ReadAskChat by ReadAskChat, Ltd. – Review

Art for “Light of Mine” (c) 2012 by Christopher Lyles

What we love…

fantastic app that encourages parents and caregivers to read with children featuring a library of curated stories, conversation starters and bright colorful artwork.  I loved that we were able to carry over and do activities after learning about them during our daily lives like stomping, slipping, sliding and being more observant

What we’d love to see…

parental lock of some sort on the cog wheel – there are no external links but my son liked to tap on it.  I would also like to see a bigger parent’s resource section included – there are a number of resources on the web but not integrated within the app.


Beautifully illustrated app that encourages active reading via the story by asking questions, making observations and learning.  Kids can also tie it to real life and role play the stories.

Our Rating

ReadAskChat is a curated library of stories designed for children from six months to age 4.  The stories feature bright artwork, text and parental cues to help parents read with their children.  I still remember the first time I sat in the rocker with my then infant son and held a black and white board book to read with him.  I felt unprepared, because I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to read with him or help him learn.   You can read our interview with co-founders Alice and Carolyn to learn more about the reasons on why ReadAskChat was created.  You can also read a paper about the science behind ReadAskChat.  This app takes it beyond your device or tablet and encourages interactive reading using conversation starters to help kids engage and learn.  Key concepts in the app include rhyming, patterning, early academics like colors, shapes, early sight words along with math and science concepts.

As I have gotten to be a mom of two – reading with my kids has gotten easier.  They both know when it’s bedtime – we have 15-30 minutes depending on the day that we sit, snuggle and look at books.  We practice things like how to hold the book, turning pages from front to back as well as moving with the text via songs, pointing to objects and just handling a book.  In this digital age, it’s also important to consider that books are available on tablets, smartphones and other devices meaning that downtime doesn’t just have to mean that your child “plays” on your phone — you can turn it into educational time.

Here’s a snippet from Carolyn about the idea behind ReadAskChat

 The inspiration for ReadAskChat comes from personal experience. My husband and I are adoptive parents, and when our daughter Jiji came home at 9 months, she was clinically failure to thrive. She couldn’t hold her little head up or babble, or reach for shiny objects—things that 9-month-olds should be doing. But after only one month of reading picture books, singing songs, playing and snuggling, and “chatting” about anything and everything, Jiji was a fully caught up and happy 10-month-old.

When we read using my tablet or smartphone – one of the first things I do is to turn on the “night shift mode” which changes colors to be more easy on your eyes and less stimulating for children.  I also love that the app can change depending on which child I am reading with – meaning I can choose prompts for my toddler or my older son while reading the same story.  When you open the app, there are three free stories that are included in the library.  Additional stories are available for purchase.  Each story includes “conversation starters” – these are based on the developmental level of your child and can range from suggesting you bounce your baby in time with the rhythm of the story or music to questions you can ask your kids to prompt them to engage more with the story.

iPad Screenshot 1

Using your device, you login to the app to access the library.  For purposes of the review I was given access to the full library of stories.  When you use the app for the first time on your device or a new device you are prompted to download the stories.  The Starter Pack includes, “Light of Mine”, “Animal Tails” and “The Old Man in the Tree”.  In the subscription based version other stories are categorized by Big Ideas, Special Friends, Indoor Mischief, On The Move, Action Rhymes, Math Stories, Science Stories.  You also choose the developmental level for the conversation starters.  They range from baby (six to 18 months);  toddler (12-24 months); preschooler (2 -4 years).  As we have gotten more familiar with the stories we have recently changed from toddler to preschooler level to help him continue to follow along and be engaged.

“Mario’s Trucks” illustrated by Hyewon Yum

My toddler aged son loves anything to do with cars and trucks and things that go.  We typically let him pick a story and then I choose one.  One of his favorites is Mario’s Trucks – which includes descriptive text like “Raise that Shovel!  Dig that hole”.  I typically read to him and then we talk about what we see in the photo – things like a yellow dump truck, a hard hat that Mario is wearing, a yellow digger and blocks and a crane.  The conversation starters also encourage parents to add the sounds to the story and then the “ask” which encourages kids to think about what the truck does – my toddler answered carries and dumps.    You are also prompted as you read to chat about what Mario might be building – my son said “tower”.  We talked about it being a construction site on the first page.  I also loved using the app to guide off-device play where we re-enacted specific stories that my son identified with.  The illustrations in the app are beautiful and encourage kids to look and pay attention to details.  The stories appeal to children and are not too overwhelming in terms of new information that is shared on a page.  They also gently encourage sleep or relaxation at the end.  At the end of the story you can either slide to the next story or close out of the app.

