Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs

Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs

by Cognitive Kid

Like most parents or educators we want to share and explore the world with our children, but it may not necessarily be to places that we can easily get too. Instead of getting on an airplane or driving a car, children can now take part in a virtual field trip to just about anywhere. Has your early elementary student had a chance to explore the Africa desert with virtual friends, Ansel and Clair? Around this time last year, Cognitive Kid launched Ansel and Clair’s Adventures in Africa for your iPad device but as of late has added the ability to explore and visit Africa via your iPhone device as well. We were impressed with this series then and are excited to share that a new virtual experience has been added to their collection list, Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs for your iPad device. This is the first in a trilogy series of Ansel and Clair Adventures which focuses on exploring different dinosaur periods: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. Come visit an official dig site, ask questions of a paleontologist as your son or daughter interacts with their mobile device. As your child or student explores the cretaceous period they will travel back in time with adorable characters and a “zippy” spaceship to broaden their knowledge and build their vocabulary while having a ton of fun!

This educational app could not have come at a more appropriate time in our household. My 6 year old son had library today and what type of book did he come home with…an encyclopedia of dinosaurs. A book which has 127 pages, he worried that we might not be able to finish the book in time before having to return it to his school library. His worry was quickly put to ease when I mentioned our recent download, Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs to my iPad device. It is an educational app which puts your child at the center of it all. Simply borrow a fossil from Dr. Lindy Bones in order to get your spaceship moving around the world. While spinning the globe, see what the world looked like before it was broken into the continents that we know today. As your child embarks on this imaginative and educational adventure, join Ansel and Clair as they go beneath the ground to find more fossils of the cretaceous period while reinforcing various fine motor skills. Tap with one or two fingers or swipe from side to side in order to explore and play. In doing so, your child(ren) or students will feel as though they have a chisel, hammer or brush at their finger tips. Once all the tools have been used and the fossil is revealed, piece the dinosaur back together like a puzzle and see the environment where such dinosaurs as: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor, Kosmoceratops and Oviraptor lived billions of years ago. Hold on tight, because here we go!

As your child(ren) or student(s) go on this adventure they will become critical thinkers with the help of Ansel and Clair. Your elementary students earth science unit or textbook just stepped into the 21st century. Developers have included a great deal of support through both visual and verbal directions. Those items on a page which provide factual information are clearly marked with a magnifying play button or checkmark. In addition, many of the dinosaur names are challenging for our target audience or even an adult to say, so developers have also included a syllable break down just underneath each reptiles name. Since this is like no other journey, your child will be equipped with a backpack which has all the essentials, a camera and a journal. Take as many pictures as you would like, however, your journal does have certain requirements. A note to the developers – might it be possible at the completion of ones journal to be able to tap on pictures within those pages, as a way to share new information or even a recall quiz like question(s) for comprehension. Ansel and Clair do an amazing job at sharing new information and building your child’s vocabulary, the opportunities for extended conversations and further investigation are amazing. As they learn and develop their filing system of knowledge, your child will also be interacting with those from the cretaceous period as they collect stickers, see a volcano erupt, watch a meteor show and care for Maiasaura’s eggs.

Overall, we loved this first in the series dinosaur application, Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs and look forward to learning more about the Jurassic and Triassic periods in the coming months. Whether you have a little paleontologist on your hands or need to spruce up your earth science unit, the educational apps that Cognitive Kid have to offer are worth the download. With all the information that is shared however, we would love to see in a future update the incorporation of speech bubble that highlight as each character reads. With this differentiation, Ansel and Clair’s Dinosaur Adventure scientific application will be able to support all learning styles along their travels.

If you would like to learn more about Cognitive Kid, please visit their website here. To start digging on your first archeological adventure, simply click here to download Ansel and Clair Cretaceous Dinosaurs to your iTunes library for $1.99 today!

This review will be featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with many other detailed reviews.

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Noodle Words

Noodle Words

by NoodleWorks Interactive

Are you looking for a clever way to share words with your children or students? Does your child need a more interactive approach to learning? If saying a word isn’t enough, maybe your child needs to see it in action. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you will want to read on. Our 165th review goes out to Noodle Words. An educational and very interactive application designed for an iPad device running iOS 3.2 or later. Since its launch to the App Store it has been awarded several mentions: voted the #3 slot as Apple’s New and Noteworthy in the Education store, featured at the end of 2011 as a New York Times Best App for Children and the winner of the 2012 KAPi Award for Best Educational Product. If you thought your children had energy, you should see what adorable bug friends, Squish and Stretch are capable of doing.

