PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro) by 77Sparx Studio, Inc. – Review


What we love…

Great variety of high interest puzzle themes introducing lots of basic and advanced vocabulary.

What we’d love to see…

A choice of lower or upper case for display of vocabulary words.

Summary

A unique puzzle and mini-game app that is engaging and meaningful with enormous amount of content for building a rich vocabulary.

Our Rating

PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro) is more than just a puzzle app. It is an extensive vocabulary app where the subjects are presented through different types of toddler and preschool puzzles. And these are not the average puzzles that you find in other puzzle apps. The puzzles in Puzzingo are both engaging and meaningful while the gameplay is ingenious. I’m totally impressed.

The vocabulary words are grouped according to themes or categories which helps children develop skills in sorting and classifying objects. Besides learning the name and sound of each object, they also learn what goes together. You can help your child to gain more knowledge and develop analytical skills by highlighting the similarities or relationship between the different objects.

Each themed pack of puzzles consists of 7 groups of puzzles focusing on 7 different topics within the theme e.g. the core concepts pack includes puzzles on shapes, colors, numbers, counting, emotions, alphabet and weather. Currently there is a total of 22 puzzle packs included in the app covering core concepts, food, professions, holidays, animals, space, life of toys, bugs, pets, dinosaurs, pirates, princesses & fairies, sports, music, fairy tales, super heroes, cars, trains, airplanes, trucks and candy kingdom. What is important to note is that there is a wide variety of high interest themes for younger children to choose from.

From an educator’s perspective, I like that the words introduced in each group help to build a rich vocabulary. Learners can see the print (in upper case) and hear the associated word read aloud when they touch each object puzzle, which in turn helps with labelling and word recognition. It is a great app for use in speech therapy. Besides learning the US English language, learners can also learn the vocabulary in Spanish, UK English, Chinese and Japanese. 

While I’m impressed with the enormous amount of content that kids can potentially learn from the app, what I find refreshing is the format of the app’s gameplay – how it extends the play from one puzzle game to another meaningfully.

Each pack of puzzles consist of 2 types of puzzles, 1-piece puzzles and layered puzzles. Each 1-piece puzzles are easy to complete but each of these puzzle piece brings players to a more challenging layered puzzle. The layered puzzles show the many parts and layers that make up the object shown on the 1-piece puzzle piece. Players learn the names of these parts as they build the object puzzle piece-by-piece. In some cases, the parts could be items that are associated with the theme. For example, the soccer puzzle game introduces terms like goalie, goal, photographer, camera, signs, cone, players, injured player, medics, forward, midfielder, defender, soccer ball, jersey, cleats and shin guards.

Regardless the total number of puzzle pieces that kids have to put in place in order to complete a puzzle game, the app presents only 2 pieces at any one time so that kids won’t get overwhelmed. Another toddler-friendly support comes in the form of prompts that show kids where to place the puzzle piece when they placed the piece incorrectly repeatedly.

Once a puzzle game is completed, players are rewarded with an interactive mini-game that helps them to explore further on the theme. Kids can fly an airplane, conduct a band, dress up a character, score a goal, feed a dinosaur, drive a vehicle, play with the toys and many more activities. The games are varied and deliver so much fun with their cute animations and sound effects that they may just overshadow the puzzles in terms of popularity with kids. Repeat play is guaranteed.

If you have a preschooler at home, you definitely need to get Puzzingo. The free version Puzzingo Puzzles offers 7 sets of puzzles and mini-games and a free daily puzzle from one of the themed puzzle packs that is available for purchase. You can purchase individual puzzle packs or an All-Access Pass. This Pass allows your child to play with more than 150 puzzles and enjoy new content and games through regular updates. The latest update for the 2017 Holidays offers the Trucks Puzzles pack and Toys Puzzles pack which are perfect gifts for the holiday season!

