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Lola’s Math Train Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on July 12th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Lola’s Math Train is a cute and fun universal application staring Lola, the cuddly panda that children may be familiar with from other educational Lola apps from BeiZ such as Lola’s Alphabet Train or Lola’s Fruit Shop Sudoku.

Here, join Lola and friends as she drives a train which is propelled by each correct math question answered.

Questions are nicely varied and get more difficult as the game is played and are focused teaching the basic such as counting, ordering small quantities as larger or smaller as well as simple puzzles, differentiating numbers from letters and other activities as well as simple math such as addition and subtraction.

There are other apps available that offer math problems in ways that children may not fully realize that they are practicing their math. As much as I admire these other apps, I also appreciate having children work with simple, basic problems that will better resemble the questions they will most likely face in school. These games are kept dynamic with the use of fun music, train whistles and the train’s movement as one is guided through these math exercises, adding different friendly animals to this train along the way.

Three levels of difficulty are included - which is a nice touch, but it would be great if players could save their progress as children may not be able to finish their entire game with the addition of all the animals to their train in one sitting, and it would be nice to pick up from where they left off.

Having said this, Lola’s Math Train is a nice choice for a fun, interactive educational application, as are the other Lola apps in this series.

KidsMag, Easter Special Edition Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on April 3rd, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Easter is almost here, a favorite holiday of mine especially as a child, interesting as I never grew up with Easter having much of a religious significance. For me, it meant winter was over and spring had begun.

I still love to see the Easter treats and decorations in the stores, as the soft color palette found at this time of year is so much more appealing to me that the red and green or orange and black found during other holidays.

I have not decided yet if I want to treat my son to the Über mess that dyeing Easter eggs can be, and I have not encouraged the sweet tooth I had as a child so he does not share the same excitement I have seeing the rows of Peeps or Cadbury eggs lining the shelves of our local stores.

I do want him to have some Easter fun this year, however, be it on a secular level. We are going to an Easter egg hunt at preschool, and I am excited to share a new app with him with an Easter theme as well.

KidsMag, Easter Special Edition is children’s magazine app, part of the KidsMag series of apps that my son and I really like, much akin to reading Highlights and includes fun interactions as well as engaging instructions for baking and crafts that children will enjoy.

Easter-themed, this app includes a really nice story about bunnies decorating Easter eggs, gently teaching about art and inspiration in a way that both parents as well as children will appreciate.

As cute as this app is with an abundance of eggs, bunnies and carrots, it’s nice to see how educational this application is as well, as sequencing of ideas is taught in a variety of ways.

To hear the main story found within this app about the bunny egg decorating story, tap on each individual panel of this storyboarded tale to hear short passages that relate to the illustration included in each panel, teaching children about the different sections of beginning, middle and end that one can find within a story.

Very nice instructions for baking Easter cookies are included as well. Tap on each image in sequence to hear and read these instructions, nicely broken down to be able to be followed by children in their kitchens at home. Likewise, crafty directions for making bunny ears are also included. Tap on each image to be led throughout this activity from beginning to end.

The arranging of scenes is also taught, as Easter-themed images, such as searching, finding and eating chocolate eggs are explored, as children sort these illustrations from 1 to 4, again teaching the basics of a beginning, middle and end.

I also appreciate how during many of the included activities, the iPad can be shook to bring players to additional pages of the same activity, such as spot the differences, hidden picture carrot, chocolate bunny searches or hopping bunny dot-to-dot. Basic addition, colors and a puzzle are covered in this bunny-themed application. Kids can also get creative with coloring pages as well as an egg-decorating section.

With 17 pages of content - more when one includes the shaking of the iPad to expand many of these activities, this app will keep children occupied for a nice amount of time.

Being a special addition, this app at 17 pages, is shorter than an issue of KidsMag each which have around 30 pages, but it is also less expensive and well worth the money as are the other KidsMag applications within this series, some of which have been reviewed here at GiggleApps. Please search for them if interested.

Look Again Jr. Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on January 11th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Look Again Jr. is a fun and educational universal puzzle app that children aged preschool and up will find very appealing, as will adults. This game is based on the more difficult puzzle app by the same developer, Look Again.

To play Look Again Jr. focus on the center of this screen to see the main image. Now give attention to the 12 boxes that surround the perimeter of this center image. Choose the boxes in the perimeter that correspond to the main image, understanding that specific number of matches is expected to be made, tap the center image when complete.

The comparison could be produced based, as an image of fruits and vegetables may need to be deconstructed to find the individual foods that make up this image, found in the surrounding boxes one chooses from. Building blocks may be the topic of the main image, allowing players to choose the block shapes that make up this included structure - the same idea behind the use of puzzles, both abstract as well as literal, as these puzzles are broken down, with the players needing to choose the appropriate pieces.

With 120 levels included, these puzzles touch a lot of basic information that kids are expected to learn, be it counting, color recognition or farm animals. I appreciate how players will quickly understand what is being asked of them even on harder levels without help from an adult.

It is especially nice that child narrators give prompts as well, explaining how to play each level, including how many matches need to be made. There are no written instructions given that could trip up non-readers, although the number of selections to make are listed as a number for the players' reference. Encouragement is given, and players are asked to simply try again if a mistake has been made, and I like how one can simply de-select an image with a tap as well to make changes when needed.

I really think this is a great game for kids. It helps re-enforce basic knowledge and skills, but also with focus and concentration, needed to see what one is looking to match up. These levels can may get tricky for young children, but not in a way that is frustrating as there is no timer of any kind here. It would be nice, however, to be able to tap a help button to have the right answers highlighted if a child truly feels stuck.

I do wish this game would save the level one is currently working on - a criticism of the adult version of this app, Look Again, but I am happy to say that here, one can scroll through all the levels offered looking for their place, assuming they remember what puzzle they were previously working, on without any issues of levels being locked.

I must admit, the visual style here is pleasant and gets the job done in this most fun and creative puzzle app, but graphics used here will not be the main draw for this application.

Having said this, I can tell readers that I really enjoyed playing level after level of this puzzle game. This will hold the attention of a wide range of children’s ages, including adults and the inclusion of 120 levels really packs a great deal of content within this app. I highly recommend this application to families with children as it re-enforces the basics and in general will really get kids thinking.

