Tag Archives: iPad

We Discover Wildlife: Forest Quest – An inclusive family game from Kindermatica

19 Jun

Forest Quest app iconBrand new in the iTunes store this week is the second app in Kindermatica’s board game series.  My family love the Safari Quest game, the first in the series, so we were very excited to try We Discover Wildlife: Forest Quest.

Playing the Game

Like the Safari Quest game, Forest Quest is played just like a regular board games (although without the risk of losing dice, counters and cards.) You spin the dice then your counter moves the along the path.  You may land on a question, a surprise, a penalty, take short cut, or take a photo of some wildlife.  Successfully answering a question wins the player tools that may help them avoid penalties or take shortcuts elsewhere in the game.  The object of the game is to collect photos of seven different animals as you move around the board, then be the first to reach the end of the game. If you pass animals without taking a photo, don’t worry as there are opportunities to collect these photos later in the game.

Players need to select from 2, 3 or 4 players.  You can then set the icon for each player (male, female or computer), a colour, and the difficulty level for the quiz questions (easy, medium, hard). This means that your littlest family members can play on an equal setting with their older siblings or parents.  We have played with the computer and found that it misses the odd question just like a “real” player might.  We found the questions to be just the right challenge for each level.  There is no time limit for answering questions, and this allows players to think about and discuss their answers before committing.  There are some unfamiliar plants and animals (at least for we Aussies – but I’d imagine there are some surprises for everyone) and it might be handy to keep a pencil and paper close to hand to jot down things you might want to research later.  Trust me: your children will want to find out more.

The board has a wonderful 3D effect, so it feels like you are walking through the forest with your player. Each player sees the board from their own perspective, and so the little search icon in the lower right corner will give you a birds-eye view of the board any time you wish to see where everyone is on the board.  When taking photos, you can even move your photo shot around to find the best view.

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Features

  • Customising – Adjusting levels to cater for different ability levels makes this game ideal for families with children of different ages, and an inclusive game to play in a classroom where some children may have disabilities or learning difficulties.
  • Artwork – The 3D graphics are wonderful and the game interface continues the theme with wooden textures on the questions and game controls.  Even the instruction page has that “aged map” look to it.  As mentioned above, the 3D graphics make it feel like you are walking through the forest with your player pieces.
  • Two to Four players – You can play against the computer or against up to 3 other players.
  • Educational Content – The game is a bit of “education by stealth.” By this I mean that you can learn a lot while playing the game, but it is so much fun that kids may not pick up that it is an educational app.
  • Instructions – Tap the information icon on the main page, or access via the settings button in the top right corner at any time for a comprehensive guide to playing the game.
  • Game continuance – If you close the app before you finish a game, you have the option of completing that game the next time you open the app, or you can start a new game.
  • Multiple language support – The game supports speakers of Russian, English, German and Swedish.
  • Safety – Kindermatica is a member of Moms with Apps, so you know what is inside your app, or rather, what is NOT inside your app. There is no collection of personal information, no 3rd party apps, no in-app purchases, and any links for more information are hidden behind parental locks.

Wish List

I’d love some fact sheets or information links about the different flora and fauna covered in the questions.  I also want more games in the series, but I know for a fact that there are others in the pipeline.

Verdict

Families and schools will love these inclusive games that allow children to learn about Science and Nature in a fun way. Aimed at children aged 6-8, it is suitable for all ages and ability levels.   The huge number of questions (over 350) cover a range of plants and animals of the forest, and  children will be motivated to find out more away from the game.  I would imagine teachers who are looking at different ecosystems will find Forest Quest (and other games in the series) to be a great resource.  Those of you planning long holiday car trips might like to install this and Safari Quest on your iPads for children to play while they travel as it works brilliantly as a pass-and-play game.


Publisher: Kindermatica
Universal. Requires iOS 6.0 or above.
Price $3.79

Apps for Money Skills Part 2: iCan Count Money – international apps from Ahmed Tawakol

26 May

Today I’m reviewing iCAN Count Money by Ahmed Tawakol. Like yesterday’s app, this one has different iPad and iPhone versions for different countries, and currently you can get the app for Canada (iPhone only), New Zealand, Australia, the USA and Europe (Euro.  The one I have on my iPad is the Australian version, so the screen shots I am using come from that, but the activities are for each international version, the only difference being the currency used in the activities.