It is no big surprise when you hear a parent or an educator say, not all children learn alike. Some children just aren’t ready for certain academic skills at a particular age. Attempting to push them towards those skills will only frustrate them more. But what if learning was seen as playful and interactive as exploration occurs on their time, rather than their parent or teacher’s time. Regardless of how your son or daughter learns, providing them exposure, repetition and connections to words is critical so as to build ones comprehension skills. Who knew that a box of words could become a toy for your mobile device. Come interactively play with your screen as you tap, swipe, drag and shake 18 action words or verbs in order to learn their meaning. Even Squish and Stretch get in on the action as they dance, grow, blow bubbles, shake and act surprised. Which action word will be your favorite? Noodle Words is a perfect educational app for children ages 4-7 with its clean and easy to navigate design, children will not want to put the bugs of Noodle Words down. The sounds and visuals that come from your device are well done, but those that come out of your child will just be priceless!

Although the application is simple to use, it was a pleasant surprise to see that developers included a “Tip for Parents” option within the menu screen. Noodle Words can be experienced individually or with a parent or teacher. Our target audience, children ages 4-7, love to show off new things, so be sure to take time to explore with your child, you will not regret it. The developers of KwiqApps have taken all learning styles into consideration and that is why Noodle Words is also an adaptive application for children with special needs. If your child or student doesn’t have the control or ability to use their fingers or hands, then be sure to check out one of the hidden gems of the device, blowing into your microphone for word exposure and understanding.

Noodle Words gets Applicable2U’s seal of approval. It is equipped with many academic and social skills that it certainly keeps us coming back. As mentioned on their website, this is the first set of words and we hope to see many more in future updates as either a free download or an in-app purchase. Adding more action words or other parts of speech, nouns or adjectives, would be an excellent addition. To learn more about KwiqApps, please visit their website by clicking here. To get your action on with Stretch and Squish, then begin downloading Noodle Words from your iTunes library here for $1.99 today!

Love to Read by Pirate Trio

Love to Read by Pirate Trio

by Next is Great

The pirate trio is at it once again. Some of my readers might be familiar with Next is Great having developed Love to Count and Shapes and Puzzles, educational apps for imaginary pirates as young as three years old.  This time your child(ren) ages 4-8 will go on an amazing adventure as they get to know words phonetically and in context.  Since its launch, Love to Read by Pirate Trio has been featured in the Apple Store as a “New and Noteworthy”, “What’s Hot” and a “Staff Favorite” when it comes to educational apps.  It was designed for all Apple devices running iOS 4.0 or later and was inspired with the Montessori teaching methods in mind.  Like dice in a canister, Love to Read by Pirate Trio will certainly shake things up a bit.

Whether exploration occurs individually or with a parent/teacher, Love to Read’s three pirate friends will be with you along the way.  There are a number of features incorporated that appeal to Applicable2U.  The main menu screen is very user friendly which doesn’t overwhelm those using the application.  Vocabulary is categorized across three pages and can be manipulated with ones finger in two ways: tapping or scrolling.  Love to Read includes wonderful graphics which users can connect too.  With 146 words, both boys and girls will be excited as they experience words ranging from transportation and machines, to home and garden, school, instruments, kitchen equipment and fruits and vegetables.  It is an app that will meet their interest level and guide all types of learning styles. Through this academic adventure, children will be learning how letters have both individual and group sounds.  Based on a great deal of research, this phonetic approach is said to be an excellent foundation for fluent reading skills.   Not all children learn in the same manner, applications like Love to Read by Pirate Trio support this idea, through a multi-sensory approach, it certainly becomes applicable to you!

So how does the application work?  Simply choose one of the six categories and let the exploring begin. Scroll through four pages, each providing six graphically represented cards.  Those just learning to read can begin on any page and select the card of their choice.  Once  a card has been selected, players will see and hear a variety of things.  Upon entering the next screen, a professionally narrated voice will say that word, visually it will be presented as an image card and the actual word is shown below.  Regardless of which category or word was chosen, the goal is to shake things up as you ‘deconstruct’ words.  Deconstruction of words can occur in one of two ways:  shake your device from side to side or simply tapping the “device icon” in the upper right hand corner.  As you shake things up, letters will magically float around the page.  Your challenge is to put that word back together.  Concerned that your child might need support as they reconstruct the word, no problem!  Developers have included several support features.  Drag and drop letters into place correctly and the newly learned vocabulary word will demonstrate the meaning and possible use of that word in a sentence.  To support readers, words within the sentence are highlighted in yellow as they learn to read from left to right and make connections to additional sight words along the way.  Even after the sentence has been read, words can be individually tapped to support those becoming independent readers.

