Category: Sounds »
Talking ABC... is a delightful alphabet app which includes charming and impressive claymation animals that will engage adults and children alike.
I do love this kind of animation, so I was eager to see the claymation included within, and I can say that these bright and quirky animal creatures do not disappoint, as an estimated 770 pounds of clay was used to create the animals and letters - impressive to say the least.
As one may expect, there is a main section of this app which includes 26 letters, each with its own corresponding animal seen to the left of the screen.
I enjoy tapping these letters a great deal - first to see the letter formed in clay, then to morph back into a ball and then to form into a creature full of whimsy, also including mild yet wonderfully effective animation.
Another tap will again convert this animal back into a clay ball to be formed into the letter. Options include listening to the letter names or phonic sounds as well as being given a collection of animal choices instead of letter choices to select from.
These letters and animals can also be explored in Auto Play, turning this area into a sing-songy experience as one is introduced to these creatures along with music watched much like a video.
A collection of games is also included where one has a chance to explore four sections.
Letters is an activity where children are asked to identify with a tap the correct letter - be it by name or phonic sound - one of six letters to choose from. A wrong letter will squish the letter in question into a ball whereas the correct letter will convert to the related animal.
The Animal area is much the same, here asking children to choose the correct animal from a group of six seen on the screen, with wrong answers ending in the animals being squeezed into clay balls - an element I find highly satisfying.
Funny Words allows children to spell out a favorite word or name to then see it spelled out with clay letters for a nice effect.
A puzzle section also exists that includes a series of animals, each broken up into a series of squares that needs to be tapped to rotate until these pieces come together to make up a completed creature. Both Easy as well as a Normal difficulty are included - great for children who will find these puzzles interesting and a little challenging but without frustration.
There is much to appreciate within this app as the claymation animals are wonderful, with just the right amount of animated details that I am smitten with.
A few unique animals are included such as a newt playing with a pinwheel. There are also a vicuna, xiphias and yeti used to represent their related letters, avoiding the more common animals usually included in apps such as this.
I really appreciate that the raw moments of sculpting such as fingerprints are included, showing the process of turning a lump of clay into such wonderful silly creatures, each with its own unique movements.
I give a lot of credit to the use of lighting within this app, especially how the included letters are lit to make the most of being three-dimensional objects as opposed to being flat. Colorful backgrounds are also used among these pages that also include geometric shapes such as diamonds or triangles which float across the page behind the letter or animal in question, adding to the visual interest of this app.
It is also charming how one can record one's own voice within the main section of this app, making it seem as if any chosen animal is repeating what words or phrases that have been recorded by the user, and I do enjoy how the animals move their mouths during playback for a delightful lip-sync effect. Also interesting is how the pitch of the added narration is altered to make the child sound silly - a delightful touch.
I mention this function here as this app does not make note of this detail except as a setting where it can easily be missed. I read about this detail through iTunes as a recent update - a delightful inclusion that I fear many will miss without this element being mentioned within the app itself.
Even with this note, there is a great deal to enjoy with Talking ABC... . I would also love to see more claymation from the developers at Jutiful in the future.
Jazzy World Tour is a delightful exploration of music around the world, including the same characters and watercolor stylings as seen in the earlier companion app, A Jazzy Day.
This app opens up with different countries marked with a flag on a world map. Tap to select a flag to explore the related country.
Three sections are included, specifically Learn, Play, and Create.
In Learn, readers will be taken to the country in question, allowing them to read a nicely written section which includes an overview of each area, such as a specific city of note, language spoken and other basic information about geography and culture.
A wonderful variety of instruments as well as animals native to each country are also included. Tap to hear each name, be it of animal or instrument, spoken by a narrator, as well as hear the related sounds, be it creature or musical. Other important items of each country are also represented.
The Play section of this app allows one to tap the animals one has learned about in order to trigger their playing of the instruments - a cute section children will enjoy, complete with slight animations.
Create works much like a sticker book, allowing children to drag animals, instruments and other objects onto the page complete with a country-specific landscape, but this app also adds mild animated elements as well as musical sound effects among these stickers, allowing the animals to play their instruments so that there is a video including these stickers being dragged around the screen during the recording. Save videos as well as photos in the section My Travel Book to view later.
