Sunset Train 3D – top fun railroad simulator game for kids By Jeremy Horton – Review & Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

beautiful graphics, relaxing app designed to encourage sleep in young children; really loved the timer feature which allowed you to set how long the app could be played

What we’d love to see…

additional characters, ability to stop the train while in motion as well as visit favorite “spots” during the app after it is completed

Summary

Delightful app that encourages sleep in young children and special needs children especially those craving a routine.  Love that the time automatically finishes up the game with all the animals at home in bed.

Our Rating

Night Night Train - Top Relaxing Bedtime Story Game For KidsSunset Train by Jeremy Horton is a universal app for iOS designed for toddlers, preschoolers and others who like to have a routine for bedtime.  This app is bright and colorful and as the different passengers are picked up  and dropped off the pace of the app slows down to encourage your child that bedtime will be soon.  The app features an adjustable length (10, 15 or 20 minutes), musical soundtrack as well as narration in English.  The app features a countryside with a driver Wolfie going around to pick up the different animals and bring them home safely.  Wolfie provides an ongoing narration throughout the app as well as driving the train and says polite hello and goodbye to all the animals boarding.

One of my favorite features of the app was the ability to set the time limit and it was easy to change on the fly meaning you could sometimes play longer than others.  This meant that there would be no “fight” at the end of the app – simply when the story was completed the time on the iPad was done.  I also liked that you could turn down the narration and music and that the voices got softer and softer as the end of the app neared.  This app can be helpful for establishing routines especially with preschoolers and toddlers who may fight bedtime.  I also heard that it has been very helpful with special needs children as it helps them to set a routine at bedtime and encourage them to go to sleep in a timely manner.  I also liked that the app provided choices of which passenger you wanted to drop off first via a pop up at the bottom of the screen.  I also added to the app by explaining what each of the characters did –  for example the bakers made bread which encouraged my son to remember which characters were picked up where and what they did in future times of playing it.  The graphics in this app were incredible and featured bright vibrant colors which dulled as the night went on signaling bedtime.

In terms of improvements – I found that once we played through the app the content did get a bit stale after a while as the characters did not change.  This means that the audience for the app will generally be toddlers, preschoolers or special needs children who crave the “routine” of a bedtime story completion.  My son also wished that he could make the train go faster or slower, once you tap the button to start the train moving, it will continue to move without anything being touched or tapped.  He also wished he could revisit the “nighttime tunnel” which is featured at the beginning of the app – the only way he figured out how to was to restart the app.  I’d also like to see a future version with an option for the words to be narrated on the screen in a true storybook type.  My son also wanted to know if he could sit the characters where he wanted versus the app placing them in specific seats – I explained that specific seats were assigned and then he wanted to know why they didn’t have pictures to show where they belonged.

Overall, this app is well designed for parents of preschoolers and toddlers who need routines especially to help them prepare for bedtime.  This app can also be very helpful for children with special needs including autism as it provides concrete reinforcement that at the end of the time limit (10,15, 20) minutes that the app is completed and all the animals are home and in bed.  It can also be used to teach the social skill of saying hello and goodbye to others as well since this is repeated over and over again within the app.

Sunset Train 3D - top fun railroad simulator game for kids
Sunset Train 3D - top fun railroad simulator game for kids
by Jeremy Horton

Category: Games, Entertainment, Family, Simulation
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPadWifi-iPadWifi, iPad3G-iPad3G, iPodTouchThirdGen-iPodTouchThirdGen, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 104.46 MB

$4.99USD

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 two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.


Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by i Read With – Review and Giveaway



Curious George

What we love…

Graded conversation starters and comprehension questions to engage young readers of different ages.

What we’d love to see…

Read-along text highlighting and more Living Words.

Summary

Another delightful eBook from the i Read With series that gets parents and children reading together and interacting more during their shared reading time.

Our Rating

This is a story of Curious George being left alone at home as the Man with the Yellow Hat went about preparing for a surprise. George found hats, games, decorations and a cake, and wondered if the surprise was a party. He tried to help but he created a mess instead. Fortunately for everyone, he managed to clear the mess and found out, to his surprise, that the birthday party was for him.

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All kids love a birthday story and they will enjoy reading about Curious George’s silly antics over and over again. There are 3 ways to enjoy this book – Listen, Read & Talk and Theater. The Listen mode is the familiar Read-to-Me mode with narrated text and prompts to the interactive spots. There are up to 3 Living Words on each of its 17 pages. Touching the Living Words will bring them to life and animate the object/animal (that the word represents) in the story at the same time. This mode is perfect for the child reading alone. It would be great if read-along text highlighting is added.

