Playful animated videos that teach the meaning of new words
What we’d love to see…
Words to be introduced in increasing levels of difficulty, spelling from left to right only, more explicit prompts to help teach how to blend sounds
An engaging and outstanding multi-game app that teaches children how to spell, read and learn new vocabulary words that are beyond their school levels
Wonster Words Learning by 77Sparx Studio recently had a major upgrade to give children a new learning and play experience while retaining the same fun and playful approach that appeals to children.
From just Word Families, the app now engages learners through Stories, Math, Science and, Art and Music to teach students phonics, spelling and vocabulary. While the Phonics Word Families and Stories teach students new words by spelling and sounding them out, words introduced in the Math, Science and, Art and Music sections are taught by sight.
Before your child begins to play, I would recommend you to switch to the option to learn words in lower case in the settings as upper case letters are the default (unless you prefer to use upper case). You can also opt to turn off the music background in the app.
There are currently 11 word families included in the app. Each word family introduces 8 words from the word family that are of mixed levels of difficulty. For example, the ‘at’ word family has the words splat, brat, rat, copycat, cat, flat, acrobat and bat instead of the usual simple CVC words like bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat and vat.
For each word, students are prompted to complete the word puzzle, from left to right, using the freely floating animated letters. But kids can also piece the word puzzle in random order. They can hear the associated phonic sound as they drag and drop each animated letters. Tapping on the letters in the word puzzle also produces the phonic sound. But once the animated letter is put in place in the word puzzle, the letter name is read out instead of the phonic sound. So kids get to learn both the letter name and sound.
After the word has been put together, a fun animated video clip featuring the Wonster characters is played to demonstrate the meaning of the word. For simpler words, a mini-game based on the word will start.
More words are introduced in the 11 original Wonster stories that revolve around popular children’s themes like birthdays, friendships, adventures, nature and space. Words relating to the theme of the story are taught following the sequence of the story. Word puzzles are also used here to reinforce the letter names and sounds. Again playful animations help define the meaning of each new word. What proved to be a hit with my youngest were the mini games that he was rewarded with as he built more words along the story path.
For this update, the developers added puzzles and mini-games covering Math & Logic, Science & Nature, and Art & Music from their award-winning Puzzingo app to further build students’ vocabulary. I think it is meaningful for children to learn new words in context when these are grouped according to themes.
Math & Logic Puzzles
Science & Nature Puzzles
Art & Music Puzzles
Wonster Words excels in a few important ways. The animation video used to demonstrate the meaning of words are very well done. I like that there are lots of humor and playfulness in the videos to engage young learners. Plus there are some memorable comments (like “It’s easier to unwrap than to giftwrap” and “Never give up on the things that are important to you” ). Another star feature is the inclusion of many fun mini games related to the vocabulary words to keep learners entertained and interested. There is never a dull moment.
While the word and puzzles are easy to play, the learning content is not preschool materials but chosen to stretch students beyond their years. The words taught are varied in theme and difficulty level. And there are 3 different ways in which children can learn new words – by word families, through stories and themed puzzles. It’s amazing how much new knowledge young children can absorb when given the right tool. They learn difficult words easily when the gameplay is designed at their interest level.
Access to the app’s huge amount of content is through a monthly subscription of $7.99 after a 7-day free trial. A one-time payment for the lifetime all-access Pro version is $54.99. So, start the trial with your child right away and decide which option is the most suitable for your family’s needs before the trial period is over. You may be surprised to see how much your child will be enjoying learning while playing with the app.
Fitoons by Avokiddo is an app featuring a variety of foods which encourages kids to eat healthy, exercise and get fit!
What we love…
Fitoons encourages exercise, healthy eating both on and off device. By choosing a variety of foods and doing exercise with their character they can see what impact it has on their bodies.
What we’d love to see…
Encourage kids to go play outside and exercise. When performing sports like biking and skiing have the character wear the appropriate safety equipment like a helmet to carry over what we as parents are teaching at home.
Great app that encourages healthy eating, exercise and fun! Kids are able to perform actions within the app and see what it does to the player and enables families to have discussions about the importance of exercise, healthy eating and play!
Fitoons by Avokiddo features a workout demo and can even be configured to vegan food only! Upon opening Fitoons, there are three choices: dress up, pick your favorite outfit and character to workout in; exercise, where a variety of exercises both indoor and outdoor from sit ups to biking are featured and when tasks are completed you earn stars; foods – choose either healthy options or not and see swhat it does to your character. There are six different appliances to choose from. Avokiddo also features a wide variety of other apps which encourage fitness both physical and brain fitness, challenges related to physics, challenges, emotions and more. Avokiddo always has great apps that I always buy and recommend!
