Learning Upgrade – Review


What we love…

Step-by-step instructions, summaries, examples in lessons are presented through fun videos and songs.

What we’d love to see…

An option to remove or adjust the timer for the final challenge in each course.

Summary

A complete Math and English learning app that keeps students engaged and motivated to learn and upgrade.

Our Rating

Is your child having problems mastering a particular Math or English lesson no matter what you do to help? My youngest has been struggling to remember the basic rules of writing a simple sentence despite having done many written exercises. Then I let him have a go at the app, Learning Upgrade. To my surprise, he picked up the skills easily within the day!

What worked for my son (who is a visual learner) is the combination of teaching through catchy songs, lively animations and entertaining videos plus game-like exercises that are fun to do. Learning Upgrade is a very engaging learning app. It has lessons that he likes to watch again and again, pop-style songs (highlighting the key words) that he tries to sing along with and exercises that he is willing to redo because all the questions are attractively presented and it is easy for him to input his answers. He especially likes the app’s positive and enthusiastic response whenever he submits a correct answer.

What I like, on the other hand, is the use of visual representations, summaries and examples to teach, the helpful guided exercises that reinforce the learning points, the different ways of questioning to ensure a student’s full understanding of the topic, the comprehensive coverage and the gradual and progressive manner in which skills are being taught.

Students are allowed to progress to the next lesson only when they have earned 100 points (from correct answers) and attained at least 75% correct. A rewards system is in place to encourage students to repeat the exercises in order to improve on their scores. At the completion of a course, students have to pass the final challenge before moving to the next course. But you can also choose to unlock all the lessons in your account settings so that your child can jump to any lesson.

I appreciate how the app supports students who need a little extra help in answering the questions in the learning games that follow each video lesson. Lines in passages are underlined as they are read out. There is a speaker button to tap if students need to hear the questions or instructions again. For answers that require reading, students can hear the individual words before attempting to answer. They also have the opportunity to check their answers before submitting.

The app doesn’t miss any teaching moments either. A short animation repeating the answer follows the correct answer to give further reinforcement. When an incorrect answer is submitted, the correct answer is always demonstrated and the app does not move to the next screen until the student has enough time to review the answer.

Learning Upgrade is free to download and comes with a video on the course descriptions and 6 demo lessons (with exercises) – 3 each for Math and English. If you register with an email, you will have free access to 8 lessons for each subject. To begin, choose between English or Math and then decide between 3 starting points. You can choose to start from the beginning of the curriculum, take a placement test to determine a course that is appropriate for your child’s learning needs or just select a course level that you want to review.

Currently, the app offers 60 lessons for each of the English Upgrade level 1-5 and Math Upgrade level K-8 courses, that’s more than 900 lessons in total. A course on Algebra was also added recently. To continue beyond the free lessons, you have 3 subscription plans to choose from – $7.99 for 1 month access to all lessons, $19.99 for 3 months and $59.99 for 12 months. You can access your lessons from the web as well as your smart phones and tablets. An internet connection is required for loading the lessons and saving the student’s progress.

Learning Upgrade is a comprehensive Math and English learning app that complements the school curriculum. Lessons are professionally done and enjoyable. Review exercises are varied and effective. Whether your child is trying to catch up or stay ahead of the class, Learning Upgrade is an excellent learning companion to have.

 

 

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Learning Upgrade

Learning Upgrade Learning Upgrade by Learning Upgrade

Price: $FREE

Learning Upgrade is the best app for people of all ages looking to improve their English, reading, writing, listening, and mathematics skills!

It’s time to start learning English and math the.

 

 

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.

PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro) by 77Sparx Studio, Inc. – Review


What we love…

Great variety of high interest puzzle themes introducing lots of basic and advanced vocabulary.

What we’d love to see…

A choice of lower or upper case for display of vocabulary words.

Summary

A unique puzzle and mini-game app that is engaging and meaningful with enormous amount of content for building a rich vocabulary.

