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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.

KidsMag Issue 03 Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on February 15th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad

KidsMag Issue 03 is the third app in a series of interactive, educational apps for iPad, reminiscent of the children’s magazine Highlights.

KidsMag Issue 03 has a lot to offer toddlers, preschoolers and older kids as well. Consisting of 32 pages and over 50 activities, this app provides a nice amount of content that will keep children occupied for a long time.

My four year old son really enjoys this app, as such topics like pirates, the sea and trains are included - subjects that he has much interest in.

Structured like a magazine, one can tap on a cover story that is of interest as well as digitally flip through these pages. An interactive table of contents also allows one to view all the sections at once and then select a page with the tap of a finger.

Nice narration is included, allowing non-readers to enjoy the puzzles, stories, matching sections, pattern completing as well as other activities.

Do note the question mark also found top left of the screen available to explain how to interact with these areas.

I appreciate how many of these games include multiple pages one can gain access to with the shake of the iPad, greatly increasing the content beyond that found in a printed magazine which does not contain extensions of the same activity - be it a hidden object puzzle or sticker scene with a collection of different backgrounds to choose from.

Fans of the other apps in the series will be happy to see that the characters of Teo and Bianca are back. Here they visit the beach with their family. Parents will enjoy how this story is first told within a series of illustrations akin to a simple storyboard with no text or words, allowing children to use their imagination to tell their own story based on what they see. Children can also tap on an image to hear and see this story with included text and narration. Interactive elements such as helping Teo and Bianca pack their bags or tapping areas of a page dedicated to sea life are also included.

Letters and their sounds are also taught, as children are presented with objects found in the sea and are asked to find the item that corresponds to a letter in question - a section my son really enjoyed.

The topic of trains is nicely explored. Children will find a lot to tap on as they learn all about what one would expect to find at a train station and the differences between modern and old-fashioned trains. A highly interactive train dashboard is included, allowing children to tap, press or turn buttons, switches, levers and dials as they look out onto train tracks from the point-of-view of the conductor.

Numbers and shapes are also re-enforced with fun activities, and it is nice to see basic Spanish words introduced, both as nouns found in places like a farm, but also tackling adjectives in a matching game that teaches not only Spanish words, but opposites as well. This app also includes a glossary of Spanish words used in this issue of this magazine.

It is also a nice touch that links to sites about subjects like trains or pirates are also available in case kids want to learn more about these topics. Do shake the iPad to see a full list.

Kids Mag apps contain an abundance of interesting information that can really engage children for quite some time. My son loves these apps, and it is nice to see the same high quality from the first app to the third. I hope KidsMag apps continue to be developed in the future as they are wonderful choices for one’s iPad library.