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It’s Not What You’ve Got! – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer By Oceanhouse Media

  • September 7, 2011 7:52 am

It’s Not What You’ve Got! – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer By Oceanhouse Media is a VERY educational app for young kids. My daughter certainly needed the lesson in It’s Not What You’ve Got! – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer By Oceanhouse Media.

Exploring the idea of money and possessions isn’t something we like to have to talk with our kids about. It’s Not What You’ve Got! – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer By Oceanhouse Media handles the initial conversation and gives us a starting point for the rest of the talk as it pertains to our situation. There are many lessons in this book/app that a parent just might not explore with their child and perhaps some diversions for when the talk gets a little tough.

It might seem silly to have an app about possessions on the iPad of all things, but all kids have concerns about possessions and money. Simple things like not using credit cards and living within your means are great things to learn or at least understand when you are young. I wish I had understood these things back then!

Great graphics, good story, and very well told. Easy to listen to.

Fun – 1 (Purely a learning app)
Attention – 4
Learning – 5

Total – 10

PadRacer By SMHK Funlab

  • September 6, 2011 7:44 am

PadRacer By SMHK Funlab is really a game for the whole family. As a young boy I would have found it irresistible, but as an not-so-young man I have been able to enjoy the game with my ten year old. We just now figured out how to link both iPads! (You have to choose the last track – e I believe).

The game is as fun as it is novel. As long as you have an iPad and at least one iPhone hooked to the same WIFI network you are set. You easily setup the game on the iPad then start the app on the iPhone(s) and you are linked. I haven’t seen a case where this didn’t just work. My iPads even connect to a different wireless band then the iPhones 4s so it was cool it worked just fine.

Game play is challenging especially if you are like my ten year old and like to hit boost constantly! The cars handle like 1940’s cars might. Very loose. The tracks are fun to build and you can see in the video we try to make them as crazy as we can before the app tells us NO!

Hooking up two iPads is fun, but not any more fun than one iPad. This is a novelty game that is fun for the whole family and some friends. Definitely worth the download!

Fun – 5
Attention – 4
Learning – 1 (Some games are just fun!)

Total – 10

I am marking PadRacer By SMHK Funlab as an iPad only game since it requires an iPad to play the game.

Time Run by Marc Didillon

  • August 31, 2011 7:21 am

Time Run by Marc Didillon is a fun and simple app from a great guy and a great uncle. Time Run by Marc Didillon simply has you running (it is called a side scroller) and trying to catch butterflies. There isn’t much more to the app than that other than it is simple and fun. A great distraction while you are waiting for your food to arrive or in line at Disneyland or something.

My four year old likes the app and has played several times. She cannot make it very far unless the vacuum comes out, but still she has fun doing it. Check out the video for more!

Fun – 5
Attention – 3
Learning – 1 (perhaps they learn to count a bit or hand eye coordination)

Total – 9

Air Display By Avatron Software, Inc.

  • August 23, 2011 7:33 am

I asked Avatron is I could review Air Display because I thought it would make a great way for my daughter to play Flash apps on the iPad and I was right! Since my daughter is usually using my iPad in the house (90% of the time) she is connected to the same wifi as my computer.

With Air Display I just load up a browser with Nick Jr and she can tap away! It take a minute or two to configure Air Display the very first time, but after you have the little widget installed on your PC or MAC (we have tried both and they work well!) you can connect over wifi by selecting the iPad running AirDisplay.

I have used it on my iPad as well when I just needed another screen. Actually that is what the app is meant for, but I really wanted my daughter to have a full Firefox web browser experience on the iPad for a few things and this solution works well. You can do the same thing with your iPhone, but for kids this screen seems to be a little small.

(no rating because this is not actually a kids app exactly, but a solution for parents with kids)

Great app. Definitely worth the list price. Next to iTad RDP and VNC which I am also reviewing this one requires almost no configuration at all.

MemNeon by Alchemista

  • June 1, 2011 7:37 am

Some apps are hard to describe. I guess it is good that we make videos of each app.

MemNeon by Alchemista is one of those apps that is hard to describe. It reminds me of a game I would play if I were a tron character. Awesome graphics, a great sound scheme, and an interesting game.

What type of game? Well I suppose it is like Simon says, but much more complex. This is like Simon Says for MENSA members. It is challenging and fun to try and remember the patterns. You get better at it. After playing for about an hour I was much better than when I started. Am I getting smarter? I am not sure I can tell. Perhaps sharper?

The video shows my ten year old playing the game. She was doing well, but you can see how quickly things can go wrong. If you like puzzles that are obvious yet difficult this game is for you. I enjoy it a lot. I think it is appropriate for a challenge competition. Probably ten and up at least.

I played it on my iPhone first and it was enjoyable. Plenty of room. We recorded it on the iPad, but one app fits all (I like it when developers do this).

Attention – 5
Fun – 4
Learning – 3 (I just cannot quantify the learning, but am sure it is at least making my brain work which is good).

Total – 12

Spelling With Friends Tap To Learn

  • May 27, 2011 7:22 am

We really like Tap to Learn. They create some great apps. Spelling With Friends is another good app. Not only can you spell with friends, but the app has some real learning potential. It isn’t perfect, but I think they can get it right.

The app has a lot of words. I mean a lot. I was shocked when I first heard the words she was asked to learn. As she played with the app more and more she really felt challenged by the learning experience. She did good, but man the words are hard to learn sometimes.

