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.
An easy to use and kid-safe app for toddlers to learn about animals and vehicles with more categories of nouns planned.
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.
ability to use a multisensory approach to learning letters which includes apps and physical letters placed on the playset to form words; included parental dashboard to track your kids progress
What we’d love to see…
ability to customize words in all apps, a mobile friendly version of the Square Panda Playground website
The Square Panda Phonics Playset is a great demonstration of how you can use your iPad and integrated playset to provide learning both on the screen and using tactile letters to complete a goal – I can’t wait to see what else this company will bring.
The Square Panda Phonics Playset by Square Panda which features a bluetooth enabled playset to engage kids in learning a variety of activities from learning letters, spelling, letter sounds, rhymes, learning new vocabulary words and more. The set consists of 45 Smart Letters, a Playset box which you pair to your iPad and holds your device while in use, access to the Square Panda Playground where you can manage a parent account, see information about your child’s progress and additional learning opportunities as well as 4 AA Batteries. The Square Panda Playset requires either iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro in order to run and you must be running iOS 8.x and above. The Square Panda Phonics Playset provides a multisensory tactile learning experience which combines content on your iPad with letters and visuals within the app. It includes 14 levels of phonics play as well as an integrated dashboard to track progress.
Setup is quick and easy. First, you set up an account on Square Panda with your email and other information. That gives you access to the parental dashboard. After that you can unpack the Phonics Playset, install the 4 included AA batteries, download the apps and be using them within 10 or less minutes. I spent some time in the Square Panda Playground website because I wanted to check out the features there. There are so many great things! You can add your own custom words including your child’s name – and for me when I last had my son use the playset I included words from his spelling list that week! When you enter custom words they are put into your child’s games and you can even upload a picture to go with them! Words must be between 1-8 characters, so more complex spelling words won’t work here, however, it’s a great way to practice. The Square Panda Playground also lets you choose words for specific types of situations like bathroom and body anatomy as well as even excluding a specific letter if you misplaced it from the playset. You can also block specific types of words if you wish which gives you a great level of customization.
The playset includes 45 smart letters. Vowels are yellow and consonants are yellow to make for easier differentiation between the letter types. These all stored inside the playset case when not in use. You can have up to three players per playset, and the content dynamically changes depending on which user is selected so with my 2 year old we are simply working on even identifying letters while with my 8 year old he is working on spelling words and earning badges. The Square Panda Playset includes access to two apps, and one of the two apps Square Panda Lagoon allows you to use the custom words that you have created. Square Panda Bowling (above) has you bowl with your finger to knock down the pins and spell out words. It combines a multi-sensory approach where you do an activity, get a letter with your finger on your iPad and then properly place it in the try to spell the word. Kids are taught to spell words correctly from left to right which is the way that The National Reading Panel recommends as well as the way that reading is taught in school.
First of all – this is not the plastic letters that I grew up with! Many of us may remember growing up and having the magnetized letters that we used to spell things on our refrigerator. I loved that the app required letters to be correct before allowing you to move on. Letters are placed individually in a white box at the bottom of the playset. The must be positioned correctly and placed on the playset in the correct order. The photo above is from Square Panda Lagoon and includes a photo as well as the word below to reinforce learning.
It isn’t often as a mom that I find a toy that both my 2 year old and 8 year old can use. One of my favorite things about the Square Panda Playset is the level of customization that is included especially with the Square Panda Lagoon. I can see it is a great way to practice “trick words” or words my son might be having challenges with at school and having a great way to keep track of what he is learning in terms of letters. With my 2 year old, we can work on understanding letters and teaching him that my iPad is a learning device. I also liked that we could store the letters inside the playset which meant that they were not misplaced the next time we went to use it. I use a Griffin Survivor case on my iPad Mini because even though it’s “mom’s iPad” my kids use it a lot and I loved that we could leave on the protective case even when it was in use with the Square Panda Playset, this isn’t always the case with other products on the market. I really liked the Square Panda Playground where I could keep track of what my kids were doing with the apps – I knew what my 2 year old was doing because we were playing together but with my older son I usually help him learn how to use something and then let him try and figure it out on his own. I liked seeing the badges of the items he accomplished as well as the ability to add in the custom words for his spelling list that week!
