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Don't Wake Up Tiger

Don't Wake Up Tiger

Don't Wake Up Tiger

Don't Wake Up Tiger

Nosy Crow

Reviewed on 04/20/18
Paid on | iOS

A charming, interactive book app that asks readers to help move the story forward.  In the spirit of the Sesame Street classic The Monster at the End of this Book and Press Here by Herve Tullet, Don’t Wake Up Tiger is a print book that asks readers to interact with the pages to move the action of the story forward. These sorts of books lend themselves readily to being made into an interactive app and that’s just what Nosy Crow has done with this adorable story, with users being asked to stroke the tiger’s nose, blow the frog past the sleeping tiger and rock the tiger to sleep among other actions. Within the app, in addition to hearing the story and interacting with it (there is, unfortunately, no “read it myself” option), users can also hear a recorded song (and watch the accompanying video, related to the book’s clever ending), play a memory match game and play a “spot the differences” game. Be sure to check out the print version of Don’t Wake Up Tiger and enjoy both versions of the book.  Which one does your family like better?

Age group: Baby/toddler, Preschool
Tags: Animals, Book App, Celebrations, Favorites, Games, Music, Rhymes and Songs, Stories

Little Police

Little Police

Little Police

Little Police

Filimundus

Reviewed on 04/16/18
Paid on | iOS | Google Play | Amazon

A theft has occurred!  Look for clues and use them to identify the thief and recover the stolen goods.  In this app, users play the part of the police officer (who can be customized to one of three different skin tones, 67 hairstyles and 17 facial hair styles, plus a wide variety of uniforms, earned by repeat playing).  When you begin the app, a victim of a theft knocks on the door, then tells the officer what has been stolen (usually while sobbing). The spoken language is nonsensical (reminiscent of the adults who speak in Charlie Brown cartoons), but the report is accompanied by a speech bubble with an animation of a silhouetted thief tiptoeing in to steal the missing object (a ring, a phone, a teddy bear, whatever).  Next, officer and victim return to the scene of the crime and search the room for 3-5 clues. These are often footprints, a comb with hairs in it (apparently these are all very grooming-conscious thieves), or an object they left behind like a concert ticket. Once all clues have been located, they return to the police station and compare the clues to a line-up of suspects. Once the user chooses a suspect (whether or not the clues match), the officer can go to their home and search for the stolen object. The object will only be found at the suspect’s house if they match the clues, but the search can often make quite a mess (luckily there’s a “broom” button that cleans everything up immediately). If they stolen object is found, there follows a car chase scene where the user must evade puddles and banana peels in order to catch the perpetrator (you can skip the car chase if you prefer). The stolen object is returned to its rightful owner at the end, no matter the result of the car chase. There are a variety of skin tones and ages represented in both the victims and suspects.

Note to parents: I have mixed feelings about reviewing this app because, while it does have great deductive reasoning skills and a nice gameplay design, it may not reflect every child’s experiences with and relationship to their local police and the car chase or the chaotic invasion of privacy while searching for clues might be upsetting for some children. Also, the accessories occasionally include feathers in a headband and a bun secured with chopsticks which often represent racial stereotypes. Consider using this app as a tool to start a conversation about these complicated issues with your child.

 

 

Age group: Preschool, Grades K-2
Tags: Amazon, Animals, Google Play, Growing Up, Things that Go

Cache-Cache Ville (Hide & Seek Village)

Cache-Cache Ville (Hide & Seek Village)

Cache-Cache Ville (Hide & Seek Village)

Cache-Cache Ville (Hide & Seek Village)

Vincent Godeau

Reviewed on 02/28/18
Free on | iOS | Google Play

Peek inside houses and see what goes on inside the red walls.  This French app (which includes an English option) is based on a print book that comes with a red filtering viewer. If you have one from a secret code activity or if you have some other transparent red object you can use that with the app but even if you have none of these, the app includes a red transparent circle on the screen that you can move over the picture to reveal the animated blue line drawings within. What bizarre things are going on behind closed doors and inside red vehicles? Once you’ve explored all of the areas in the app, there’s also the option to draw your own secret picture inside a house! Unique gameplay simple enough for very young users to navigate and intriguing enough to entertain older users. Note: there is some nudity in the form of a male statue in a museum.

