Dr. Panda Town: Mall from Dr. Panda Games – Review

Dr. Panda Town: Mall from Dr. Panda Games – Review


What we love…

fun interactive mall that has a number of great activities for kids to play ranging from hair, dress up, cinema, food court and more!  Lots of great role play and language activities to describe the scenes.

What we’d love to see…

ability to add photos in the app to the camera roll, also more “boy” themed dress up and characters like a security/police officer

Summary

Overall, this is a super fun addition to the Dr. Panda suite of apps.  There are lots of new adventures to play with Dr. Panda friends and my kids spent hours inside the mall.

Our Rating

Get ready to shop until you drop!  Dr. Panda Town Mall the newest app from Dr. Panda Games is a free app with IAP for the full game.  Inside the mall there are six different locations to visit on three floors including a cinema, pet store, food court, hair salon, clothing store, toy store and even a place to snap a selfie!  This app features the traditional Dr. Panda characters and now adds some fun children to the mix.  Game play is simple – open ended role play which allows your child to go through the mall picking and choosing from their favorite activities with no rules – just fun!  There are sixteen different characters you can choose from within the app which means everyone has a chance for fun!  You can even open and close the shops by a simple tap.  You can read more reviews of previous Dr. Panda apps here.  I also helped my son narrate as he played which let us practice language, naming items and more!

Inside each of the shops at Dr. Panda Mall there are different activities that you can do and when you have finished you can use Dr. Panda money from the ATM to pay for your services, a crane game to try to get a favorite toy (how i wish the real life one was this easy!), a bouncing car, an interactive fountain and lots of fun elements to tap and touch!  There are also a wide variety of interactive elements including wrapped gifts (and the ability to wrap you own), a restroom and more!

Hair Salon: Activities in the hair salon include: styling hair, coloring your hair, washing your hair, getting a quick snip/.style, having a drink and reading a magazine.

Cinema: Buy your ticket and head into for a show.  The cinema features three different movies and a variety of activities including: getting a drink, snacks at the concession stand, picking up your 3D glasses and even trying on fun costumes while you wait for the movie to start!

Food Court: Hungry for a snack?  Simply hop on the escalator up to floor three and you can get your character their favorite snack.  Items range from coffee/juice to muffins, rolls, sandwiches, smoothies and more.  My younger son loved making his own smoothie.

Pet Store: Head inside the pet store to play with a variety of animals including a hamster, kittens and lizards.  You can also buy pet food, carriers for your pet, accessories and more!  A favorite of my son was dressing up the animals in the pet shop.

Selfie Snap: No day at the mall is complete without photos.  Gather your favorite characters, pets and accessories for a quick photo which you can then post on the photo board.

Costume/Clothing Shop: Head inside and gather your favorite outfits and costumes for dress up!  Head inside the dressing room for a quick change for your next destination!

Toy Shop: This is a toy store of any children’s dreams – it features a flying rocket, airplane, ring stack, dinosaur and many more toys!  As a parent I personally loved the train.  My kids also loved the various dress up options, bouncing balls and musical instruments.Having the performance on stage was a bonus – they especially liked opening and closing the curtains.

I loved the open ended play of this app.  My son could spend as much or as little time on each activity as he wanted to.  He enjoyed each of the shops and the various games and interactions within.  I noticed that each time we played – he would often go back to the hair salon and cinema before heading up to the food court for a snack and a selfie!  He also enjoyed the pretend play with various dress up objects and we pretended that we were a variety of Dr. Panda characters as well as a Mom and a child heading to the mall.  As a parent I liked the diversity of the characters and variety of dress up clothes.  Navigation within the app is straightforward and you can always go to a map to start over in a new clean mall.   Inside the parental gate there is the ability to turn on/off sounds and background music as well as promotions.

My son wanted to be able to save the photos to our camera roll – but right now they are just saved within the app and when the board gets full there is no way to save your favorites.  My son also asked for additional dress up options like a construction outfit, security/police and a firefighter.  My older son asked for a toy building where he could construct his own stuffed animal – we found lots of clothes but he couldn’t make his own animal.

Overall, this is a super fun addition to the Dr. Panda suite of apps.  There are lots of new adventures to play with Dr. Panda friends and my kids spent hours inside the mall.  A great new addition to your Dr. Panda library.  This app is free with in-app purchases for the various stores/games within the app.  In app purchases range from $0.99 – $4.99 for all the shops and add ons.


Dr. Panda Town: Mall Dr. Panda Town: Mall by Dr. Panda Ltd

Price: $FREE

Go on a fun-filled shopping spree in Dr. Panda Town: Mall! With so many shops and other things to discover, there are endless stories to be told and adventures to be had.

EXPLORE THE MALL
Explore.

