Old MacDonald Songs for Kids by Touchzing Media – Review




iPhone Screenshot 5

What we love…

bright, colorful, engaging animations and interactions

What we’d love to see…

Improved word highlighting, more educational value

Summary

A bright, colorful engaging app for toddlers and preschoolers that will get them singing along to 3 different versions of Old MacDonald

Our Rating

Old Macdonald Songs For Kids There are many Old MacDonald apps in the appstore, but what makes Old MacDonald Songs for Kids by Touchzing Media different is that it includes not just Old MacDonald Had a Farm, but also 2 new versions of the song. The app is a free download that includes Old MacDonald Had a Farm, it has a single IAP (currently $1.99) which unlocks 2 more songs- Old MacDonald Had a Jungle and Old MacDonald Had a Circus. The app has a single in-app purchase, but no other external links or adverts.

All three songs feature bright, colorful graphics with fun animal characters. Each song is performed by a pleasant sounding female vocalist, with musical accompaniment and other singers joining in on the chorus. There is word highlighting as the songs are sung, although it doesn’t keep perfect time with the lyrics (it is a continual rolling highlighting rather than a word or phrase at a time).

 

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Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Old MacDonald had a Farm is the traditional version of the song but with a few surprises – the animals on this farm include : musical pigs, camels, dogs, horses, multi-colored cows (including a purple one!), dancing goats, chickens and anthropomorphic donkeys. The song is accompanied by an animated video featuring each of the animals in their turn and there are some fun interactions such as throwing a bone for the dogs and making coconuts fall from a palm tree. Some children may be disappointed that there is no cat, lamb or duck so it would be nice to see those added in a future update.

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Old MacDonald Had a Jungle

In Old MacDonald Had a Jungle, the child is transported to the jungle for this new song version. This version includes a giraffe, a blue gorilla, playful monkeys, a purple dancing hippo, zebras, ball-playing deer, dancing bears and a a regal lion. Their are some unusual animal noises – the giraffes bleat (which usually only giraffe calves do, adults are more likely to bellow or snort) and the deer “bell”.

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Old MacDonald Had a Circus

Old MacDonald Had a Circus features an old-style circus with lots of performing animals and a whip-toting ringmaster. The circus performers include: lions, animal jugglers, performing elephants,  animal clowns, a human cannonball, tigers, cat and dog trapeze artists, and dog and monkey high wire performers. The interactive hotspots in this video show the animals and people performing their circus tricks. It is a fun song, but it would be nice to see the ringmaster crack his whip less.

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The song videos are bright, colorful and engaging with fun interactions and animations. This songs are performed well and it is nice to have word highlighting, though I would like to see it synched better. I would like to see a little more accuracy on which animals are included in the Jungle and Farm songs, so that it can be a teaching tool for children to learn about different animals as well as a fun way for them to learn the Old MacDonald Had a Farm song and some new variations on it.

Overall a bright, colorful engaging app for toddlers and preschoolers that will get them singing along to 3 different versions of Old MacDonald. I would recommend downloading the free version, and if your children enjoy it consider paying $1.99 to unlock the other 2 songs.

Old Macdonald Songs For Kids – Touchzing Media


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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).



Llama Drama: Lumio Multiplication By Lighthouse Learning – Review




iPhone Screenshot 1

What we love…

Bright, colorful, engaging graphics and animation, fully narrated, great for visual learners

What we’d love to see…

Multiple user profiles, more levels

Summary

A well-made, bright, colorful, engaging app with high quality graphics and animation, Llama Drama is useful both for children starting to learn multiplication and division, and for those struggling with it.

Our Rating

Llama Drama: Lumio Multiplication Llama Drama : Lumio Multiplication is the latest educational app from UK- based developer Lighthouse Learning.  It is their second educational app to target multiplication skills,  the first was Lumio Farm Factor: Multiply and Divide basics , which we recently reviewed. Llama drama is fully narrated, so a student who is not yet a confident reader can fully access the content.

 

Llama Drama uses the concept of arrays – a classical tool for developing an understanding of multiplication and division. With arrays the student arranges a group of objects into equal rows which helps them to visualize and understand more complex math problems.  Llama Drama has 3 sections:  Animal Arrays, Multiplying Llamas and Divide and Capture. It is an free app with a single in-app purchase to unlock the full app (currently $2.99). The free app gives you access to 11/40 levels of animal arrays, 6/20 levels of Multiplying Llamas, and 4/20 levels of Divide and Capture; which is enough to give you a good feel of the app. It has no adverts and external links are locked from within a gated parents area.

 

With the app students can learn to build the Times Tables for themselves (to more fully understand them, before memorizing them). They can also discover factors by starting with a whole number and making as many different arrays as possible. They can also use known facts to learn unknown facts by splitting and joining arrays.

