NetKids Digital Entertainment Network for Kids by Cupcake Digital – Review



iPad Screenshot 5

What we love…

super easy to use app that provides an unlimited buffet without needing internet access to apps, books, activities and more

What we’d love to see…

parental area that allows you to see new content that is added, ability to curate the app based on your child’s specific age and a better explanation of how the subscription works as well as how to turn off cellular data on your device

Summary

This app provides a great digital library for offline or online use without having to make a huge upfront investment.  Content is being added weekly which will allow continued use of the app without having too much of a repeat.

Our Rating

Cupcake Digital has released a new iOS app for iPhone and iPad that may change the way you use your iPad.  NetKids Digital Entertainment Network app is a subscription based app that allows your children to explore child-safe content (for those age 10 and under) in an unlimited format including storybooks, activities and stand alone apps.  Brands represented in NetKids include: The Smurfs, Peanuts, Strawberry Shortcake, Rio, Sid the Science Kid, Biscuit, Thomas & Friends, Jim Henson’s Pajanimals, Baby Genius, Cool School.  The best part?  Once you download the app, everything is on your device so no need to use up data or try to find wi-fi so your child can check out the storybooks or apps.  The app provides updates on a weekly basis, which are automated when you are connected to wi-fi.  This app is best for preschool through about age 10 depending on the types of activities your child likes and their reader level. The app includes a free seven day trial so you can try it before you buy it to see if it will be a good fit for your family.

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My son loves apps from Cupcake Digital so I gave him my iPad Mini to give the app a spin, two hours later he brought it back and said, Mom you have to check this out!  I did some reading (Peanuts), watched a video (Sid) and listened to a couple of more stories.  My favorite part – there are no external links with the exception of setting up the subscription and the apps and information are child safe and appropriate for my son.  The app has a parental gate which requires you to put in your birth year to access iTunes and there is no splash screen in between.  For younger kids, I would suggest guided access or sitting with them when using the device the first time.  The app really reminded me a bit of Netflix but instead of movies, there was a ton of great content that was age appropriate for my son and he could access on his own without internet.  This is the perfect app for a flight, long car trip or a time when you know that you will need access to an app without having to worry about getting on wi-fi.  I liked the highlighted text for the books and as an emerging reader, the highlighted books and narration were helpful to have my son follow along.  I also liked that one subscription meant you could use it on multiple devices using the restore feature which would be nice for someone with multiple children and multiple devices.

iPad Screenshot 2

In terms of improvements, the “auto renew” portion of the subscription can be a bit cumbersome.  When I try something out for the first time I always want to try it before I “buy” without worrying about renewal.  I turned it off, and found that a question popped up which caused me to turn it back on.  I would prefer the question to be, “Do you want to turn off auto-renew?  That means that the content will NOT automatically renew”.  I’d also like to see a way to curate the app for specific age ranges – for example my older son wasn’t interested in all of the characters, and like Netflix for kids he just scrolled by.  It would be nice if there was a way to turn on and off content based on your child and what you want them to be able to see.  I’d also like to see more content included, but with time the library of items will grow in the app.  Perhaps a “parent” section can mention the new items that are coming, as well as upcoming enhancements.

A few notes, I would suggest turning off cellular data for the app when letting your child use it so they do not run up charges.  In addition, I opened up a bunch of items before I let my son use the iPad so he wasn’t disappointed that they had not loaded to our iPad.  I’d like to see a more clear description of the renewal process and what that means and how to easily turn it off in settings.

Overall, this is a great way to provide a digital library to your child without a huge upfront investment.  This app gives a comprehensive suite of apps, books, short videos that will keep your kids entertained and learning.  It was enough for me to tap the “renew” button and let my son have access to it on an ongoing basis.

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.



NetKids Digital Entertainment Network for Kids NetKids Digital Entertainment Network for Kids by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC.

Price: $FREE

NetKids offers unlimited entertainment for kids! You’ll find fun games and activities, parent approved videos, and narrated stories—all within a safe, ad-free environment! Kids will be able to watch.

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.


Reading Train Endless Books, Songs & Games – School Readers by The Learning Station – Review & Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

the trains make reading a fun game for little ones; the books and illustrations are simple but effective.

What we’d love to see…

a main menu that is easier to follow and a progressive system with regards to the reading levels.

