Dr. Panda Town by Dr. Panda Ltd. – Review

Dr. Panda Town by Dr. Panda Ltd. – Review



iPhone Screenshot 1

What we love…

open ended creative play that helps kids in a variety of community settings use imaginary play skills

What we’d love to see…

a rack for clothing, ability to kick and play with the soccer and basket ball

Summary

Dr. Panda Town is fun and just enough different from other apps on the market which make it enjoyable for my kids to play.   Each of the three areas are fun and have unique content like a water scene inside the park or a picnic or even shopping at the grocery store.

Our Rating

Dr. Panda TownDr. Panda Town by Dr. Panda Ltd is the first free app with in-app purchases or IAP offered by Dr. Panda games.  Dr. Panda was founded in 2012 and has a number of apps available for iOS and Android with great open free play options.  This app includes in-app purchases for a park and a supermarket as well as a home setting.  For purposes of this review, I will review both the park and supermarket settings contained within the app.  The app opens with Dr. Panda pulling up to the town in his yellow car.    If you try to open up the park or supermarket and have not purchased them a parental lock pops up before taking you into the iTunes store which requires you to enter your year of birth.  Of note, I got the app bundle on one device and had to “restore” my purchase on my second device to be able to access each of the three places.  We used language to describe each of the actions which made it great for practicing language.

Inside the house, there is a living room, kitchen with variety of foods as well as the ability to cook and mop the floors.   Upstairs in the home is a bathroom and a kids bedroom. My kids in particular liked the attic where they found treasures like a rocking horse and antique television.   The characters are down at the bottom by the Dr. Panda logo and you can add and move them around within the different portions of the app.  I also liked the recycling in each of the locations as well.  Inside the grocery store reminds me a lot of Dr. Panda Supermarket with items to place inside your basket as well as different items like soap, toothpaste and milk.  When we played, I actually gave my younger son a “picture list” of items for us to place inside the basket prior to checking out.

iPhone Screenshot 4

My toddler also  liked the soccer ball and wanted to “kick” it with the characters – something we couldn’t figure out how to do, we also tried to bring it to the park to play with as well as the basket ball but couldn’t make it work.  We also cooked on the grill outside.  My toddler loved the park – he enjoys going to the park and he loves Dr. Panda Ice Cream so he was delighted to see the ice cream stand in the park.  My son’s favorite part was dispensing each of the candies from the machines as well as eating the cookies.    Inside the park there is a variety of playground toys like a see-saw, slide and even clothing to change into as well as a picnic.    We enjoyed giving dog a ride in the boat – although he needs a life jacket!  Playing in the skate park was fun as well going back and forth.   My toddler loved the animations of the airplane and motorcycle as the characters rode them.

Up in the attic it would be fun if the television played promos for other Dr. Panda apps – right now there are a variety of random images with characters from the app but no real cohesive things shown.  My toddler also wanted to “talk” using the phone which currently just rings and lets you take it off the hook.  My older son asked if we could decorate the treats inside of the supermarket as he is getting older and likes to help me cook — perhaps a baking app might be in the future?  Other enhancements might be using money to put into the slot for the candy or to pay for the vending machine and cafe in the park.  I’d love to see some of the items we make in other Dr. Panda apps incorporated here to give kids a taste of some of the great fun they can have with other apps.  I would also like to see a clothing closet or rack for all of the different outfits to change into – perhaps this could be on the bottom with all of the characters?  My older son also wanted more “healthy” options for the picnic including fruits and veggies so we must be doing something right!

For me, once I tested the house, I knew I wanted more and got the combination of the supermarket and park for $2.99 IAP because my kids hate being locked out of anything.  That makes them all the more determined to use it!  In app purchases are protected with a parental gate which requires your year of birth and then you are pulled to iTunes.

Dr. Panda Town is fun and just enough different from other apps on the market which make it enjoyable for my kids to play.   Each of the three areas are fun and have unique content like a water scene inside the park or a picnic or even shopping at the grocery store.

You can download it free with in-app purchases on Google Play.

Dr. Panda Town
Dr. Panda Town
by Dr. Panda Ltd

Category: Education
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
Size: 149.51 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

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 sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
 Starry Station – Touchscreen WiFi Router by Starry – Review

Starry Station – Touchscreen WiFi Router by Starry – Review



Starry Station - Touchscreen WiFi Router - Simple Setup and Easy Parental Controls. Fast Gigabit Speed

What we love…

easy to set up router with great parental controlss which allow you to isolate a device with specific settings, super use friendly with touchscreen controls and access via your device, great for family time and device free time with the touch of a screen!