Activities

There are three activities in the iPhone version of the app:

  • I Know How To Pay! – Children select the exact change to pay for an item.
  • I Know How Much To Get Back! – Give the correct change for an item.
  • I Can Catch The Coins! – This is a coin recognition game.  Children are asked to find a number of a particular coin.  Coins fly across the screen, flipping from time to time so that children can see front and back of the coins.
  • Bonus activity – Both versions include a Money calculator which could be a useful aid for those learning to add their currency.

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An extra three activities are included with the iPad version. Continue reading

Duckie Deck Homemade Orchestra

19 May

duckie deck homemade orchestra app iconMy children all loved banging on pots and pans and making noise with all sorts of common household things. Duckie Deck Homemade Orchestra brings this experience to mobile devices in a way that is fun for children and easy on the ears of those around them.  Helping me test the app was Mr 3, a proficient pots and pans player who has recently taken up playing the spoons.

Playing the Game

The two game modes let children play with a virtual orchestra, or with individual instruments.

Orchestra Mode

Eight “instruments” appear on the screen. As the child taps each one, the object animates and begins to play. The lovely thing is that all the objects will play with rhythms and melodies that complement each other, so any combination will be harmonious. A button in the corner will see a different combination of instruments selected. Mr 3 found it very easy to distinguish between instruments that were playing and those that were not, and he had a lot of fun experimenting with different combinations.

Individual instrument

In this mode you can choose an instrument then play with it, making your own rhythms and melodies. There are twenty different items to play with. These include toys, kitchen items, stationery and other items found around the house. It is great to see a few body parts included: lips whistle, fingers click, a foot taps, and hands clap.  Each instrument is played by either tapping on the instrument or screen, or dragging the instrument around to shake or vibrate.  You can see some of the instruments in action in Duckie Deck’s YouTube trailer below.

Things We Love:

  • The app is easy to use with intuitive controls. Mr 3 was able to play without needing any help from me and was quickly able to turn the instruments on and off as he wished.
  • The game spills over into real life and can encourage children to be creative away from the iPad.
  • There is a great variety of instruments, and we can find all of them in our house. Some of these you can grab and use straight away, such as pots and pans or keys.  Others require a bit of assembly, such as the glass xylophone with different water levels.  I’d never thought of making a xylophone from an egg carton and spanners, but we are going to give it a shot.  Some instruments are your own body parts.
  • The graphics are colourful and fun, with a clear layout that makes it easy to use for little fingers.  Mr 3 found the animations amusing too.
  • Unlike our real life homemade orchestras, this virtual one sounds great!  All the rhythms and melodies compliment each other. Also, unlike our real life homemade orchestra, you can control the volume on this one.

Verdict

Duckie Deck Homemade Orchestra is a great creativity app that will amuse children for ages as they experiment with with endless combinations of instruments.  The instruments selected are easily found in real life and children will be inspired to create their own real life instruments that will possibly not be as melodic, but will be great fun.

Developer: Duckie Deck
Universal – Requires iOS 6.0 and above
Price: $3.79 (Aus)

We Discover Africa: Safari Quest – an iOS board game for the whole family

13 May

safari iconWe Discover Africa: Safari Quest from Kindermatica is brand new in the iTunes store today.  The game combines elements of the traditional board game with an educational quiz that is suitable for all ages from preschool to adult.

The opening screen has an information button where you can see the rules of the game and find out what all the different icons on the board mean.  (They are fairly self-explanatory, but it is great to have a handy reference.)  You can also select your language from English, Russian, German, Spanish and Serbian.  You can also access this information at any time via the settings icon that appears in the top right of the screen.

How to Play

The game is played in much the same way as most board games:  spin the the dice and move your counter.  Your token moves forward to land on all sorts of surprises.  Along the way you collect special tools, answer questions, and take photos. There are also some shortcuts, obstacles and a few other surprises.  The winner of the game is the first to collect seven different animal photos and then reach the finish line.

Players need to select from 2, 3 or 4 players.  You can then set the icon for each player (male, female or computer) and the difficulty level for the quiz questions (easy, medium, hard).  Sample questions for each level are included in the slideshow below.  We found the questions to be interesting and challenging (at our various levels) and we also learned some interesting facts about the animals in the game.

