Peg and Pog by Kenikeni Ltd – Review


What we love…

8 interesting scenes with a variety of immersive play activities.

What we’d love to see…

Add even more interactive elements to enrich the free-play sessions.

Summary

A fun and engaging app that helps build rich vocabulary while encouraging curiosity, active exploration and imaginative play.

Our Rating

Peg and Pog is an interactive app that teaches over 170 vocabulary words in 5 languages as players explore 8 different animated scenes – ocean, polar regions, space, Savannah, store, bedroom, birthday party, and dressing room.

The app turns every play session into an adventure for young children by letting them build each of the 8 scenes with items (animals and objects) associated with the setting, and interact with them. The characters and items of vocabulary are introduced one at a time and children can activate the item and hear the vocabulary word whenever they tap or move it. In addition to these items, players can also explore around the scene to animate more items and learn their names.

For older kids who are ready to learn the written words, the vocabulary words are presented separately on vocabulary cards, with only the picture and the written word on each card. The learning is focused and targeted to build a strong association between the item, its name, the spelling, and pronunciation. Grouping these words in context also helps learners make the connection between the items.

Children become more familiar with each vocabulary word as they play with them repeatedly, and this app offers great replay value. Each of the 8 play scenes is designed for free play where kids can move items around and activate them. This encourages imaginative play where kids can make up their own stories and explore possibilities. There is a lot of activities to keep kids entertained and engaged. They can have a go at the toy capsule vending machine in the store and label the toys that they get. They can pretend to be a DJ, dance to different genres of music or enjoy the food at a birthday party. They can style the characters from the head to toe with superhero costumes or other outrageous outfits for a photo shoot. They can also learn more about the planets, sea creatures and animals. They even get to try new experiences like controlling a husky ride, making the cloud rain, flying in a hot-air balloon, and walking in space!

What I like about this app is that it helps open the window to the world for our children. It makes them curious about the wider world, beyond what they have been exposed to and want to discover more. It presents lots of opportunities for you to help expand their general knowledge. It is also a great conversation starter as you can relate each scene to yours and your child’s real-life experiences. Credit goes to the developer as well for building an awareness and appreciation for cultural diversity, and social inclusion into the app. Everyone can participate equally regardless of their background and abilities.

There is a parents’ guide (in the parents’ section) on the learning points and what you can talk about with your child during the in-app play. It would be great to also include a list of all the vocabulary words introduced in the app for easy reference. In the settings, you can also change the language (UK/US English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Mandarin) and audio (music, sound effects, and spoken words) preferences.

Above all, the app is just pure fun for the kids. The cute characters, movable interactive play items, variety of activities and engaging free-play settings will keep them coming back for more play and learning

 

 

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Peg and Pog – Kenikeni Ltd

Peg and Pog Peg and Pog by Kenikeni Ltd

Price: $2.99 USD

Plenty of fun and giggles in this "highly recommended" language learning game for kids. Designed especially to introduce your child to learning everyday vocabulary, and with no in-app purchases or third.

 

 

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.

Meal Monsters – Review


What we love…

Kids learn how to cook in the real world using on-screen interactive and animated instructions

What we’d love to see…

A section on the nutrition vocabulary words

Summary

A fun and entertaining recipe app that gets kids excited about cooking

Our Rating

Your children are done with preparing and cooking virtual meals in their favorite apps and they are now ready to undertake the challenge of making real food. They want to enter a real kitchen, don the apron, handle real ingredients, use real utensils and kitchen equipment, follow a recipe, create a yummy meal and eat it. So, what is the next app, you ask.

Well, they can graduate to the Meal Monsters app which uses cute animations to teach kids how to make real food with the help of 3 funny meal monsters – Sal, Gor, and Pom from the Planet Yum. This free-to-download Meal Monsters app comes with 3 simple recipes and 4 bonus monster-themed activities. A passcode-protected in-app purchase unlocks 5 additional recipes and more are in the works.

The recipes are all easy to make and offer a variety of homemade goodies. Starting with a no-cook recipe for preparing a smoothie, subsequent recipes require more ingredients and involve more steps. An adult should be on hand to supervise.

The recipes begin with food facts and nutrition information, encouraging children to have the habit of seeking out these information and use only ingredients with high nutritional value. To make the recipes suitable for families with different dietary needs, alternative ingredients for a vegan diet and allergen information are also included in the recipes. Each recipe serves at least 3 persons (kids love to share their creation with the family) and includes serving suggestions.

