Little Lost Note

11 Apr

lostnoteLittle Lost Note is the story of, well, a little lost note. The note wanders through the story looking for the instrument it belongs to, encountering a piano, guitar, trumpet and drums throughout the story. We get to explore the sounds made by these instruments until the Little Lost Note finally finds the way home to her right instrument.

 

Features

  • Interactive elements – The major interactive elements occur when the Little Lost Note meets the different instruments and you get to play them. The piano is similar to those piano simulation apps you may have seen, and you can tap a couple of notes at a time to play chords. We had fun strumming the guitar and even more fun when we found we could tap the fret markings and change the notes. The trumpet was a little trickier, until we found that you had to hold down the keys and tap the mouthpiece at the same time. It was interesting to find that each combination of keys on the trumpet can produce both a high and low sound. You can skip straight to the instruments via buttons on the front page of the app.
  • Other Interactive Elements - Each page features some fun interactive elements, some of which repeat on other pages. Tap on a pile of dirt and Mole may appear (or disappear), birds might sing etc.
  • Narration – The narration is clear and well - for a quiet, calm story.  We love the British accent.  You can turn narration off on the main page.  We couldn’t find any way of making the story repeat, except by flipping the page back and forth.
  • Highlighted Text – The text highlights as it is read, which is very supportive of emergent readers.
  • Nighttime Mode – If you tap on the ZZzzz (in the top left of each page) to activate a special mode for calm, quiet, bedtime reading.  The app dims to a level that makes a comfortable read in a darkened bedroom.
  • Background Music – The background music is delightful, and you can listen for the different instruments that appear in the story.
  • Illustrations – I love the original, colourful illustrations that are not too bright for a calm, bedtime story.  There is a lot of clear space left for the text to display without it being obscured by different elements on the page.

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Using the App

Our order at the cafe was going to take 15 minutes: nothing for me, but an age for Mr 2.  A good story was on order, so Mr 2 snuggled up beside, we opened my iPad case, and we opened Little Lost Note. Ahhhhh – Peace and happiness until the food arrived.  We had a lovely time exploring the story together, and now we share the story often.  Mr 2 is very taken with the story itself, but particularly loves playing the instruments. Every time we get to the piano section, he gets me to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and sings along.

See the app in action in this YouTube trailer.

Wish List

  • Interactive Text Elements – I’d love to be able to tap words and hear them spoken aloud.  This would be great for those who are trying to read independently, but who have struggles with the odd word.  It would also be useful to have a way of repeating the narration on each page.

Verdict

Little Lost Note is a lovely, gentle story that is great for some quiet reading time. It is also a great introduction to different instruments, and children will enjoy “playing” these instruments and experimenting with the sounds they make.  Even without the Nighttime mode activated, it is a gentle, calming story that my toddler loves and it is one I’ll be keeping on my iPad for those times when my toddler is a little overwhelmed, over-stimulated, and in need of a quiet, calm story.

This review was originally published on The Appy Ladies website.  Thanks to Box of Frogs Media for the opportunity to trial and review this lovely app.

Publisher:  Box of Frogs Media
Price: $3.79
Universal
iTunes Link – Little Lost Note

Sticker Play: Knights, Dragons and Castles by Jump App

3 Apr

Sticker Play:  Knights, Dragons and Castles is Jump App’s most recent addition to their collection of educational apps.  Like their other apps, Knights, Dragons and Castles is a creative play app where children take charge and direct the action in a simple and fun virtual environment.  If you would like to win a copy of this app, please see the link at the end of this post.

Features

  • 5 different scenes – Scenes include castle interiors and exteriors, and landscapes. Scroll left or right to move about each  scene.
  • Characters – There are knights and soldiers in all sorts of poses and equipped with all manner of medieval armor and weaponry, a king and queen and assorted other castle folk.  Each character has an identical twin in a different colourway so that you end up with two sides; The green knights and the red/yellow knights.  Most have associated sound effects and small animations.
  • Animals – Dragons in two poses (again in green or red colour ways), a griffin and a few dogs are available.  There are a few horses with mounted knights, and one pulling a wagon.
  • Props – A number of props help set the scene, including medieval war engines (battering ram and catapult), assorted tents, flags, and supplies for troops. There is even a sword ready to be pulled out of the stone by a future king.
  • Sound – most of the scenes are outdoors (or partially outdoors) and feature sounds from nature. The castle interior scene features background sounds that such as footsteps, clanking and creaking, low murmurs, and other sounds that add to the atmosphere. Sound effects can be toggled on or off using the simple controls on the screen.  For a quiet experience, adults can turn all sound effects and background sounds off using the parent controls (accessible from the main screen.
  • Parent controls – Parents can control sound, screenshots (handy if you have limited space on your device) and the Jump App more apps banner.  I love that the link to the AppStore (for ratings and reviews) is hidden from children.  Jump App has a presence on all major forms of social media, but they don’t have direct links that children can access.  Instead, all addresses are hidden in the parent section.  Personally, I believe this should be a standard practice in educational apps and I’m sorry more developers don’t follow their lead.