The app isn’t perfect. The app list is very long but it doesn’t seem to have a way to filter the words. There aren’t categories or anything like that. The testing is a positive since it provides a nice feedback to the user. It is like a spelling bee. You can check the definition and origin and see the word used in a sentence. Good things, but when it is used in a sentence you see how to spell it. Setting some scruples aside, as kids are quick to do, you can figure out the words quickly. In the challenge a friend mode I could just have a dictionary next to me and cheat. Just saying.

So not perfect, but since we are all involved parents, this is a solid spelling app with many, many words. I am sure the people at Tap to Learn will release an update to address some of the small issues and the filtering of words.

Attention – 5
Learning – 5
Fun – 2

Total – 12. It isn’t fun, but it is learning. Buy the app :)

Check out my daughter playing and learning:

Hokey Pokey Superheroes by Cambridge English Online ltd

  • May 25, 2011 7:56 am

I remember dancing to the Hokey Pokey at the local skating rink when I was kid. It was fun to make silly faces and dance around crazy to the song. Everyone participated–even the parents. It was a lot of fun.

Hokey Pokey Superheroes by Cambridge English Online ltd brings back that same fun and silliness. Hokey Pokey Superheroes by Cambridge English Online ltd makes the game fun again by playing the song so we can dance along. There are a few other treats in the app as well like a song that lets you add your own body part.

The point is the game is simple and fun. Camping? Play the app? Sitting around the living room with the kids and have five minutes before bed? Do the hokey pokey. It just works.

Fun – 5
Learning – 1
Attention – 5 (it isn’t that your kids will play for hours, but rather that you will play with your kids for a bit!)

Total 11

Rainforest Survival Challenge Ruckus Media Group

  • May 18, 2011 7:49 am

Saving the Rainforest is cool isn’t it? Aren’t we all concerned that the cure for cancer is actually sitting in the Rainforest waiting to be discovered? The cure is probably the saliva from a carrion eating bird or beetle “perfume.” To teach your kids more about the circle of life and the animals in the rainforest be sure to check out Rainforest Survival Challenge Ruckus Media Group.

At first look it is a complex card game matching animals against each other for survival. There is a heavy tutorial to get you started and I suggest you pay attention! Really the point is to understand what the animals on the card eat and what threatens them. You can see the name of the animal by clicking the card once and the details of the animal by clicking the card twice. Pretty good information, but it isn’t an encyclopedia (remember those?).

Is it fun? yes. My ten year old daughter and I played with the app as a team for about 30 minutes the first time around. She is certainly going to pick it up again as a quick 10-15 minute game to play. Can you learn something from the app? Certainly. If we are comparing this sort of app to a flash based game on nickjr.com there is really no comparison. This game teaches you tangible facts about a set of animals. That information by itself might not be valuable, but as a starting point for the next assignment about animals at school it might just be enough.

Fun – 2 (it is a learning app, but still kind of fun to try and win)
Learning – 3 The subject matter is limited, but that is ok.
Attention – 3 You will not play this app for more than 15 minutes at a time perhaps 30 like we did.

Total – 8

LOGO by Emmanuel CROMBEZ

  • May 17, 2011 7:48 am

This summer you might have an eight to fifteen year old at home. This young child might want to stay in their room all day and play with their playstation, xbox360, or Wii. What do you want them to do? Use the iPad to learn programming of course!

LOGO by Emmanuel CROMBEZ is the app for you. It will introduce your child to the fun and challenging world of computer programming. Even if your child may have no interest in computers or programming, the math and logic involved are great teaching tools.

LOGO is a programming language that was developed in 1967, according to Crombez. It is not a language to write an application per se, but rather to teach logic and program design and fundamentals. You can tell (or ask as Crombez puts it) the turtle to move across the screen to make various shapes and designs.

I used this same language in linux with my ten year old when she was about six. It was fun to see the turtle move across the screen and command it to draw. Thinking about what to have the turtle do next is like telling a story where you have to be really careful not to miss a part. This is a great learning exercise for kids and adults!

Right now LOGO by Emmanuel CROMBEZ is in French, but Emmanuel sent over the documentation he was translating to English and I was able to update a few pieces. Hopefully this means and English version will be posted soon. When it is I will make an update to this post, but we used the French version and although the commands are sometimes in French, they are computer commands so really they could be in any language that is legible (Chinese writing is not really something I can “read” or even “recognize” easily for instance).

Fun – 4 It is fun to see the turtle do silly things
Learning – 5
Attention – 4 It really depends on the child, but parent involvement is necessary at first.
Total – 13

Check out me and my ten year old playing with the French version of the app:

SwipeTapTap By MochiBits

  • May 9, 2011 7:17 am

SwipeTapTap By MochiBits is a fun app for kids to play. Can it teach them something? Perhaps, but that is not the point. It is fun and also kind of hard. The first video I have is of my four year old playing the game. She loves it and has lot of fun, but it is hard for her. Her video only shows the Tap Tap portion of the game, but there is a lot more to it I assure you.

When I play the game I go for the mode where it gets harder and harder as you go along. It adds in swipes and gets faster. It is a lot of fun and also hard. That is the point. Just to get as far as you can make it. I enjoy it and spend 10-15 minutes each time I open it up.

Is it a fun game to have on your device? Yep. Is it challenging? Sure is. Edit: After I wrote this review we started to challenge each other and it has become a lot of fun. Check out the videos below to see how such a simple but challenging app can be fun for everyone in the family.

Fun – 5
Attention – 3
Learning – 2

Total – 10, but this is a fun app and it is fun, so it is recommended for sure.

Check this app out in the app store:

Check out my four year old playing with the app:

I challenged the wife to a game too:

OK then my ten year old wanted to check it out and we competed a little: