PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro) by 77Sparx Studio, Inc. – Review


What we love…

Great variety of high interest puzzle themes introducing lots of basic and advanced vocabulary.

What we’d love to see…

A choice of lower or upper case for display of vocabulary words.

Summary

A unique puzzle and mini-game app that is engaging and meaningful with enormous amount of content for building a rich vocabulary.

Our Rating

PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro) is more than just a puzzle app. It is an extensive vocabulary app where the subjects are presented through different types of toddler and preschool puzzles. And these are not the average puzzles that you find in other puzzle apps. The puzzles in Puzzingo are both engaging and meaningful while the gameplay is ingenious. I’m totally impressed.

The vocabulary words are grouped according to themes or categories which helps children develop skills in sorting and classifying objects. Besides learning the name and sound of each object, they also learn what goes together. You can help your child to gain more knowledge and develop analytical skills by highlighting the similarities or relationship between the different objects.

Each themed pack of puzzles consists of 7 groups of puzzles focusing on 7 different topics within the theme e.g. the core concepts pack includes puzzles on shapes, colors, numbers, counting, emotions, alphabet and weather. Currently there is a total of 22 puzzle packs included in the app covering core concepts, food, professions, holidays, animals, space, life of toys, bugs, pets, dinosaurs, pirates, princesses & fairies, sports, music, fairy tales, super heroes, cars, trains, airplanes, trucks and candy kingdom. What is important to note is that there is a wide variety of high interest themes for younger children to choose from.

From an educator’s perspective, I like that the words introduced in each group help to build a rich vocabulary. Learners can see the print (in upper case) and hear the associated word read aloud when they touch each object puzzle, which in turn helps with labelling and word recognition. It is a great app for use in speech therapy. Besides learning the US English language, learners can also learn the vocabulary in Spanish, UK English, Chinese and Japanese. 

While I’m impressed with the enormous amount of content that kids can potentially learn from the app, what I find refreshing is the format of the app’s gameplay – how it extends the play from one puzzle game to another meaningfully.

Each pack of puzzles consist of 2 types of puzzles, 1-piece puzzles and layered puzzles. Each 1-piece puzzles are easy to complete but each of these puzzle piece brings players to a more challenging layered puzzle. The layered puzzles show the many parts and layers that make up the object shown on the 1-piece puzzle piece. Players learn the names of these parts as they build the object puzzle piece-by-piece. In some cases, the parts could be items that are associated with the theme. For example, the soccer puzzle game introduces terms like goalie, goal, photographer, camera, signs, cone, players, injured player, medics, forward, midfielder, defender, soccer ball, jersey, cleats and shin guards.

Regardless the total number of puzzle pieces that kids have to put in place in order to complete a puzzle game, the app presents only 2 pieces at any one time so that kids won’t get overwhelmed. Another toddler-friendly support comes in the form of prompts that show kids where to place the puzzle piece when they placed the piece incorrectly repeatedly.

Once a puzzle game is completed, players are rewarded with an interactive mini-game that helps them to explore further on the theme. Kids can fly an airplane, conduct a band, dress up a character, score a goal, feed a dinosaur, drive a vehicle, play with the toys and many more activities. The games are varied and deliver so much fun with their cute animations and sound effects that they may just overshadow the puzzles in terms of popularity with kids. Repeat play is guaranteed.

If you have a preschooler at home, you definitely need to get Puzzingo. The free version Puzzingo Puzzles offers 7 sets of puzzles and mini-games and a free daily puzzle from one of the themed puzzle packs that is available for purchase. You can purchase individual puzzle packs or an All-Access Pass. This Pass allows your child to play with more than 150 puzzles and enjoy new content and games through regular updates. The latest update for the 2017 Holidays offers the Trucks Puzzles pack and Toys Puzzles pack which are perfect gifts for the holiday season!

With Puzzingo, completing a puzzle becomes meaningful and purposeful. Preschoolers are exposed to lots of vocabulary words from a wide range of topics while reaping the benefits of completing puzzles like spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, matching and fine-motor skills. With so much content in a single app, I’m positive that your preschoolers will have many favorite puzzles to keep them busy learning and playing.

Like on Facebook:


Facebook
Website

PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro)
Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles
Google Play
Amazon


Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles by 77Sparx Studio, Inc.

Price: $FREE

• Featured by Apple
Do your kid and toddler like puzzles? How about an educational puzzle game that is fun, packed with learning, and played by 8 million families around the world? Checkout Puzzingo.

 

 

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.

