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Interactive Telling Time Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on February 6th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Interactive Telling Time is an excellent universal app that will help children practice their time-telling abilities.

In writing reviews for GiggleApps, I have had the chance to check out a few educational apps that teach one how to tell time. I am happy to introduce this app to readers as another stand-out within this category as an app that will certainly help kids learn and study this concept.

Five interactive sections are included as well as a section dedicated to the explanation of telling time, each thoughtfully allowing children to practice their clock-reading skills.

Set the Time in an activity which allows children to move the hands of a large clock to correspond with a digitally displayed time. I appreciate how clearly the hours and minutes of the main teaching clock used here are shown with bolder, red numbers marking every five minutes as well. Both the minute and hour hands can be moved on their own with the correct corresponding clockwise movements of the hour hand as the minute hand moves, with an option for the hour hand to be fixed, only allowing the minute hand to turn as well.

Another wonderful element of this section is the window used, as night and day can be seen transitioning slowly or quickly as the minute or hour hands turn.

Narration is also included, saying the time after each change is made with the movement of either hand of this clock. This narration makes it easy for those new to time telling to use these cues to set the clock at the correct time, with a Solve button to press to tap when a final answer is entered.

What Time Is It? features the same elements found in Set the Time, but here, the time on the clock and window images are set, asking children to scroll through the hour and minutes found on a digital display to create a time that matches the analogue clock much like the way one sets an alarm on the iPhone.

Here, narration is provided only at the end when the time has been correctly entered, including the time as well as praise for a job well done.

Play Puzzle! consists of nine clock faces that each becomes a puzzle when tapped. These clocks include many cute novelty choices including flowers, train or moon themes as well as a lion and fish.

It is especially nice that the pieces included that children must add to these clocks puzzles vary. Sometimes the clock contains 12 numbers classically seen, but options include clocks that just mark the 12, 3, 6, and 9, as well as a gears clock with no numbers at all, including only the hands and center piece as parts to put back into the clock.

Roman numerals are also touched upon here in a fun clock of The Seven Wonders, giving kids a nice overview of the kinds of clocks they may encounter in real life.

Take the Quiz tests children on what they have learned as a specific time needs to be matched to one of four clocks, and there is also a Stop Watch section that asks children to stop the clock with a tap when the time matches a specific time given. Five speeds are offered, making this section as difficult or easy as the child who is playing needs to be challenged.

A Learn the Clock section is also included, consisting of written instructions that adults need to read to children about how to tell time, nicely broken up into seven short pages of information.

Although well-written and including some nice interactive elements as well, it would be an added benefit if narration were included so that non-readers could explore this section on their own.

I did notice that within this app, the terms “quarter past,” “half past” and “quarter to” are focused on, as here, one would say “quarter to four” for 3:45 - different from my way of speaking, which would read this as “three forty-five” for both analogue and digital clocks alike.

As this was developed by an Australian company, I am unsure if this is a cultural difference, a choice of style thought of as an easier way to teach children how to tell time, or if I am the one who has been wrong all these years. Although an issue for me, this may not be of concern for children new to learning to tell time in general.

One of the best parts of this app is that each of the different clocks found in the puzzle section can be chosen as the clock found within these interactive sections, letting children practice their new-found clock reading skills on a variety of clock faces - excellent for children who have interests in a specific subject like trains or space, but which also serves to give children the chance to learn telling time on clocks that don’t always have the numbers showing.

I personally don’t like clocks without all the numbers, but the ability to be comfortable looking at a clock like this with confidence is a great skill to teach children.

Parents please note that there is a nice selection of choices one has at their disposal to create a personalized experience. Multiple languages are included as is the chance to learn military time by choosing the 24 hour clock mode of this app.

AM and PM can also be focused on, as children may also need to turn the hands of the clock fully around to change the time of day or night as seen out the window, a nice inclusion not see in other apps like this.

There are also five levels of difficulty ranging from just learning about one hour intervals, to increasing the difficulty to 30, and ultimately to one minute intervals as well. Statistics involving the right and wrong answers made while using this app are also made available to parents.

One of the first things I noticed when looking at this app is how bright and cheerful everything found within this app is - from the clocks themselves to the striped wallpaper hung on the wall behind the clock in question, added to simply brighten up the background.

Two song selections are also available, both very easy to listen to for long periods of time, especially the jazzy second choice that I really enjoy. Turning off the music completely is also an option.

My only note is that the aquarium found on the title page along with the settings and clock-change feature and used as an incentive to continue with the use of this app can easily be overlooked as there is no link to this area from the page of interactive sections that children will be spending the majority of their time on.

Having made this minor point, I think that this is another excellent app for learning how to tell time.

It it is also worth noting that this developer, GiggleUp, has also created a few nice puzzle apps available through iTunes, two of which have also been reviewed at GiggleApps. Please search for these reviews if interested.

Transport Jigsaw Puzzles 123 for iPad Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on November 10th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Transport Jigsaw Puzzles 123 for iPad is the terrific sequel to the original app, Farm Jigsaw Puzzles 123 for iPad. Seven scenes are included here that wonderfully introduce many vehicles and means of transportation, both traditional and unique, as well as a very fun, puzzle experience with the choice of using 2 to 16 puzzle pieces per scene and include hints if needed. There is also an iPhone version of this app available with 5 puzzle scenes included.

