Square Panda Phonics Playset by Square Panda – Review & Giveaway

Square Panda Phonics Playset by Square Panda – Review & Giveaway



Square Panda Phonics Playset

What we love…

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

Summary

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.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

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.

iPad Screenshot 1

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.

iPad Screenshot 4

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.

Play with letters and words today...

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.

alison

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.

Apps


Square Panda Lagoon Square Panda Lagoon by Square Panda Inc

Price: $FREE

A goofy chameleon with a love for dancing introduces children to letter sounds and phonics in a fun, exploratory way where any combination of letters (both nonsense words and real words) create a learning.



Square Panda Bowling Square Panda Bowling by Square Panda Inc

Price: $FREE

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.

Video demonstration

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.

 

Giveaway

If you would like to win a Square Panda Phonics playset , 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 to those with a valid US mailing address, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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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.
 Hop Star : Fun Visual Math Learning Game for Grade 1 to 5 Kids – Review

Hop Star : Fun Visual Math Learning Game for Grade 1 to 5 Kids – Review



screen hop star

Hop Star : Fun Visual Math Learning Game for Grade 1 to 5 Kids by Skidos Learning is an addictive platform mobile game that requires players to solve many math problems just to keep the game going. I say ‘many’ because the amount of time I spent doing math in Hop Star is at least 10 times more than the amount I spent on the game itself. I admit I’m not good at such games but I refuse to give up until I complete a game. I can’t accept defeat because the game is actually very simple but it is so hard to score points. It’s so much easier solving the math questions. I guess that is the whole purpose of Hop Star!

What we love…

The huge database of questions covering grade 1 – 5 math topics.

What we’d love to see…

Option to pre-select the players’ choice of math topics.

Summary

A fun mobile game that has players spend more time sharpening their math skills than being on the game itself.

Our Rating

The goal of the game is to keep your game character/hopper alive as you guide it across a series of obstacles to get out of the jungle. You tap or hold your finger anywhere on the screen and release it to get your hopper to jump over rivers and different types of dangers while collecting coins. The longer you hold, the further your hopper will jump. You will need to have good estimation, great timing and quick reflexes in order to play well.

A player needs to be alert as there are so many ways your character can get eliminated in this game. You lose a life when the hopper gets hit by trucks, eaten by alligators, struck by falling elephants or just dropped into the rivers but you can revive it with game coins. The only problem is that the number of coins required increases exponentially with each subsequent revival which means that you always run out of coins. But you can also earn coins very quickly by answering math questions.

 

Here, players can choose the type of math questions they want to do. From grade 1 to 5, there is a huge database of questions covering a comprehensive list of topics like numbers & counting, comparison, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, factors, prime and composite numbers, algebra and place values. Players are tested in 3 question styles – visual, mental and language. While the visual questions help players better understand the math problems and solve them easily, the constant exposure to the same type of questions give kids the confidence to tackle similar questions outside the app. I especially like the leading questions for the game based questions which guide kids to focus on the important information. The questions even feature the game characters to up the cute factor.

This fast-paced game is very addictive and I honestly couldn’t put it down. The gameplay is exciting and fun. I was surprised that my competitive older kids also enjoyed the game even though at first, they found it impossible to advance in the game. The pixel art graphics is bright and colorful. The game is easy to play and the controls are responsive. There are no penalties for wrong answers, only rewards and fun. Unlike many mobile games, there is no need to use real money to buy game coins in Hop Star. Players can play, revive characters and unlock new characters just by doing math.

What interest parents and teachers will be the progress report that lets you track individual child’s progress across different skills and time periods, allowing you to see where they need help and more practice. You will need to register your email address in order to view the reports of all the players. Do note that Hop Star requires an active internet connection for the updating of reports as well as the loading of questions from its large question database.

All kids love to play mobile games. Your kids will be most motivated to do the challenging visual and mental math problems in Hop Star just to be able to stay in their game and have fun. Trust me, they will be spending lots more time sharpening their math skills than being on the game itself!

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Hop Star : Fun Visual Math Learning Game for Grade 1 to 5 Kids

Hop Star : Visual Math Game for Grade 1 to 5 Kids Hop Star : Visual Math Game for Grade 1 to 5 Kids by Skidos Learning
Category: Education, Games, Educational, Adventure
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: 252.33 MB

$5.99USD

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Flying Superstars : Fun Visual Math Game for Kids

Flying Superstars : Fun Visual Math Game for Kids Flying Superstars : Fun Visual Math Game for Kids by Skidos Learning

Price: $5.99 USD

Help Jim and his superstar friends hover and fly their way through without bumping into lava! They have many powers but need your math super powers to beat through this near impossible action platformer.