Using the App

The app is easy and intuitive to use, with a simple control bar that can appear and disappear at your command.  Select one of the five scenes on the map.  At the top of the screen you will see a variety of character stickers, and you can swipe back and forth to find more stickers.  The sticker menu can be hidden at any time.  After you place your stickers on the scene, you can move them around, resize them, and reorient them.  All of the characters and some of the props have associated sound effects and animations:  dragons breathe fire, knights brandish their weapons, and archers let their arrows fly. When you leave a scene, all stickers are saved in position so that you can return later and pick up from where you left off.  Simple controls allow you to clear a scene quickly to start again, and to take screenshots of your efforts.

See the app in action in this YouTube trailer from Jump App:

Educational Value

At face value, Sticker Play:  Knights, Dragons and Castles  is a nice creativity app where children can play as they move characters around the scene.  I believe the real value of the app is in its opportunities for language and literacy development.  A lot of discussion can take place while children are “playing” in the scenes, and the variety of medieval props and characters means there is a lot of opportunity for vocabulary development.  Children who have difficulty with writing activities may find it easier to create a story as a series of scenes first.  You can take screenshots of each scene at any time and then import them into a storybook writing app or a word processing document.   This certainly beats looking at a blank piece of paper and struggling to find ideas.

Although this app is aimed at children aged 5-9, I can see it being of use to older children with special needs.  The subject matter is historical (with a bit of fantasy tossed in) and interesting, and the stickers and scenes are not too childish for  older students.  It might even be supportive of  students  with learning difficulties or special needs in the Year 8 History curriculum where they look at medieval Europe (Australian National Curriculum).

Wish List

  • Sticker categories – There are a lot of stickers in this app, which is great, but my younger children had trouble finding the ones they wanted.  It would be easier to have categories of stickers, such as vehicles, war engines, animals, camp, etc, although the downside of this would be that it may take up more space on the screen.
  • More female characters – There is only one female character (although in two colourways) and her only action is to sigh.  It is a bit depressing.  I know women had a tough time of it in an era where their lives were pretty much dictated by their status from birth, but surely there were a few more working around the castles.  As we have fantasy elements such as the dragons and griffin, it would be good to see some of the wizards and witches from the Camelot tales.

Verdict

Sticker Play:  Knights, Dragons and Castles is a great creative play app aimed at children aged 5-9, and with lots of scope for language and literacy activities.  The subject matter might be appealing to older children too.  I hope they bring out similar sticker book apps with different themes. My thanks to Jump App for the opportunity to review this app.

The Appy Ladies Giveaway

If you’d like to win this app, please enter the giveaway this Rafflecopter giveaway on The Appy Ladies website.

Publisher:  JumpApp
Price: $3.79
Universal
Link to iTunes - Sticker Play: Knights, Dragons and Castles – Premium

Toca Pet Doctor – Toca Boca

19 Mar

Toca Pet DoctorThe latest Toca Boca app, Toca Pet Doctor, lets your child be the veterinarian. It is aimed at ages 2-4 and the activities are well thought out for children of that age. They are entertaining and challenging without being frustratingly difficult.

Playing the Game

15 animals are in the waiting room, all with different ailments. You can swipe left and right to explore the scene and find them all. Tap an animal to start treatment. You might be putting eye drops into the spider’s eyes (he has a few!), bandaging a bump on the bird’s head, or helping an egg to hatch (can you guess what is inside?) After each animal has been treated, you get to feed them with an assortment of foods. Froggy gets butterflies, Mouse gets a cracker and there are no prizes for guessing rabbit’s treat. We can’t decide if the green reptile is a lizard, a dinosaur or a dragon, but it is a favourite with the boys.  You can tell which animals have been seen as they fall into a contented sleep after they have been fed, although you can wake them up and re-treat them.