Each player sees the board from their own perspective, and so the little search icon in the lower right corner will give you a birds-eye view of the board any time you wish to see where everyone is on the board.

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What I Love

Customising – I love that you can customise this game so that your younger players can play against older players on a level playing field.

Artwork – The graphics are beautiful and have a real African feel.  Everything from the Lion and Rhinoceros that greet you on the main screen to the wooden “stepping stones” takes you straight to Africa.

Wish List

Reference Materials – we would love to be able to read some information about each of the animals either before playing the game or after.  Some of the questions were really tricky, which made them interesting, and my children wanted to find out more.  I believe this feature is being considered

Verdict

This is a game that allows children (and adults) of different ages and ability levels to play on an equal playing field. It is a great way to learn about African animals and even more important, a wonderful game for some family “together time.” There are more than enough twists, turns and surprises to keep all the family interested and entertained. I’m also keeping this one handy as a pass and play game for long car trips, as I can guarantee my children won’t lose pieces as they pass it around our car.  The format of this game would be suitable for all kinds of subjects, so I hope to see more from the same developer.  Thanks to the developer for allowing me to  preview the game for this review.

Developer:  Kindermatica
Universal.  Requires iOS 6.0 and above
Price: $4.99 (Aus)

Duckie Deck Cleans Up – Apps to help kids learn about hygiene

26 Nov

Duckie Deck specialises in apps for the very young that combine education and fun.  This week I’m reviewing several of their apps over a series of posts.  The two apps I’m reviewing today deal with personal hygiene skills involved with brushing teeth and going to the toilet.

ddggDuckie Deck Gotta Go

Features: Gotta Go  takes children through the process of using the toilet. First they feed a friendly monster assorted foods. After a short time, the monster stops eating. Tap the nappy (diaper) to take it off. Our little friend jumps on to the toilet with a big grin. Tap his tummy and he will grunt as a rather colourful deposit drops into the transparent toilet below. Toilet paper appears and you tap and drag it through to help the monster wipe. Pull the chain to flush and then guide what must be the cutest poo ever through a simple pipe maze, then finish with a high 5 to your monster friend. (Honestly, it is difficult to describe this app without laughing, and Mr 3 is enjoying it very much.)

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Things We Love: The monster loves going to the toilet. He has a great attitude and is really proud of himself, so hopefully this attitude might rub off on some of our more reluctant toilet-trainees. Duckie Deck Gotta Go is a great way of reinforcing the steps being taught in toilet training and it provides good opportunities for discussion. It does not cover the hand washing aspect, which would have been great, but since the hand washing has always been the easiest part of the process, I don’t have a problem with its not being included (although maybe they should wash before the High 5?).  Lastly, you have to love the app icon:  blue happy poo anyone?
Verdict: If you have a little person who is learning to use the toilet or potty, this app might be a great one for introducing the concept in a fun, non-threatening way.

Duckie Deck Gotta Go - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $3.79
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Hygiene Essentials Bundle (3 apps for $4.99)

ddwtDuckie Deck With Teeth

Features:  Duckie Deck With Teeth is very simple to use: tap on a mouth to add teeth (that come in different shapes, then feed different foods to the mouth. As the food is eaten, the teeth become progressively dirtier. At any time you can grab the toothbrush and clean the teeth. The activity then starts again.

What we Love: Most of the food is very healthy, such as vegetables, fruit and a salad sandwich;  the one “sometimes food” is a biscuit (cookie). The toothbrush is available at any time, and children have to spend a bit of time cleaning the teeth.  The teeth get really dirty in a kind of gross way, which adds to the appeal.  Brushing those teeth and making them clean gives Mr 3 a sense of satisfaction.  If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can hold it up in front of your face and pretend it is your mouth (which is hilarious for small fry, I can assure you.)

Verdict: Duckie Deck With Teeth is a great app for exploring the healthy habit of teeth cleaning. Playing this activity with your child can help them learn vocabulary involved, and gives an opportunity to discuss why we need to clean up our teeth, and how long we need to brush our teeth for before we are finished.

Duckie Deck With Teeth - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $2.49
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Hygiene Essentials Bundle (3 apps for $4.99)

Duckie Deck Hungry Clipper (Not reviewed)

Duckie Deck has a third hygiene app, Duckie Deck Hungry Clipper, that deals with hand hygiene, encouraging children to keep nails trim and tidy with the hungry nail clipper.  I don’t have that app to review, but here is a link to the YouTube trailer.

