Yaya Learns English by Kiddies City – Review

Yaya Learns English by Kiddies City – Review


What we love…

bright interactive app that encourages children to learn a variety of words in English ranging from numbers, colors, shapes, and everyday words.

What we’d love to see…

use of matching numbers to roman numerals for the counting, no timer for some of the games, shorter “test” at the end of the app

Summary

Fun interactive kids app that teaches children numbers and a variety of words in a interactive birthday adventure for Yaya.  There is no IAP or advertising.

Our Rating

Yaya Learns English by Kiddies City is a iPad only app in which a young girl named Yaya explores the city in a variety of interactive scenes.  Each scene has a variety of activities from finding coins and matching them up by numbers in the train scene, to earning tickets at a theme park and attending a birthday party!   The app uses U.K. English, but many words are similar to American English and it is great for kids of all ages.  The app features English, German, Spanish, Korean, or Chinese as languages.  There are four apps in the series including Yaya learns German, Yaya learns Spanish, Yaya learns Chinese all of which have a similar story just with different languages tied to them.  The app features multi step directions, completing a task, finding coins and matching them up, getting the birthday ready and more.

My son loves anything to do with trains – so he really enjoyed putting together the tracks and matching the first letter of the objects (“r” for rainbow and “t” for tree).  He really enjoyed trying to make the tracks correct so he could continue within the app.  At the birthday party, it was fun for my son to help Yaya decorate by making juice – he chose orange and loved watching the blender make it.  He also enjoyed matching the letters to the words and getting stars for finishing each task.  The app has beautiful artwork with animations throughout including floating balloons.  As a mom, I also liked my kids could touch the speaker icon to hear the word spoken again.  The app features numbers from one to ten and thirty seven other words like apple, roller coaster, bridge, house and other words you use everyday in the English language.  The narration in the app is well done by a native English speaker.  I would suggest this app for kids aged four through about second grade because of the complexity for some of the mini games.  I liked that the app had a comprehension test at the end – although 30 questions seemed a bit high – I would prefer if there were ten or so questions that rotated through.  My older son especially enjoyed the birthday room and making the cake, blowing up the balloons and sorting the candy items for the favor jars.  The app features a gated parental area which includes a glossary of the words including pronunciation, links to social media.  This parental area is accessed by touching a number and holding it for three seconds.

iPad Screenshot 1

In terms of improvements, seeing a number on a coin versus the roman numeral can be confusing for kids who may not have learned that concept yet.  I have a 3 year old who loved finding the coins, but had a hard time matching them to the roman numeral because they were not the same. When you successfully complete the numbers, you are presented with a screen which shows the coins – again with numbers and the spelling of the number which is different than how it is presented within the app. Older kids may understand the concept more clearly and be able to execute   There are also a number of items within the various screens it would be nice to see an interaction with when you touch them.  In the park, my son got frustrated because when you put the kids on the rides you are timed as you answer questions – it would be nice for younger kids if you didn’t have a timer because when time ends you have to start the level again.    I would also like to be able to mute the background music – as it can be a bit distracting but when you turn down the sound you lose the narration.

Overall, this is a cute app designed to help kids learn English in a fun and interactive way.  It is designed for children who already speak English  as well as non native English speakers.  The mini games are fun and have good replay opportunities – but younger kids especially can get frustrated when you try the app because of the inconsistencies in the levels of the games.  There are no in-app purchases and no advertising contained within the app. This is a fun educational app that will have kids playing over and over again.


Yaya Learns English
Yaya Learns English
by Chin Yee Karwehl

Category: Education, Educational, Games, Family
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: 229.25 MB

$1.99USD

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 sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
 Babii! by Skybound Interactive Ltd. – Review

Babii! by Skybound Interactive Ltd. – Review



screen babii

Animals and vehicles are among the first nouns that young children are taught. Besides showing the real thing, you can also introduce these and accelerate your child’s vocabulary learning with the use of pictures. Here, the use of an app has an advantage over picture books and flashcards in that apps allow children to hear the names as well as the sounds made by the animals and vehicles. Kids can learn independently with minimum effort.

What we love…

Children get to see each animal/vehicle in different settings and engaged in different activities.

What we’d love to see…

More categories to be added.

