Meal Monsters – Review


What we love…

Kids learn how to cook in the real world using on-screen interactive and animated instructions

What we’d love to see…

A section on the nutrition vocabulary words

Summary

A fun and entertaining recipe app that gets kids excited about cooking

Our Rating

Your children are done with preparing and cooking virtual meals in their favorite apps and they are now ready to undertake the challenge of making real food. They want to enter a real kitchen, don the apron, handle real ingredients, use real utensils and kitchen equipment, follow a recipe, create a yummy meal and eat it. So, what is the next app, you ask.

Well, they can graduate to the Meal Monsters app which uses cute animations to teach kids how to make real food with the help of 3 funny meal monsters – Sal, Gor, and Pom from the Planet Yum. This free-to-download Meal Monsters app comes with 3 simple recipes and 4 bonus monster-themed activities. A passcode-protected in-app purchase unlocks 5 additional recipes and more are in the works.

The recipes are all easy to make and offer a variety of homemade goodies. Starting with a no-cook recipe for preparing a smoothie, subsequent recipes require more ingredients and involve more steps. An adult should be on hand to supervise.

The recipes begin with food facts and nutrition information, encouraging children to have the habit of seeking out these information and use only ingredients with high nutritional value. To make the recipes suitable for families with different dietary needs, alternative ingredients for a vegan diet and allergen information are also included in the recipes. Each recipe serves at least 3 persons (kids love to share their creation with the family) and includes serving suggestions.

After choosing a recipe, children can first go through the steps in the app before attempting to make it. Each step in the recipe is presented through an interactive animation that requires kids to be actively engaged in the cooking process. They learn about the various food preparation and cooking methods – weigh, measure, peel, chop, grate, whisk, mix, blend, boil, microwave, bake, fry, etc. They also learn about the utensils and kitchen equipment that are used in the recipes. Cooking and playing with the meal monsters at the same time makes the process less intimidating and helps build your child’s confidence. It’s just a lot more fun!

What I like about this app is that it is child-friendly with cute characters and their silly antics. The monsters in the app also add some amusement for the kids, making it possible to enjoy the app even when your child is not cooking. There are 4 monster-themed activities to keep kids entertained outside of the kitchen – the ‘Planet Yum’ Movie tells the story of the 3 Meal Monsters, the Family Album introduces the characters, the ‘Make a Monsie’ allows kids to take a monster selfie while the 3-levels Monster Match game features food/objects and characters from the app. And these are all included in the free app.

Cooking is a fun family activity and it has many educational benefits like learning about nutrition, following instructions, sensory exploration of different food textures, improved fine motor skills, hands-on learning of math and science concepts, and etc. Besides being an important life skill, the ability to cook builds your children’s self-esteem and encourages them to seek healthier food choices when they are eating out. They are also more receptive to trying out new foods that they have prepared and cooked themselves. (This really works!)

Healthy recipes for kids are easy to find but an app that offers both interactive animated instructions and fun activities is a godsend to any family. It will help make your children’s early cooking experience more enjoyable and rewarding. Meal Monsters is free to download and your children can play with it right away. But soon, they will be asking to make all the yummy food that they see in the app. Have fun!

 

 

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Meal Monsters

Meal Monsters Meal Monsters by Meal Monsters Ltd

Price: $FREE

Meal Monsters is an animated educational app that combines recipes, games and storytelling to encourage children to cook and eat healthy meals.
It is through engaging recipe stories and exciting characters.

 

 

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.



Free Apps for July 4



What is Fast Free Five?
Free Apps for July 4 is a collection of quality apps from various genres that we have taken the time to find especially for our readers. They are not ‘Lite’ versions, they are full versions that are free for a limited time only so you’ll need to be fast if you want them at the reduced price. These apps were free at the time of publishing this article but are subject to change at any time. Always check the price before downloading. If you like these apps, be sure to share this post with your friends. Enjoy!

Sign up to The iMums Daily Digest so that you will never miss a free app!

Free Apps



Dr. Panda Farm Dr. Panda Farm by Dr. Panda Ltd

Price: $2.99 USD

Get ready to harvest!
RUN YOUR VERY OWN FARM!
Have you ever wanted to run your very own farm? Now you can with Dr. Panda! Escape to the countryside and learn how to become a farmer! Make bread.



i Get... Going to Fireworks Social Skills Stories i Get... Going to Fireworks Social Skills Stories by I Get It, LLC

Price: $FREE

i Get… Going to Fireworks is an application providing a photo social skill story for individuals that need support in understanding the process of watching fireworks. Twelve icons with real picture .



i Get ... Going to the Grocery Store Vocabulary Photo Books and Social Skills Stories i Get ... Going to the Grocery Store Vocabulary Photo Books and Social Skills Stories by I Get It, LLC

Price: $2.99 USD

i Get… Going to the Grocery Store is an application providing photo albums including a social skill story, grocery vocabulary and a grocery list for individuals that need support in understanding the.



