Woozzle Wood Puzzle for Toddlers

Woozzle Wood Puzzle for Toddlers

by Swan Soft

The moment you come home from the hospital with your bundle(s) of joy, your world completely changes. Your organized, clean, adult like home takes on a whole new persona from year to year. As your little one(s) grow, so do their toys. Amazingly, toys encourage children to manipulate, explore and imagine. No matter how they play and learn, toddlers and preschoolers will be building and reinforcing their vocabulary, making connections wherever they go. On a daily basis do you find random pieces, unsure as to where they belong? Well now you can control some of those pieces as your child(ren) plays on their mobile device.  From the developers of Swam Soft, Woozzle Wood Puzzles for Toddlers was recently updated for your Apple device running iOS 4.0 or later.  Have your toddler or pre-schooler piece back together 24 familiar objects from automobiles, food, animals and toys.

Put your real world Melissa and Doug puzzle boards into one interactive application.  Woozzle Wood Puzzle is very easy to navigate for the youngest of fingers.  Upon entering, users will be presented with a main menu filled with colorfully decorated wooden squares.  As puzzles are chosen by the user, they will magically break apart into several pieces.  With appealing sounds, your child will feel like they have just shaken, rattled and rolled their puzzle  apart.  Your “work table” screen will have an etched out image which your child must fill and match with colored pieces from the bottom.  Simply scroll, drag, and drop into place.  As pieces are dropped correctly they will lock into place.  However, if incorrectly placed they will bounce back to the bottom of the screen.  Your child will be amazed at how puzzle pieces will merge together as one as smiles light up their faces when they are verbally rewarded.  Verbal reinforcements can be set in 10 different languages ranging from English, French, Dutch, Japanese and Italian.  A note to the developers – as puzzles are built, might it also be possible to incorporate the spoken vocabulary word as well.  By integrating this into the application, users will be making both a visual and auditory connection through their manipulation.  Since Woozzle Wood Puzzle’s is also targeted towards pre-schoolers, we wondered if an option might be added to the “settings” which would allow users to shake their device, making sized pieces different.  Through this incorporation, users would begin to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Overall, Woozzle Wood Puzzles for Toddlers is engaging as it has a great deal of potential in future updates.  If you would like to learn more about the developers from Swan Soft, please visit their website here. Currently, Woozzle Wood Puzzles can be downloaded and added to your iTunes library of apps for .99¢ by simply clicking here. If your little one just can’t get enough Woozzle Puzzle time, then be sure to download their free coloring book as well here.

This review is also featured at Fun Educational Apps site.  Visit their site to read this and many more educational app reviews.

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Kandoobi: Animal Edition

Kandoobi: Animal Edition

by Kandoobi

Has your child “kandoobi” lately?  Are you wondering what that even means?  If so, then it’s time to meet the next educational app developers from Kandoobi.  They are a development group designing apps so “kids can do” on their own or with the support of a parent.  They recently released Kandoobi: Animals Edition for all Apple devices running iOS 4.3 or later.  It is a creative application designed for toddlers and preschoolers.  This target audience love to manipulate and explore.  Well, now it is time to accomplish those two things as they encounter 100+ adorable animals all dolled up.  For $2.99 and one simple download, users will get their hands on four interactive games.   Whether you are playing at home, school or on the go, your child will soon be saying they “kando.” Kandoobi: Animal Edition encourages letter recognition, builds one’s creativity and imagination and allows users to manipulate and match animals from all types of environments.  Come fly, swim, slither or walk in order to have some fun!

Knowing the population that this educational app was designed for, developers have certainly created a very kid friendly navigation menu, intuitive tasks and buttons as directions are very short and sweet.  In addition, we immediately noticed how both verbal and visual representations were incorporated on the main menu as a way to support all learning styles. Whether your child is a toddler, preschooler or grade level, they want to hear or see words of encouragement.  Throughout each game, reinforcements are presented as auditory sounds such as: a bounce, pop or magical stars. As they game for a reason, users will certainly not be surprised or confused when they play the pre-installed games – Letters, Coloring, Scratch & Fill or Matching.