Adults will appreciate the sophisticated instruments included, such as the Oud from Egypt, Agogo from Brazil, Cajon from Spain or Sarangi from India, allowing children to hear instruments they may not typically have the chance to hear played.
I also enjoy the bright and colorful illustrations with marbled watercolor details - a nice touch. It would be nice, however, for the full paragraphs of text to be narrated as well - not just the title word - allowing children to get full use out of the app when spending alone time with the iPad.
Even with this note, parents will be happy to read the many thoughtful facts included within Jazzy World Tour.
Zoola Deluxe is a charming interactive animal app for babies and toddlers - a companion app to the popular Zoola, also reviewed at GiggleApps.
Zoola Deluxe contains a nice variety of animals one can interact with. To start, tap on one of nine animals from either Farm, Safari or Forest animals. Babies will enjoy how chunky the areas for each animal to tap are, making this app intuitive for the youngest app users.
Once a selection is made, listen to the animal’s name narrated as well as see the word on the screen. Also note the mild yet effective animated elements included as well as the sounds for each creature. This app also contains a nice variety of languages, always a nice touch.
On the bottom of the screen, one will see a row of other buttons to explore - specifically a food section, a baby soothing area and a dress-up button that will allow children to interact with each animal.
By tapping the food button, children are brought to a new screen where it's now feeding time, giving children the chance to feed each animal their three favorite foods. Listen to these animals ask for food as well as offer up appreciative noises when they have been fed. Simple but sweet animation allows each animal to move its mouth to eat - all elements babies and toddlers will adore.
The next area allows users to sooth each animal - be it with a bottle, pacifier, blanket or their own stuffed animal. Gentle, classical music is played throughout this section that children as well as adults will find peaceful and relaxing.
The dress-up section is also cute and fun with costumes each animal can wear, ranging from period attire such as top hat and bow tie, construction hat, boots and tool belt, or a variety of mini skirt choices. More music can be heard ranging from classical to more upbeat selections that children will have fun listening to.
There is an overflowing of charm in this app that will appeal to babies, toddler, and I am sure, my son at the age of five, although this app may get a little young for most kids this age and older.
The inner “Lisa Simpson” in me feels a little weird dressing majestic creatures like a lemur in western garb, a hippo in a chief’s hat and bib or a monkey in a clown outfit, anthropomorphizing them for the amusement of children but does not see any real harm, and this is certainly a concern I would keep to myself while sharing this app with young children.
I know my son will greatly enjoy dressing zebras up in Batman masks, giving animals baby bottles and feeding them favorite snacks.
Zoola Deluxe is an app for children to love. It may make some adults a little uncomfortable, especially those who take themselves too seriously at times, but they will be won over by how much their children truly enjoy spending time with this application.
Magic Belles: Magic Music is a charming universal app for babies and toddler. This brightly colored app has a lovely fairy theme, consisting of seven mini-games designed to immerse children into the world of music with simple touches or drags of a finger.
From a menu page, children will easily select a fairy to play with, exploring each of seven activities such as a connect-the-dots section, the ability to grow flowers or adding color to mushrooms with paint from a rainbow.
Nicely stylized, this app is cute with pink and purple as well as other bright colors without overwhelming adults with frills - restraint I appreciate. I also enjoy the fact that these mini-games are spelled out with the tap of a question mark in the corner of each activity or as a whole linked from the main menu.
The look of this app and the very nice musical chimes used throughout which are very relaxing, making this peaceful app a wonderful choice before bed or anytime children would benefit from a relaxing application. Although this app is musical in its nature, it is also rather quiet and because of this, will not bother others even if this app can be overheard in public.
Children will also enjoy the other interactive details to be found within, as exposing them to music in a way adults will enjoy sharing with them.
I have enjoyed Magic Belles and recommend it to families with young children, as adults may enjoy this app as they may notice a subtle sophistication seen in some of these mini-games as one can select or de-select hearts to be heard, as well as organize musical picnic foods on a blanket to be played in the order of being laid out, much like a few of the music apps that I enjoy as an adult.
The Grumble Noise is a charming interactive storybook app for iPad about the vivid fantasies of a young boy as he hears grumbling noises coming from the room that he shares with his brother.
