Featured App: Read with Phonzy by MeowTek



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Read With PhonzyRead with Phonzy by MeowTek is a free universal app for iOS which features speech recognition to understand how well kids pronounced words using a character named Phonzy who provides prompts on the words.  The app requires that you opt in via email to use it and understand the terms and conditions.  It utilizes speech technology which recognizes and assesses the specific word that you are focusing on in the sentence.  It works best with children and does work well in a noisy environment like a busy home or a place where there is background noise.  As children pronounce words correctly, they can unlock the word which is then put into a gallery.  It also helps kids build confidence in reading (especially sight words) and improves skills of sentence building and thinking quickly.  We tested the app in a variety of environments including with a television on in the background, at a local park and in a classroom with other children.  Each time Phonzy was able to zero in and understand the words being spoken without picking up the ambient noise.

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One of the great things for me about the app was that I could help my son focus in on specific word types which he would learn and then as he got better with the pronunciation we were able to go back and re-listen to where he might have previously stumbled.  The app helps you correctly pronounce words and encourages children to read out loud – without a lot of corrections “in the moment” which then helps to build self confidence and sounding out skills.  MeowTek collects the audio recordings to improve the speech technology of the app and increase recognition, but no personal information about your child is collected.  Phonzy currently focuses on key words and important phrases, with the end goal of understanding the entire sentence.  The app is PRIVIO certified which means that MeoTek has COPPA compliant privacy practices to protect your child’s information and the verification via email is the method of ensuring that a parent understands that their child is using the app.

To use the app, Phonzy presents the user with a simple sentence similar to the one above with one specific word highlighted.  Your child reads and records the sentence and if the highlighted word is pronounced correctly, you get the object which is then placed in your gallery.  The words presented are appropriate for children from late kindergarten through mid-elementary school or approximately end of grade 3 according to the ones that I saw.  My son gained huge amounts of confidence when reading with Phonzy aloud because I wasn’t always trying to correct him and he didn’t feel “pressured” to perform on the spot.  My son liked that Phonzy would recognize his words most of the time and that he could easily re-record them as needed.

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Phonzy is currently working to understand additional speech and speech recognition technology.  Currently, Phonzy is programmed to understand the specific highlighted words, very occasionally he will misunderstand a user however, as my son used the app more we found that Phonzy was correct in 18/20 trials.  The data collected from the app is made anonymous and is used to build and improve on speech recognition technology, it is never shared with any third parties and neither are the actual recordings.  I also loved that I could save the sentences that my son was saying and share them with his speech therapist to show his progress over time.

Overall, this is a great free app that encourages children to increase the number of words that they can read and earn some fun gallery prizes doing so.  It was a great self confidence booster for my son who struggled at times reading out loud and now has built up some confidence as he works through using the app and practicing new words.  We also liked knowing that we were helping Meowtek improve their speech recognition technology and perhaps, learn from some of the challenges that my son was having.

 

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Category:
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

$


Also available on Google Play and Amazon

NOTE:  This post was sponsored by Meowtek but all opinions expressed are mine and are given 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.


Featured App: Miss Hollywood-Fashion Pets by Budge Studios- Free Download with Lots of Animal Fun



MainMenu Miss Hollywood Icon175 Miss Hollywood

Do your children like animals ? Mine do! Two of my daughter’s favorite things are animals and playing dress up, and these are combined in Miss Hollywood, the latest app from Budge Studios. She is going so excited about this app! Miss Hollywood stars 5 adorable strays which your child can adopt then treat like a star. They can groom them, dress them up, feed them special treats, play with them and take their picture with a variety of different backgrounds.