Letters –  Upon entering the first academic game, users are presented with a 6 page catalogue of animals to choose from. Whether the animal is known as a creature to fear or “ooh and ahh” over, illustrators have done a nice job at designing colorful and eye pleasing graphics with their wonderful expressions and unusual accessories. It is up to the user where they would like to begin.  As an animal is chosen, game play within Letters continues in order from that particular animal.   Immediately, users will notice that the screen is divided into three parts: draggable Scrabble pieces on the left, animal graphic on the right and its corresponding word at the bottom, grayed out.  It is up to the user to match those grayed out letters at the bottom with those Scrabble like pieces by simply dragging and dropping them into their correct places. If a Scrabble like piece is tapped, the narrator will announce that letters name. As users begin to recognize and match letters, it is also important to note that they do not have to be dropped in any particular order.  If letters are dropped incorrectly, they will bounce back.  Once the animal’s name is spelled, both letters and animal will animate across the screen.  Game play continues as the train drops off and introduces the next animal friend.

The next gaming option is Coloring which allows users to be creative as they learn various art skills.  As they color with Kandoobi: Animal Edition, children will build their vocabulary of color names while manipulating three writing utensils: a pencil, paint brush and an eraser.  Coloring exploration can occur in two ways, with those animals previously seen in the “animal catalogue” or as free choice.  Regardless of which is chosen, users are given a paint palette of both primary and secondary colors. Depending on a users age and creative need will determine if a thin lined pencil or a thick stroke of a paint brush is required for their coloring page.  If mistakes are made, no need to panic, developers have also included an eraser.  As coloring pages are complete, share them with others by simply tapping the button in the upper left hand corner, as it is saved to your devices camera roll.

Does your child or student have difficulty with their fine motor skills, but love to be creative?  Then, the next gaming option of Scratch & Fill is just what you are looking for. Scratch & Fill does not require users to stay within the lines, simply swipe your finger from left to right, up and down and the colors will come alive within the picture. The last gaming feature called Matching is one that has children manipulating with puzzles.  At the top of the screen users will see an outline of an animal.  While at the bottom of the screen are three choices.  The goal is to simply drag, drop and match the correct animal puzzle piece.

Kandoobi: Animal Edition is very academically appropriate for this age level.  It provides just the right amount of repetition, supports ones creativity, and allows for independence.  It is an educational app that disguises learning as fun.  To learn more about the Kandoobi development group be sure to visit their website here.  If you are looking to stimulate your child’s need for creativity and imagination, then begin downloading Kandoobi: Animal Edition to your iTunes library by simply clicking here.

This review and many others are featured on Fun Educational Apps, AppStar Picks and iear.org

Happipets

Happipets

by Happi

Come play with letters in order to build and spell words that look like animals or imaginary creations.  Use your fine motor skills to rotate, enlarge, move and flip objects to manipulate your ABC’s as you explore in three modes: plAy, Beasts, and Create. Launched in early February, developers from Happi created Happipets, an usual approach to spelling words for your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later.  It is designed with a younger generation in mind, however, even the oldest of children and adults will enjoy exploring.  What pets will your child create?   With 12 real animals, 12 imaginary ones and over 140 letters to build just about anything, your child will feel like they are watching an episode of Word World on PBS Kids.  Drag, drop and recognize animal names or individual letters to your workable canvas as letters turn into a picture or scene.

As you initially explore Happipets, Applicable2U would suggest that you collaboratively work with your child(ren).  As developers state in their iTunes description, this educational app is not the usual spelling app.  Regardless, with a kid friendly appearance and support systems in place, children and parents will have fun building a happipet.  Get the hang of Happipets by starting in the “plAy” mode. At the top of your canvas will be a scrolling feature which alphabetically lists your 12 real world animals.  Come play and learn about such animals as a dog, flamingo, lion or rabbit.  Amazingly letters are artistically designed in their color and detail.  With a single tap of the animals name your scroll bar will disappear and exploration can begin. The objective is to manipulate each letter around the page by enlarging, shrinking, moving, or rotating it to transform from a word to an actual animal picture.  Whether you are an adult or a child, this concept visually may be challenging, but not to worry.  At the bottom of the screen, users might find it helpful to click the “help” button.  This help feature is the giveaway to your end result, however, you will find yourself using it multiple times.

While building your animal, learn a few interesting facts about it by clicking the “information” button in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Need to start fresh and put your letters back to default in the scroll bar, click the trash can and it will clear your canvas. To access your scroll bar, simply click the pull down tab at the top of your screen.  Users will know that a letter has been manipulated and dropped into its correct place when they hear a locking sound. After the animal has been correctly draw, an appropriate background or environment will suddenly appear.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to offer in the scroll feature a single and double tap.  The single tap could say that animals name and the double tap option could drop it on the users canvas.  Without adult supervision as it is set now, users will not know what animal they are learning to spell or create.  In addition, we would love to see an audio feature added in two areas.  First, as a user manipulates letters, it would great to hear that letter announced for letter recognition reinforcement.  In addition, we would love to see that interesting facts could be shared aloud by simply tapping a microphone icon.

