Featured App: Sparky’s Birthday Surprise by Cupcake Digital- FREE Fire Safety app.

Featured App: Sparky’s Birthday Surprise by Cupcake Digital- FREE Fire Safety app.



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Sparky's Birthday SurpriseSparky’s Birthday Surprise is a completely FREE app from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Cupcake Digital. the app contains not only a story but 3 educational mini-games, a music video and coloring and drawing pages. It is a must-have app for anyone with young children, entertaining, yet educational and teaching important fire safety rules. The app can be enjoyed in English or Spanish, and external links are protected by a parental gate (you need to enter your birth year to enter).

Story

The story stars Sparky the Dalmation, Sparky is a fire dog and it is his birthday. Sparky is working at a school teaching fire safety tips to children, whilst he is away his doggie friends plan a birthday surprise. As they bake him a beautiful cake and plan his party, they also learn about fire safety. The story is full of fun interactive elements- the child can learn all about the different parts of a fire engine, ring a fire alarm and help cook Sparky’s cake. The child can read the book themselves and tap on a word to hear it spoken, or listen to the optional narration with word highlighting; there is also “just a book” mode where narration and all interactivity or turned off.

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Additional Activities

Birthday Shapes

This fun mini-game works on Shape recognition – the child needs to pick the correctly shaped birthday present. When they pick correctly they get to see what is inside and Sparky gives them a big hi-five !

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Pinata Counting

Everyone loves to hit a Birthday Piñata and here children can practice their counting whilst tapping the Piñata. They hear and see the numbers as they count and a flood of dog cookies fall out of the Piñata when they get to the right number.

Sparky Addition

Help Sparky practice his addition, up to 10, by using his fire hose to spray the right number combination. The equation is written out as the problem is completed to help reinforce the learning.

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Coloring

The child can choose one of six coloring sheets of Sparky and his friends or use blank paper to create their own masterpiece. Tools include brushes, crayons, chalk and spray paint all with a variable tip size and a whole rainbow of color options, plus a fill-in paint option for younger children or tricky areas. There are also a variety of stickers available to decorate their works of art.

Music Video

This fun music video stars Sparky and a chorus line of dancing ants. Whilst they sing and dance along children are learning what to do if they hear a smoke alarm, in a fun and entertaining way.

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If you’d like to download Sparky’s Birthday Surprise, ($FREE, iPad/iPhone) please use this link so they’ll know who sent you:

Full version:

Sparky’s Birthday Surprise – Cupcake Digital


Sparky's Birthday Surprise Sparky's Birthday Surprise by NFPA

Price: $FREE

Now available in English and Spanish

​*Winner of Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice Award

It’s Sparky® the Fire Dog’s birthday, and his doggie friends are throwing a surprise.

You can also find more information and Sparky-related activities on his website Sparky.org

NOTE: A fee was received to Feature this app.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
 CuddleFish Friends – An underwater interactive adventure by SuperBot Entertainment and Section Studios – Review

CuddleFish Friends – An underwater interactive adventure by SuperBot Entertainment and Section Studios – Review



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What we love…

Beautiful illustrations, fun mini games that make young readers smile and laugh.

What we’d love to see…

Text highlighting in a different color for better contrast, separate controls for sound effects, narration and music, shorter loading time in between pages and a page menu.

Summary

A highly enjoyable storybook app about friends having fun together while presenting a wonderful opportunity to introduce diversity in friendship to young children.

Our Rating

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CuddleFish Friends is an interactive storybook app about 6 sea animal friends and the fun things that they do together. They race each other, chomp down their snacks, visit the palace, have burping sessions, comfort each other in their secret hideout under the blanket and have sleepovers. But best of all, your child can join in the fun in some of their games like sand fights, tug of war and explore a sea organ that plays funny sounds.

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There are a total of 12 interactive pages in this story (not too long nor too short) and there are supportive features for the younger readers. The text are narrated (option to turn off) and the individual words expand when being read. You can also touch individual words to hear them (great for teaching word recognition) and prompts appear when a child needs help on what to do. There is also an option to turn off the audio but unfortunately this not only affects the background music and narration but the sound effects as well. There should be separate controls for these 3 audio components.