12 Days of Christmas - Polk Street Press Singalong Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on December 21st, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

12 Days of Christmas - Polk Street Press Singalong is a charming iPad application which truly brings the traditional song of the same name to life, as well as re-enforcing number sequencing along the way.

I do so very much love the look of this app, as each of the verses of this song is illustrated by wonderful illustrated scenes demonstrating each of these twelve days, such as Three French Hens or Five Golden Rings, complete with cute animated elements, lovely details and patterns adding to the richness and whimsy of lovingly crafted application.

I find the color palette used here quite pleasing, with warm muted colors alongside brighter color choices of many shades of green, turquoise and orange that I very fond of. The subtle shading and brush strokes used here add to this app's beauty and hand-painted quality that adults and children will enjoy, and I would feel privileged to be able to hang images from this app on the walls of my home.

The animals as well as the people incorporated within are simply adorable. I also greatly appreciate that the people found in such scenes such as the pipers piping, lords-a-leaping or drummers drumming include a variety of skin tones and hair textures which create a nice visual effect as well as a multi-cultural experience, something I would love to see more of in the U.S. iTunes store in general.

Two general sections are included, specifically Playalong and Singalong and I enjoy how this app opens up to 12 images, found in 6 squares - top and bottom - that represent each of the days included in this song - an important element in the Playalong section.

Here, children have an opportunity to learn about number sequencing as this app plays each verse and then pauses, allowing children to tap the number in descending sequence, starting with days 1 and 2, then asking the player to tap the number 1, as it is the start of the long trail of presents received on each day that build as the days go by, ultimately allowing young children to test their number recognition and sequencing skills counting back from day 12.

This app also allows children to record their own version of this song, including simply audio or video as well for iPad 2 users. Options include being accompanied by singing along words with the original recording or singing to an instrumental version by oneself.

The words in this section are not highlighted karaoke-style but are delivered line-by-line as one watches this song’s animation on the top half of the screen. I don’t think the lack of highlighting will make keeping in time with this song difficult since it is so well-known, and I like that one can sing along while being somewhat prompted by the singer to keep in time, or sing by oneself as the instrumental version is being played. Sharing one’s recordings via email or Facebook is made easy, and I also enjoy the fact that one can also watch this lovely illustrated song without making a recording.

12 Days of Christmas - Polk Street Press Singalong is a great app for iPad for any family who enjoys singing or listening to traditional festive Christmas songs. The illustrations used are perfectly realized for this application, and I hope to see more from artist Lesley Breen Withrow in the future.

Counting Caterpillar Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on December 12th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Counting Caterpillar is a fun and engaging universal counting app that kids will enjoy.

Simple to understand, one feeds this tree climbing caterpillar aphids caught in correct order from 1 - 100. This can be done by groups of ten in the easy section, or challenge oneself in counting in intervals of 2, 5, or 10. There is also a difficult section that randomizes the counting method and number that one starts from.

Although receptive in nature, the look of this app is marvelous with many terrific details and dynamic visual styling, as nothing is flat-looking within this app. The tree the caterpillar climbs has a wonderful texture and shading which adds beauty to the bark of this tree, and I also love the green leaves in the background, adding richness and depth to this app. The caterpillar is adorable, smiling and attractive with a great colored body with subtle batik notes that add to the visual interest.

The butterflies found within this app are beautiful as well, full of interesting color combinations and unique batik-like details reminiscent of the work of Eric Carle, combined with computer-generated images that create a pleasant 3-D effect as these butterflies flap their wings, looking as if they are floating slightly off the page.

My son really enjoys this application, with its quick pace and wonderful artwork. At first, he complained that the speed was too fast, as the aphids fly around the screen and the caterpillar never stops moving. With some practice, though, my son has quickly become a regular user of this app on the pursuit of collecting more butterflies - something that is accomplished regularly as one continues to play.

I appreciate how the butterflies are saved from one encounter to the next, and I like that one can choose to use a hint, that being the correct aphid number colored orange, standing out against the other green bugs seen on the screen.

Upbeat, enjoyable music is used as here, and friendly narration speaks each number as the caterpillar is fed, growing longer as the numbers just ingested become new parts of the caterpillar's body, further adding to the visual style and number sequencing.

I do wish, however, that one had a chance to choose from what number to start from, as my son has enjoyed this app often when he has just a few minutes in which I need him to be distracted.

Because of this, he has counted to 20 or 30 often, also spending time admiring his hoard of butterflies or checking out the other levels - something that I do not begrudge him, but it would be nice for him to start the count at 50, giving him a chance to spend time sequencing the upper half of 100 as well.

It would also be nice that while this app is open, one did not have to start back at one to ten when venturing back to the easy mode after having traveled to another section for a time. This honestly does not bother my son as he is mainly in it to gain more butterflies, but I wish he could keep go back and continue counting higher and higher, even after going back from changing levels.

This app does not only challenge children’s ability to count from 1 to 100 but also gives both fine motor skills and one’s ability to focus amidst the moving creatures found in this app a workout, possibly making this a good choice for special needs children as well.

I am impressed with the rich textures, colors and depth found within Counting Caterpillar. If interested, do look also at Shape-O ABC app from the developers at Bellamon which has a similar use of visual style, to be reviewed here soon at GiggleApps.

TableTots™ Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on December 6th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

TableTots is a very interesting app for adults designed to create endless activities for children to work on that teach a wide array of basics.

Twelve table-top surfaces are offered, each creating a template which makes it easy to create activities around the included things, shapes, letters, colors and numbers provided. Some “quick sets” have already been created, simplifying the adding of elements to the table that one may be looking to include, and some scenes are also set up and ready to go - a nice inclusion for adults new to this application.

To use this application, it is recommended that the table tab first be opened in order to see the template selection and go from there, but I find it easier to explore the options provided, letting the selection items and concepts that one can teach spark my creativity. From there, after I have some idea of the game or exercise I would like to create, I look at the possible table choices in order to decide what template best represents the game activity I am trying to design.

It is nice that for each of these basic sections, quick sets and scenes of pre-fabricated templates and included items are included, aiding in the set up of activities, which also give adults ideas on how to use this interesting teaching tool. This app really becomes creative when the adult begins to mix and match these items together, such as numbers along with coins, base number blocks, or multiple objects.