With a very simple but effective approach, Love to Read by Pirate Trio provides those just beginning their reading adventure many opportunities of success.  Parents or teachers have access to a check off report of those words learned, however, we would love to see multiple accounts offered within a future update.  This would be beneficial for classrooms hosting a single device as a center activity or homes that have multiple children.  As words are successfully learned, game play does not have to end.  There is a reset option in the lower right hand corner of the reports menu.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to host the reset option not on the category names page, but rather within each category.  Thus allowing users to reset only certain categories at a time.

Overall, Applicable2U gives Love to Read by Pirate Trio a thumbs up!  Whether you are a parent, teacher or homeschooler, this educational app is applicable to you.  Through modeling, repetition and reinforcement, children will learn to love reading as they use their mobile device.  If you would like to learn more about Next is Great, please visit their website here.  To share the love of reading with your child(ren) today, then click here to download Love to Read by Pirate Trio today as it is on sale for .99¢ from your iTunes library.

Lil’ Brainiac

Lil’ Brainiac

by GetBonkers, Inc.

Come play and show off your brainiac skills with a new friend on the block who happens to look just like Leo from the Little Einstein’s Disney show.  A flash card like educational application that develops ones vocabulary in both English and Spanish and encourages one to use their listening skills in a game like format.  From developers GetBonkers Inc., Lil’ Brainiac is available to download for free for all Apple devices running iOS 4.0 or later.  Amazingly, it is preinstalled with a large library of images and clipart for children ages 1-10, as they explore and learn, children will be able to make personal connections to a number of items and even learn a few new ones.  Have you ever visited a home or classroom setting that has notecards taped all over the place that indicate what each item in the room is?  If you answered yes, then Lil’ Brainiac is the mobile rendition of this effective learning technique.

Upon entering Lil’ Brainiac, users will be greeted with an adorable four eyed friend whom we unfortunately do not see again and a large START button above his head.  Like any user, adult or child, one might think to immediately click the START button.  However, before starting, users will want to visit the “information” button in the lower left hand corner of the screen.  A note to the developers – might it be possible to click on our adorable friend in the middle and have him provide a brief explanation of where to begin and what to do?  Most mobile device users might think the “informational” button will provide generic information about the developers and acknowledgements to those that worked on the project.  However, your informational button provides a great deal more and should not be overlooked as it will truly make each child’s experience different.

To meet the learning needs of the individual using Lil’ Brainiac, an educator or parent will want to access the many option features available.  It is here that the type of gaming experience that you want your child to have is established (easy, medium, hard or very hard).  If at any time a games level is too easy or too challenging, simply reset this option.  Regardless of which mode is chosen, the object the of game stays the same, listen for what the “announcer” is looking for and click on the square shaped card to match.  If at anytime you are unsure of what the announcer says, simply click the megaphone in the upper right hand corner and the item name will be repeated. Game boards appear as an array.  The easy mode is a 2 X 3, medium is a 3 X 4, hard is a 5 X 7 and the very hard is a 6 X 8 array. Once the game level has been set, select the close button and then hit START and exploration can begin.

To make the user wanting more, additional image packages can be downloaded for free or for an additional fee.  Additional packages can be added to your device by simply visiting the options feature.  Here parents will be pleased to see that packages are broken down by age level categories so as to meet the needs of their students or children.  In addition, clipart packages are available in both English and Spanish, a great option for those sponge like minds that our children have.  Another nice feature is the ability to add your own photos which can coordinate with a familiar voice recording.  Those images that are stored on your device are very easily accessible and are then added to the Lil’ Brainiac library.

As children build their file folder of new and old vocabulary words, they will be required to listen and tap cards, correct answers are indicated with a green checkmark, while incorrect answers are indicated with a red checkmark.  At no time are children timed or penalized for incorrect answers.  Simply try again and the game continues.  Once all items have been found, a firework show of stars and trumpets will flash and game play continues to the next board of items.  Play does not end until the house icon in the upper left hand corner is pressed.