See this app reviewed on the news

Age group: Baby/toddler, Preschool, Grades K-2
Tags: Animals, Art, Book App, Google Play, Things that Go

Fiete Wintersports

Fiete Wintersports

Fiete Wintersports

Fiete Wintersports

Ahoiii

Reviewed on 02/20/18
Freemium on | iTunes

Help Fiete and his friends compete in the Winter Olympics!  Are you watching the Olympics but want a more interactive way to experience them?  Or maybe you just need some inspiration for different ways to play outside during the colder months?  Or perhaps it’s the middle of summer and you’d just really enjoy thinking about snow? Whatever your reason, you’re sure to enjoy these 14 quick easy games featuring Fiete the sailor and his two best sailor friends. Everyone is guaranteed a medal, but you might have to work pretty hard to work your way up to gold!

See this app reviewed on the news

Age group: Preschool, Grades K-2
Tags: Characters, Games, Nature, NBC15, Things that Go

Color Clues

Color Clues

Color Clues

Color Clues

Jesse Foote

Reviewed on 12/15/17
Free on | iOS | Google Play | Amazon

A treasure hunt using color clues that gets your family up and moving! In this free app, users can use pre-designed hunts like “a hunt towards bedtime” or they can create their own hunts.  To design your own hunt, simply record your voice giving as many clues as you want to give.  Then, once the clues are recorded, the app will assign each clue a sequence of four colors.  You can print out the color sequences on strips of paper with your printer (or simply use crayon and paper to make your own color sequence strips) and hide the color strips in the locations your clues direct the kids to.  When you hand the kids your phone and the first strip of colors to start the hunt, the app will be open to a page that shows only six different color blocks.  Players tap the colors on the screen in the same order they’re in on the slip of paper and that will unlock your recording of the clue.  When they follow the clue to the next spot, they’ll find another strip of colorful squares and the hunt continues.  This app is so open-ended and versatile and does a great job of encouraging family members to play together!  What creative ways can you think of to use it?  Note: the app maker plans to add a shape for each color in a future version of the app to assist colorblind players.

Age group: Preschool, Grades K-2
Tags: Amazon, Concepts, Early Literacy, Family Play, Google Play, NBC15, Technology

Sago Mini Snow Day

Sago Mini Snow Day

Sago Mini Snow Day

Sago Mini Snow Day

Sago Mini

Reviewed on 12/14/17
Paid on | iOS | Google Play | Amazon

Canadian developer, Sago Mini, really knows how to have fun in the snow!  This app, similar to their previous apps, Road Trip, Planes and Boats, begins by users choosing a vehicle -- in this case a sled, but of course there are lots of silly options in addition to the usual sled designs.  Perhaps you’d like to ride on a unicorn sled or a donut sled? Once you’ve selected your ride, choose which of your favorite Sago Mini characters to take on a ride down the snowy hill.  Once you’ve picked your drivers, it’s whoosh and down the hill you go!  You’ll encounter lots of snowy day fun along the way-- perhaps you’ll stop to decorate a snowman or a tree, or maybe you’ll run into the ice cave or run into some ice sculptures?  When your (surprisingly long) ride is done, you’ll see a photo snapshot of something fun that happened along the way, then it’s back to the starting line to go again (and you don’t even have to drag your sled all the way to the top)!  As always, Sago Mini delivers a delightful, exploratory app that will bring a smile to the face of kids of all ages.

See this app reviewed on the news

Age group: Baby/toddler, Preschool, Grades K-2
Tags: Amazon, Animals, Celebrations, Characters, Google Play, Growing Up, Nature, NBC15, Things that Go

Toca Life: Hospital

Toca Life: Hospital

Toca Life: Hospital

Toca Life: Hospital

Toca Boca

Reviewed on 12/14/17
Paid on | iOS | Google Play | Amazon

The Toca Life series tackles the sometimes difficult topic of hospitals in this very well-made app.  As in all Toca Life apps, it’s all about open-ended play.  There’s a location (the hospital, with 5 levels), people (everyone from newborns to elderly in various medical states of health) and stuff to play with (bandages, extra body organs, radios, glasses of water, pretty much everything you’d expect to find in a hospital) and users decide what’s going to happen by moving the characters around within the space and handing them various objects or putting them on beds (or toilets or whatever) and creating their own stories. Unlike most “doctor” apps for kids, Toca Life is brave enough to even allow space for talking about death and dying by including two different quiet spaces with candles (one indoors, one outdoors) as sort of reflection/meditation rooms. If you are anticipating a hospital visit (new baby? Ailing grandparent? Sick kiddo?) or if you find yourself at the hospital or even if you just want to give your child the opportunity to play within that environment before life requires that you spend time in an actual hospital, this app is a really great way to do that. This would be an excellent app to play side-by-side with a grown-up who can talk to the child about the different (and sometimes mysterious) items they’ll encounter in the app (like the MRI machine).  Be sure to also discover the ability to make your own mini-movies within this app!