Our Rating

PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro) is more than just a puzzle app. It is an extensive vocabulary app where the subjects are presented through different types of toddler and preschool puzzles. And these are not the average puzzles that you find in other puzzle apps. The puzzles in Puzzingo are both engaging and meaningful while the gameplay is ingenious. I’m totally impressed.

The vocabulary words are grouped according to themes or categories which helps children develop skills in sorting and classifying objects. Besides learning the name and sound of each object, they also learn what goes together. You can help your child to gain more knowledge and develop analytical skills by highlighting the similarities or relationship between the different objects.

Each themed pack of puzzles consists of 7 groups of puzzles focusing on 7 different topics within the theme e.g. the core concepts pack includes puzzles on shapes, colors, numbers, counting, emotions, alphabet and weather. Currently there is a total of 22 puzzle packs included in the app covering core concepts, food, professions, holidays, animals, space, life of toys, bugs, pets, dinosaurs, pirates, princesses & fairies, sports, music, fairy tales, super heroes, cars, trains, airplanes, trucks and candy kingdom. What is important to note is that there is a wide variety of high interest themes for younger children to choose from.

From an educator’s perspective, I like that the words introduced in each group help to build a rich vocabulary. Learners can see the print (in upper case) and hear the associated word read aloud when they touch each object puzzle, which in turn helps with labelling and word recognition. It is a great app for use in speech therapy. Besides learning the US English language, learners can also learn the vocabulary in Spanish, UK English, Chinese and Japanese. 

While I’m impressed with the enormous amount of content that kids can potentially learn from the app, what I find refreshing is the format of the app’s gameplay – how it extends the play from one puzzle game to another meaningfully.

Each pack of puzzles consist of 2 types of puzzles, 1-piece puzzles and layered puzzles. Each 1-piece puzzles are easy to complete but each of these puzzle piece brings players to a more challenging layered puzzle. The layered puzzles show the many parts and layers that make up the object shown on the 1-piece puzzle piece. Players learn the names of these parts as they build the object puzzle piece-by-piece. In some cases, the parts could be items that are associated with the theme. For example, the soccer puzzle game introduces terms like goalie, goal, photographer, camera, signs, cone, players, injured player, medics, forward, midfielder, defender, soccer ball, jersey, cleats and shin guards.

Regardless the total number of puzzle pieces that kids have to put in place in order to complete a puzzle game, the app presents only 2 pieces at any one time so that kids won’t get overwhelmed. Another toddler-friendly support comes in the form of prompts that show kids where to place the puzzle piece when they placed the piece incorrectly repeatedly.

Once a puzzle game is completed, players are rewarded with an interactive mini-game that helps them to explore further on the theme. Kids can fly an airplane, conduct a band, dress up a character, score a goal, feed a dinosaur, drive a vehicle, play with the toys and many more activities. The games are varied and deliver so much fun with their cute animations and sound effects that they may just overshadow the puzzles in terms of popularity with kids. Repeat play is guaranteed.

If you have a preschooler at home, you definitely need to get Puzzingo. The free version Puzzingo Puzzles offers 7 sets of puzzles and mini-games and a free daily puzzle from one of the themed puzzle packs that is available for purchase. You can purchase individual puzzle packs or an All-Access Pass. This Pass allows your child to play with more than 150 puzzles and enjoy new content and games through regular updates. The latest update for the 2017 Holidays offers the Trucks Puzzles pack and Toys Puzzles pack which are perfect gifts for the holiday season!

With Puzzingo, completing a puzzle becomes meaningful and purposeful. Preschoolers are exposed to lots of vocabulary words from a wide range of topics while reaping the benefits of completing puzzles like spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, matching and fine-motor skills. With so much content in a single app, I’m positive that your preschoolers will have many favorite puzzles to keep them busy learning and playing.

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PUZZINGO Kids Puzzles (Pro)
Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles
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Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles by 77Sparx Studio, Inc.

Price: $FREE

• Featured by Apple
Do your kid and toddler like puzzles? How about an educational puzzle game that is fun, packed with learning, and played by 8 million families around the world? Checkout Puzzingo.

