Caboose: Learn Patterns and Sorting with Letters, Numbers, Shapes and Colors

Caboose: Learn Patterns and Sorting with Letters,      Numbers, Shapes and Colors

by AtReks

As our train nears 170 reviews, we are excited to hop on the recently updated educational app, Caboose: Learn Patterns and Sorting with Letters, Numbers, Shapes and Colors by developer AtReks. Your train conductor, a sweet looking dinosaur will offer you two tickets, one that will have you traveling around the United States as you learn about patterns and another that will take you across Europe where your little one will sort items and build their vocabulary.  Go on this amazing journey as it was built to work on all Apple devices running iOS 4.0 or later. Which ticket will your toddler, preschooler or kindergartener take first?  With their recent update, Caboose has implemented a wonderful new menu screen.  The graphics and organization has truly improved since our last exploration and why our readers need to be aware of these updates and how it is applicable to you!

Prior to becoming a first class passenger, it is important that an educator or parent explore the “cog” wheels or options menu in the upper right hand corner.  Your train experience can drastically change as it meets your child’s learning needs.  Within this menu, parents and educators will see how pattern content and type can be altered as it meets a number of academic needs.  If your child struggles with certain fine motor skills, set the answer selection to either a tap or a drag/drop motion.  As they cross new and unusual things, provide hints and select content that is appropriate to your specific child or student.  Regardless of where the tracks may take them, verbal support and reinforcement is very evident.  With the accommodations made by the developers, your child’s mobile learning experience can be done alongside a parent or independently.

Travel by day and night as you piece together the tracks that will take you from the northeast all the way to the upper regions of the western part of the United States with every correct answer.  Children will experience and reinforce six different types of patterns which are taught in the early elementary years.  These various patterns, A-B, A-A-B, A-B-C will be incorporated with learning upper/lower case letters, shapes, colors and sounds.  Visit some of the most famous landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, White House, and the San Francisco Bridge as you learn about patterns.  A note to the developers – as the train leaves a location, might it be possible to fill in the icon on the map so children can make a real world picture connection.  We see it as another learning opportunity and possible conversations with your student or child.  Another  possible suggestion would be at the end of their trip across the United States, might they be able to make their own pattern thus showcasing what they learned.

Extend your travels now across the world to Europe as you hop on the back of a moving train and learn to sort items and build your vocabulary.  Applicable2U was really impressed with this first class passenger experience.  Developers included a number of support features that we really found useful.  For example, it integrated in the upper left hand corner a “wifi” like symbol that when tapped repeated missing directions and visually explained the necessary sorting order as well.  Through tapping of objects, reinforcing key words like “the largest, the smallest, and medium”,  and color coding for answers that are correct or incorrect, children are guided and supported from beginning to end.  When necessary such features can be turned off as users become more comfortable with the content and skill.

Applicable2U gives Caboose two thumbs up! It meets our approval for gaming with a reason.  With a very interactive and engaging design, your child will be learning and having fun at the same time.  If you would like to learn more about AtReks and the other educational apps that they have available, please visit their website here.  With a simple $1.99 download, Caboose can be added to your iTunes library by clicking here.

My Underwear

My Underwear
by Thumb Arcade

When I asked my son if he wanted to play a new game on my iTouch he immediately began jumping up and down for joy! When I told him that he would get to play with underwear, his first reaction was one of embarrassment and saying things like  “Mommy don’t say that word!!”  I just had to laugh.  Together we were intrigued to see the possibilities that an application named My Underwear would have to offer my son, my colleagues, and parents that I come in contact with.

With the artistic designs of Todd Parr, My Underwear meets the needs of various learning styles.  At this point you might be thinking, “Really, underwear?  How can this be educational?”  Oddly enough the word that my son didn’t want me to say in front of him actually encourages: hand-eye coordination, memory, motor skills and pattern recognition.  Upon entering you might find it symbolic that the four educational games are hanging from a clothing line.