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On the whole, this is a highly enjoyable storybook app with brilliant illustrations and cute characters. The music is calm (I like the sounds of water bubbles in some pages) and the story ends with a bedtime scene that may put your kid in a sleepy mood. Since these 6 friends are of different types of sea animals (cuttlefish, sea turtle, sea horse, jellyfish and killer whale), this book also presents a perfect opportunity for you to talk about diversity in friendship.

 
20131016-233559.jpgMy son really enjoyed this book and kept going back to his favorite pages (I would love to have a page menu) especially the burping session (touch the whale’s tale to hear a surprise)! If you have a child who loves playful antics like mine, he will really like CuddleFish Friends.

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CuddleFish Friends – An underwater interactive adventure – SuperBot Entertainment and Section Studios

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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.
Tickety Toc Bubble Time by Cupcake Digital – Review

Tickety Toc Bubble Time by Cupcake Digital – Review

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What we love…

Fun yet educational app that includes a story and 5 other activities. Aligned to Common Core Standards for Kindergarten.

What we’d love to see…

Interactive elements delayed until after narration finished, Option to hear letters phonetically in Word Bubble game.

Summary

Fun and learning for preschool and kindergarten-aged children !  Fans of  Tickety Toc will especially enjoy it, but even those who have not seen the show will enjoy the story, coloring and games.learn at the same time.

Our Rating

Tickety Toc Bubble Time Tickety Toc Bubble Time is a universal app based on Nick Jr’s new preschool hit TV series Tickety Toc. Inside an old clock shop is a wall full of clocks, in the middle is one very special clock-the Tickety Toc Clock. Every hour it springs to life, as regular as clockwork but behind the clock is a whole world where things don’t always run smoothly. A whole cast of characters keep the clock running on time and the stars of the show are twins Tommy and Tallulah who pop out of the clock on the hour at “chime time”, much like cuckoos in a cuckoo clock. The app contains no adverts or in-app purchases, it does contain external links – including app store and Social Media links- these protected by a parent lock- to access you must enter your birth year (any answer in the 1900-1999 range will unlock it).

Tickety Toc Bubble Time features a story, coloring pages and four educational mini-games with activities aligned to Common Core Standards. In the story we meet Tommy, Tallulah, Pufferty (the dog train), Hopparoo the rabbit, Battersby the Bat, McCoggins the town handyman and more. The twins are blowing bubbles when Hopparoo spoils their fun by popping them all. They go on a search for more bubble mixture and end up in a sticky situation with McCoggins Unstoppable, Unpoppable Bubbles; but who will save the day ? You’ll need to read the story to find out. The story has 3 different options – read & play, read to me and quiet reading. In read to me mode there is word highlighting as it is read, and the child can touch individual words to hear them spoken; there are also interactive elements the child can play with. Read & play has no narration, but the child can still touch words to hear them spoken and the interactive elements are active; quiet reading has no interactive elements and the words are not spoken if touched. I like having all these options, the one additional thing I would like is for the interactive elements to not be active until after the narration is finished – to avoid the child touching all over the page and missing the story. At the end of the story “grown-up’s corner” gives ideas on talking to your child about the story and getting them to link ideas in the story to their own life experiences.

The additional activities do add a lot to the app and increase its educational value as they practice telling time to the quarter hour, work on spelling, memory and problem solving.

Bubble Word

Tommy and Tallulah are blowing bubbles – each has a letter inside, the child hears a word and sees it written with a missing letter, they have to pick the bubble containing the correct letter to fill in the gap. The letter names are spoken when the letter is picked and then the word is spelled out; I would like an option to have the letter sounds instead of names.

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Chime Time

The child practices telling time to the quarter hour (a Kindergarten Common Core skill), it is spoken, shown on a digital clock and written out, they move the hands on a clock to the correct position. If they need help there is a “show me” option which highlights where the hands should go.

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Train Time

Pufferty’s track is broken and the child needs to place pieces of wooden track to complete it, once the track is complete Pufferty chugs along it. The challenge starts simply with just a few squares to cover, but more squares are added each level. One thing I really like about this section is it is open-ended- there is no one right answer as long as the two ends of the track connect the child can create any track layout they like – making the shortest route possible or adding lots of twists and turns if they wish.

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Memory Match

This is the classic matching game with bubbles containing characters from the show. It starts with only 6 bubbles and more are added each level.