As you move from playing with real animals, it is now time to play with mythological ones.  Ever heard of a delipolk or a dufou??  With those same features found in the plAy mode, come explore the Beast mode.  As we navigated our way through this round, we immediately made a connection to a science project that was done in a 5th grade class.   Students had to create an animal of their choice, but were required to explain what it was, what were its predators or prey, what adaptations were necessary for it to survive and where could it be found.  With the implementation of a drawing and word processing program, this project came to life.  As technology has changed over the years, this Beast mode would be a great update to our animal studies project. As the animal comes to life and is locked into place, take a screen shot on your iPad device by simply clicking at the same time the home and sleep button.  This screen shot can then be found in your camera roll and inserted into any document.

The last area for exploration is the Create mode.  Here users will be able to select random letters as a way to create their own pets.  Since this design is by users choice, the help button is no longer present.  However, a saving, scene and sharing feature has been added. Choose from a laundry list of letters and designs, 24 different scenes to add your animal too and the option to share your creation via Facebook and/or email.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to put a parental lock on the sharing option for the safety of those using the application.  In addition, it might be interesting to add a feature to your website that would allow Happipet application users to upload and share their creations with your followers.

Overall, Applicable2U enjoyed our exploration with Happipets.  It is an application that fits at home and at school.  It endorses creativity and the possibilities to collaborate with others in a fun way.  If you would like to contact the developers, Happi, please visit their website here.  We were encouraged to see that new letters and animals will be added for free in the next round of updates.  To add Happipets to your iPad device, please click here to begin your $1.99 download today!

Simple Sort: Continents

Simple Sort: Continents

by Kids and Beyond

How many people can say that they went to the library, learned a wide range of geographical facts, played and had fun while doing so?  Probably not too many.  However, all of those things can take place in the palm of your hands as you explore Simple Sort: Continents by Kids and Beyond on your iPad device running iOS 5.0 or later.  With multiple learning and play modes, Simple Sort: Continents will have your child continent hopping and as Kids and Beyond states giving your child “a whole new global perspective.”  With professional narration, detailed and colorful graphics, young learners will be building what we like to call their “knowledge filing system” with animal species, man-made wonders, various landforms, rivers and vegetation of the seven continents of the world.  In building this knowledge filing system, users will have the know with all to guide Ms. Clever Cloud.  The Clever Cloud family need to do some major fact clean up, but they need your child’s help.

As you enter this educational app, flip the page of this virtual encyclopedia in order to get started.  Immediately, young learners are presented with a choice: Visit the Library or Play Game.  Which direction will your explorer take?  Regardless of which direction is taken, users will be supported along the way through voice over explanations and descriptions of each geography fact.  However, like any research of new topics, it might be best to begin in the library.

The library is broken into seven colorful books, each representing a continent.  To enter the library, simply tap a colored book, its continent name will be announced as it opens to the table of contents.  On the left side of the page, users will see a map of what that continent looks like.  In addition, on the right side of the page, users will have varying amounts of chapters to review, some books have more chapters than others.  Chapters can be read in any particular order and can be revisited at anytime.  Upon entering a chapter, users will read and listen to quick snippets of information based on that chapter.  Whether your child is just learning to read or already knows how, facts can be read to them or by them.  Unlike a typical encyclopedia, this virtual book does not present information in an overwhelming manner.  With only a few sentences and an image to showcase the new fact, users will be on their way to increasing their knowledge filing system.  A note to the developers – might it be possible when an explorer taps the recorded reading that the sentence also highlights the words as it is read.  In addition, we wonder if it might be possible to tap on a sentences coordinating image which would then enlarge center screen to provide users a closer look.  Whether you are a parent or an educator (in a school or at home), this virtual library provides children a great introduction to those standards being met in the classroom like knowing the five themes of geography as it relates to various regions and being able to describe the diverse nature of our world.

Close the book and put your knowledge to the test.  Help Ms. Clever Cloud sort out the continent facts into its correct bucket.  Upon choosing the “play game” mode, users will have two options, to play and sort with or without a timer.  The green button indicates that this will be an untimed exploration.  While the yellow clock button indicates that your game will be timed.  Simply choose as few as 2 continent buckets or as many as 6.  When your child has chosen as many continent buckets as they feel confident in, simply click the green button to begin.  Whether you choose to play timed or untimed, developers have included support along the way.  At the top of the screen, users will find labeled continent buckets.  Underneath will be familiar graphics that users came in contact while visiting the library.  Simply drag and drop each; landforms, animals, rivers or vegetation to its correct bucket.  Concerned that your child may have forget what something is.  Not to worry! Developers have included a recall feature.  For this feature to be present, simply use either a single or double tap on a graphic.  A single tap will announce what the graphic is, whereas a double tap will announce both its name and fact.  For those sorting with a timer, high scores are stored within the application and calculated based on the number of buckets played.

