Twingle Invites & RSVP- Easy Event Invites from your Phone -Review



 

What we love..

Quick and easy to create and manage invites from mobile devices. Fun animated themes, integrated with Apple & Google calendars and Maps. Ability to add potlucks, polls and event schedules.

What we’d love to see…

Even more fun invite choices, ability to add notes when signing up for potluck dish

Summary

Twingle is a great free app without ads that is well worth trying out as an alternative to Evite or Punchbowl next time you are organizing a gathering. It is very easy to use and has enough features you may find yourself not willing to go back to your old invite service.

Our Rating

Twingle Invites & RSVP is a free app and service that allows you to easily create and manage event invites from your smart phone.  If you wish to create or manage your invites on your computer you can do so by visiting Twingle.com from your internet browser, but you don’t need to, as you can access all features from your phone.

To start creating an event you first need to download the free Twingle app on your phone or tablet. Then in the app you can create a free Twingle account and you can start creating events. The service is free to use and is integrated with the contacts on your phone so that you can easily sent it via text or email to anyone on your contact list, you can also manually add anyone not in your contacts. Recipients of your invites can open them in a browser without a Twingle account of their own, or can view them in the Twingle app if they create their own free account. Whenever you open the app it takes you to the home page where you can toggle between future and past events or create a new event.

Creating an Event

 

From the home page press the big + sign and you will be prompted to pick a theme for your event. The theme page displays invitations according to 6 categories : “featured”, Birthdays, Occasions, Weddings, Seasonal Holidays, and Social Events. You can scroll through the invites in each category or enter a search term e.g. “Cinco de Mayo”, “Christmas” or “Engagement to pull up invites more specific to the theme you want. There is also an option to create your own theme- which allows you to upload your own photo for a personalized invite.

To select a theme simply tap on the invite and you will see a sample invitation. Some of them have accompanying music or are animated, others are straightforward invitations. If you like what you see them you can enter your event details. This is really simple to do and involves much fewer steps than entering your event details in the Evite app. Instead of having to tap on every part of the invite to edit it you simply tap “enter details” and a screen comes up where you can enter all the event details in one place. You add an event title, start date and time and can optionally add an end date and time (great for invitations for a weekend gathering or a trip.) For entering the date it shows you a calendar so you don’t have to remember for instance if the last friday of the month is the 29th or 30th.

The event location is integrated with Apple and Google maps, which has dual advantages- the guests can see the location easily on a map plus it makes it easy for you to check a venue’s address. If you don’t know the event venue’s address you can enter the venue name e.g. “Pump It Up” and it will give you a choice if places with that name, when you pick one it will show on the map so you can check it is the correct location.

Your name (as host) and email address are automatically entered, but you can edit them if you wish.

Optional Extras

 

There are several other options you can activate if you wish, these include:

  • Allowing attendees to bring guests (and you can limit how many)
  • Sending a message to guests
  • Adding an RSVP by date
  • Requesting no boxed gifts
  • Hiding Guest list

Once you have entered your details you can see what the finished invite will look like. If you don’t like it it is easy to change the theme without starting over. Simply tap “change theme”, select a new theme and all the details will be transferred to the new invite. You can do this as often as you like until you are happy with the invite. Once you have settled on a final theme tap “create” and your invite will be saved.

Inviting Guests

Twingle accesses your contacts making it easy to find contact information for your guests and you can send invitations via email or via text messages to people in your contact list. You can also manually enter names and email addresses if you wish to invite someone not in your contacts. It is also simple to add a co-host to the event you can invite them from the same page that you invite guests from.

 

iPhone Screenshot 3Additional Features

Twingle also has several extra features you can use if it suits your event

  • Potluck sign up
  • Event schedule
  • Polls
  • Chat

 

Potluck

If you enable the potluck feature you can add a potluck sign up to the event. To add dishes you simply type them in  and they appear in a list with a sign up box. When a guest (or host) has signed up for a dish it is marked as taken and the name of the person supplying the dish is noted. Guests can also add their own dishes. I would like to see an option for guests to add a note when they sign up for a dish, e.g. if the host has “dessert” as an option the guest could write in what dessert they plan to bring to avoid duplication.

 

Event Schedule

This is a feature that I haven’t seen in other invite apps and I really like. It is especially useful for multi-day events or events that involve many distinct parts, so your guests know what to expect and when.

Within your event tap on “activities” and it will pull up the scheduler. Here you can create as many events within your main event as you wish. For each part you are prompted to enter a start and end time, title, description and notes. If its a multi-day event you can also pick which date it will be on. For each segment you can also upload a photo to represent that event.

 

iPhone Screenshot 5Polls

If you need help from your guests in deciding event details the polls section is where you can get it. Maybe you are having a pizza party and want to know whether your guests prefer cheese, Hawaiian, pepperoni or meat lovers ? Or perhaps you are arranging a friends get together and are undecided on which restaurant to go to – let your guests vote between your top picks. You can easily create polls with multiple questions and give a choice of acceptable answers.

