parental gate before exporting/emailing data
  • Bug fixes related to switching players and languages
  • Added iOS7 icons
  • General screen position cleanup
  • Fixed Android back button issues with game and overlay screens
  • Fixed graph bug where data points could be touched behind information overlay
  • Added "Hello" sound to player and language changes

1.1.1 - February 8, 2014

  • Miscellaneous bug fixes
  • Added new background, buttons, general aesthetics clean up
  • Re-recorded all Spanish sounds
  • Fixed game crash on a long player name
  • Fixed issue where renaming a player resulted in lost data

1.1.2 - February 19, 2014

  • Fixed Name It! buttons to properly fit text
  • Fixed Name It! game to match all items on training screen

Frequently Asked Questions

I see the graph, how do I see more data?
On the large Graph screen, touch the dot that corresponds to the game number. A popup will be displayed about that particular game. When you are done, just touch the popup box to close it.
How do I export the game history data from Learn with Rufus: Groups and Categories?
Go to the Graph screen from the Settings menu screen and touch the small graph to zoom to the larger graph. Touch the Export button, enter your email address, and press the send email button. A CSV ("Comma Separated Value") file will be attached to the email that you can then read into your favorite spreadsheet program (e.g. Excel, OpenOffice Calc, etc.).

Note that an Internet connection is necessary to email from the mobile device.
I can't find the Export button on the Graph screen. What happened to it?
The tablet or phone must have a mail program set up first. Enable or install your mail program and re-run Learn with Rufus: Groups and Categories. The Export button will then appear on the large Graph screen (touch the small graph to zoom to the larger graph).
How do I enter a new name?
On the main menu screen, touch the Choose Player button. Press New Player to go to a screen which will allow you to enter a new player name. Touch the Save button to create the new player.
How do I download additional categories?
Each time Learn with Rufus: Groups and Categories starts on a mobile device with an Internet connection, it checks to see what is available for download. If new categories are available, you will find them in the Categories selection list in the Settings menu screen.

Check back regularly as we intend to release new categories on a regular basis.

Please note that though many are free, there are a number of other databases also available for a nominal fee.
I am hearing the wrong Spanish sounds for Colors and/or Shapes. What do I do?
Similar to downloading additional categories above, you will find updates available to you under the Categories selection list in the Settings menu screen. Scroll down the list to find categories that can be updated.

Please note that updates are free.
Why did you include Tomato in the Vegetables category?
Though botanically a tomato is a fruit, in culinary science the tomato is considered a vegetable. This is also technically true of bell peppers, okra, eggplant, cucumbers, and several others.

"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."
—Miles Kington

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