Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer is a physical toy which includes cards as well as the ability to take a photograph of them and display them on your device. Inside the box are 51 flashcards, 12 non-toxic erasable markers and a QR code which activates the app. Cards inside the box include everything you would find in a home ranging from bathroom items (sink, tub, toilet, towel rack); bedroom (crib, loft bed, bunk beds, lights, flooring, characters, clothing for the characters,rocking chair, bookshelf, ); kitchen (table, counters, plant, laundry basket, stove, cabinets and living room (couch, stereo system, chair.) Note these are not all of the items – they are selected ones that I picked out.
What we love…
fun interactive app that showcases what an iPad can do using a physical toy and merging it with 3D design
What we’d love to see…
ability to save your creations on the camera roll, ability to move from house to house more easily, an outside space for kids to design and play in
Super fun app which brings Dr. Panda to life in physical play. It can be played for long or short periods of time or longer periods of time. Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer provides a fun augmented-reality like experience which helps kids be creative with art and design while helping to familiarize letters and words.
To play, first you launch load the app on your device. Next you scan the QR code which is located inside the Dr. Panda Plus box to activate the app. Then you can take out the cards and start creating. When playing with Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer with my kids – I usually separated the cards into categories like bedroom, characters, clothing and then also by room to make it easier for my toddler to follow along. Each card is double sided – one that kids can color in using the included dry erase markers and the other is already colored in. Once the card is done, you simply hold it up and take a photo of it using the camera on your device. The object is rendered into 3D and then you can place it within the home. My younger son loved taking photos of all of the objects to make his dream house – there were lots of flooring changes along with multiple beds in the bedroom, With my older son – he’s a third grader he picked out specific cards he wanted to color prior to even launching the app. He then colored them in using the included markers and making his own designs. He was a bit more thoughtful in how he organized the house making a kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom as well as designing all the clothes for the various characters. To wipe off the cards we used a baby wipe although any soft cloth will work. A few times, my older son didn’t want to erase his creation so it did take a bit more “scrubbing” to get it off. Each house has four rooms – and you can choose where you want the rooms to be placed. When you take a photo the image can be lined up and then it “pops” into 3D mode for placing. When you take the photo it also brings out letters which encourage kids to spell the name of the object they are creating – kids can choose to bypass this. If you accidentally take a photo of an item or too many you can simply place it in the recycle bin.
I loved how easy this app and game were to use. No rules no fuss! I could play one way with my younger son and then with my older son he could be independent and color in his own cards to create the room and design it as he wished. We could use the pre-designed cards or use the cards that we colored on/decorated and play. I found it was easiest to scan things in bunches to complete one room at a time just to make it more fun. My kids also enjoyed making multiple houses – they made one for Dr. Panda, another for Tao and a third for Meimi junior. The also created a bunch of cute clothes for each character to wear. In addition – my older son had a larger set of dry erase markers that he was able to use with the cards so he had more color choices. The box holds the game and markers making it easy to keep everything together. The cards are made of a sturdy cardboard that has stood up to repeated uses and did not bend despite the best efforts of my younger son. The game can be used across multiple devices which was great as it meant my older son could play on his own iPad while my younger son and I could use a different iPad.
In terms of improvements – it would be neat if you could go from house to house within the app rather than having to open each house separately. In addition, it would be nice if there were a “holding area” for you to scan your cards and that way you could wipe them off and make a different design without losing the first design. We tried a few different ways to do this without success. It would also be nice if there were a way to “back up” the QR code just in case something happened to the box. It might also be fun to include mini games within the app from the various Dr. Panda titles to provide different activities for kids to do.
Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer provides a fun augmented-reality like experience which helps kids be creative with art and design while helping to familiarize letters and words. My kids have spent hours playing with the app and each time they create a new house or go into play it’s a fun new experience. I encourage them to narrate and tell me what they are doing and making during the process which also helps familiarize them with various names of objects.
Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer is available on Amazon for $39.99.
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fun toy themed app that includes skills like math, reading, creative design, problem solving
What we’d love to see…
ability to have a budget for toys, more options when designing your own toy
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Grandpa’s Toy Shop by Fairlady Media is a universal app for iOS featuring Grandpa and a variety of great activities including design and building of toys, pricing of toys, helping customers choose a toy, using the cash register to calculate totals as well as cleaning up after they have closed for the night. Skills practiced include math (1 – 20), reading (spell the names of ten different toys including robot and boat), creative design of toys, selecting different parts to make a robot, using the cash register to add up the total and pricing the toys.
This app from Fairlady Media reminds me of going to the toy store with my son. There are so many choices of things that he can choose. My son loved making toys including robots by choosing arms, legs, body and head, decorating items using jewels, spelling of a variety of toys, helping the customer choose items, and adding up the total of the items purchased. I loved the life skills of choice, finding objects on a list and pricing them as well as adding up the total.
