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

Summary

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.

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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.


Mathemagics Multiplication by SlimCricket – Review



screen mathemagics

What we love…

An effortless approach to learning the times tables using fun stories.

What we’d love to see…

Include the narrative text in the stories and a story quiz in the training mode to help students better recall the details of the stories before attempting the multiplication questions to ensure greater success.

Summary

Mathemagics Multiplication offers an unconventional but effective story mnemonics technique for memorizing the times tables of 1 to 10.

Our Rating

How do children learn the multiplication tables? First, they learn how to multiply, then they need to memorize the multiplication tables so that they can quickly solve math problems. This usually means lots of practice through boring drills and repetitive exercises. But what if we present you with an approach that can help speed up the memorization process while being fun at the same time? Will you give it a try even if the approach is unconventional or untested?

Mathemagics Multiplication by SlimCricket is a new app that aims to help students memorize the multiplication tables in a whole new way using stories. While memory techniques using songs and stories are not new, it is still uncommon to have students use stories in memorizing the times tables.

But even if you are skeptical, it’s still worth your time to download Mathemagics Multiplication’s free lite version app to read the parents’ guide and let your child have a go at the trial.

Before getting to the stories, students are introduced to the characters in the stories. These are actually the numbers 1 to 10, each with its own name and a personality that helps define how they interact with other characters (numbers). The first section of the app ‘I discover’ is devoted to this character association using a character quiz. This is easy as each character is shaped like its number counterpart.

Once the student has successfully completed the quiz for a character, he can then proceed to watch the multiplication stories for that number in the ‘I learn’ section. Each story is a short cartoon animation and works on the child’s visual memory of what the story is about. There is no explanation for how the times table work, students just need to watch and learn the story. The unique stories help students to form a memorable association between the characters/numbers in a multiplication fact so that when they see the numbers, they remember the stories and then the multiplication facts that they represent.

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What I like in this section is the ’trick’ to help students remember only half of the tables. Your child (or even yourself) may not be aware of this because this is often not highlighted. This trick works well in this app because students don’t need to work through each table by repeatedly adding the same number. They just need to learn the stories and the stories for half of the tables are the same, for example the story for 2 X 4 is the same as that for 4 X 2.

After the students have gone through all the stories from a times table, they can then move on to the levelled exercises in the ‘I play’ section where their memory of the stories is tested. Here, they can choose between the training or game mode, the difference is that points for correct answers are only given in the game mode. The multiplication questions in the ‘I play’ section are first presented in the form of the characters and then the mnemonics are gradually phased out as the students progress.

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After completing the tests in the ‘I play’ section, students can go on to do even more practice in “My challenges’ and earn rewards. Besides the mnemonic training, this app packs in lots of levelled quizzes and challenges to help your child master their times tables in the shortest time possible.

To keep students motivated to complete more quizzes and challenges, points collected from the game mode can be used to buy a house and the furniture for each character in ‘My rewards’ section.

For parents and teachers, you can track up to 3 students’ progress in the full version app ($4.99) while the school version app ($7.99) allows you to create up to 40 profiles.

For children, memorizing a silly story is definitely easier than a multiplication fact. This app takes advantage of children’s innate ability to retain information that has been presented to them visually. It does not take away the importance of understanding the concept of multiplication. It just provides students with a quick and easy way to memorize the tables which in turn speeds up problem solving and reduce frustrations.

You may not be comfortable with this non-traditional method of mastering the times tables, but do keep an open mind and let your child try it out. The free trial version of the app allows your child to learn some of multiplication facts from the 4 times table. My youngest hasn’t gone through all the stories yet but for those that he did, he gave faster and more accurate answers after using the app. This app is definitely worth a try and you may be surprised at how well it works for your child.

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Mathemagics Multiplication
Mathemagics Multiplication-School Edition

Mathemagics Multiplication Mathemagics Multiplication by SlimCricket

Price: $FREE

The FUN way to learn MULTIPLICATION TABLES!!!

With this free version, kids can try out multiplication tables for the number 4. The full version of the app can be unlocked with an in-app purchase.

 

 

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.


Ladybug Band by Rain Boot Media LLC – Review and Giveaway



screen ladybug band

Ladybug Band by Rain Boot Media LLC is a 28-page rhyming musical storybook app that introduces children to different kinds of sounds and gets them involved in a musical performance with the Ladybug Band.

What we love…

Children are able to sing or play along with the band and have it recorded.

What we’d love to see…

Words highlighted in sync with the narration, repeat button for narration.

Summary

Ladybug Band is filled with colorful illustrations, different interesting sounds and fun interactive activities that will appeal to preschool children.

Our Rating

The 4-member Ladybug Band lives on the island of Kacha and they love to perform every night by the sea. There is Squiggle on the microphone, Bouncer on the strings, Dotley on the drums and Cheeks on the reeds (a wind instrument). Readers are introduced to the sounds of these 4 musical instruments – voice, strings, drums and winds as each member appears on stage.