There is a lot to enjoy about this app, as the illustrations used are very nicely done, with a few bright colors that really pop on the darkened backdrop of these boys' bedroom at night.
I especially enjoy the monsters this younger brother creates to put a face to the creepy noises he is hearing such as a fire breathing lion or two headed dinosaur, reminiscent to me of creatures found in Greek mythology, yet always successfully walking the fine line of what will bring excitement to this app without any issues of over stimulation or scary elements to this story itself.
I also admire the basic storytelling with a beginning, middle, and ending, as telling a simple story can be difficult. The ending, demystifying some of the concerning ambient sounds one may hear is also a cute and fun ending children will appreciate.
The narration is also quite good here as are the included sound effects. Readers are also given the option of reading this book themselves.
Interactions are included on every page which add a nice level of richness to this story. Only a few main hotspots are added per page, making these elements quite effective as well as never distracting or unnecessary.
Best of all, this app is free, yet worth a whole lot more. Not only does it showcase the talents of developer Erik X. Raj, but consider it a gift from this developer who was himself afraid of the dark as a child, making this a very easy application to recommend to all families with young children.
Abby Monkey: Animated Puzzle for Toddlers and Preschool Explorers is a lovely intuitive puzzle app for babies, toddlers and those in early preschool to practice working on simple and cute, chunky-styled puzzles.
Eight themes are included, such as farm and zoo animals, an ice cream motif, xylophone as well as many flowers and vehicles.
Each section consists of a series of empty puzzle areas that need to be filled in with correlated chunky puzzle pieces that children need to drag and drop into place. Babies will be helped complete these puzzles with a sense of “grab” that draws these pieces to their correct holes if needed while offering just enough help.
A few areas are unique to this puzzle app such as the ability to create multilayered ice cream pops, asking children to color-match these elements along with the puzzle piece shapes.
Flowers are also included that one grows as the flower elements such as pots are placed into their rightful places, watching as these pretty plants sprout after being watered, adding some nice sequencing elements as well.
Each of these puzzles includes simple yet sweet animations as a reward for the correct drag and drop that will engage the youngest app users.
Abby Monkey: Animated Puzzle for Toddlers and Preschool Explorers is a charming first puzzle app for children, but there are some issues with the sound that could use some smoothing out.
I do really enjoy the serene happy baby sounds that will really get the attention of other very young people, but there are issues with some of the vehicle sounds such as sirens not turning off after one backtracks out of the noisy animated page found after the puzzle has been completed. These sounds continue to become layered and quite loud even when back to the main menu - a glitch I hope can be worked out soon.
Having said this, Abby Monkey: Animated Puzzle for Toddlers and Preschool Explorers would make a delightful first application for babies and toddlers.
Although I do not think this app may be a perfect match for an older or more experienced puzzle user, my seasoned app tester, namely my four and a half year old son, was drawn to this app’s bright colors, pleasant music, cute baby sounds and fun animated moments - high praise to be sure.
Toca Band is the highly anticipated new app from Toca Boca that is both delightful as well as quirky and odd - a wonderful combination that Toca Boca does so very well.
As the name may suggest, Toca Band allowing users to combine different sounds together to create their own music.
This concept is nothing new within the iTunes store, and, honestly, with a few noted exceptions, I never really stuck with one of these apps because making music that one would want to listen to is commonly more difficult that expected, as these apps are often more of a soundboard for noises that lose their appeal quite quickly.
I was, however, not worried about Toca Boca making this format enjoyable and user-friendly, as I have been a fan of theirs from their first few releases, and I know the kind of app they can bring to the table.
I must say that from the moment one sees this app for the first time, one can tell that it is something special. The setting - an outdoor venue in an urban space during evening hours, complete with the sound of crickets - conjures up memories of seeing shows in the summer, and the anticipation is palpable. To my husband and me, this is Brooklyn, but possibly Stockholm for these are Swedish developers, and it is how subjective and ambiguous these elements are which is part of the magic.
One will notice the stage center screen and a row of 16 odd-ball characters below waiting for their turn to make music. Drag and drop these musicians to different areas of the stage, keeping in mind that the different sounds created by each individual vary in each of the three levels of the stage.
