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Category: Shapes »

Didakto Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on December 30th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Didakto is board game-styled app for iPad which is fun and educational for the whole family. Multiple categories are included, specifically math, language, logic, and geography, with questions gauged to age groups from four to twelve years, but in my experience, adults will find these games fun and challenging as well. First, a photo is displayed which is then sectioned into pieces that are further transformed into one half of a matching-style game. Below are the corresponding answers, the object being to drag and drop the top question pieces to their corresponding answers below. When finished, the picture is brought back together and the pieces out of place are those which had not been correctly answered. A personal photo can be used, as well as many options which are included, further personalizing this game. I am impressed with the choice of six different languages as well.

I like that this is a true family game, that there are levels that will fit the needs of a large age range, and that there is no timer here or high scores - something that I greatly appreciate. Four basic categories are included, each subject giving four more specific choices to narrow down interests as well as specific questions for different age groups. All of this makes for a very content-heavy application, and I never feel as though I have played the same game twice, even if in reality I have. The questions are educational and can be very thought-provoking, especially those involving logic.

I did not know if my son, almost three, would be interested or be able to participate in these games, but as I was looking at the four to five year old logic section, he pushed my hand aside and began completing these questions on his own, much to my amazement. He was able to answer these questions himself, but he still needs a little help getting the pieces in the correct areas to hear the satisfying “click” of a tile tapping against a game board.

This is a great game, especially for families who enjoy spending time together playing classic board games, but who also want to embrace the technology of the iPad. I think this would make an especially nice travel game as well, all nicely contained in the iPad with no pieces to keep track of, as well as many variations to choose from.

ChristmasPlay HD Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on December 24th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

ChristmasPlay Hd is a fun and simple Christmas-themed puzzle app for iPad, with a version for iPhone available as well.

Help decorate for the Christmas season. Scenes include snowmen, a Christmas tree, the exterior of a home, and a fireplace mantle, as well as the option of adding presents under a tree. Drag and click various festive decorations or gifts to their corresponding spaces to complete each of these five puzzles and then enjoy Santa’s animations moving across the screen.

The interface is very easy and great for the youngest players; the colors are bright, and the music included is pleasant and upbeat. It is a nice touch that the Santa animation can be played over again if children wish to do so, and the music can be turned off easily, making this a nice, quiet game as well. Although Christmas-themed, I think the youngest players will continue to enjoy these simple puzzles after the holiday has passed.

Jacob's Shapes Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on November 2nd, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Jacob's Shapes is a wonderful puzzle app which teaches shapes and vocabulary of many things that children may find in their world, such as fruits or things found around the house, as well as the world beyond, like things found in the Arctic. Scroll though twenty themed puzzles and tap to choose. Each puzzle has an average of four shapes found on the left of the screen. Tap and drag these shapes to the corresponding holes to the right of the screen, listening as the names of these shapes are narrated as well. Watch as the muted brown background transforms into full vivid color as the puzzle is completed, and listen as friendly, encouraging voices congratulate the child on a job well done. One can either continue onto the next puzzle in sequence or return to the menu directly to choose another puzzle. I like that both a child’s and an adult’s voice are included as narration.

I was immediately impressed with this app the moment I opened it for the first time. These puzzles are very nicely drawn and simple to use, taking just a few moments to solve each one, yet with so much to choose from, this app really holds my 2.5+ year old son’s attention very nicely.

I do wish you could turn off the “congratulations” noises to make this a quieter game in public when we are out and about, All in all, a great experience from Jacob’s Shapes. This developer understands what keeps my son occupied.

Shape Skills Level 1 Review

Posted by Nina Ignaczak on October 20th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

This is a very nice skills app that develops a child's ability not only to to identify shapes but to discern similarities and differences among shapes and similar objects. Six options are available: Tracing, What's That, The Right One, Odd One Out, The Same, and Free Draw.

The first three work on basic shape familiarization and identification skills. In Tracing, the child traces over outlines of shapes with his finger. In The Right One?, the child is asked to identify a shape from a set when given its name. In What's That? the child is shown a shape and asked to select the correct name. If the wrong answer is selected, another chance is given until the correct answer is selected.

Odd One Out and the The Same build complexity to basic skills. In Odd One Out, the child is shown a set of objects and asked to identify which does not belong. In The Same, the child is shown an object and asked to identity which among a set of objects is the same; although the correct answer is not identical to the original item and requires some discernment to recognize similarity in shape or form. Free Draw is pretty self-explanatory; merely a blank canvas onto which the child can draw.

This is a great app, but I have one simple upgrade request for the developers: add narration! My four-year old could easily play this independently if the instructions and questions were read aloud.

Mother Goose Reader Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on September 8th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

"Mother Goose Reader" is a lovely, content-rich children's app for the iPad that introduces 20 classic Mother Goose Rhymes to children. Each rhyme is illustrated nicely, and there are a lot of hidden sounds to tap on and games to play, including shape, letter and size sorting, puzzles, memory games and drum pad. The rhymes can both be sung or spoken, and you have the option of doing your own recordings. The text is highlighted as the rhyme is sung/read, making it easy to follow along.