Animal Arrays

In this section the child learns about the concept of arrays, and practices creating arrays by putting animals in rows in different pens. They create arrays to match the numbers they are given – first by switching around pre-made rows and later by creating their own.  They learn how you can use an array to represent a multiplication problem e.g. 3×5, and learn how to split and add arrays. This teaches them that they can use known facts to learn unknown facts by splitting and adding arrays, e.g. if they know 3×1 and 3×2 they can work out 3×3 by adding arrays (3×1) + (3×2) = (3×3). There are 40 levels in this section with 6 short animations as rewards

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Multiplying Llamas

In this section they move on to building arrays to solve problems. First they have a complete problem such as 4×8=32 which they need to represent with an array, then 1 factor is missing e.g ? x3 =21, then 2 factors e.g. ? x ? = 54.

To create an array: 1) they move their finger across the grid to create a row and the app counts how many animals in the row; then 2) they move their finger down the grid and new rows are added, as they do so the app counts how many animals are within their  array. They can move their finger left or right to change the number of animals in a row, and up or down to change the number of rows. They must keep their finger on the screen until they have completed their array; once they lift it the array is filled in with animals. If they are happy with their answer pressing the check button will submit it, if not they can just start again creating a new array. There is a hint button if they need help. There are 20 levels in this section and two short animations.

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Divide and Capture

In this section the student learns that arrays can also demonstrate division problems, so a 2×5 grid can also show 10 ÷ 5 = 2. They then move on to using arrays to solve problems with 1, then 2 missing factors. They also learn that there can be more than one answer to a question with 2 missing factors and learn to create multiple arrays for e.g. 10÷?=?. This section reinforces the fact that division and multiplication are very closely related. The higher levels demonstrate that you can use the same array to represent both a multiplication and a division problem.  Many children who can multiply are scared of division, and the app shows them how closely the two are related. It shows them that if e.g. they know how to multiply 6×4 to get 24,  they can also solve 24÷6 and 24÷4. There are 20 levels in this section and one short animation, hints are available.

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Lighthouse Learning make high quality, engaging apps that work on tricky maths concepts, and Llama Drama is a useful addition to their lineup. Many children find multiplication and division intimidating, so I think it is important to show them different approaches to solving these problems, so they can see which works best for them. For visual learners arrays can be a great way to demonstrate how to solve these problems. This app is not designed to teach the Times Tables, and children will still need to learn them, but it is designed to help children more fully understand multiplication and division and thus improve their confidence when faced with these problems. I think the addition of narration is a great feature as it makes it fully accessible to children who aren’t yet confident readers. In future updates I’d love to see multiple player profiles and more levels added. A well-made, bright, colorful, engaging app with high quality graphics and animation, Llama Drama is useful both for children starting to learn multiplication and division, and for those struggling with it.

Llama Drama: Lumio Multiplication – Lighthouse Learning

Llama Drama: Lumio Multiplication Llama Drama: Lumio Multiplication by Lighthouse Learning

Price: $FREE

The llamas are running wild! Can you untangle this farm fiasco?

Help kids understand the tricky topic of multiplication by solving visual problems.

Kids build number fluency, develop strategies.

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).



Abaquest by Rajnikant Rao – Review



abaquest

What we love…

Comprehensive curriculum that allows you or your child to practice math skills using an abacus and encourages learning at their own pace

What we’d love to see…

More natural “narration” especially of US English, clicking sound when beads are moved into place on the abacus

Summary

Comprehensive learning curriculum designed to teach math to all ages

Our Rating

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Abaquest by Ranjnikant Rao is an abacus based learning course designed to teach or enhance fundamental math skills using an Abacus.  The first four levels (A – C) are free allowing you to try the app before purchasing the remaining content via in-app purchase.  The app starts with basic concepts including an introduction to the abacus and then continues through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division all using the beads on the abacus to complete the steps.  The app allows for multiple users meaning it can be used in a home school situation as well as in a more traditional classroom.

Using a six step methodology it provides an understanding and then allows you to observe examples, identify errors, guess various expressions, do the physical movement and then challenge yourself with math problems.

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The app provides a huge amount of content that will allow you to practice learning basic and more advanced math skills – I enjoyed trying out the harder levels and honing my skills.  There is also a parent dashboard which allows you to see how your child has done as well as allowing them to earn a “certificate” for successfully completing each level.  If your child has trouble with a level, it continues to drill you on the content to ensure that you have learned it prior to moving on to more complex problems.  There are three narrated voices including American English.  The voices within the app are: US English (computer generated), UK English (human narrated) and Indian English. For purposes of the review I used “Lisa” the computer generated US voice to provide narration. The voice can change between levels if you wish – although if you switch you may have Lisa on one level and Emily on another. As a parent, I suggest testing out the voices yourself and then picking one and staying with it for the entire app. My son was confused at times when I was trying out the different voices. I also liked that the app would move as fast or as slow as necessary to ensure that concepts were taught and learned within it.