I loved the wide variety of content that was included in the app and that my son was engaged and learning from stories – which we could look at no matter where we were at a point in time.  I actually found myself reading more with my son because I could pull out my iPhone or tablet while we were waiting for appointments or had short periods of downtime.  He loved tapping on the screen to show me what he was seeing – and I liked hearing what he saw in the photos and engaged.  Both of us became more engaged with stories – rather than him sitting in my lap passively to hear a story.  In addition, I recently read to my son’s classroom  and used ReadAskChat along with a software which was able to reflect my screen onto a whiteboard so that the group of kids could participate.  Although the app is designed for more 1:1 or 1:2 use it was fun to use in a class because it encouraged open ended conversations and allowed kids to really engage with the story.  As kids get bigger you can encourage them to help swipe and actively pick out sight words, look at the images within the stories and pick out specific details or even find an object or color within the image.  With my son as we read the stories and he’s become more familiar – we now sometimes play “I spy” to see the details that we might have previously missed.  One of the other things that I really enjoyed was the conversation starters to help me encourage my son to better engage with the story.  Another feature I liked was the “swipe lock” which made it so my son couldn’t accidentally move forward beyond pages that I wanted him to be on.   The app also lets you favorite stories using a heart at the bottom – my son quickly learned about this and we picked out his favorites and then we were able to scan for the hearts when picking a bedtime story.  I also really liked the descriptive words used within the app to tell a story which tied to the picture.  Words like  “slip and glide” for my son were new – so we actually practiced them by sliding our feet on the rug.

In terms of enhancements – I would love to see a section for parents to understand more about reading with their children as well as the importance. I found a number of resources on the website for Readaskchat – but they were not referenced when we used the app.  It would also be nice if the cog wheel at the top were parental gated – there are no external links but my son recognized this from other apps and wanted to touch it.

Overall, this is an app that is unique in that it actively encourages parents to teach their children while reading.  My son loved sitting on my lap and engaging – rather than passively listening to a story.  Since then I’ve noticed that when we read board books or bedtime stories he looks at the picture and we read and talk about them more – for example, find the green wall or white bunny rather than just reading the text as a more rote method of learning.

Pricing: Launch sale through December 25, 2017: Only $14.99 for the full library for one year.

LAUNCH SALE through December 25, 2017
$14.99/year (which comes to $1.25/month)

$29.99/year (which comes to $2.50/month)

**Subscribers receive a new story pack (3 selections) bimonthly in 2018.

Note: Bulk rates are available for institutions.

NOTE: This app has in-app purchases

ReadAskChat for Children 0-4 ReadAskChat for Children 0-4 by Read, Ask, Chat, Ltd.

Price: $FREE

This beautifully illustrated library includes on-demand guidance for parents in reading interactively—the tried-and-true way to foster school readiness and love of learning. Subscribers receive new .

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.

Want to win a copy? Simply enter using our Rafflecopter widget below. Must have an iTunes account and download a free copy of ReadAskChat. Open worldwide to everyone.

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We ARGH Pirates by Avokiddo Review & Giveaway

What we love…

beautiful illustrations, motley crew of characters in a fun pirate themed app with eight levels of adventure.

What we’d love to see…

removal of the pop up asking you to rate the app, an “easy mode” for younger kids who may get frustrated in some levels having to multi-task like the Bridge of Screams and Octopus and Battle Ship


Perfect for Pirate Day or any day – this app from Avokiddo delivers.  My son had hours of fun solving the adventures and pretending to be a pirate.  Argh Matey!

