Dr. Panda Town: Vacation by Dr. Panda is universal app for iOS and Android featuring Dr. Panda and the gang on vacation! Visit one of five islands on a boat which you pilot around the harbor. The app, free with in-app purchases was tested with a full unlock. Islands include: Winter Island, Forest Islands, Deep Sea, Spa and Pool Deck, the new locations are Ancient Ruin & Underwater City. Let your mind wander with these fun vacation destinations. There are seven different areas to explore and 30 characters included in Dr. Panda Town: Vacation – there are people of various ages and ethnicity as well as your favorite Dr. Panda characters from other apps. Once you are inside a scene, you simply tap on the paw print to bring up the menu of characters.
What we love…
fun new areas including an underwater world and ancient tomb add more hours of fun along with great hidden surprises when you tap around
What we’d love to see…
Skiing, educational video within the ancient ruins and perhaps integration of a “way” to get to your vacation destination like an airplane, car or train
The new play areas are super fun additions to the existing game. My kids loved taking the treasures from the ruins and moving them to other vacation locations.
Dr. Panda Town: Vacation by Dr. Panda is universal app for iOS and Android featuring Dr. Panda and the gang on vacation! Visit one of five islands on a boat which you pilot around the harbor. Dr. Panda Town: Vacation, free with in-app purchases was tested with a full unlock. Islands include: Winter Island, Forest Islands, Deep Sea, Spa and Pool Deck, the new locations are Ancient Ruin & Underwater City. Let your mind wander with these fun vacation destinations. There are seven different areas to explore and 30 characters included in Dr. Panda Town: Vacation – there are people of various ages and ethnicity as well as your favorite Dr. Panda characters from other apps. Once you are inside a scene, you simply tap on the paw print to bring up the menu of characters.
There are 15 pets you can take on vacation as well as a bunch of great outfits, and you can easily switch from day to night. My kids loved tapping on everything to find secret and hidden areas – I’ve shared a few spoilers below just in case your kids are struggling to find them. One of the other things I liked was that I was able to encourage my kids to narrate what they were doing and tapping on – we practiced counting, colors, naming items just to name a few.
There are seven areas to explore inside Dr. Panda Town: Vacation from aboard the cruise ship: beach, forest, winter scene, deep sea and activities aboard a cruise ship.
• **NEW ** Underwater City – this is one of the brand new areas in this new update. Head underwater to a fun city to explore! There is music , sea creatures including fish, a fun seahorse and even a spinning egg with a hidden treasure (be sure to tap it and see the other items appear including the throne and there’s even a hidden door. Be sure to tap on the handle in the music room where you can toggle between music on a red carpet or a fancy meal! My kids loved the different foods at the fancy table. Tap on the table in between near the anchor and you can go deeper into the ocean to explore more ruins. Don’t forget your life jacket! The basketball floating in the ocean was fun tool.
• **NEW** Ancient Ruins – Pack your bags and head to the desert – it’s time to explore the ancient ruins! This area opens with a market in the desert with all sorts of fun items to discover including food, vases, hats as well as tools like a hammer, magnifying glass to start exploring. Use the magnifying glass to find hidden surprises like a light over the throne. Try out a cane or find the hidden character (hint – it’s yellow!)
• Forest Islands is everything that outside play should be according to my kids. From a tire swing, to a zip line, swimming in the pond, catching fish, a mini recycle game and more! You can also hang out in a tent, cook fruits and veggies as well as other foods on the grill and even shine a flashlight after dark. My younger son loved toasting marshmallows on this island, playing with the fireflies and sleeping in the hammock. When play time is over, you simply tap the arrow and head back to the ship.
• Winter Island (winter activities) features everything winter! From penguins, snow mobiles, building a snowman, skating, ice hockey, snow tubing and more! My older son liked the ice hockey and playing inside the cabin.
• Beach: Here there is music, ice cream, volleyball, sand, hang gliding, beach fun, rafting and even a snorkeling trip in a underwater shipwreck. This island also includes a treasure chest — make sure you find the hidden key to find the gems, and lots to explore underwater.
• Aboard the ship: you are the captain! You can play with binoculars, a compass, test a protractor, try charting your course and steer the ship. Down a few steps is a relaxing music lounge, observation deck, luggage storage space and even an outside spot where you can test out some foods. There are lots of hidden surprises like the dolphins jumping, octopus grabbing onto the ship, and spaces to hide and jump in. Head down to the pool deck and you can play in the water slide, lounge with a drink, play dress up, listen to music ,test the diving board and more! Don’t forget the water guns and sunscreen! There’s even a small area where you can make a variety of frozen drinks and even recycle your unneeded items.
My kids really liked the new addition of the ancient ruins and underwater city. This is a fun no rules app which they can play for a few minutes when we are running to an appointment and waiting or even just during some downtime. The wide variety of areas allows kids to explore and learn with fun activities and is a great way to practice language skills describing what you are seeing. For my preschooler we practiced counting the number of objects, naming them, we also looked for colors and shapes as well which really helped because he was having fun and playing.