My kids love making food especially in the blender for smoothies. As a family we talked about healthy food choices like broccoli, watermelon, apple versus unhealthy like cupcakes and pizza. One of the things about the app that was fun was you could see the character’s expression depending on food choices. Make a bad choice, and you would see the character gain weight. Make a healthy choice like an apple and you would get a smile. After eating, it was time to head in for exercise. Every time you complete an exercise you are awarded stars which was encouraging for my kids. After performing the task on screen I also encouraged them to try it at home to encourage our physical fitness. There were exercises both inside and outside which encouraged off device time.
As a parent, I liked that Fitoons encouraged physical fitness, healthy eating choices while offering kids choices for clothing. I also liked that while exercising that the character would show facial expressions that indicated exercise wasn’t always easy! After exercising for a bit, we headed back to the kitchen for a healthy snack of apple, orange and broccoli. My kids were excited when they earned more characters by completing tasks within the Fitoons. They were even more excited when we went outside to play after playing with the Fitoons!
In terms of enhancements, I would like to see a section that encourages kids to go outside and play. My kids love playing sports outside like soccer, hitting a baseball or even dribbling a basketball. Even having a simple reminder for them like the words “great job, now you try it!” would be a great addition. Having safety equipment on outside sports like biking with a helmet or skiing with a helmet and googles would help to reinforce those needed behaviors.
Avokiddo apps are child friendly! There are no in-app purchases (IAP) and they are both COPPA and GDPR complaint. Avokiddo does not collect, store or share personal information or location data via their apps. There is no advertising outside of their own apps and they are safe for young children with included parental gates. Avokiddo apps do not require the use of the internet or your data to play other than the download.
Fitoons encourages healthy eating, exercise and fun! Kids are able to perform actions within Fitoons and see what it does to the player and enables families to have discussions about the importance of exercise, healthy eating and play!
Price: $3.99 USD
3, 2, 1 Go! Exercise, eat healthy, and get fit! Can a dog be an expert hurdler? Should you make smoothies from fruit or pizza? Find out in this fun fitness game for kids that’s like no other. <.
Dr. Panda Restaurant 3 is a fun restaurant themed app that lets you make each characters favorite dishes
What we’d love to see…
recipes for each of the menu items in the app – or at least the option to use a recipe
Dr. Panda Restaurant 3 is a fun cooking app that allows kids to cook and see the emotions of the characters based on their creations!
Dr. Panda Restaurant 3 by Dr. Panda Games is the newest app for iOS and Android which features your favorite characters from Dr. Panda games. In this app, characters’ from Dr. Panda come to life and are your customers in the restaurant. The app features over 20 ingredients, condiments and a wide variety of recipes to feed each of the characters. Each character comes into the restaurant and you can then set the table for them with a variety of items like a placemat, utensils, candle prior to giving them a menu. After the character gets a menu, they clap and nod when you choose their favorite entrée. Once they pick an item – it’s back to the kitchen with chef Dr. Panda. There you can slice, dice, cut up various items, grill, bake or even sauté using a variety of tools which range from knives, an oven to a cooktop. After you prepare the meal, the character gives stars to show satisfaction and then pays with coins on the counter Then it’s time to clean up and get ready for the next customer. This app targets children from preschool through early elementary school. As you make more recipes, more menu items become available.
One of my favorite things about Dr. Panda apps is the role play that happens while using the app. I enjoy watching my kids as they look at the characters while selecting a menu item as well as in the kitchen. My older son especially loved that the character’s face is on the screen and nods or claps — or even grimaces if it’s not a favorite ingredient when he was preparing foods. . I really liked the ability to have the characters rate the meals and earn stars which unlocked additional entrée items. The app appealed to both my preschooler and older son – both who enjoy helping in the kitchen. It’s also great to hear kids narrate as they cook.
In terms of enhancements, I’d like to see a recipe for some of the items especially the more complex recipes. My older son loves to cook with me in the kitchen and we have been practicing recipes as well as measuring. I’d also like to see things like loading the dishwasher or the ability to have a drink with your meal. Currently you are limited to one item per character. In addition, beyond traditional foods, it might be fun to include items like snacks or even desserts.
The app is free with in-app purchases. I do wish Dr. Panda would make the app as a paid app and allow both the free with IAP version as well as the paid version. The app includes a parental gate with the year for social media links and also features links (with a gate) to other Dr. Panda apps. You can see a list of many of our great Dr. Panda apps here.