Then the story invites the readers to be a part of the music with a variety of actions like shaking the iPad, drawing the campfire, clapping and dancing to the beat! More interesting sounds are heard and these include the sound of the waves breaking, the crackling sound of the campfire, the scratching sound of drawing in the sand and the whistling sound of the wind. This book app is quite a treat to the senses!

But the most enjoyable part for kids must be the chance to be a member of the Ladybug Band, singing or playing their musical instruments to the Coconut Jamboree tune and recording (audio only) their performance in the app.

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Up to 6 recorded sessions can be saved. When the recording is full, you just need to delete a previous recording to free up space for a new recording. These recordings are easily accessible from the home page which means that kids can come back frequently for a quick jamming session with the Band.

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There are 2 reading modes – children can either read along with the app or read it by themselves. For the read along mode, I hope that the app will add a word-by-word highlighting feature to facilitate words recognition for younger children. It would be awesome if this feature is also added to the Coconut Jamboree lyrics in the sing-along section.

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The story is simple but children will be happily engaged by the many interactive activities that are found in all its pages. The app is also easy and safe for young children to play by themselves. This is a delightful musical book app that gets children singing, dancing and performing together with the Ladybug Band.

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Ladybug Band

Ladybug Band Ladybug Band by Rain Boot Media LLC

Price: $0.99 USD

"This picture book app is so much fun, and educational on so many levels!"
- Sara Tate Goldstein, Principal
Accelerated Schools of Overland Park

"My 7 year old loves recording her own voice.

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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.


Animal Rescue by PatrickGeorge Ltd – Review



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Whether we like it or not, our kids frequently witness activities that are cruel to animals thinking that these are acceptable and they may never find out about the realities behind these practices. As adults, we too don’t think much about the consequences of our actions on the plight of the animals around us. Do we continue to visit animal shows where animals are kept in confined spaces? Do we question where our food come from and how the food industry is run? Are there animal-friendly alternatives to our fashion and food preferences? Are we guilty of contributing to the rising number of abandoned pets? Do we educate our kids enough about animal welfare and wildlife conservation?

What we love…

The creative use of transparent pages to visually show the opposite effects of our harmful/compassionate actions on the animals around us.

What we’d love to see…

Discussion guide for parents.

Summary

Simple but impactful, Animal Rescue is full of surprises and thought provoking actions for both children and adults.

Our Rating

I started to think about these issues after sharing the book app, Animal Rescue by PatrickGeorge Ltd with my youngest. This is actually a fun picture book for children to play animal rescue hero but strangely it was thought provoking at the same time. My son enjoyed freeing the animals and with a little prompting, he began to ask why the animals were not happy and wondered why certain actions were wrong. He was also curious to know what happened after he saved them? It is a simple yet powerful app that provided us with lots of learning opportunities.

While Animal Rescue is easy to play and seemingly simple, it is full of surprises for kids to discover. There are 14 animals to be saved in the app. Two side-by-side pages are devoted to each animal – the picture on the right shows the animal in captivity (or cruelly treated) and the left shows a scene where the animal rightfully belongs. A transparent page lies in between the two pages and it has a picture of the animal printed on it. This overlay completes the pages on both sides.

With a flip (swiping or tapping action) of the transparent page from right to left, kids feel empowered as they can transport the animal from captivity to freedom and instantly change the animal’s well being. They can also see the change taking place gradually if they turn the transparent page slowly. What I like best is the clever use of these transparent pages to make the animal from one page becomes part of the other page as we turn the transparent pages back and forth. This two-way flipping shows vividly the damaging effects of our actions and what needs to be done. What is interesting is that you don’t know what is the full story on the other page until you turn the transparent page.

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This picture book is also available in a physical book version but the app has the advantage in that readers can immerse in a more interactive environment with various sound effects like the sound of the animals, their natural habitat and the celebratory cheers when an animal is rescued. There are also light animations on each page to entertain the readers.

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There are no words in this picture book but there is really no need for them as the bright and colorful illustrations clearly convey the need for animal protection. Being wordless also allows you to pitch your conversations to your child’s level of understanding. It could be just a fun animal rescue story book that introduces your child to empathy for animals, or a conservation awareness book that prompts your child to take a stand on inhumane acts against animals, or an open-ended book to encourage your child to talk about how we can make a difference in the lives of these animals. It can be used for different age groups and purposes in that sense.

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Animal Rescue is a simple but educational and meaningful book app that makes a heavy topic easy for young children to understand. It’s a topic that we don’t talk about enough but the fun and ingenious transparent pages in this book app will have children coming back to play and talking often. Every child should have access to this wonderful book, be it at home or in the school.

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Animal Rescue

Animal Rescue Book Animal Rescue Book by PatrickGeorge Ltd

Price: $0.99 USD

Help! The animals need rescuing! Fourteen animals to rescue including an orca, an elephant, a lion cub, a puppy...Swipe across to turn the page and then swipe again to rescue! Choose your favourite animal.

 

 

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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