The 5 animals all have their own distinct personalities – which will be your child’s favorite? Maybe they like glamorous pets like Miss Hollywood-  a chihuahua who dreams of stardom; or Miss Puggy the Pug who dreams of dance parties and truffle biscuits. If their taste is more energetic pooches maybe they will like Sporty the sports-mad mutt; or B-Dawg, a rough, tough Boston Terrier who dreams of being a Hip Hop DJ. If they prefer cats then there is always Princess the Persian who longs for a pampering spa treatment. Whichever pet they choose all these strays long for love and attention and the more your child plays with them the happier they will get! Each pet has a happiness meter which increases each time you give them what they are thinking of. But if you want to play ball when they want a treat that’s OK too- any attention will increase their happiness, just more slowly than their preferred activity. Once their happiness meter is full, you are rewarded with love and kisses from your pet.

Grooming

There are lots of activities to do with your new pet. Life on the streets is dirty, so a great place to start is in the pet salon, where you can shampoo, wash and blow dry your pet until they look their best. Once they’ve washed off all that street dirt they are going to need a new outfit, and don’t forget to accessorize! There are lots to choose from: sunglasses, hats, fancy collars and more.

DressUp Miss Hollywood

If your pet starts to feel peckish there are lots of fancy treats available to feed them. What is your pet dreaming of today? A bone cake as big as they are ? A cookie ? Or maybe a pie? Or some kibble?

FoodMiss Hollywood

As well as feeding, grooming, and getting dressed up there’s one more thing these pets like to do – play! What’s your pet’s favorite activity ? Do they want to play frisbee or ball ? Maybe they would prefer to listen to music or dance? Each plaything is interactive- you can press the rubber ducky’s tummy to make it squeak, throw the frisbee and your pet will chase it, play music and they’ll move along to the beat.

After all the fun don’t forget to take a picture of your pet in all their glory. The pictures appear on the Miss Hollywood magazine cover, with 5 backgrounds to choose from.

This app has hours of imaginary play fun and is available as a free download with IAP for additional content. In-app purchases and external links are protected by a parental gate that requires solving multiplication problems.

Miss Hollywood, the Chihuahua, is free and comes with a range of clothes, accessories, toys and treats and one photo background. Additional packs including another pet plus their favorite clothes, accessories, toys and treats are available for $1.99 or you can unlock everything for $5.99. Your child can get a lot of fun imaginary play with just the free content of the app, but if they enjoy that I’d recommend the full unlock at $5.99 for hours more fun!

Link to download free: Miss Hollywood – Fashion Pets – Budge Studios

Miss Hollywood – Fashion Pets
Miss Hollywood – Fashion Pets
by Budge Studios

Category: Entertainment, Family, Games
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: 224.76 MB

$FREE

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Screenshots for iPad
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NOTE: A fee was received to feature this app.

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).


Featured App: Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure by Cupcake Digital



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Wubbzy's Fire Engine AdventureWubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure by Cupcake Digital is an interactive storybook app featuring “read to me”, “read and play” as well as “just a book” which is the more traditional book format minus the interaction.

The story is about Wubzy and a problem at the Spaghetti and Meatball Factory which sends meatballs raining down on the town of Wuzzleburg. Not only meatballs were flying, but spaghetti noodles were spilling out of the doors and windows! Wybbzy wishes for a firetruck to help the firefighters, and his friend Widget makes him a toy one. Wubbzy promises that he will only use it as a toy, not to actually help people. He decides to help out a few people including someone tangled in a kite, filling a birdbath. Then Wubbzy sees a smoky building and rather than investigate he decides to start spraying water only to discover that Chef Fritz had burned his pancakes! Wubbzy has an accident involving a pancake and bounced on his trampoline. All of a sudden he is being rescued by the fire department and then they offer him the chance to run the siren.  The story features interactivity on every page allowing children to interact while either reading the story themselves or having it read to them.  The “just a book” does not feature the interactivity.

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The story has a fun twist with the “forky forklift” which twirls up the noodles to clean them up. Readers can help by lifting meatballs out of the pile of spaghetti and then counting them up through a fun – albeit virtually messy counting experience!