This is an app that has been specially designed with the parent in mind. The Read & Talk mode gives you the opportunity to read the story and initiate conversations as you share the story. It provides you with a question or comment on every page for engaging your child. The questions are great for promoting reading comprehension and the comments are wonderful conversation starters. You can also personalize the reading experience by recording over the audio for the Living Words and choosing avatars for yourself (both father and mother avatars are available) and your child.

The app is set up to encourage children to read the book again and again and it grows with the child. There are 3 reading levels with the higher levels offering more Living Words and more advanced questions/ comments with the ability to record your child’s response. As your child reads more, he will also unlock more stickers which he can play with in the Theater. The Theater is where your child can create and record his own story using puppets and scenes from the story. There are 4 scenes to choose from and up to 15 stickers to use. It’s a wonderful storytelling activity for kids to recall or extend the story.

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I really like that this eBook is so packed with wonderful features for both the parent and the child to make the shared reading experience an enjoyable and fulfilling one. You have a children’s favourite character, a birthday theme, a classic story with different levels of reading and hands-on parents guide all conveniently packed in an app, what more can you ask for in an eBook? It is a great book for all curious learners and a must-have for any Curious George fan!

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Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by i Read With – Tribal Nova

Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by i Read With Curious George and the Birthday Surprise by i Read With by Tribal Nova
Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 73.55 MB

$2.99USD

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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.

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.


Music4Kids – Learn, create and compose music through play by Olivier Romanetti – Review and Giveaway



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What we love…

Intuitive interface for writing music which allows kids to see and hear the music that they have written.

What we’d love to see…

Lessons on music notation, more gradual progression for the challenges, ability to share the music and parental gate to the Settings.

Summary

Exceptional app for learning how to read and write music in different musical styles. With lots of ear training exercises for better listening skills, concentration and memory recall, this is a great app for all children.

Our Rating

All kids love to create their own simple tunes and hear them over and over again, and if you can give them something to record their tunes in a written form (musical notation) with a playback capability, you can be sure that they will be inspired to create even more music. To me, Music4Kids is not just another music making game app for kids, what I see is an exceptional app for introducing the basics of music composition and developing young music lovers.

In this app, you and your kids can learn about musical notation, pitch and rhythm which are enough to start you on your music composing exploration. What I especially like is that Music4Kids touches on various musical styles which form the mood of the music that we compose. These are presented in 5 different planets (Birdy, Hamster, Octopus, Fox and Ghost), e.g. the Fox Planet features tunes based on the pentatonic scale, which is popular with rock and blues guitarists and commonly used in oriental music. Even though this was not explored in the music making section, I’m hoping that kids will become curious and want to learn more about the different scales and keys in their music lessons.

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There are 4 sections in this app that are accessible to children – written lessons on music notation, Make a Tune, Challenges and My Tunes. Kids are introduced to notes, clef, pitch, sharp/flat, duration and rests in music but these won’t mean anything to beginners until they start experimenting with these, first by making their own tunes in Make a Tune section then reproducing the music in the Challenges section. It would be ideal if there are some simple lessons to reinforce these new concepts in the beginning.

Make a Tune is where kids get to explore music making by first choosing a note value and tapping on the staff to create a series of notes. As they add each note, they see the name of the note and its corresponding sound. As they review the tune (by having the app play the music), they can move the notes to change the pitch, add a sharp/flat, change the rhythm, remove any unwanted notes or add rests, wherever they want and as many times as they wish. They can then proceed to save the tune in My Tunes section. My Tunes section itself comes with 7 sample tunes and together with the saved tunes, kids can modify or extend to create more compositions.

Watch this video to see how to compose a tune in the app.

I like that the notes are interactive in this app in that kids can hear how each note sounds like by simply tapping on it. With lots of play on the app, they will begin to recognize the notes both by sight and sound. All these will make their music learning so much easier and fun. Free play is encouraged in the Make a Tune section and I recommend that kids have lots of time playing here to familiarise themselves with how the different notes sound before heading to the Challenge section.

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In the Challenges section, kids are challenged to write out the tune played by the app. They have to get the exact pitch and rhythm plus correctly placed rests to complete each challenge before they can move on the next. This may be difficult for beginners at first but with your help (it helps if the child sings the tune as he puts notes on the staff), they will gain more confidence and begin to enjoy solving the music puzzles. Adults may find these puzzles interesting and great as brain exercises as well.

