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Crayola Light Marker by Griffin Technology Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on May 29th, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Review by Amy Solomon, GiggleApps

Recently,  I was given the chance to try out the Crayola Light Marker. This piece of hardware, as the name may describe, allows children to use this chubby crayon-like tool -  part laser pointer of sorts - to draw and in other ways interact with the free app associated with this Light Marker.

Included with the Light Marker is a simple but nicely functional green plastic stand for the iPad that is thoughtfully included as this app is used on a propped iPad, with children standing between two and three feet away from their target.

One will need to use a very small Phillips head screwdriver to open the marker and install the included AA battery or an AA battery of one’s choice. 

When installed, a press of the top button will turn on the power to the pen, while the button on the side of the marker needs to be pressed to draw or otherwise interact with the iPad.

A free app, also named Crayola Light Marker is used as the software for this tool and includes six interactive sections.

Do first calibrate the pen by holding the Light Marker over the front-facing camera of one’s iPad, and note that this app lets children know if they are too close or too far away for optimal results - helpful info to be sure. 

Dot to Dot is pretty much what one might expect from this sort of activity as users connects the dots of one of five simple animal drawings. I enjoy how one’s own marker strokes can be seen on the page as the dots become connected and the animal details are added to the image for a nice effect. After the animal is complete, children are able to color in their drawings. 

Splatter Paint is an arcade-type shooting game for very young children allowing them to choose from a variety of templates and then pop paint-filled balloons over these areas to create an image as well as to keep score by asking children to see how many balloons they can pop in sixty seconds. Children have a variety of three color palette choices as well as slow, medium, and fast speeds for the ascent of the balloon targets. 

A puzzle section is included where one has a chance to put together a few different puzzles in a range of easy, medium and difficult levels. 

Coloring pages as well as a blank page to work on are also included which offer users different tools such as paintbrush, crayon, marker, paint bucket mode where one can fill in a section of the drawing with a single tap, as well as some novelty stamps. Three tip sizes can be chosen, and an eraser is available as well as forward, go back buttons and the ability to share art with family and friends.

My favorite section is a section called Hide ‘ N Seek, where players look for hidden objects within six differently themed scenes using the marker as a flashlight and tapping on the objects when found using the side button of the marker. Three difficulty levels are included, nicely making this activity easier with a larger area of the page illuminated with the marker as well as less fun clutter to hunt through. Two more varied degrees of difficulty are also included for older children with more superfluous objects to not be distracted by and smaller beams of light to use during this seek and find activity. 

I do wish, however, that there were more activities that were geared specifically towards this new technology, as the coloring and puzzle areas can be better completed in finger mode allowed in these sections, especially the coloring in of the included drawings without the paint bucket function, as it is impossible to color within the lines with the marker in any way. Because of this, I would love to see people be able to color with the marker as if it were a paintbrush, but not be able to color outside the lines of the area being colored. 

It is nice how the brush strokes of all the included tools look as if they are glowing for an interesting effect, and children may have fun drawing freehand on the included blank page, as will some adults who may be reminded of tagging the side of a building when they were younger themselves. 

Unfortunately, I do find the coloring page drawings to be at the level of clip art, which may not hold the interest of children past toddler hood. 

I appreciate this this tool can be used to encourage children to hold a pen or pencil correctly as the Light Marker is designed to be held with an index finger over the side button to engage the light to go from the power-on color of red to the green light that will engage the interactivity of the app. Although children may try to grip the marker with a fist, I think they will soon see that this hold is unwieldy and not accurate when working within these activities, encouraging them to hold this tool correctly.

Because this is an LED device, I would personally want children to have some supervision as I would worry about children looking directly at this light source or shining it into another person’s eyes - misuse that I would be concerned about.  

In testing this app, however I did hold the pen close to a wall in a darkened room to see how much light was emitted, which from my very unscientific test was not very much as I needed to get pretty close to the wall to see the red or green light lighting up the surface I was pointing at, making me feel better that this tool is not as powerful an LED as say a flashlight - something bright enough that I do not let my son play with. 

The included stand was a welcome extra that I find myself using when watching storybook apps on Auto-Turn as well as other iPad viewing, but my husband and I have noted that a bit of an angle leaning back would be better for longer viewing of a movie or such - not an issue really as this stand works great to keep the iPad in the upright position for best use of the Light Marker. 

I feel fortunate that although my son enjoys the iPad and iPhone, his interest in crayons, writing with a pencil, or painting with a brush has not been hampered, and he is getting the hang of holding the pencil correctly. 

For those parents who have children who love technology and prefer to spend time tapping and dragging their fingers across a screen instead of working with real world objects that can help with fine motor skills, they may benefit from working with the Light Marker. 