Featured App: Furry Friends Run the Show in Toca Boca’s Newest App



On December 7, Toca Boca launched its newest app Toca Life: Pets, the first Toca Boca app all about pets! With more than 120 real-life and make-believe animals, kids can play with their pets IRL and virtually, creating their own worlds and embarking on silly adventures with furry friends.

In Toca Life: Pets, kids are in control of which pets they want to play with and how their pet’s story evolves. Are they bringing their pet along on a family picnic or take their pet to the vet? Maybe their pet is going to a birthday party to celebrate with friends! Kids will train, feed, bathe and entertain their pets while learning what it takes to own a real pet and letting discovery guide their play. Yes, they even have to clean up after their pets, which often takes form as a rainbow colored poop! Kids will explore the five bustling locations, including the pet park, pet hotel, veterinary and more. At the pet hotel, every pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or sloth-bat, will find a nice spot to play or relax while their owners are away. There are secret features to be discovered in the pet park as kids create their own play scenario with their favorite creatures.

Additional features of Toca Life: Pets include:

  • Kids can role-play in five locations: pet park, pet hotel, veterinary, pet shop and breeder’s bungalow
  • 23 new characters for kids to meet
  • Kids can bathe muddy pets and get them clean again, or pretend to be a vet and care for sick or injured pets
  • The pets can be dressed up in fun hats — hats stack on pets stack on hats
  • By building an agility course kids can help train and exercise their pets
  • It even includes surprises for kids to discover — they can pull the branch in the pet park to see what’s hidden

For the first time, Toca Boca tapped fans to help co-create new characters in Toca Life: Pets. The brand received over 1,000 suggestions based on kids’ real and imaginary pets, and from those ideas Toca Boca produced 3 replicas in the new app. The pet rock and sloth bat featured in the app were inspired by drawing and photos from fans and transformed into real Toca Boca characters.

“Sometimes pets are cuddly, fun, weird or even scary. Regardless, they are often a big part of our lives,” said Petter Karlsson, Play Designer. “In Toca Life: Pets you pick which pets you want to play with in your life and decide their stories. As with all of the apps in the Toca Life series, Toca Life: Pets puts kids in the director’s seat to make up their own stories”

Toca Life: Pets features a kid-friendly interface without third-party advertising, free of rules, levels or high scores. Toca Life: Pets is $2.99 on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon . To download please use this link Toca Life: Pets – Toca Boca AB 


Toca Life: Pets Toca Life: Pets by Toca Boca AB

Price: $2.99 USD

Welcome to Toca Life: Pets, where you and your animal friends run the show! What’s your favorite pet like? Furry and fast? Wet and wiggly? A little bit creepy? With more than 120 animals, Toca Life: .

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

ReadAskChat by ReadAskChat, Ltd. – Review



Art for “Light of Mine” (c) 2012 by Christopher Lyles

What we love…

fantastic app that encourages parents and caregivers to read with children featuring a library of curated stories, conversation starters and bright colorful artwork.  I loved that we were able to carry over and do activities after learning about them during our daily lives like stomping, slipping, sliding and being more observant

What we’d love to see…

parental lock of some sort on the cog wheel – there are no external links but my son liked to tap on it.  I would also like to see a bigger parent’s resource section included – there are a number of resources on the web but not integrated within the app.

Summary

Beautifully illustrated app that encourages active reading via the story by asking questions, making observations and learning.  Kids can also tie it to real life and role play the stories.

Our Rating

ReadAskChat is a curated library of stories designed for children from six months to age 4.  The stories feature bright artwork, text and parental cues to help parents read with their children.  I still remember the first time I sat in the rocker with my then infant son and held a black and white board book to read with him.  I felt unprepared, because I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to read with him or help him learn.   You can read our interview with co-founders Alice and Carolyn to learn more about the reasons on why ReadAskChat was created.  You can also read a paper about the science behind ReadAskChat.  This app takes it beyond your device or tablet and encourages interactive reading using conversation starters to help kids engage and learn.  Key concepts in the app include rhyming, patterning, early academics like colors, shapes, early sight words along with math and science concepts.

As I have gotten to be a mom of two – reading with my kids has gotten easier.  They both know when it’s bedtime – we have 15-30 minutes depending on the day that we sit, snuggle and look at books.  We practice things like how to hold the book, turning pages from front to back as well as moving with the text via songs, pointing to objects and just handling a book.  In this digital age, it’s also important to consider that books are available on tablets, smartphones and other devices meaning that downtime doesn’t just have to mean that your child “plays” on your phone — you can turn it into educational time.