Age group: Preschool, Grades K-2, Grades 3-5
Tags: Amazon, Creativity, Family Play, Google Play, Growing Up, Things that Go

Hupsi

Hupsi

Hupsi

Hupsi

5 PM Kids

Reviewed on 12/14/17
Paid on | iOS

A very simple, but extremely charming app for younger players. This app follows young Hupsi (a young woodland creature -- not sure exactly what kind of animal he is) as he takes a little jog through the woods around his home. The music (featuring singing in a made-up language) is excellent and will likely not annoy parents or get stuck in their heads, but is calming and pleasant to listen to. The entire progress of the game will run by itself with no interaction from kids if they choose not to touch the screen, but if they DO tap the screen, each item will add to either the development of the story (e.g. feeding snacks to Hupsi’s friend) or the music (e.g. Tapping woodpeckers adds a little staccato beat that fits in well with the rhythm of the song). The game ends when Hupsi returns to his home where he tells his parents about the things he saw on his run. There’s no stressful time limits, points or ads in this app. There’s not even really a particular goal and older players will lose interest after only one or two plays, but very young players will enjoy the music and the super cute illustrations and parents can feel safe playing this app even with babies. At the end of the app, when Hupsi is telling his parents about the things he saw (through drawings in speech bubbles), take the opportunity to talk with your child about each of Hupsi’s memories (“do you remember that dinosaur with the headphones on? What do you think was Hupsi’s friend’s favorite food that we fed him?”). Talking together about what’s happening in apps is a great way to build vocabulary and relationships! This app can also be played for free online, but not on mobile devices. See www.playhupsi.com for details!

 

Age group: Baby/toddler, Preschool
Tags: Animals, Growing Up, Music, Nature, Stories

PEEP Family Science: Ramps

PEEP Family Science: Ramps

PEEP Family Science: Ramps

PEEP Family Science: Ramps

WGBH ( with First 8 Studios)

Reviewed on 12/05/17
Free on | iOS | Google Play

Learn all about ramps with PEEP and the Big Wide World.  This app introduces 8 mini-lessons about ramps using video from the television show PEEP and the Big Wide World.  First, users watch a short video clip (less than 10 min) of either PEEP and his friends using ramps (slides, sleds on a snowy hill, etc.) or a video of children playing with ramps and slopes.  After the video is done, there are some discussion questions to talk about together and then a hands-on activity where kids can make their own slope / ramp and to play and experiment with.  This app would work well in a preschool or early elementary classroom as well as at home with an adult working together with a child. There is also a Spanish version of the app as a separate download called “PEEP Ciencias en familia: Rampas.”  The movies have been dubbed in Spanish and the questions and instructions have all been translated into Spanish, but oddly the letter to parents is still (unfortunately) only in English.

Age group: Preschool
Tags: Animals, Concepts, Engineering, Family Play, Google Play, Science, STEM

Pango Build Park

Pango Build Park

Pango Build Park

Pango Build Park

Studio Pango

Reviewed on 12/05/17
Paid on | iOS | Google Play

Build a park, big or small, then play in it with the animal friends from the Pango world!  Users first choose either a blank canvas or a pre-built park.  There are simple parks with only swings, slides and a seesaw or really elaborate theme parks and everything in between!  Once you’ve chosen a park to start with, you can put the characters in right away and play with them, switching to each character’s point of view to watch the action through their eyes.  Feel the swooping of the roller coaster’s loops or the dizziness of the teacup ride!  Or if you’d rather design your own park (or alter one of the pre-designed parks) you can edit them however you’d like -- from the color of the ground to the different play elements to the decorations like trees, balloons or benches.  This app really puts kids in charge and allows them to dive right in to the scene for some serious imaginary play.

Age group: Preschool, Grades K-2
Tags: Animals, Characters, Creativity, Engineering, Google Play, STEM, Things that Go