I really enjoy this app because I want my son (2 1/2) to be exposed to these classics. This app does a nice job in reciting the full versions of these rhymes, not just the first verse. My son really enjoys tapping all over the pages looking for the sounds and music. He also loves the hidden games and sometimes asks me to find them for him as soon as he opens up this application, the index of hidden games makes this easy, a nice touch!

I occasionally have mild problems flipping between pages, either doing so accidentally or not knowing where to tap. Grey triangles are sometimes present in the top corners of the screen to aid in page turning, I wish they were always on the screen to be seen.

Pre-K Safari Review

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

"Pre-K Safari" is an amazing education app, teaching letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. Each activity has a safari theme and is great for kids who love animals. The music has an African beat, the sound quality is high, and I find it relaxing to listen to. Each game is narrated by a friendly hyena who gives praise for the correct answer and lets the player know when the answer is wrong but is always kind and encouraging. You can also track your child’s progress with an achievement screen.

I don't think I ever taught my son how to use this app. All the activities are very intuitive, and he picked it up very quickly on his own. My son knew all his letters, numbers, shapes, and colors by just over 2 years, and I give this app and ones like it credit for helping him learn these things without any struggle whatsoever. As an adult, I find this app enjoyable as well. The colors game is taught by touching different colored butterflies, and I find their flying around quite lovely. There is also a free lite version to try, but this app is worth much more than $.99.

Faces iMake Review

Posted by Kristen Young on July 1st, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Most “educational” apps I come across build skills for predominately left-brained thinkers. In my experience, most of the lessons culture systematic, analytical, and logical thinking, and there isn’t much available for those looking to exercise their imaginative and creative, right-brained thinking skills. “Faces iMake…” is a unique application that offers an opportunity for both children and adults to explore their artistic side by making a face collage art using a variety of different materials. To play, you can choose from 20 different face shapes, 150 objects, and you can layer and rotate objects. I found the collage object choices to be quite satisfying and they were easy to navigate on the iPhone screen. My initial pieces of artwork weren’t so great, but as I played, I gained confidence and started to create faces I was proud to save in my photo gallery. The app also offers the option to assign faces to contacts, or to share via Facebook or email. The only negative about his application is that it appears (based on iTunes feedback) to be plagued by a bug that crashes the users idevice during use. Fortunately, I didn’t experience this problem, but it’s something to be aware of and is the reason for many poor user feedback scores.

Madera & Figaro Save The Day HD Review

Posted by Kristen Young on June 18th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

The wait is FINALLY over and our friends Madera the Monkey and Figaro the Frog have returned… this time to Save The Day! (Duh-da-da daaaa!) “Madera & Figaro Save The Day” is the story of two silly friends who join forces to help their community after a large storm has hit their fair city. Their mission is to help restore the city in time for the big party. An impressive follow-up to publisher Lyn & Line’s first application entitled “The Rescue of Ginger”, this app is supersized with more story, more interactive features, and many more learning opportunities. It’s the most interactive storybook app I’ve experienced yet and provides a perfect symmetry of educational game play and story. It’s a rich source of learning opportunities for young kids including elements that teach sizes, shapes, letters, numbers, colors, and matching. It’s packed full of original interactive features and games, too. Designers have crafted the app so that the sequence of questions are randomized, thereby capturing and keeping the attention of young ones who play this application over and over again. It has vivid HD illustrations that are designed to work on both the iPad and iPhone. What a treat!

Jam Packed! Review

Posted by Melinda Landon on June 16th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

The application "Jam Packed!" is a clever puzzle game with the theme of packing. The object of the game is to find a perfect place for each object so each box is completely jam-packed with items. The game contains three categories - Black Box, Jewelry Box, and Lunch Box - with each getting progressively more difficult as the levels progress. Each category has 15 levels, and the tricky part is that each level is locked until you have accomplished the level prior. Trust me - it's harder than you think to pack things so they all fit! After each sub level is completed, there is a rewarding comment displayed. The graphics and illustrations of items to be packed are realistic and the sound effects are somewhat satisfying. There isn't any music, but there are dragging sounds when shapes are moved. "Jam Packed!" is great to help kids develop critical thinking and problem solving skills and the game is geared for toddlers to age 10. This is a superior app, a great purchase, and there's a whole lot of puzzle fun jammed packed in this game!

Find the Differences Pro

Posted by Melinda Landon on May 25th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Can you find the differences between two pictures? Each set of pictures has 5 "differences" and the object of the game is to find them as quickly as you can. The quicker the differences are found, the more points the player will earn. The player has the option to use hints if they get stuck and 3 hints are available per game. The game gives the player 10 chances to guess incorrectly before time runs out. Find the difference, touch it, and a green circle will appear. If the player guesses incorrectly they will lose time points. If time runs out and the differences were not found, red circles will appear to inform the player where the differences are located. The nice part about this game is that the picture will appear again and again until the player successfully finds all five differences. This is a visual brain game; some of the pictures can be tricky and challenging. Luckily - if you're stuck on a picture - you can use the magnifying glass to get a hint. The pictures are appealing and an exciting part of the game is wondering what the next picture will be. It could be anything from a child in a snow storm to a scuba diver in the sea. With each new update more more photos are added. "Find the Differences PRO" is never ending fun and a visual brain workout. What a fantastic app for elementary age children!