Here’s a snippet from Carolyn about the idea behind ReadAskChat

 The inspiration for ReadAskChat comes from personal experience. My husband and I are adoptive parents, and when our daughter Jiji came home at 9 months, she was clinically failure to thrive. She couldn’t hold her little head up or babble, or reach for shiny objects—things that 9-month-olds should be doing. But after only one month of reading picture books, singing songs, playing and snuggling, and “chatting” about anything and everything, Jiji was a fully caught up and happy 10-month-old.

When we read using my tablet or smartphone – one of the first things I do is to turn on the “night shift mode” which changes colors to be more easy on your eyes and less stimulating for children.  I also love that the app can change depending on which child I am reading with – meaning I can choose prompts for my toddler or my older son while reading the same story.  When you open the app, there are three free stories that are included in the library.  Additional stories are available for purchase.  Each story includes “conversation starters” – these are based on the developmental level of your child and can range from suggesting you bounce your baby in time with the rhythm of the story or music to questions you can ask your kids to prompt them to engage more with the story.

iPad Screenshot 1

Using your device, you login to the app to access the library.  For purposes of the review I was given access to the full library of stories.  When you use the app for the first time on your device or a new device you are prompted to download the stories.  The Starter Pack includes, “Light of Mine”, “Animal Tails” and “The Old Man in the Tree”.  In the subscription based version other stories are categorized by Big Ideas, Special Friends, Indoor Mischief, On The Move, Action Rhymes, Math Stories, Science Stories.  You also choose the developmental level for the conversation starters.  They range from baby (six to 18 months);  toddler (12-24 months); preschooler (2 -4 years).  As we have gotten more familiar with the stories we have recently changed from toddler to preschooler level to help him continue to follow along and be engaged.

“Mario’s Trucks” illustrated by Hyewon Yum

My toddler aged son loves anything to do with cars and trucks and things that go.  We typically let him pick a story and then I choose one.  One of his favorites is Mario’s Trucks – which includes descriptive text like “Raise that Shovel!  Dig that hole”.  I typically read to him and then we talk about what we see in the photo – things like a yellow dump truck, a hard hat that Mario is wearing, a yellow digger and blocks and a crane.  The conversation starters also encourage parents to add the sounds to the story and then the “ask” which encourages kids to think about what the truck does – my toddler answered carries and dumps.    You are also prompted as you read to chat about what Mario might be building – my son said “tower”.  We talked about it being a construction site on the first page.  I also loved using the app to guide off-device play where we re-enacted specific stories that my son identified with.  The illustrations in the app are beautiful and encourage kids to look and pay attention to details.  The stories appeal to children and are not too overwhelming in terms of new information that is shared on a page.  They also gently encourage sleep or relaxation at the end.  At the end of the story you can either slide to the next story or close out of the app.

I loved the wide variety of content that was included in the app and that my son was engaged and learning from stories – which we could look at no matter where we were at a point in time.  I actually found myself reading more with my son because I could pull out my iPhone or tablet while we were waiting for appointments or had short periods of downtime.  He loved tapping on the screen to show me what he was seeing – and I liked hearing what he saw in the photos and engaged.  Both of us became more engaged with stories – rather than him sitting in my lap passively to hear a story.  In addition, I recently read to my son’s classroom  and used ReadAskChat along with a software which was able to reflect my screen onto a whiteboard so that the group of kids could participate.  Although the app is designed for more 1:1 or 1:2 use it was fun to use in a class because it encouraged open ended conversations and allowed kids to really engage with the story.  As kids get bigger you can encourage them to help swipe and actively pick out sight words, look at the images within the stories and pick out specific details or even find an object or color within the image.  With my son as we read the stories and he’s become more familiar – we now sometimes play “I spy” to see the details that we might have previously missed.  One of the other things that I really enjoyed was the conversation starters to help me encourage my son to better engage with the story.  Another feature I liked was the “swipe lock” which made it so my son couldn’t accidentally move forward beyond pages that I wanted him to be on.   The app also lets you favorite stories using a heart at the bottom – my son quickly learned about this and we picked out his favorites and then we were able to scan for the hearts when picking a bedtime story.  I also really liked the descriptive words used within the app to tell a story which tied to the picture.  Words like  “slip and glide” for my son were new – so we actually practiced them by sliding our feet on the rug.

In terms of enhancements – I would love to see a section for parents to understand more about reading with their children as well as the importance. I found a number of resources on the website for Readaskchat – but they were not referenced when we used the app.  It would also be nice if the cog wheel at the top were parental gated – there are no external links but my son recognized this from other apps and wanted to touch it.

