Article: 8 awesome learning podcasts for kids from Common Sense Media



8 podcasts

Bring fresh voices into the classroom with free, high-quality podcasts.

May 23, 2017

Bronwyn Harris

Editorial Assistant
Check out a few favorite podcasts from Common Sense Media. Your kids can use these to help prevent the #summerslide and learn all at the same time! You can even subscribe and download these podcasts to your device so you can stream them on summer drives! Parents, these apps do use data if you are live streaming them – so be sure to watch your limits!
When podcasts first gained popularity in the early 2000s, they seemed to be a quaint throwback to radio. But that changed quickly as more and more people jumped in and started experimenting with the medium. Now, hits like Serial have launched podcasts into the mainstream. You can find podcasts on nearly every topic — from movie reviews to academic lessons to celebrity gossip — and in nearly every genre, from short fiction to in-depth journalism to comedy.Podcasts are a great way to hook kids into learning about a topic. They draw listeners into the story in a unique way, providing different viewpoints from what students are usually exposed to. Teachers can use podcasts to supplement the curriculum with high-quality, free content. And you can find podcasts that will work for every grade level and subject area. Check out a few of our favorites to get started!

wowWow in the World

Grades K–6

NPR’s brand-new podcast premiered on May 15, 2017. It’s the first NPR podcast to be aimed at kids, and the goal is to “guide curious kids and their grown-ups away from their screens and on a journey.” While the specific topics the podcast will cover remain to be seen, the creators say it will focus on important science and technology subjects and questions that families — or classrooms — can explore together.



NPR One NPR One by NPR

Price: $FREE

NPR One is a whole new way to listen to stories, shows, and podcasts from NPR and your local public radio station.

It’s public radio made personal.

"By connecting to audio content from.

 

brainBrains On Grades 1–6

Every teacher knows that kids love to ask questions, and science provides plenty of questions for them to be curious about. Brains On tackles questions and topics that are totally relevant to kids’ interests, including slime, dinosaur bones, fire, lasers, and airplanes. Teachers can encourage students to take one of the topics and research it more completely or to use it as a jumping-off point for science experiments and research-related questions.



NPR One NPR One by NPR

Price: $FREE

NPR One is a whole new way to listen to stories, shows, and podcasts from NPR and your local public radio station.

It’s public radio made personal.

"By connecting to audio content from.


 

scienceScience Friday

Grades 6–12

Science Friday with Ira Flatow covers a variety of complex science topics, which are great for high school students to use in research or when developing a project or paper. For middle school teachers, Kidsnet offers the Science Friday Kids’ Connection curriculum referencing the Science Friday material but in a form more digestible for that age group. Teachers can find any scientific subject covered in the archives, so no matter what you’re teaching, the podcast and accompanying curriculum can be priceless (and you may learn a thing or two as well!).

No app – listen online.

 

storycorpStoryCorps

Grades 6–12

One of the largest oral history projects of its kind, StoryCorps consists of more than 50,000 interviews from more than 80,000 participants. Students at just about any grade level or in any subject area could use the StoryCorps interviews in a variety of ways. In a National Teachers Initiative section, listeners can find interviews between teachers and students or former students. The interviews can be used as writing prompts, discussion topics, primary sources for research projects, and more. Students also can record their own stories.



NPR One NPR One by NPR

Price: $FREE

NPR One is a whole new way to listen to stories, shows, and podcasts from NPR and your local public radio station.

It’s public radio made personal.

"By connecting to audio content from.

 

believeThis I Believe

Grades 6–12

This I Believe was a radio series on NPR (now archived) that focused on the writing, sharing, and discussing of people’s core beliefs through short personal essays. In the classroom, teachers can use This I Believe to get students to write about their own experiences. Personal experiences, beliefs, and values can make a rich foundation for classroom discussions, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve created a safe space for sharing. A companion book and website offer plenty of resources for teachers and students to work on personal essays.



NPR One NPR One by NPR

Price: $FREE

NPR One is a whole new way to listen to stories, shows, and podcasts from NPR and your local public radio station.

It’s public radio made personal.

"By connecting to audio content from.

youthYouth Radio

Grades 6–12

Youth Radio is not only a great podcast for students, but it’s also created by kids. The kid journalists of Youth Radio offer a very honest take on hot-button issues and current events, with perspectives that don’t often appear in the standard news world. Youth Radio segments can spark discussion on anything from Afghanistan to graffiti to the economy (they’re often featured on NPR’s Marketplace). Your students may even be inspired to start producing their own pieces.


NPR One NPR One by NPR

Price: $FREE

NPR One is a whole new way to listen to stories, shows, and podcasts from NPR and your local public radio station.

It’s public radio made personal.

"By connecting to audio content from.

grammarGrammar Girl

Grades 9–12

Grammar is notoriously boring, but Grammar Girl, part of the Quick and Dirty Tips Network, manages to make it interesting, and English teachers everywhere are grateful. The website has transcripts of each episode, but the audio delivery is animated and friendly and probably of more interest to students. This podcast is best for middle and high school students and incorporates both traditional grammar questions and more quirky analysis of new types of grammar unique to social media, for example.



Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by QuickAndDirtyTips.com

Price: $ USD

.

hardcoreHardcore History

Grades 9–12

Every teacher and student knows that, while history may not have been boring, history textbooks often are. Hardcore History with Dan Carlin is aiming to change all that, with honest and dramatic looks at historical figures and events that go far outside the basic historical outline many of us learned. While Hardcore History is not released on a predictable schedule and the episodes are often very long, it brings history to life in an invaluable way. History teachers who take the time to curate clips may find that their students have a whole new interest in learning.

No app, listen online.

 

Which essential podcasts did we miss? Let us know your favorites in the comments!

About the Author

Bronwyn is an author, educator, and editor living in the East Bay. She is originally from Petaluma, California, and earned a bachelor’s of science in psychology from UC Davis, and a multiple subject teaching credential from CSU Sacramento. Bronwyn began her teaching career in 2000 in the most violent neighborhood in Oakland, California, and has since written a book about her experiences: Literally Unbelievable: Stories from an East Oakland Classroom.Bronwyn has written for Teaching Tolerance and AlterNet, among others. She is an avid reader and knitter and uses Common Sense reviews to guide her on movies for her nieces and nephew.

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.

Zap Zap Math – K6 Math Games by Visual Math Interactive Sdn. Bhd. – Review



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

Fun easy to use leveled math app that encouraged my son to practice his math skills

What we’d love to see…

ability to test out of content your child may already be familiar with, ability to turn off the sound affects within the app

Summary

I am looking forward to continuing to use the app with my son for his remaining homework assignments before school lets out and during the summer for part of his screen time to ensure that he stays on track with his math skills.

Our Rating

Zap Zap Math - K6 Math GamesZap Zap Math – K6 Math Games by Visual Math Interactive Sdn. Bhd. is a universal app for iOS that focuses on #commoncore math skills.  The free app with gated in-app purchases (IAP) includes content for children from kindergarten through sixth grade to learn, master and be quizzed on math materials using games.  The app itself contains over 150 games and over 180 math subtopics and is common core aligned to the Ontario Curriculum for Mathematics.  For purposes of the review, I was given a full user ID and tested using second grade material since that is the grade my older son is in.   The premium subscription is $9.99 USD and is charged on an annual basis.  For those that purchase the full subscription there is also a web-based dashboard so you can check on your child’s progress.

Skills practiced within the app include:  Addition, Subtraction, Fractions, Ratios, Multiplication, Geometry, Coordinates, Measurements, Angles, Time.  Each “year” within the app is a full school year’s worth of content which is fantastic for home practice during homework time, for homeschooling families or simply to prevent the “summer slide”.

Within the app, there are four different skill areas to use: training, accuracy, speed, mission.  There is no spoken language contained within the app, but there are written directions as well as video tutorials to show you what to do for each of the mini games.  After completing problems correctly, the words “good job” or stars are flashed on the screen.  After taking the quiz, you are shown the results of your work as well as given a time bonus (if completed faster than allowed) to give you a total score.

  • Training – this is the area where your child learns the skill and gets a tutorial about how to do it.
  • Accuracy – your child uses the skill to answer questions faster and more accurately
  • Speed Building – the skill itself is learned and now the focus is on completing the task in a faster manner
  • Mission – this brings all the pieces together when you rocket into outer space with a fun mini game

One of the things we liked was that there was a tutorial for each type of game.  This made sure we understood how to play it because it included step by step directions and a sample problem for you to complete.  My son in particular enjoyed the hive game as he had to connect different equations together to complete the problem.  At the end of each mission, you see your accuracy and score as well as a number of “Z” coins which are in app currency to purchase items.  We also liked the wide variety of games and frankly the huge amount of free content available to users without purchasing a subscription.  This app really allowed you to “try before you buy”.

In terms of enhancements, it would be nice if there were a way to “test” out of content.  My son was familiar in some cases with the content and kept telling me how “boring” it was to have to relearn a skill that he already knew.   I also would like to be able to turn off the background sound within the app, my son found the ticking and various noises distracting so we ended up muting our device, but it would be nice if there was an easier way to do it.  I’d also like a collaboration space, my son’s math curriculum is very visually based and several times he actually wanted to use the number line or draw out the math problem.  You can see the number line in the training mode, but you can’t manipulate it which was something he requested.  I would also like to see a parent gated area that contains the rating as well as a way to see the dashboard from my device in a future release.

Zap Zap Math

Above is a screenshot of a sample dashboard that shows what skills each student is practicing along with accuracy, amount of time played, number of attempts.  You can also click through to get a more detailed report.

I am looking forward to continuing to use the app with my son for his remaining homework assignments before school lets out and during the summer for part of his screen time to ensure that he stays on track with his math skills.  This is a great app to try and see if it works for your family, the $9.99 in app purchase/annually seems affordable for the amount of content contained within the app.  There are external links, however, they are parental gated.