Fish School

Posted by Kristen Young on May 25th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

If you’re a fan of apps by Duck Duck Moose (like the acclaimed “Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider’), then you’ll absolutely flip for the publisher’s newest app. “Fish School” is a toddler/preschooler-based application that’s packed full of age-appropriate lessons and games. Lesson topics include letters, numbers, shapes, and colors; there’s also a matching and “differences” game. Each activity features groups of brilliantly-colorful fish that school together in various patterns for their instruction. The musical accompaniment is delightful classical string instrumentation that offers a high-brow soundtrack to this magical app. I find there’s a plucky playfulness about “Fish School” that makes it equally enjoyable for kids and parents alike. My son enjoys watching the active and ever-changing “fishies”, participating in the “ABC” song, and counting. I’m impressed with how this app has struck a perfect balance of game play and learning opportunities. “Fish School” engages my son’s adventurous, spirited-side, all the while, keeping his attention and interest in learning fundamentals like counting and letters. Admittedly, I have selfish reasons for liking this app. Watching the vibrant fish in the cool, crystalline blue water is like a mini-vacation for this tired Mama. All I need is the sensation of powdery sand beneath my feet and a cold beverage in my hand, and I’ll have the perfect virtual beach escape. Ahhhhh….

Lets Tans 8-in-1

Posted by Melinda Landon on May 20th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

A classy classic puzzle game that never gets old. It has been around for centuries and is still used in our educational systems today. "Lets Tans..." is a visual spatial puzzle game that makes people of all ages use the ole' brain. This app has 3 different puzzle modes - Classic, Replica, and Arcade. There are 7 brightly colored shapes called tiles and they fit together to make a perfect square “the basic Tangram.” The 7 shapes assembled can form thousands of different shapes. There are 110 different shapes to form in the “Classic” puzzle mode. Drag the shapes inside the large shape, tap once to turn the shape in the direction you want it to go or tap twice to flip the shape to it’s other side. After each shape is assembled, the player is rewarded with an applause or some type of celebratory sound and then on to the next puzzle. Whether you're in the car, waiting room, restaurant, or just hanging out and your child has their head buried in your iPhone playing "Let Tans..." - RELAX... they're learning!

TeachMe: Toddler

Posted by Kristen Young on May 4th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

I’ve spent a lot of time playing toddler apps with my son and I haven’t come across many that have as much educational breadth as “TeachMe: Toddler”. This well-organized application is brimming with learning potential with six different lessons on topics that include shapes, numbers, letters, phonics (letter sounds), colors, and counting. It’s a fantastic tool for learners and teachers alike. For children, the game-like lessons are entertaining and there is a reward system that offers encouragement and positive reinforcement. For teachers/caregivers, the app tracks and records lesson scores so that future instruction can be directed toward areas that need improvement. While “TeachMe: Toddler” deserves high praise for potential teaching opportunities, I must honestly admit it’s greatly lacking in other areas – namely the production value. The artwork quality is sub-par with less-than-dazzling stock art quality characters and clunky sound features. Despite this application’s aesthetic shortcomings, I recommend “TeachMe: Toddler” because it’s a great educational tool, fun for toddlers, and a fabulous value.

Martha Speaks Dog Party

Posted by Kristen Young on January 28th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

This application features the talking dog from the PBS Kids television series Martha Speaks. Dog Party is comprised of four games: Chow Time, Doggie Dress Up, Martha Says, and Pop Quiz. All of these games – with the exception of Doggie Dress Up – are educational and aim to hone keen observation, vocabulary, shape recognition, and word comprehension skills. Beyond the multitude of learning opportunities, this app provides a value with four games in one, the production quality is excellent and visually pleasing, and the canine characters are captivating. It’s clever and fun, and makes us giggle. My son and I can’t get enough of the enthusiastic dog tongue that licks the plate clean during Chow Time!

Baby Apps: All-in-1

Posted by Kristen Young on January 7th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

As the name infers, this application has a bevy of different features geared toward very young children. In fact, Baby App: All-in-1 contains five distinct categories including: flash cards, a phone display, a piano keyboard, a notepad, and a quiz. At this point we don’t find much use for the phone display and the notepad which require a more advanced understanding of numbers and letters. The features my son and I enjoy the most are the piano keyboard and the quiz which exercise the identification of colors, numbers, shapes, animals, seasons, fruits and vegetables. Aesthetically, I wasn’t impressed by the artwork which looked like cutesy stock clipart and some of the items to be identified didn’t look much like the objects they represented. While it’s not the most artistically innovative app I’ve experienced, it’s functional, full of features, and will likely keep your child entertained.