Finger painting offers the user 10 possible underwear designs.  With such tools as a paint brush, pencil, paint can, color palette and stamps your little one will be able to design their own underwear.  Each art tool provides a different coloring experience for the user.  The paint brush offers a wider brush stroke.  Whereas the pencil is a fine point writing utensil and the paint can offers full coverage.  Through practice and repetition of each tool, your child will begin to control their fine motor skills.  To truly make it your own, add an unlimited number of clipart by simply selecting from such things as flowers, sports, animals, nature, food, and transportation.   Once complete, users have the option to save their creation(s) to your photo gallery on your Apple device which you can then share via email.

Match the Underwear has the user matching underwear to Todd’s lovable creatures based on shapes and colors.  This was my son’s favorite. He immediately knew what to do upon entering. The sounds of laughter was just priceless.  As I observed him exploring, I noticed that he was shaking the iTouch.  “Why was he doing that?” I thought. He very quickly realized that by shaking the device that it would change the types of animals and underwear designs.  Points are determined if you match the underwear to the animal correctly.  Want to be a little silly?  It’s okay, you will still get points even if you don’t drag it to the correct place.  How many underwear can you match in 60 seconds?

Feed the Monster’s objective is to feed the ravenous monster, flying UNDERWEAR from the sky!!  Sounds silly, but in fact it is working on your child’s hand-eye coordination.  It can be played in two ways.  For the first time user, they may choose to manipulate the monster with their finger tip so as to have more control.  For the child needing more of a challenge, they can move the monster by tilting the Apple device from side to side. Once control of the monster is gained, a user will notice in the upper left hand corner a monster meter.  The meter will begin filling up as the monster collects and eats underwear.  As the user progresses, scenes will change along with the monster friend and a surprise will appear when his belly is full!

Concentration is a familiar childhood game that works on a users memory.  Unlike the board game, this version is timed.  Cards are decorated with adorable objects and characters.  The more successful one is, the number of necessary matches will increase.

Initially My Underwear appears to just be a funny app.  But through exploration, it provides your little one a number of necessary developmental skills.  Applicable2U thinks it’s an “arcade” thumbs up!  If you would like to learn more about Thumb Arcade, be sure to visit their website.  What will your little ones reaction be when they hear you talking about My Underwear?  Begin downloading now from your  iTunes library here to see.

Let’s Bead Friends

Let’s Bead Friends
by i-Itch, Inc.

Why am I reviewing Let’s Bead Friends?  For so many reasons, it encourages creativity, works on  building patterns and can even put a smile on a child’s face when they electronically share their bracelet  with a friend.  This application allows toddlers that want to use beads like their big friends/siblings do without having to worry that they can’t string it on or manipulate the smaller beads.  It fosters any child’s development of their fine motor skills as well.

Over the past few months, my little man has really been interested in “making projects” as he would say.  When I saw Let’s Bead Friends I immediately knew he would fall in love with this application.  To begin you select “Start Beading”.  You are given a number of shapes and colors to choose from.  Beads can be plain or have a design.  The designs vary from squiggly lines, polka dots, and even winter themes.  The possibilities are endless and foster creativity.  There are no right or wrong ways to build “your” bracelet.   To add or delete the bead to the string just hit the plus sign (adding) and the minus sign (deleting).  Your little jewelry maker will continue until they see the “finish” button.  To finalize your bracelet,  a user gets to select an adorable clasp to close the bracelet.  At that point they can see their bracelet glimmer, save it to their jewelry box, email it to a friend, and post to Facebook for loved ones to see.

As we played with the application a few things came to mind.  In future updates will there be other designs added or will we need to purchase those packages?  A few times my son struggled with selecting the +/- buttons.  Would it be possible to pinch and zoom in on the +/- to make it easier for all learners?  When finalizing the bracelet, you have the ability to add a clasp but when you see the final product that clasp is not shown.  If you choose to customize that clasp, it would be great to see it on the final product when emailing, adding to your jewelry box or uploading it to Facebook.

In the words of my little designer, it was AWESOME!  If you would like to learn more about Let’s Bead Friends, be sure to check out i-Itch by clicking here.  Or you can get right to beading by visiting them in iTunes.