Dr. Panda Train by Dr. Panda Games – Review

Dr. Panda Train by Dr. Panda Games – Review



iPhone Screenshot 2

What we love…

fun train themed app with great sound effects that encourages role play, creative play, counting and more

What we’d love to see…

ability to back the train up, a ticket that displays the passengers destination visually, other methods to power the train or even a subway

Summary

Fun train themed app that includes sharing, following directions and more!

Our Rating

Dr. Panda Train All Aboard the latest app from Dr. Panda Games this time with a train theme!  In this fun themed train app your kids serve as conductor and they drive the train and tour one of three landscapes which includes jungle, desert and a beautiful countryside scene.

Within the app, your child can drive the train either from a first person perspective inside the cab or from a distance.  They also can stop and visit the passengers to give them food, snacks, reading material and more.  My son even found some great tech to give the passengers.  Shovel on some coal to stoke the fire and make the train go faster to it’s next destination or simply blow the horn as the countryside goes by.  I liked that my kids could take turns playing with the app or putting passengers on and handing out items to them.  As you complete more of the game you earn extra items to give to the passengers – my kids favorites were of course the tech!    My kids also loved loading the cargo and carrying it from station to station.  While we loaded it we practiced counting or even deciding which item to load first – should we load the jelly beans or the chicken?  What happens if we don’t load any cargo.  I loved their responses which ranged from – “the passengers will be sad” to “will the chicken lay an egg?”  My toddler loved speeding up the train within the app or making it slower which shows cause and effect – although that concept was a bit difficult to explain.  As you get to each station stop, a thought bubble pops up looking for a specific passenger or item to be loaded on the train.  There is a maximum of four passengers, so if you have more, someone extra must exit the train prior to it moving.  Safety first!

As a mom, I loved that there was great role playing – should we be the conductor, the passenger or the person loading the cargo.  Tell me about their job.  What happens if there are too many passengers, how do we decide who gets on?  It was great for storytelling and having my older son describe his actions within the app.  At the station, it was great to unload the cargo and then pass it along to the proper recipients like the pig who wanted the chicken.  Each time you complete a task, you earn additional items to play with in the game which made my kids want to play more and more to see what else they would earn.  There are twelve different train stations throughout.  My son also enjoyed dinging the bell

In terms of enhancements, it would be fun if each passenger had to submit a ticket prior to getting on the train which would get stamped with their destination, currently once they are on the train you can punch the ticket but it does not show the destination.  That way, kids could prepare for which station they are getting off at.  My son also wanted to “back up” the train a few times to go back and look at scenery or to pick up something he might have missed.  I would also love to see other methods for powering the train – perhaps it could be electric and run on above ground power like the T does in Boston or maybe it could run like the subway does with a third rail.  My kids also thought it would be fun if each of the train stops coincided with other Dr. Panda Games like Daycare, Firefighter, Home etc.

There are no in-app purchases and there is a parental gate which requires year of birth.  You can turn off a splash screen which advertises other Dr. Panda apps in the parent area as well as turn on and off music and sound.

Super fun train themed app that kept my toddler enthralled for hours.  He kept finding little secret items and enjoyed loading and off loading the cargo.  Bravo Dr. Panda – or should that be Toot Toot!  Can’t wait to see what else you have planned in the future.



Dr. Panda Train Dr. Panda Train by Dr. Panda Ltd

Price: $1.99 USD

Dr. Panda Train has pulled into the station! Put on your conductor hat and take passengers on a journey full of fun and discovery!

DRIVE THE TRAIN! 
All aboard Dr. Panda Train! Show your passengers.

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 sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame- Photo Frames brought into the 21st Century

PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame- Photo Frames brought into the 21st Century



What we love…

Easy to set up and use. Auto update feature allows it to automatically upload and display new photos without any effort

What we’d love to see…

Ability to create own albums and tag and search photos (planned in future updates)

Summary

PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame is an effortless way to bring  family photos off phones and computers and into everyday lives.  It provides an easy way to enjoy and share  photos and memories with family and friends near and far.

recommended-by-the-imums

As children my siblings and I loved seeing the new pictures every time we got a roll of film back from the developers, and we loved reminiscing as we looked through them together. We had albums of family photos lying around that we loved to look through whenever family or friends visited. With my own children most of our family photos have been taken on digital cameras and, more recently, on cellphones.  We take way more pictures now, but we never see most of them – they stay trapped in a digital graveyard on our computers and phones. I really that feel we, as a family, are missing out by not looking at family photos together and enjoying the memories they bring, but any solutions I’ve tried have just been too time consuming, and end up getting dropped after a few months.