I like how in this app’s settings, one can choose both letter names as well as phonic sounds, and it is nice that one can change the color of these table tops as well, and a curtain can be added to these tables that can be pulled back and forth - a nice inclusion to create fun memory-style games where children are given a few seconds to look over the screen before the curtain is pulled back, and they are then quizzed about what they can remember.

The look of this app is bright with bold color choices used throughout the letters and numbers, and it is nice that adults have some pleasant moments of color sections to personalize the look of this app. I especially enjoy the look of the coins, as the front and back of each is thoughtfully offered.

Objects is an interesting section that includes 26 familiar items that correspond to the letters of the alphabet, a number section that includes base counting with the use of counting red blocks grouped into 1, 10, 100, and 1000 counts to use within a money-counting exercise, as well as dominos to teach basic counting, using these dominos as visual cues.

Scenes included here are a money-counting exercise where the player drags a coin to the other side of the table as the type of each coin is narrated. Base 10 Counting allows kids to drag different sized blocks of different amounts of one hundred, ten, or one to help visualize these quantities as the amount of blocks is spoken. The Domino Math exercise allows children to fill in the blanks of an addition question with the use of the included dominos, and Things Matchup allows children to match each item with its corresponding letter as well as hearing each object’s name nicely narrated when tapped.

In Shapes, geometric shapes are taught, and I am happy to say that some less common shapes are included, such as quatrefoil, crescent and curvilinear triangle. These shapes can be offered as a series of single colors, or a variety of colors can also be used at once. A shape-sorting puzzle of sorts is included as well as an exercise involving the placement of colors correctly on the color wheel - my favorite mode in the shapes sections.

In the letters section, each letter is represented with both upper and lower choices, including a quick set of these letters, be it just vowels or every letter, with an adult choosing to focus on upper or lower cases. Other scenes also include practicing to spell three and four-letter words as well as matching upper and lower case letters together.

The math section allows adults to add numbers 1-100 to anywhere on the page, as well as other math and related symbols such as “+,” “$,” or “<." Quick sets offered here include counting by 1, then 2’s, 5’s, or 10’s and also include a basic math scene where one drags numbers and functions into a math problem as well as counting from one to twenty as one arranges these numbers in order with a checkerboard-styled template.

The possibilities are endless here, and I am sure this would be a go-to app for many parents, teachers, and therapists who work with kids and need to create personalized activities for children, all neatly found within this app.

My son loves Spinlight Studio’s other apps including AlphaTots and TallyTots and made a beeline for this app, recognizing their iconic airplane logo on our iPad but did not know what to make of this app. Neither did my husband at first glance. This is in no way a flaw with this wonderfully educational application, but it may be worth noting that to get full use from this application, adults will need to spend some time alone exploring what this app has to offer before sharing with the children in their lives.

If one it looking to simply download an app to share immediately with an impatient child by his side, AlphaTots or TallyTots may be better choices for this moment.

I am impressed by what a creative adult mind could come up with to entertain and teach children both with special needs as well as those typically developed. I like how narration is included saying the name, number, or letter of the item being tapped, and it is great how a “quick reward” button can be included because a tap here will send an airplane and flag image across the screen, reminiscent of their other educational apps.

I do, However, find it difficult to re-create the whimsy of the other apps in this series. I like how there is a satisfying click sound when a domino is moved, but I miss the “click" and "grab” sounds and reactions found among our favorite puzzle apps, something not included with the shape-sorting game as here, these pieces are not easy to line up into the included template as simple finger movements push the objects around just enough that accuracy within these puzzles becomes an issue.

This app will prove to be an invaluable teaching resource to both parents, teachers and other adults. I can see this app becoming popular among home-schooling families in particular and a huge hit with kids, especially those without tremendous experience with other applications. I do think that kids exposed to highly interactive and thematic apps may be less impressed by the game play found among the activities created here by their adults compared to other favorite apps, but what can be produced here will ultimately be more engaging that the worksheets this app could replace. This app did take some time to get into. Nevertheless, a tremendous educational potential is included here. Do take the time to explore this app and see what is being offered. Those who do so will not be disappointed.

Eddy’s Number Party! HD Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on November 22nd, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Eddy’s Number Party! HD is a fun and engaging iPad application which teaches beginning math concepts such as counting and number matching as well as sharpening children’s memory and listening skills.

Help celebrate Eddy the Dog’s birthday by inviting his friends and supplying the party with presents, balloons and other decorations as each section of this app completed brings young players one step closer to throwing a wonderful party for their friends.

My son really enjoys this app. He was instantly engaged the moment he began playing this game as he loves the idea of helping put on a dogcentric birthday party. The basic look of this app is wonderful, bight and colorful. The quality of the animation used here is quite high and work seamlessly with the included interactions.

A variety of math activities are included, such as in level one where players count balloons, matching this number to the dog wearing the correct number on its collar. Level two has players match the number found on a collar to the number on a present to take to the party. Correctly select, pull down and let go as the package sits on a catapult of sorts and will be hurled over the fence to a dog waiting to catch this gift to bring to the party. This is my son's favorite area of this app as he really enjoys watching the spring being pulled back as he prepares to send this present over the fence, having compared this section to the gameplay in the app Angry Birds. To an adult, this correlation may be slim, but I appreciate where my son is coming from in his comparison.

Level 3 consists of players matching bugs or caterpillars both with corresponding number as well as the same amount of dots. Later, this game is played "memory” style as the number values are face down, and one must remember where the corresponding number and leaves with the same amount of dots can be found in the interest of making matches. Be it helping the bugs bring flowers to the party, or finding hidden presents under the leaves in the “memory" style game, it is nice that these sections have children playing against a snail who could win these rounds if the answers are incorrect too many times, but if this happens, children will simply be given the chance to re-play these games later.

Throughout these levels, shorter mini-games are used to break up these activities, such as “Hat Swap,” a variety of three card monty, as one looks for the ladybug hiding under a party hat as the hats move about the screen, as well as “Bark counting,” where a dog who has lost her collar tells players what number she is missing by listening to and counting her barks. I like how here, when the correct collar is chosen, this friendly dog thanks the player by coming close to the screen of the iPad and presumably the player as well, a nice touch. “Finger Counting” is also included where one must match the correct number to the number of fingers the dog is holding up to get back this dog’s collar as well. Stickers are also used through this game to keep kids motivated.