It is my understanding that more apps may be developed in the future that incorporate this technology. I would love to see more varied activities that could only be achieved with this Light Marker instead of the basics like Dot to Dot or coloring pages that can be done just as easily with a pen or pencil. 

My five year old son was very eager to test this new Light Marker and related app, but when the novelty of the pen wears off, the included sections are not unique enough to keep kids his age interested for very long, and the marker may be too difficult for younger children to use as there is a learning curve to being able to acquire the coordination needed to aim the light source where one wants to move tap or explore. Even with this being the case, I can also see some adults find the ability to let their child explore this app without actually touching the iPad inviting. Because of this, the Crayola Light Marker may be worth checking out.

This post originally appeared on GiggleApps, the app review site for parents and kids.

iMarker by Griffin Technology with Crayola Colorstudio HD

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on February 21st, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Review by Amy Solomon, GiggleApps

Recently I have been given the opportunity to check out the iMarker by Griffin Technology, a stylus that is designed to work with the Crayola ColorStudio HD app, a coloring book for iPad.

I was excited to do so because my son, now five, has just gotten fully interested in coloring books, crayons and markers as his fine motor skills have become developed enough to start writing and effectively coloring while holding a pen or pencil correctly.

The iMarker resembles a large, chunky marker - ours specifically a lovely bright blue shade which my son really enjoys. Adults will need access to a very small, jeweler-sized phillips head screwdriver as the iMarker needs one AA battery to function. I was surprised by this as other styluses that we have do not need power to work, but I am impressed by the iMarker's ability to cancel out the contact one’s hand may have with the screen as contact here will not leave marks on the page - unlike working with other tool such as this.

After battery installation, one will notice that when the top button of the iMarker is pushed, the Crayola sign on the side of the stylus will light up with an LED that fades into different colors. There is also an audible “hum" sound from the iMarker, part of the mechanics that makes this stylus compatible with the Crayola ColorStudio HD, a sound which I found distracting, but neither my son nor my husband made note of this noise.

VivaKids' ABC GiggleApps Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on October 4th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Amy Solomon over at GiggleApps took a look at VivaKids' ABC last week:

Simple to use, this app opens up with a row of letters, A-Z, found on the top of the screen, which can be scrolled through with a finger, tapping a letter to choose. A window center screen is the focus here, where one will view these impeccably done letter videos. The background used can also be transformed with a tap to a number of vivid patterns, bold textures, or colors each unique to itself. An artist’s easel can also be touched to bring the player to a section of the app which allows children to trace the letter in question...

For the full review, head on over to GiggleApps.

ABC for the Little Scientist for the iPad GiggleApps Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on September 23rd, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Amy Solomon over at GiggleApps took a look at ABC for the Little Scientist for the iPad last week:

ABC for the Little Scientist for the iPad is a nice, interactive letters app with a science theme.

Like other apps such as this, ABC for the Little Scientist consists of letters a to z, each illustrated with its own interactive page where one can tap the letter or word in question to listen to narration, here of either a male or female voice as well as to look for interactive hotspots. I like the fact that this app uses unique words not typically found in apps like this but instead tackles more complex ideas such as “connection” as in internet connection, this page including a roaming satellite and the earth from a view in space. A version for iPhone is also available.

For the full review, head on over to GiggleApps.

My Playhome GiggleApps Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on September 9th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Amy Solomon over at GiggleApps took a look at My Playhome Monday:

My Playhome is a creative and nicely crafted digital dollhouse for iPad that my son really enjoys. Four rooms are included – a family room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom as well as mom, dad, brother, sister and baby characters. A version for iPhone, Pocket Playhome is also available.

Each room includes objects that the characters can interact with. I like that in the family room, one can switch between cds that play music used throughout this app as background music and one can also turn on the TV to watch a few seconds of muted home video of a family unwrapping gifts – a nice touch. It is also fun that shades can be drawn over the windows to darken the room, and that an aquarium is also included.

For the full review, head on over to GiggleApps.

Harold and the Purple Crayon GiggleApps Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on September 2nd, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Harold and the Purple Crayon is a wondrous and thoughtful adaptation of the classic 1955 children’s book of the same name that had been developed into an interactive storybook, now a universal application.

I remember Harold and the Purple Crayon from my childhood and have shared this story with my son as well. Few children’s books that I can think of beg to be

turned into an interactive storybook as much as this one does, and I have been eagerly waiting for this to be developed into a universal app, knowing that at some point this was bound to happen.

I am very eager to introduce this app to readers who may not know of its existence. It is the perfect experience that I expected with every element thoughtfully conceived, making this book a joy to share with my son.

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

Hildegard Sings Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on July 22nd, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Hildegard Sings is a really fun interactive storybook app from the developers at One Hundred Robots that includes a great story, some nice interactions and interesting extras. Options include narration or reading this book on one’s own, and it is nice that the sound effects and music used can still be enjoyed even with one reading this like a classic book, as well being able to turn on or off these sounds independently as well. Versions of this application are available for both iPad as well as iPhone.