Zap Zap Math/a>

Zap Zap Math - K6 Math Games
Zap Zap Math - K6 Math Games
by Visual Math Interactive Sdn. Bhd.

Category: Education, Games, Educational, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, 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
Size: 691.12 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.

Boys Only Reading Comprehension by Reinvent Recess Digital, LLC – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

great boy themed reading content that has questions where kids demonstrate comprehension and mastery along with a scorecard

What we’d love to see…

more chapters for kids to read, my son loved the sports ones and kept asking for more

Summary

Overall, this is a great reading app that has a lot of potential for kids who may struggle with reading.  For my son one of the biggest challenges to reading is finding a topic that he likes along with being able to understand it.  He is now able to do both with this app!

Our Rating

Boys Only Reading ComprehensionBoys Only Reading Comprehension by Reinvent Recess Digital is a universal app for iOS that features 15 chapters or passages for kids to read and then take a short test on to determine if they comprehended what they read.  The multi-user app has topics which range from sports, to science and history with both fiction and non-fiction choices.  Upon opening the app and adding the admin and first user, the child can pick ten chapters to read which will be sent to their scorecard.  Users are tested on a summary of the text, identifying items in sequence via  timeline of events (first, second, third), finding an unknown word, problem/solution.

Getting my son to understand what he is reading has always been a challenge for me.  He loves anything sports related so when I had him test the app he picked out all of the sports related chapters along with a few others.  I then had him sit down and read a story to see what he did.  He used an iPad for reading the story and doing the questions.  One of the first comments he made was that the stories were “real” and that he could actually identify with some of them.  As he carefully read the passages – he got better at this as time went on he started getting more of the questions right.  As part of his daily homework, my son can read for 15 minutes and then have a discussion about what he has read.  We used the app multiple times for him to read and then take the test to demonstrate what he learned.  After completing the passage, you are given real time feedback on any answers that were right or wrong and if they were wrong what the correct answer was.  Using a timeline was one of the most challenging things for my son, because although he remembered the events in the story at times it was hard for him to sequence them.  Using the app definitely helped him with that as well as helping him to really take the time to understand what he was reading.  At times when he struggled we also worked on having him tell me the story then going back to answer the questions.

iPad Screenshot 2

As a mom, I really liked that the app encouraged my son to read and comprehend what he was reading.  I also liked that the questions were multiple choice so my son could pick from a field of correct answers similar to tests he takes at school.  The topics were very relevant and interesting to him especially the sports related ones – and had him wanting to use the app for homework — which I call a huge win! I also liked that some passages were shorter or longer – this helped me with having my son pick and choose which one to complete based on the time we had available.  Currently longer passages are marked with a * so you know ahead of time they are longer.  I also liked that my son could go back to the passage to verify what he had read before submitting the answers to the questions.  This gave him a “double check” that helped him feel more confident in his answers.  I also really liked that the scorecard was emailed to me so we could identify areas that we might need to focus more on – and I could share it with his teacher to demonstrate that he was doing reading homework nightly.

iPad Screenshot 4

In terms of improvements, I would like to see more than 15 chapters or passages contained within the app.  At this point, my son has used it quite a bit and has “memorized” some of the stories since we have done them over and over again.  I would like to see some additional passages so we could use it on a more routine basis for reading homework.

Overall, this is a great reading app that has a lot of potential for kids who may struggle with reading.  For my son one of the biggest challenges to reading is finding a topic that he likes along with being able to understand it.  He is now able to do both with this app!

Boys only reading comprehension

Boys Only Reading Comprehension
Boys Only Reading Comprehension
by Reinvent Recess Digital, LLC

Category: Education, Books
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
Size: 8.44 MB

$2.99USD

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.

 

Mathemagics Multiplication by SlimCricket – Review



screen mathemagics

What we love…

An effortless approach to learning the times tables using fun stories.

What we’d love to see…

Include the narrative text in the stories and a story quiz in the training mode to help students better recall the details of the stories before attempting the multiplication questions to ensure greater success.

Summary

Mathemagics Multiplication offers an unconventional but effective story mnemonics technique for memorizing the times tables of 1 to 10.

Our Rating

How do children learn the multiplication tables? First, they learn how to multiply, then they need to memorize the multiplication tables so that they can quickly solve math problems. This usually means lots of practice through boring drills and repetitive exercises. But what if we present you with an approach that can help speed up the memorization process while being fun at the same time? Will you give it a try even if the approach is unconventional or untested?

Mathemagics Multiplication by SlimCricket is a new app that aims to help students memorize the multiplication tables in a whole new way using stories. While memory techniques using songs and stories are not new, it is still uncommon to have students use stories in memorizing the times tables.

But even if you are skeptical, it’s still worth your time to download Mathemagics Multiplication’s free lite version app to read the parents’ guide and let your child have a go at the trial.

