Articles Posted in Educational iPad Apps

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PBS KIDS today announced that its new “augmented reality app” is available for the iPhone and iPod. The new Apple app is call “Fetch! Lunch Rush”.

I have generally not been that excited about the PBS children apps which the singular exception of the fantastic “Monster at the End of the Book” which deserves its own post. But “Fetch! Lunch Rush is worth a shot if for no other reason than it is PBS and it is free.

To play Lunch Rush, you need to print out a PDF of game pieces from your computer which means you have to give up your email. Really, an i-Pad app should be self-contained and I’m not real impressed with this one. But if you are looking for a free simple math app you can give this one a try.

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BoBo Explores Light is a Must Buy Education App

BoBo Explores Light is a new iPad app that has exploded to top echelon of educational iPad apps. Listed in the “Book” section by Apple, BoBo Explores Light provides the two things I am looking for in an iPad application: education and entertainment.

The app provides children with a fun and education way to learn about nuances of science such as how the human eye and lasers work and fundamental science that you children will see again and again throughout their education: reflection, refraction, photosynthesis, bioluminescence, aurora borealis and much more.

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The great iPad geography game, Stack the Countries, which I can’t believe I have not done a review for yet, has added South Sudan to the game.

I’m giddy about this for two reasons. First, for all of the trouble it faces, the birth of South Sudan promulgates hope in an area of the world where hope is rarer than Haley’s Comet. May God bless them all.

But, on a lighter note, it is a NEW COUNTRY! That’s cool! I’ve been talking to my kids about the vote for independence in South Sudan and how a new country will be formed. We even drew in South Sudan on old maps. To see all of that talk manifested into a game they play, that’s just awesome. And it underscores the power of the iPad and the Internet. I still remember having encyclopedias that I’m sure were outdated when they were being printed.

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mathbingoMath Bingo is a iPad math app that works. How does it “work”? Every child – okay, only 5 but still – that plays the game enjoys it. And they are doing math. This is game, set, and match.

Math Bingo has an extremely simple concept: answer the question and put find the answer on the bingo board until you get bingo. If you get Bingo, you get a Math Bingo bug. The bugs are pretty cool, you can spin them and move them. (Clearly, this loses something in translation if you are not 5.) The game also has a few extras that are not worth explaining but, suffice to say, kids like them.

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mazeplusWhy bother to give you kids mazes? Obviously, kids develop better spatial skills by working through a maze. But really. So what? I looked into this because I have been hitting mazes hard with my kids, if for no other reason that I was/am terrible at them. So I wanted to justify the educational value of mazes.

First, the studies seem clear that there is a relationship between motor development and spatial cognition. So that alone should get you into mazes. There is a also great predictive data on all kinds of good things with the Porteus Maze on which there are a lot of studies.. I was so interested I tried to buy these. But for $239? Let’s see what the iPad has.

I have probably 10 different iPad maze games. My favorite is Maze Plus. Maze Plus allow you to literally do the maze, drawing the line from start to finish with your finger that pulls a line behind you. The mazes are cute and fun. “Daddy, how does the pig get to the moon? An air balloon.” My kids really just love the game to the point where they think it is a treat to let them play it.

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L’Escapadou puts out a kids’ crossword puzzle called Montessori Crosswords. It started out as a really good – the only good one I have seen in fact – crossword puzzle for young kids learning definitions and learning to spell. It has evolved into a fantastic iPad app because L’Escapadou continues to make quality updates. They had a great update a few months back and, when I returned from vacation yesterday, I uploaded another great update that makes the game that much better.

The gist of the game is that it is a picture crossword. You see the picture and must spell the word. If you have a child learning to spell and learning vocabulary – albeit apparently British vocabulary – this game is a must get.

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Let’s start with the good: Ideal Binary has put together a beautiful iPad version of Rapunzel: it is downright brilliant and your children are going to love it, read good sophisticated children’s vocabulary. I can’t underscore this point enough: the quality of this iPad book is just fantastic.

That said… I hate the book. Rapunzel is just an awful story on every imaginable level. People were so dumb when they made up these stories. No one cared what impact it would have on children. The values of this book are awful. Sure, Dad, go steal from the witch, it is all good. The ends justifies the means. And that is not even the worst of it.

The quality of the interactivity in the Rapunzel iPad book is so fantastic I still read it – occasionally, including last night which precipitated this review – but I wince though most of it. The authors took some liberties with Rapunzel as Disney just did (I have not seen it). So why not go all the way in and make it a story that parents can actually read and explain to their kids?

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cosmoI love Cosmo’s Day Off. It is my second favorite iPad children’s book of all-time. More on that in a second.

Cosmo’s Day Off is a children’s iPad book with just a ton of bells and whistles. I remember getting excited that every page in the Toy Story book had a fun button you could push on every page. Cosmo’s Day Off has some pages with maybe ten different things kids can touch that gives a cool response.

Cosmo’s Day Off is produced by Ayers Animation which also did Jack and the Beanstalk, a decent book but nothing special – a largely old school, nothing new rendition of a story that has a lot of moral flaws (why exactly does Jack feel at liberty to steal?). Cosmo is in an entirely different league.

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Bartleby book of buttons Bartleby’s Book of Buttons may be the best educational iPad book available.

I don’t say this lightly. There are a lot of books on the iPad that my kids absolutely love. Certainly the Toy Story iPad games would come to my kids’ minds. But that is because the kids have an affection for Toy Story. On sheer quality, Bartleby’s Book of Buttons blows away Toy Story.

Okay, before I get carried away, let me fire out a quick negative. The book is short. You can get though it pretty quickly.

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AnalogiesAnalogies for Kids is an educational iPad app that has a premise I love. It is a quiz that lets kids practice both verbal and geometrical analogies. It is extremely low tech but the questions are just great and I think they really help cultivate young minds. My dream is that one day there are hundreds of iPad analogy apps out there and I’m buying the very best ones available.That is not, however, where we are now. This app has a very limited number of questions, so few that they often repeat frequently even in a 20 question test. Ultimately, your kids remember the answers and stop doing the analogies.

So you can only really only whip this game out for a few days. Would I recommend this incredibly flawed game? Absolutely. Because there is nothing else like this out there. So it is a weapon worth having for 99 cents. I don’t think it is even a close call. If you get just 30 minutes out of it, I still think it is a worthwhile investment. I just wish they would put out a more advanced version of the game and put on more questions (or just update the that is already out).This app is made by Nth Fusion LLC which has developed other educational iPad apps that we own that I will be writing about in the future.

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