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 two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. 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.
Article: Role play – kids apps to help kids process a new situation with play

Article: Role play – kids apps to help kids process a new situation with play

Kids learn best through play and explaining what they are seeing and doing. Recently, every time I turn on the television news or tune in to the local radio, I am prompted things that I know I do not want my child to see or things that I might consider to be scary for them.  Research has shown that children learn best through play — and playing out situations via role play can help them to better process and understand them.  With the recent Hurricane Harvey here in the United States – there has been a lot of news on the television and radio that is overwhelming.  As such, I started thinking about some of my favorite apps that would help kids in these situations. Helping children process traumatic events they seen in the news such as the recent Hurricane Harvey and other frightening news, can be overwhelming.  Many children learn better with play therapy.  Below are a few apps that involve role play, social stories and more to help them process difficult situations as well as explore new situations.   Below is a list of some of my favorites.

Kids learn differently than adults.  Introducing a new situation can be hard.  One of the biggest things I struggle with as a parent is helping my kids understand a new situation.  Helping my kids prepare for new experiences can be overwhelming as.    One of my favorite thing about the MyPlayhome apps is that there are no rules – kids can play and role play while narrating what they are doing.  I love to see all the different games that my toddler comes up with or see my son talking about an upcoming doctors appointment using MyPlayhome Hospital.  Using Social Stories like Kid in the Storybook maker can help kids better understand a new situation.  Dr. Panda has a series of role play apps including firefighters, daycare, school bus and more.  .

My PlayHomeShimon Young is a genius. Shimon is the developer of the universal My PlayHome app and has managed to find a way to keep my iToddler (2.5) entertained for more than just a few minutes. Not an easy task. My PlayHome brings the dollhouse into the digital age by offering an entire virtual home, complete with an adorable family of five that kids can explore and interact with. Also available on the iPhone (Pocket PlayHome!), this app features beautiful hand-drawn illustrations and realistic sounds associated with each interaction. My PlayHome also has a simple user interface very easy for little fingers to control.  This app caters for 2-8 year olds which is appropriate as it’s simple enough for the younger users to play with yet detailed enough to keep the older kids entertained too.” Quite a comprehensive app but still very easy to use by its intended audience. One of the best kids apps I have come across on the App Store!”  This continues to be a top pick of The iMums for kids of all ages.  Read the full review.

 

My PlayHome StoresWhen iMum Amanda reviewed the original My PlayHome back in 2011 she described it’s creator Shimon Young as a genius, and I have to agree. After being  installed on our iPads for 2 1/2 years my kids still play with My PlayHome regularly, and there are very few apps that retain their appeal long term like that. So when I told my children there was a new My PlayHome app out, to say they were excited is a definite understatement.  My PlayHome brings the dolls house into the digital age with an entire interactive house and garden to play in, and My PlayHome Stores expands the play by adding four shops to explore and shop in. The app stars the same characters as the original app – there are 3 moms, 3 dads, 3 girls, 3 boys and 3 babies from a variety of ethnicities and you can mix and match them any way you like to create the family in the app. The twist that my children really love (and that I have not seen in any other app) is when the family go shopping in the stores they can walk home with their purchases, and if you own My PlayHome they can take their purchases from the stores back to their home.  Read the full review.

My PlayHome HospitalIn the fantastic tradition of the Playhome Software Company, comes the latest My Playhome app, My Playhome Hospital. Fully integrated with the other My Playhome apps (HomeSchool and Store), this new app allows the player to explore all aspects of the hospital experience. When the app is opened, the child is faced with the view of the hospital and an ambulance. No settings tab, no external options, and no parental tab. The only extra button to press is the Tidy the Hospital wheel, which is a great option. It allows the player to actually erase the previous designs created and start fresh. The home page ambulance can be driven to the school, home or store; linking the other apps (one of my favorite features).  An interactive app that familiarizes children with the workings and people in the hospital setting. Multiple different scenes with many opportunities to interact with the objects and characters on each page.

 

My PlayHome SchoolOne of the best loved toys of all time are doll houses. It brings hours upon hours of enjoyment to boys and girls alike, and it’s only limitation is a child’s imagination. My PlayHome Software Ltd has brought this enjoyment in the most portable form possible in My PlayHome, My PlayHome Stores, and very recently, My PlayHome School.  While my children and I enjoyed My PlayHome and My PlayHome Stores, My PlayHome School far exceeded our expectations. It has almost everything you could find in an elementary school: a receptionist desk, the principal’s office, a cafeteria, boys and girls restrooms, a science lab, an auditorium, a janitor’s closet, lockers, and of course, classrooms.  Read the full review.

 

 

Explaining difficult situations to kids or helping them understand something new is the premise of  Kid in the Storybook maker.  This app allows you to take photos of an upcoming event — be it a doctors appointment, new school or even a vacation and use your own words, photos and voice to describe it to the reader.  I loved using Bluebee Pals with my son when we recently did a social story about his new school.