Adults will appreciate the lengthy section just for them that goes over the different levels of this app, and reports on how well the player is progressing through these sections and how to reinforce what is being learned in everyday life. Information on cognitive development and neuroscience research is also included as it pertains to this app in this thoughtfully written section.

There is a lot I really like about this app, but both my husband and I think it takes forever to progress throughout these levels, although my son does not complain about this. These activities, although cute, charming and fun, become monotonous for us adults as the same tasks are focused on over and over again well beyond the point of simply trying to keep kids' attention. I encourage the developers to let parents decide how many rounds of the same game need to be finished before moving on. It is great that one can pick up from where this app was previously left off, but it would be wonderful to have the information of multiple players saved so this app could be enjoyed by different children in different stages of this application, and I think some kids may want the option off choosing specific games as well.

Even without these changes made, my son loves playing with Eddy’s Number Party. The level of difficulty is perfect for my first year pre-schooler who is already expressing an aptitude in math, and we love the friendly narration which nicely explains and will later prompt children if help is needed how to play these levels, making this app very intuitive for young players without needing help from adults. I think kids will really enjoy this app. Parents will feel good about the obvious educational content provided, but it would be nice to be able to possibly choose what sections to explore and how long these levels last before moving on to other actives.

Count the Animals! for iPad Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on October 21st, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Count the Animals! is a super-cute iPhone app that will entertain adults as well as children as they explore together number counting, recognition, and sequencing from 1-20. An iPad version is also available.

Parents will soon discover after their first visit to the iTunes store the plethora of numbers app available. The sheer selection of this kind of app can be overwhelming when one is choosing what to purchase for a child. It has always been my recommendation that these kinds of apps which help teach true fundamentals should be as much if not more amusing to the parent than to the child because a lot of time may be spent with these apps, and parents should feel enthusiastic this as their attitude will rub off on their child’s experience.

Count the Animals does a marvelous job of keeping adults in mind with the whimsical interactions and animal selection, not shying away from some wonderfully strange choices that will make this app an acquired taste but which will certainly entertain the right audience a great deal.

I do love the look of this app. A few basic characters are introduced on the title page of this app which one will meet within these pages as numbers 1-20 are explored. The look of the illustrations used, how this muted palette is combined with a interesting pink color choice, and stylized clothes give this app a period feel that I enjoy, especially the magician who has a certain Fellini appeal that adults will appreciate, as do the other characters of woman and children who find themselves in odd predicaments with animals that may surprise or possibly even offend sensitive viewers - something that I never shy away from, and even sometimes gravitate towards.

Here, each number from 1-20 has a page dedicated to a corresponding number of animals. Tap each of these animals to hear these animals being counted, interacting with these creatures and characters as well.

Some of the animal choices are more commonplace, such as tapping one horse for the number “1” or two cats for the number “2,” but other animals and animations less typical among kids apps are also included, such as a woman walking four dogs, some who pee or poop when tapped; the counting of six pigeons, one of which poops on the head of the woman who is demonstrating this number; a woman being nipped by mice as she stands on a chair trying to avoid them, as well as the questionable behavior of caterpillars and spiders. Lice or flees or some sort are included in the big pink hair of one of these characters as they jump onto a boy, infecting him. Also included are the smacking of mosquitoes which leave blood-stained smears in their wake, as is the interaction for number 18. There are also other interactions that satisfy my taste for the unusual such as an unfortunate series of incidents involving tadpoles or ants on a layer cake, all of which make me well aware that this app is not for everybody but which will bring a lot of laughs for people to whom this kind of humor speaks.

I do wish, however, that a home button were available to tap because at the present time there is no way to get back to the home page, especially important as one has a nice selection of options one can choose to customize the experience. An impressive 16 languages are included as well as learning 1-20 in a random order if one chooses, counting back from the largest number in the series being focused on or the traditional sequencing starting from number 1. One can also has the option of numbers to be present when these animals are counted as well, further helping with the association of these numbers with the spoken narration. The sound effects as well as the included narration can also be turned off independently from each other - always something I like to see within an application, and the jazzy music used in the beginning and end is fun and well-done.

The scale used here is also very good here, and the focus is often on the human character, making some of the smaller animals rather slight and possibly difficult to tap with chubby little fingers. I also notice that the price here is higher that the typical $0.99 or $1.99 app - more akin to what I may expect from a universal app which would also account for some of the mild issues with size of some of these creatures that one may experience. An iPad version of this app is also available, but I do hope that in the future this iPhone version can go universal, making among other things, the price more palatable for parents.

Having said this, I have really enjoyed the interesting animal and interaction choices one can find within this app. I also appreciate that numbers 1-20 are covered here as many of these early numbers apps only go up to 10. I know that not all families will be comfortable with this kind of humor, but we definitely are, and I am sure there are other families that will enjoy this app as well.

Hickory Dickory Dock Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on October 21st, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Hickory Dickory Dock is a creative and fun app that teaches number recognition for 1-12 and introduces the concept of how to tell time, specifically the different hours and their positions on the clock, as well as expanding on the classic nursery rhyme, Hickory Dickory Dock.

I really enjoy the look of the app, as its focus here is on an ornate father clock, complete with a curious mouse who goes on many adventures within this app.

In the recent past, many apps have included 3-D images as part of their applications. Although this app does not specifically offer a 3-D experience, I think the beginning moment as one opens the frosted glass face of the grandfather clock is quite remarkable. The first time I started this app I actually ducked, thinking this glass door, surely with sharp edges and corners, was swinging in my direction. This effect is heightened as there is a subtle but very effective reflection to be seen in this glass as the door is swung, and the detailing of this glass is impressive as well. This is only the first second of the app, however, but what is found inside has am equally great look as well.

Once inside, the surface surrounding of the face of this clock is reminiscent of Victorian flocked velvet wallpaper - here with a soft gold hue and subtle gleam, along with an extensive set of gears that are seen working as the hours change in this clock, and mildly distressed wood grain can be seen on this clock's perimeter, all of which gives this period grandfather clock a nice texture that adds character to this app that I greatly appreciate and that will make steam punk fans smile.

As this app opens and the player taps “go,” one can either choose a number on his own by moving the smaller, hour hand, styled here as a hand itself, to the number of one’s choosing, or allow the app to start understandably with the number “1.” This is where it gets interesting, as each number chosen starts a chain of events that leads to a new and different interactive experience. First, the gears start to move, made all the more realistic by the creaking and cranking of these gears doing their thing and the hands spinning around until they stop at the correct number in question.