With Puzzingo, completing a puzzle becomes meaningful and purposeful. Preschoolers are exposed to lots of vocabulary words from a wide range of topics while reaping the benefits of completing puzzles like spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, matching and fine-motor skills. With so much content in a single app, I’m positive that your preschoolers will have many favorite puzzles to keep them busy learning and playing.

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PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro)
Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles
Google Play
Amazon


Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles by 77Sparx Studio, Inc.

Price: $FREE

• Featured by Apple
Do your kid and toddler like puzzles? How about an educational puzzle game that is fun, packed with learning, and played by 8 million families around the world? Checkout Puzzingo.

 

 

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.

Toddler & Kids Learning Games by Clapenjoy SRL – Review


What we love…

Activities that help develop early science thinkers.

What we’d love to see…

A harvesting step to complete the plant life cycle and parents’ guide.

Summary

This is a fun app that stimulates preschoolers’ curiosity to find out how nature works.

Our Rating

Toddler & Kids Learning Games by Clapenjoy SRL is the perfect companion app for curious preschoolers to discover the wonders of nature that are all around them. What they learn in the app can be easily linked to what they observe in the real world.
 
There are 4 nature-based learning activities in the app. Through these activities, kids imagine what happens when temperature changes, grow their own vegetables and fruits, witness the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly and feed baby birds. They also learn about the life cycle of plants, butterflies and birds, and what is needed for healthy growth. All these information is presented in cute animation.
 

Besides the age-appropriate educational content, I like that the app frequently prompts young learners to think about what item or action is needed next. You can talk about the 3 options given and guide your child’s thinking process in choosing the correct option. As the answer options change at every play session, you can have different discussions deliberating and explaining why some answers are good choices and why others are not.
 

Another point that I like is that there are many opportunities for children to make decisions while playing the app e.g. which outfit to wear, what vegetables to plant, which fancy watering can to use, which fruit tree to grow and what color should the butterfly be.
 

This app is easy for young children to navigate, with prompts given when they are stuck. Players proceed from one learning section to the next seamlessly and there is no need for instructions. Simple finger actions like tapping, dragging and rubbing are all that is needed to activate a response from the app. There is also no time limit or score keeping in the activities.
 

In addition to the nature-based educational games, kids can also have fun with puzzles, memory match games and coloring pages that are based on the nature activities.

Digital puzzles take away the frustrations that some younger children experience when they don’t have the fine-motor skills to manipulate a physical puzzle yet. With digital puzzles, children continue to reap the benefits of putting together a puzzle like hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills . Each puzzle in this app starts with 4 pieces. It gets more difficult with increasing number of pieces. But you can change the level of difficulty at any time by tapping on the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ on-screen buttons. In total, there are 30 puzzles of varying difficulty levels in the app to be solved.
 

The 24 memory cards games included in the app are also presented in increasing levels of difficulty, from 4 to 12 cards per set. Similarly, you can adjust the number of cards in each game. The memory cards are randomly generated and players get a different set of cards each time they play. These games are great for concentration and improving memory.

Coloring activities are always popular with preschoolers and having some sessions on digital coloring pages that are easier to complete can help kids achieve success and boost their self-esteem (especially when you keep a screenshot of their masterpiece). The 11 coloring pages in this app come with 4 coloring tools, an eraser and 13 color options. The paint brush, crayons and color pencils are standard offerings but the rub-and-color magic wand will be great for younger kids.
 

The app is free to download and kids can play with the vegetable garden activity right away. The free app also comes with a puzzle, a memory card game and a coloring page for your child to try. The other 3 nature-based activities can be unlocked with an in-app-purchase (IAP) of $1.99 . The developer keeps the app kids-friendly by giving users the option to disable the IAP from within the parent’s section. You can also turn off the background music and sound effects (like the rabbit’s springy hopping sounds) from the parent’s section. It would be great if this section can also provide parents with the key learning points that they can highlight to their children in each of the learning activities.