I loved how many choices were available to design the toys. My older son loved designing a kite, making a colorful teddy bear while my younger son scribbled and made the jewels to the crown. I also liked that the activities were step by step including the building of the doll (head, body, arms, legs) and similarly the robot was built the same way. After you created the design and toys they would go to the toy shop to be displayed – something my artistic 8 year old loved! I also liked that I could customize which games were appropriate depending on the child so I could turn them on and off as well as the music. My son also liked to see his creations displayed. I also liked seeing how my son would look at the prices of the items as he tried to figure out the cost for each of the specific items. In addition, I liked how there was a specific pattern – first you make toys, then you “open” the shop by making a sign advertising one of the toys you made, spinning the pinwheels and putting out the sign. Next you price the toys before the customer looks for specific toys – which helped kids pick which ones they needed from a field of eight. It’s also nice that the toys rotate making it fun for kids to play over and over.
In terms of enhancements, it might be fun if you were given a budget and then the child could figure out which combination of items you could buy for x amount versus using the shopping list. My son also wished that there were more choices for coloring in the designed toys like the sailboat or that he could choose the width of the crayon. For those that are not yet good at math, it might be nice if the cash register had an icon to represent the specific toy by touch instead of adding them together. Currently the cash register does have some icons but they don’t represent toys that I saw on the shelf on a routine basis.
Overall, this is a fun app designed for preschool age up. I liked that you could pick games which catered to your child’s strengths which meant that more or less mini games were available depending on your child’s skill level. There are no external links or in-app purchases. There is advertising for other Fairlady Media apps but it has a parental gate of a birth year in order to proceed.
Art Gurus by Colto is a drawing app geared towards children under five years old. In this app, a scrollable classroom scene unfolds where we find some items that are missing color. Children are invited and encouraged to decorate, color or draw on these items as they wish and see their creations added to the scene.
What we love…
Simple to use, fun to see art come alive on the scene, it encourages creativity and imagination.
What we’d love to see…
More stickers, black crayon and pencil tool.
A simple drawing app that encourages children’s creativity.
When children tap on the items, a set of three drawing tools appear: crayons, stickers and a magic wand. The crayons come with 15 colors, perhaps to keep the little ones from being too overwhelmed. However, I noticed that black wasn’t one of them, and I wish this was included as it is standard in many crayon boxes. Like the crayons, there are only a few stickers to choose from, 18 all together. I like the selection they have, but would like to see more added in a future update. The magic wand is a tool that decorates items instantly. It can be pressed repeatedly to see the item decorated differently each time. In addition to these great tools, I would like to see colored pencils included for finer drawing or writing.
I like this app because it is very simple for little ones. It encourages them to be creative, and seeing their creations appear in the classroom is great motivation. I like that they are able to save a photo of the whole classroom by clicking on the camera icon on the page. There are external links in this app, but children are prevented from accessing with a parental lock. Be aware that if your child can read, he or she can easily open the parent lock.
I would recommend Art Gurus for very young children who like to color and who are just beginning to draw.
Lots of options and editable details to help you create your own comics.
What we’d love to see…
More cool art assets.
Comics Head is a features-packed digital tool for creating comics that will get kids to love storytelling.
When I was exploring Comics Head – Create your own comic by NextWave Multimedia for the first time, I kept getting ideas on how we could incorporate comics in our children’s learning. While presenting knowledge in the form of comics can greatly impact our children’s motivation to learn, I think it’s even more rewarding to have them use comics to tell a story.
Students can be encouraged to write by first planning and developing their ideas in comics, which helps to improve their thinking process. They can also relate an experience that they had through photo comics. With the use of comics, students can confidently deliver a presentation that is unique and engaging. Comics also allows them to express themselves freely and not be limited by their lack of writing skills. Comics definitely has a place in education.
To help you create your own comics, all you need is Comics Head. It is easy to use, has plenty of ready templates to get you started right away plus lots of cartoon items and editing features to help you produce professional looking comics. There is a great variety of backgrounds, characters, props and effects for you to choose from. Alternatively, you can find suitable items from the pre-packaged assets that are based on specific themes. You are not limited to these art assets alone as you can also use photos/screenshots taken from within the app and import images from your device’s photo library or external sources. Best of all, you can draw your own items and add them to your comics!
Each art item that is inserted in your comics page can be edited – horizontal/vertical flip, duplicate, crop, apply various filters, add textures, make transparent, etc. You can even change the character’s expression and pose! Comics Head is packed full with many more advanced features to help you produce the most sophisticated comics that will satisfy your audience.
What’s comics without speech bubbles and Comics Head not only allows you to add and design your speech bubbles, but also lets you add audio speech bubbles via in-app recording or importing! You can also arrange the playback sequence of these audio speech bubbles. See an audio comics created by a 7-year-old below!
There are endless possible use for this app and it’s not just for our children. Teachers can prepare their science and history lessons in comics and see their students captivated. Parents can quickly create social stories using photos of real situations when needed. We can also make our own audio comic for our kids who can’t read yet. Greeting or invitation cards, business presentations, travel journals, announcements, etc. – all these you can rely on Comics Head to do the job well!
Comics Head has awesome supportive features as well. It has several ways to share a completed comics and the in-app help section is clear and concise. Access to the various sections is straightforward and access to all the external links are disabled by default and can only be changed in the password-protected parental settings.
Comics Head makes it so easy and fun for young children to create their own comics while older students and adults will be pleased with its easy to use yet powerful self-publishing tools. With this app, anyone can be an artist and author. Whether it’s for leisure or for work, Comics Head is a worthwhile addition to any home or classroom. Check out this cool comics creator app today and see your child’s love for storytelling grow.
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