I’m trying something new this week. You’ll have noticed that I haven’t posted an “app of the week” for a while, which is a combination of the geekdaddy being up to his eyeballs in work and not able to do any video editing for me, and my being ill since Christmas and really not feeling up to standing in front of a video camera. I have still been buying and testing apps though, and I’m finding loads that I want to tell you about. So I’m changing the way I do my app reviews from now on…
I am starting a new regular feature – my “app roundup”. This will continue to highlight an “app of the week”, hopefully with some video, but will also mention any other apps that I’ve been testing during the week. In addition I have started to build up lists of my favourite apps which you will see links to in the menu bar at the top of the screen. So far I’ve highlighted my favourite baby apps and toddler apps, with more lists coming soon! Only my very favourite apps will make it into those lists, so I hope they will build up into a really great set of resources.
My app of the week this week is one that has been keeping the geekson entertained all week, and ticks all the boxes as far as he is concerned. It’s engaging, entertaining, and most importantly it has cars in it! I learn with transportation is produced by DADA Company, an independent publisher, and it’s a universal app (so once bought you can play it on your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) currently retailing in the app store for £1.99. It displays a series of an scenes, each of which teaches sounds, words, colors, shapes, numbers, and environments – all using different modes of transport. I like the cartoon style of the artwork, and I really like the way the sounds have been recorded using the human voice rather than actual sound effects. A fun app, and a must for any transport-loving toddler! Here’s a video showing the app in action:
If the video above does not display in your reader, you may access it directly on YouTube here. If you want to try the app before spending money on it you can grab a reduced functionality “Lite” version as well – I learn with transportation – Lite
Other apps we’ve tried this week are:
Grimm’s Red Riding Hood ~ 3D Interactive Pop-up Book – Ideal Binary, Ltd. (Universal – Free). Described as a 3D pop-up interactive book this is a really fun app, which intersperses telling the traditional Red Riding Hood story with more interactive scenes – help Red Riding Hood pack her basket to take to Grandma, help the woodcutter run faster to catch the wolf etc. There are “read to me” and “read it myself” options, and the geekdaughter is really enjoying this app – an absolute bargain for free!
Gube – Shacked Software (Universal – £2.49). I love the idea of this app – it’s a completely child-safe, sanitised version of YouTube. All videos within the app are checked and approved by parents. I’ve only had a quick play with this, and the content did appear to be overwhelmingly American, but I can see this being really useful.
The Emperor’s New Clothes – An Animated Book from The Story Mouse – The Story Mouse (Universal – £1.49). I’ve spoken before of my love for the Story Mouse, which I still consider the best Kids eBook app for iPhone and iPad. Now the Story Mouse team have released their first stand alone eBook app, which adds animation and background music (Vivaldi, no less!) to their proven fun storytelling and nice (British accent) narration. As you’d expect there’s a “read to me” and a “read it myself” mode, plus an option to highlight each word as it is read to aid children who are learning to read. This app has been an immediate hit in our house.
TallyTots™ – Spinlight Studio (iPad only – 69p) and AlphaTots™ – Spinlight Studio (iPad only – 69p). These apps usually retail for £1.49, but are both reduced to 69p at the moment in celebration of the developer’s first successful year, and their recent expansion to the Android market. These interactive apps introduce numbers (TallyTots) and letters (AlphaTots) in a fun way, and although the geekdaughter is possibly getting a little old for them now, she’s really enjoyed playing with both these apps this week. Note: US voices.
Sid Surfa Saurus Surfing Dinosaur – Kiwa Media (iPad only – 69p). I was sent a press release about this one, and downloaded it as the geekdaughter is learning about dinosaurs at nursery at the moment, and I thought she’d enjoy it. It’s an interactive story book created with the QBooks system, and whilst it’s a fun story, I must confess that I find the QBooks navigation system not completely intuitive (for example you don’t seem to be able to get the book to read itself to you, cover to cover, you seem to have to press the “play narration” button on each page. It does have the ability to record your own narration, which is nice, and many of the pages have a painting option, where you can colour in a black and white version of the illustration.
And finally, a few apps I’ve been enjoying this week (when the kids have given me the chance to get near the iPad!)
Downcast – Jamawkinaw Enterprises (Universal – £1.49). A brilliant podcast downloader, which removes the need to connect your iDevice to iTunes in order to get the latest episodes of your favourite shows. This app will download new podcast episodes on the go, over WiFi or your phone data connection (warning – watch your data download limits with your provider!). It will also store information on iCloud about which episodes you’ve downloaded and/or listened to, allowing synchronisation of this information between multiple devices.
Tiny Heroes – Simutronics Corp (iPhone, but will run on iPad in compatibility mode – Free). I read this described as a cross between Dungeon Keeper and Plants versus Zombies, and that’s a pretty good way of summing it up! It’s free, but there are in-app purchases, and if you find it too hard, purchasing the “defense pack” for 69p does make life a lot easier! It’s also easier to play it on the iPad rather than the iPhone – it can be hard to click on the correct little icons on the iPhone version.
Tweetbot — A Twitter Client with Personality for iPad – Tapbots (iPad only – £1.99). Tweetbot has been my favourite iPhone Twitter app since I first tried it. This week an iPad version was finally released and it does not disappoint. Clean, easy to read and fully featured, this has immediately become my iPad Twitter client of choice. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: An asterisk (*) denotes an app I for which I received a promo code and thus did not purchase myself. The links above incorporate my iTunes affiliate ID. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link it doesn’t cost you any more money, but you contribute a few pennies towards the upkeep of this site. All prices were correct at the time of writing.