Coloring Pages

There are 5 pages to color with characters from the show, plus a blank page to create their own artwork. There is a nice selection of coloring tools to choose from: paintbrush, pencils, chalk, spray paint and fill-in paint as well as a selection of stickers. The brush/ tip sizes are adjustable and the child can zoom in for more detailed work, the app also stops them from accidentally coloring outside the lines.

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Overall, this is a very nicely done educational app for preschool and Kindergarten-aged children, and it includes activities that align with Common Core Standards for Kindergarten. Fans of Tickety Toc will especially enjoy it, but my children have never seen the show and still enjoyed the app. I appreciate the optional word highlighting as it is read and tapping to hear the word spoken – these are great for encouraging budding readers, although I would like to be able to delay the interactive elements to avoid distraction. The additional activities add a lot of extra value and I especially like the Train Time, Chime Time and coloring pages which are very well-done. A recommended app for ages 3-5 years.

If you’d like to download Tickety Toc Bubble Time, ($2.99, iPad/iPhone; ) please use this link so they’ll know who sent you:

Full version:

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.

Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to USA only, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
 The Mighty League Vol 1 – The Terrible Taunting – A Blackfish Children’s Book by Customizabooks LLC – Review

The Mighty League Vol 1 – The Terrible Taunting – A Blackfish Children’s Book by Customizabooks LLC – Review



Mighty League Vol 1

What we love…

Great story, fantastic job of explaining what being in the spectrum is like, customizable, highly interactive.

What we’d love to see…

Female narration when a female character is chosen, custom narration for speech bubbles.

Summary

An excellent book for everyone that promotes awareness of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome , encourages acceptance and understanding, and talks about tools that those in the spectrum can use to manage their day.

Our Rating

Geek Club Books, a company that specializes in products that promotes self-acceptance in children who are deemed different because they are in the autism spectrum, has done a remarkable job with their new book The Mighty League Volume 1: The Terrible Taunting. It is the first book in what will likely be a series of books based on the actual experiences of a boy who grew up with Asperger’s Syndrome. It is highly interactive and is presented in a comic book format.

There are many things noticeable in this book. The first thing you will notice, upon opening the app, is that it is customizable. You can choose whether you want the main character to be a hero (Jman) or a heroine (Jaycee). You can also record the narration using your own voice. Second, you will notice that it comes with a lively, upbeat music that goes amazingly well with the story. Third, you will notice that it beautifully illustrated. Finally, you will notice that every page in this book is filled with interactive items and interactive speech bubbles. Clicking on the main character’s hedgehog sidekick will bring up a notebook or journal that explains more about what having Asperger’s is like.

20131002-232954.jpgAs a mom of a boy with autism, this book is very dear to my heart. I think the best thing about it is that it is based on the real life adventures of Jonathan Murphy who grew up with Asperger’s Syndrome. The story is written by Jonathan’s sister Molly and is narrated by Jonathan himself! Some of the things the character goes through are similar to what my son goes through and I love that he can relate to it. It also gives us ideas on how to help him manage his day and how to handle difficult situations like stopping the school bully. This was good to read not only with my son but with my other children as well. My children already love their brother just the way he is, but this book gave them an even better understanding of what things are like for him.

20131002-233617.jpgThere are only a few things I would like to see in the future. Since the narration is done in the first person, I would like to see it narrated by a female when a female character is chosen. I also think it might be fun for the kids to be able to record their own voice for the speech bubbles. Lastly, I was a tad uncomfortable with the mom in the story never facing the main character. Her back was always turned even when addressing him. She was the only character whose face we did not see.

 

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Overall, I think this book is great and I highly recommend it to everyone. It promotes autism awareness , encourages acceptance and understanding, and talks about tools that those in the spectrum can use to manage their day. Be sure to also check out the Geek Club Books website. It is a full of resources and information on autism and spectrum disorders and is packed with lots and lots of love!

 

 

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The Mighty League Vol 1 – The Terrible Taunting – A Blackfish Children’s Book – Customizabooks LLC

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Fides and her husband have been married for 16 years. They homeschool their 4 children: two amazing sons and two beautiful daughters. Fides likes to walk and jog outdoors everyday and has as very difficult time resisting a slice of paradise cake.

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