Abigail’s Tales: First Day by Dabster Entertainment – Review



 

What we love…

beautifully illustrated book that tells us about Abigail’s day and her nervousness about it as well as all the ways she no longer needs to feel nervous.  Sharing ways not to be nervous was my son’s favorite part.

What we’d love to see…

way to customize the games so they didn’t get so hard quickly and ability to turn off the time

Summary

This is a beautifully illustrated book and game app which will help kids get over their jitters before the first day of school.  I can’t wait to try it with my older son before he goes back to school in the fall.

Our Rating

[APP ICON] Abigail’s Tales: First Day is the story of Abigail and her first day of second grade.  When she wakes up, she realizes it’s the first day of school and she begins to get nervous about it.  Abigail begins to get nervous about her funny feeling in her stomach, her mom reassures her about her first day of school and calls them butterflies.  Abigail gets ready for school and meets her classmates in Ms. Brady’s class.    This app features word highlighting, narration and beautiful illustrations.  It is both a storybook and a game.  The app features a typical second grade day including lunch, a field trip and time with friends.  The app includes a matching game and an opposite game.  The matching game has pictures and items to match.  The opposites game requires you to match up words.

I liked the reminders on how to help Abigail prepare for her first day, deep breaths, good thoughts, a uniform that is similar to other kids. A hug from Mom helps make the butterflies go away as she heads to class.  I also liked the story, it reminded me of somethings I might have done or my older son might have done like running around on the playground.  It’s great to see Abigail with her friends in the story and she’s no longer nervous about going to school.  First day jitters are always so hard for my kids – and I’m hoping when August rolls around that we will be able to read the story and remember that the first day is just another day.  I liked hearing that Abigail liked cats – I prompted my son to what he would say and he said art and lunch!  The ending also made me laugh when Abigail puts a special surprise in Jake’s pocket!  I also liked that kids could choose to have narration on/off/restart as well as the text highlighting on or off depending on their reading level.

In terms of enhancements, the games did get hard quickly.  The timer made my son a bit nervous the first few times he played.  I did like that the app adapted and made it harder or easier for him.

There are no in-app purchases, external links or advertising contained within the app.  This app is best for early grade school or perhaps older if kids are nervous before the first day.

This is a beautifully illustrated book and game app which will help kids get over their jitters before the first day of school.  I can’t wait to try it with my older son before he goes back to school in the fall.

Google Play
Amazon


Abigail's Tales: First Day
Abigail's Tales: First Day
by Dabster Entertainment LLC

Category: Education, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone5-iPhone5, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, 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, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 294.51 MB

$0.99USD

Screenshots
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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.

 

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.



Zap Zap Math – K6 Math Games by Visual Math Interactive Sdn. Bhd. – Review



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

Fun easy to use leveled math app that encouraged my son to practice his math skills

What we’d love to see…

ability to test out of content your child may already be familiar with, ability to turn off the sound affects within the app

Summary

I am looking forward to continuing to use the app with my son for his remaining homework assignments before school lets out and during the summer for part of his screen time to ensure that he stays on track with his math skills.

Our Rating

Zap Zap Math - K6 Math GamesZap Zap Math – K6 Math Games by Visual Math Interactive Sdn. Bhd. is a universal app for iOS that focuses on #commoncore math skills.  The free app with gated in-app purchases (IAP) includes content for children from kindergarten through sixth grade to learn, master and be quizzed on math materials using games.  The app itself contains over 150 games and over 180 math subtopics and is common core aligned to the Ontario Curriculum for Mathematics.  For purposes of the review, I was given a full user ID and tested using second grade material since that is the grade my older son is in.   The premium subscription is $9.99 USD and is charged on an annual basis.  For those that purchase the full subscription there is also a web-based dashboard so you can check on your child’s progress.

Skills practiced within the app include:  Addition, Subtraction, Fractions, Ratios, Multiplication, Geometry, Coordinates, Measurements, Angles, Time.  Each “year” within the app is a full school year’s worth of content which is fantastic for home practice during homework time, for homeschooling families or simply to prevent the “summer slide”.

Within the app, there are four different skill areas to use: training, accuracy, speed, mission.  There is no spoken language contained within the app, but there are written directions as well as video tutorials to show you what to do for each of the mini games.  After completing problems correctly, the words “good job” or stars are flashed on the screen.  After taking the quiz, you are shown the results of your work as well as given a time bonus (if completed faster than allowed) to give you a total score.

  • Training – this is the area where your child learns the skill and gets a tutorial about how to do it.
  • Accuracy – your child uses the skill to answer questions faster and more accurately
  • Speed Building – the skill itself is learned and now the focus is on completing the task in a faster manner
  • Mission – this brings all the pieces together when you rocket into outer space with a fun mini game

One of the things we liked was that there was a tutorial for each type of game.  This made sure we understood how to play it because it included step by step directions and a sample problem for you to complete.  My son in particular enjoyed the hive game as he had to connect different equations together to complete the problem.  At the end of each mission, you see your accuracy and score as well as a number of “Z” coins which are in app currency to purchase items.  We also liked the wide variety of games and frankly the huge amount of free content available to users without purchasing a subscription.  This app really allowed you to “try before you buy”.

In terms of enhancements, it would be nice if there were a way to “test” out of content.  My son was familiar in some cases with the content and kept telling me how “boring” it was to have to relearn a skill that he already knew.   I also would like to be able to turn off the background sound within the app, my son found the ticking and various noises distracting so we ended up muting our device, but it would be nice if there was an easier way to do it.  I’d also like a collaboration space, my son’s math curriculum is very visually based and several times he actually wanted to use the number line or draw out the math problem.  You can see the number line in the training mode, but you can’t manipulate it which was something he requested.  I would also like to see a parent gated area that contains the rating as well as a way to see the dashboard from my device in a future release.

Zap Zap Math

Above is a screenshot of a sample dashboard that shows what skills each student is practicing along with accuracy, amount of time played, number of attempts.  You can also click through to get a more detailed report.

I am looking forward to continuing to use the app with my son for his remaining homework assignments before school lets out and during the summer for part of his screen time to ensure that he stays on track with his math skills.  This is a great app to try and see if it works for your family, the $9.99 in app purchase/annually seems affordable for the amount of content contained within the app.  There are external links, however, they are parental gated.

Zap Zap Math/a>

Zapzapmath School : K-6 Games
Zapzapmath School : K-6 Games
by Visual Math Interactive Sdn. Bhd.

Category: Education, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with 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, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 270.65 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
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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.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.

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

 

recommended-by-the-imums

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 way as kids learn to spell independently. This game tracks individual spelling progress and adapts the.




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!

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