Features

Apart from the obvious pointing, tapping and dragging, other skills involved in treatment are matching shapes and simple mazes. The app has no instructions, so children need to work out what to do themselves, which involves a little logical thinking sometimes. My 6 y.o. had no problems working out what to do, but it took Mr 2 a little longer and he found some of the activities a little challenging, but I like that about the app. He can do the activities but it takes a little effort, yet he is motivated to keep trying by the fun he is having. The lack of verbal or text instructions makes this app suitable for children of different languages and for children with a hearing impairment.

The graphics in Toca Pet Doctor are a departure from styles used in other Toca Boca apps. They are more “cartoon style” than the collage style (Toca HouseToca Tailor) or 3D style (Toca BuildersToca Cars). Even though they are not in the intended age group, my older children couldn’t resist playing with the app and although they enjoyed it, they all commented that the didn’t like the new graphics as much as the other Toca Boca apps. To be fair, Mr 6 and Mr 2 had no issues at all, and they are more the target audience for the app. Mr 8 also liked the graphics although he prefers the other styles.

You can see the app in action in this YouTube trailer.

Like all Toca Boca Apps, there is a parent section accessed by keying in certain information.  Only accessible while online, this section has information about how the app might be used, a link to support and a link to subscribe to the newsletter.  This link can be turned off, as can the Toca News and the background music via the app’s preferences in your device’s settings.  In short, this is a safe app for children and you can lock down the few external links in the app.

From the Expert

Mr 6 - You help the animals by doing puzzles like with the dragon you get flies out of its mouth by pulling them. You feed it watermelon and birdseed, and leaves. With the spider you put eye drops on its eight eyes and you have to feed it flies but it is only one fly and that is all it eats. My favourite animal is the mouse. You have to pop bubbles inside its stomach and you have to feed it crackers. What I love most about the game is taking care of the pets. All of the pets you have to take care of. I would recommend it to my friends.

My older children tried the app, as they always do.  (Like me, they are Toca Boca tragics) but they were not so taken with the app.  They didn’t like the cartoon graphics, and they wanted to do more in the app, finding it “a bit easy.” Despite this, they all enjoyed playing with the app with their little brothers, which is how I prefer the iPad to be used as it gives the younger children more opportunities for language development with an older sibling or parent discussing what is happening on the screen.

Wish List

My children all (except for Mr 2) expressed a wish to be able to do more with each animal.  There is currently only one activity plus feeding for each animal, and they would like to be able to tap on an animal a second time and cure a different ailment.  While I am putting this as a wish, the target age group will probably not mind only having the one ailment per animal. Mr 2 certainly is very happy with the status quo.

Verdict

Toca Pet Doctor is perfectly pitched to the preschool age group with puzzles and activities that have just the right amount of challenge.  The fun activities give lots of opportunity for discussion about how to look after pets and about animals in general.

Publisher:  Toca Boca
Price:  $2.99
Universal:  Suitable for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or above.
iTunes Link:   https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/toca-pet-doctor/id808108897?mt=8&uo=4

Related Reviews

The UnStealer

13 Mar

This review was originally published on The Appy Ladies website.

Normally I wouldn’t recommend a story where the hero was a sneaky, shadowy thief, but the UnStealer is not your ordinary villain. Yes, the UnStealer is a sneaky thief who creeps in shadows and looks a bit scary in the black hat and cape, but you can’t help love a character who turns unhappy into happy, unhelpful into helpful and uninspired to, well, you get the idea.

Story

These Uns were changed by tapping words on the page.

These Uns were changed by tapping words on the page.

The opening pages set the scene by introducing the UnStealer and his favourite “collectables.” Interactive elements allow children to alter the appearance of the Uns to match the text, e.g. Tapping on the words bold, italic or underlined will change an Un to that style.
Once we have been warned of the UnStealer and his shocking exploits, we move on to some case studies. An unfunny, unhappy clown at a sad excuse for a birthday party has his mojo retuned and saves the party after the UnStealer strikes. In similar stories we see what happens to an unconfident lass, and later an unfriendly dog. Spoiler alert: the UnStealer turns out to be a pretty decent chap after all.

The story, by Joshua A Wilson, is written in rhyming verse with a natural rhythm that is enjoyable and also supportive of young readers. The underlying message of turning negatives into positives is one that teachers, parents, counsellors and others will appreciate.