In terms of improvements, my kids wanted a “way” to get to the vacation which could be an integration with Dr. Panda Airport, Dr. Panda Bus Driver or another way to get there. Traveling for them is a big part of the fun on vacation. They also said they would love an area where they could have waterslides off the cruise ship or even go skiiing in the Winter Island. It would also be great if there were videos about ancient ruins and how they came to be to add an additional educational aspect to Dr. Panda Town: Vacation. My kids also wanted a “selfie snap” like in Dr. Panda Town Mall.
Dr. Panda Town: Vacation is free with three unlock options. To unlock Winter Island and Spa the cost is $2.99. To unlock the forest, pool & deep sea the cost is $3.99. To unlock the ancient ruins and underwater city the cost is $1.99. You can unlock the entire app for $5.99 USD. The unlock works for all devices in your iTunes account. Overall, Dr. Panda Vacation is a fun app that encourages open ended play for children. The wide variety of options encourages kids to play and explore and the integration with the other Dr. Panda Town apps provides a significant value add because you can bring all of the apps together. Be sure to check out our other reviews on Dr. Panda games. The in-app purchases are accessed via a shopping cart which requires you to enter the year to access the app store.
With Valentines Day just around the corner, a great way to get in the mood is to share some Valentine’s themed apps and stories with your children. Here are some of our favorite apps that feature Valentine’s Day or Love – whether it be for a child, parent, grandparent or friends.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Little Critter by Oceanhouse Media
In this classic story from Mercer Mayer it’s Valentine’s Day and Little Critter is excited as they are having a big Valentines Day party at school. This is a great storybook app for young children as it prepares them for all the Valentine’s day activities they will typically do in pre-school and early Elementary School. It features word highlighting as it is read, record yourself options and touchable words.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Little Critter!
by Oceanhouse Media
Price: $1.99 USD
*** Featured By Apple - Valentine's Day Fun for Kids *** *** Top 10 Book Apps - February 2015 *** *** 100 Noteworthy Apps From 2015 - Children's Technology Review *** "Looking for a solid app.
Elmo Loves YouPop up Storybook App by Story Toys.
Adorable Elmo and his Sesame Street pals are the stars in this pop -up storybook app. Elmo narrates the sweet simple story and explains that everyone has something they love. On each page Elmo gives examples such as birds love to make music, babies love to make noise and kids love toys. There are lots of fun interactions to find and familiar Sesame Street characters appear throughout the app. Read our full review here
iTunes Link: Elmo Loves You! – StoryToys Entertainment Limited
Elmo Loves You!
by StoryToys Entertainment Limited
Price: $2.99 USD
This is a storybook and early-learning reading app, which will help teach your child about love and friendship as you enjoy storytime together.
** Winner of The Appy Awards Best Book App **
I Love You Too – Ziggy Marley by Oceanhouse Media
This is Ziggy Marley’s first children’s book and is based on his 2009 song of the same name. It is about the power of love between a parent and child. It has bright colorful engaging illustrations by Ag Jatkowska and there is even an option to hear Ziggy sing the whole song.
Sing and play with Ziggy Marley as you explore his first children's book based off the song from his Grammy Award winning album "Family Time!" Explore pictures, learn new vocabulary, and personalize the.
I Love You All the Time by Cookie Bear Press
Delightful adaptation of the print book for young children and their families to read together, especially if family lives far away or children simply need reassurance that Mommy and Daddy will always love them no matter what they do. This simple bedtime story features rhyming verse with heartfelt sentiments and bright, simple colorful graphics. The app also has lots of hidden animations, a song and a record it yourself option. Read our full review
I Love You All The Time
by Cookie Bear Press, Inc.
Price: $1.99 USD
REVIEWS: "...should not be missing in your kids apps collection." topbestappsforkids.com
The light animation and digital enhancements are perfect for the toddler set. Highly Recommended!" www.
Will & Kate by Ink Robin
Will & Kate is about the real life fairytale romance between Prince William and HRH Kate Middeton, Duchess of Cambridge. It is told with hand drawn cartoons, interactive animations and lots of British humor. Sheep and corgis pop up a lot, and kids will have a lot of fun with this app from Ink Robin, and it is currently FREE
iTunes Link: Will & Kate – Ink Robin
Will & Kate
by Ink Robin
'Will and Kate is a charming, clever, witty and utterly gorgeous e-book. I want to read it over and over again forever ... This is truly one of the best e-books I've seen.' Kids Book Review
Draw With Hearts- Happy Valentine’s Day by L’Escapadou
Have fun creating your own Valentines Day pictures with this free app from L’Escapadou -the developers of the popular educational apps Word Wizard and Writing Wizard. You can turn your own photos into Valentine’s Day cards by adding animated pulsing hearts in different colors and sizes.
Draw with Hearts - Happy Valentine's Day !
Note: Screenshot feature does not work anymore in iOS6. So please use the following workaround: -Press the Home button (the main button below the screen) and Sleep button (on the top edge of the device.
My Little Pony: Hearts and Hooves Day by PlayDate Digital.