What we’d love to see…

more ethernet ports, potential for a web dashboard and more on the “network health”

Summary

Overall, this is a great router which includes parental controls and allows you to easily turn on and off the internet.  The parental controls differentiate this router from others on the market with the ease of a touchscreen or your device – all in one place and easy to use.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Starry Wi-Fi StationThe Starry Station by Starry is a touchscreen wifi router that includes parental controls and simplifies how you use the internet.  When I recently set it up – I had it out of the box and running in less than 10 minutes and that included adding all of my devices to the new networks.  WiFi is fast – with good streaming and surfing quality much faster than my previous router.  It also works with all types of internet including fiber optic, cable and includes built in WPA2 Encryption.  The Starry Station is a triangle shaped router which stands on a side – the base is 3 inches wide and there is a fan behind it.

One of my favorite things about Starry Station is the ease of setup and the fact that I can have parental controls in the palm of my hand or by using the touch screen on the router.  I loved that I could set one device, my 8 year old’s to be off from a specific period of time or even just block his access entirely if I wanted to either from the router or from the app.  I also found that the speeds on the router were more true to what I paid for with Comcast compared to my previous router.   I have a bit of an unusual house set up – and in the past have had a boost downstairs because for some reason I can’t always get good network signal.  Although I did continue to use my wireless access point, it was easily reconfigured to Starry and gave me better and faster service than I had previously.  We live in a media friendly home, and regularly stream Netflix, cable TV, surf the internet as well as having several smart appliances.  Another bonus of the router was that it had the same name for the 2.4G as well as the 5G network, which meant that you didn’t have to remember as many passwords to login.  Using the touch screen or my iPhone/iPad I was able to walk around the house and easily add new devices quickly!  We had 10 devices online easily at a time and noticed no lags or slowdowns while using the router.  We also had some Apple and Android devices as well to try to see if the device mix would change how the network performed and didn’t notice an appreciable difference.  The router also includes a speaker and mic – for future voice control options which are not yet enabled.  I can’t wait to see those enabled.  It also includes guest access which is easily turned on via your device or touchscreen so you can choose who has access and who does not!
iPhone Screenshot 4A bit about the parental controls – this by far was my favorite feature of the router.  I loved that I could easily filter content, pause the internet (for one device or all) and limit access to specific apps using the app on my iPhone.   This meant I could set screen time rules for specific devices, like my son’s iPad without having to worry about blocking my iPad or my husband’s devices.  I also liked that I could set safe content and turn off access to social media all with the touch of a button.  At our house we usually have #devicefree Friday nights where we try to turn off our devices and spend time together as a family.  I always hated having to go upstairs to unplug the router so no one would try to “sneak” access to the internet – now with Starry it’s a simple tap of a button on my iPhone and the internet is off.  The offline hours are great as well – they help to ensure you don’t stay up too late because it can automatically turn off the internet at a specific time (although you can override as necessary).  I also liked the customer support I got when I needed it – I spoke with someone in the United States who took the time to help me answer my question about the wireless access point and ensured things were configured properly.

In terms of enhancements, I do wish the router had more ports on the back of it.  There are only two ports – one for internet coming in and the other for internet coming out..  I did get a wireless bridge to give me more ports so I could plug in all my Ethernet devices in my office.  I also noticed that the network health changed a lot – even when I was standing in the same place.  It was nice in theory because I could see what devices were on the network easily.  I would like to see a web based dashboard in the future just in case I didn’t always have access to my device and needed to tweak something a bit more than I could do with the touch screen.

Overall, this is a great router which includes parental controls and allows you to easily turn on and off the internet.  The parental controls differentiate this router from others on the market with the ease of a touchscreen or your device – all in one place and easy to use.  Plus, with the app you can turn on and off the internet even when you are not home.  It was easy to set up and use, and I love knowing that my son is safe while online as we work on setting our digital boundaries but give him access to a tablet and computer for homework. RRP $250 USD on Amazon.

Starry Station

Starry Wi-Fi Station
Starry Wi-Fi Station
by Starry, Inc.