Duckie Deck Hungry Clipper - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $3.79
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Hygiene Essentials Bundle (3 apps for $4.99)

Duckie Deck Creativity Apps – Bird Houses, Trash Toys and Sandwich Chef

24 Nov Duckie Deck Bird Houses

Duckie Deck has a range of entertaining educational  apps for children aged 2-5. I’ve owned most of them for a while and have put them through their paces with my children, and I’ve been meaning to write about them for at least a year.  Initially I was going to review the lot in one hit, but I’m going to break it into several posts over a few days. Today I’m starting with some of their creativity apps, including their latest app, Duckie Deck Bird Houses.  Look for reviews of other of their apps in coming days.

 

Duckie Deck Bird Houses App IconDuckie Deck Bird Houses

Features:  Create the bird house of your dreams.  Select a tree to build on, choose from a variety of house styles and materials, then decorate with paint and accessories before your little birdie moves in.

What we Love: The variety of design options means that children can create a different house every time. The graphics are delightful, with lots of different colours and textures and a real textured “collage” feel.  There are some quirky accessories to add to the house that add opportunities for discussion and story making.

Verdict: The app is really easy to use, with lots of variety and fun little quirks that will make Duckie Deck Bird Houses very popular with young children.

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Duckie Deck Bird Houses - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – Requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $2.49

 

Duckie Deck Trash Toys app iconDuckie Deck Trash Toys

Features: Children make toys out of virtual recyclables, such as containers, bags, CDs and more. Choose an item, paint it, then add more recyclables to create facial features and body parts.
What we Love: Unlike similar apps where two fingers are used to change orientation of an object or to resize, Duckie Deck Trash Toys uses one finger only. Tap and hold in the middle of an item to move it, then tap on an edge and drag to rotate. This is so much easier for Mr 3 to handle than similar apps. There are no resizing options, but this didn’t seem to worry Mr 3.Duckie Deck trash toys creation
Verdict: This is a great creativity app for young children who haven’t mastered the art of multi-touch commands. I can think of at least one similar app with a few more bells and whistles, but that one is a little more sophisticated and is better suited to slightly older children. Duckie Deck Trash Toys certainly nails the needs of the very young user and might also be fun for older children with special needs. Images of your creations can be saved and used in other apps (such as story making apps) or printed. Sometimes playing with this app might lead to some real-life creativity with the contents of your household recycle bin.

Duckie Deck Trash Toys - Duckie Deck Development

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Price: $3.79
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Inspirations for Real World Play Bundle (4 apps for $7.49)

 

Duckie Deck Sandwich ChefDuckie Deck Sandwich Chef

Features: Children pick a novelty sandwich (from ten options) then recreate the sandwich step by step. These are no ordinary sandwiches: children might create a clock, whale, boat, or clown sandwich, to name a few. They spread the butter on the bread then create the sandwich using healthy foods.

Sandwich chef choices

Lots of sandwich designs to choose from

What we Love: Each ingredient is presented as it is required, and targets appear on the sandwich to guide the child to correct placement. This is great for very young children as it helps to avoid confusion. Children don’t have to be super-accurate with placement either, as the items “snap” into place when they are near the target.
Verdict. The young children I’ve shown Duckie Deck Trash Toys to all love it. Mr 3 would be a little happier if there was a train option (although there is a clock and a car, so he is happy). We think it might be fun to have a free-play option where you get to design your own sandwich, but that might be better in a separate app, perhaps in a similar format to Duckie Deck Trash Toys. It is great that kids get to see all the different healthy food options, but we’d love to hear some of the names spoken aloud. Still, I see that as my job as I supervise Mr 3 as he plays. Not having any speech means that the app is suitable for all languages.

Universal – requires iOS 5.0 or higher
Duckie Deck Sandwich Chef  - Duckie Deck DevelopmentPrice: $2.49
This app is also available as part of the Ultimate Playtime Bundle (10 Duckie Deck apps for $16.99) and the Inspirations for Real World Play Bundle (4 apps for $7.49)

9 Letters

20 Nov

9 Letters App iconI am a big fan of word puzzles and usually have one or two on my iPad to do in those times where I’m doing that universal Mum thing:  waiting for my children to finish school or whatever activity they are doing.  I love word games and puzzles because they help keep my brain active, and my favourite are anagram games, particularly the 9 letter puzzles, so I was very excited to hear PKCLsoft was developing 9 Letters, and even more delighted when I was given a copy to review.  PKCLsoft is an independent Australian developer and a member of MOMs with apps.

