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Create A Monster HD Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on July 19th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Create A Monster HD is a very creative app for iPad allowing players to create the monster of their dreams with some unique and very helpful features not typically included in apps such as this.

The app offers many different choices including head shape as well the basic eyes, nose, mouth and ears choices, with these choices typically including a monster slant to them, such as bloodshot eyes, single eyeball, and varied fang choices included with the mouths. There are many odd selections available for great interesting details like horns, scars, and antennae, as well as some quirky choices like hair pieces and eyeglasses, plus much more.

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

Papa Penguin Review

Posted by Sharon Cohen on May 10th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

If you are going to get an app called Papa Penguin, of course you have to learn some new facts about penguins. Your children are more than likely going to ask, “Why is Papa penguin feeding the babies?” “Do only fathers feed the babies?” “Where’s the mother?” “Who takes care of the babies?” Did you know that penguin chicks (I had forgotten they were called this) cannot care for themselves, and they can only survive with their parents’ help? The male emperor penguin stays with his one egg while the female gets the food. All the time that the father penguin is protecting the egg, he does not eat anything but ice. If the egg hatches before mom returns, the male can produce a curd-like substance from his esophagus and feed his baby chick. Once the chicks are hatched, the moms and dads both feed the chicks with regurgitated (have fun explaining that!) food. And, among all those baby chicks, the adults can identify their own by its distinctive call. All human mothers and dads know they can do this, too.

Now it’s time to actually play the game along with its nice and mellow music. The chicks are crying because they are hungry. So, it is necessary to send Papa Penguin off to get some fish for their next meal. Your child moves him around in the water, gobbling up the fish and the bubbles of oxygen and then returning him with the fish to the starving chicks within a time deadline. Of course, just as in real life, there are many things to watch out for when catching those fish. There are different levels with varying challenges, such as seals and polar bears. Each new level increases speed and offers new risks. I’m not so keen on Papa dying or the kids starving when the time runs out or after hitting too many obstacles like poisonous jellyfish, but I guess that is nature at its worst.

Admittedly, just like any other game, it does become addictive. It’s important to keep those penguin babies fed and the new ones hatched. And, of course, the chicks are just like human babies and kids: As soon as dad returns with the fish after his dangerous trip into the sea, the chicks immediately eat up the food and demand more.

For younger children, the iPad is much easier for manipulation. On the smaller screens, it can be difficult getting away from the dangers and catching the necessary fish and bubbles for oxygen. Now, there’s another question you’ll need to answer. How long can a penguin go without breathing?

Garbage Truck Review

Posted by Sharon Cohen on April 12th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

iPhone apps in the App Store can be categorized many different ways: age, type (e.g., education, game), activity (e.g., reading, matching shapes) or theme (e.g., math, hobbies). Here's another category that I will add to the list: Purpose. There are some children's apps that teach the alphabet. Others give preschoolers the opportunity to play music or kindergartners the chance to see star constellations. Then there are the apps that I would call "app primers."

App primers teach toddlers the absolute basics about how to interact with their iPhone or iPad apps for the first time. It's like the Candy Land game that teaches the basics of color and counting. Hand an iPhone to a child of 4 or 5, and he/she already knows the tricks--touching, tapping and swiping. However, those actions are not so easy for a toddler. Their chubby little fingers are just learning how to work with the minds.

The Garbage Truck is as simple as simple can be. The toddler needs to touch the truck or car to hear the horn. He/she needs to tap on the garbage person to actually pick up the garbage and on the truck to see the garbage ground up. Every so often, something floats by in the sky that can be tapped for action. For example, a balloon comes floating by, and the toddler needs to tap on the balloon and pop it. Children at this age are also drawn toward sounds, so the honking horn and the rumbling of the garbage truck will keep attention as well.

It is true that an older child, even age three or four, or adult will weary of Garbage Truck within two or three garbage pickups. However, a toddler will be learning coordination and, with improvement, be pleased with the positive results received.

Food Fight! – An Interactive Book Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on February 16th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Food Fight! – An Interactive Book is an iPad storybook that my son and I find really enjoyable. It is a unique and original story about two boys from different worlds who at first seem to have a lot of differences but really have much in common.

First you meet Tim, who is a really picky eater and will eat nothing but sausages for every meal and snack. Next, on another planet inhabited by sausage people, we meet Sammy. Sammy eats nothing but little boys the same way Tom delights in eating sausages. Sammy finds out that there is a place where sausages are eaten and goes to earth to confront Tom. At first they cannot get past their differences but are able to work things out, with a witty surprise ending that children will love.