Summary

An easy to use and kid-safe app for toddlers to learn about animals and vehicles with more categories of nouns planned.

Our Rating

Babii! by Skybound Interactive Ltd. is one such app that is easy for toddlers to use and affordable for the parents. The app starts right away upon opening and young children just need to tap on the screen of the device to see the next picture. With each tap, they get to learn the name of each animal/vehicle, how they look and sound like as well as their natural habitat/environment.

There are 2 ways the animals/vehicles are presented in Babii! – a grid of 9 thumbnail images or a 1-image mode. Each of the thumbnail images focuses on a group of similar animals or vehicles. Tapping an image from the grid will expand it to full screen and another tap will return it to the grid. Repeated tapping on the same grid will show the animals or vehicle in different settings and in different actions – swimming, running, eating, etc. This helps children to generalize their knowledge. In 1-image mode, the images are shown randomly and is perfect for younger children.

The photos used are of high resolution and the sound recording associated with each image is clear. Currently, the app uses Siri to read the names of the animals and vehicles. A future move to using pre-recorded voice will be a welcomed improvement. Switching between the 3 categories – Domestic Animals, Wild Animals and Vehicles, is straightforward and I understand that there are plans for more categories to be added.

You can also switch the language used by the app to different accents of English, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese or Romanian without having to change your device’s language setting. This is definitely a bonus for children growing up in multilingual families/communities.

A child’s early years are the best time for building knowledge and for those of you who are looking for apps to introduce your toddlers to the world of animals and vehicles while stimulating their minds through the exposure of foreign languages, Babii! is a good and affordable app to consider.

Babii! – Skybound Interactive Ltd.

Babii! Babii! by Skybound Interactive Ltd.
Category: Education, Educational, 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
Size: 61.62 MB

$0.99USD

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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.
 Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival from Move On Pluto- Review

Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival from Move On Pluto- Review



maxmeredith-2

What we love…

Ability to control the story, multiple stories in one, nostalgic feel to the app

What we’d love to see…

Text highlighting as it is read, page turn button, ability to change settings without returning to home page.

Summary

Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival is a fun “choose your own adventure” book with multiple story lines and endings. It encourages readers to think about different ways to solve problems and challenges stereotypes as the children discover that not everyone or everything is how they expect, and that first impressions can be deceiving.

Our Rating

maxmeredith-1Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival is the first interactive book app from indie developer  Move On Pluto. It is a “choose your own adventure” book where the reader makes decisions throughout the book, which affect the characters actions and what happens next. Music, sound effects, narration and text can be switched on or off via settings. Parents can choose to have interactive hotspots unlocked throughout the app, just in final storyline scenes, or no distractions. There is no word highlighting as the story is read.

Max lives in the town of Everdale, where one morning he awakes to find his trusty dog Percival is missing. Max rushes next door to enlist the help of his friend Meredith to find Percival. The story follows Max and Meredith’s search for Percival, but the duo have different ideas on the best way to find him. Max is more logical and cautious, whilst Meredith has an active imagination and likes to follow her hunches. The reader gets involved in the story by deciding what the duo should do next when Max and Meredith disagree.

maxmeredith-3

Depending on what decisions the reader makes the story goes in different directions. In total there are 8 different possible endings. When the reader reaches the end of the story they are shown a map illustrating how the different decisions create different story lines and endings, and are encouraged to read it again for a different story experience.

maxmeredith-4

The story is an old-fashioned adventure- the dynamic duo aim to solve a mystery, and to do so they have to work together to decide what to do. Meredith believes that an ogre lives near by in Gloomy Gulch and thinks he is responsible for Percival’s disappearance, so the friends have to decide whether or not they will face up to their fears and search Gloomy Gulch. What happens in the story depends on the choices the reader makes, so it really is multiple stories in one. Making different choices introduces new characters and situations, and creates totally different endings, which gives it lots of replay value. All the different story lines work well together, and there are no “right” or “wrong” choices, just different choices. By reading the story multiple times and making different decisions, the reader can find out more about Everdale and the characters who live there.

maxmeredith-5

The book app has a nostalgic feel about it, the illustrations and story lines feel like they would be at home in a “Little Golden Book.” Although the app has some interactive elements (about one per page) the main interactivity is in choosing the where the storyline will go. The multiple story lines add a fun element and increase the replay value of the app. Depending on which storyline is chosen Max and Meredith may have to face some potentially scary situations, but they find out that first impressions are not always correct, and that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.