Before getting to the stories, students are introduced to the characters in the stories. These are actually the numbers 1 to 10, each with its own name and a personality that helps define how they interact with other characters (numbers). The first section of the app ‘I discover’ is devoted to this character association using a character quiz. This is easy as each character is shaped like its number counterpart.

Once the student has successfully completed the quiz for a character, he can then proceed to watch the multiplication stories for that number in the ‘I learn’ section. Each story is a short cartoon animation and works on the child’s visual memory of what the story is about. There is no explanation for how the times table work, students just need to watch and learn the story. The unique stories help students to form a memorable association between the characters/numbers in a multiplication fact so that when they see the numbers, they remember the stories and then the multiplication facts that they represent.

IMG_9340

What I like in this section is the ’trick’ to help students remember only half of the tables. Your child (or even yourself) may not be aware of this because this is often not highlighted. This trick works well in this app because students don’t need to work through each table by repeatedly adding the same number. They just need to learn the stories and the stories for half of the tables are the same, for example the story for 2 X 4 is the same as that for 4 X 2.

After the students have gone through all the stories from a times table, they can then move on to the levelled exercises in the ‘I play’ section where their memory of the stories is tested. Here, they can choose between the training or game mode, the difference is that points for correct answers are only given in the game mode. The multiplication questions in the ‘I play’ section are first presented in the form of the characters and then the mnemonics are gradually phased out as the students progress.

IMG_9335

After completing the tests in the ‘I play’ section, students can go on to do even more practice in “My challenges’ and earn rewards. Besides the mnemonic training, this app packs in lots of levelled quizzes and challenges to help your child master their times tables in the shortest time possible.

To keep students motivated to complete more quizzes and challenges, points collected from the game mode can be used to buy a house and the furniture for each character in ‘My rewards’ section.

For parents and teachers, you can track up to 3 students’ progress in the full version app ($4.99) while the school version app ($7.99) allows you to create up to 40 profiles.

For children, memorizing a silly story is definitely easier than a multiplication fact. This app takes advantage of children’s innate ability to retain information that has been presented to them visually. It does not take away the importance of understanding the concept of multiplication. It just provides students with a quick and easy way to memorize the tables which in turn speeds up problem solving and reduce frustrations.

You may not be comfortable with this non-traditional method of mastering the times tables, but do keep an open mind and let your child try it out. The free trial version of the app allows your child to learn some of multiplication facts from the 4 times table. My youngest hasn’t gone through all the stories yet but for those that he did, he gave faster and more accurate answers after using the app. This app is definitely worth a try and you may be surprised at how well it works for your child.

Like on Facebook:


Facebook
Website
Twitter

Mathemagics Multiplication
Mathemagics Multiplication-School Edition

Mathemagics Multiplication Mathemagics Multiplication by SlimCricket

Price: $FREE

The FUN way to learn MULTIPLICATION TABLES!!!

With this free version, kids can try out multiplication tables for the number 4. The full version of the app can be unlocked with an in-app purchase.

 

 

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.

Ladybug Band by Rain Boot Media LLC – Review and Giveaway



screen ladybug band

Ladybug Band by Rain Boot Media LLC is a 28-page rhyming musical storybook app that introduces children to different kinds of sounds and gets them involved in a musical performance with the Ladybug Band.

What we love…

Children are able to sing or play along with the band and have it recorded.

What we’d love to see…

Words highlighted in sync with the narration, repeat button for narration.

Summary

Ladybug Band is filled with colorful illustrations, different interesting sounds and fun interactive activities that will appeal to preschool children.

Our Rating

The 4-member Ladybug Band lives on the island of Kacha and they love to perform every night by the sea. There is Squiggle on the microphone, Bouncer on the strings, Dotley on the drums and Cheeks on the reeds (a wind instrument). Readers are introduced to the sounds of these 4 musical instruments – voice, strings, drums and winds as each member appears on stage.

Then the story invites the readers to be a part of the music with a variety of actions like shaking the iPad, drawing the campfire, clapping and dancing to the beat! More interesting sounds are heard and these include the sound of the waves breaking, the crackling sound of the campfire, the scratching sound of drawing in the sand and the whistling sound of the wind. This book app is quite a treat to the senses!

But the most enjoyable part for kids must be the chance to be a member of the Ladybug Band, singing or playing their musical instruments to the Coconut Jamboree tune and recording (audio only) their performance in the app.

IMG_9142

Up to 6 recorded sessions can be saved. When the recording is full, you just need to delete a previous recording to free up space for a new recording. These recordings are easily accessible from the home page which means that kids can come back frequently for a quick jamming session with the Band.

IMG_9204

There are 2 reading modes – children can either read along with the app or read it by themselves. For the read along mode, I hope that the app will add a word-by-word highlighting feature to facilitate words recognition for younger children. It would be awesome if this feature is also added to the Coconut Jamboree lyrics in the sing-along section.

IMG_9009

The story is simple but children will be happily engaged by the many interactive activities that are found in all its pages. The app is also easy and safe for young children to play by themselves. This is a delightful musical book app that gets children singing, dancing and performing together with the Ladybug Band.