Nevertheless, Toddler & Kids Learning Games is still a standout among the very few early science apps that are available in the App Store for the preschool age group. It encourages young learners to ask questions about how nature works and to find their own answers. It should be renamed to reflect its area of focus. Download the free app and check it out!

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Toddler & Kids Learning Games

Toddler games 4 preschool kids Toddler games 4 preschool kids by Clapenjoy SRL

Price: $FREE

Learning games for kids to explore the natural world, an early science kids app especially designed for AGES 2 to 5. Play and learn with free preschool and kindergarten interactive games, puzzles, memory.

 

 

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.



Piiig Forest Explorer: Natural Science for Kids by Piiig Inc. – Review



iPad Screenshot 3

What we love…

Beautiful graphics, fun and simple with easily digestible trivia for the very young

What we’d love to see…

audio replay button, completed puzzle interactivity, home button, volume settings

Summary

A excellent primary science app introducing children to  forest animals and their habitats

Our Rating

 

Piiig Forest Explorer:... iconForest Explorer by Piiig Inc., developers of award winning Piiig Labs, is an app designed to introduce little ones to the few forest animals. It is an early science app, best suited for children up to first grade, and can be played in 8 different languages: English, French, Japanese, German, Swedish, Russian, and Chinese.  Read our review of one of the other apps in the story, Piiig Labs.

The game begins with a chipmunk peacefully sleeping inside its burrow. When you tap on the chipmunk it awakens and scampers up, revealing that the opening to its burrow is a hole in a tree stump. Now it’s time to explore the forest to search for food and meet some new friends. Guide the chipmunk by tapping the area on the screen you want it to go to.

On the top left of the screen, you will see a grayed-out puzzle of a chipmunk. Clicking on it will reveal 12 animal silhouettes. They are of a chipmunk, a beaver, a deer, a frog, a rabbit, a turtle, a woodpecker, two bees, a blue bird, a mole, a skunk, and a spider. All these animals, except the chipmunk, are hidden in the forest. When you find an animal, its silhouette is replaced by a full color icon of the animal, and a puzzle featuring it is unlocked. As for the chipmunk, you have to figure out what special action it needs to perform to unlock its icon and puzzle.

The puzzle consists of 16 large pieces. The pieces are revealed one at a time, and the game will guide you where to put the very first piece. Subsequent pieces revealed will always connect with one that is already placed on the puzzle board. You have 6 seconds to figure out where to place the new piece before the app tells you exactly where to put it. After all the pieces have been placed, the puzzle comes to life with a cute little animation. The animal’s name is shown in colorful letters, and an audio plays that tells you something interesting about that animal. For example, you will learn that frogs drink water through their skin and lay eggs that hatch into tadpoles underwater.

Guiding the chipmunk around is simple and a lot of fun. You can direct it to different objects to see if it will interact with it. It will climb trees, hop on rocks, run inside hollow tree trunks, eat berries, and more. You may also find something different happening in a scene that you have visited before. For example, the deer family can either be sleeping or grazing when you come upon them.

Would I recommend this app?  Absolutely!  It does a fantastic job of introducing children to forest animals and their habitats.  If you have young children, this is definitely worth checking out.

Forest Explorer is excellent for little ones. They are a few thing that I feel would make it even better. First, I think that there should be a replay button so that children can hear the animal trivia again if they want to without having to exit the puzzle and solve it all over again. Second, I think it would be great if the completed puzzle would include some interactivity to enhance learning. Children would benefit from hearing and seeing the name of the objects they tap on. On the frog puzzle, for example, children should be able to tap on the frogs, tadpoles, water/pond, and lily pads. Third, I would like a home button to return to the home screen, so that parents can access the settings without having to exit or close the game completely. Finally, the settings should also include a volume control or toggle switch for the background music and audio. I found that the background music was sometimes too loud, overpowering or competing with the animal trivia audio, which is more important for children to hear and listen to.

A excellent primary science app introducing children to  forest animals and their habitats.



Piiig Forest Explorer: Natural Science for Kids Piiig Forest Explorer: Natural Science for Kids by Piiig Inc.

Price: $2.99 USD

*Please check before downloading* --> NOT compatible with iPhone 3G/3GS, iPhone 4/4S, iPad (1st generation), iPad 2, iPad Mini (1st generation) & iPod touch (1st to 5th generation).

Did you know.

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.



My Cat at Home in the Wild by Jennifer Rogala- Review and Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

Hand painted illustrations, how the book shows the parallels between domestic and wild cat behavior.

What we’d love to see…

Word highlighting as it is read, options to turn off narration and background music

Summary

This book app featuring a house cat called Kingsley and a variety of wild felines will be a hit with young animal lovers. The story does not have any interactivity but does feature an interactive game, puzzles and an opportunity to learn more about wild cats.

Our Rating

My Cat At Home In The Wild My Cat at Home in the Wild is the first book app from children’s author Jennifer Rogala and is based on her print book of the same name. It is accompanied by hand painted illustrations from artist Dwight Kirkland. As well as the story the book also includes some extras-  a game, jigsaw puzzles, and information about big cats. The story does not contain any interactive elements- it is more like an eBook, all the interactive elements are in the extras. The story is narrated, there is no “read by myself” option. I really like the background music – it has a slow drumbeat and haunting feel, that reminds me of Native American music. The narration and music can not be switched off without muting the iPad.

The story introduces the reader to a grey tabby named Kingsley. Kingsley is an indoor city cat, but her owner imagines that she dreams of being in the forest, jungle or savannah like her wild cousins. The story tells us not only about Kingsley’s daily life, activities and quirks but also about wild cats who do similar things. e.g. “She climbs the curtains, like a snow leopard climbing the icy mountains of Asia.” At the start of the book each page is accompanied by a painting of Kingsley, as the story progresses many of the illustrations are split screen showing both Kingsley and one of her wild cousins behaving similarly.

iPad Screenshot 2

I liked the parallels the book draws between wild and domestic cats, the peaceful background music and the hand painted illustrations. I would like to see some options added to support emerging readers- word highlighting as it is read and ability to switch off the narration. I also felt that the narration seemed rushed at times, so I’d like it read at a sightly more relaxed pace. Much as I like the background music it would be good to be able to lower it or switch it off for children who find background music distracting.

Extras

In the story children are introduced to a whole range of wild felines including familiar ones and others that may be new to them. If their interest is piqued they can learn more in the “Big Cats” section. This has a picture, information and sound recording for eight types of wild cats featured in the book: lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, pumas, servals and caracals.

iPad Screenshot 4

Game

The reader is shown a picture of Kingsley from the book and challenged to find the matching picture of a wild cat doing a similar action. This is a fun activity and also acts to reinforce what the reader has learned in the story –  the names of the wild cats and their behavior. There are 15 pictures to match.

iPad Screenshot 3

Puzzles

Each of the 15 pictures can also be enjoyed as a 32 piece puzzle. The pieces automatically are in the correct orientation and click into place when put in the right spot. This is a fun extra but it would be nice to see an option to vary the number of pieces so that it can be enjoyed by a wider age range, as it may be hard for some of the youngest readers.

iPad Screenshot 5

Summary

My Cat at Home in the Wild is designed for children from 4-8 years old. I think it will appeal most to 3-6 year olds, but slightly older animal lovers will also enjoy it. It features Kingsley, a house cat, and a variety of wild felines, and will be a hit with young animal lovers. It features beautiful hand painted illustrations and a haunting background music track. I like how the book shows the parallels between domestic and wild cat behavior. The story does not have any interactivity but does feature an interactive game, puzzles and an opportunity to learn more about wild cats. It would be nice to see some features added to support emerging readers.

 

iTunes Link: My Cat At Home In The Wild – Jennifer Rogala

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Price: $

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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.

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).

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