The splendid theme of this app is also played - an expanded version of Hickory Dickory Dock, different for each separate number and action that this mouse explores. I find this song delightfully catchy, encouraging me to sing along, with a thick British Accent even, something I usually do not do. Luckily the words are offered at the top of the page, making this easier for those who like to follow along. Although not related, I can only think of the “oompa-loompas” theme song from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as another tune that is as witty, catchy, begging to be sung, and which can be listened to multiple times within one activity, thus maintaining the quirkiness from start to finish.

The screen is now complete with an interaction that will engage any child, especially those who are fascinated with mechanical objects as this app incorporates levers and springs, a scale, and other elements that mesh low tech elements with a sophisticated physics engine. Players can see the set-up here, but to fully engage the interaction offered, one must move the hour hand to the flashing number in question, encouraging kids to work with the hand of this clock, setting the time in hours and beginning to learn about the concept of telling time as an adult encourages the child to rotate the hand in a clockwise motion. Other skills are learned here as well, as one must use weights to lower and raise the arm of a scale in order to feed the mouse who lives in this clock. Help the mouse clean up after a dust explosion with this clock, assist in the mouse dancing, bounce into objects such as bells, and bathe him or feed him fruit. Twelve different interactions are offered here, each interesting and unique and oftentimes with a good use of gravity and physics.

My son does love this classic nursery rhyme of Hickory Dickory Dock. He enjoys singing this song as we wait on line to pay while out and about. Embarrassing yes, but it beats the alternative of a meltdown. I knew my son would have a lot of fun with this app based on the music, and I was right. My boy also likes to look at and explore all the interactions offered here, as the inner workings of the clock and the mechanical nature of these interactions are quite intriguing, but my son does enjoy the numbers that are goal-oriented more, as he once asked me when one of these mini-activities would end, expecting some sort of grand conclusion that never came. Having said this, my son does enjoy this app, and I really love its look and included rhymes.

I would like parents to understand that this app is designed to welcome children to the preliminary world of learning about telling time. As with apps focused on number recognition and sequencing without an intent of teaching true mathematics, this app teaches the basics of number recognition and the correct sequence of numbers found on a clock as well as how to move the hour hand to the correct number in relation to the time referred to in the rhyme, not the more advanced concept of truly learning how to read analogue time.

I appreciate this app for what it is, and I know from being exposed to other clock apps that, with noted exceptions, these apps can be rather dry and seem like work, although I am sure more effective that the method of learning to tell time adults endured as children. Even if one is not focused on telling time just yet, the mechanical nature of this app, the situations this mouse gets himself into, and the fun, memorable music used here will delight children as well as adults.

I do feel that it is a missed opportunity, however, for the included minute-hand to serve no real function, as it spins around the clock multiple times as one moves the hour hand to the correct place on the clock face. I would have rather seen the minute-hand move slowly and in sync with the hour-hand for parents to be able to point out the half hour, quarter past, and so forth and the minute-hand slowly move in time to the movement of the hour-hand. Although not the focus of this app, parents should at least be able to use this application as a tool for more complicated time-telling if they so choose.

Even though my son has no trouble moving the hour-hand to the correct number in question, I do feel that this may be tricky to some as it seems skippy when moving. I would also like to see instructions included as it took me a few minutes to understand how to play this app because it seems like when a number is selected, the clock goes ahead and displays a time not directly chosen, and it may not be clear to some that the activity offered here involves the player moving the hand to the time one has selected. There is also an interaction where this clock breaks, allowing one to see inside to its mechanisms, a very nice moment, but it would be wonderful if these gears found inside were interactive and movable as well, a detail that would be great to include in a future update.

All in all, the wonderful look and details of this app, along with the creative interactions and most memorable rhymes make this app worth looking into, and it is a nice, beginner time-telling app as well.

Toca Store Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on October 20th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Toca Store is another fabulously creative, open-ended digital game - here a universal app for both iPad and iPhone.

Toca Store transforms one’s device into a department store where kids can take turns playing both shopkeeper as well as patron. This app opens up to a store before the doors open, giving kids the chance to peruse a catalogue of product choices that they can sell in their store, that range from food stuff - both fresh produce as well as packaged foods, home goods like a hair dryer or fabric softener, and a nice selection of toys. I also enjoy seeing a few crossover items from other apps, such as a robot from robot lab, carrot cake mix from the tea shop, and Toca Tees for sale, complete with their iconic logo, as well as others. It is also nice that the last page of this catalogue has some empty spaces available - room, I hope, for additional items in a future update.

It is nice that five items are sold at once, neatly arranged in baskets of different shapes and colors which liven up this storefront a bit. Once everything has been selected, a screen pops up, prompting one to invite a customer to store, also demonstrating that the best position of the device for game play is between the two players who face each other.

Now the shopper has a chance to decide what he would like to purchase, tapping and dragging an item onto the mat by the cash register, as a silhouette of the chosen object is also shown, guiding the customer where to place the item.

Next, the shop owner decides how much he is going to charge for the chosen item and rings it up on the cash register, with the numbers 1-5 being options. It may be helpful to know that the shopper has 10 coins in his purse to spend, allowing one to shop for 2 to 10 items depending how the money is split among purchases. After the cost has been determined, the shopper is prompted to open his purse with a tap and pay by tapping and dragging the said amount to a pop-open drawer on the register that nicely highlights the number of coins being asked for. The purchase is complete as the grocer taps a button which allows that sale to be added to the receipt, and the purchase is then added to the customer’s re-usable shopping tote. This process is repeated until the customer has emptied his purse of the 10 coins, but if he needs a few extra to complete the last purchase, this is also taken care of as the purse magically will refill with more money to cover the cost. The receipt, which has been keeping a tally of purchases made, is torn and offered to the shopper where he can see exactly where the money went, itemized nicely.

As one can tell, this is a wonderfully open-ended game that is best suited for two players, but don’t tell my son this as he is happy to play with an adult as much as with an animal friend, giving him the responsibilities of both the shopkeeper and the customer.