Overall, this is an app that is unique in that it actively encourages parents to teach their children while reading.  My son loved sitting on my lap and engaging – rather than passively listening to a story.  Since then I’ve noticed that when we read board books or bedtime stories he looks at the picture and we read and talk about them more – for example, find the green wall or white bunny rather than just reading the text as a more rote method of learning.

Pricing: Launch sale through December 25, 2017: Only $14.99 for the full library for one year.

LAUNCH SALE through December 25, 2017
$1.99/month
$14.99/year (which comes to $1.25/month)

AFTER DECEMBER 25
$2.99/month
$29.99/year (which comes to $2.50/month)

**Subscribers receive a new story pack (3 selections) bimonthly in 2018.

Note: Bulk rates are available for institutions.

NOTE: This app has in-app purchases

ReadAskChat for Children 0-4 ReadAskChat for Children 0-4 by Read, Ask, Chat, Ltd.

Price: $FREE

This beautifully illustrated library includes on-demand guidance for parents in reading interactively—the tried-and-true way to foster school readiness and love of learning. Subscribers receive new .

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Want to win a copy? Simply enter using our Rafflecopter widget below. Must have an iTunes account and download a free copy of ReadAskChat. Open worldwide to everyone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Dr. Panda Trucks by Dr. Panda Ltd – Review



 

What we love…

fun truck themed app which encourages kids to knock down and build new buildings

What we’d love to see…

more realistic sounds for the horns on the trucks as well as a tutorial for how to drive and maneuver some

Summary

Overall, this is a super cute construction and truck themed app that will have your preschooler and older kids building for hours.  You can knock down the building, head to the factory for new blocks and build your new creation all in moments.

Our Rating

Dr. Panda Trucks by Dr. Panda Ltd. is a brand new Dr. Panda themed app featuring 7 unique vehicles.  The app features a bulldozer, dump truck, truck with wrecking ball, army style truck which shoots cannon balls, crane, and a cleaning truck.  My son had so much fun building with Dr. Panda.  This app is full of fun – first you demolish the existing building using a variety of trucks and then the building begins.  After demolishing the building – you go over to the brick factory to get bricks to build your new building.  Then you can head for paint or go to the construction site and start building.  After you get to the construction site – you move a lever and dump the dump truck which then creates a building.  To put the finishing touches on you can head over to the door and window building to load up the dump truck.  We used the crane to move the windows on top of our newly constructed building.  When you open the app, the trucks are all neatly parked – you can either drive them from the parking lot or access them from a top menu which is accessed via swipe at the top of the screen.  I enjoyed hearing my son narrate a bit as he picked his favorite trucks and was building.  We named colors, favorite trucks and described what we were doing all while playing with the app.  It’s a great app to use your imagination with as well as practice fine motor skills.

iPad Screenshot 1

My son’s favorite part was getting bricks to build the new building.  He loved seeing them sort and organize themselves into the back of the truck.  He also liked making the different truck noises including beeps, saying “watch out” when he dumped the dump truck.  You can build up to six different buildings at a time.  My son loved scooping, pushing, building, expanding the buckets, dumping and more.  As a parent I loved the variety of buildings kids could make as well as the variety of things they could do.  The hidden surprises like the mud that made the trucks spin made my toddler smile.   His favorite truck was the street cleaner which picked up the mess.

In terms of enhancements – my toddler said the horns didn’t sound like big trucks. At times, he had a little bit of trouble navigating using the bars to move up and down the various items as they were not typical of items he usually saw.  He also wanted to make the army style truck shoot higher but neither of us could figure out how to make it do that. It would also be fun to have a variety of buildings to choose from to build rather than having the app choose.  I’d also like to be able to choose the shape of the bricks I wanted.  Another wishlist item would be the ability to navigate all within Dr. Panda apps – similar to Dr. Panda Town.

iPad Screenshot 3

The app is free with in-app purchases (IAP) for all buildings or all trucks – if your kids like the app I would suggest paying for the unlock all.  There are advertisements for other Dr. Panda apps on the splash screen.  External items are parental gated via birthday.

Overall, this is a super cute construction and truck themed app that will have your preschooler and older kids building for hours.  You can knock down the building, head to the factory for new blocks and build your new creation all in moments.  It’s a fun game to play on the fly or to entertain your kids for a longer period of time.  You can read our roundup of all the great Dr. Panda apps we have reviewed here.


Dr. Panda Trucks Dr. Panda Trucks by Dr. Panda Ltd

Price: $FREE

Clear the way for Dr. Panda Trucks! Master the machines, build funky constructions and blast them to pieces on your very own construction site!
TAKE CONTROL!
Drive and control up to 7 giant vehicles.

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Pin It on Pinterest