Periodic Game by Rene Basurto Quijada

Periodic Game by Rene Basurto Quijada is the first chemistry app we have reviewed.

The game consists of placing the elements into the correct place on the periodic table. Each round is a type of element or subgroup of elements. In the easier levels you can take your time to place the elements on the correct spots and it is easy to spot the missing tiles on the periodic table (they are blank). As you progress, the element tiles start to self destruct and the periodic table has all the tiles missing. The game play is addictive. For children or adults that need to learn the elements’ positions, this is a great game.

I did have some minor issues with the app. On smaller screens it is very hard to see the tiles (at least for these old eyes). It would be great if the app would zoom on the levels where you don’t need to see the entire periodic table. Also on my device unless I closed the app, other games were not able to play music.

I tested it on my iPhone at the request of the publisher. Available only on the Apple iOS for free; it does contain an in-app store (for the levels that are not included for free). No Android version was found.

Math Slicer Free by Tumbstorm

Math Slicer Free by Tumbstorm is a fruit ninja clone with a math educational twist. In this version you use your fingers to cut the numbers that match the answers to equations displayed in the background. By playing the game you win eggs that you can use to unlock other levels, slices and even power ups. You can also buy more eggs if you don’t have enough for the items you want. The music, sound effects and graphics are ok. The animation when you slice a piece of fruit is very good.

Overall the concept is great. Taking a familiar and popular game and making it into an education game is a great idea. I really tried to love the game but I struggled with what star rating to give it. First on the Kindle Fire that I tested it on, the slicing of the numbers is awkward. After a few minutes of playing, I got the hang of it (smaller children might get frustrated). I didn’t have the same issue with the Google Play version. Also for some reason the Amazon Kindle version is not recognized by Amazon Free Time as a valid educational app.

Although the issue above is annoying, my biggest issue is with the egg in-app store. Small children might end up buying eggs for real money. There is no mechanism to stop small children from buying eggs. The paid version removes the ad banner but retains the in-app store.

Available in the Amazon App (Kindle Fire), the Apple App and Google Play store. I tested the Free version (the paid version does not have ads but still has an in-app store) on my Kindle Fire HD+ and a recent Android phone.

Dismonster by Dabadugames

Dismonster places your child behind the eyes of an investigator. The first person game has you walking around rooms and finding scary shadows. The shadows disappear (explode) when you cover the shadow with the item or items that produced the shadow (as in a jig-saw-puzzle). At first these shadows are made of one object, but quickly turn into scarier shadows that consist of more than one object.

The game play, graphics, music and sounds are great. It should be mentioned that part of the game play consist of rotating the objects to match part of the shadow outline. This might be to difficult for smaller kids.

Overall a great game. My only wish is that it had an easy mode where smaller children did not have to rotate the items.

Dadadugames is very kid friendly game. No ads, no in app store and follows the very strict MomsWithApps standard. The app will be available on November 18. I reviewed the pre-release version on my iPhone.

 

nester by Mindquake

nester by Mindquake is an Android kids’ launcher. I remember a few year ago, when I was looking for a kids’ launcher, it seemed that I had very few choices. I downloaded a few and most didn’t work. Oh how things have changed in a few year. The Play store is littered with kids’ launchers. I am actually surprised that this is the first kid’s launcher that has been reviewed on this site.

Although we have not reviewed any other kids’ launcher, I really liked this one. I am not sure what others have and do not have, but nester seems to do the basics very well. It also includes very useful extras. For example not only can you set a timer (for how long the child can use the device), but you can also have a period of cool down. Great for children that have a problem with transitions.

As far as what you would expect of a kids’ launcher, it is all here. You are able to select the apps that are available through the launcher and as mentioned above set a time limit on device play. The parent lock is also sufficiently enough to keep most children from accidentally disabaling the launcher.

My only gripe is that for whatever reason a few options and features are not available unless you are logged into google or Facebook. Other than that it is a beautiful launcher with all the features you would expect and some that are unique and very useful.

 

The app doesn’t have any in app store or ads. Available on Google Play for free.

Duh! Brazil by duhbooks

I always find it amazing the quality of e-books available at very affordable prices. Duh! Brazil by duhbooks is no exception. Pages filled with great information about Brazil. About its geography, people, fauna, history, and so much more. I loved the illustrations, the photos, and the interactive elements.

As far as dislike. In our house we frown on the use of the word “crazy”. Unfortunately this book uses it in the first page to discuss the enthusiasm of soccer fans. So many other words could have been used to convey this, it is unfortunate that “crazy” was used (but does offer a teaching moment).

The book is only available in the Apple store. I challenge you to find a book in your local or chain bookstore with this much content and information for $3.99, much less at the current price of free.

Mega LopArt by LopLop inc.