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

Create A Monster HD Review

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

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.

Loris and the Runaway Ball Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on May 2nd, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Loris and the Runaway Ball is a simple and lovely universal storybook app about the dangers of running into the street after a run-away ball.

As a parent, one of my biggest concerns is that my fearless child will run into the street to collect a stray ball or other toy and get hit by an oncoming car. As much as we talk about this in order to reinforce this important lesson, I worry that it is never enough for this utterly crucial message to sink in.

This is a sweet story, told from the point-of-view of a loving older brother Lincoln, about how one day he is playing with his little sister Loris and their ball rolls into the street, and now lincoln needs to save his sister from her horrible decision to go after the ball. Luckily the older brother does get to his sister just in time, something I have not yet had to do, and hope I never have to.

Read the full review at GiggleApps!


Go Car Go Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on April 20th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

This iPhone, iPad and iPod app “shows to go you” that science, especially physics, can taught in an interesting way that it is not dry and expressionless as was the case with a few of my junior and high school teachers. Actually, it can be fun, as the information on the app says, for the whole family. Go Car Go also demonstrates that it does not take rocket science to teach science. This is a very simple app that clearly shows how different physical properties and design will alter a car’s performance. If I “get” it, anyone can.

Read the full review on GiggleApps!

iLearn With The Mighty Jungle: Animals! Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on April 13th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

iLearn With The Mighty Jungle: Animals! is a lovely and highly educational app for iPad that teaches about animals, their appearances, habitat and living habits.

Allow Babu, a friendly meerkat, to guide you through this app as you help Babu find a missing animal friend in each level. These games begin with a map that one uses to help track Babu’s buddy. Correct answers will fill in the map with animals that the player follows as one looks for Babu's friend.

I really like how this app teaches interesting animal facts. In the first level involving animal appearances, one question must be answered such as “which animal has fur,” to move forward on the map, but the number of questions one needs to answer in order to move forward goes up in levels two and three. I find it interesting how these questions start out general and become more specific until the correct animal is uncovered, allowing the player not just to learn facts, but to have a chance to compare and contrast the info learned about various animals.

[ Read the rest of this review at GiggleApps » ]

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.

Cozmo’s Day Off Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on February 10th, 2011

Cozmo’s Day Off is a really fun and creative space-themed universal application which includes both a story as well as numerous highly engaging interactions and mini-games.

I love the look of this app; the illustrations are great as are the various interactions one can find by tapping around the pages. I like that some of the interactions are different each time they are tapped and are sometimes rather involved as well with multiple things happening from just one touch. The look of this app has a nice 1950’s space theme and I like looking at all the retro elements, including a few that remind me of an earlier steampunk style as well. The music as well as the narration is excellent and it is fun that one can change the pitch of the narrator’s voice as well as your own if you choose to make your own recording. Mini-games are also included throughout the app as well as some highly creative and unique elements. One will just have to tap to explore for himself; just be sure to touch and explore everything on the screen. Check out the “help” section if you want direction in finding the interactions that these pages contain. I greatly appreciate this information being included and wish a section like this would be part of app interactive apps.

Read the full review right here on GiggleApps.

Basic Math with Mathaliens Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on November 17th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

This is a great math study app suitable for the entire elementary school spectrum. Mathaliens covers addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and has two play modes: Mathaliens Bingo and Hunting Mathaliens, with three levels of difficulty (Easy, Medium, Hard).

In Mathaliens Bingo, a Bingo field is presented with an array of twenty numbers. A math problem is presented, and the player must select the correct answer from the field while striving to get a “Bingo”, a horizontal or vertical line of correct answers. Each time a correct answer is selected, the number is replaced by a spunky-looking alien. Scoring depends on how quickly the correct answer is selected; 50 points are attainable within the first second and 5 points are subtracted every second thereafter. Incorrect answers deduct 50 points from the totals. High scores are retained in a list accessible from within the app.

Read the full review at GiggleApps.

The Bronto Family Adventure Review

Posted by GiggleApps Staff on October 22nd, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

The Bronto Family Adventure is a nice book app about Jax Bronto and his dinosaur family as they go on an adventure. Children can choose to be read to or read this story to themselves, and there is a short peek-a-boo themed game your child can play as well.

This app includes nicely drawn, simple illustrations, and the narration is pleasant. My son enjoys listening to the story, and I appreciate the mild suspense created as Jax gets lost after roaming away from his parents. The ending is a happy one, but is does gently remind children not to wander too far away from mom and dad. I like the idea of being able to either listen to or read this story to my child, and when my son gets older, he can read this now familiar story to himself.

Read the Full Review on GiggleApps