Kid in Story Book Maker:... iconEnuma, designs assistance and play-based learning apps to empower kids to be independent learners. they have a special interest in producing apps for children with special needs.  LocoMotive Labs is located in Berkeley, California and was founded in 2012, its design team includes many of the team who produced the Injini child development suite. Kid in Story was designed to help parents and therapists easily produce their own stories for children. As children with Autism often respond well to social stories that include them, they wanted to include a way to easily add the child into the story.  Read our full review.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. 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.
Stanley Stand by Distil Union – Review

Stanley Stand by Distil Union – Review

What we love…

Stanley Stand is easy to use portable stand for your iPhone, iPad or other device

What we’d love to see…

better way to carry it around – I currently put it back in the box each time I use it although it can be flattened.

Summary

Overall, this is a great flexible stand which is perfect for anyone with tech in your life.  It’s held up very well during my testing and multiple uses.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

Stanley StandThe Stanley Stand by Distil Union is a leather device that bends to hold your device and accessories while cooking, serving as a portable charging station, holding your tablet and more.  Stanley Stand is made of leather, merino wool felt and heavy steel.  The Stanley Stand is covered on the outside by leather in your choice of color (black, brown, gray, lime, aqua, red) and on the inside is Merino wool felt.  They cover up a piece of steel inside which bends to make the Stanley stand usable in so many situations.  Each stand has light grey Merino wool felt which has white stitching, and the darker stand (black) has darker grey felt with black stitching.  The stand features a small hole in the back designed to feed your cables through so they are not in the way of your device.

You can use it as a non-traditional dock on your desk at work, on your kitchen counter to hold your device while cooking, to act as a small typing stand or simply to get your device up from a flat spot.  It will hold phones and tablets up to 8″ tall and held my iPad Mini in a Griffin Survivor case quite comfortably.  You can bend the stand to your viewing angle (so you can watch movies while it is on a table or use it for cooking) or a low angle so you can use it as a typing stand.  Inside the box is the Stanley Stand in your choice of color and a USB extension cable which is six feet, this plugs into your lightening charger for your iOS device and works with any USB cable you already use to charge your device by giving it a bit more length.

When I got my Stanley Stand I started coming up with great ideas of using it.  The Stanley Stand is  small enough to toss in my backpack and bring with me when I’m out with my kids, so I can stream a Netflix movie while they are having an appointment or while I wait in the car for the time of the appointment.  I also brought it along as a portable charger – I like many have my iPhone go dead sometimes.  This can be frustrating – especially when you find a plug but it’s a little bit too far away or perhaps you don’t want to be limited by the length of your standard issue Apple cable.  Thankfully using the USB extension you can now comfortably sit in a char while having your device plugged in!  I also liked the Stanley Stand when cooking – I have lots of recipes on my device but I hate touching my iPhone with dirty hands to check the ingredients.  Now, I simply prop it on the Stanley Stand, turn off sleep mode and get cooking!  My husband also recently brought the Stanley Stand to a conference he attended where he had all of the slides on his iPad – instead of having to hold his device while listening to the lecture he simply propped it up and could easily follow along.  One of my favorite things was that I could adjust the Stanley Stand to almost any direction to make it suit my needs – it was nice that it was not molded plastic and static.

In terms of enhancements – right now I put the Stanley Stand back into the box each time I take it somewhere with me – and the box is getting a bit tattered.  I haven’t figured out a better solution – it’s pretty small and fits in tight spaces but I don’t want to mistakenly stretch it out.  It does fold flat – and I have done that a few times to slide it into a tight space in my bag – but I’m not sure if that is a good idea long term.

Overall, this is a great flexible stand which is perfect for anyone with tech in your life.  It’s perfect for kids who may be using a tablet to do reading and need to prop it up, adults who need a desktop charging stand or anything in between.  It’s held up very well during my testing and multiple uses.  In fact, if anything the leather has gotten a nice patina to it.  At a cost of $49.99 USD I feel the Stanley Stand is worth it and is a great gift for someone on your list who may be hard to buy for!  You can buy it direct from Distil Union for $49.99, Amazon and other retailers.

Product details

  • Compatibility: Phones and tablets up to 8″ tall
  • Bend to your viewing angle, or low angle for ergonomic typing
  • Premium materials, skilled craftsmanship, and 1-year warranty
  • Materials: Leather, Merino wool felt, and heavy steel
  • Included: USB extension cable (6ft) – Note: Cable is NOT an iPhone cable. Instead, it works with any USB cable you already use to charge your device.

 

 

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.

You can see other stands and holders we have reviewed here.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. 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.

PhotoSpring_angled_girl-dog-1024x867

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.

PhotoSpring_stand_2girls-pool-768x768

 

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.

 

PhotoSpring_smartphone_girl-flowers-768x524

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).

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