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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.
 At the Zoo With Grandma and Grandpa by Fairlady Media – Review & Giveaway

At the Zoo With Grandma and Grandpa by Fairlady Media – Review & Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

fun zoo themed app which includes 8 educational games including spelling, math, animal sounds and a puzzle

What we’d love to see…

animal facts cards for each of the animals especially ones you haven’t seen before, perhaps a mini game where you draw the spots on a leopard or stripes on a tiger and the ability to feed the animals

Summary

Who doesn’t love spending time with their grandparents?  This fun zoo themed app is sure to delight and had my son learning animal names, spelling and math and he learned about a new animal each time that he played.

Our Rating

At the Zoo With Grandma and Grandpa At the Zoo With Grandma and Grandpa by Fairlady Media is not your traditional go to the zoo and see the animals type of app.  In fact it’s much more fun and educational!  The app features 8 mini games which you plan along as you meet new animals – some that my older son had never even seen at the zoo.  You also practice matching, addition, puzzles and more!  This is the 10th app by Fairlady Media and the first that features both Grandma and Grandpa as central characters within the app.  The app features over 50 animals from around the world and is designed for elementary aged children.

Educational games within the app include:

1) Animal Sounds: What animal sound do you hear behind the curtain?  Pick one from an assortment of 3.

2) Fix the sign: Use the letters to fix the sign – it must be in the correct spelling order, you move the letters at the bottom to match the letters on the sign and has a zoo themed twist using types of animals.

3) Spot the Difference: Which fish in the aquarium is different?  Tap to choose the right one and see what might be different about it as well as the name.

4) Tram Math: How many people are on the tram.  You can either finger tap count or see that each car has a certain number in it to solve the problem.

5) Jigsaw Puzzle: Put together the pieces of an animal and learn about them.  Does the animal live on the ground or in a tree?  What is it called?

6) Fossil Dig: Who doesn’t love getting dirty?!?  Use your finger to help find the fossil and don’t get dirty in real life!

7) Match the sign to the animal: Using your eagle eyes, determine which sign goes with each animal type.  I loved that the animals in this game were both ones we knew like alligator and other times a Tasmanian devil!

8) Feed the Penguins: Move the penguins to find the fish and feed them.

Other mini games/interactions:

1) Draw the stripes on the animals using your favorite crayon color

2) Having a snack with Grandpa is just the best because you never quite know what to expect 😉

3) Move the seal to balance the ball on his nose.  How long can you keep it in the air?

4) What trip to the zoo is complete without picking out a souvenir to store and play with in your toy box?

iPad Screenshot 4

I loved that this app introduced my son to new animals especially ones that were not traditional at the various zoos that we have visited around the country.  Having a variety of animals and games made the app fun and interactive.  We also really liked that both Grandma and Grandpa participated in the app – this was fun because we usually only see one or the other.  The graphics are fantastic and clear and my son learned something about a new animal each time that he played meaning that he kept playing to keep learning – a huge win!

One enhancement I would like to see is “animal facts” – perhaps you could add in cards at the end of the app that you earned with facts about some of the more unusual animals like the Tasmanian devil which would include a photo, animal sound and a fact or two about them.  My son also loved being creative and “drawing the stripes” aka decorating the animals with crayons and asked if there could be a game where you draw the spots on the animal or stripes on a tiger within specific lines.  My son also asked if we could feed the animals to learn more about them as well – we recently learned that a turtle at the aquarium liked brussel sprouts which encouraged my son to at least touch them!

There is no external advertising or in-app purchases beyond Fairlady advertising their own apps.  Internet access is not required to play the app.  External links are protected with a parental gate which requires your year of birth.  You can access the settings and turn on and off the games depending on your child’s ability level which allows you to target specific skills or make it easier for younger kids.  You can also turn on and off the music.

Overall, this is a fun zoo themed app that introduced my son to some exotic animals we had never seen before. My son enjoyed playing the app over and over again and learned something new each time if it was an animal or perhaps how to spell an animal name.  Huge amount of replay value and the app can target younger or older kids depending on the options you choose for the mini games.


At the Zoo With Grandma and Grandpa At the Zoo With Grandma and Grandpa by Fairlady Media

Price: $2.99 USD

Do you know what a Malayan tapir is? Let’s go to the zoo to find out! Fix the animal signs, color a zebra, add up the visitors, solve puzzles, feed the penguins, put on a seal show, dig for fossils, .