Category: Utilities
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
Size: 59.75 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

Video Demo

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.

Tech Specs

Power Dual-Band 802.11ac
Touchscreen 3.8″ LCD Touchscreen
Ports 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports: 1-in, 1-out
Security WPA2
Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
 Review & Giveaway:  Puzzlets Starter Pack with Cork the Volcano Programming Game

Review & Giveaway: Puzzlets Starter Pack with Cork the Volcano Programming Game



box-hero

What we love…

Combines physical toy and fun interactive video game that teaches coding as they play

What we’d love to see…

Even more games (2 are scheduled to be released in 2017)

Summary

Puzzlets is a great, educational, #STEM /#STEAM toy that combines technology and hands on play to inspire creative problem solving skills.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Puzzlets from Digital Dream Labs is a hands-on physical toy that allows children from Kindergarten age upwards to learn coding principles whilst playing. The starter pack includes  a Bluetooth enabled play tray and 22 programming Puzzlets plus a Cork the Volcano video game which can be played on an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Android smartphone/ tablet.  Two more games – Abacus Finch (Math) and Swatch Out (Color Theory) are due to be launched via Kickstarter in January 2017.

The target age range of Puzzlets is 6-10 so I had my nine year-old son act as my tester – he really enjoyed playing with it, and his thirteen-year-old brother was fascinated by it too and kept wanting to “help!” We tested it using an iPad Air 2.

Set Up

Puzzlets is compatible with iOS, Android and Mac OS X. To play you first need to download the free Cork the Volcano app from Google Play or iTunes or the Mac App Store.

Next you charge the Puzzlets Play Tray using the included USB cable and when it is charged connect to your device. When playing on the Mac you connect the Play Tray via the USB cable, for an Android tablet or iPad you connect via Bluetooth.

kids

In Use

Once you have set up the Puzzlets the first time it is really simple for kids to start playing without any adult help. The Play Tray automatically switches off when not in use. When they want to start playing again as soon as they open the app the Puzzlets Play Tray automatically wakes up and connects to the device without the player having to do anything. They can choose to continue a saved game or start a new one.

There are 22 Puzzlet tiles which the players place in the play tray to control the characters on screen and thus use them to solve a variety of challenges. These tiles each represent a snippet of code.

There are 3 types of tile:

Commands: These are main moves:

  • Move Left (3)
  • Move Right (3)
  • Jump (4)
  • Stop(2)

Modifiers: These  enhance the command tiles

  • (+) Intensify (3)
  • (-) Lessen (3)
  • (x2) Double (1)
  • (x3) Triple (1)

Characters: These let them switch between 3 characters with different powers

  • Rus the Gator (1)- walks over gaps
  • Hippo the Hedgehog (1)- fits through gaps
  • Sydney (1)- jumps high

As the kids work their way through the levels the different tiles are introduced and they are taught how to use them.  They can then solve the levels using any combination of code tiles. The commands are read in the order they are placed in the tray- like reading a book from left to right, top to bottom.

Puzzlets is designed to be used alone or in co-operation with another child or adult. In solving a level the first step is to work out what commands to use and in what order. Once the player is happy with the commands, they press the play icon on the bottom right of the screen. The character then performs the first command and continues following it until they tap the screen again to change to the next command they have programmed.

Solving a level involves not only problem solving in creating the correct combination of commands, but also timing and hand eye co-ordination in deciding when to switch to the next programmed command. I love how it combines both an on screen game and a physical manipulative toy and that the players need to use both together to solve the puzzles. There is no one “right way” to solve each level, the child can use their own problem solving skills to find a method that works for them. To beat a level they need to overcome obstacles to collect a puzzle piece, there is also an additional challenge of trying to collect as many water droplets as they can whilst completing the levels.

corkthevolcano7

My kids love Puzzlets as they are playing a fun video game with lots of levels to beat, I love Puzzlets because without realizing it they are also learning  basic coding skills as they play. Puzzlets are a very clever combination of an on screen video game and a physical toy that between them let the child control what the on screen characters are doing and solve challenges. This is a great, educational, #STEM /#STEAM toy that combines technology and hands on play to inspire creative problem solving skills. The target age range for Puzzlets is 6-10 years, though younger children may enjoy playing with adult help and I also found that older children (such as my 13 year-old) also enjoy it. There is a lot of replay value because it has many, many levels and you can solve each level in a variety of ways. Collecting all the water drops does add a significant extra challenge (and I haven’t yet worked out how to do this on every level!!) Two more games – Abacus Finch (Math) and Swatch Out (Color Theory) are due to be launched via Kickstarter in January. 2017.