I recently started using the PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame and I love how it has brought our family photos off our phones and back into our everyday lives.  When I heard “digital photo frame” my first thought was of a frame we had years ago that required downloading photos onto an SD card, which was then inserted in it to view the pictures. This was OK the first time we did it, but we rarely got around to creating new cards for it so the same pictures stayed on for years. Comparing the PhotoSpring to that is similar to comparing a Prius to a Model-T – they are both digital photo frames but otherwise have little in common. The PhotoSpring is so easy to use, and once set up it can keep adding new photos as I take them, without any effort on my behalf.

Our PhotoSpring is on a bookshelf in the living room and I’ve set it to automatically switch on in the mornings and off around our usual bedtime. It has a nice sharp display screen and a wide angle of view so you can see the pictures from where ever you are in the room. It is currently rotating through around 1,600 photos taken on my iPhone 7 and my husband’s iPhone 6 over the last year. I love that we are now seeing these pictures and that the kids will often comment about pictures they see and reminisce about the times they were taken.

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If a particular photo catches our eye we can take the PhotoSpring off it’s stand and use it as a digital photo album to look through the photos surrounding it at our own pace. It is easy to mark favorite pictures to make then easy to find later or to delete or hide photos we don’t want on display.

My favorite feature is that with it set on auto-update all the new pictures I take on my camera automatically appear on the PhotoSpring without me needing to do anything. As a busy mum of 3 I always have good intentions about making photo albums, printing photos etc but never quite find time to get it done. With PhotoSpring I no longer have to feel guilty about not being more organized with our family photos -PhotoSpring gets our family photos out and on display for without any effort on my part and that is priceless!

 

Unboxing

In the box is the photo frame, charger and stand. The PhotoSpring looks similar to a 10 inch iPad or Android tablet, but slightly thicker. It has a clean look with no buttons on the front and a white border around the screen. The stand works in either portrait or landscape mode. The charger can be connected to the stand to charge whilst displayed, or directly to the PhotoSpring. It has a nice long cord so I had no problem reaching an outlet.

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Set Up

Set up for the PhotoSpring is very quick and easy.  I had mine up and running in about 5 minutes.
1) Connect PhotoSpring to power and wait for it to turn on.
2) Connect PhotoSpring  to your home WiFi network. PhotoSpring will then download the most current version of it’s software.
3) Name your device (e’g Mary’s living room PhotoSpring) then enter your name and email address to get a PhotoSpring account invitation.
4) Respond to the email to create a free PhotoSpring account.
5) Download the PhotoSpring companion apps for iPhone, Android, Mac or Windows to start uploading photos to your PhotoSpring.

You can connect your account to more than one PhotoSpring and invite multiple friends and family to connect to your PhotoSpring. This is great for keep family connected. You can have PhotoSprings at home and work to easily access your photos in both locations. It makes a great gift for Grandparents or other family members because even if they live a long way away you can easily share photos across the miles.

The PhotoSpring comes preloaded with a slideshow that runs you through the features of the frame and how to use it, as well as some art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

Sending Photos

There are 2 ways to send photos to your PhotoSpring:

1) Manually: To send photos you open up the PhotoSpring app on your device, select the photos you want to send, and choose which PhotoSpring(s) connected to your account to send them to.

2) Automatically: choose “auto-update” and the PhotoSpring app will automatically upload new photos from your phone (and thus to your PhotoSpring) whenever you have the app open. You can choose to do this only via WiFi or via WiFi and cellular. For iOS you do need to also give permission for PhotoSpring to use location services for this to work.

The photos get sent to PhotoSpring cloud server and from there they are downloaded onto your PhotoSpring for local storage. This does take a little time, it only takes a minute or two for one picture, but large numbers of pictures can take a while to appear.

I send my photos via the auto-update feature as it means I don’t even have to think about uploading my pictures they just appear, my husband prefers to send his manually.

 

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In Use

Once the photos appear on the PhotoSpring they are automatically sorted and duplicate pictures are removed. It will place the pictures in smart albums based on the place they were taken, if they are geo-tagged and location service permission was granted. If you have multiple people connected to your PhotoSpring it will also create albums based on the person taking them.

When playing a slide show you can display either: a) all the photos on the PhotoSpring,  or b) all of a particular album or c) or you can apply one of these 3 filters:

1) Favorite photos- you can mark these by taping on a heart symbol.

2) People- PhotoSpring automatically detects pictures with people in.

3) Best quality- PhotoSpring assesses the picture quality and marks with a lightning symbol those that it considers the best quality.

The PhotoSpring is available with 16GB, 32GB or 80 GB of memory. How many photos it will hold depends on the size/ quality of your images, mine is a 16GB currently has 1,600 photos on it that were taken in an iPhone 7 and is about 25 % full.