All of these characters appreciate their turn in the spotlight which is also included, and here one will see what special sounds each of these performers can create, ranging from more straightforward choices such as a man playing the guitar or an opera singer, as well as fantasy characters who make interesting and unique sound effects, including a wonderful chance to play a thurman that needs to be seen.
There are so many characters to choose and it is impressive how unique each one is styled, full of pop culture references which make my mind wander to Ali G, Tim Burton and Die Antwoord.
I appreciate how performers can be lifted high into the in the "Star" position as the focal point of the band. Do explore all that the solo performances have to offer, too numerous to mention really, as doing so will often raise or lower the pitch as well as generate wonderful sounds as well as charming visual experiences one will want to spend time exploring.
Toca Boca has been a favorite developer in my house so that news of a soon-to-be-released app of theirs is something to celebrate, and we have watched the teaser videos over and again until the app is made available.
My son, typically an easy-going child when it comes to our iPad and iPhone, has had less than gracious moments with Toca Boca apps, being so utterly engaged that his is unwilling to share our devices among family as he explores - a compliment, to be sure.
Well, Toca Band has now made a monster out of my husband, who in turn does not play nicely with others as he and my son try to work on this app together. He is simply having too much creative fun choosing characters to play side-by-side, with the focus he used to reserve for his work as an audio engineer he enjoys this kids app, that in reality has a single song that he personalizes to the best of his ability.
This may be an exaggeration, be it a slight one, as my son has also had a chance to play with this wonderful digital toy as well, enjoying it as much as his dad does.
My boy enjoys the unusual sound effects such as the “frog monster” as he calls a specific character, while my husband focuses his efforts on combining rhythms and vocals together, often enjoying the yodeler as well as other characters.
Do make note that this app allows players to be more of a DJ than a composer, but the experience is still delightful and very musical indeed.
There is not much that I would like to change within this app, but we do think it would be nice to be able to record the tracks created - a function I typically am not interested in with other apps like this.
It would also be nice to be able to momentarily silence a performer with a tap instead of dragging him off stage when a pause is all that one is looking for, and I would also love to be able to set different volume levels per performer so favorites can be heard above others, creating an experience closer to mixing tracks as a DJ might.
I again must applaud Toca Boca for making this as well as their other apps at a price range affordable to virtually anyone who owns a iPad or iPhone - important these days as the prices, especially for universal apps, have crept higher that what many families are willing or able to pay.
Toca Boca apps have consistently been some of the easiest apps to recommend to all ages, and I certainly believe that toddlers up to and including adults will find a way to manipulate the characters to create music or sounds that they will enjoy, as this app is truly what you make of it.
For my son and me, the release of a new Toca Boca app has the same excitement that others may experience with the release of a new iPad. We all look forward to what new apps Toca Boca develops in the future.
Make Me Music is a bright and colorful application for babies and toddlers to explore music and sounds.
This is a very easy application for young children to explore as the main page is filled with a bright, artful selection of instruments - some traditional, other common noise-makers found around one’s house, as well as a few inventive choices children will love exploring, including a drum or didgeridoo to sound, pots to clang, or a spider’s web to strum like a harp.
Each of these interments sound with a tap, making this a wonderful cause-and-effect app for the youngest app players who will certainly giggle at the fun sounds such as flowers who laugh like children, a singing bread box and a mooing cow, which is also lovingly included within this app.
Do note that this page scrolls to the right and back including more fun items that would simply not fit on a single screen.
Children can explore these sounds singularly or as they listen to three background choices: a rock music selection, jazz choice and an easy-to-listen-to mode with simple country elements. I like that one can choose to listen to the melody of these songs alone or alongside the rhythm elements, each included on different flower buttons, allowing one to isolate individual sounds separately, play each together, or any variation thereof, along with the tappable instruments included to create fun sounds that one can record and play back.
I do enjoy all that this app has to offer, but it would be nice, however, to give parents the option of turning off the fart noises that are sometimes triggered.
I am a fan of fart noises in some settings, but these cheeky sounds don’t fit in an application so cute and baby-friendly. I also am not fond of the randomness of these sounds, making it difficult to simply avoid their hotspots.
Having said this, Make Me Music is a delight both in the art that has been used as well as the splendid sounds included within. Babies and toddlers will especially enjoy all that there is to explore, as well as their older siblings and even their adults who will enjoy time spent with Make Me Music as well.