 

 

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.

Toddler & Kids Learning Games by Clapenjoy SRL – Review


What we love…

Activities that help develop early science thinkers.

What we’d love to see…

A harvesting step to complete the plant life cycle and parents’ guide.

Summary

This is a fun app that stimulates preschoolers’ curiosity to find out how nature works.

Our Rating

Toddler & Kids Learning Games by Clapenjoy SRL is the perfect companion app for curious preschoolers to discover the wonders of nature that are all around them. What they learn in the app can be easily linked to what they observe in the real world.
 
There are 4 nature-based learning activities in the app. Through these activities, kids imagine what happens when temperature changes, grow their own vegetables and fruits, witness the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly and feed baby birds. They also learn about the life cycle of plants, butterflies and birds, and what is needed for healthy growth. All these information is presented in cute animation.
 

Besides the age-appropriate educational content, I like that the app frequently prompts young learners to think about what item or action is needed next. You can talk about the 3 options given and guide your child’s thinking process in choosing the correct option. As the answer options change at every play session, you can have different discussions deliberating and explaining why some answers are good choices and why others are not.
 

Another point that I like is that there are many opportunities for children to make decisions while playing the app e.g. which outfit to wear, what vegetables to plant, which fancy watering can to use, which fruit tree to grow and what color should the butterfly be.
 

This app is easy for young children to navigate, with prompts given when they are stuck. Players proceed from one learning section to the next seamlessly and there is no need for instructions. Simple finger actions like tapping, dragging and rubbing are all that is needed to activate a response from the app. There is also no time limit or score keeping in the activities.
 

In addition to the nature-based educational games, kids can also have fun with puzzles, memory match games and coloring pages that are based on the nature activities.

Digital puzzles take away the frustrations that some younger children experience when they don’t have the fine-motor skills to manipulate a physical puzzle yet. With digital puzzles, children continue to reap the benefits of putting together a puzzle like hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills . Each puzzle in this app starts with 4 pieces. It gets more difficult with increasing number of pieces. But you can change the level of difficulty at any time by tapping on the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ on-screen buttons. In total, there are 30 puzzles of varying difficulty levels in the app to be solved.
 

The 24 memory cards games included in the app are also presented in increasing levels of difficulty, from 4 to 12 cards per set. Similarly, you can adjust the number of cards in each game. The memory cards are randomly generated and players get a different set of cards each time they play. These games are great for concentration and improving memory.

Coloring activities are always popular with preschoolers and having some sessions on digital coloring pages that are easier to complete can help kids achieve success and boost their self-esteem (especially when you keep a screenshot of their masterpiece). The 11 coloring pages in this app come with 4 coloring tools, an eraser and 13 color options. The paint brush, crayons and color pencils are standard offerings but the rub-and-color magic wand will be great for younger kids.
 

The app is free to download and kids can play with the vegetable garden activity right away. The free app also comes with a puzzle, a memory card game and a coloring page for your child to try. The other 3 nature-based activities can be unlocked with an in-app-purchase (IAP) of $1.99 . The developer keeps the app kids-friendly by giving users the option to disable the IAP from within the parent’s section. You can also turn off the background music and sound effects (like the rabbit’s springy hopping sounds) from the parent’s section. It would be great if this section can also provide parents with the key learning points that they can highlight to their children in each of the learning activities.

Nevertheless, Toddler & Kids Learning Games is still a standout among the very few early science apps that are available in the App Store for the preschool age group. It encourages young learners to ask questions about how nature works and to find their own answers. It should be renamed to reflect its area of focus. Download the free app and check it out!

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Toddler & Kids Learning Games

Toddler games 4 preschool kids Toddler games 4 preschool kids by Clapenjoy SRL

Price: $FREE

Learning games for kids to explore the natural world, an early science kids app especially designed for AGES 2 to 5. Play and learn with free preschool and kindergarten interactive games, puzzles, memory.

 

 

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.

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.

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