Once your child successfully sorts items, players will be presented with a world map and which have red blinking dots on it.  These red dots will indicate where in each continent geographic landforms, rivers, animals and vegetation can be found.  A nice added touch which helps children to make further academic connections. A note to the developers – we noticed when selecting buckets that one area was missing.  Was Antarctica missing due to its limited amount of information provided in the library?  In a future update will more information be provided on this location or any other?

Overall, Applicable2U was really pleased with Simple Sort: Continents.  For those just entering school, it’s a great way to learn and travel the world without leaving the comfort of their home. In addition, it also provides an added reinforcement of social studies skills learned for our older elementary students.  To learn more about our friends at Kids and Beyond, please visit their website here.  To begin exploring the continents of the world and to help Ms. Clever Cloud sort unknown facts, then begin downloading Simple Sort: Continents to your iPad device for a meer .99¢ today!

Animated Puzzles

Animated Puzzles

by Alexandre Minard © AR Entertainment

And so our review tonight continues with our “learning is fun” series from AR Entertainment as we travel across the world building puzzles to learn about animals, their habitats and the geography that surrounds them. With colorful graphics, Animated Puzzles turns your Apple device into a virtual wooden board as pieces are zipping around their environment while offering a 2 dimensional feel. Travel across the continents of North and South America, get a little chilly in the Arctic, dive deep into the Atlantic and Indian Ocean and explore what Africa, Australia, and Asia have to offer. Animated Puzzles is designed for all Apple devices running iOS 3.0 or later, however, for those implementing it with an iPad device, it works best with the latest operating system. Like all other “learning is fun” app collections, Animated Puzzles is initially a free download offering young builders two animals, a penguin and a camel. To extend their animal adventures seven additional animals can be unlocked with an in-app purchase of $1.99. Animated Puzzles has a great deal of potential as it enhances visual and spatial skills and works on one’s hand-eye coordination.

Upon entering this educational app, users will be presented with a map of the world as satellites hone in on particular parts of the world. Simply tap an unlocked animal and piece their environment back together. In a future update, we would love for users to hear the animals name when tapped prior to entering their environment. This would provide the target audience more exposure to new vocabulary. Environments will initially appear dull and boring, as it is your goal to drag and drop the colored images to their correct place. Each puzzle contains anywhere from 10-15 pieces. But be warned that parts of the wooden environment will move. By selecting one piece of the puzzle you will make all other pieces invisible, making it slightly easier to locate where that piece belongs. By locking all animals, plants and geography into place, users will make the environment come to life. As you navigate and learn about animals all over the world and ocean, users will find it very easy to navigate from one location to another. However, as we manipulated certain puzzles we found that the animation was rather fast and at times very busy. A note to the developers – might it be possible to incorporate a scroll bar feature at the bottom of each environment that would allow users to slow down or speed up those pieces that are animated. By adding this feature, children of all learning styles and needs can be successful without frustration. Whether you travel to one or all locations, puzzles can be repeated at any time.

Animated Puzzles is designed for children ages 2-6 and as most parents know their little sponges are looking for any new knowledge that they can. This educational app can be incorporated in a number of ways. For the early toddler population, it’s about having fun with animals as they build, manipulate and develop their fine motor skills. In doing so, they can most certainly be independent learners. As children near the preschool age, the question and need for information develops. With parent interaction and conversation, children could discuss animal names as they compare and contrast the different environments. For those nearing school age, they are capable of doing all of the above, however, I think they might like an added feature. In a future update, might it be possible as the environment comes to life that a WOW fact is presented and read aloud. It could be a feature that is turned on/off when necessary and with each return visit to an environment a new fact is learned.

Overall, Applicable2U liked Animated Puzzles. To gain the fullest potential and possibilities of return visits around the world, users will want to have access to the full version. Yes, having seven additional animals to build and play with is great, however, Applicable2U believes it needs a little bit more. Possibly some of our suggestions will come in handy. As mentioned in our previous post, to learn more about AR Entertainment and Animated Puzzles, please visit their website here. To set off on your animal travels of the world today, simply click here to add Animated Puzzles to your iTunes library.