Little pony fans will enjoy this Valentines-themed storybook app. It is Hearts and Hooves Day in Ponyville – a day when ponies celebrate friendship and caring for one another. The fillies get carried away trying to find a special friend for their teacher Miss Cheerilee. Everything goes wrong but they manage to put it all right and learn a valuable lesson in the process and that Hearts and Hooves Day is really about friendship and caring for one another.
My Little Pony: Hearts and Hooves Day
by PlayDate Digital
Price: $2.99 USD
It's Hearts and Hooves Day, and all of Ponyville is celebrating friendship!
But that’s not enough for Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom! They want to help their teacher, Miss Cheerilee.
Is the Witch in Love by Slim Cricket
The witch thinks she’s in love with the handsome and famous sorcerer Merlinor. She dreams of being invited to the big party that he throws every year for Halloween. Despite the advice of her faithful bat-friend, Batina, she decides to do everything she can to charm Merlinor: change her appearance, swap her old broomstick for a deluxe model and even learn good manners.
Is the Witch in Love?
Price: $2.99 USD
“Is the Witch in Love?” is a subtle blend of story, games and cartoons.
Discover --- or rediscover --- “The Witch with No Name” in a new interactive adventure full of emotion and magic.<.
Grandma loves bugs by Fairlady Media
Grandma Loves Bugs by Fairlady Media includes ten mini games including: spot the difference, magic coloring, letter match, bug spelling, counting fireflies, number groups, bug identification, feed the baby bird, bug matching and building a spider web. The app incorporates skills for children aged preschool through early elementary school who are learning while they are having fun!
Grandma Loves Bugs
by Fairlady Media
Price: $2.99 USD
Learn all about bugs with Grandma! This adventurous Grandma needs help identifying bugs, coloring butterflies, catching fireflies, spelling buggy words, matching letters on bees and flowers, building .
I love Mountains by Forest Giant
Mountains are AMAZING! Join Sloan Graham as she shares her love of mountains in her first book for the iPad. Inside you’ll explore and learn how mountains form and where some of the most impressive mountains are located. You’ll also learn a thing or two about the plants and wildlife that call mountains their home.
I Love Mountains
by Forest Giant, Inc.
Mountains are AMAZING! Join Sloan Graham as she shares her love of mountains in her first book for the iPad. Inside you'll explore and learn how mountains form and where some of the most impressive mountains.
Nampa Farm by Nampa Design is a cute farm themed app which includes eight mini games, creative play and most of all fun! The app requires no reading or speech and allows kids to get creative while playing. The app is designed by Nampa Design based in Sweden. Be sure to check out our other Nampa Design app reviews too including Nampa Holiday and Nampa Party.
What we love…
illustrations and fun mini games
What we’d love to see…
planting veggies, a tractor driving game
Nampa Farm is a delightful app aimed at toddlers, preschool and kindergarteners packed with fun! The mini games are engaging and encourage kids to tap, touch and explore all in a safe environment.
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The Nampa Farm eight mini games include:
1) Fixing farm vehicles (including putting wheels on and making sure they are oiled so they are not squeaky)
2) Giving the sheep a makeover complete with shaving or blow drying more fur on, bows, and the ability to dye the sheep your favorite color
3) Decorating the farm house complete with paint and shapes using a brush, stamper or narrower brush
4) Planting magic flowers from flower seeds and seeing what will grow after you water it. My son enjoyed mixing the various seeds in the pot
5) Playing the chicken piano by tapping on the chickens while they squack, crow or make other funny noises – you can either have background music on or off.
6) Decorating horses in the stable with paint, a saddle and bridle and even dying their mane. Tap on the brush to see the fun designs you can make – my son loved the braids!
7) Build a scarecrow complete with a themed head which ranges from vegetable, a farm bucket, balloon and more! Then you put on a hat, and a shirt, apron a all while your fun Nampa friends have carrots while they watch. You can also decorate your items on the scarecrow as while while decorating
8) It’s time to groove to the disco – this is a signature of Nampa games and truthfully one of my four year old’s favorite parts. You can make the lights flash colors, dance along and listen to fun music!
I loved the illustrations and fun games in Nampa Farm – somehow my son always started using the Disco first and last while playing the various mini games in between. I liked that Nampa Farm was quick or longer to play which made it perfect for those in between moments when I just needed a quick break and it was educational. Having grown up in New England with chickens I personally enjoyed the zany chickens as well as the tractor.
In terms of enhancements, I would love to see a drive the tractor game beyond just decorating it and fixing the squeaky wheels. It might also be fun to plant some vegetables on the farm beyond the flowers. One of my kids favorite things about going to a farm after seeing the animals is to check out the great vegetables that they have. They also love to water things!
Nampa Farm requires no wi-fi to play, no third party advertising or in-app purchases.
Overall, Nampa Farm is a delightful app aimed at toddlers, preschool and kindergarteners packed with fun! The mini games are engaging and encourage kids to tap, touch and explore all in a safe environment. It’s always fun for me to see the different ways that my kids interact with apps or play with them in ways I might not have expected such as always playing the Disco at the start and end of each time playing with an 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. <.
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