Square Panda Phonics Playset by Square Panda – Review



Square Panda Phonics Playset

What we love…

ability to use a multisensory approach to learning letters which includes apps and physical letters placed on the playset to form words; included parental dashboard to track your kids progress

What we’d love to see…

ability to customize words in all apps, a mobile friendly version of the Square Panda Playground website

Summary

The Square Panda Phonics Playset is a great demonstration of how you can use your iPad and integrated playset to provide learning both on the screen and using tactile letters to complete a goal – I can’t wait to see what else this company will bring.

Our Rating

 

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The Square Panda Phonics Playset by Square Panda which features a bluetooth enabled playset to engage kids in learning a variety of activities from learning letters, spelling, letter sounds, rhymes, learning new vocabulary words and more.  The set consists of 45 Smart Letters, a Playset box which you pair to your iPad and holds your device while in use, access to the Square Panda Playground where you can manage a parent account, see information about your child’s progress and additional learning opportunities as well as 4 AA Batteries.  The Square Panda Playset requires either iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro in order to run and you must be running iOS 8.x and above.  The Square Panda Phonics Playset provides a multisensory tactile learning experience which combines content on your iPad with letters and visuals within the app. It includes 14 levels of phonics play as well as an integrated dashboard to track progress.

Setup is quick and easy.  First, you set up an account on Square Panda with your email and other information.  That gives you access to the parental dashboard.  After that you can unpack the Phonics Playset, install the 4 included AA batteries, download the apps and be using them within 10 or less minutes.  I spent some time in the Square Panda Playground website because I wanted to check out the features there.  There are so many great things!  You can add your own custom words including your child’s name – and for me when I last had my son use the playset I included words from his spelling list that week!  When you enter custom words they are put into your child’s games and you can even upload a picture to go with them!  Words must be between 1-8 characters, so more complex spelling words won’t work here, however, it’s a great way to practice.  The Square Panda Playground also lets you choose words for specific types of situations like bathroom and body anatomy as well as even excluding a specific letter if you misplaced it from the playset.  You can also block specific types of words if you wish which gives you a great level of customization.

iPad Screenshot 1

The playset includes 45 smart letters.  Vowels are yellow and consonants are yellow to make for easier differentiation between the letter types.  These all stored inside the playset case when not in use.  You can have up to three players per playset, and the content dynamically changes depending on which user is selected so with my 2 year old we are simply working on even identifying letters while with my 8 year old he is working on spelling words and earning badges.  The Square Panda Playset includes access to two apps, and one of the two apps Square Panda Lagoon allows you to use the custom words that you have created.   Square Panda Bowling (above) has you bowl with your finger to knock down the pins and spell out words.  It combines a multi-sensory approach where you do an activity, get a letter with your finger on your iPad and then properly place it in the try to spell the word.  Kids are taught to spell words correctly from left to right which is the way that The National Reading Panel recommends as well as the way that reading is taught in school.

iPad Screenshot 4

First of all – this is not the plastic letters that I grew up with!  Many of us may remember growing up and having the magnetized letters that we used to spell things on our refrigerator.  I loved that the app required letters to be correct before allowing you to move on.  Letters are placed individually in a white box at the bottom of the playset.  The must be positioned correctly and placed on the playset in the correct order.  The photo above is from Square Panda Lagoon and includes a photo as well as the word below to reinforce learning.

It isn’t often as a mom that I find a toy that both my 2 year old and 8 year old can use.  One of my favorite things about the Square Panda Playset is the level of customization that is included especially with the Square Panda Lagoon.  I can see it is a great way to practice “trick words” or words my son might be having challenges with at school and having a great way to keep track of what he is learning in terms of letters.  With my 2 year old, we can work on understanding letters and teaching him that my iPad is a learning device.  I also liked that we could store the letters inside the playset which meant that they were not misplaced the next time we went to use it.  I use a Griffin Survivor case on my iPad Mini because even though it’s “mom’s iPad” my kids use it a lot and I loved that we could leave on the protective case even when it was in use with the Square Panda Playset, this isn’t always the case with other products on the market.  I really liked the Square Panda Playground where I could keep track of what my kids were doing with the apps – I knew what my 2 year old was doing because we were playing together but with my older son I usually help him learn how to use something and then let him try and figure it out on his own.  I liked seeing the badges of the items he accomplished as well as the ability to add in the custom words for his spelling list that week!