This digital toy is especially nice for socialization by getting the players to converse together. Even their famed Tea Party app, another personal favorite of ours, which I have only good things to say about, can be used by less social children as a parallel play toy because it is possible to eat and drink side-by-side without much interaction if one chooses. Here, the players really must work together with a lot of give and take, as the prompts guide the players through this toy that has a nice level of routine.

Any child pre-school age and older, along with the adults in their lives will enjoy this app, but based on the social nature of this application, I think it is an especially important tool for special needs kids, as it not only compels conversation and teamwork also but some real world sequencing - important concepts that may not come naturally to all children. I think this is also a great game to work on counting skills as well as to discuss the management of money, as the purse has only 10 coins to spend, but also includes the added whimsy of the purse re-filling if more money is needed. The conversation of virtual allowance can be worked into game play by parents if they so wish.

My son, husband, and I all really enjoy this app, sometimes calling it a prelude to the Tea Party app as well, as one can purchase carrot cake mix to make the carrot cake that we love to serve and eat while playing tea party. Toca Store suits my son’s likes especially well as he has played this game in real life for countless hours with play food and a toy cash register, and although not meant to take the place of playing with tangible toys, this app nicely provides much the same experience without the endless numbers pieces of play food that clutter our house and which are not always put away in a timely fashion. This app is great to play in bed before sleep as well with no mess to clean and no risk of turning over onto a piece of wooden watermelon later that night. This app would be a great choice for travel as well, both on long car trips as well as simple waits such as in restaurants or doctors' offices.

Like with the other Toca Boca apps, fun, ambient sounds are used throughout to capture the sounds of a store, from the simple sounds outside that filter their way in when the door opens for the shopper to the specific sounds used to illustrate the handling of store products, be it metallic or glass-sounding, or a more thuddy tone of a sack of bananas being rung up. It is also fun how some of these items have a variety to choose from, such as different flavors of jam, colors of toothbrushes, or colors of dinosaurs or doll styles, as a player can rummage through these baskets for the specific item one is looking for. I also really like the receipt one is given at the end of the shopping trip, complete with the cute details of which color of an item was chosen from the selection, as well as how much was paid for each object, all of which may add up to 10 or more if the purse had to add some coins to help make the last purchase - an element that makes my son smile, as the gift of more coins has some nice fanfare of confetti, and a wink from the purse herself. Music is also played - a delightfully appropriate muzak-like soft jazzy sound that works in this store setting as well as being pleasant to listen to while playing. It is also nice to know that these sounds can be turned off if one chooses to as well.

Kids will also enjoy the other whimsical details Toca Boca is well known for. Here, the purse, shopping tote and register have faces that blink and make cute expressions both as encouragement as well as prompts which lead kids through game play. Children will also find especially interesting how the face is recognizable from both players' point-of-view as seen on the cash register that also changes expressions correlating to specific gameplay. Parents will enjoy how this app allows kids to experience two separate but related experiences as kids turn around the device, taking turns doing both shopping and selling.

It is worth explaining that while playing this app on the iPad, the baskets one can shop from are arranged together on one main page whereas on the iPhone, the baskets are scrolled through as though they are on a conveyer, complete with subtle mechanical noises. Because of this difference, the images do not look small on the iPhone but in fact work quite well within the smaller screen. Given two equally pleasant toy experiences unique to the different devices may explain the slightly higher cost of this app at full price, but in my opinion, this app is well worth it. Do also take the time to read the “Letter from the play designer” found in the Parents section, as this link located at top left of the title page offers ways of making this app a great educational experience.

My only wish is that one could look inside the purse without actively spending money in case the players want to work together on spending only the 10 coins offered without needing to be given extra.

I have yet not to be super-impressed with the selection of brilliant Toca Boca apps so far. Hearing about a new release is a big happening in my family, and we can’t wait for more good news to come.

Love to Count by Pirate Trio Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on October 14th, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Love to Count by Pirate Trio is a really cute and super-fun universal math app that my son really enjoys.

Love to Count by Pirate Trio has a fun pirate theme that grabbed my son's attention right off the bat as he found this app himself, looking within my folder of apps to be reviewed. Seeing the image of a boy wearing a pirate hat had him asking to play this game with great enthusiasm.

This app boasts 700 math tasks, and I really appreciate how addictive this app is to my son, as he answers these questions and goes on to the next page again and again, engrossed in play, but also realizing that he is practicing mathematics. It is also nice that more than one child can use this app without altering one's data, as parents can keep tabs on children's progress here if they so wish. A reward system is also included where kids can ultimately chose a virtual prize for their hard work and correct answers.

The look of this app is very cute indeed, with bright colors and settings such as a pirate ship, beach front, and ocean, all keeping within this pirate theme. This app is very interactive, asking children to do anything from basic counting and subtracting, to the concepts of fractions by having the player choose food stuff like an orange or watermelon that can be shared among a specific number of children, or by evening out a scale with the correct use of weights.

Many math games allow the player to just tap the correct answer from multiple choices at the bottom of the screen, and some of these questions involving basic addition work this way as well, but this app also allows for a more immersive experience that keeps my son coming back for more. Be it dragging stars onto a fish's back, adding weights to a scale in the interest of balancing, or sequencing dominos correctly, there is a lot of interactivity that is not seem in many apps such as this.

I think it is nice that although my boy can answer many of these questions correctly on his own, he needs some help with others as some of these concepts are new to him, such as "second-from-the-right," as he is looking for a specific child or object to tap, and we have begun to work on the correct placement of the numbers missing from an analogue clock as well.

It is a good choice that for more sophisticated questions, children must tap a “done” button, giving them time to work out the correct answer without worry that the first answer they may touch is used as the final answer, i.e., such as working to even out a scale with the use of weights. I like that players can try again at their own speed to find the correct answer, but a hint button may also be nice for when kids are stuck on a section more involved that a multiple choice question that could be answered by the process of elimination.

As of now, these mini-games are random within this app, which I think my son finds exciting, but I think that it would be nice to select a specific section like addition or subtraction, or by skill level as this app ranges from basic number sequencing to more challenging concepts like fractions, and I can see some kids wanting to focus on the more advanced questions - or not - depending on math ability.

So far, my son has shown an early affinity for math, and I do give credit to the early use of educational apps such as this. If one is looking for a really cute and fun app to teach about mathematics, or simply have a child who loves pirates, this would be a very nice choice.

