Meal Monsters – Review


What we love…

Kids learn how to cook in the real world using on-screen interactive and animated instructions

What we’d love to see…

A section on the nutrition vocabulary words

Summary

A fun and entertaining recipe app that gets kids excited about cooking

Our Rating

Your children are done with preparing and cooking virtual meals in their favorite apps and they are now ready to undertake the challenge of making real food. They want to enter a real kitchen, don the apron, handle real ingredients, use real utensils and kitchen equipment, follow a recipe, create a yummy meal and eat it. So, what is the next app, you ask.

Well, they can graduate to the Meal Monsters app which uses cute animations to teach kids how to make real food with the help of 3 funny meal monsters – Sal, Gor, and Pom from the Planet Yum. This free-to-download Meal Monsters app comes with 3 simple recipes and 4 bonus monster-themed activities. A passcode-protected in-app purchase unlocks 5 additional recipes and more are in the works.

The recipes are all easy to make and offer a variety of homemade goodies. Starting with a no-cook recipe for preparing a smoothie, subsequent recipes require more ingredients and involve more steps. An adult should be on hand to supervise.

The recipes begin with food facts and nutrition information, encouraging children to have the habit of seeking out these information and use only ingredients with high nutritional value. To make the recipes suitable for families with different dietary needs, alternative ingredients for a vegan diet and allergen information are also included in the recipes. Each recipe serves at least 3 persons (kids love to share their creation with the family) and includes serving suggestions.

After choosing a recipe, children can first go through the steps in the app before attempting to make it. Each step in the recipe is presented through an interactive animation that requires kids to be actively engaged in the cooking process. They learn about the various food preparation and cooking methods – weigh, measure, peel, chop, grate, whisk, mix, blend, boil, microwave, bake, fry, etc. They also learn about the utensils and kitchen equipment that are used in the recipes. Cooking and playing with the meal monsters at the same time makes the process less intimidating and helps build your child’s confidence. It’s just a lot more fun!

What I like about this app is that it is child-friendly with cute characters and their silly antics. The monsters in the app also add some amusement for the kids, making it possible to enjoy the app even when your child is not cooking. There are 4 monster-themed activities to keep kids entertained outside of the kitchen – the ‘Planet Yum’ Movie tells the story of the 3 Meal Monsters, the Family Album introduces the characters, the ‘Make a Monsie’ allows kids to take a monster selfie while the 3-levels Monster Match game features food/objects and characters from the app. And these are all included in the free app.

Cooking is a fun family activity and it has many educational benefits like learning about nutrition, following instructions, sensory exploration of different food textures, improved fine motor skills, hands-on learning of math and science concepts, and etc. Besides being an important life skill, the ability to cook builds your children’s self-esteem and encourages them to seek healthier food choices when they are eating out. They are also more receptive to trying out new foods that they have prepared and cooked themselves. (This really works!)

Healthy recipes for kids are easy to find but an app that offers both interactive animated instructions and fun activities is a godsend to any family. It will help make your children’s early cooking experience more enjoyable and rewarding. Meal Monsters is free to download and your children can play with it right away. But soon, they will be asking to make all the yummy food that they see in the app. Have fun!

 

 

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Meal Monsters

Meal Monsters Meal Monsters by Meal Monsters Ltd

Price: $FREE

Meal Monsters is an animated educational app that combines recipes, games and storytelling to encourage children to cook and eat healthy meals.
It is through engaging recipe stories and exciting characters.

 

 

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.



Free Apps for July 4



What is Fast Free Five?
Free Apps for July 4 is a collection of quality apps from various genres that we have taken the time to find especially for our readers. They are not ‘Lite’ versions, they are full versions that are free for a limited time only so you’ll need to be fast if you want them at the reduced price. These apps were free at the time of publishing this article but are subject to change at any time. Always check the price before downloading. If you like these apps, be sure to share this post with your friends. Enjoy!

Sign up to The iMums Daily Digest so that you will never miss a free app!