Available from Amazon, Digital Dream Labs and other retailers  for US$99.

iTunes link: Cork The Volcano – Puzzlets – Digital Dream Labs LLC


Cork The Volcano - Puzzlets Cork The Volcano - Puzzlets by Digital Dream Labs LLC

Price: $FREE

Purchase of the Puzzlets Starter Pack required -- Contains 22 Programming Puzzlets, Play Tray, and micro USB charging cable.

Think outside the screen with a puzzling new way to play. Put Puzzlets.

 

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a Puzzlets Starter Pack with Cork the Volcano (RRP $99.99), 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 a valid mailing address is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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.

 

 

 

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).
Hudson The Puppy Bluebee Pal Pro by Bluebee Pals – Review

Hudson The Puppy Bluebee Pal Pro by Bluebee Pals – Review

What we love…

soft and cuddly Bluetooth enabled animal which reads you stories, sings and allows use of special needs apps like an AAC, we loved seeing his mouth “move” as he spoke and interacted with us

What we’d love to see…

better mechanism for younger kids not to be able to access back of the Bluebee Pal, my son saw me open the velcro once and it became a game for him to rip it open to access the blue box in the back

Summary

Super fun toy which helped my 2 year old engage with my iPad, listen to stories and music.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Hudson the Puppy by Bluebee Pals is a plush toy which brings your iPad to life.  Hudson is a huggable plush learning tool with a moving mouth that talks, sings and reads to your child using content from your Bluetooth enabled device ranging from a iPhone or iPad, Android or bluetooth enabled laptop.  The puppy includes lip synchronization which allows the puppy’s mouth to move in time to the words or music, read a story or work with a learning app like an Alternative Augmentative Communication device (AAC).  Hudson the Puppy has velcro on his back, which you open to access a box used to turn him on/off, charge and a light which indicates if it is charging..  There is an on/off switch in the back as well as a mini-USB charging port for when the device needs a charge.  You can press on the right “ear” to access the phone and answer it or disconnect from a call. To connect Hudson, you go into settings, Bluetooth and from there you can connect under “other devices” to Bluebee Pals. You can also sit your device on Hudson’s lap or simply have the device nearby and hold Hudson.

 

Hudson is a soft and cuddly toy which my two year old loved.  I can’t tell you how many times he has asked me to read his favorite story books, and now Hudson can help read them to him, by speaking the words and allowing him to look at the images on our iPad.  It was also great with other apps we were playing with because my son is too young to read, Hudson would read aloud the text on the screen when we were playing with a Trucks storybook which let him “read” independently.  My son enjoys listening to music and I loved that I could connect Hudson to act as a speaker for music without actually having to give him my device, this meant I could stream Pandora easily without worrying about him swiping and using my iPad.  I also liked that I could pair Hudson to both my iPhone and iPad, so that it didn’t matter which device I was using with my son.  You can also use your Bluebee Pro to answer phone calls – the calls were clear and my two year old enjoyed hearing his puppy “speak” using another’s voice.  On the other end, at times the caller heard a slight echo or a muffling, I’m not 100% sure why as it was clear on our end with my iPhone 6.  I loved the “voice” that Hudson gave to my son when we used it.  The battery life was quite good and I’ve only had to recharge it once despite many uses.  The music option is great too or you can use it in “read to me mode” which means that the stories will be read to your child without them having to use your device and having it act more like an audiobook. I wiped down Hudson Puppy a few times when my son sneezed on him and it cleaned up very nicely which is very important for a toy.

In terms of improvements, my son saw me open the velcro in the back and then it became a “game” for him to open it.  I almost wish there was a zipper or something instead that wasn’t as easy for kids to open.

Overall, we loved using Hudson and my son kept asking for the story over and over again.  I loved how easy it was to set up and use, and when I tested it with some friends who had kids with special needs and an AAC app, they loved how it gave their son a voice.

BlueBee Pals are available online from the BlueBee Pals website and from Toys R Us, Walmart and other retailers RRP $64.99

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.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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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