 

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The app also features a “fire hose game” where children have to correctly identify letters in a sequence of A – Z and spray the proper board.  After properly spraying the series of three and “cleaning” off the boards, a new series of letters is written on the boards.

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The app also features music videos and interactive coloring pages for children to view and play with.  The coloring pages feature scenes from the story and allow children to color their favorite scenes any way that they want to.  In addition, they can watch one of three music video’s stored within the app and learn how to do the “Wubbzy Wiggle”.

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The “Grown Up’s Corner” at the end of the story provides questions for an adult to discuss with their children and take the story beyond a simple reading experience to an interactive learning experience.  These questions tie to common core early learning standards and encourage children to think about the story beyond what they just read or heard. This is a good story to teach your children about what firemen do in their day to day jobs although it is fictionalized.

 

If you would like to download, Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure, which is currently $2.99 please use our link below so they will know who sent you!

 

Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure – Cupcake Digital“>Wubbzy’s Fire Engine Adventure

Wubbzy's Fire Engine Adventure
Wubbzy's Fire Engine Adventure
by CUPCAKE DIGITAL INC.

Category: Education, Books
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: 91.3 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots
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Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to feature this app.

 

 

 

 

 

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.


Featured App: Sparky’s Birthday Surprise by Cupcake Digital- FREE Fire Safety app.



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Sparky's Birthday SurpriseSparky’s Birthday Surprise is a completely FREE app from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Cupcake Digital. the app contains not only a story but 3 educational mini-games, a music video and coloring and drawing pages. It is a must-have app for anyone with young children, entertaining, yet educational and teaching important fire safety rules. The app can be enjoyed in English or Spanish, and external links are protected by a parental gate (you need to enter your birth year to enter).

Story

The story stars Sparky the Dalmation, Sparky is a fire dog and it is his birthday. Sparky is working at a school teaching fire safety tips to children, whilst he is away his doggie friends plan a birthday surprise. As they bake him a beautiful cake and plan his party, they also learn about fire safety. The story is full of fun interactive elements- the child can learn all about the different parts of a fire engine, ring a fire alarm and help cook Sparky’s cake. The child can read the book themselves and tap on a word to hear it spoken, or listen to the optional narration with word highlighting; there is also “just a book” mode where narration and all interactivity or turned off.

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Additional Activities

Birthday Shapes

This fun mini-game works on Shape recognition – the child needs to pick the correctly shaped birthday present. When they pick correctly they get to see what is inside and Sparky gives them a big hi-five !

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Pinata Counting

Everyone loves to hit a Birthday Piñata and here children can practice their counting whilst tapping the Piñata. They hear and see the numbers as they count and a flood of dog cookies fall out of the Piñata when they get to the right number.

Sparky Addition

Help Sparky practice his addition, up to 10, by using his fire hose to spray the right number combination. The equation is written out as the problem is completed to help reinforce the learning.

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Coloring

The child can choose one of six coloring sheets of Sparky and his friends or use blank paper to create their own masterpiece. Tools include brushes, crayons, chalk and spray paint all with a variable tip size and a whole rainbow of color options, plus a fill-in paint option for younger children or tricky areas. There are also a variety of stickers available to decorate their works of art.

Music Video

This fun music video stars Sparky and a chorus line of dancing ants. Whilst they sing and dance along children are learning what to do if they hear a smoke alarm, in a fun and entertaining way.

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If you’d like to download Sparky’s Birthday Surprise, ($FREE, iPad/iPhone) please use this link so they’ll know who sent you:

Full version:

Sparky’s Birthday Surprise – Cupcake Digital


Sparky's Birthday Surprise Sparky's Birthday Surprise by NFPA

Price: $FREE

Now available in English and Spanish

​*Winner of Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice Award

It’s Sparky® the Fire Dog’s birthday, and his doggie friends are throwing a surprise.

You can also find more information and Sparky-related activities on his website Sparky.org

NOTE: A fee was received to Feature this app.

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).

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