After choosing a recipe, children can first go through the steps in the app before attempting to make it. Each step in the recipe is presented through an interactive animation that requires kids to be actively engaged in the cooking process. They learn about the various food preparation and cooking methods – weigh, measure, peel, chop, grate, whisk, mix, blend, boil, microwave, bake, fry, etc. They also learn about the utensils and kitchen equipment that are used in the recipes. Cooking and playing with the meal monsters at the same time makes the process less intimidating and helps build your child’s confidence. It’s just a lot more fun!

What I like about this app is that it is child-friendly with cute characters and their silly antics. The monsters in the app also add some amusement for the kids, making it possible to enjoy the app even when your child is not cooking. There are 4 monster-themed activities to keep kids entertained outside of the kitchen – the ‘Planet Yum’ Movie tells the story of the 3 Meal Monsters, the Family Album introduces the characters, the ‘Make a Monsie’ allows kids to take a monster selfie while the 3-levels Monster Match game features food/objects and characters from the app. And these are all included in the free app.

Cooking is a fun family activity and it has many educational benefits like learning about nutrition, following instructions, sensory exploration of different food textures, improved fine motor skills, hands-on learning of math and science concepts, and etc. Besides being an important life skill, the ability to cook builds your children’s self-esteem and encourages them to seek healthier food choices when they are eating out. They are also more receptive to trying out new foods that they have prepared and cooked themselves. (This really works!)

Healthy recipes for kids are easy to find but an app that offers both interactive animated instructions and fun activities is a godsend to any family. It will help make your children’s early cooking experience more enjoyable and rewarding. Meal Monsters is free to download and your children can play with it right away. But soon, they will be asking to make all the yummy food that they see in the app. Have fun!

 

 

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Meal Monsters

Meal Monsters Meal Monsters by Meal Monsters Ltd

Price: $FREE

Meal Monsters is an animated educational app that combines recipes, games and storytelling to encourage children to cook and eat healthy meals.
It is through engaging recipe stories and exciting characters.

 

 

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

The Land of Learnia – Review


What we love…

Instructional scaffolding to help build skills mastery.

What we’d love to see…

Written instructions for parents.

Summary

A potentially addictive 3D mobile game cum Math and Spelling learning app for grades 1-3.

Our Rating

The Land of Learnia is a Math and Spelling learning app that is set in a 3D virtual world where students are tasked to open up the learning paths across the islands by mastering various skills from Common Core Math and Spelling for grades 1 -3. Each island in Learnia contains work from a math or spelling grade level and students can choose to undertake work from one or more islands at any one time. As rewards, players earn animals that they can feed and play with in Learnia.

Students begin their learning journey on the central Island of Learnia where they meet the owl, Waddle. Waddle likes to take a walk along the Spelling Street and the Path of Math but these paths are blocked by skill stones. Players have to help move the stones out of the way by passing the time-based challenges on each skill stone. Each stone represents a math skill or spelling list to be mastered and the stones can be dealt with in any order. Players are advised to prepare themselves well for the tests by completing a series of lessons and training exercises provided.

Once conquered, these skills stones are converted to bronze, silver or gold depending on the level of mastery, and you can repeat these tests to improve your achievements. As the learning paths are cleared, Waddle is able to move forward and collect coins and gems along the paths adding to the student’s collection.

Each skill stone along the Spelling Street teaches a new spelling list and it comes with 4 different spelling exercises to help students learn and retain the new words. As each word is introduced, a sentence showing how to use the word in context is given verbally.

At the other end of the central island, the Path of Math leads the way to the various math skills from grade 1 to 3. A combination of lessons and hands-on learning exercises help prepare students to master the skills at each skill stone. First, students are encouraged to explore the math concept using digital manipulatives to build understanding. Then they are guided step-by-step on how to solve math problems. Appropriate support and useful tips are given when needed. Students can choose to write their answers on the screen or choose from a virtual keyboard.

What I like in this app is that different problem solving strategies are taught using various tools. These math strategies help students make connection between different mathematical concepts and build upon what they have already learnt. With stronger understanding and practice, students learn the math skills more easily and quickly.

Students are rewarded with a shower of coins and gems after each exercise and test, regardless of the score. Gems collected give game time to play 4 different types of computer games (Molecule Madness, Snakia, Tic-Tac-Toc and Five In a Row) while the collected coins can be used to buy a variety of animals unique to each island, to populate the Learnia world. Players will need more coins to get these animals food (which has expiry dates) and play items. It’s deeply satisfying for players to see their achievements and collections proudly displayed on the Learnia map. They can move around the map, exploring the different landscapes and immersing in the environmental sounds. Just watching what’s going on in the Land of Learnia can be relaxing for students.

The Learnia app is free to download with access to 14 skills stones, 6 for math and 8 for spelling. Thereafter, you have to purchase access to the island(s) corresponding to your child’s grade level – $4.99 per grade for spelling and $7.99 for each grade level of math. [Update : Teachers and their students get full access for free from now till August 2019, find instructions here.]