Other Features

  • Illustrations – Donna Wilson seems to use a variety of techniques and collages them together to create colourful illustrations with wonderful detail. I appreciate the uncluttered spaces that allow text to be clearly displayed.
  • Interactive elements – All of the interactive elements support the text and add meaning to the story. There are only a few on each page so children won’t be distracted from the story. I particularly like the opening pages where children can click on some words to see an animation that defines that word. It would have been wonderful to see this feature used more throughout the story. Mr 9 discovered that tapping on some elements multiple times will trigger a different animation each time that help tell the story.
  • Narration –  The narration has a strong Northern American accent, but not so strong that my Aussie kids had any trouble with it. It is well-paced and expressive, and we found it easy to listen to and follow. Unlike other books where the narration begins automatically, in this app it will only begin when you tap the first word on the page. I really like this feature as it gives us a chance to explore the illustrations and talk about the story before reading, helping cue children into unfamiliar words they may encounter. It also gives my more independent readers the opportunity to read by themselves, having the narration handy if they need it. You can easily repeat the text if you miss something.
  • Music and sound – the funky “Spy” music plays only on the title page. The other sounds relate to the interactive elements and play for a very short time. There are no sound controls within the app, but these are very easily managed with the controls on your iPad.

Wish List

Overall, the app is great, but there are a couple of little things I’d love to see in a future update:

  • More interactive text elements: The first two pages of the book did this really well, and I’d love to see it used more throughout the story. To be able to tap on a word or phrase and see an animation or hear a sound that further illustrates that concept could be very helpful to some. The interactive elements already do a lot of this, so it would be great to connect them to some of the words in the story.
  • Options for each word or sentence to be read when tapped: Some readers will be able to read the book independently, but may get stuck on the odd word. Being able to tap that word, or a sentence, could help scaffold them through their reading experience.
  • Highlighted text could also help children follow words during the narration.

Expert Opinion from Mr 9

I think the story is fun and surprising, and would be a fun story for 5 to 10 year olds. I love the illustrations and the backgrounds.  I really love how you get to change things by tapping items like tapping the clown and he squirts prune juice out of his squirty gun.  If you tap it again, the stain gets bigger and bigger.  The best part of the book was when the dog played piano (you have to keep tapping to see that!) I would change the music because it is too jazzy. (Mum:  I beg to differ on that point!)  If the UnStealer had all the Uns, wouldn’t he be miserable?  He’d be Unhappy.

To see the app in action, check out the YouTube trailer below:

 

Verdict

I love a good story with a positive message, and I can see The UnStealer being very popular with schools and families. As a story it is engaging and uplifting, and as an app it is supportive to young readers. I can’t wait to see more from the developers.  Its recent award of a Kirkus Star is well-deserved. Already, the UnStealer has invaded my house, with my children having fun playing with un words.  I just wish he would tackle the untidy rooms, unmade beds and unfinished homework.  If you would like to win this app, check out the giveaway running on The Appy Ladies website until March 19th, 2014.

Publisher:  The Happy Dandelion
Price:  $3.99
Universal:  Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
iTunes link:  https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-unstealer/id791804571?mt=8&uo=4

Tiny Robot Maker

28 Feb

tiny robot maker app iconTiny Robot Maker  by Australian developers, Tiny Twiga Studios, is a simple app packed with a lot of creative fun. Children choose from different options to create robots, and then can use these robots to create printable colour-ins, cards and invitations.  The app is aimed at a young audience, but older children can have fun with their younger siblings, as my children did, and the app might also be suitable for older children with special needs.

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My First App – Vol. 3 Airport

18 Feb

my-first-app-vol-3Today I’m reviewing the third in appp media’s My first App series looks.  While Volume 1 looked at Vehicles and Volume 2 took us to the circus, with this latest volume we get to visit the airport.  If you hare familiar with the other apps in this series, you’ll already know you are in for a treat.  

Activities

There are four activities in the app and they are identical to the activities in the other 2 My First App apps.  (That sounds funny.)

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  • Puzzle- 8 pictures of airport vehicles. You can alter the difficulty level for the child so they may solve the puzzle with 2, 4, 6 or 9 puzzle pieces. An extra element of difficulty can be added with the rotation option where children may need to rotate a piece to the correct orientation. This is off by default. You can have children of different ages and abilities solving the same puzzles at their own level.
  • Turning Game- My children call this “Slide and Match”. Half a picture is presented and you must find the match the other by dragging up or down to scroll through the pictures. Once the two halves are matched correctly, an amusing animation sequence is triggered. This activity uses the same 8 pictures as the Puzzle activity.