Overall, Lil’ Brainiac is a very simple concept that provides users an interesting way to learn new words as it is academically appropriate for a large age range.  Come play with numbers, letters, US States and Capitals, food, animals, various forms of transportation, learn the meaning behind facial expressions or see the amazing sights of the world.  Whether you are using this application individually or with an adult, it can spark new conversations of unknown things.  If you would like to learn more about GetBonkers, Inc., be sure to visit their website.  Or simply click here to expand your child’s growing mind with Lil’ Brainiac for free today!

Oolly Educational Games

  Oolly Educational Games

by Progressive Education

Recently Applicable2U was introduced to developers, Progressive Education. The members of Progressive Education make up a team of early childhood psychologists and communication clinicians. With their expertise, they have developed an educational app that can guide a variety of learning needs.   At the beginning of this year, they recently launched a toddler/preschool app called Oolly App.  For a  simple .99¢ download, children as young as 2.5 years old will work on sorting various real world items as they build their “filing cabinet” of vocabulary words.  In doing so, they will also be practicing and/or improving their fine motor skills. It was designed specifically for an iPad device running iOS4.0 or later. As we see more and more “little fingers” using some form of a mobile device, Applicable2U loves finding educational apps that make personal connections academically and socially.

When my son was younger he was obsessed with a fairy tale television show called Dragon Tales.  Upon entering the main menu of Oolly Apps, this memory was immediately fresh in my mind.  Main character, Oolly reminds Applicable2U of the friends in this show. Currently, Oolly App consists of one interactive, educational game: Sorting.   However, you will notice two additional games coming soon, and two unknown games but will be made available in time.  In talking with the developers, the new games will reinforce the development of a users fine motor skills.  Our big question is…..will the new games be free upgrades or will it only be made available through an in-app purchase?

There are a number of features that Applicable2U likes about this educational app.  With the wonderful resolution of the iPad device, those viewing Oolly App will notice the sharpness of the graphics. Whether your toddler is manipulating on their own or with an adult, navigation of the app is clear and concise.  It provides users a great deal of visual and verbal reinforcements. As it integrates the use of large buttons, all hands will be able to make successful choices. Happily, children will want to play in Oolly’s dollhouse like home.  Users can choose to play in the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and even the great outdoors.   A note to the developers –  as a parent of a young child that uses a variety of Apple devices, we love educational apps that do not have advertisements or pop ups.  With hands that sometimes “click to click” just to see what will happen, buttons like Facebook or Twitter may not want to be options that we give our children to tap.  Might it be possible to put this information in the About section of the application.

Prior to playing, parents and their children will want to view the Help section.  It is here that players will watch a brief video on the unique pinch motion that is required in order to sort or group items within each room.  Whether you are the adult exploring or the target audience that is building, learning and having fun, practicing this pinching motion maybe a challenge.  Regardless of which room you choose to visit, the pinching and movement skills of more than 70 new words/items will certainly come over time.  Once the item has been pinched correctly, Oolly will then announce what the item is and can then be moved around the room.  Unsure of where it goes?  Don’t panic, Oolly will magically appear and will point you in the right direction.  If your little one thinks they know where it belongs and it happens to be wrong, children are not negatively reinforced, items will just bounce back.  Those items correctly placed within the room will reward  the young sorter with something virtually yummy, an ice cream cone.  In the lower left hand corner there is initially an empty ice cream cone shadow.  With every correct answer, this empty ice cream cone will suddenly fill up with all the fixings.  Be sure to visit rooms inside and out multiple times.  Each return visit will share new vocabulary as it provides repetition as well.

Overall, Applicable2U would give Oolly App two thumbs up for its academic purpose and skill.  On the go, your child(ren) will  help Oolly organize his home, while at the same time beginning to plant the seed towards larger topics like recycling and multiple language development. As they sort papers and plastics in the palm of their hands, you might just see them making connections to their own lives.  Children at this age are like sponges, extend this application one step further as they learn another language: English, French, German and Spanish.  We are looking forward to those “coming soon” apps that it will provide in the future as well.  If you would like to learn more about Progressive Education, please visit their website here.  In need of developing ones fine motor and early mathematical skills, then begin downloading Oolly App from your iTunes library here.