Like on Facebook:


Facebook
Website
Twitter

Ladybug Band

Ladybug Band Ladybug Band by Rain Boot Media LLC

Price: $1.99 USD

"This picture book app is so much fun, and educational on so many levels!"
- Sara Tate Goldstein, Principal
Accelerated Schools of Overland Park

"My 7 year old loves recording her own voice.

Promo Code Giveaway

1. http://redeem-now.com/444d0e4057bb
2. http://redeem-now.com/d37a8c6717ff
3. http://redeem-now.com/214776f1cdf4
4. http://redeem-now.com/fc0ae934cd8b
5. http://redeem-now.com/8212dbb5da96

 

 

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.

Animal Rescue by PatrickGeorge Ltd – Review



IMG_8958

Whether we like it or not, our kids frequently witness activities that are cruel to animals thinking that these are acceptable and they may never find out about the realities behind these practices. As adults, we too don’t think much about the consequences of our actions on the plight of the animals around us. Do we continue to visit animal shows where animals are kept in confined spaces? Do we question where our food come from and how the food industry is run? Are there animal-friendly alternatives to our fashion and food preferences? Are we guilty of contributing to the rising number of abandoned pets? Do we educate our kids enough about animal welfare and wildlife conservation?

What we love…

The creative use of transparent pages to visually show the opposite effects of our harmful/compassionate actions on the animals around us.

What we’d love to see…

Discussion guide for parents.

Summary

Simple but impactful, Animal Rescue is full of surprises and thought provoking actions for both children and adults.

Our Rating

I started to think about these issues after sharing the book app, Animal Rescue by PatrickGeorge Ltd with my youngest. This is actually a fun picture book for children to play animal rescue hero but strangely it was thought provoking at the same time. My son enjoyed freeing the animals and with a little prompting, he began to ask why the animals were not happy and wondered why certain actions were wrong. He was also curious to know what happened after he saved them? It is a simple yet powerful app that provided us with lots of learning opportunities.

While Animal Rescue is easy to play and seemingly simple, it is full of surprises for kids to discover. There are 14 animals to be saved in the app. Two side-by-side pages are devoted to each animal – the picture on the right shows the animal in captivity (or cruelly treated) and the left shows a scene where the animal rightfully belongs. A transparent page lies in between the two pages and it has a picture of the animal printed on it. This overlay completes the pages on both sides.

With a flip (swiping or tapping action) of the transparent page from right to left, kids feel empowered as they can transport the animal from captivity to freedom and instantly change the animal’s well being. They can also see the change taking place gradually if they turn the transparent page slowly. What I like best is the clever use of these transparent pages to make the animal from one page becomes part of the other page as we turn the transparent pages back and forth. This two-way flipping shows vividly the damaging effects of our actions and what needs to be done. What is interesting is that you don’t know what is the full story on the other page until you turn the transparent page.

IMG_8989

This picture book is also available in a physical book version but the app has the advantage in that readers can immerse in a more interactive environment with various sound effects like the sound of the animals, their natural habitat and the celebratory cheers when an animal is rescued. There are also light animations on each page to entertain the readers.

IMG_8967

There are no words in this picture book but there is really no need for them as the bright and colorful illustrations clearly convey the need for animal protection. Being wordless also allows you to pitch your conversations to your child’s level of understanding. It could be just a fun animal rescue story book that introduces your child to empathy for animals, or a conservation awareness book that prompts your child to take a stand on inhumane acts against animals, or an open-ended book to encourage your child to talk about how we can make a difference in the lives of these animals. It can be used for different age groups and purposes in that sense.

IMG_8974

Animal Rescue is a simple but educational and meaningful book app that makes a heavy topic easy for young children to understand. It’s a topic that we don’t talk about enough but the fun and ingenious transparent pages in this book app will have children coming back to play and talking often. Every child should have access to this wonderful book, be it at home or in the school.

Like on Facebook:


Facebook
Website
Twitter

Animal Rescue

Animal Rescue Book Animal Rescue Book by PatrickGeorge Ltd

Price: $1.99 USD

The animals need your help! Scroll across to tap any animal button or turn the page to navigate and then swipe the magic transparent page to rescue it!

Then watch the animals come to life in this.

 

 

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.

Running Noah from Useappility -A Fun App for Practicing Multiplication



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

Makes practicing multiplication fun by incorporating it into an endless runner game

What we’d love to see…

Ability to limit to x10, individual player profiles, different speed levels

Summary

Overall, a fun way for kids to practice their multiplication skills whilst playing an Endless Runner game, Running Noah has 48 levels to work on times tables from 1-4 all the way up to 12x.

Our Rating

Running Noah Learning the times tables takes a lot of repetition, which children often find boring. They’d rather be playing their favorite video game instead of practicing math facts. Running Noah from Useability is a new app that uses children’s love of video games to give them lots of repetition of their multiplication facts whilst playing a fun game.