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  • Pinball - Roll or drag the marble into one of the three holes in each scene. There are three target holes in each scene, and a different animation is triggered each time a ball enters a hole. The scenes tell stories about passengers and workers around the airport, for example one scene has a giraffe putting her handbag through the security x-ray and finding a pair of scissors. She disposes of the scissors in the bin, and everyone is happy. Other scenes look at walking through the metal detectors, going to the toilet on the plane and using the lights as cues to it being occupied or vacant, checking in luggage, and picking up luggage.
  • Spot the difference – This activity uses the same 8 scenes as the Marble Roll activity. Children are presented with two images and have to find 4 differences. Four green lights are lit as the child taps on each difference, and a reward sound plays on completion. There are no penalties for incorrect taps, although a “tinny” sound will play. Correct taps result in a different sound and the area is highlighted with a blue ring.

You can see My First App – Vol.3 Airport in action in appp media’s YouTube video below:

Other Features

Illustrations: I’m a big fan of appp media’s colourful, collage-style illustrations, and they look fantastic in this app. While comic in style, there are lots of details in each illustration that will prove useful when discussing visits to the airport and aeroplane trips with children.

Sound – The pleasant background music can be turned off. It is nice to see the music on/off controls clearly visable in every screen, so you don’t have to leave an activity to find it. Other sounds still play when the music is off, such as character, vehicle and prop noises.

Simple controls – The app is very intuitive and easy to use. My 2 y.o. has no trouble navigating to his favourite activities and scenes.

Verdict

I normally have a Wish List but for this app, I can’t think of anything I’d change or add, so I’ll skip right to the verdict.  appp media have again delivered a delightful app with My First App – Vol. 3 Airport. Their My First App formula is a winner and I hope to see more in the series.  My 2 year old loves the illustrations and the animations, as do his older siblings, and I enjoy playing it with him.  This will be a great app for young children and is also going to be useful for children with special needs.  If you have an air trip coming up in the near future and you have a child in either of those groups, this might be a great app to help them prepare for the journey and have fun at the same time.

Publisher: appp media
Price: $1.99
Universal
iTunes Link: – https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/my-first-app-vol.-3-airport/id804682031?mt=8&uo=4

Shape the Village by Wisekids

5 Feb

Shape the Village by WiseKids CorporationShape the Village is a delightful world created by WiseKids where children can explore shapes in amusing and entertaining ways.  The village is a little “unpopulated” when you first enter the app, but as each activity is completed more items are added until the village is complete. The completed village with 16 activities fills two screens of your iPad, and children can swipe up or down to move between these areas. 

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Features

Activities - There are 16 activities, each with several different variations so that your child can return to the same activity multiple times with difference in shapes and/or characters each time. I don’t have the time (or patience) to mention all the activities, but here are just a few:

  • Rocket ship – the rocket’s window (a different shape each time) is dirty. Clean it to find an astronaut made of the same shape.
  • Caterpillar – tap and hold dots on a leaf to guide a caterpillar as he eats a shape path through a leaf.
  • Bakery – colour in each shape with a different spread, e.g. spread jam on the square toast, frosting on the triangle cake, or chocolate icing on the biscuits (or cookie for my friends in the USA and Canada.)
  • Orchard – pick the fruit on the trees and load it on to the truck.  There are outlines indicating the shape of the fruit required, for example a row of squares for the square apples.  A couple of red herrings (in the form of a square bird and a piece of fruit with a bite) out of it will bounce off the truck if you try to load them.
  • Farm – drag the tractor along the shaped path to till the soil, plant the seeds and then water. Once the shape has been traced three times, flowers grow.

You can see some of these activities, plus the introduction to the app, in this YouTube trailer from WiseKids.

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Spell with Pip – Oxford University Press

17 Jan

Most of the spelling apps I own have the same activity: a spelling test following the listen, write, check pattern. Spell with Pip  is a  different and is aimed at emergent spellers. Children fly Pip the Parrot around to collect the letters to spell each word. The target word is always visible at the top of the screen. On early levels, only the letters needed appear, but as children progress through levels, extra letters appear.  Note:  This review was originally published on The Appy Ladies website.  For details on how to win a copy of the app, see the note at the end of this post.  (Competition closes 27th Feb, 2014).

Pip looks for the correct letters.  At this level, there are no confusing extras.

Pip looks for the correct letters. At this level, there are no confusing extras

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Felt Board Christmas by Software Smoothie

10 Dec

fbchristmasI’m a big fan of the original Felt Board app from Software Smoothie. Since I reviewed it, it has had new features added and just keeps on getting better. Felt Board Christmas is now available and is every bit as delightful as the original. A virtual felt board on your iPad, this app features a variety of backgrounds, characters, scenery and props, and all with the Christmas theme.