In terms of enhancements I would also like to see rewards somehow incorporated as my son when using the app at times felt like the “level” was taking a bit too long especially when he was struggling to complete a section. I would also like to see more natural narration of the voices in a future version.

The app contains a parental gate which requires the solving of a math problem to ensure that the parent gets access to the IAP or other parental locked areas.  The gate works well and will not allow your child to “guess” the answer.  The developer is continuing to add new content to the app as well as enhance it providing more educational content.  

This app provides a comprehensive math curriculum designed to teach or enhance math skills for all ages.  I would recommend trying the first four levels (A-D) free first to ensure it is a good fit, and then purchasing the remaining content if it is a good fit for your child/children.  In addition, I would suggest that you work with children first to help them understand the physical abacus before using the app as my son at first had a hard time grasping the concept. As a parent, I also liked the app as it allowed me to “brush up” on my fundamental math skills and encourage my son to continue learning math concepts.


Abaquest: Mental Maths Abacus Course
Abaquest: Mental Maths Abacus Course
by RAJNIKANT RAO

Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, 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: 4.75 MB

$FREE

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Screenshots for iPad
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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.

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.



Monki Birthday Party by Monkimun SL – Review



Monki Birthday Party

What we love…

Games focus on listening/following directions.

What we’d love to see…

Removing the rating request.

Summary

A cute and fun birthday theme preschool game app that is surprisingly educational. Besides the early learning concepts of shapes, colors, size and counting, the app also works on listening and language development.

Our Rating

Are you ready for another cute and fun preschool educational app from Monkimun? Monki Birthday Party is their new app that combines all the fun things that kids love in a birthday party – animals, cakes, candles, piñatas, sweets, party hats, presents and party decorations.

It is a free-to-download app consisting of 4 games. The first game is free and the other 3 games (Piñata, Party Decorations and Birthday Hat) are unlocked with an in-app purchase of $1.99.

In the free Birthday Cake game, kids choose one of 3 birthday cakes and put 10 candles on it. As they place the candles one by one, they can count along with the the app. When that is done, the animal characters will sing the birthday song and Cowy the birthday cow will blow out the candles. Kids will love this game as they can help to blow out the candles. They do so by blowing into the microphone. Depending on how strong their blows are, the candles may take up to 3 blows before they are put out. This game is great for teaching kids to count to 10 and the candle blowing is a fun oral motor exercise.

In the Piñata game, kids can have fun swinging the piñata as they shake the iPad/iPhone before starting the game. To play the game, they have to tap the correct shape (circle, triangle, square or heart) on the piñata in order to break it. When successfully broken, confetti of that shape and goodies of various shapes fall out of the piñata. Next, they have to listen to the instructions and feed the correct food to the right animal character e.g. triangle sandwiches for Lisa the kitten, heart lollipop for Billy the chick. This is a shape recognition game that requires the kids to listen carefully.

Meanwhile, the Party Decoration game gets kids to decorate the party with items like balls, stars, flowers, sweets, balloons and triangle streamers in 10 different colors. The names of colors are reinforced each time they choose a color for the decorative items and kids can learn the names in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese. Once completed, they can take a snapshot of the result.

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Lastly, the Party Hat game teaches kids about size comparison by introducing terms like big, small, bigger than and smaller than. Kids are to bring the correct size hat to the animal character. If they attempt to bring the wrong one, the animal character will run away. My youngest was very tickled by this, he kept chasing the animal with the wrong hat! I guess he has to know the correct answer in order to pick the wrong one! I must say that this game is very cute.

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I have always loved the colors and illustrations in the Monkimun apps. They are bright and inviting to preschoolers. The animal characters are not only adorable, their actions are cute as well. They sing, laugh, clap, play games, burp and they are always happy. Throughout the app, there are friendly verbal instructions and prompts to guide and encourage the kids, so that all kids can feel successful. The app does get overly enthusiastic with the prompts and comments, at times I wish that the frequency could be reduced but I know its benefit for language development, so I guess I’ll just have to bear with it.

I personally think that the games in Monki Birthday Party are brilliant. They not only do well in reinforcing important early learning concepts (counting to 10, colors, size and shapes), they also have a strong focus on listening/following directions and vocabulary building. Kids have fun without realizing that they are learning, it’s disguised learning at its best!

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Monki Birthday Party – Monkimun SL

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Category:
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

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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.

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