The PhotoSpring is a also a touchscreen device, it has a 4 hour battery life so you can remove it from the stand to look through your photo albums and remove, hide or favorite pictures. You can select individual photos or whole albums when hiding, deleting or marking as favorite. When looking at an album the pictures are organized in date order of when they were taken, and you can choose to see them newest first or oldest first. On the side there is a timeline arrow that you can move up or down to easily find photos from a specific date.

In the evenings I like to sit and look through my photo albums – it is a great way to really enjoy the pictures but also lets me easily weed out pictures I don’t want on display and to highlight favorites that I might want to print or create a photo book from later. I would love a way to easily create my own albums as I do this so, that I could create separate slideshows with a theme e.g. vacations, kid’s art work, Scout trips; I am told that the company has plans to add this feature in the future, along with the ability to tag and search.

Currently PhotoSpring only supports digital photos, but video support is due to be added in the next few weeks. The PhotoSpring has built-in speakers ready for video support. When the company updates the software to add new features it automatically updates via WiFi so you don’t need to check for updates to access the new features.

Summary

I love our PhotoSpring – it makes it so easy to enjoy and share our family photos with very little time or effort on my part. The auto-update feature makes it effortless to constantly update the frame with new pictures. My whole family is enjoying  it. We all get to enjoy our family photos and gives us many opportunities to easily took through photos and share memories together. It makes a great gift for moms and dads as an easy way to view family photos at home or in the office. It is also is a great gift idea for grandparents, as long as they have a WiFi connection, many different family members can connect to their PhotoSpring and easily keep them updated with family pictures even if they live a long way away or even in a different country. Highly recommended !

PhotoSpring Smart Digital Photo Frame is available from PhotoSpring.com with 16, 32 or 80GB storage from $149

 

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.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.

 

 

 

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).
 Ladybug Band by Rain Boot Media LLC – Review and Giveaway

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ladybug Band

Ladybug Band Ladybug Band by Rain Boot Media LLC

Price: $0.99 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.

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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.
 Build With Grandpa by Fairlady Media – Review

Build With Grandpa by Fairlady Media – Review



iPad Screenshot 4

What we love…

fun building themed app that appeals to kids from toddler through early elementary school.  I loved that both of my kids could play the app and design different things.

What we’d love to see…

ability to turn off spelling words mini game – this was hard for my toddler although he liked everything else

Summary

Overall, this is a fun construction themed app that has a wide appeal to kids that allows them to design different houses from start to finish and then take a photo of their creations!

 

Our Rating

Build With GrandpaBuild with Grandpa by Fairlady Media is universal app for iOS designed to help kids with a variety of building as well as teaching them about environmental re-use as kids knock down buildings, drive a construction truck and design a new home to be built.  The app includes six mini educational games which require choice of equipment from a field, addition which items add up to x number, painting, decorating, designing a house and more!  It appeals to preschool, toddler and elementary school depending on which things your kids like to do with the app.  Skills practiced in the app include, math to number 9, literacy through reading and identifying words, design, creativity, landscaping, problem solving, cause and effect.  It also teaches skills about construction and how you go through the process of building something.  This is the 13th app in the app store by Fairlady Media and among my younger son’s favorites.

It was interesting to see my toddler play with the app – he was more into demolishing the old house and clearing the lot as well as dumping the gravel from the truck.   Since he’s only 2 I didn’t expect him to be able to do the higher level games which required addition or foundation words.  My older son on the other hand was interested in the process — and followed along with the app from start to finish and really enjoyed building a house from design to final build.  The two of them had played at various points – so my younger picked the design of the house while my older finished it up.  Both my kids equally enjoyed the different construction related video’s.  My younger son didn’t capture the idea that you could raise and lower the boom with the wrecking ball whereas my older son was much more deliberate with his actions.  To be honest, I was happy to see an app that appealed to both of them. My older son loved painting the house in primary colors and adding the windows, doors and finishing touches.  He loves doing art and design so I wasn’t surprised by this request. My older son would ask Siri if he didn’t recognize a piece of equipment used in the house and enjoyed parking the equipment after finishing the foundation.  I enjoyed both kids narrating the app and telling me what they were doing.

In terms of improvements, I wish that I could turn on and off activities that either my kids liked or disliked or were too developmentally difficult (like math for my 2 year old!) and still be able to play.  My older son would have liked a paintbrush so he could do more detail work when finishing the house up.

Overall, this is a fun construction themed app that has a wide appeal to kids that allows them to design different houses from start to finish and then take a photo of their creations!  There are no in-app purchases or advertising other than for other Fairlady Media games in the app.

Build With Grandpa
Build With Grandpa
by Fairlady Media

Category: Education, Family, Educational, Games
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: 87.81 MB

$2.99USD

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

Build With Grandpa

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 sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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