I have really enjoyed both of the apps in this series. The choices these developers come up with are unique to what is commonly found in applications that focus on the same subjects, as here scenes include not only vehicles found in a busy city or in one’s neighborhood, but include space, construction and a military theme as well. With 7 scenes available and a range of 6 to 8 individual puzzles among these pages, 46 puzzles in total will keep kids engaged for a long time.

Nicely intuitive for children, one simply scrolls through the seven themes that are offered, tapping to make a choice which will enlarge the scene. Another tap will transform the various vehicles into individual jigsaw puzzle choices that need to be completed.

I like that instead of simply filling in the characters with individual “chunky” puzzle pieces, a mini-jigsaw puzzle is included for each selection that showcases the details of each individual vehicle nicely. These scenes are illustrated by hand with brilliant colors that look great on the iPad and include a lot of implied action which kids will have fun with and be engaged by.

My son has a few vehicle puzzles, both with “chunky” wood pieces as well as larger jigsaw floor puzzles that we enjoy. I have never heard any complaints from him about how the same common vehicles like school bus, fire truck, train, or car are used among these puzzles, but it is a special treat to see the different scenes offered here, such as many construction vehicles working together in a dirt pit or the military choices, including a stealth bomber, jet fighter, aircraft carrier and destroyer. A behind-the-scene look at an airport is nicely touched upon as well, including not just a helicopter and airplane, but airport stair truck, luggage truck and airport tanker. When each puzzle is complete, the word representing the vehicle in question is both narrated and shown on the screen below. This teaches some new vocabulary to kids and also creates moments for opened questions about topics such as space stations, satellites and space shuttles, as well as anything else found in this fun, educational app.

This puzzle app also stands out from the crowd as here, these puzzles may range from 2 to 16 pieces, nicely personalizing this experience to the level of difficulty appropriate for each player.

I am a big believer in hints being offered to kids in interactive apps, and I like that here, one can be helped by turning on a back light of sorts found in a button below the jigsaw in question, allowing one to see a faint highlight of this puzzle’s outlines - especially helpful when the pieces get smaller and more numerous.

There are few changes I would make within this app. The music is very pleasant to listen to for long stretches, which I greatly appreciate, but I do notice that the button to tap in order to give players the chance to change the number of puzzle pieces is somewhat hidden behind a sun at top right of the page. I would love this icon to be changed to a puzzle piece instead to aid children in finding this most important function. It would also be nice if in a future update, a scene of recreational vehicles can also be included, such as a hot air balloon, zip line, or hang glider. I look forward to other puzzles apps these developers may come up with.

Transport Jigsaw Puzzles 123 is certainly an app that would keep kids interested for a long time, including children of different ages, making this a perfect family app.

Farm Jigsaw Puzzle 123 Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on July 12th, 2011
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Farm Jigsaw Puzzle 123 is a very nice puzzle app for iPad with a cute farm theme. Seven scenes are included that nicely depict life on a farm, such as a lovely night scene with sleeping animals, a fertile vegetable garden, animals enjoying a mud puddle as well as classic barn and tractor choices, among others. Many friendly animals and a few people are included in this app, nicely hand-drawn and complete with fun, upbeat music. A version of Farm Puzzle 123 is also available for iPhone.

Nicely intuitive for children, one simply scrolls through the seven selections, tapping to make a choice. Once a selection is made, tap again on the empty cutouts that need to be filled in. I like that instead of simply filling in the characters with individual "chunky" puzzle pieces, a mini jigsaw puzzle is included for each cutout that relates well to the character from the larger puzzle, and I love that there is a choice of how many puzzle pieces these puzzles have, ranging from two to sixteen. It is also nice that when many pieces are chosen, just a few are offered to the player at a given time so as not to overwhelm the board or the child with too many pieces.

I also appreciate that a hint can be turned on, both allowing the completed puzzle to be seen faintly as well as allowing the pieces to be placed on top for a simplified experience. When this mini jigsaw puzzle is completed, the animal or object is nicely spoken and labeled accordingly as well. I do wish that when a few animals are used in one puzzle - like mice or chickens, the plural of these animals would be used, like “raccoons” or”fireflies” instead of simply raccoon or firefly.

Being an Australian-based app, it is fun that a few animals may be new to some children, as well as some not typically found in most farm applications, making this app unique and educational, including wombats, a platypus and kookaburra, kangaroos, koala bears, possums, and a mole.

My son enjoys this app, choosing the scene he wishes to work on as well as completing these puzzles. I like the ease of use this app has to offer, but I do find the ability to change the number of pieces per jigsaw rather hidden, and I wish the icon used here were a puzzle piece or pieces rather than a sun hiding behind a cloud to represent the different number of puzzle pieces. I do think, however, that it is very nice how within the same scene, the different mini-puzzles can be played with a varied number of puzzle pieces if the player so chooses.

All in all, this is a very nice choice of app for puzzle, farm, or animal lovers. Very content-rich with 45 total mini puzzles and five puzzle piece choices, kids can be kept busy with this delightful app for quite some time while learning the names of some less common animals. This app would also be great for families with kids of different ages as this app can be shared and personalized for different abilities, again making this app stand out among
other puzzle apps available.