Dash and Ditto’s Playground Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on October 4th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Dash and Ditto’s Playground is a lovely and sweet app containing seven games that kids will enjoy, both classic as well as games developed specifically for this app.

With original hand-drawn illustrations and relaxing music, this app is engaging while also having a calming influence on the children who play these games.

Hopscotch, like the name suggests, is a variation on the classic kids' games, here with the flick a finger, one tosses the ball in order to land on the numbers 1-10 in order. As with all the games within this app, this section has a lovely bunny theme, as Dash and Ditto - the bunnies starring in this app - are found doing cute things within these fun and simple games. Here, players are rewarded with each correct toss of the ball with Dash, the white bunny, jumping hopscotch the way only a bunny could, as well as added illustrated confetti and the praise from the child narrators who also give spoken prompts on how to play this game - a nice touch.

Also included is a jump rope section where Dash and Ditto turn the rope for various animals who take their turn at jumping with a well-timed tap of the screen. It is cute to watch the other bunnies of different colors play on the swings and seesaw in the background, adding richness to this cute motif.

Another activity included features baby bunnies that one can interact with using a tap of a finger. Here, a touch of the screen sends Dash to open the door to the rabbit hutch, letting the bunnies loose. Tap a bunny and choose an action - specifically feed, cage, or play. Send the bunny over to the carrots in the garden to eat, a tap of the cage button sends the bunny back into the hutch to take a nap, and one can have the bunny dance as well. This is a nice, open-ended area that kids will enjoy.

A mini golf section is included where one flicks a finger to move a ball through a simple mini golf course, with an emphasis on getting the ball into the hole on one try, but it is nice that players are rewarded with dancing bunnies, confetti, and other pleasant, congratulatory sounds. I enjoyed this section, but I do with there was more than one course offered.

Tic tac toe is also included where players attempt to get three in a row before Ditto. Game play is as one would expect here, and it is cute how X’s and O’s used here are two carrots positioned into a cross and an apple - a nice touch. This section is a good choice for kids who are new to this game as Ditto is more concerned about his completing his three in a row and not blocking the player, so this game remains light and easy, with a nice difficulty level for young players.

An original game, Bus Driving is one of the more complex sections offered. Here, players must drive a bus, and with the use of an illustrated photo of an animal friend, stop the bus at the side of the road when the friend is found. Game play is simple here, with a green button used as speed and ignition and a red button to stop the bus and make pickups, but it does require some focus to use the photos to match animal friends to pickup. After ten friends are collected, the player is rewarded with a charming animation that kids will enjoy.

Carrot Race is a whack-a-mole-style game. Here, tapping the carrots as they first appear shooting up from the ground before a gopher takes them. This game has the most arcade elements within the bunch and is a good choice for hand-eye coordination. I did find this section a little glitchy when I played by myself, as my near-bionic ability at whack-a-mole allowed me to play this game much faster than this app was intending. After I reached 100 carrots, only the first two digits showing "10" appeared on the screen, among some other issues, but I don’t think that most children will reach the speed I needed to get to before the glitches began happening.

I appreciate the use of both narrated and written instructions at the beginning of this game as well as the use of spoken prompts used throughout to help and encourage players, and it is always nice to be able to turn off the sound effects or music here at will and separately. A choice to move between these scenes is also an option, but I never figured out how this works - not a big deal as one can easily go back to the home page to make a selection.

The games included here are all cute and fun, as are Dash and Ditto themselves.

Gingham Games Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on July 11th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Gingham Games is an interesting iPad application which includes three educational mini games. This app stands out among others like it with its wonderfully rich retro style illustrations that include cherubic, apple-faced kids, creating a wonderful vintage feel.

These wonderful illustrations are the highlight of this application, with images that remind me of such Americana as classic Campbell’s Soup Kids or Shirley Temple.

The three mini-games are nice as well. Ducks in a Row allows the player to count baby ducks in rows on the screen, tapping and dragging them to the bottom of the screen in numerical order. These ducks must be counted from 1 to 10; a tap allows their number to be seen for only a moment, so one must remember where these numbers are found throughout these ducks before time runs out and the ducks run away. This nice, simple game is fun for number sequencing, but also in sharpening one’s memory, a nice touch. The baby ducks used here are cute, yellow and fluffy the way one would expect. I like the polka-dotted background and muted color scene of cream, golden yellow, and sage green which add to the vintage feel as this pattern fades into a scene of a duck habitat of tall leaves, flowers, water, and a mother duck as well, creating a nice style that is found through this app.

In Apple Toss, the player moves a girl across the screen to catch falling apples, learning about alphabet letter sequencing along the way. I like that these apples bounce from the girl's open hands into the basket, and a near miss can be bumped repeatedly until it makes its way into the basket as well. Note that each time the player misses an apple, leaves begin to fill the screen from bottom up, and one has three lives to use before the leaves fill the screen and the game is over. The apples are tossed by a boy in a tree, and his basic arm movement that tosses the apples is very simple, reminding me of the moving pieces seen in an antique toy or bank from very long ago, adding to the vintage feel, something I appreciate.

Shape Catcher is our personal favorite, where the player chooses one of five color and shapes lures that are used to catch corresponding fish off a dock. When the correct fish is seen, line up the lure to catch the fish by tapping the button closest to the direction in which the fish is swimming. There are three rows of fish to focus on, with buttons on either side of the water. I like that one must be patient to catch a fish and then act quickly, lining up things right to make a catch, then continue on until each of the five lures is used. This mini-game makes good use of colors, shapes, and matching, as well as some basic logic to understand which button the fish is swimming towards, something my son enjoys. I appreciate how the boy and this scene in general remind me of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Each of these games is narrated by a child who either counts the ducks, recites the alphabet as the apples are tossed, or names the color and shape of the fish that is caught. These voices include a lot of character one may expect to hear in a young child’s voice, which may be slightly hard to understand by some children. Other than this slight issue, this is a very nice app as the games are cute and the illustrations are wonderfully vintage, slightly kitschy and extremely well-done, appealing to children as well as adults, especially those who collect or appreciate Americana from days past.

Yoku-Gami Review

Posted by Nick Papageorge on July 8th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Yoku-Gami is a game that represents, to me as a parent, everything that is right in the app store, in relation to games for kids. It's a puzzle game that looks and plays like a standard match-3 game but is, in reality, anything but.