 

Chat

The chat feature allows the hosts and guests to talk about details of the event before and after the event and also lets them upload photos of the event to share with other guests. As well as sending typed messages the chat lets you send a wide variety of gifs too.

 

Shareable Event Link

If you have an event, such as a popup boutique, craft fair or open house, that you want to invite the public or a wide range of friends and to you can opt to make the event public and Twingle will create a custom event link you can then choose to share this via email or Social Media directly from the Twingle app.

 

iPhone Screenshot 2Managing Your Event

Twingle also makes it easy to manage your events. On the homepage of the app you can see past and future events. Tapping on any event brings you to its’ dashboard where you can keep track of RSVPs, see the event details and edit them if needed. You can also easily invite additional guests, add potlucks, polls, activity schedules and check the event chat from here.

Twingle will send your guests automatic event reminders and as host you can easily send out custom messages or reminders too. If you have an important message or update for your guests you can send it out to everyone using the Announcement feature.

If you want to plan a similar event to a past event you can simply duplicate it with the touch of a button, you just need to enter the new date and time. You can keep the same invitation theme or switch it out for a fresh look, it also gives the option to duplicate the guest list or invite new guests.

 

Summary

 

Twingle is an app that is designed to make it easy to create and manage invitations from your smartphone or tablet. It is totally free, with no subscriptions and has no annoying adverts. I love how easy it is to create invites, the fun animated themes and how easily you can duplicate an event or change a theme without having to re-enter details. The integration with Maps and Calendars on both the mobile device and desktop makes it easy for both hosts and guests.

I love that is is very flexible for different types of events- not only does it have standard themes such as birthdays, weddings and Christmas parties, but it also has more causal events such as a guys night out, hang out, date night and soccer game, you can even upload your own image for a personalized invite.

The potlucks, polls, ability to create an event schedule and chat are nice additional features.

Twingle is a great free app without ads that is well worth trying out as an alternative to Evite or Punchbowl next time you are organizing a gathering. It is very easy to use and has enough features you may find yourself not willing to go back to your old invite service.

iTunes Link: Twingle Invites & RSVP – BitCompute

Twingle Invites & RSVP Twingle Invites & RSVP by BitCompute

Price: $FREE

Life is complicated, planning an event shouldn’t be.  Whether planning a large wedding, a surprise birthday party or a simple date night, Twingle is a fun and easy app to help you organize your social.

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.

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.

Dr. Panda Trucks by Dr. Panda Ltd – Review



 

What we love…

fun truck themed app which encourages kids to knock down and build new buildings

What we’d love to see…

more realistic sounds for the horns on the trucks as well as a tutorial for how to drive and maneuver some

Summary

Overall, this is a super cute construction and truck themed app that will have your preschooler and older kids building for hours.  You can knock down the building, head to the factory for new blocks and build your new creation all in moments.

Our Rating

Dr. Panda Trucks by Dr. Panda Ltd. is a brand new Dr. Panda themed app featuring 7 unique vehicles.  The app features a bulldozer, dump truck, truck with wrecking ball, army style truck which shoots cannon balls, crane, and a cleaning truck.  My son had so much fun building with Dr. Panda.  This app is full of fun – first you demolish the existing building using a variety of trucks and then the building begins.  After demolishing the building – you go over to the brick factory to get bricks to build your new building.  Then you can head for paint or go to the construction site and start building.  After you get to the construction site – you move a lever and dump the dump truck which then creates a building.  To put the finishing touches on you can head over to the door and window building to load up the dump truck.  We used the crane to move the windows on top of our newly constructed building.  When you open the app, the trucks are all neatly parked – you can either drive them from the parking lot or access them from a top menu which is accessed via swipe at the top of the screen.  I enjoyed hearing my son narrate a bit as he picked his favorite trucks and was building.  We named colors, favorite trucks and described what we were doing all while playing with the app.  It’s a great app to use your imagination with as well as practice fine motor skills.

iPad Screenshot 1

My son’s favorite part was getting bricks to build the new building.  He loved seeing them sort and organize themselves into the back of the truck.  He also liked making the different truck noises including beeps, saying “watch out” when he dumped the dump truck.  You can build up to six different buildings at a time.  My son loved scooping, pushing, building, expanding the buckets, dumping and more.  As a parent I loved the variety of buildings kids could make as well as the variety of things they could do.  The hidden surprises like the mud that made the trucks spin made my toddler smile.   His favorite truck was the street cleaner which picked up the mess.

