Tuesday, December 6, 2011

toddler apps- what we like, what we don't

It's been some time since I last posted a batch app review. But Ranger recently had a birthday, and with that came some new like I said, there's been some bit of time between my last review and this.  In case you missed them, I did review Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App and Zoo Train (both are favorites).

Winners (apps worth the purchase) somewhat categorized by type

ABC Food and ABC Go - What Ranger likes about these apps is the number of examples given for each letter. AND I learned about an Xtropolis, which is some sort of train. Of course his favorite part is the imbedded YouTube videos given with some of the words.

Alphabet (by piikea st) is along the same lines as (but not quite as awesome as) Alpha Tots.

First Words Vehicles - Ranger is totally into anything that goes. This app has letter tiles the user matches under the image. The idea is similar to another app Ranger likes (the BOB Magic books), but much simpler.

Tally tots  Let's count to twenty! Ranger and I both like this numbers app (just like the Alpha Tots is tops in our app list).  The only complaint I have is number 13 drives me nuts, which I suspect Ranger enjoys.  It asks the player to tap the 13 eggs to hatch chicks, and each chick chirps, and continues to chirp, until all 13 are found.

Goodie Words I found Goodie Words through a site that reviews kid's apps (the link here goes to their site). The app presents concepts such as strength, balance, and dreams, and explains the concepts before providing a related activity. I am not sure how much Ranger gets from the explanations, but he clearly enjoys playing the app, and the new app from the same developers: (for which I cannot find a link- sorry) Gazilli Shapes

Make it Pop is a newer app for us but based on the number of times Ranger has played it since we got it a few days ago, I'd say it's a hit.  Shapes, Letters, Colors, and sizes are presented in interactive and entertaining ways.

Things that Go  Like I said, Ranger likes things that go. This app is basically a book. I also think Ranger likes it because there is a bird involved. It's one of the words he's got down pat ("burd!") so he likes being able to point out the "Burd" on every page.

ClickySticky Trains Ranger should have shirt that says "I heart trains" - because it's nearly at obsessive levels. Ok, not really. He takes breaks from playing with his train set/watching train Youtube videos/playing train iPad apps/reading train books/playing with a strip of cardboard as though it's a train to do other things, like chase the cat or rough house with me.

More from the "Talking" friends- Talking News Ranger just likes seeing the dog and cat annoy each other. And that probably doesn't make him any different from any other user of this app, regardless of age.

Elmo's Monster Maker with this app you can start with a base monster and put on headgear, eyes, and a nose, then have it interact with Elmo (interactions are preset). I have a half million images on my iPad from Ranger using the "take a picture" feature where the newly created monster is pictured with different backdrops.

Kid Mode this is an app that gathers up kid friendly Youtube type videos and puts them at your kid's fingertips. You don't have to worry that an inappropriate video might slip in, and unlike all the other filtering systems I've tried, it doesn't slow down the video feed. (Updated: The Kindle Fire also has this app, with a modification that I find somewhat annoying. They mixed the videos with games so it's harder to find your favorite videos).

Here are some books that Ranger has liked:

You can pretty much bet that anything by Sandra Boynton is going to be a hit: Red Hat Blue Hat and Barnyard Dance

Pete and the secret of flying- a cute rendition on how birds came to fly.

Monster at the end of this book and Another Monster at the end of this book - just. fun.

BB Magic (BOB Books) #2 - we loved the first one, wished for more, and got our wish. The minor complaint I have on this one is that the names they give the characters can be confusing to someone just learning to read, for example, naming a boy Red when the user is just learning colors is a little confusing.

Little Engine that could- there is another one listed below in the not worth it list- make sure you get this one or another that makes it clear the original storyline is intact. Unless you're looking for different.

Apps Ranger likes that he wont/can't do on his own

Elmo loves ABCs my son absolutely completely totally loves this app, but is not at the point of tracing letters, so he needs my help. That doesn't stop him from going through each letter while in the car seat where I can't help him out, or from playing through each of the alphabet renditions.

Memory Train (by piikea st) train. 'nuff said as far as Ranger is concerned. But the memory portion is a bit more than he's ready for (which is actually why I got it, for him to grow into).

Go George Go Ranger really likes this app, and can do the first half no problem. I imagine he will eventually be able to navigate the maze on his own- he is starting to try, but doesn't quite get the concept.

Harold and the Purple Crayon - just like the book, but interactive. Ranger hasn't been able to "get" the interactive part, which is sort of like coloring in the lines. He does like me helping him with it, and will often pop in and out of the tutorial on his own, as though he might some how figure it out.

Apps that weren't worth it
Little Engine that Could - you might like the changes to this classic. I didn't.
Rise of the urban eagle - spoiler alert- they kill off the dad pigeon.

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