Bluebee Pals App by Kayle Concepts LLC – Review



Bluebee Pals App by Kayle Concepts LLC – Review

What we love…

Bluebee Pals app is a fun educational app which encourages kids to practice daily routines, using words to narrate what they are doing, sight words and play

 

Summary

Overall, the Bluebee Pals app is a fantastic app which encourages kids to learn as well as have fun. I love seeing all the different ways that my kids interact with the app and try the various activities. The app is gender neutral and allows you to pick your favorite Bluebee Pal to play along OR choose your own Bluebee Pal.

Our Rating

Bluebee Pals App

Bluebee Pals App

Bluebee Pals app by Kayle Concepts LLC  is a universal app for iOS and Android.  As many of you know, I have been part of The iMums for a really long time!  I’m pleased to note, that I had a chance to help design this app.  The app brings BlueBee Pals to life using an app which teaches life skills such as; bathing, tooth brushing, washing hands, bedtime routines, as well as a kitchen which encourages your child to feed Bluebee a variety of meals and snacks.  The app uses scaffolded learning, the first mini game is generally easier and for younger children – if you tap the arrow at the bottom you are given a more complex game for example, lining up your ABC’s turns into sight words.  In the ice cream mini game, first you find the Bluebee Pals and then you have to match them to the appropriate beach chairs. You can learn more about the app on the Bluebee Pals website.

Upon opening the app, you are able to select your favorite Bluebee Pal – or one that you already have.  Then you can view an instructional video where you learn more about Bluebee Pals and how to connect them.  From there you can enter your child’s name – and while there touch each of the Bluebees to have them say their name and wave!  Choose your favorite color balloon, and a favorite activity.  A screen is presented with a variety of things you can do with your Bluebee Pals – did you know that Bluebee works with any Bluetooth enabled device ranging from a smartphone, laptop, smart TV, to a tablet?  After that you are brought to the hub of the app where you choose a room for your daily activity – which I will highlight below.

The app features narration and a variety of fun games as well.  Below I will highlight each – these can be accessed either from the house hub or via the Bluebee Pals library.

  • Kitchen – Enter and exit the kitchen to try a variety of meal options including: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  Be sure to enter and exit the kitchen multiple times so you can see each of the meal options.  The recycle bin lets you recycle items as well!  There are cups, plates, food and even a cake to put on the table.
  • Living Room – Enter the living room and tap on the various objects including the couch, iPad and laptop to hear their name
  • Bedroom – Enter the bedroom and see how Bluebee cleans his room and puts his sneakers away!  He also uses an animated guitar, shoe typing sequence and then a bedtime routine.  In this room you can also put Bluebee to bed, change the covers and then turn off the light.  After the Bluebee goes to sleep, you can go back to his bedroom and tap on the objects in the room.
  • Bathroom – Enter the bathroom and give your Bluebee a shower.  Turn on the water and then tap the sponge to wash Bluebee’s fur.  After getting out of the tub Bluebee needs to be dried with a bathtowel or blow drier.  Then, brush the fur so it’s soft and clean.  After bathtime, it’s time to brush teeth – kids move around the toothbrush to clean their teeth.  After 20 seconds, teeth are clean and it’s time to practice washing hands.  Then kids can tap on the items in the bathroom to hear their names.
  • Playroom – This room has learning and fun!  Kids can practice their ABC’s and sight words, drag Bluebee through the maze, find a Bluebee on the island and match them to chairs, move cars and trucks around the track and hear their horns.  Other mini games include a six piece puzzle, voice recorder so kids can record their voice — or parents can record their voice and have the app say it back.  There is also a robot game where you assemble robots, dress up and match fruits to the right color balloon.
  • Bluebee Pals Library – Using this library you can select a mini game for the playroom.
  • Bluebee Resource Section – this parental gated area requires a four digit date of birth where you can access resources including: voice recorder, activities along with app reviews, a letter from founder Laura Jiencke about Bluebee Pals.  This parental gated area does contain external links.

My son loves this app – one of his favorite mini games is the cars and trucks around the track.  He loves placing all the cars on the track at the same time and seeing them zoom around.  As a parent, I love that the app has both an educational and fun component to it.  My son will practice zooming cars, learning letters, practicing the names of foods and more!  I really liked that we can show a bath routine sequence, and then follow through in real life.  I also loved using the app with our Bluebee Pal Parker who speaks the narration and moves his head in time to the app.  My son also loved reading with Bluebee – for a full list of items that you can try with Bluebee – look in the resource section accessed from the main hub of the house or try this link.  The app contains a parental gated area with resources and external links.  I find that my son is repeating words that he learned in the app – especially in the kitchen and I’ve even gotten him to ask for a few foods like banana as a result of seeing them in the app.  Above, I have highlighted each of the individual areas and items within the app – my kids have spent hours discovering each section as well as practicing letters, puzzles, creative thinking to solve problems and more.

Overall, the Bluebee Pals app is a fantastic app which encourages kids to learn as well as have fun.  I love seeing all the different ways that my kids interact with the app and try the various activities.  The app is gender neutral and allows you to pick your favorite Bluebee Pal to play along OR choose your own Bluebee Pal.


Bluebee Pals Bluebee Pals by Kayle Concepts LLC

Price: $FREE

Bluebee Pals app is an interactive app which brings your Bluebee Pal to life! No Bluebee Pal is needed to use the app or you can use your own Bluebee Pal. The app features activities of daily living.

Google Play

NOTE: I was involved in the design of this app.  By clicking the link above and downloading this free app, you may help The iMums earn a small affiliate commission.

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 Restaurant 3 by Dr. Panda Games – Review



 

What we love…

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

Summary

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!

Our Rating

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 Dr. Panda Restaurant 3 by Dr. Panda Ltd

Price: $FREE

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!

UNLEASH.

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.

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.

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.

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