Free Apps



Dr. Panda Farm Dr. Panda Farm by Dr. Panda Ltd

Price: $2.99 USD

Get ready to harvest!
RUN YOUR VERY OWN FARM!
Have you ever wanted to run your very own farm? Now you can with Dr. Panda! Escape to the countryside and learn how to become a farmer! Make bread.



i Get... Going to Fireworks Social Skills Stories i Get... Going to Fireworks Social Skills Stories by I Get It, LLC

Price: $FREE

i Get… Going to Fireworks is an application providing a photo social skill story for individuals that need support in understanding the process of watching fireworks. Twelve icons with real picture .



i Get ... Going to the Grocery Store Vocabulary Photo Books and Social Skills Stories i Get ... Going to the Grocery Store Vocabulary Photo Books and Social Skills Stories by I Get It, LLC

Price: $2.99 USD

i Get… Going to the Grocery Store is an application providing photo albums including a social skill story, grocery vocabulary and a grocery list for individuals that need support in understanding the.



Sago Mini Babies Dress Up Sago Mini Babies Dress Up by Sago Mini

Price: $FREE

IT’S DRESS UP TIME! Get ready for hours of super cute dress up fun! Play with babies Jack, Jinja, Harvey and Robin in the most adorable dress up app for toddlers. Use your imagination to assemble outfits.



Mileage Log+ Trip Log Tracker Mileage Log+ Trip Log Tracker by Light Room Studios

Price: $FREE

Mileage Log+ is THE essential app for tracking and logging mileage.
Use Mileage Log+ for tax deductions, expense tracking, reimbursement and logging business trips.

5 Star Reviews:
"Tried.

The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Article: 7 awesome podcasts for preschoolers by Commonsense Media

By: Frannie Ucciferri

Tired of listening to music in the car? Want to teach your kids instead of having them passively learn? Seven great podcasts for kids preschool and beyond.

Your kid’s new favorite magazine might just be … a podcast? That’s right, Goofus and Gallant from Highlights magazine are going high-tech, and they’re not alone. They’re joining rebel girls, talking cats and dogs, and even pirate comedians on this list of some of the best podcasts you and your little kids might not be listening to yet.

From toothbrushing tips to fabulous folktales, these fresh podcasts prove without a doubt that audio shows have come into their own. With creative offerings featuring lively narration, original songs, and occasional big-name guest stars, even the youngest listeners can get in on the action. Now road trips and activities that used to be a chore can be transformed into fun, educational experiences for the whole family.

If you’re a podcast newbie, check out 20 Podcasts for Kids, which offers tips for how to listen plus more recommendations for all ages. Otherwise open up your favorite audio app and dive into these age-appropriate picks for preschoolers and little kids.

How to Listen

It can be daunting for a first-timer to enter the world of podcasts, but digital tools have made it easier than ever to start listening. Podcasts are available to stream online or with a “podcatcher,” an app you can download specifically for podcasts. Here are some popular options for listening:

  • Podcasts. The original podcast app (only available for Apple iOS).  FREE!
  • Stitcher Radio for Podcasts. “Stitch” together custom podcast playlists with this mobile app
  • Pocket Casts. A mobile app with a sleek, easy-to-use interface
  • SoundCloud. An online audio-streaming platform for podcasts as well as music (also an app)
  • Podbay.fm. Streaming platform specifically for podcasts (app available for Android, but iOS coming soon)
  • NPR One.  Download content and stream via Bluetooth in your car.  Many of the podcasts below are from NPR content

Once you have your favorite app or website, search its library by topic and start exploring everything from science to sports to movies and more. And don’t forget to subscribe! Subscribing lets the app push new episodes directly to your device as soon as they’re available, so you’ll always have the latest update at your fingertips.

Pros and Cons of Podcasts for Kids

On the plus side, podcasts:

  • Boost learning. With engaging hosts and compelling stories, podcasts can be great tools to teach kids about science, history, ethics, and more. Listening to stories helps kids build vocabulary, improve reading skills, and even become more empathetic.
  • Reduce screen time. With podcasts, families can enjoy the same level of engagement, entertainment, and education as screen-based activities without worrying about staring at a screen.
  • Go anywhere. Podcasts are completely portable. You can listen in the car, on the bus, or in a classroom or even while doing chores around the house.
  • Cost nothing. Podcasts don’t have subscription or download fees, so anyone with internet access can listen and download for free. Most podcatcher apps are free, too.
  • Get two thumbs up from kids! Podcasts are designed to hook kids with music, jokes, compelling stories, and more. Some are designed in a serial format with cliffhangers at the end to get kids to tune back in.

On the downside, podcasts:

  • Play lots of ads. Many podcasts run several minutes of ads at the beginning or end. Because they’re often read by the podcast host, the ads can feel like a hard sell.
  • Can be confusing. Many podcasts update regularly, so you can jump right in and start listening. Others are styled like radio or TV shows, so the most recent episode is actually the end of a season. Check whether something is serialized or long-form before listening to the most recent update.
  • Vary in age-appropriateness. The iTunes Store labels podcasts “Explicit” or “Clean,” but even a “Clean” label doesn’t guarantee kid-friendly content. When in doubt, listen first before sharing with your kids.

Chompers podcast logoChompers
Chompers is a bite-sized, twice-daily podcast meant to encourage kids to brush their teeth for the full dentist-recommended two minutes. Each morning and night, kids can enjoy short quizzes, fun facts, stories, riddles, and jokes, all with gentle reminders to get the front, back, and tops of their teeth. There are even morning cliffhangers to encourage you to come back for your nighttime brush.

Circle Round podcast logoCircle Round
Circle Round is an engaging, gentle storytime podcast aimed at kids. In every episode, narrator Rebecca Sheir tells a lesser-known folktale or story from around the world, helped by a rotating voice cast of talented stage-and-screen actors. The stories are captivating and compelling and nearly always accompanied by a positive message or moral.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls podcast logoGood Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Rebels of all genders will be enthralled by this podcast, based on the best-selling book by the same name, with inspiring biographies of historical women read by inspiring modern women. These true stories are fascinating bits of history told simply enough that kids will be able to follow them. It’s hard not to feel empowered after listening to a few episodes.

Highlights Hangout podcast logoHighlights Hangout
The minds behind the kids’ podcast Wow in the World have transformed the popular magazine Highlights into a high-energy audio series. Classic favorites from the magazine like “Goofus and Gallant,” “Ask Arizona,” and “Hidden Pictures” (or, in this case, “The Hidden Sounds Game”) are reimagined as variety show segments, cheerfully guided along by hosts Tim and Juanita.

Little Stories for Tiny People podcast logoLittle Stories for Tiny People
The whimsical, soothing stories on this podcast are perfect for preschoolers, but “big people” will appreciate them, too. Host Rhea Pechter’s melodic voice and the recurring cast of animal friends will delight young kids. And the clever, well-crafted stories touch on age-appropriate messages and topics.

 

Story Pirates podcast logoStory Pirates
Nothing can really match a kid’s original story in terms of absurd comedy. And that’s what’s at the heart of this wacky, wild, imaginative podcast. In each episode, the Story Pirates crew — a group of talented improvisers pretending to be pirates — read short stories written and submitted by kids, then reenact them with hilarious results. There are even original songs, famous guest stars, and interviews with the young authors about how it feels to have their work adapted.

This Podcast Has Fleas podcast logoThis Podcast Has Fleas
With a hilarious concept and a fantastic voice cast, This Podcast Has Fleas is a delight for all ages. The premise is that two family pets — an exuberant dog named Waffles and a cool cat named Jones — have dueling podcasts where they talk about what’s going on in the house from their (obviously superior) perspectives. Dog people and cat people will be howling with laughter.

 

About the author

As associate managing editor, Frannie Ucciferri makes sure each of Common Sense Media’s more than 30,000 reviews and 700 curated lists is as complete and comprehensive as possible. Frannie is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she earned a degree in cognitive science and taught a class on her favorite TV show ever, Arrested Development. Her passion for reading and writing is paralleled only by her love of Bay Area sports, especially baseball. When she isn’t playing with her dogs or trying out San Francisco restaurants, you can probably find her watching Pixar moviesParks and Rec, or one of her favorite girl power movies and TV shows.
commonsense2Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsensemedia.org.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.



Orbi Home Wi-Fi System RBK50 by Netgear – Review



Having internet dead spots is one of the most frustrating things!  I recently was given the chance to test a Netgear Orbi and it’s safe to say my frustrations are much less!  Previously I have tried a number of routers and ultimately needed to use boosters in the house to get the signal strength throughout the house.

What we love…

Orbi is easy to set up router that provides wi-fi in my whole house without having signal boosters or dead spots

What we’d love to see…

Reminders from the app from Netgear to update firmware or simply reboot the router every so often

Summary

Orbi has made my home internet so much faster.  Even though the cost of the Orbi is a bit higher than a traditional router – having a simple easy solution means I can spend more time with my family doing what matters without having to worry about my internet.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

netgear-ambassaodorDisclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

iMum Mary had similar experiences when she reviewed Orbi last year.  Read her review here.

Out of the box, Orbi was easy to set up.  I installed the companion app on my iPhone and within 10 minutes, I had both the main unit and satellite set up – firmware updated and running!  The best part – I no longer need to remember two network names – my devices will seamlessly swap between the 2.5G to the 5G network without me having to change anything!

Orbi is an all in one unit – there are no antenas that are external.  You place one unit close to your home modem and use an ethernet cord to plug the modem and the base unit together.  Then, you can place the satellite unit in the house where  most of your electronics are – for me that’s on the first floor near our living room.  We have a TV/DVD player that we use to stream, a home laptop as well as various bluetooth speakers and a charging dock for our devices.  Orbi is cool to the touch, so I didn’t worry about my four year old touching it in error and hurting his hand.

One of my favorite things about Orbi is the ability to configure as little or as much as you wish!  I have an Orbi app on my phone and can use my Amazon Alexa to enable or disable the guest internet with a simple spoken voice command.  I also loved the integration with Circle parental controls – as a mom I’m always watching how much screentime my kids get – with Orbi I have a second person on my shoulder helping to monitor and make sure that they are not accessing sites that I don’t want them to.  Once I got Orbi, and upgraded my cable modem to a CM 1000 I was finally getting the speeds I was paying for with my home internet!  One of the other things I liked was the ability to share WiFi with a QR code or even via a text message to other Apple devices.

 

Inside Orbi

6 dedicated WiFi antennas supporting Tri-band WiFi with dedicated 4×4 Tx/Rx backhaul.

2 antennas for Dual-band front haul connections to WiFi devices (2.4GHz + 5GHz Low-band).

 

To start using Orbi, you plug it into your cable modem using the included Ethernet cable.  Plug in Orbi and turn it on.  Orbi will turn solid white and then pulse white when it is ready for you to set up with your home internet.  The goal is with the base and satellite, that you get a blue ring.  Blue= good connection, amber= fair connection, magenta= unable to connect.   When I first set up the Orbi in one part of the house I got an Amber, so I simply moved it around a bit until I got a better connection.  My favorite part?!?  I finally got a connection in both parts of my downstairs as well as on my side deck so we could stream to our heart’s content.  If you still struggle to get a good connection, Orbi has other units you can purchase to help boost the signal throughout the house as well.  When setting up you can either plug into the included ethernet ports or use WPS setup to allow your devices to find Orbi.  You can see a device list of connected devices and turn on/off the internet with a tap.  WIth our previous router and old modem, I was lucky if I got half the speed I was paying for.  Now I can stream on multiple devices, use the internet and even play music without worrying about my connection.  I pay for Blast services with Comcast and got 296 down and 12 up once I installed Orbi.  This was not location dependent within the house either.

In terms of improvements, I wish the Orbi app would send you a reminder when you need to update firmware or do some other type of maintenance to the network.   Other than that – really there is nothing I would change.

Orbi has made my home internet so much faster.  Even though the cost of the Orbi is a bit higher than a traditional router – having a simple easy solution means I can spend more time with my family doing what matters without having to worry about my internet. Available from Amazon and other fine retailers.



NETGEAR Orbi NETGEAR Orbi by NETGEAR

Price: $FREE

The Orbi App from NETGEAR makes it easy to set up and get more from your Orbi WiFi system.

You can quickly install your WiFi in just a few steps. A dashboard provides easy access to additional.

 


Circle: Smart Family Controls Circle: Smart Family Controls by Circle Media Incorporated

Price: $FREE

Circle is the smart way for families to manage content and time online, on any device.

Circle works with your home Wi-Fi and manages every device on your network, both wireless and wired, without.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly. The iMums are  NETGEAR Ambassadors.

 

Tech Specs

Tech specs

Combined WiFi speed 3,000 Mbps (1733 + 866 + 400Mbps)
Coverage 5,000 sq ft
Dedicated Backhaul 4×4 (1.7Gbps)
WiFi Technology Tri-band

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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