Mega LopArt by LopLap is a drawing tool where all the objects you draw can be animated. For example you can change the object by shrinking and growing, spinning, squeezing and expanding and/or fading and unfading.

The app has the usual tools that you expect from a drawing tool. An easy to use color palate, a tool selection bar, ability to share your creations.

Overall not a bad app, but I do have one gripe. I wish the app had some non-abstract drawing tools. They do have another app that does (LopArt Life) and that for the targeted age group (6+) this would not be a problem. The app should spur hours and hours of creativity. I actually bought an extra copy (the copy for the review was provided for free) for my personal iPad. I would also want to mention that on the iPad 2 that I used for testing, the app did crash a couple of times during testing. Hopefully that could be ironed out in the next version.

The app is available in the Apple App Store. I reviewed it on a iPad. No Android version exits.

MarcoPolo Ocean by MarcoPolo Learning, Inc.

Marco Polo Ocean by MarcoPolo Learning is an under water exploring app. The app is extremely well thought out and opened ended.

The first scene allows you to explore the ocean by both adjusting how far or close to the coast you are as well as how deep you are. Not only does the fauna and flora change by moving around in this scene but also the slide out menus change. There are also multiple interactive elements if you touch around.

Two menus are visible. One displays either the vehicle used to explore a particular ecosystem or the ecosystem. I selected only one, and it brought me to a scene where I had to fit in all the missing spaces (like a puzzle).

The other menu shows you living organism of the particular region you are now in. You can drag these organism out and add them to the world. You can also feed them.

The illustrations, animations, and the sound effects are all great. A very good app if your kids are learning about the diverse life that lives in the ocean, or you just want to expose them to a high quality entertaining and educational game.

The app is available in the Apple App Store. I couldn’t find an Android version. It is now on sale for 33% off (depending on the country). I received a free copy provided by the publisher.

eMotion Stories by GO UFO Ltd

eMotion Stories by GO UFO Ltd is a collection of interactive stories for deaf and hard of hearing children. The app and the first story are free. The app features an in-app store to buy other stories.

The stories are beautiful illustrated. As with most interactive books, the words are highlighted as they are read. Unlike all the story books that we have reviewed, in the lower left hand corner the words are signed by a real human ASL narrator. Some words in the story are under-lined. Clicking on these words makes the narrator show you how to sign those particular words. Like many brilliant concepts that look easy and obvious, I wonder why I didn’t come up with this idea first. You can even switch the words of the story to ASL gloss. The app also has a word dictionary where you can select words to be signed.

Overall a great concept and a great app. I believe 3 stories are currently available. And I hope that the app gets the recognition and sales it needs to continue to keep adding stories to the app shelves.

I reviewed the app and the free book on my iPad as prompted by the publisher. It is available in the Apple App Store. I couldn’t find an Android version.

Skeleton Dance by Busy Brain Media

Skeleton Dance by Busy Brain Media is a science app. The app has beautiful clay-animation, introduces children to anatomy, a puzzle game (placing the bones on the empty skeleton shape), and an activity where you can get more information about each bone.

So now lets go on a related tangent: at Smart Kids’ Apps the difference between an app 4.0, 4.5 or 5 is mostly subjective. Yes we have written rules where an app will get automatic deductions based on what use to be common annoyances, but most apps we review don’t have those problems. When we started Smart Kids’ Apps we hardly got any review requests, so we use to review most of what we got. Currently we have over 200+ apps waiting to be reviewed. We get dozens review request a day, and we only review the ones we consider the best. So if you get reviewed on these pages then you are a fairly good app, and in good company.

I didn’t find anything wrong with Skeleton Dance. It is a great app to supplement a learning unit on bones. The illustrations, animations and the activities are all great. The problem is that I compared it with one of most magical apps this reviewer has ever come across. When the e-mail to review this app came in from the same publisher, I expected magic (Lady Bug Number Count). What I got instead was a solid app.

I reviewed it on my iPad. No Android version exits. No ads, works offline and it is a great addition to an education unit about bones.

Quick Math+ by Shiny Things

I know Quick Math+ by Shiny Things is supposed to be a math drill app, and as such it is great. Select the particular drill, watch the short introduction and then run through the math drill. All the drills are timed, the app keeps a record of your past runs, the app supports multiple students, and the drills are fun to play.

And the fun to play is key. As mostly a casual game player and a math enthusiast, I was instantly addicted to the math drills. I kept repeating to myself one more game over and over. I always wonder why not many casual math games exist, and this one could easily fit that category.

Alas, this blog is about education games. As such Quick Math+ is a great app. Clean graphics, beautiful to understand instructions, challenging and addictive game play, I didn’t find anything that I disliked.

This app was provided for free by the publisher, and I reviewed it on my iPad. It is available on the Apple App Store. I couldn’t find an Android version. The apps works offline. It does have an in-app store that promotes the publisher’s other apps.