 

How It Works

9 Letters is exactly what the name suggests: a game with 9 letters that you use to make as many words as you can.  The rules are simple:

  • Each letter can only be used once (although if the same letter appears more than once, you can use it as many times as it appears)
  • Words must be a minimum of 3 letters long.
  • Longer words score more points

In the top left of the screen is a pop out table with the total number of words you have found, plus a table indicating how many words of each length can be found.  In the example below, for instance, I have found 14 of 19 three-letter words, 3 of 9 six-letter words, and neither of the single eight or nine letter words.  You can tap on the table to hide or reveal it.  A running score is kept as you play.

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Options

There are several options to make the game easier, harder or more accessible, which can be turned on or off in settings.  These include:

  • Target mode – the central letter must be used in every word (usually a standard rule in similar games but optional here).  When target mode is on, the central letter is darkened.
  • Hint every ten words
  • Highlight valid words (a word appears green if it is valid)
  • automatic detection of ‘s’ endings (if you type a word and there is an available s to pluralise it, both words will be added to the list.)
  • apply time limit for each word
  • Sound effects and music can be turned on or off.
  • An alternative font is available
  • Display lower case letters

You can see how the game works in this YouTube video.


Apart from the free hints every 10 words, prompts occasionally appear to offer you the chance to buy a 7 letter word or a hint via your iTunes account.  I haven’t bothered with these but enthusiasts may.  Of course, your iTunes password is required to make a purchase, and you can prevent unauthorised in-App purchases (IAPs) but turning this option off in your device settings.

Things I love

The game is as fast or as slow as you want – If you turn the timer off, you can sit with a word as long as you like. Personally, I like the challenge of working against a timer, and I usually am playing during a quick break so that works better for me.

The huge variety of 9 letter words – I have several of these games and I enjoy them all, but for most I keep coming across the same letter combos all the time.   I’ve played 9 Letters for nearly a fortnight at every available opportunity (because I love to be thorough when putting apps through their paces for reviews….. and because it is addictive!) and not once have I come across a repeated word.

New vocabulary – While I recognise most of the 9 letter word solutions, some of the words are unfamiliar to me. I’m enjoying learning new words such as  empyreans and multiplet.  I’m pleased to hear that a future update will allow you to get definitions of words.  Lots of smaller words are unfamiliar, so if you put together what you think are nonsense words, sometimes you come up with a winner.

Handoff Feature – 9 Letters supports Handoff, Apple’s new continuity feature, so you can start a game on your iPhone but then transfer the same game to your iPad later.  You can see how it work’s in PKCLsoft’s demo YouTube video below.

 

Wish List

Definitions – This one is already in the pipeline, and I can’t wait to be able to link quickly to definitions of words.  I’m hoping this will not only apply to the larger words but some of the smaller words too.

Colour choices – The colour scheme is high contrast which is great, but I’d love the option to change it to my favourite colour – blue.  Not a biggie, but it would be nice.

Difficulty options – I’d love to be able to make the game harder (or not) by having an option to have a 4-letter minimum word length.  The 3-letter minimum is great, as most other games start at 4, but it would be fun.  Also, perhaps the option to reject the plural s, so that book would count, but books wouldn’t, (unless the central letter was an s).

Verdict

I love this game and it has become my “go-to” game when I’m having a break.  I’m enjoying the variety of words, the challenge level and learning new words.  Being able to turn off the target letters and time limits will make the game a little more user-friendly for some who might like to play word games but find most a bit difficult.  Scrabble and Boggle lovers will be sure to love it.

