Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer – Review



Dr. Panda Plus: Home... iconDr. Panda Plus: Home Designer is a physical toy which includes cards as well as the ability to take a photograph of them and display them on your device.  Inside the box are 51 flashcards, 12 non-toxic erasable markers and a QR code which activates the app.  Cards inside the box include everything you would find in a home ranging from bathroom items (sink, tub, toilet, towel rack); bedroom (crib, loft bed, bunk beds, lights, flooring, characters, clothing for the characters,rocking chair, bookshelf,  ); kitchen (table, counters, plant, laundry basket, stove, cabinets and living room (couch, stereo system, chair.)  Note these are not all of the items – they are selected ones that I picked out.

What we love…

fun interactive app that showcases what an iPad can do using a physical toy and merging it with 3D design

What we’d love to see…

ability to save your creations on the camera roll, ability to move from house to house more easily, an outside space for kids to design and play in

Summary

Super fun app which brings Dr. Panda to life in physical play.  It can be played for long or short periods of time or longer periods of time.  Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer provides a fun augmented-reality like experience which helps kids be creative with art and design while helping to familiarize letters and words.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

To play, first you launch load the app on your device.  Next you scan the QR code which is located inside the Dr. Panda Plus box to activate the app.  Then you can take out the cards and start creating.  When playing with Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer with my kids – I usually separated the cards into categories like bedroom, characters, clothing and then also by room to make it easier for my toddler to follow along.  Each card is double sided – one that kids can color in using the included dry erase markers and the other is already colored in.  Once the card is done, you simply hold it up and take a photo of it using the camera on your device.  The object is rendered into 3D and then you can place it within the home.  My younger son loved taking photos of all of the objects to make his dream house – there were lots of flooring changes along with multiple beds in the bedroom,  With my older son – he’s a third grader he picked out specific cards he wanted to color prior to even launching the app.  He then colored them in using the included markers and making his own designs.  He was a bit more thoughtful in how he organized the house making a kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom as well as designing all the clothes for the various characters.  To wipe off the cards we used a baby wipe although any soft cloth will work.  A few times, my older son didn’t want to erase his creation so it did take a bit more “scrubbing” to get it off.  Each house has four rooms – and you can choose where you want the rooms to be placed.  When you take a photo the image can be lined up and then it “pops” into 3D mode for placing.  When you take the photo it also brings out letters which encourage kids to spell the name of the object they are creating – kids can choose to bypass this.  If you accidentally take a photo of an item or too many you can simply place it in the recycle bin.

I loved how easy this app and game were to use.  No rules no fuss!  I could play one way with my younger son and then with my older son he could be independent and color in his own cards to create the room and design it as he wished.  We could use the pre-designed cards or use the cards that we colored on/decorated and play.  I found it was easiest to scan things in bunches to complete one room at a time just to make it more fun.  My kids also enjoyed making multiple houses – they made one for Dr. Panda, another for Tao and a third for Meimi junior.  The also created a bunch of cute clothes for each character to wear.  In addition – my older son had a larger set of dry erase markers that he was able to use with the cards so he had more color choices.  The box holds the game and markers making it easy to keep everything together.  The cards are made of a sturdy cardboard that has stood up to repeated uses and did not bend despite the best efforts of my younger son.  The game can be used across multiple devices which was great as it meant my older son could play on his own iPad while my younger son and I could use a different iPad.

In terms of improvements – it would be neat if you could go from house to house within the app rather than having to open each house separately.  In addition, it would be nice if there were a “holding area” for you to scan your cards and that way you could wipe them off and make a different design without losing the first design.  We tried a few different ways to do this without success.  It would also be nice if there were a way to “back up” the QR code just in case something happened to the box.  It might also be fun to include mini games within the app from the various Dr. Panda titles to provide different activities for kids to do.

Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer provides a fun augmented-reality like experience which helps kids be creative with art and design while helping to familiarize letters and words.  My kids have spent hours playing with the app and each time they create a new house or go into play it’s a fun new experience.  I encourage them to narrate and tell me what they are doing and making during the process which also helps familiarize them with various names of objects.

Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer is available on Amazon for $39.99.

Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer
Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer
by Dr. Panda Ltd

Category: Education
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, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 206.26 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
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Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

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.

Building, creating and more – toys for my 3 year old boy

Cars_boy

As a mom of two, I always struggle with what the “right” toy is for my three year old son.  Should I get him something that is educational or should I defer to his favorite of cars and trucks and things that go?  We have some older toys from his brother who is now 8 and are among his favorites.  Below are some of our favorite toys for 3 year old boys which I’ve categorized by type.  I also try to get science based toys which fit into the STEM theme as well.

