Planet Lettra by Gregory McDonald

We love indy developers at Smart Kid’s Apps. One of the reasons this site was created was to give indy developers a platform to showcase their good educational games. Planet Lettra is just that type of app.

The app takes place in a beautiful planet where letters float in the sky. As the player you can force letters to group into words of your own making or you can just grab and drag letters around until they form words. There are also little trees/animals in the surface of the planet. Using your bubble letters or words you can interact with the trees/animals in un-expecting ways.

As for complaints I have a few. I wish the voices were human (not an easy task for an indy developer). I love the video and the poem about the planet. I just wish that the words of the poem were written out somewhere where a child could follow along.

The app is available in the Apple app store for $1.99. I couldn’t find an Android version. Doesn’t require internet, doesn’t have ads and doesn’t have an in-app store.

Teach Me Apps: English for Kids by Bee Digital

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.

Spell, Write and Read by Ripple Digital Publishing.

As the title suggests, Spell, Write and Read by Ripple Digital Publishing is a spelling, and writing educational app. Each word is first presented as a puzzle outline. The child has to grab the letter and drop it on the correct outline. The letters are said as they are being dropped. After forming the entire word, the word is also pronounced. After completing this activity, the word is presented as a letter outline that needs to be traced.

The app is not cluttered. The graphics are great. The music and sound effects are not grading. And the words and letters are beautifully pronounced by a human voice.

As far as dislike, I wish you could buy all the other books at one time, an Android version existed, and that it allowed for tracking of progress for multiple children.

Overall a great app for your little ones to help them learn how to spell, pronounce and read some common english words (especially if you already using this type of methodology). Available only in the Apple App Store for the iPad and iPhone, I tested the free version (as prompted by the publisher) on a full size iPad.

The app works offline, does not have advertising but does have an easy to reach in-app store for the other collection of books.

Gartu in the Kindergarten by UPigames

Gartu in the Kindergarten is a 20 mini-activities education app designed for children 2-6 years old. I won’t be able to describe all the activities but some of them are reading, matching, and item does not belong. Apparently the app is a fresh translation of an online app designed by a private school in Spain.

There are many things to like about the app, especially the ability to switch the language for all the activities. Language included are english, spanish, german, italian and french. The fact that everything in the game switches over when you switch the language is great. Everything from the story to the singing switches over to the selected language. The images are professionally illustrated, and the music and sounds are also well done.

The next part of the review is mostly subjective. Please feel free to skip it and grab the free version available in the Apple App Store and make your own conclusions. For the ones that kept reading, the application doesn’t respond appropriately to touches by little kids. For example, Gartu sings at the start of every activity. It doesn’t matter where your child touches, he/she would be forced to listen to the entire song before proceeding. Another example is in an activity where your child has to pick up garbage and bring it to the garbage basket. Again while the app is giving the child accolades, it is impossible to click on any other piece of garbage. The entire app feels old, cluttered and not responsive enough (like an app version of a Barney’s episode).

Overall a decent game. The multiple languages almost single handily makes this app a good buy for $1.99 (full version), and the fact that you can try it out for free should make it an easy download for parents that are trying to teach their kids multiple languages.

The app has no in-app store, advertisements and works offline. I reviewed the full version (provided by the publisher).

Kids’ Vocab by MindSnacks

Kids’ Vocab by MindSnacks is a vocabulary builder educational apps. It does this by using varied and multiple games that re-enforce the meaning, usage and spelling of the words.

There is a lot here to like. The animations, illustrations, music and sound effects are all extremely well done. The games are challenging and fun. Many of the games are addictive and frantic (this might be stressful or frustrating for very small kids). For kids or schools that share devices, the app supports multiple logins. A feature that I wish more educational apps would have. You can also keep track of the child’s progress. The publisher also claims that the instructions are mapped to the core language arts standards (didn’t verify this).

I think it is fantastic educational app with enough varied content to keep children entertained while educating them. It will also be a great addition to a home school curriculum.

I played the free version of the app (as prompted by the publisher) on my https://itunes.apple.com/be/app/kids-vocab-mindsnacks/id582128594?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2&buffer_share=74eeb&utm_source=buffer. You can buy all 25 lessons for $4.99 from within the app. No Android version exists (that I could find). The app works offline and doesn’t have any advertising (the free app version does have a button to upgrade).

StorySmith: Medieval Kingdom HD by Brytag Creative

StorySmith: Medieval Kingdom is a story building app for the IOS devices. The setting for this education app is Medieval times (plus pirates). You select the scene, place characters where your want them and then enter the text for the scene. Repeat this process over and over until you end up with a story.

The illustrations are beautiful. They give a great framework for story telling. Entering story text is straight forward. In the last update a beach scene plus a few pirate items were added (who doesn’t like pirates). The app would also be a great addition to a story writing education unit.

Very few things to complain about. Younger kids will need help writing the story. I would love more scenes especially about pirates or completely new pirate app. It does not have any sound, but that is expected since it is a story book writing app.

I tested it on my full size iPad (app was provided for free by the publisher). It is available for IOS devices on the Apple Store. I couldn’t find an Android version. It doesn’t have an in-app store, doesn’t need internet access, and it has no advertisements.

Scribblenauts Remix

Immersed in virtual world you create objects to solve puzzles: need a rope to get a star, type the word rope and it appears. As the level progress, the objects you need to type and the puzzles get harder and harder. It was a great game on the Nintendo DS, and it made the transition to iOS devices beautifully. It is also a fraction of the cost of the Nintendo DS game.

Although targeted to children that can spell, it also has playgrounds that younger children with a help of an adult can create objects to play with. The publisher continues to update the app with different playgrounds. The latest involves a classroom for the back to school season.

Only complaint I have heard from my daughter: limited selection of girl players and you have to buy them. I would also love to see it for Android devices.

It is a spelling puzzle game that my kids enjoy playing again and again again.

Available only on Apple App Store for .99.

AJG