Running Noah is an Endless Runner, it has four episodes each with 12 levels. You need to unlock a level to move on to the next level. The four episodes have different themes and work on 1-4 times tables, 5-8 times tables, 9-12 times tables and 1-12 times tables respectively. The first episode (1-4 times tables) is free, there is an IAP (currently $1.99) to unlock the rest.

iPad Screenshot 4

Gameplay

The flood has just begun and Noah is on a mission to save all the animals and get them into the Ark. As the storm waters rise the land is divided into a series of islands by raging streams. To rescue the animals Noah must build bridges across the streams and also collect food for the animals on the way.

Beside every stream is a stone tablet with a number on it, and on the right of the screen are three numbers from the current series of times tables the student is working from. Tapping on the right of the screen brings up three  more numbers and the player has to tap one number from reach column to create a multiplication problem whose answer is the number on the tablet. The player has to think quickly as Noah keeps running, if he gets to the stream before they have completed the problem he falls in the water. If they create the correct problem a bridge forms and he runs safely to the next island. If they create an incorrect problem the bridge still forms but it collapses when Noah runs across, and he falls in the water. After solving three  problems correctly Noah reaches the stranded animal and gets him onto the Ark which completes the level.

iPad Screenshot 5

 

As Noah is always running the player has to think quickly to keep him from falling in the water, but collecting food adds another layer of complexity. All the animals on the Ark need feeding and food (corn, fish, pineapples or acorns) is above Noah’s head as he runs. To collect it the player has to double tap to make Noah jump at the right time. If they collect very little food the food meter turns red and Noah runs out of energy. Players can replay levels to collect food they have missed, and improve their score, and they need to complete the multiplication problems correctly each time to complete that level.

Analysis

Although the gameplay is in essence very simple, completing the levels does take quick thinking, fast recall and good reflexes. Even as an adult with good mental arithmetic skills I found I often had to replay levels to get perfect scores as it is tricky to answer the problems fast enough and time the jumps right to collect the food.

For each times table the problems include multipliers up to 12 e.g. the lowest level could include 4 x 12. Although this was how I learned my times tables, I have noticed some schools now only teach up to x 10. I would like to see an option to limit it to x10, if your child is learning that way. I would also like an option to add multiple player profiles, so that families with more than one child working on their multiplication skills can track their individual progress and let them compete against each other.

The app has an online leaderboard in it- but kids can not sign up from within the app (a good thing) a link is provided so that parents can enter it in a browser and sign up for the leaderboard if they wish to do so. Once they have completed all levels if the enter a parents email address they will be sent a certificate of completion.

I think the game is designed to be fast paced so that children will have to repeat levels multiple times to get high scores, so that they get a lot of repetition which is a good thing. However, some children with slower reflexes or slower processing speeds may find it frustrating that although they know the answers to the problem they can’t complete the problems in time to stop Noah falling in the water, or they can’t  co-ordinate their tapping quickly enough to answer the questions and jump for the food. With this in mind I’d like to see an option to have different speeds – maybe an Easy, Regular and Fast speed so that slower children can still use the app and to give different levels of challenge which would encourage even more repetition as skills improve.

Summary

Overall, a fun way for kids to practice their multiplication skills whilst playing an Endless Runner game, Running Noah has 48 levels to work on times tables from 1-4 all the way up to 12x. The app is free to download an include the first episode (12 levels) for free – this is a good way to test the app and see if it catches your child’s interest. If it does the $1.99 to unlock the rest of the app is good value. It is child friendly with no adverts, social media or external links.

iTunes Link:Running Noah – Useappility

Running Noah Running Noah by Useappility

Price: $FREE

“…an app that helps kids improve their multiplication skills” BestAppsforKids.com
“…makes practicing multiplication fun by incorporating it into an endless runner game” theimum.com
“… .

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.

STEM Storiez – Wootzy Colors by Zyrobotics – Review #stem



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

fun accessible #stem themed app that teaches colors with a space perfect for toddlers or those learning colors

What we’d love to see…

a sticker type game or perhaps painting with colors on a space themed background, a page where each Wootzy said their color

Summary

Fun #stem themed app that encourages kids to learn colors using a space theme.  Rhythmic and engaging for my toddler.

Our Rating

STEM Storiez - Wootzy ColorsSTEM Storiez – Wootzy Col0rs by Zyrobotics is a universal app for iOS which features #stem learning.  The app features  science, technology, engineering, and math skills and also is usable with the Zumo bluetooth turtle for those with accessibility challenges. The app features a variety Wootzys in different colors each with a different space themed interactive background.The stories feature narration, voice/music, the ability to “type out e-book text” which means text appears as is it read.  Each of these can be toggled in the settings, and navigation is at the bottom of each page via arrows. The app can be used via the touchscreen on your iPad/iPhone or via a play stylus as well as the buttons of the touch screen Zumo turtle.   Each time you touch the screen an interactive element is triggered like the Wootzy moving, a musical sound, or animation.  The app can use a stylus, however, I reviewed it on the iPad as well as with Zumo Turtle.