When shopping for a new toy I try to use the following criteria

  • usability – is it a toy that my son will play with once and be done?
  • durability – is the toy durable enough to last through multiple play sessions and not be broken?
  • learning – will my child learn something from the toy – either by reading or creative thinking skills like a puzzle
  • “fun factor creative toys” – will my kids have fun using it even if it creates a mess?
  • imaginary play – does the toy encourage imaginary or role play?

Let's Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop!My kids love sturdy wooden toys, and I have found Melissa & Doug toys to be a huge hit over the years.  The content of the toys is timeless and typically there is an educational twist to what they are doing.    Plus, sometimes they even help out mom and dad with chores!  I call that a win all around!  My nephew got this cleaning set over the holidays, and it was fun to see my three year old play with it.  Guess what is on his birthday list?!?  I keep hoping he will help me tidy up or at least sweep up the constant messes that he seems to make.

 

 

Big Building Bag (classic) (80 pieces)I also like to look at learning types of toys, especially since I know preschool will be just around the corner.  We regularly work on letter recognition and colors.  In this category I like simple 5-6 piece puzzles, building blocks like Mega Blocks which are easy to stack and sort by color or counting, and even things like arranging them by size.

 

 

 

 

Toys that target imaginary play are important to consider as well.  My son also loves to dress up – so a few costumes might be a good fit here while we learn about different types of “jobs” in the community.  He currently has a dress up costume for a firefighter and construction worker and we have seen lots of great pretend play from these.  He also loves cooking in the kitchen, I like to present all types of foods for his play kitchen beyond the traditional meat and potatoes to include vegetables.  This tote from Learning Resources has a variety of fresh fruits and vegtables which then we use to talk about why we need to eat our veggies at dinner – which are unfortunatley not a favorite!  I love watching my son cook – and he’s now even more intersted in helping me prepare healthy snacks like carrots and apple slices.

 

 

 

VTech   Call & Chat Learning PhoneAs a tech mom, I also like to look at “tech toys”.  We introduced a tablet to my younger son at the age of 2.5 – earlier than I would have liked, but we limit #screentime and try to ensure we balance out learning in other ways.  We also have had fun getting toys like a pretend remote control which helps him work on numbers and colors.  He has an “old school” flip phone that he pretends to call me on from daycare on occasion which is fun as well.  When using the iPad I try to limit him to educational type stories or learning type apps.  We also love listening to music on the iPad and getting up to dance.  Be sure to check out our app reviews here at The iMums for some great apps to add to your device.  We also have some great tech toy reviews as well including a Bluebee Pal named Hudson that my son adores who reads stories to him from books on our iPad.

 

My son loves all things that move and go.  Little People are among his favorites.  He likes to intermix the Little People along with farm animals so it can make for some pretty creative combinations when he is playing.  By far his favorite though is his racetrack.  We practice patience – using the “on your mark, get set, go” as well as turn taking skills when he plays with other kids.  Most of the time, if my son is given the choice of toys to play with he will almost always choose something that can go.  He enjoys a variety of cars, trucks, and construction vehicles.  This year, I know I am looking at some Tonka Trucks he will be able to play with outside as well as a few of the lights & sounds trucks which are among his friends favorites.

 

 

 

6 Count Washable FingerpaintLast but not least are the “fun factor toys”.  Many of these toys fit into the “messy” category and include things like paints, bath toys and more.  We use crayons, markers, finger paints, chalk to make fun art related creations.  The most important piece here for me is a smock, and then we can move on to good “clean” fun!   Kids learn and practice so many skills when doing artwork like grasp as well as figuring out spacing on a page.  These may not be my favorites given the mess factor but I do love all of the artwork they create.

 

 

 

No matter what you choose, your three year old will love it.  My son loves sitting with me and playing toys no matter what the day.  Seeing him have enjoyment during play on his face – is simply priceless!

 

NOTE: This post is a partnership with Nakturnal.  The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

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.

News: Join Toca Boca and Take a Stand for Play!

Join Toca Boca and Take a Stand for Play!

There’s a problem with the state of play in America. Everyone likes it. It’s like s’mores wrapped in ice cream wrapped in summer holidays. So, what’s the issue?

Play, the open-ended, unstructured, free-from-rules-and-goals-kind-of-play, is on the decline, and that’s a problem for us all.