Our Rating

We ARGH Pirates by Avokiddo is an app for iOS and Android featuring Captain Rose and his crew.  The app features a cast of four who are searching for a adventure on the sea.  The app involves problem solving via puzzles, battle with sea monsters and digging for burred treasure.  Each of the eight levels has a different challenge to solve and a gem to find in order to advance to the next level.  Skills practiced within the app include fine motor, problem solving including planning ahead and solving each of the puzzles as well as being prepared for the unexpected.  The crew includes: Captain Rose, Claire ‘Long Hair’, Ruprecht ‘The Shovel’ and Zany Granny.  During each of the levels a specific task is required in order to advance to the next level.

Level 1: Catch the fish and magical sea bottle to move to the next level

Level 2: Run with Captain Rose and Ruprecht ‘The Shovel’ to solve puzzles along the way.  There are a variety of X marks the spot as well as challenges to solve including getting a slingshot and a sword within this level.

Level 3: It’s time to ride the high seas with a pirate ship.  You must jump over rocks and in some cases capture cannon balls to shoot through rocks which are too tall to jump over

Level  4: The lost totem, Claire and Ruprecht use the slingshot to shoot down coconuts and put the various characters to sleep and outwitting themwhile attempting to capture the jewel

Level 5: Bridge of Screams, move each of the characters across a bridge while evading the crows flying using only a red balloon!  Use your finger to move up or down to avoid the crows

Level 6: It’s the Volcano of 1,000 caves where you go through various volcano’s and move up within the volcano.  Those caves are tricky and if you go through the wrong cave you can go upwards or downwards.

Level 7:It’s time to battle the Octopus using the battle ship – what seems to start as a sedate level similar to level 3 requires jumping over rocks, capturing cannon balls then adds in a crazy Octopus which you get rid of by having Ruprecht throw buckets at.

Level 8: This level brings you to the Cave of Treasures where you dig up one last treasure chest before putting your gems to work.  This was the hardest level for my son who had trouble following the gem song which required patterning and paying attention to move forward

This is a beautifully illustrated app with top notch illustrations and a fun mystery pirate theme.  It kept my son entertained for hours as he sailed the ship and captured the required items to move on to the next level.  As a mom, I liked that it just wasn’t an app he could run through quickly but one that required thinking and problem solving to move on to the next level.  Language in the app was at a minimum which meant that if you wanted to you could mute the various sounds within the app.  I loved all the skills that were practiced in a fun way that didn’t make my kids think that they were learning.
In terms of improvements, I wish there was an “easy mode” option for younger players.  My son got frustrated a few times with various levels which required multiple interactions in the same level such as jumping the ship, catching the cannon ball and making sure you shot down the rock all in one fell swoop.  In addition, I wish you could turn off the pop up asking you to rate the app.  It is protected by the parental gate – but it was a but frustrating for my son who saw it and had to repeat the level.

Perfect for Pirate Day or any day – this app from Avokiddo delivers.  My son had hours of fun solving the adventures and pretending to be a pirate.  Argh Matey! There are no third party ads and the app is COPPA Compliant.  External content is parental gate protected. Be sure to check out the other great Avokiddo apps for kids of all ages!

We ARGH Pirates
We ARGH Pirates

Category: Entertainment, Family, Adventure, Games
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, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878, Watch4-Watch4, iPadMini5-iPadMini5, iPadMini5Cellular-iPadMini5Cellular, iPadAir3-iPadAir3, iPadAir3Cellular-iPadAir3Cellular
Size: 195.9 MB


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

Google Play

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.


If you would like to win a promo code for the iOS version of this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, 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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Nampa Holiday by Nampa Design AB – Review

What we love…

fun app with no rules with a variety of travelling related mini games and no rules just fun!

What we’d love to see…

ability to toss the beach ball and personalize all the vehicles


Each of the mini games was fun – especially once you made it to the beach on your selected mode of transportation!  Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Our Rating