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Each challenge can be played repeatedly for better grading (Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies) and there is a total of 140 unique challenges to play (28 challenges in each of the 5 planets). With so many ear training practices, your child’s listening skills, concentration and memory recall can only get better. On the other hand, ear training is a must for every music student and with lots of practice, being able to play by ear is no longer an impossible dream.

 

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Some extras included in this app that I would like to highlight are the 11 language options (English US/UK, French, Spanish, German, Portugese, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese), playback on 4 music instruments (music box, piano, funny piano and vrillophone) and choice of slow/fast tempo.

Overall, this is a great app to give to young music students to complement their formal music lessons. It is also a good app to use to introduce and create interest in music composition for beginners. So If you wish to nurture your children’s interest in music learning and composition, you should seriously check out Music4Kids.

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Music4Kids Lite – Learn, create and compose music through play – Olivier Romanetti

Music4Kids Lite - Learn, create and compose music through play Music4Kids Lite - Learn, create and compose music through play by Olivier Romanetti
Category: Education, Entertainment
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPadWifi-iPadWifi, iPad3G-iPad3G, iPodTouchThirdGen-iPodTouchThirdGen, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 39.13 MB

$FREE

Music4Kids – Learn, create and compose music through play – Olivier Romanetti

Music4Kids - Learn and compose music through play Music4Kids - Learn and compose music through play by Olivier Romanetti
Category: Education, Music
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 58.86 MB

$2.99USD

Giveaway

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.


Quick Fractions by Shiny Things – Review




iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

good drills, easy to play, plenty of opportunities to practice fractions, smile yet engaging
interface

What we’d love to see…

ability to disable the Game Center, even better handwriting recognition

Summary

This is an excellent app for those who want to get better at fractions and for those enjoy
math challenges.

Our Rating

Quick Fractions

Quick Fractions is the newest addition to Shiny Things Apps’ series of math games which include Quick Math, Quick Math+, and Quick Clocks. Quick Fractions aims to strengthen mathematical skills in fractions through rapid drills and some fun and friendly competition.

There are four different drills included in the app: equivalence, comparison, addition + subtraction, and multiplication + division. Each of these has four difficulty levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and extreme. The extreme level requires knowledge in percents and decimals in relation to fractions. Players input their answers by writing anywhere on the screen. This is great because it makes it easy to enter answers. The drawback is that players must input it in a way that the game recognizes what was written. There were times my child wrote a number and although it looked legible to me, the app did not recognize it.

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There are a total of ten problems to be solved per game and the goal is to solve them all correctly as quickly as possible. Problems may be skipped, but it will cost the player an incorrect answer and incurred time. After a game is played, the app shows the player’s time and a reward of one, two, or three stars. The player with the fastest time goes to the top of the leaderboard. Players can also challenge their friends to beat their fastest time. This gives players the option to compete against a friend or group of friends instead of against the general public. I would also like to see an option to disable the Game Center completely and have only the player’s own high scores displayed on the leaderboard. Some players may be more encouraged by competing against themselves and seeing their own scores on the leaderboard rather than by competing with others.

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Some neat features are included in this app. A progress chart allows players to track their times on all modes and difficulty levels. There is a setting for handwriting recognition which allows players to choose between two styles of writing numbers and decimals. Players can customize their names and select from a number of avatars. More avatars become available after playing several games and a certain amount of stars have been earned.

Note that this app does not teach fractions. A working knowledge of fractions is necessary to play and enjoy this game. It is well suited for older children, adults, math fans, and math wizards. It can be used as a math class supplement to help students become faster at recognizing and solving fraction problems.

Quick Fractions will stimulate the brain and help players become more adept at fractions. It can be played competitively, and it can be played leisurely. It is worth having in anyone’s app collection, especially for those who enjoy a good math workout.

Quick Fractions – Shiny Things


Quick Fractions Quick Fractions by Shiny Things

Price: $1.99 USD

Hate fractions? That’s ok! Quick Fractions is here to help you master one of the most troublesome areas of mathematics!

Perfect for those just starting out with fractions, more advanced students.

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More to come later in the 12 Days

Code Drop Dec 19th 2014 For Quick Math jr

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Quick Math Jr. Quick Math Jr. by Shiny Things

Price: $FREE

*Featured on the App Store*
*Children’s Tech Review Parents’ Choice Award*
*Top Rated by Balefire Labs*
*REVERE Awards Finalist*

Loved by teachers... and kids! Quick Math Jr. is an.

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.

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