Giveaway

If you would like to win a $25 iTunes gift card, 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 everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.
 Zcooly Time Ranch – Practice the clock and learn how to tell time by Zcooly AB – Review

Zcooly Time Ranch – Practice the clock and learn how to tell time by Zcooly AB – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

important app to teach the life skill of telling time on both analog and digital skills with an opportunity to earn virtual currency for completing tasks that you can spend or save

What we’d love to see…

multi-player option, calendar feature as well as the ability to set your own schedule

Summary

Overall, this interactive time telling app is one that will teach your kids a very important life skill – the ability to tell time!  I liked that it used a variety of clocks (analog and digital) to ensure that time telling skills can be used at any time instead of just with one specific type of clock.

Our Rating

ZCooley Time Ranch by Zcooley AB is a universal app for iOS that teaches people how to read both digital and analog style clocks.  Teaching your kids how to tell time is a really important life skill.  As we have transitioned from analog clocks to digital – at times I worry that the skill will be lost by the upcoming generation.  My son often goes over to my iPhone or device to check and see what time it is – he either clicks the home button or will ask Siri what time it is if there is not a clock handy.  ZCooley Time Ranch helps kids practice digital, analog and clock skills both with reading and practice setting the clock.  It is designed for kids from late preschool (better with digital) through elementary school.  It not only teaches you how to read and set the clock but also gives information like “quarter to”, “half past”.  The app includes a practice as well as timed mode.  As you complete the levels and earn the in-app currency (not an IAP) you can buy additional animals to take care of a new animal.

To set the clock, you tap on the clock and move the hands forward to the correct time.  One of the things I liked here was that you couldn’t accidentally move the hands backward which could be a bit confusing especially for kids just learning how to set the clock.  After you complete five clock settings correctly, the day is over.  Once you set the time, you hit a thumbs up at the bottom of the clock.  If the time is wrong, it asks you if you are sure and if you get it wrong multiple times it brings you back to the start of the level.  Each time you complete the time correctly, you feed the animals and collect the in-app coin currency for completing the task.   As the task comes closer to being completed the scene changes to nighttime.  Then the app brings up a new “note” to be completed the next day.  As you gain competence “clock” terms like “half past” are introduced” along with a visual model of what the time should look like.  You have a variety of options where you can “show” or “hide” the demonstration clock to help kids with the task.  You can turn the background music as well as the sound effects on and off.

iPad Screenshot 4

I really liked the visual model which showed what the clock time should look like in the easier levels and that it was presented again with new terms like “quarter to”.  I remember when I learned to tell time, we used small clocks we held in our hands and moved the hands forward.  This is a fun interactive digital twist which encourages kids to participate and understand at the moment if they have gotten the answer right or wrong.  The visual cues which also showed AM/PM were helpful for my son to understand the difference between night and day. I also liked the reward system of feeding the animals and collecting the coins to earn more animals to help keep my son motivated and moving forward within the app.  He liked that each “day” had a task you could complete and that you could go back to the app to continue working even if you needed a break.  The difficultly increases as you complete the 70 missions within the app.  The texts are spoken with clear narration which means even non readers could listen to the text along with the visual clock to use the app.    I also liked that you could move into practice which would be able to try out without worrying about getting the answer wrong.  Another thing I liked was that kids could “earn” coins for taking care of the animals – they could either use them to upgrade the pen or save for a more exotic animal like a lion.  We used this to have a conversation about how we could buy a more inexpensive item that might not last or if we should save to get the better item.  The graphics were fantastic and I liked the switch between day and night and how it moved if you were setting the clock and changed the time quickly and easily.

In terms of enhancements, it would be nice to have a multi-profile option so that a child didn’t have to restart each time and it could be used potentially in a classroom environment for practice.  It would also be great if other things like a calendar or even some sort of a schedule were added.  Another feature to add could be labeling the clock – putting the numbers at the correct location.  It did seem a bit odd at times to be feeding the animals in the middle of the night when you were completing the task.

There are no in-app purchases.  There is a link to another ZCooley app but that is protected with a parental gate which requires you to enter your year of birth before it goes through to iTunes.

Overall, this interactive time telling app is one that will teach your kids a very important life skill – the ability to tell time!  I liked that it used a variety of clocks (analog and digital) to ensure that time telling skills can be used at any time instead of just with one specific type of clock.

Zcooly Time Ranch - Practice the clock
Zcooly Time Ranch - Practice the clock
by Zcooly AB

Category: Games, Education, Simulation, Educational
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: 130.14 MB

$1.99USD

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.

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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