Features

  • Backgrounds – includes home interiors, plates for Christmas food, outdoors, and plain colours. Our  family doesn’t see a lot of snow  in Australia (ok, any snow, EVER) so winter landscapes are a bit lost on us (unless we are making Santa’s home) so we were happy to see a summer landscape.
  • Characters – a range of Christmas characters include Santa, Mrs Clause, elves, reindeer and some other cute Christmas animals. It is wonderful to see all characters available in different skin tones.
  • Decorations – baubles, lights and other decorations for your tree. 
  • Misc Christmas – this section includes trees, stockings, gifts, and other Christmas phrases such as “Ho Ho Ho” and “Peace on Earth.”
  • Snowman parts – finally my children can build  snowmen, albeit virtual ones. There are different options for facial features, arms and accessories, so you can build some really wacky snowmen.
  • Nativity characters – All the characters needed to recreate scenes from the original Nativity story (Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, Angels shepherds and Wise Men/Magi) are included in their own category, again in different skin tones. They are accompanied by animals including a camel, donkey, and sheep, some stars and the stable. 
  • Alphabet – two festive alphabets (a fun red or slightly more formal green, both outlined in white) with both upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks.

I  can’t think of many Christmas stories, poems, carols or songs that couldn’t be illustrated with the resources in this app. The great thing about setting up the felt boards to illustrate different scenes is that children can move objects and characters around the screen, bringing the story to life as they play.

You can see the app in action in Software Smoothie’s YouTube trailer: 

Putting it to the test

Miss A, aged 11, put the app through its paces.

“This app is really great. I liked how you can make a dish of food for Santa Claus and you can write him a note too. Santa’s feet coming out of the chimney are really funny. You can print the pictures you make and use them for Christmas cards.

Sometimes when you layer items to make a picture, you accidentally tap on the bottom items and they come up to the front and cover everything. I put lights on the tree and then put the decorations on, but the lights kept coming to the front and going over the decorations. I’d like to be able to stick them down so they stay at the back.

I’d also like to put Santa and his sleigh in front of a moon on a black sky. It would look really good. Another background or scenery I’d like is for Santa’s workshop, because you already have the elves.”

Wish List

I’m getting very picky here, as just about everything I could wish for is in this app, but there are always a couple of ideas.

  • Glue – Miss A has already wished for some “glue,” although some items will automatically “stick” to others, such as decorations to a tree. Miss A’s tree was part of a background and it was frustrating for her that she couldn’t permanently place things on the background.
  • Standing camel – We wanted to show the Magi travelling  following the star, but the camels were very stubborn and wouldn’t stand.  We solved this by some creative placement on the screen, as you can see in our slideshow above.
  • Workshop – a background, tools, toys and wrappings
  • King Herod – every good story needs a villain.  As there are two versions of each of the Magi or wise men (two different skin tones) you could double up there.  Still, none of them have the villainous, mean face we’d like to use.

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Verdict

The variety of backgrounds, characters, scenery and props make it easy to recreate scenes from just about every Christmas story or song, and even creating new ones. This delightful seasonal app is already a hit in our household, with children of all ages loving it.  A very strong, positive feature is the portrayal of both secular and Christian characters in both light and dark skin tones and I’m delighted to see it.  A great resource for teachers and parents alike, it is another must-have for your iPad and would make a wonderful Christmas gift.

Felt Board Christmas
Publisher: Software Smoothie
Price: $2.99
Universal

 

Babar and Badou’s Musical Marching Band

4 Dec

badouappTales of Babar the Elephant and his adventures were favourites of mine as a child, however the characters have evolved, and now my children enjoy watching the adventures of Babar’s grandson, Badou, as an animated series on television.  Cupcake Digital have brought other animated stories to the iPad in ebook form, and now it is Badou’s turn in Babar and Badou’s Musical Marching Band.

The Story

In the story, everyone in the palace is getting ready to greet The Lord of the Rhinos and his wife.  Ambassador Crocodylus is jealous of the attention (that he never received!) and plans to sabotage the event by getting his musically-challenged nephews to play at the reception, hoping that the music will be so terrible, the Rhinos will be insulted.  Badou uses cleverness and kindness to turn the situation around with a delightful outcome for all….except for Crocodylus!

badoustory

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