In terms of enhancements, I wish that both of the apps included the ability to use custom words, my son enjoyed rolling the bowling ball in Square Panda Bowling more than the Square Panda Lagoon game – I’m not sure why he preferred it more other than he enjoys bowling, so having the two app options was great. Square Panda is planning to add more apps Letter Lab. I hope that they include the ability to use custom words in this app. I’d also like to see a mobile friendly version of the Square Panda Playground – I don’t often get time to sit down at my computer so I was trying to look at it on my iPad and it wasn’t as user friendly as I would have liked.
The Square Panda Phonics Playset is a great demonstration of how you can use your iPad and integrated playset to provide learning both on the screen and using tactile letters to complete a goal – I can’t wait to see what else this company will bring. The Square Panda Phonics Playset retails for $119 USD and includes a standard one year parts and labor if the letters malfunction or the product itself malfunctions. It can be purchased from Square Panda for $119 USD.
This is not your mom’s letter playset. This is a fun and interactive toy which can be used by younger and older children and can customize and provide data about what your child is learning. It is a true demonstration of what the iPad can do versus other tablets on the market.
Square Panda Lagoon
by Square Panda Inc
A goofy chameleon with a love for dancing introduces children to letter sounds and phonics in a fun way as kids learn to spell independently. This game tracks individual spelling progress and adapts the.
Square Panda Bowling
by Square Panda Inc
STRIKE! Letters meet their match in a bowling alley on a faraway island! With every roll of the coconut ball, your child learns the relationships between letters, sounds, and words. Compatible with the.
Square Panda Farming
by Square Panda Inc
Help Old MilkDonald plant, grow, and harvest fruits and vegetables in Square Panda Farming!
When placing Square Panda smart letters in the Square Panda Playset, children learn the alphabet, explore.
Square Panda Space Cows
by Square Panda Inc
It's a bird, it's a plane it's... alien UFOs beaming up cows! Compatible with the Square Panda Phonics Playset, children place smart letters in the tray to learn the alphabet, explore letter sounds, and.
Square Panda Fishing
by Square Panda Inc
What's the best catch in the icy arctic lake? Learning about letters! In Square Panda Fishing, children reel in their fishing line for a chance to catch letter fish! With each fish that they catch, they.
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.
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Fully customizable lessons with lots of different learning modes.
What we’d love to see…
Even more boards on math.
Bitsboard Pro is the ultimate educational app with top-quality content and outstanding enabling features to meet the learning needs of every child.
How many times have you wished that you can modify a well-developed learning app just that little bit to better match your child’s skills. Or thought of replacing some of the content with your own instead? Have you ever wondered if there is this ONE App that can meet most (if not all) of your child’s educational needs? What about an app that can accommodate the educational goals and learning difficulties of an entire class?
This is a tall order for any app considering children learn at different pace and thrive in different learning environment. And to be able to add our own content in an app seems like an impossible task! But Bitsboard Pro has all our wishes covered. It is the ultimate educational app for children from preschool right up to elementary school level, giving you access to thousands of topics (with many new ones added every month) and the ability to customize the way students learn in the app as well as the app content itself.
Alright, most of us don’t have the time nor inclination to create our own content. We just want an app that has ready-to-download learning materials and Bitsboard has lots of content to offer. After creating a user account, you can browse through Bitsboard’s extensive lessons catalog or search for specific lessons and download (over the internet) the ones that you need. Here, lessons are presented in individual boards, each containing a series of flashcards (bits). Topics include languages, vocabulary, grammar, reading (sight words, word families, phonics, readers), sentence maker, speech, spelling, letter tracing, math facts, math operations, money, time telling, sign language, routines, sequences, emotions and many more! The free version of Bitsboard itself comes with lots of shared resources that you can start with right away.