Secret Santa season is coming up and if you have a friend of family member who is in to word games, you could gift them a copy and I’m sure it would be much appreciated.  9 Letters is only in its first version and it is already wonderful, so I look forward to the future updates.
9 Letters - pkclSoft
Publisher: pkclSoft
Price:  $1.29 (Australia – 99 cents USA) until 26th November 2014, then $2.49.
iPad and iPhone (requires iOS 7.0 or later)

 

 

Appp Media’s New Math app: Understanding Math – Times Tables

13 Nov

understanding mathappp media have just released a new Mathematics app for multiplication and division, and I was fortunate to be given a copy to review.  The full name of the app is Understanding Math – Times Tables: Learn to fluently multiply and divide within 100, but that is a bit of a mouthful so I’m sure you won’t mind if I abbreviate it to Understanding Math – Times Tables for this review.

I have literally hundreds of Mathematic apps, and most of the multiplication and division apps are drill and practice, which is great for developing speed and accuracy, but Understanding Math: Times Tables offers something new.  The drill and practice element is there, but it is the understanding part that is a new and welcome feature.   The activities in Understanding Math – Times Tables are based  on Jerome Bruner’s  Three Modes of Representation learning theory and they explore the concepts of division and multiplication using different visual representations.

Each activity has been linked to the Common Core Standards for Mathematics.

Continue reading

Where are my Apps? – Backing up alternative to iCloud

4 Sep

I know many of my readers use iCloud to backup their devices.  This is great and convenient for lots of reasons, but there are limitations when it comes to your iTunes purchases.  Recently a friend of mine accidentally deleted Snappycam from her children’s device but then found she could not reinstall it as it was no longer in the App Store.  Since then I’ve received a few enquiries about this kind of thing, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts.

Why isn’t my app in the App Store?

Apple can remove apps from the App Store at any time.  In Snappycam’s case, Apple bought the company (and hopefully will incorporate this in a future iOS) but there are other reasons apps disappear, including (but not limited to):

  • Copyright disputes with other developers
  • To comply with legal rulings
  • Lack of compatibility to the latest iOS
  • Violation of Apple’s contracts
  • The developer company has ceased trading
  • The app is really, really offensive (and no, I won’t give examples, but I’m pretty sure Google can show you some)
  • The developer company no longer wishes to support that app (for various reasons)

But I OWN that app!

When it comes to iTunes, once you purchase an app it is yours for life…. in theory.  In reality, you can only download it/reinstall it while it is still available in the store.  iCloud will back up your app data (e.g. documents you make with the apps) and your purchase history, but when it comes to apps, you can only download your apps AS LONG AS THEY ARE IN THE APP STORE.  Once removed, this form of backup is no longer available.

So what to do?

The best insurance is to download the apps to a computer or hard drive.  Once you have downloaded your apps, even if they disappear from the store, you can connect your device to the computer and reinstall them.  There are two things you can do.

  • Back up your device to your computer

I always back up my device and iTunes purchases to my computer, which in turn backs up on an external drive.  You can also back up to iCloud, but I’d still recommend connecting to your computer regularly.  If you have bandwidth and data issues, it is worth mentioning that backing up this way is possible without WiFi/internet access, so could be more economical for some.

  • Automatically back up your app purchases on your computer. (Your device doesn’t need to be connected for this.)
    1. Open iTunes on your computer and select iTunes> Preferences> Store>
    2. Check Always check for available downloads
    3. Then, under Automatic Downloads, check Apps (and Music, if you’d also like to back up your music purchases.)
    4. With these options set, open iTunes on your computer (while connected to the internet) regularly, and it will automatically download any purchases.

Limitations

Using these strategies has meant I’ve been able to hold on to some great apps that are no longer available.  But there are limitations.  Once an app has been pulled from the App Store, there will be no more support and no more updates.  When Apple releases a new iOS, for example, your old apps may no longer be compatible.  This won’t be a problem if you have an older device, such as the original iPad, but it is something to keep in mind if your device is newer.

Extra insurance

An external hard drive dedicated to backing up your computer is a great investment.  If you back up regularly, your data will be safe even you have a major computer disaster.  Documents and apps aside, just think of all the media (particularly personal photos and videos) we have stored on our computers these days, and imagine what would happen if your computer drive had a break down.  Backing up is a safety measure that we should all get in the habit of doing.  (As extra insurance, about once a year I copy our family photos and videos on to DVDs or flash drives and give them to the grandparents, so they can enjoy them and we’ll always have an offsite backup if a really big disaster strikes).   There are lots of different drives on the market with lots of different sizes  price points, so talk to your local suppliers and find one (or several) that work for you.

 

 

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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