Sago Mini Babies Dress Up Sago Mini Babies Dress Up by Sago Mini

Price: $FREE

IT’S DRESS UP TIME! Get ready for hours of super cute dress up fun! Play with babies Jack, Jinja, Harvey and Robin in the most adorable dress up app for toddlers. Use your imagination to assemble outfits.



Mileage Log+ Trip Log Tracker Mileage Log+ Trip Log Tracker by Light Room Studios

Price: $FREE

Mileage Log+ is THE essential app for tracking and logging mileage.
Use Mileage Log+ for tax deductions, expense tracking, reimbursement and logging business trips.

5 Star Reviews:
"Tried.

The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Article: 7 awesome podcasts for preschoolers by Commonsense Media

By: Frannie Ucciferri

Tired of listening to music in the car? Want to teach your kids instead of having them passively learn? Seven great podcasts for kids preschool and beyond.

Your kid’s new favorite magazine might just be … a podcast? That’s right, Goofus and Gallant from Highlights magazine are going high-tech, and they’re not alone. They’re joining rebel girls, talking cats and dogs, and even pirate comedians on this list of some of the best podcasts you and your little kids might not be listening to yet.

From toothbrushing tips to fabulous folktales, these fresh podcasts prove without a doubt that audio shows have come into their own. With creative offerings featuring lively narration, original songs, and occasional big-name guest stars, even the youngest listeners can get in on the action. Now road trips and activities that used to be a chore can be transformed into fun, educational experiences for the whole family.

If you’re a podcast newbie, check out 20 Podcasts for Kids, which offers tips for how to listen plus more recommendations for all ages. Otherwise open up your favorite audio app and dive into these age-appropriate picks for preschoolers and little kids.

How to Listen

It can be daunting for a first-timer to enter the world of podcasts, but digital tools have made it easier than ever to start listening. Podcasts are available to stream online or with a “podcatcher,” an app you can download specifically for podcasts. Here are some popular options for listening:

  • Podcasts. The original podcast app (only available for Apple iOS).  FREE!
  • Stitcher Radio for Podcasts. “Stitch” together custom podcast playlists with this mobile app
  • Pocket Casts. A mobile app with a sleek, easy-to-use interface
  • SoundCloud. An online audio-streaming platform for podcasts as well as music (also an app)
  • Podbay.fm. Streaming platform specifically for podcasts (app available for Android, but iOS coming soon)
  • NPR One.  Download content and stream via Bluetooth in your car.  Many of the podcasts below are from NPR content

Once you have your favorite app or website, search its library by topic and start exploring everything from science to sports to movies and more. And don’t forget to subscribe! Subscribing lets the app push new episodes directly to your device as soon as they’re available, so you’ll always have the latest update at your fingertips.

Pros and Cons of Podcasts for Kids

On the plus side, podcasts:

  • Boost learning. With engaging hosts and compelling stories, podcasts can be great tools to teach kids about science, history, ethics, and more. Listening to stories helps kids build vocabulary, improve reading skills, and even become more empathetic.
  • Reduce screen time. With podcasts, families can enjoy the same level of engagement, entertainment, and education as screen-based activities without worrying about staring at a screen.
  • Go anywhere. Podcasts are completely portable. You can listen in the car, on the bus, or in a classroom or even while doing chores around the house.
  • Cost nothing. Podcasts don’t have subscription or download fees, so anyone with internet access can listen and download for free. Most podcatcher apps are free, too.
  • Get two thumbs up from kids! Podcasts are designed to hook kids with music, jokes, compelling stories, and more. Some are designed in a serial format with cliffhangers at the end to get kids to tune back in.

On the downside, podcasts:

  • Play lots of ads. Many podcasts run several minutes of ads at the beginning or end. Because they’re often read by the podcast host, the ads can feel like a hard sell.
  • Can be confusing. Many podcasts update regularly, so you can jump right in and start listening. Others are styled like radio or TV shows, so the most recent episode is actually the end of a season. Check whether something is serialized or long-form before listening to the most recent update.
  • Vary in age-appropriateness. The iTunes Store labels podcasts “Explicit” or “Clean,” but even a “Clean” label doesn’t guarantee kid-friendly content. When in doubt, listen first before sharing with your kids.

Chompers podcast logoChompers
Chompers is a bite-sized, twice-daily podcast meant to encourage kids to brush their teeth for the full dentist-recommended two minutes. Each morning and night, kids can enjoy short quizzes, fun facts, stories, riddles, and jokes, all with gentle reminders to get the front, back, and tops of their teeth. There are even morning cliffhangers to encourage you to come back for your nighttime brush.