What I really love in Bitsboard is that you can choose up to 30 fully customizable learning modes or games that help children to learn and retain the information presented in the lessons. You can start with the simpler games and progress to the more complex ones. With so many different ways to learn the same materials, students remain engaged and learn better. Check out Bitsboard’s long list of fun learning games – Flashcards, Explore, True or False, Photo Touch, Photo Hunt, Memory Cards, Pop Quiz, Match Up, Word Builder, Sentence Builder, Spelling Bee, BINGO, Letter Tracing, Sequences, Related items, Word Search, Word Chunks, Crosswords, Unscramble, Say It, Missing Item, Puzzles, Reader, What’s Next, Odd One Out, Sort It, Side by Side, Story Time, Genius, Review Game and Board Creator
For each game, you can modify things like the session length, with or without visual/audio hints, spelling order, display options, number of tiles, matching options and answer mode. Customization is easy but it would be tedious if you have more than 1 user. Luckily, you don’t have to keep adjusting the settings and preferences as these are saved for each user (unlimited users for the Pro version). Likewise, the tracking of detailed progress and lesson plans is stored at the user level. Bitsboard’s learning algorithm also ensures that each game automatically advances according to the individual user’s skills.
If you are an educator, you will like the ease of creating custom lessons with your own cards (from photo library, dropbox, web search or Bitsboard Catalog of images), audio recording and text (words, phrases, sentences, description). Your students can learn anything you present to them using the Bitsboard learning games. You can also set up your own exclusive class with your own selection of boards for sharing with your students or fellow teachers privately.
I’m truly impressed with all the meaningful features that have been continually added in Bitsboard in order to support students and educators. There are many more that are not mentioned here. This all-in-one educational app far exceeds all my expectations in terms of content and ability to be customized. I don’t think you’ll find another app that is as versatile and comprehensive as this. Bitsboard Pro is an essential learning app that all families and classes must have!
If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!
comprehensive curriculum designed by Autism experts to build early literacy, social skills in a variety of teaching methods which reward kids for completing themed lessons. It takes what used to be shelves of materials, translates them to lessons all in one easy to load app that can be used when and where you need it rather than having to create and carry around materials
What we’d love to see…
ability to practice some of the games that involve turn taking virtually
Overall, I felt that this app had a huge amount of content included for the price and could be a great supplement to be used at home during therapy sessions, to reinforce learning at school as well as making sure they stayed on task.
Core Skills by Infiniteach Inc is an educational iPad only app built by autism experts who have worked with children on the Autism Spectrum. The app is designed for those with autism or other developmental delays to help them reach their fullest potential. The app offers materials ranging from preschool through first grade level lessons in academics, social and communication domains based on Common Core Learning Standards. Infiniteach is an autism edteach company which is dedicated to developing educational iPad apps for students on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Christopher Flit, the Founder and Chief Creative Officer was a special education teacher who trained over 12,000 parents and teachers in Illinois and across the United States about best practice autism strategies. Katie, a co-founder is a former Special Education Teacher and has a brother on the Autism Spectrum. Lally, a co-founder, is a behavioral therapist who works with children and adults who have ASD. The company was formed when the three came together with the shared believe that unlimited access to proven teaching strategies can help children with autism and developmental delays increase independence and create meaningful relationships.
It includes a number of features, which are highlighted below that allow children with developmental delays or ASD to work on social and communication skills either with another adult such as a parent or therapist or a peer. The app collects and saves data from all lessons and can be used on two iPads. Infiniteach Inc. also offers a one week trial so you can determine if the app is a good fit for your child/situation.
Features/Games included within the app
Skill building: The academic lessons include foundational lessons for preschool (color concepts, big/ little, shapes, picture match, etc.), math (counting, grouping, addition, etc), and reading (lower and uppercase find, sight words, rhyming, main ideas and details, etc.).
Social and Communication Lessons: The social interaction lessons provide two-player games that teach cooperative play and the importance of turn taking, such as following rules and sharing. The communication lessons help students express themselves and build conversation skills while working with a partner. This section can be adapted where the user asks questions and the other person types it in (which is great to practice listening skills!) as well as used to practice turn taking.