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

Highlights My First Hidden Pictures Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on September 29th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

“Highlights My First Hidden Pictures” brings the hidden picture puzzles from Highlights Magazine onto your device, now in color to make them a little easier than before. There are eight puzzles to start with. Register with Highlights and get two more. Additional puzzles are also available.

In case you don’t know, the idea is to look for objects hidden within the page. Each puzzle has a silly theme, and there is always a lot going on. There is varied music as well as sound effects, all of which which can be turned off, making this a nice quiet game. Make these puzzles harder if you wish by hiding the scrollable row of objects to be found.

I really like that you can zoom in to see details of these pictures, and I think it's great that there are hints that use the zoom feature as well, letting you get closer and closer until the hidden object is right under your nose. Tap on the found object and it will turn black and white as does the corresponding clue from the row showing which objects to look for, which is also then highlighted pink, all of which makes it easier to see what you are still looking for and what you have already found, a nice touch.

I have had a lot of fun with these puzzles, and I do find myself using the hints towards the end. I am glad they are available.

If you enjoy this app, the more challenging "Highlights Hidden Puzzles" is also available.

Magnetic Alphabet for iPad Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on September 5th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

“Magnetic Alphabet for iPad” is an Ipad app designed like the toy every kid enjoyed playing with - the magnetic board with letters and numbers magnets. This toy has been updated for the iPad to include both lower and upper case letters, numbers, various shapes and even grammar magnetics so now you can write full sentences out correctly. There are also six different colors to choose from. You can also save your work to your iPad or share it on Facebook.

I am pleased that you can use all the characters over and over again because to spell out my son’s full name, we need multiples of some letters, and this is difficult with the original toy. My son, 2.5 years, really enjoys spreading out the different pieces on the board as we work on phonics and has taken my lead, now choosing “m’s” for mom and “d’s”  for dad, telling me he is spelling these words.

It is nice that there are apps like this for parents who prefer their kids to play with traditional, battery-free toys while still embracing the new technology of the iPad. Plus, there are no pieces to lose or pick up off the floor!

Meritum Paint Pro Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on August 30th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

“Meritum Paint Pro” is a creative art application that can turn the most basic scribbles into swirling psychedelic works of art. The use of the app is simple: just draw on the blank background and watch your design begin to morph, swirl, change color, and begin to fan out all over the screen. There are many options to choose from to control how the patterns develop and what colors to use. You can also change the background to a photo of your choice.

My son (2.5 years old) really loves to paint using this app. He will scream, "I made this for you ... I made this for you," every time the color changes, watching as his work takes on a life of its own. He loves to shake my iPhone, saving a copy of the current screen to the camera roll. The sound of a shutter clicking and the feel of vibrations are very satisfying to him, leaving me having to delete hundreds of photos from my camera roll.

I think this app would be a hit with anyone creative. Adults will appreciate the multitude of options there are to control every aspect of how their designs are created. Kids will simply love the ease of use and the beauty that they can create at the flick of a finger.

Colortoons Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on August 27th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

"Colortoons" is a nice coloring book app for young children. Consisting of four different themes and now twenty four animals to choose from, kids can either use “paint brush” to paint with their finger much like a traditional coloring book or with the “paint bucket” mode where they can fill in shapes with the tap of a finger. There is also a blank page for kids to draw on free-hand. You are able to save the finished page to your photos, but parents can also disable this if they desire.

My son is not a “keep inside the lines” kind of kid, but at 2.5 years, his fine motor skills are still being developed, and sometimes his fingers don’t do what he wants them to do, so for now he mainly chooses the "paint bucket" setting to color in the animals. I do wish there was an “erase” button because sometimes my son will ask me to remove a mistake if he switches over to "paint brush" mode. When I am not able to, he can get frustrated and lose interest. I do like that both the “paint brush” and “paint bucket” features are available, as well as a blank page for him to draw on.

Let's Bead Friends

Posted by Amy Solomon on August 9th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

"Let's Bead Friends" is an application that lets you design your own friendship bracelets and email them to friends, post to Facebook, or add them to your jewelry box.  This app is intuitive and easy to use. There are five basic shapes as well as a multitude of colors and designs to choose from.  When you are done beading, you can add a message charm such as “miss you” or customize your own and then send the bracelet on its way. 

I did not know if my 2.5 year old son's attention would hold, but he really enjoys this app.  After taking a moment to show him how everything works, he took over designing his own beads and the stringing of his bracelet. "Mom, I'm good as this," my son said, smiling.  It's really fun to see what shapes, colors, and designs he likes to choose, and he enjoys the sound effects and sparkles that play when your bracelet is done. There is also a button to tap to add more "fairy dust," and he taps this button often, saying "it's pretty." I would recommend this app to any child who is into crafts but also to crafty adults.