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Lasso Kid – Logical thinking games with a Christmas bonus

4 Dec

lasso kidLasso Kid is a free logical thinking puzzle game from Kidcore Network that is aimed at young children but that  older children and even adults will find entertaining and challenging. Today I’m reviewing the iPad version of the app, but there is an iPhone version as well that has all the same features.

Poor Lasso Kid!  While he was sleeping, his animals escaped and he needs to catch them and rope them together.  You need to tether similar animals to a peg, trying not to run the rope through obstacles, and making sure ropes don’t cross each other.  The first few levels are fairly simple and are designed to introduce the main concepts of the puzzle, but later they get a little more complex with more animals, different types of animals (only similar animals can be joined together), more obstacles and more tether pegs.

 

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Recycling Workshop by Jump App

23 Jun

Recycling Workshop, the latest app from Jump App, is full of colour and creativity.   A great companion to its sibling apps, Puppet Workshop and Imagination Box, it is a simple to use, child-directed creativity app. Your children will be able to make endless characters using recycled containers as a base and a range of recycled items as facial features and limbs.

Using the app

My children and I found the app very easy to use.  The steps are simple:

  • Choose a base from a variety of generic containers of different colours.
  • Choose features from the different menus and drag them on to your character. Scroll up and down each menu to see the many different options for each category. Some items are drawn, but many are common items you may find around the home, e.g. Buttons for eyes, plastic cutlery or straws for arms, or a twisted chenille stick for a mouth. You are not limited to making “human” characters as there are props for animal features.
  • Choose a background from several colours or even from your photos.
  • Use the simple controls to resize, flip, and rotate each item to your preference. You can also undo actions.
  • Simple drawing tools let you draw on the character or background, although you can’t draw over the features.
  • Save a photo of your character

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Toca Town

3 Jun

tocatownYou may have seen virtual play house apps before where children can drag characters around different scenes and have them interact with different items. Toca Town does all of this with not just a room or a house, but a whole town. Along with different buildings, rooms and environments to explore, a bit of Toca Boca Magic has been added to create some wonderful surprises.

  • Settings include a grocery store, restaurant (with commercial kitchen), two different types of home with multiple rooms, a park and a police station.
  • Characters – When you enter most locations, you will find one or two characters, but you can add more characters to the scene. If you have other Toca Boca apps, you will have fun recognising some of the characters you have met in previous apps.
  • Explore – Open cupboards and fridges to see what is inside: you can take things out and put them away. Characters can eat and drink any of the food, and carry or wear any if the items you find.  Change the lighting by switching lights on or off, or opening curtains and blinds.

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Adobe Voice

2 Jun

Adobe Voice is an app I haven’t used yet, but I can see it will be a fantastic tool for creating multimedia presentations and would be great in the school environment. Make sure you check out Leo’s first go at presenting with Adobe Voice. I’m really impressed with his efforts.

Ant's ICT


I recently played with Adobe Voice and then showed it to my Leo, who has ASD and is a year 4 pupil.

Leo used it as a tool to complete his homework on Greek myths. Together we have played with a range of digital story telling tools both app and PC based, but I am taken aback by the features of Voice. It integrates picture, voice and clip art easily to make simple narrated stories.

Leo is someone who struggles with writing and his best work is when he creates on-screen. Though for him to be truly independent he needs something that will allow him to create and build very simply through easily learned processes. Is it too much to ask that the output looks good too?

This is where Voice ticks all the boxes.

And with all this it also outputs a portable and embeddable format, it doesn’t just…

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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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My First App – Vol. 1 Vehicles

4 Mar

My First App Vol 1 VehiclesPuzzles are an important part of early learning.  They help children develop spacial awareness, problem-solving skills and more.  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of puzzle apps in the AppStore, so it can be difficult to choose one.  My First App – Vol. 1 Vehicles  is a great puzzle app from appp media, the people behind Professor Kim – What’s Missing Here.  MFA Vehicles offers some traditional puzzles but with some great twists that make it supportive and high interest for a range of ability levels.  Thanks to Kristin Heitmann of appp media for providing me with this app for the review.

Features

  • Attractive collage-style graphics – 16 different illustrations are used, although there are only 8 used per activity.
  • Three activities:  Puzzle, Matching Halves and Tilt Game.
  • Background music (Here we go ’round the mulberry bush) can be turned off.
  • Settings for children of different ability levels.

Activities

My First App Vol 1 Vehicles - puzzle activity

Puzzle

There are 8 different vehicle images to choose from, and you can use the settings to set the difficulty level from 2, 4, 6 or 9 puzzle pieces. For extra difficulty, you can select the rotation option that flicks some pieces around.  Use two fingers to rotate.  Children see the complete picture before it is broken into squares.  Drag and drop the pieces to the correct spot to complete the puzzle.

mfahalves

Match halves

This activity uses the same 8 images as the puzzle activity.  Two mis-matched vehicle halves appear on the screen.  scroll either half up or down until you find two halves that match.  Each vehicle has a different colour as a background, and this can help with the matches.