Summary

Easy to use app that reinforces early learning skills related to reading with fun games and books

Our Rating

Reading Train Endless Books, Songs & Games - School ReadersReading Train Endless Books, Songs & Games – School Readers by The Learning Station is a digital library of over 200+ picture books kids can read and record created by Libby Curran, educator and author of award winning books.  The Reading Train is a great concept for children from the get go. Once you have setup your child’s user account, they can get onboard the reading train and start learning! There is a large collection of reading books to choose from, some covering colours, animals, life science, shapes, maths etc all categorised and covered at three different reading levels.

To access any books, you need to choose a reading level by selecting the level 1, 2 or 3 train. Once a level is chosen, you can pick a book theme off a train cart for example ‘animals’. Once you have chosen from the ‘animals’ range of books, you can pick your book of choice i.e Wild animals, Sea animals, Pets, Farm animals etc. Each book has easy navigation and options to either listen to the book, read the book by yourself, record yourself reading the book or tap on individual words to listen to those. You also have the option to listen to a definition of that word as well. Each book demonstrates new words through the use of simple yet effective stories and illustrations.

Once the child has read the book, they can read about the new words they have just learned and complete a set of quiz questions (spelling, comprehension, phonics etc.) to test their understanding of the book and earn books for their virtual bookshelf, a word crate and coins to use within the app. Children can also listen to and record song books in the music store by spending coins they earned during quizzes.

Even though my daughter is too young to reap the full benefits of this app, she was still interested in tapping along at the images to listen to the words in the books and dance along to the song books.

The main menu is slightly confusing with trains passing by and lots of options to choose from. I wish the menu was setup differently and children were only able to go on one train level at a time. This would ensure that content is covered across books and that they meet the required level before getting onto the next levels. Parents can monitor their child’s reading progress by entering a special grown-ups area which is controlled by a shape test which should be replaced by a simple maths test to make it harder for kids to enter. This version of the app has no in-app purchases which is comforting.

Overall this app is a fantastic learning tool for kids who are starting to learn how to read and for school kids too. It is fun, resourceful and very well designed with lots of instructions and prompts to follow. An easier menu and a reading progression system would make this app perfect!

Reading Train Full STEAM Ahead Books, Songs, Games
Reading Train Full STEAM Ahead Books, Songs, Games
by The Learning Station, LLC

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 406.2 MB

$14.99USD

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Screenshots for iPad
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Catherine is a mother of a little miss almost 3 years old. Originally from France she now lives in Melbourne, Australia. She loves to explore their beautiful city with her daughter and sharing their adventures with other parents. Catherine has a passion for social media, blogging, technology and food. Before the arrival of her daughter, Catherine was studying and working in the field of IT and still loves all things tech! She loves finding new apps for her daughter to learn and play with and share great apps with other parents.


The President´s New Clothes by El Pudu Studios – Review



What we love…

fun adaptation of a classic fairytale complete with puppet characters and hidden mini games

What we’d love to see…

hidden social media links, easier narration for younger children.  Narration available in each of the languages not just English

Summary

Overall, this app is a fun twist on a classic and my son really enjoyed playing the mini games rather than engaging with the story.

Our Rating

The President's New Clothes

The President’s New Clothes  by El Pudu Studios is an adaptation of the classic  Hans Christian Andersen The Emperor’s New Clothes with a few fun twists using puppet characters, hidden mini games and interactive elements on the pages designed to engage children into the story.  The app features narration as well as interactive elements and a mini game on each of the eight pages.

My son and I enjoyed this twist on the fable where the President feels that he needs new clothing and two crooks take advantage of him to make new “non-existent” clothing.  We loved the fun twist that you can flip over your device even you are mid page to create a fun interactive element and games!  I also used it as an opportunity as a parent to explain to my son that being President is about much more than just wearing the latest suits and hairstyles.

In terms of improvements, I would like to see a “simplified” navigation for younger readers that allows them to page through without having to choose the next page.  This feature while it is effective for older readers especially when using the arrows can be a bit confusing to younger ones.  In addition I would also like to see the option to hide the social media buttons on the front page of the book – although they are parental gate protected, it would be nice if the links to Facebook, iTunes app store and more games were somehow hidden so children didn’t know to ask for them rather than having them so prominent on the front page.  I also found on a few pages that the narration would begin before we actually saw the image and the page was still black.  With the mini games they were fun for my older son, but they could be confusing if you turned the device in error .  Word highlighting would be another nice addition in the future for emerging readers.  I also would have liked to see the narration available for the other written languages in the story, currently it’s only available with the English words on the page.