In terms of enhancements, I wish that both of the apps included the ability to use custom words, my son enjoyed rolling the bowling ball in Square Panda Bowling more than the Square Panda Lagoon game – I’m not sure why he preferred it more other than he enjoys bowling, so having the two app options was great.  Square Panda is planning to add more apps Letter Lab.  I hope that they include the ability to use custom words in this app.  I’d also like to see a mobile friendly version of the Square Panda Playground – I don’t often get time to sit down at my computer so I was trying to look at it on my iPad and it wasn’t as user friendly as I would have liked.

Play with letters and words today...

The Square Panda Phonics Playset is a great demonstration of how you can use your iPad and integrated playset to provide learning both on the screen and using tactile letters to complete a goal – I can’t wait to see what else this company will bring.  The Square Panda Phonics Playset retails for $119 USD and includes a standard one year parts and labor if the letters malfunction or the product itself malfunctions.  It can be purchased from Square Panda for $119 USD.

alison

This is not your mom’s letter playset.  This is a fun and interactive toy which can be used by younger and older children and can customize and provide data about what your child is learning.  It is a true demonstration of what the iPad can do versus other tablets on the market.

Apps


Square Panda Lagoon Square Panda Lagoon by Square Panda Inc

Price: $FREE

A goofy chameleon with a love for dancing introduces children to letter sounds and phonics in a fun, exploratory way where any combination of letters (both nonsense words and real words) create a learning.




Square Panda Bowling Square Panda Bowling by Square Panda Inc

Price: $FREE

STRIKE! Letters meet their match in a bowling alley on a faraway island! With every roll of the coconut ball, your child learns the relationships between letters, sounds, and words. Compatible with the.



Square Panda Farming Square Panda Farming by Square Panda Inc

Price: $FREE

Help Old MilkDonald plant, grow, and harvest fruits and vegetables in Square Panda Farming!

When placing Square Panda smart letters in the Square Panda Playset, children learn the alphabet, explore.



Square Panda Space Cows Square Panda Space Cows by Square Panda Inc

Price: $FREE

It's a bird, it's a plane it's... alien UFOs beaming up cows! Compatible with the Square Panda Phonics Playset, children place smart letters in the tray to learn the alphabet, explore letter sounds, and.



Square Panda Fishing Square Panda Fishing by Square Panda Inc

Price: $FREE

What's the best catch in the icy arctic lake? Learning about letters! In Square Panda Fishing, children reel in their fishing line for a chance to catch letter fish! With each fish that they catch, they.

Video demonstration

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.

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a Square Panda Phonics playset , 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 to those with a valid US mailing address, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.


Read – Kids learn to read and write in 20 easy lessons by Olivier Romanetti of One Tree Hill Studio- Review



iPad Screenshot 3

What we love…

Lots of great activities to engage readers including  letter formation, sight words, reading comprehension, writing pad, alphabet, listening skills,  Multi-user capability.  Interactive word pad lets kids experiment with word and sound formation.

What we’d love to see…

a test to skip materials already previously learned, some sort of “trophy” or awards case to demonstrate progress and ability to export the lesson progress.

Summary

Content rich app which will help kids with a number of skills including letter formation, letter sounds, reading comprehension and sight words.

Our Rating

Read - Kids learn to read and write in 20 easy lessonsRead – Kids learn to read and write in 20 easy lessons by Olivier Romanetti of One Tree Hill Studio is a universal app for iOS targeting kids aged four through 8 (or second grade) which helps them to acquire core reading skills including letter formation, sight words, reading comprehension, writing pad, alphabet, listening and more.  The narration can be done in a United States narrator, English narrator, Australian narrator or Indian narrator.  You can also speed up or slow down the words per minute and pitch of the speaker as well as turn on and off the background music.  The app uses phonics teaching sight words in combination with word decoding.    It also includes multi user capabilities and lesson progress

The app features twenty different lessons with over 100 different exercises and interactive stories.  It is designed for the beginning reader through approximately second grade.  Letters are introduced in the app by frequency – something that my son struggled with a bit because he felt they were “out of order”.