One of my favorite things about the app was the level of customization that you can do.  I loved that you can remove/add sounds as well as change the size of the text on the screen.  The story is interactive and engaging for kids with on device learning.  Each color is introduced on a different page and the user is encouraged to say the name of the color.  My toddler loved the rhythmic sound of the story with “what planet is this?  What Wootzy lives here” and was able to repeat the text while we practiced his colors.  I also liked that you could turn on and off the voice/music so I could read it to my son and we could then “practice” what color is this?  Using the Zumo turtle connected via Bluetooth, my toddler was in control.  I loved that he could tap on the turtle to move the pages back and forth because at times the arrows were a bit hard for him to navigate.

In terms of improvements, I would like to see a fun activity at the end of the app after the story is completed to practice colors.  It could be painting, or stickers with the items from each page which would engage kids and also allow them to demonstrate that they understood the colors.  I’d also like to see a page that featured all of the colors where you could tap on each Wootzy to hear them say their color.

There are no-in app purchases or advertisments, and the parental area is gated with a math problem.  The settings area does not have a parental gate, but there are no external links, you can simply turn on and off the various items. Fun #stem themed app that encourages kids to learn colors using a space theme.  Rhythmic and engaging for my toddler.

STEM Storiez – Wootzy Colors

STEM Storiez - Wootzy Colors
STEM Storiez - Wootzy Colors
by Zyrobotics LLC

Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, 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
Size: 349.75 MB

$2.99USD

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.

 

Babii! by Skybound Interactive Ltd. – Review



screen babii

Animals and vehicles are among the first nouns that young children are taught. Besides showing the real thing, you can also introduce these and accelerate your child’s vocabulary learning with the use of pictures. Here, the use of an app has an advantage over picture books and flashcards in that apps allow children to hear the names as well as the sounds made by the animals and vehicles. Kids can learn independently with minimum effort.

What we love…

Children get to see each animal/vehicle in different settings and engaged in different activities.

What we’d love to see…

More categories to be added.

Summary

An easy to use and kid-safe app for toddlers to learn about animals and vehicles with more categories of nouns planned.

Our Rating

Babii! by Skybound Interactive Ltd. is one such app that is easy for toddlers to use and affordable for the parents. The app starts right away upon opening and young children just need to tap on the screen of the device to see the next picture. With each tap, they get to learn the name of each animal/vehicle, how they look and sound like as well as their natural habitat/environment.

There are 2 ways the animals/vehicles are presented in Babii! – a grid of 9 thumbnail images or a 1-image mode. Each of the thumbnail images focuses on a group of similar animals or vehicles. Tapping an image from the grid will expand it to full screen and another tap will return it to the grid. Repeated tapping on the same grid will show the animals or vehicle in different settings and in different actions – swimming, running, eating, etc. This helps children to generalize their knowledge. In 1-image mode, the images are shown randomly and is perfect for younger children.

The photos used are of high resolution and the sound recording associated with each image is clear. Currently, the app uses Siri to read the names of the animals and vehicles. A future move to using pre-recorded voice will be a welcomed improvement. Switching between the 3 categories – Domestic Animals, Wild Animals and Vehicles, is straightforward and I understand that there are plans for more categories to be added.

You can also switch the language used by the app to different accents of English, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese or Romanian without having to change your device’s language setting. This is definitely a bonus for children growing up in multilingual families/communities.

A child’s early years are the best time for building knowledge and for those of you who are looking for apps to introduce your toddlers to the world of animals and vehicles while stimulating their minds through the exposure of foreign languages, Babii! is a good and affordable app to consider.

Babii! – Skybound Interactive Ltd.

Babii! Babii! by Skybound Interactive Ltd.
Category: Education, Games, Educational
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
Size: 61.62 MB

$0.99USD

Promo Code Giveaway

Please indicate in the comments which code you have used.

1. http://redeem-now.com/aab41dae7362

2. http://redeem-now.com/2357d263ee5c
3. http://redeem-now.com/3300d0db8863
4. http://redeem-now.com/1760b0c09163
5. http://redeem-now.com/3c862fc27388
6. http://redeem-now.com/94ed28c81ae7
7. http://redeem-now.com/ebfef714f996

8. http://redeem-now.com/47c01800651f

9. http://redeem-now.com/bf9be2946e44
10. http://redeem-now.com/ba726948e62b
11. http://redeem-now.com/0d55ac0c69be
12. http://redeem-now.com/71f681049aed
13. http://redeem-now.com/1440051b9975
14. http://redeem-now.com/01f2327a1bc4
15. http://redeem-now.com/d86d813f4528
16. http://redeem-now.com/aa889661be75
17. http://redeem-now.com/6b3742a9a80a
18. http://redeem-now.com/2dccc4389fc5

19. http://redeem-now.com/6aa8b9631be7

20. http://redeem-now.com/6d5772467ba3
21. http://redeem-now.com/789383e9a707
22. http://redeem-now.com/5afb451ed900
23. http://redeem-now.com/b2aac768083d

24. http://redeem-now.com/9cfde12611db
25. http://redeem-now.com/fe0c80d8655c
26. http://redeem-now.com/d68324d6c09e
27. http://redeem-now.com/e5e59ea99090

28. http://redeem-now.com/777e852f4f00

29. http://redeem-now.com/102123b2f06d
30. http://redeem-now.com/d76b8e00bd61

 

 

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.

Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival from Move On Pluto- Review



maxmeredith-2

What we love…

Ability to control the story, multiple stories in one, nostalgic feel to the app

What we’d love to see…

Text highlighting as it is read, page turn button, ability to change settings without returning to home page.

Summary

Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival is a fun “choose your own adventure” book with multiple story lines and endings. It encourages readers to think about different ways to solve problems and challenges stereotypes as the children discover that not everyone or everything is how they expect, and that first impressions can be deceiving.

Our Rating

maxmeredith-1Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival is the first interactive book app from indie developer  Move On Pluto. It is a “choose your own adventure” book where the reader makes decisions throughout the book, which affect the characters actions and what happens next. Music, sound effects, narration and text can be switched on or off via settings. Parents can choose to have interactive hotspots unlocked throughout the app, just in final storyline scenes, or no distractions. There is no word highlighting as the story is read.

Max lives in the town of Everdale, where one morning he awakes to find his trusty dog Percival is missing. Max rushes next door to enlist the help of his friend Meredith to find Percival. The story follows Max and Meredith’s search for Percival, but the duo have different ideas on the best way to find him. Max is more logical and cautious, whilst Meredith has an active imagination and likes to follow her hunches. The reader gets involved in the story by deciding what the duo should do next when Max and Meredith disagree.

maxmeredith-3

Depending on what decisions the reader makes the story goes in different directions. In total there are 8 different possible endings. When the reader reaches the end of the story they are shown a map illustrating how the different decisions create different story lines and endings, and are encouraged to read it again for a different story experience.

maxmeredith-4

The story is an old-fashioned adventure- the dynamic duo aim to solve a mystery, and to do so they have to work together to decide what to do. Meredith believes that an ogre lives near by in Gloomy Gulch and thinks he is responsible for Percival’s disappearance, so the friends have to decide whether or not they will face up to their fears and search Gloomy Gulch. What happens in the story depends on the choices the reader makes, so it really is multiple stories in one. Making different choices introduces new characters and situations, and creates totally different endings, which gives it lots of replay value. All the different story lines work well together, and there are no “right” or “wrong” choices, just different choices. By reading the story multiple times and making different decisions, the reader can find out more about Everdale and the characters who live there.

maxmeredith-5

The book app has a nostalgic feel about it, the illustrations and story lines feel like they would be at home in a “Little Golden Book.” Although the app has some interactive elements (about one per page) the main interactivity is in choosing the where the storyline will go. The multiple story lines add a fun element and increase the replay value of the app. Depending on which storyline is chosen Max and Meredith may have to face some potentially scary situations, but they find out that first impressions are not always correct, and that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.

There are a few technical changes I would like to see in future updates. I would like to see the addition of word highlighting as it is read. Page turning currently via swiping, I’d like to have an option to use a page turn button instead. Swiping does give the feel of turning the pages of a book, but I find that some children, especially those with special needs, can find this difficult. The settings can only be accessed from the home page and although you can return to this at any time, doing so loses your place in the story, so I’d like to see setting accessible from every page.

Summary

Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival is a fun “choose your own adventure” book with multiple story lines and endings. It encourages readers to think about different ways to solve problems and challenges stereotypes as the children discover that not everyone or everything is how they expect, and that first impressions can be deceiving. The developer recommends Max & Meredith for ages 2-7, I think that slightly older children will also enjoy it and my 9 year-old gave it a thumbs up.

 

iTunes Link

Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival Max & Meredith: The Search for Percival by Move On Pluto LLC

Price: $3.99 USD

"A marvelous new storybook app ... backed by research of what is most effective in helping children comprehend, grow, and retain content while learning."
- Teachers With Apps

"Solid early elementary.

Giveaway

Code drops

Codes

Thursday Feb 2

1. http://redeem-now.com/ff9b232ea92e
2. http://redeem-now.com/7685be8258a3
3. http://redeem-now.com/2e8cd93d691f

 Friday Feb 3

1. http://redeem-now.com/70b87e804e52
2. http://redeem-now.com/592081fbfe6f
3. http://redeem-now.com/8c4a39e053ef

Newsletter drop
1. http://redeem-now.com/70b87e804e52
2. http://redeem-now.com/592081fbfe6f
3. http://redeem-now.com/8c4a39e053ef
4. http://redeem-now.com/b1f917d3a4fd
5. http://redeem-now.com/f8d1a95adf43
6. http://redeem-now.com/c13101fefb3a
7. http://redeem-now.com/2278bd8c076b

All codes have been redeemed

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.