There are a few technical changes I would like to see in future updates. I would like to see the addition of word highlighting as it is read. Page turning currently via swiping, I’d like to have an option to use a page turn button instead. Swiping does give the feel of turning the pages of a book, but I find that some children, especially those with special needs, can find this difficult. The settings can only be accessed from the home page and although you can return to this at any time, doing so loses your place in the story, so I’d like to see setting accessible from every page.

Summary

Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival is a fun “choose your own adventure” book with multiple story lines and endings. It encourages readers to think about different ways to solve problems and challenges stereotypes as the children discover that not everyone or everything is how they expect, and that first impressions can be deceiving. The developer recommends Max & Meredith for ages 2-7, I think that slightly older children will also enjoy it and my 9 year-old gave it a thumbs up.

 

iTunes Link

Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival by Move On Pluto LLC

Price: $FREE

Winner of a Parents' Choice Approved Award

"A marvelous new storybook app ... backed by research of what is most effective in helping children comprehend, grow, and retain content while learning.

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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).
 An Adventure of Our Own – Review

An Adventure of Our Own – Review



IMG_8710

Frequent communication is key to strong parent-child relationship and here is an interesting way to get kids and their parents to interact while reading and playing together.

What we love…

Lots of decision making opportunities and open-ended questions to encourage parents and children’s full participation.

What we’d love to see…

A ‘read to me’ option and ability to save progress.

Summary

A great book app for parent-child interactions, providing readers with hours of imaginative play and valuable insights into the children’s minds.

Our Rating

An Adventure Of Our Own by Two Way Play is an interactive read and play book app for children and their parents (or other family members or even friends) to create their own adventure story together. While the sequence of events is fixed, readers build up the story by adding the details using the props (provided in-app) and their collective imagination.

The plot is jointly decided by the players and can change each time they play with the book. Right from the beginning of the story, the two players have to work together to flesh out their story. They begin by imagining and talk about what kind of emergency call they need to attend to. Different options are offered for each element in the story. While some aspects of the story (e.g. the setting and rescue plan) are agreed upon together, others are decided individually as each player select their own outfits, gadgets, vehicles and tools for their adventure.

There are lots of decision-making moments in this book and each comes with an open-ended question to encourage players to elaborate on their choices. This gave me valuable insights into my youngest son’s mind – his feelings, thoughts and the experiences that shaped his thinking. I was also careful not to impose my thoughts on his responses.

However, this story making session went on longer than what I had expected. I wish the app would allow me to save the progress of our story to be continued at the next session, instead of starting all over after we closed the app. Or perhaps give us a way to skip the earlier pages in the story as our choices before the rescue tools have no impact on the rest of the story. Also helpful if there are prompts on what actions are required on each page when there is no response from the players for a long time. For example, when players have to choose more than 1 item in order to move on to the next page. An added option for audio narration will also greatly benefit young readers playing with their friends.

While its simple illustrations (that look like children’s drawings), the minimal sound effects and animation allow players to focus on their collaboration itself, the app may come across as amateurish for those of us who are accustomed to more sophisticated book apps. Perhaps this is intentional.

Nonetheless, I like this new and meaningful way of sharing a read and play book app. My son likes the imaginative names of the various items in the story (e.g. seeing eye crystal and 3-wishes poof powder) as they give him all sorts of fun ideas on how to use them. Our story got more exciting because of them. The end of the story is unusual too as readers are asked about their feelings and thoughts on their adventure together. Helpful words like brave, clever, heroic, successful and tired are offered to facilitate the discussion. The app ends with yet another opportunity to talk – take another selfie, go to sleep or go on another adventure?

Overall, I recommend that you check it out. An Adventure of Our Own is a great book app for parent-child interactions, providing you with hours of imaginative play and valuable insights into your children’s minds.

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An Adventure Of Our Own

An Adventure Of Our Own An Adventure Of Our Own by Two Way Play
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: 122.1 MB

$0.99USD

 

 

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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