Content includes:

  • Letter tracing: Using a finger or stylus your child traces the letter using a supplied model and repeats five times to demonstrate mastery
  • How do you spell it: Listen to a sound and pick the correct letter from a field of six options.
  • Choose the right word: Listen to a word pronunciation and pick the correct answer
  • Listen & Write: Listen to the word and put the letters on the line to spell it
  • Match Words & Sounds: Match a sound with the written form of it – perfect for practicing sight words
  • Interactive Writing Pad: Children can “construct” words and sentences by dragging and dropping individual letters, making letter combinations which are read aloud as the app is played.
  • Stories & Questions: Starting at lesson 5, stories are given in the context of the app and the user is tested for reading comprehension
  • Learn the Alphabet: This helps kids connect letter names and letter sounds with both uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Sight Words & Phrases: Over 100 sight words and sight phrases used in the English language

iPad Screenshot 4

This is a brightly colored app that engages kids to learn core reading and writing skills.  The activities are presented in a patterned way which requires children to finish specific tasks before moving on which is important for early learning skills.  I also liked that as you traced letters or spelled words out that they were sounded out which helped kids attribute the letter sound to the written letter.  Our favorite section – since my son knew many of the sight words was the original story content.  My son enjoyed hearing the stories – although I did have to adjust the word speed so he could follow along more easily – the words were spoken quickly and at times the highlighting and words didn’t match what was being said.  We also liked the sight phrases since my son has moved on beyond his core sight words and wanted to work more on putting words together.

 

iPad Screenshot 5

In terms of improvements –  at times it was hard to discern the word as it was spoken and it would be nice if you could have a second choice.  It would also be nice if the app dynamically adjusted based on if you were getting answers right or wrong.  A visual cue especially for the easier lessons would be helpful too if a child is getting answers wrong – for example showing a picture of a mat along with the spoken word and spelling it out.  I would also like to see the option to “test” so that children can test out of content they might have already learned which would make it repetitive.  Some of the letter formation was different compared to what my son learned in school, but that may vary based on geography.  My son also asked for some sort of “trophy” or reward that you could earn after completing levels which would demonstrate mastery.  It would also be nice if you could transfer progress from device to device – my son played both on my iPhone and iPad and was frustrated when he had to repeat things he had done before.  I’d also like to be able to export my lesson progress. I’d also like to see more options for the letter formation as my son didn’t learn with the manuscript option in school.

Overall, this is a content rich app which will help kids with a number of skills including letter formation, letter sounds, reading comprehension and sight words.  It is a great app to help kids with learning or one to help them practice over the summertime and prevent the #summerslide.  The app includes a parental gated area with a multiplication problem that does have external links.  There are no in-app purchases.


Read4Kids - Kids learn to read in 20 easy lessons
Read4Kids - Kids learn to read in 20 easy lessons
by Olivier Romanetti

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, 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: 33.01 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots
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Screenshots for iPad
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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.

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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.


Words with Ibbleobble app by KidDotCo – Review



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

great graphics, cute characters, fun rewards and the great learning potential

What we’d love to see…

the words read out at first and then as children select them and once solved to reinforce learning

Summary

a great little app for children to learn new words in a fun and rewarding way

Our Rating

Children can learn new words in a playful and colourful way with the Words with Ibbleobble app by KidDotCo. KidDotCo are also the creators of such apps as Division / Patterns / Subtraction and Multiplication by Ibbleobble. Words with Ibbleobble is a word game which lets children, learn new words, improve their vocabulary and communication skills. Its simple format is easy for children to follow and understand and is a great app for children with autism.

Children choose a friend they want to play and learn with from a range of characters like Mr Mousey the mouse, Lola the chicken, Fin the hedgehog, Tom the frog, Nancy the sheep, Kelly the rabbit and Florence the fox. Each friend also has an info sheet to learn about them, their likes, favourite colour and favourite friend. Each character is linked to seven learning themes – Shapes & Colours, Food & Drink, At my school, On the farm, My home, Holidays & Travel and All about me.

Children can learn at their own pace or against a clock, can choose the game level of their choice – easy / medium / hard and can solve hundreds of different puzzles. When children answer correctly to a multiple choice word game of three words, the character is rewarded with their favourite treat or object which in turns makes the character happier as more games are solved and gives children an incentive to keep answering correctly.

My three year old liked the fun characters and rewards system. Although she cannot read, she understood the concept of the game. She knew what the images represented and took some guesses to the answer but even though she didn’t win all the time, she was shown the correct answer after a few guesses and as she played the same themes. I also read out the options which helped her understand the order of each word and in turn improve her visual memory of the words.

We would love it if each word was read out by the character at first and then as the child selects it to solve the multiple choice game. It would also be great if when solved the word appears and is read out too to reinforce learning.