Overall, this is a fun cooking themed app that encourages kids to role play as if they were in a kitchen and making food for their friends. I enjoyed playing with my kids and seeing their culinary creations. Dr. Panda Restaurant 3 is a fun cooking app that allows kids to cook and see the emotions of the characters based on their creations!
Dr. Panda Restaurant 3
by Dr. Panda Ltd
Be the world's best chef! Get cooking and serve delicious dishes! Show off your culinary creativity to impress your hungry diners, get rewarded and progress to become a real master chef!
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. If you use our links, we may make a small amount which helps defray the costs of running the site.
Instructional scaffolding to help build skills mastery.
What we’d love to see…
Written instructions for parents.
A potentially addictive 3D mobile game cum Math and Spelling learning app for grades 1-3.
The Land of Learnia is a Math and Spelling learning app that is set in a 3D virtual world where students are tasked to open up the learning paths across the islands by mastering various skills from Common Core Math and Spelling for grades 1 -3. Each island in Learnia contains work from a math or spelling grade level and students can choose to undertake work from one or more islands at any one time. As rewards, players earn animals that they can feed and play with in Learnia.
Students begin their learning journey on the central Island of Learnia where they meet the owl, Waddle. Waddle likes to take a walk along the Spelling Street and the Path of Math but these paths are blocked by skill stones. Players have to help move the stones out of the way by passing the time-based challenges on each skill stone. Each stone represents a math skill or spelling list to be mastered and the stones can be dealt with in any order. Players are advised to prepare themselves well for the tests by completing a series of lessons and training exercises provided.
Once conquered, these skills stones are converted to bronze, silver or gold depending on the level of mastery, and you can repeat these tests to improve your achievements. As the learning paths are cleared, Waddle is able to move forward and collect coins and gems along the paths adding to the student’s collection.
Each skill stone along the Spelling Street teaches a new spelling list and it comes with 4 different spelling exercises to help students learn and retain the new words. As each word is introduced, a sentence showing how to use the word in context is given verbally.
At the other end of the central island, the Path of Math leads the way to the various math skills from grade 1 to 3. A combination of lessons and hands-on learning exercises help prepare students to master the skills at each skill stone. First, students are encouraged to explore the math concept using digital manipulatives to build understanding. Then they are guided step-by-step on how to solve math problems. Appropriate support and useful tips are given when needed. Students can choose to write their answers on the screen or choose from a virtual keyboard.
What I like in this app is that different problem solving strategies are taught using various tools. These math strategies help students make connection between different mathematical concepts and build upon what they have already learnt. With stronger understanding and practice, students learn the math skills more easily and quickly.
Students are rewarded with a shower of coins and gems after each exercise and test, regardless of the score. Gems collected give game time to play 4 different types of computer games (Molecule Madness, Snakia, Tic-Tac-Toc and Five In a Row) while the collected coins can be used to buy a variety of animals unique to each island, to populate the Learnia world. Players will need more coins to get these animals food (which has expiry dates) and play items. It’s deeply satisfying for players to see their achievements and collections proudly displayed on the Learnia map. They can move around the map, exploring the different landscapes and immersing in the environmental sounds. Just watching what’s going on in the Land of Learnia can be relaxing for students.
The Learnia app is free to download with access to 14 skills stones, 6 for math and 8 for spelling. Thereafter, you have to purchase access to the island(s) corresponding to your child’s grade level – $4.99 per grade for spelling and $7.99 for each grade level of math. [Update : Teachers and their students get full access for free from now till August 2019, find instructions here.]
A student’s progress is saved in the cloud and synced across tablets (iOS and Android devices), and parents and teachers can share access to the student’s account. The app is also suitable for use in a classroom where teachers can set up accounts for each student and monitor what each student is working on in real time. They have information on which questions each student needs help with and review these with the student.
The Land of Learnia combines the best of mobile gaming and digital learning in one app. Students will want to come back frequently to check out their Learnia world and do some math and/or spelling work in order to feed their pets. There is a lot of content (especially for math) included which will provide hours of work to help students build confidence and mastery.
Google Play Learnia
Spelling – $4.99/grade level
Math – $7.99/grade level [Update : Teachers and their students get full access for free from now till August 2019, find instructions here.]
The land of Learnia
by Learnia Inc
Wouldn't it be great if a child would enjoy learning math and spelling skills?
Kids explore a 3D world with varied scenery and animals. To advance, kids master skill stones containing exercises.
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.
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