Dr. Panda Train by Dr. Panda Games – Review

Dr. Panda Train by Dr. Panda Games – Review



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

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



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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.

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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.

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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

Winner of a Parents' Choice Approved Award

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

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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.

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).
 An Adventure of Our Own – Review

An Adventure of Our Own – Review



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Frequent communication is key to strong parent-child relationship and here is an interesting way to get kids and their parents to interact while reading and playing together.

What we love…

Lots of decision making opportunities and open-ended questions to encourage parents and children’s full participation.

What we’d love to see…

A ‘read to me’ option and ability to save progress.

Summary

A great book app for parent-child interactions, providing readers with hours of imaginative play and valuable insights into the children’s minds.

Our Rating

An Adventure Of Our Own by Two Way Play is an interactive read and play book app for children and their parents (or other family members or even friends) to create their own adventure story together. While the sequence of events is fixed, readers build up the story by adding the details using the props (provided in-app) and their collective imagination.

The plot is jointly decided by the players and can change each time they play with the book. Right from the beginning of the story, the two players have to work together to flesh out their story. They begin by imagining and talk about what kind of emergency call they need to attend to. Different options are offered for each element in the story. While some aspects of the story (e.g. the setting and rescue plan) are agreed upon together, others are decided individually as each player select their own outfits, gadgets, vehicles and tools for their adventure.

There are lots of decision-making moments in this book and each comes with an open-ended question to encourage players to elaborate on their choices. This gave me valuable insights into my youngest son’s mind – his feelings, thoughts and the experiences that shaped his thinking. I was also careful not to impose my thoughts on his responses.

However, this story making session went on longer than what I had expected. I wish the app would allow me to save the progress of our story to be continued at the next session, instead of starting all over after we closed the app. Or perhaps give us a way to skip the earlier pages in the story as our choices before the rescue tools have no impact on the rest of the story. Also helpful if there are prompts on what actions are required on each page when there is no response from the players for a long time. For example, when players have to choose more than 1 item in order to move on to the next page. An added option for audio narration will also greatly benefit young readers playing with their friends.

While its simple illustrations (that look like children’s drawings), the minimal sound effects and animation allow players to focus on their collaboration itself, the app may come across as amateurish for those of us who are accustomed to more sophisticated book apps. Perhaps this is intentional.

Nonetheless, I like this new and meaningful way of sharing a read and play book app. My son likes the imaginative names of the various items in the story (e.g. seeing eye crystal and 3-wishes poof powder) as they give him all sorts of fun ideas on how to use them. Our story got more exciting because of them. The end of the story is unusual too as readers are asked about their feelings and thoughts on their adventure together. Helpful words like brave, clever, heroic, successful and tired are offered to facilitate the discussion. The app ends with yet another opportunity to talk – take another selfie, go to sleep or go on another adventure?

Overall, I recommend that you check it out. An Adventure of Our Own is a great book app for parent-child interactions, providing you with hours of imaginative play and valuable insights into your children’s minds.

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An Adventure Of Our Own

An Adventure Of Our Own An Adventure Of Our Own by Two Way Play
Category: Books, Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 122.1 MB

$0.99USD

 

 

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.
Review & Giveaway for Malia’s House from Build & Imagine #STEAM

Review & Giveaway for Malia’s House from Build & Imagine #STEAM

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What we love…

Easy to build, many combinations gives lots of options to play different ways, detailed illustrations and props encourage creative storytelling

What we’d love to see…

A bag included for storing all the small magnetic clothes and accessories

Summary

Malia’s house is a great S.T.E.A.M. gift – it encourages young builders to engage both the left and right side of their brain as they build and tell stories

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

Historically building sets have been designed with boys in mind, but companies are now realizing that girls can be builders too, and creating sets made for girls. In many cases, like the Lego Friends series, this involves taking an existing building toy and making it more “girly” by changing the color scheme and theme of the sets. Build & Imagine sets were designed to get girls interested in building by providing them with a more creative, imaginative experience than standard building blocks. The Build & Imagine sets are building blocks meets dollhouse meets dress-up dolls. It’s a unique combination with lots of details designed to inspire girls (and boys) to build and imagine.

 

Malia’s House is one of the most popular Build & Imagine sets and the winner of a Parent’s choice Gold Award. The set includes 10 square, 4 triangular and 2 rectangular panels. These are illustrated on both sides and snap together magnetically.

Malia's House from Build & Imagine

Malia’s House from Build & Imagine

There is no set way to build Malia’s house – it can be one story or two, a traditional rectangle or  open plan. The builder can add a garage complete with charging electric car or flip it over and instead have deck on the beach. They can add stairs to a second story or turn over the piece to add a vegetable garden outside. There are many different permutations to create, the child can use their imagination to decide which scenes to include and what shape to build, every time they play they can rebuild it in a slightly different way. There is a working door and lots of different rooms and scenes illustrated on the panels, including furniture and indoor and outdoor scenes such as a kitchen, bedrooms, beach, garden and pool. 

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As well as the building panels the kit also includes 2 magnetic dolls- Malia and her friend Skyler plus lots of magnetic clothes, pets and accessories. The set can also be combined with other Build & Imagine sets for even more creative fun.

Malia’s house is a great S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) gift – it encourages young builders to engage both the left and right side of their brains.  Building with geometric shapes of the magnetic panels children work on simple engineering skills and and work on design, spatial reasoning and problem solving and design. The  play sets encourage creative storytelling with the illustrations, dolls, animals, clothes and accessories helping the child to tell a story.

I love how my daughter not only creates different scenes and dollhouses with Malia’s House, but that she also loves to tell stories about what is happening as she plays. A great #STEAM gift and it can be combined with other Build & Imagine play sets for even more creative possibilities.  Available from Amazon and toyshops for US$59.99 .

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a Malia’s House Magnetic Building Set, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to USA only and a valid mailing address is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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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).

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