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.
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 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.
Shiny Circus by Shiny Things is an educational math app geared to children 2 to 5 years of age. It consists of a story about the circus and a set of math concept activities. The story part of the app is typical of a good interactive story book. The words of the story are highlighted as it is read and each page has interactive elements.
Although the story part of the app is extremely well executed, the math concept activities are extremely impressive. My daughter of 5 year old (apparently the top of the range) had a great time dressing the clowns, balancing the weights, and arranging the stairs. The only activity she didn’t like was the Angry Bird style game: she found the voice coaching too repetitive. What is really impressive is that she had no idea that she was learning new math concepts. Some of the concepts and activities are too advance for the lower age children, be ready to help them.
Overall the music, illustrations, the narrating voice (human) and the animations are all very well done. One of the best apps reviewed this year, and easily worth the price. If we had a sixth star, this app would get it.
I received the app for free from the publisher, and reviewed it on my iPad. The app is available in the Apple App Store, and I couldn’t find an Android version.
TapThePic by Oleg Fedorov is a straight forward app targeted at very young children. The concept of the app is to show pictures of items or people and have the child touch them. When the child touches the picture it zooms and the app makes a sound.
The free version of the app comes with one set of pictures, but you can buy other sets on the in-app store. Both the settings for the app and the in-app store are only visible when you sequentially click on the four corners of the screen. You can also make your own sets. I could imagine making a set with pictures and sounds from other member of the family. Image one where when your child clicks on your picture you tell him/her you love him, and clicks on the dog and the dog barks. Unfortunately all my children are past the age where this app would be entertaining.
Overall a great concept well executed for an age group that doesn’t get that much attention. The free version was recently updated to include more pictures and backgrounds.
I tested the free version as prompted by the publisher. It is available in the Apple App Store. Works offline, and does have an in app store to buy other picture packs but it would be impossible for the targeted age range to accidentally find it.
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.
Teach Me Apps: English for Kids by Bee Digital is an iPad app with 12 distinct activities. The include site works, vocabulary and spelling activities. All the activities are well thought out. For example the Alphabet activity has a particular object for each letter, but if you play that activity over or even go back to a previous letter the object is different. I also loved the voice is human and clear. The illustrations are beautiful, and the music is varied and not annoying.
Teach Me Apps: English for Kids is a great app for native speaking little children and for anybody learning English as a second language. I couldn’t find anything that I disliked about the app. Even the background is one of the cutest backgrounds I have seen in a while (kids drawings). The app has no ads, no in app purchases and the external links are protected behind a parent log in. I reviewed the full version as provided by the publisher, but a free version exists.
Brave Ronney by Bacciz is a story about a little boy starting at a new school where he doesn’t feel as special as the other kids. It has all the usual features that make such apps entertaining.
As usual you have multiple options on how the book is read. Including being able to automatically flip the page, read out loud, show the words, and highlight the words as they are being read. The illustrations are unique and quirky. The pages are filled with interactive elements. The story is engaging and fun to read. The music is catching and not annoying even after reading it a couple of times. Overall very little to complain about. At $1.99 it would be hard to find a paper book as engaging and fun as this one.
The app has no advertising (other than on the last page promoting the companies services), no store, and works offline. I received a free copy from the publisher and tested it on my iPhone. I couldn’t find an Android version.
Created just for toddlers, Cutie Monsters Jigsaw Puzzles by Phoenix Interactive is a learn to count interactive app.
Cutie Monsters has beautiful and creative illustrations, and good sound effects. As far as educational content the app consists of two main activities. One is an interactive story book. You have the option of either reading with the app by touching each word or letting the book read itself. In between the pages that have the story text, there are pages where you can click at animal parts to count. The second part of the app is the puzzle scene where you put together the monsters you just played with. The pieces are of a decent size, and snap into place when they find their place.
I questions some of the permissions required to run the app (on Android), especially since it doesn’t seem that it uses them. But overall it is a beautifully executed app. No in app purchase. No ads. And no internet required.