Kids today have lost 12 hours of free time per week, resulting in a 25 percent decrease in play. In recent years, more than 20 percent of American schools have eliminated recess to make more time for academics – regardless of the fact that kids spend five weeks more in school than 50 years ago.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t get us wrong – academics are absolutely essential, but play shouldn’t fall by the wayside. After all, free, open play teaches kids how to make decisions, problem-solve, exert self-control, follow rules, regulate emotions and develop and maintain peer relationships. In short, it’s nothing to “play” with, and it’s time we recognize the power of play.

This February, Toca Boca is kicking off a campaign to do just that, and is asking parents to take a Stand for Play.

It’s easy, and FUN, to get involved – just follow these simple steps and you’re on your way to protecting play for your little one:
Visit www.standforplay.com to learn more about the power of play. Let your imagination run wild on our interactive site – draw, paint, mark…and have a blast!
Spread the word by sharing the ‘Take a Stand for Play’ poster on your Facebook or Twitter feed and get your very own play-kit, complete with printed poster and tons of stickers, for free!
Got your poster? Flip it over and show us (and the world) what play means to you.


Then, show it off! Take a photo holding your poster and share it using the hashtag, #StandForPlay
See your poster featured on Toca Boca’s social channels!
“When we saw that play was on the decline, we knew we had to take action,” said Björn Jeffery, CEO and founder of Toca Boca. “Since day one at Toca Boca, we’ve been focused on encouraging kids to play freely, without rules, levels or predetermined outcomes. We believe in play for the sake of play and want to do everything we can to protect it.” Check out Toca Boca’s site to learn more!

About Toca Boca
Toca Boca, the No. 1 mobile-first kids brand in the App Store, is a play studio that makes digital toys for kids. Since its first product launch in 2011, Toca Boca has released 30 apps that have been downloaded in 215 countries worldwide. With more than 100 million total downloads to date, Toca Boca apps focus on stimulating kids’ imaginations so that they can play and have fun in a safe digital environment. With offices in San Francisco, Stockholm and New York, Toca Boca is part of The Bonnier Group, a family-owned business that includes newspapers, magazines, television, cinemas and digital media. For more information, please visit www.tocaboca.com.

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.


News: New World-Building App, Toca Blocks, Brings Construction Play to Kids’ Fingertips



iPhone Screenshot 1

New World-Building App, Toca Blocks, Brings Construction Play to Kids’ Fingertips

Available on the App Store on December 17, Toca Boca’s new world-building app, Toca Blocks, invites kids to create and explore the worlds they imagine. Starting with a blank canvas, kids can experiment with the apps’ transformative blocks to construct their own unique worlds.

Tapping into kids’ curiosity, the blocks themselves offer a lot for kids to explore. There are a variety to choose from, each with their own characteristics made of various colors, textures and materials. Kids will also discover that there’s more than meets the eyes with the ever-evolving blocks: dragging one on top of another will reveal new shapes with new properties — everything from other unique blocks to items kids can use to fill their worlds such as a tree, chair or toilet. Kids can uncover the propeller to build a flying house or use trees to create an indoor forest. The only limit to what they build is their own imagination.

By encouraging imaginative construction play, Toca Blocks helps kids see the endless ways one can use the same item.

“Construction play isn’t only about creating something beautiful, it’s about how you get there. When you create something, the materials you use get new meaning: a blanket becomes the ceiling of my playhouse, a chair becomes a stepping stone in the lava pit that’s erupted from the floor,” says play designer Mårten Brüggemann. “Using your imagination naturally brings out an evolving ruleset from which you can use to create and play within. With Toca Blocks, we give kids a digital environment that enables this aspect of play.”

Toca Blocks also features three inhabitants, each with different traits such as flying, climbing and smashing. With the characters, kids can set out on an adventure to explore the worlds they create. Secret doors even open up new environments, letting kids create and discover world after world.

App Features Include:
– Blank canvases for kids to explore — start building underground or up in the sky
– Three pre-installed worlds that lend inspiration to kids who don’t want to start building from scratch
– Many combinations of blocks and hidden objects — once kids discover a new block or object, it’s stored in their inventory at the bottom right of the screen
– Tools including a pencil and eraser to make it easier to place and delete blocks
– Three heroes who are ready to explore the worlds – fly with the bird, climb with the bear or smash blocks with the cat
– Secret doors to access new worlds
– Ability to save and edit creations

Toca Blocks marks the 30th app released by Toca Boca since the start in 2011. The app is developed by the team behind Toca Nature, the company’s most award-winning app of all time.



Toca Blocks Toca Blocks by Toca Boca AB

Price: $2.99 USD

Toca Blocks is a unique world-building app that lets you create worlds, play in them and share them with friends. Where will your imagination take you?

BUILD
Construct worlds and fill them .

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.

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