In terms of enhancements – my toddler said the horns didn’t sound like big trucks. At times, he had a little bit of trouble navigating using the bars to move up and down the various items as they were not typical of items he usually saw.  He also wanted to make the army style truck shoot higher but neither of us could figure out how to make it do that. It would also be fun to have a variety of buildings to choose from to build rather than having the app choose.  I’d also like to be able to choose the shape of the bricks I wanted.  Another wishlist item would be the ability to navigate all within Dr. Panda apps – similar to Dr. Panda Town.

iPad Screenshot 3

The app is free with in-app purchases (IAP) for all buildings or all trucks – if your kids like the app I would suggest paying for the unlock all.  There are advertisements for other Dr. Panda apps on the splash screen.  External items are parental gated via birthday.

Overall, this is a super cute construction and truck themed app that will have your preschooler and older kids building for hours.  You can knock down the building, head to the factory for new blocks and build your new creation all in moments.  It’s a fun game to play on the fly or to entertain your kids for a longer period of time.  You can read our roundup of all the great Dr. Panda apps we have reviewed here.


Dr. Panda Trucks Dr. Panda Trucks by Dr. Panda Ltd

Price: $FREE

Clear the way for Dr. Panda Trucks! Master the machines, build funky constructions and blast them to pieces on your very own construction site!
TAKE CONTROL!
Drive and control up to 7 giant vehicles.

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.

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.

Toddler & Kids Learning Games by Clapenjoy SRL – Review


What we love…

Activities that help develop early science thinkers.

What we’d love to see…

A harvesting step to complete the plant life cycle and parents’ guide.

Summary

This is a fun app that stimulates preschoolers’ curiosity to find out how nature works.

Our Rating

Toddler & Kids Learning Games by Clapenjoy SRL is the perfect companion app for curious preschoolers to discover the wonders of nature that are all around them. What they learn in the app can be easily linked to what they observe in the real world.
 
There are 4 nature-based learning activities in the app. Through these activities, kids imagine what happens when temperature changes, grow their own vegetables and fruits, witness the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly and feed baby birds. They also learn about the life cycle of plants, butterflies and birds, and what is needed for healthy growth. All these information is presented in cute animation.
 

Besides the age-appropriate educational content, I like that the app frequently prompts young learners to think about what item or action is needed next. You can talk about the 3 options given and guide your child’s thinking process in choosing the correct option. As the answer options change at every play session, you can have different discussions deliberating and explaining why some answers are good choices and why others are not.
 

Another point that I like is that there are many opportunities for children to make decisions while playing the app e.g. which outfit to wear, what vegetables to plant, which fancy watering can to use, which fruit tree to grow and what color should the butterfly be.
 

This app is easy for young children to navigate, with prompts given when they are stuck. Players proceed from one learning section to the next seamlessly and there is no need for instructions. Simple finger actions like tapping, dragging and rubbing are all that is needed to activate a response from the app. There is also no time limit or score keeping in the activities.
 

In addition to the nature-based educational games, kids can also have fun with puzzles, memory match games and coloring pages that are based on the nature activities.

Digital puzzles take away the frustrations that some younger children experience when they don’t have the fine-motor skills to manipulate a physical puzzle yet. With digital puzzles, children continue to reap the benefits of putting together a puzzle like hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills . Each puzzle in this app starts with 4 pieces. It gets more difficult with increasing number of pieces. But you can change the level of difficulty at any time by tapping on the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ on-screen buttons. In total, there are 30 puzzles of varying difficulty levels in the app to be solved.
 

The 24 memory cards games included in the app are also presented in increasing levels of difficulty, from 4 to 12 cards per set. Similarly, you can adjust the number of cards in each game. The memory cards are randomly generated and players get a different set of cards each time they play. These games are great for concentration and improving memory.

Coloring activities are always popular with preschoolers and having some sessions on digital coloring pages that are easier to complete can help kids achieve success and boost their self-esteem (especially when you keep a screenshot of their masterpiece). The 11 coloring pages in this app come with 4 coloring tools, an eraser and 13 color options. The paint brush, crayons and color pencils are standard offerings but the rub-and-color magic wand will be great for younger kids.
 

The app is free to download and kids can play with the vegetable garden activity right away. The free app also comes with a puzzle, a memory card game and a coloring page for your child to try. The other 3 nature-based activities can be unlocked with an in-app-purchase (IAP) of $1.99 . The developer keeps the app kids-friendly by giving users the option to disable the IAP from within the parent’s section. You can also turn off the background music and sound effects (like the rabbit’s springy hopping sounds) from the parent’s section. It would be great if this section can also provide parents with the key learning points that they can highlight to their children in each of the learning activities.

Nevertheless, Toddler & Kids Learning Games is still a standout among the very few early science apps that are available in the App Store for the preschool age group. It encourages young learners to ask questions about how nature works and to find their own answers. It should be renamed to reflect its area of focus. Download the free app and check it out!

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Toddler & Kids Learning Games

Toddler & Kids Learning Games Toddler & Kids Learning Games by Clapenjoy SRL

Price: $FREE

Learning games for kids to explore nature, an early science kids app especially designed for AGES 2 to 5. Play and learn with free preschool and kindergarten interactive games, puzzles, memory and colouring.

 

 

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.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.

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