Overall, this app is a fun twist on a classic and my son really enjoyed playing the mini games rather than engaging with the story.  The characters are puppetlike and after hearing the text on each page you can flip it over for a fun interactive game such as capturing the gold or helping to clothe the president in his suit.  This app is best suited for young elementary aged children and I would suggest reading it over with a parent the first time.


by

Category:
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

$


 

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.

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.


Rhyme to Read By Rhyme to Read, LLC – Review & Giveaway



rhyme_to_read

What we love…

builds upon itself via a series of books with the words reinforced from earlier books as you advance throughout the app

What we’d love to see…

interaction and testing of understanding for the word concepts.

Summary

Great app for a struggling or emerging reader that will help you as a parent work with your child on key early literacy skills

Our Rating

Rhyme to Read by Rhyme to Read, LLC is an iPad only app designed to help your preschooler through early elementary aged student learn skills that will help them learn to read.  The program which does include in-app purchases  to purchase up to twenty books individually or via a bundle if you choose to buy them all at once.  The app features word families with similar sounds (cat, sat, pat) and helps children to understand different reading patterns.  Children should be able to recognize letters and understand how sounds go together before beginning the reading process.  Each book builds upon the previous one, so if you enjoy using it you should buy the package via one in-app purchase rather than buying the volumes individually as they build upon each other.  The app was originally a set of print books by Sarah Hines and Lynn Klairman, the cost of the print books was too expensive to maintain so they decided to turn them into an interactive app to help reach a wider audience. The books teach a variety of sight words and practice the previously learned sight word patterns as they progress within the series.  At the end of each “book” you can see a list of sight words listed in the program thus far (which gets longer with each book) and then a list of word families that have been learned.

iPad Screenshot 2

Rhyme to Read’s books are phonetical and teach word families which means that children learn patterning of words rather than sounding out each individual letter.  For example, “at” is turned into “Pat”, “Cat”, “Rat” with just the first letter of the word changing. Each set of words is also color coded to help your children learn and remember word families “at” for example is blue and then as you advance within the app, new word families come up in new colors but the color for each stays consistent throughout the app.

I liked that each book built upon the previous one and focused on word families so the learning was carried throughout the app.  The illustrations were simple but helped to get the point across and helped children focus in on the text.  The stories within each book repeated and built upon a pattern and at the end of each book there was a list of pattern words.  I took these words and made flashcards out of them to help my son better understand them and keep them fresh in his mind.

at 590x442 Rhyme to Read: An awesome reading app! (review and giveaway)

 

In terms of enhancements to the app, I would like to see a bit more interaction.  Currently you can read the stories and see the visuals of the words, but my son required additional help including flashcards to help reinforce the learning.  Many children may be able to understand the words the first time around, but I know my son needed a bit of extra help.  I also wish there was a multi user mode so that the app can be used with multiple children which means that books later on won’t be unlocked until your child reaches them.  It would also be nice if there was some sort of a “test” to ensure that your child has mastered the concepts before moving them on to a harder book.

If you are looking for an app to help an emerging or struggling reader, Rhyme to Read may be the key to your challenges.  This app is very much parent and child focused and will require you to spend time with your child both in the app and outside to ensure that content is being mastered.  I know in addition to reading within the app, I made flashcards as well as found other books to help my son with the concepts of the sight words we covered.  This app is currently on sale for 30% off so I would encourage you to try out the free version and if you like it, purchase the pro version to work with your children.  Trust me, you won’t regret helping them get these important early literacy skills.

Rhyme to Read full - teach beginning reading with phonics and sight words and word families (English Version)
Rhyme to Read full - teach beginning reading with phonics and sight words and word families (English Version)
by Rhyme to Read, LLC

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 72.78 MB

$7.99USD

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

Try a test book before you buy!

Rhyme to Read - teach beginning reading with phonics, sight words and word families (English Free Version)
Rhyme to Read - teach beginning reading with phonics, sight words and word families (English Free Version)
by Rhyme to Read, LLC

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 72.84 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)


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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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