A student’s progress is saved in the cloud and synced across tablets (iOS and Android devices), and parents and teachers can share access to the student’s account. The app is also suitable for use in a classroom where teachers can set up accounts for each student and monitor what each student is working on in real time. They have information on which questions each student needs help with and review these with the student.

The Land of Learnia combines the best of mobile gaming and digital learning in one app. Students will want to come back frequently to check out their Learnia world and do some math and/or spelling work in order to feed their pets. There is a lot of content (especially for math) included which will provide hours of work to help students build confidence and mastery.

 

 

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Google Play
Learnia
In-App Purchases
Spelling – $4.99/grade level
Math – $7.99/grade level
[Update : Teachers and their students get full access for free from now till August 2019, find instructions here.]

The land of Learnia The land of Learnia by Learnia Inc

Price: $FREE

Wouldn't it be great if a child could enjoy learning math and spelling skills?

Kids explore a 3D world with varied scenery and animals.
To advance, kids master skill stones containing exercises.

 

 

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.

Learning Upgrade – Review


What we love…

Step-by-step instructions, summaries, examples in lessons are presented through fun videos and songs.

What we’d love to see…

An option to remove or adjust the timer for the final challenge in each course.

Summary

A complete Math and English learning app that keeps students engaged and motivated to learn and upgrade.

Our Rating

Is your child having problems mastering a particular Math or English lesson no matter what you do to help? My youngest has been struggling to remember the basic rules of writing a simple sentence despite having done many written exercises. Then I let him have a go at the app, Learning Upgrade. To my surprise, he picked up the skills easily within the day!

What worked for my son (who is a visual learner) is the combination of teaching through catchy songs, lively animations and entertaining videos plus game-like exercises that are fun to do. Learning Upgrade is a very engaging learning app. It has lessons that he likes to watch again and again, pop-style songs (highlighting the key words) that he tries to sing along with and exercises that he is willing to redo because all the questions are attractively presented and it is easy for him to input his answers. He especially likes the app’s positive and enthusiastic response whenever he submits a correct answer.

What I like, on the other hand, is the use of visual representations, summaries and examples to teach, the helpful guided exercises that reinforce the learning points, the different ways of questioning to ensure a student’s full understanding of the topic, the comprehensive coverage and the gradual and progressive manner in which skills are being taught.

Students are allowed to progress to the next lesson only when they have earned 100 points (from correct answers) and attained at least 75% correct. A rewards system is in place to encourage students to repeat the exercises in order to improve on their scores. At the completion of a course, students have to pass the final challenge before moving to the next course. But you can also choose to unlock all the lessons in your account settings so that your child can jump to any lesson.

I appreciate how the app supports students who need a little extra help in answering the questions in the learning games that follow each video lesson. Lines in passages are underlined as they are read out. There is a speaker button to tap if students need to hear the questions or instructions again. For answers that require reading, students can hear the individual words before attempting to answer. They also have the opportunity to check their answers before submitting.

The app doesn’t miss any teaching moments either. A short animation repeating the answer follows the correct answer to give further reinforcement. When an incorrect answer is submitted, the correct answer is always demonstrated and the app does not move to the next screen until the student has enough time to review the answer.

Learning Upgrade is free to download and comes with a video on the course descriptions and 6 demo lessons (with exercises) – 3 each for Math and English. If you register with an email, you will have free access to 8 lessons for each subject. To begin, choose between English or Math and then decide between 3 starting points. You can choose to start from the beginning of the curriculum, take a placement test to determine a course that is appropriate for your child’s learning needs or just select a course level that you want to review.

Currently, the app offers 60 lessons for each of the English Upgrade level 1-5 and Math Upgrade level K-8 courses, that’s more than 900 lessons in total. A course on Algebra was also added recently. To continue beyond the free lessons, you have 3 subscription plans to choose from – $7.99 for 1 month access to all lessons, $19.99 for 3 months and $59.99 for 12 months. You can access your lessons from the web as well as your smart phones and tablets. An internet connection is required for loading the lessons and saving the student’s progress.

Learning Upgrade is a comprehensive Math and English learning app that complements the school curriculum. Lessons are professionally done and enjoyable. Review exercises are varied and effective. Whether your child is trying to catch up or stay ahead of the class, Learning Upgrade is an excellent learning companion to have.

 

 

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Learning Upgrade

Learning Upgrade Learning Upgrade by Learning Upgrade

Price: $FREE

Students of all ages and abilities can successfully improve and master basic math, English, and reading skills with the Learning Upgrade app.

Since 1998, Learning Upgrade courses have been successfully.

 

 

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.