Themes: range from animals, trains, sports, food and many more which engage kids and after the successfully finish a lesson they are rewarded with brief video. The video aligns with the theme in the lesson. You can turn on and off specific themes depending on your child’s interest.
Data Collection: dashboard where data on lessons is recorded and displayed in charts and graphs which can be shared and printed. As each student completes their lessons, data is automatically collected, stored, and graphed which can be shared or printed.
Printable Materials: There are also off iPad activities available (printable worksheets/curriculum) that parents or teachers can print and then manually add results to the data graphs which allows for continued data collection. The worksheets help take lessons learned within the app and move them to a more concrete “real world” application. Once they are completed, they can be kept and used as sample work in a portfolio or discarded.
Frustration Free Learning: Lessons adjust in difficulty to ensure children are always learning at relevant levels of proficiency. The app also includes visual lists and errorless learning (for example – if the child starts to make mistakes, then the lesson gets easier) or vice versa which ensures your child stays on task and engaged with the app.
Collaboration: With a paid account, you get a free collaborator account which helps ensure continuity of learning – this could be a teacher, parent or even a therapist and data is synced between the accounts. The child can practice with the collaborator on their iPad in the same room at the same time.
Customized profiles: The customized profile allows you to enter and save information about your child including interests, attention span, specific themes, making this great for small classroom and home usage.
I loved the amount of material contained within the app. I have spent hours exploring it, and have found lots of great lessons which I tested out with my son. I liked how you could choose specific themes for the app – so if trains or the ocean was a particular favorite it was easy to get specific themed lessons around that. Gathering the data was helpful too – and once your child starts a lesson they are “locked” into it where the parent has to enter a passcode for them to exit. This means that they will focus on the app – and hopefully complete the activities successfully. You can change the pin number, so kids don’t get to know what it is even if they see you enter it. I liked also that the app encouraged not only learning material, but applying it both on and off device as well as the ability to ask questions. The keyboard and social skills games were a bit confusing for my son. I love how the content is customized and that it gets easier or harder depending on how your child does – then you can track it over time to see if a pattern emerges. I liked the turn taking activities – and my son did too once he understood “why” the screen flipped. The images within the app helped my son remember better than just words on the screen which appeals to those that may learn in a variety of different ways. The support experience is fast – and they are working to develop more support for parents and children who are using the app. The app also moves from printed or physical materials which have to be designed, used and then finally stored when not in use. Now you can just launch an app on your device, customize the content to them and have it ready in moments and on the fly rather than having to plan it out to be ready for a therapy session.
In terms of enhancements, the keyboard and social skills games were a bit confusing for my son. He didn’t understand why typing on the keyboard was “upside down” from the way that the words printed on the screen. I kept trying to explain to him that it wasn’t upside down, and he was meant to be sitting across from me but since he’s used to the dynamic keyboard on the iPad which flips when it is oriented he was bothered by it. The app is used in portrait mode – and it does not automatically flip when you re-orient the iPad – which isn’t a problem per se but does require some explaining for kids. I would love to see a way where the collaborator and student during turn taking games could collaborate even if they were not in the same room. Right now, I’ve only been able to figure out how to do it when both people are in the room and can press the arrow. The login portion of the app was a bit cumbersome and the developer recently changed it so you can do an in-app purchase to unlock additional content rather than having to use their website. I’d also like to have the ability to have printables specific to the curriculum you are working on emailed so I didn’t have to login to another location.
Overall, I felt that this app had a huge amount of content included for the price and could be a great supplement to be used at home during therapy sessions, to reinforce learning at school as well as making sure they stayed on task. The reporting, customized content and information help to provide a comprehensive set of materials for late preschool through early elementary school to ensure that consistency is measured along with the material learned. By using images, touch screen and manipulation of content students move from passive learners to those immersed in their education and are likely to retain more content.
The app has In-App Purchases for the material after the one week trial.
$99.99/USD annually for one student profile (home use)
$139.99/USD annually for up to 5 student profiles (Medium)
$189.99/USD annually for up to 10 student profiles (Premium)
Autism Core Skills - Academic, Communication, and Social Skills Plus Data
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