We love this app as it has great graphics, simple concepts, it is easy for children to understand and learn from. We really like the use of cute characters, themes, rewards that children can appreciate as well as the multiple choice game. This app has no ads or third party advertisement or in-app purchases. There is however a parental area which has access to other apps from the developer as well as other options which is locked by a parental gate.



Words with Ibbleobble Words with Ibbleobble by KidDotCo

Price: $0.99 USD

Winner of the 'Highly Commended App' award at the Lincolnshire Digital Awards 2016.

Words with Ibbleobble is an incredibly fun word game that helps to teach children new words. The app will help.

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.


Bitsboard PRO – The Best Educational Learning Games and Flash Cards in 1 App by Innovative Investments Limited – Review & Giveaway



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What we love…

Fully customizable lessons with lots of different learning modes.

What we’d love to see…

Even more boards on math.

Summary

Bitsboard Pro is the ultimate educational app with top-quality content and outstanding enabling features to meet the learning needs of every child.

Our Rating

How many times have you wished that you can modify a well-developed learning app just that little bit to better match your child’s skills. Or thought of replacing some of the content with your own instead? Have you ever wondered if there is this ONE App that can meet most (if not all) of your child’s educational needs? What about an app that can accommodate the educational goals and learning difficulties of an entire class?

This is a tall order for any app considering children learn at different pace and thrive in different learning environment. And to be able to add our own content in an app seems like an impossible task! But Bitsboard Pro has all our wishes covered. It is the ultimate educational app for children from preschool right up to elementary school level, giving you access to thousands of topics (with many new ones added every month) and the ability to customize the way students learn in the app as well as the app content itself.

Alright, most of us don’t have the time nor inclination to create our own content. We just want an app that has ready-to-download learning materials and Bitsboard has lots of content to offer. After creating a user account, you can browse through Bitsboard’s extensive lessons catalog or search for specific lessons and download (over the internet) the ones that you need. Here, lessons are presented in individual boards, each containing a series of flashcards (bits). Topics include languages, vocabulary, grammar, reading (sight words, word families, phonics, readers), sentence maker, speech, spelling, letter tracing, math facts, math operations, money, time telling, sign language, routines, sequences, emotions and many more! The free version of Bitsboard itself comes with lots of shared resources that you can start with right away.

What I really love in Bitsboard is that you can choose up to 30 fully customizable learning modes or games that help children to learn and retain the information presented in the lessons. You can start with the simpler games and progress to the more complex ones. With so many different ways to learn the same materials, students remain engaged and learn better. Check out Bitsboard’s long list of fun learning games – Flashcards, Explore, True or False, Photo Touch, Photo Hunt, Memory Cards, Pop Quiz, Match Up, Word Builder, Sentence Builder, Spelling Bee, BINGO, Letter Tracing, Sequences, Related items, Word Search, Word Chunks, Crosswords, Unscramble, Say It, Missing Item, Puzzles, Reader, What’s Next, Odd One Out, Sort It, Side by Side, Story Time, Genius, Review Game and Board Creator

For each game, you can modify things like the session length, with or without visual/audio hints, spelling order, display options, number of tiles, matching options and answer mode. Customization is easy but it would be tedious if you have more than 1 user. Luckily, you don’t have to keep adjusting the settings and preferences as these are saved for each user (unlimited users for the Pro version). Likewise, the tracking of detailed progress and lesson plans is stored at the user level. Bitsboard’s learning algorithm also ensures that each game automatically advances according to the individual user’s skills.

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If you are an educator, you will like the ease of creating custom lessons with your own cards (from photo library, dropbox, web search or Bitsboard Catalog of images), audio recording and text (words, phrases, sentences, description). Your students can learn anything you present to them using the Bitsboard learning games. You can also set up your own exclusive class with your own selection of boards for sharing with your students or fellow teachers privately.

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I’m truly impressed with all the meaningful features that have been continually added in Bitsboard in order to support students and educators. There are many more that are not mentioned here. This all-in-one educational app far exceeds all my expectations in terms of content and ability to be customized. I don’t think you’ll find another app that is as versatile and comprehensive as this. Bitsboard Pro is an essential learning app that all families and classes must have!

Bitsboard PRO – The Best Educational Learning Games and Flash Cards in 1 App
Free lite version –

Bitsboard PRO - Flashcards & Educational Games App Bitsboard PRO - Flashcards & Educational Games App by Innovative Investments Limited
Category: Education, Games, Family
Requirements: Compatible with 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: 197.08 MB

$19.99USD

Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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.

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