It is designed by the great mind of Reiner Knizia, a German board game designer heralded for his simple designs that lead for complex gameplay. Being a fan of his, I jumped on Yoku Gami and it's been a game my daughters and I have enjoyed immensely, and I feel happy in knowing that they're not just playing a mindless game, but instead are really working their brains as they play.

The entire goal of the game is similar to match games, clear the tiles. But how Yoku-Gami works is this: "If the greatest number in the group equals the total of all the other numbers in the group, you have a successful turn". So if you select a 3, 2 and a 5, your 3 and 2 equal 5 and you remove those tiles and get a score. That score is based on how many numbers are in the group and if you create groups of 5 or more numbers, you then get a bonus.

There are 3 different modes. Endless is just that, it continues until you can go no further. In Arcade, your goal is to clear a whole role or column of numbers, the game also ends when you can go no further. In Level Mode you try to clear as many numbers in each grid. You start with 24 levels, and at the end of each level when there are no more turns, you lose as many lives as there are numbers left. You gain lives when you create groups of 4 or more. As long as you have lives, you continue progressing in the game.

I was incredibly surprised with how far my 6 year olds got in the game, but for some reason, they were able to go quite far for their age and math skills. I know they are a bit young for it, and it isn't a game they can play for hours, as the difficulty does continue to ramp up, but they have enjoyed what we do play together quite a bit. As well, a nice touch to make it kid-friendly, is that good old "Yoki" is always there to tap on and get a hint from when needed.

If you have a child that might be struggling with math, or one that loves math and just wants a fun way to put his/her skill to the test, I honestly believe Yoku-Gami is a stellar choice. I'd never want to leave a child in front of any gaming system for hours, but this really is an honest-to-goodness learn-while-playing gaming that does exactly what it sets out to do, and I do not doubt that it will certainly be a help to those kids who struggle with math.

I'd also like to make it clear that it is equally great for parents. As silly as it might sound, I've seen an honest increase in my math skills through playing it, and honestly that's worth the price of entry right there. All-in-all, Yoku-Gami is a hidden gem that I wish more people knew about, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

PBS KIDS Videos for iPad Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on June 22nd, 2011
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

PBS KIDS Videos for iPad is full of fun and a highly educational collection of segments from favorite PBS Kids television shows.

These video clips are all nicely arranged with a simple interface that I am sure kids will have no problems navigating. To the right of the screen is a vertical scroll bar containing many of kids' and parents' favorite PBS kids shows. Tap to select, and one can slide out a menu as well giving the child a choice of many video clips from this TV show. The bottom left hand corner contains parents' information about the specific show and clip being watched as well as other info. The rest of the center screen is where these videos will play; tapping will fill the iPad with a larger letter-boxed version of these clips, removing the other menus.

Kids have the option of selecting many varied choices in video clips, but it also nice that they can relax and watch all the selections from a specific show as they play in order from the menu; the choice is theirs.

I am very pleased with the wonderful shows offered in this app, including our family's favorite show, Sesame Street, as well as other shows my son is familiar with such as Martha Speaks and Super Why, plus many others new to us. I appreciate that there is something for every age of grade school child, including the health- based show Fizzy’s Lunch Lab whose target age range is 6-10, geared to children older than the preschool set whom I commonly think of when PBS kid shows come to mind, primarily, no doubt, because this is my son’s age. Having watched many of these clips, I am sure that older kids will enjoy this app as well, and it can certainly be shared between different-aged children.

There will always be people who think TV is bad for children, and I am sure that the idea of handing your child a portable television per the iPad seems like an even worse idea to some. As a parent, I find that these shows from PBS are undeniably educational, smart, age-appropriate and very socially aware, so I have no issues with my son watching small amounts of his favorite show Sesame Street, unlike unspecific cartoons from a random cable channel, something I would not allow.

This is a wonderful resource for parents, especially when traveling and wanting to keep their children distracted in places like an airport or the airplane itself is of the utmost importance. For at-home use, I do prefer my son to spend his screen time working on puzzles, playing games, creating artwork or listening to a story, much of this time being spend with a parent who is equally involved with the app at hand.

This time with our son is precious family time, but when traveling, I don’t really want to have to entertain my child with “together time” the entire length of the trip, and I think this app would honestly keep him quiet and distracted, keeping my boy happy and not bothering others with the banter that comes along with many of his favorite apps.

We have not traveled a lot as a family yet, one reason being not knowing how good a traveler my sometimes wild child would be, but I think this video player may just be the trick to keep my boy as well as the other passengers sane over a long flight or delay at the airport, as long as I don’t forget to purchase a set of kid-friendly headsets.

Having an older model iPad, I do not know how these videos play on 3G. For us, the use of this app is only in areas that offer WiFi, but I am happy to report that these video clips play effortlessly, which is nice because I do have problems loading clips from other apps that take the viewer directly to youtube.

In all honesty, this is an application that I have not asked my son to test for me, because if I did, I would never hear the end of his asking for this app and I really want his iPad experience to be as varied as possible. We went through this when we first go the “Netflix” app which I had to finally bury in a file, telling my son it stopped working. I know this app would be an even huger hit, which is wonderful in some ways and problematic in others.

I really appreciate the info provided in the parents' section. Here, the name of the show and specific clip are listed, as well as a basic premise of the show, its goals, and age range. If you like a specific clip, you can email yourself a link or post it to Facebook or Twitter. Options for buying the video associated with specific shows as well as info and links to their PBS Kids Apps are included. I am not a fan of in app purchases, but nicely tucked away in a parent's info section is acceptable to me, as well as something many parents may find helpful. You can “favorite’ a show, bringing them higher on the list of shows available, but it would be nice to have a section on the app of previously watched and chosen clips as well. I would also love to see all the names of celebrity guests from Sesame Street as part of the info given about these clips, as not all of them have this information. I know most of these faces but when I can’t place one, I would really like to be able to reference the clip’s info to see who it is. I also like that one can look up local listings for favorite shows as well, very helpful to those staying in hotels away from home.

In the end, it will be the parents' decision regarding when and how much access their children will have to this app. Having said this, this free app is a simply wonderful collection of very special video clips from children’s shows. I think that this would be my son’s new favorite app, something I will keep in mind when I am looking for the ultimate distraction.