Circle Round podcast logoCircle Round
Circle Round is an engaging, gentle storytime podcast aimed at kids. In every episode, narrator Rebecca Sheir tells a lesser-known folktale or story from around the world, helped by a rotating voice cast of talented stage-and-screen actors. The stories are captivating and compelling and nearly always accompanied by a positive message or moral.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls podcast logoGood Night Stories for Rebel Girls
Rebels of all genders will be enthralled by this podcast, based on the best-selling book by the same name, with inspiring biographies of historical women read by inspiring modern women. These true stories are fascinating bits of history told simply enough that kids will be able to follow them. It’s hard not to feel empowered after listening to a few episodes.

Highlights Hangout podcast logoHighlights Hangout
The minds behind the kids’ podcast Wow in the World have transformed the popular magazine Highlights into a high-energy audio series. Classic favorites from the magazine like “Goofus and Gallant,” “Ask Arizona,” and “Hidden Pictures” (or, in this case, “The Hidden Sounds Game”) are reimagined as variety show segments, cheerfully guided along by hosts Tim and Juanita.

Little Stories for Tiny People podcast logoLittle Stories for Tiny People
The whimsical, soothing stories on this podcast are perfect for preschoolers, but “big people” will appreciate them, too. Host Rhea Pechter’s melodic voice and the recurring cast of animal friends will delight young kids. And the clever, well-crafted stories touch on age-appropriate messages and topics.

 

Story Pirates podcast logoStory Pirates
Nothing can really match a kid’s original story in terms of absurd comedy. And that’s what’s at the heart of this wacky, wild, imaginative podcast. In each episode, the Story Pirates crew — a group of talented improvisers pretending to be pirates — read short stories written and submitted by kids, then reenact them with hilarious results. There are even original songs, famous guest stars, and interviews with the young authors about how it feels to have their work adapted.

This Podcast Has Fleas podcast logoThis Podcast Has Fleas
With a hilarious concept and a fantastic voice cast, This Podcast Has Fleas is a delight for all ages. The premise is that two family pets — an exuberant dog named Waffles and a cool cat named Jones — have dueling podcasts where they talk about what’s going on in the house from their (obviously superior) perspectives. Dog people and cat people will be howling with laughter.

 

About the author

As associate managing editor, Frannie Ucciferri makes sure each of Common Sense Media’s more than 30,000 reviews and 700 curated lists is as complete and comprehensive as possible. Frannie is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where she earned a degree in cognitive science and taught a class on her favorite TV show ever, Arrested Development. Her passion for reading and writing is paralleled only by her love of Bay Area sports, especially baseball. When she isn’t playing with her dogs or trying out San Francisco restaurants, you can probably find her watching Pixar moviesParks and Rec, or one of her favorite girl power movies and TV shows.
commonsense2Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsensemedia.org.


Dr. Panda Town: Vacation by Dr. Panda Games – Review



 In Dr. Panda Town: Vacation, kids travel around the world on a fancy cruise ship

What we love…

fun vacation themed app featuring seven different destinations including skiing/winter, camping, summertime and exploring the ship

What we’d love to see…

a closet or treasure chest to store all of the items you find within the app.  My kids also wished they could make their own ice cream and explore inside the shipwreck.

Summary

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.

Our Rating:

Dr. Panda Town: Vacation by Dr. Panda is universal app for iOS which features Dr. Panda and the gang on vacation!  Visit one of three 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.  Let your mind wander with these fun vacation destinations.  There are seven different areas to explore and 30 characters included in the app – 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 five areas to explore inside the app from aboard the cruise ship: beach, forest, winter scene, deep sea and  activities aboard a cruise ship.

  • 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.

I really liked this app and the integration with Dr. Panda Town – my kids went shopping at the mall in Dr. Panda Town and got some new items to play with in vacation.  To access the other Dr. Panda Town apps, you tap on the map icon and choose the location you want to visit.  In between visiting the islands – they hopped over to the pet shop and also got some new clothes for their adventures.  I also liked hearing my kids narrate as they explored the different areas of the app and seeing what things they tapped on.

In terms of enhancements,  my son wanted to be able to tap inside the shipwreck to explore as well as make his own ice cream creations on the summer island,  My kids also wanted to be able to start their own campfire as well as have more outside games.  Another enhancement would be a closet where you can store all of the outfits and gear from within the app.  As my kids changed outfits of the characters, the previous ones were scattered about in the app which meant they had to go hunt for them if they wanted to use them again.  My children wished there were a sailboat for them to use in the beach scene so they could sail across the ocean with a variety of sails in the air.

The app is free with two 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.  You can unlock the entire app for $4.99 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.

Dr. Panda Town: Vacation
Dr. Panda Town: Vacation
by Dr. Panda Ltd

Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76, iPhoneXS-iPhoneXS, iPhoneXSMax-iPhoneXSMax, iPhoneXR-iPhoneXR, iPad812-iPad812, iPad834-iPad834, iPad856-iPad856, iPad878-iPad878
Size: 178 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

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.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.