Nampa Holiday Nampa Holiday by Nampa Design is a universal app for iOS and Android that features a variety of transportation to go on holiday or vacation.  The app starts with the user selecting one of three modes of transportation, an airplane, a bus or train.  Once you choose your mode of transportation – it’s time for the fun to start.  With the airplane you start at the airport where you throttle up to take off – once in the sky watch out for the clouds!  There can be rain, fun objects coming out of them like a parachute or even lightening bolts!  Steering the airplane is done via a finger – and there is a slide that allows you to control how fast or slow you want to move through the air.  Inside the airplane you can also tap on the characters as you whiz through the sky.  If you choose the bus you are brought to a screen where you can choose to paint your bus or simply decorate it with flowers, stars or paint.  Then you are ready to get on the road – you drive the bus using controls at the bottom of the screen and then make strategic stops to pick up your passengers and their luggage.  As you go along you can stop and get fuel (my kids liked the heart fuel which came out of the tailpipe.  With the train you get to choose which way the train goes via a series of junctions and even get to blast the train horn.   My kids loved making the train go through the tunnels and seeing the countryside.  The games are fun interactive and contain nothing scary for younger kids.

This app can be used to practice fine motor – dragging and dropping, language to describe what you are seeing in the scene.  This is a fun app for toddlers and preschoolers and can help pass the time in the car to avoid the dreaded “are we there yet” – as I know many parents can identify with!

Once you reach your destination it’s time to disco!  My kids loved the magical disco ball and then picking the adventure.  Putting on sunscreen, hats and bathing suits was the first game once you got to the beach. Building sandcastles was one of my kids favorite parts especially the molded sand you pulled from buckets.  They built their sandcastle creations – with the crab scuttling along in the background and then decorated them with flags, jewels, shells and stones.  The next mini game involved floating and popping the beach balls.  The banana ride was fun too where three characters sat on the banana and caught the jumps as they flew through the air.  Once the reached the end it was disco time again.   My kids also loved the tube maze where you grabbed a character and dropped them in the tubes to come down to the bottom of the maze.  You had to watch because sometimes they got stuck or even went through the maze twice!  We had fun with this one and I had my kids help me guess where the character might come out.  We also tried the same character over and over to see if they were always going to go the same way – which they did not.

I liked the simplicity of the app – and that my younger son was engaged with it.  He could pick his favorite vehicle and be off for fun!  There is no speech or text for kids to read which means it’s fun with no rules!

In terms of enhancements, I’d love to see a “toss the beach ball” game instead of popping the beach ball.  Although my kids enjoyed it – and creating the spinning characters it was a bit hard for them to complete the first few times.  I’d also like to see the ability to personalize the train and the airplane like we did with the bus.

The app provided hours of entertainment for my kids — especially my toddler who would play for short moments while I needed to attend to other tasks. There are no ads or in app purchases contained within the app.   Each of the mini games was fun – especially once you made it to the beach!  I also love how it made my toddler remind me not to forget to sunscreen him!

Nampa Holiday Nampa Holiday by Nampa Design AB

Price: $2.99 USD

Here it is, the app that makes the travel distances feel shorter, rainy days sunnier and applying sun lotion one of the best parts of the vacation! And all this without ads or in-app purchases.

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.

Code Drop 10/14/17

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


Note: This review was previously posted in April 2017, we have simply slightly updated the review to include the new area as well as to offer a giveaway!

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


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.

iPhone Screenshot 3Up 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!

iPad Screenshot 3

UPDATE:  As of July 2017, Dr. Panda has launched a new Restaurant area where you can play music, sit and have a meal, prepare a few of your favorites in the kitchen like baked potato, pizza, fresh vegetables and more.  Once cooked they can either be boxed for takeout or put on a plate for eating in the restaurant area.  Among the activities are setting the table with silverware, putting lit (or unlit) candles on the table, touch the clock to switch the time, read a newspaper and more.  I also liked the healthy food options including vegetables, ability to wash dishes, ability to touch to turn on/off lights, the fan for cooking and more.  Super fun update!

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.  Just until July 27, you can purchase the Restaurant area for only $0.99 IAP, after that it will revert to full price of $1.99.

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

Price: $FREE

Let your imagination run wild and discover Dr. Panda Town! Step outside the house and go to the supermarket, restaurant, police station and more.

Discover every part of Dr. Panda.

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

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite the original review, however, we were not paid to update this review.  This post may contain affiliate links which helps to support the site.


Want a chance to win a  copy of Dr. Panda Town and and the new Restaurant section?  You can enter via a comment on this post.  The comment must say where you are from and why you want to win the prize.    Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is to everyone, everywhere that has a valid iTunes account. A valid legal name and email address are required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!