MFAtilt

Tilt ball game

This is a favourite activity in my home at the moment.  The 8 images used in this game are different to those used in the other two activities, and each has three “holes.”  Tilt your device to guide the ball into one of three holes in the picture.  When the ball enters the hole, it triggers an animation and the hole disappears.  The activity is complete once the ball has been guided to the three holes.

The latest update added the option to drag the ball to the hole, which will be helpful for those who find the tilting activity too difficult, for example very young children, or children with fine motor difficulties.

This YouTube video by appp media gives a great overview of the app.  You can see each of the games, plus the puzzle settings in action.

Things I love about this app

  • Simple operation – The layout of the app is clear, with simple controls that are easy to master.
  • No language barriers – there are no written or verbal instructions, making it suitable for children of any nationality and for children with a hearing impairment.
  • No external links, in-app purchases or advertising.  There is a web address for appp media that you can read via a subtle information button, but it is not a live link.
  • Supportive features – the different difficulty levels, the coloured backgrounds, and the drag option in the tilt game all allow this game to be used by children with a variety of physical and intellectual abilities.  It will be well suited to special ed environments as well as being great for families with children of different ages and abilities.
  • Graphics – I love the collage-style graphics. Perhaps I’m biased as I’m a keen scrapbooker, stamper and card-maker myself, but there is something entirely gorgeous about these illustrations.

Wish List

I really can’t think of anything I’d add to this app, except perhaps some more vehicles.  There are enough to keep any child happy, but you can never have too much of a good thing 🙂  The name of the app gives you a clue that there is at least one more volume in the planning.  I’d love to see the same activities done with animals. My children would have a lot of fun making up funny animal names in the matching halves games (e.g. Pig + Cow = POW).  I’d also like to see volumes with themes such as household items or rooms, healthy food, and toys.

Verdict

appp media has once again produced a great early concepts app that offers more features than most apps. My First App – vol. 1 Vehicles is bright, fun and great value.  I look forward to Volume 2.

Publisher:  Appp Media
Price:  $1.99
Universal

My First App - Vol. 1 Vehicles - appp media

2012 in review

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 13,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

10 Dec

I was going to highlight a couple of these apps myself, but Carol from OT’s with Apps has done the job for me.

OT's with Apps & Technology

It soon will be here, Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and what apps might help with the celebration and learning?

Fun Educational Apps has numerous apps listed for the holidays. Here are some apps that appear appropriate for occupational therapy and educational interventions :

Kids Christmas Pattern Game iconKid’s Christmas Pattern Game (free) for iPhone and iPad provides a little season variation to a skill game of patterning. Rated for 4 year olds and up, this seasonal app will continue to provide practice with sequencing.

Kids Christmas Pattern game pic1

Bo's Matching Christmas iconBo’s Matching Game – (Free) for iPhone and iPad provides early learners with practice with matching 6, 12 or 20 cards. Described as appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers, special needs students of with primary skill levels may enjoy this seasonal matching game. Images are sketches rather than real items.

Bo's Matching Christmas pic1

Christmas Joy Puzzle icon Christmas Joy Puzzles – (free) for iPhone and iPad provides 4 different scenes with 20 different puzzles to assemble for preschool aged children.

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17 Sep

Several of my readers have students with speech issues. This Post by The Speech Guy lists some apps, both paid and free, that might be helpful. Check with your SLP if you are wondering if these will work for your child.

The Speech Guy

Voice Recognition & Activation Apps for Speech Therapy

Voice recognition and activation have been slowly made it into the main stream with advancements like Siri, S Voice, or even Dragon Naturally Speaking. These features are also making their way into apps and I am not talking about apps like Talking Tom, Talking Ben, or Talking Ava as these are simple record and say apps. These record and say apps are useful especially with children that are reluctant to vocalize or just too stubborn. What I am talking about is using your voice, words, or phrases to activate the app or cause something on the screen to happen in response to a “recognized” word or sound. Some of these apps are voice activation apps and some are voice recognition apps.

Tiga Talk Camp Fire Adventure- $4.99

This app, based around characters of a Canadian TV show, appears to be a much…

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Tell Time by StudyPad

15 Aug

If your child is learning to tell the time and need, you might like to take a look at Tell Time by StudyPad. Unlike many other Apps that just ask questions, Tell Time has some features that support learners, including students with special needs.

Features

8 modules in the App  focus on the following topics:

  • Parts of the clock. – Identify the minute hand, hour hand, numbers on an analogue clock
  • Time in hours
  • Time in half hours
  • Time in quarter-hours
  • Time in 5 minute intervals
  • Time to the minute
  • AM and PM
  • Elapsed Time.

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