Showing posts with label websites. Show all posts
Showing posts with label websites. Show all posts

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Millie And The Lost Key App Review: Dog Gone Cute!

There are so many children's APPs out there now, that finding one with the right fit (for the right price) can be a little tricky.  Well, Millie And The Lost Key by Millie Was Here is an amazing one for your little boy or girl, and for $3.99 I think it is worth the price. Plus you can get the free APP "Meet Millie" to kick off the series and give it a try.

I have tested out a lot of APPs for kids, and it seems like the interactive features in some are great, but in others fall short.  The features often over-shadow the story, but in Millie And The Lost Key you get the best of both worlds: creative interactive features AND storyline.

Millie And The Lost Key is about a dog named Millie (who looks scary-identical to my Tibetan Terrier Sami I had as a child!). Millie goes on an adventure trying to find the key to unlock the treasure box filled with her favorite treat.  She ventures through many obstacles (all set in and around New York City with real photos) to find her long lost love-bacon.

What makes this APP really unique is that the storyline is set around original photography!  You actually get to meet Millie and see her in action as she searches for her treasure.  The photos are paired up with interactive illustrations at times, and you even have the option to make Millie do different things (like fly a plane, calm down, search around, and more).

The APP has three modes to play in: read to me, read by myself, or my new favorite-bedtime mode (in which the sound is lowered and all the game features are disabled).  The narrator's voice is great and really makes the story come alive.  As a Reading Specialist, I especially like that the words are lit up as the story is read aloud! Hooray, teaching kids one-to-one correspondence in a fun way!

The interactive features are what really sell this app.  Here is a list of some of them and the kid's favorites:
-pop up pictures that you push to come to life
-moving the airplane around the page to show the route Millie will take
-playing games in which you touch a rotating "tile" to make it flip over (kid's loved this one)
-carnival-style games that you can win prizes and points for
-scratch off pictures similar to lotto scratchers-new feature I have never seen before and the kid's favorite!
-sliders to make pictures move (even a winding path one great for hand-eye coordination)
-buttons to make pictures come to life
-touch and move images
-stickers that are hidden on every page and your child can collect (a little tricky to find for younger ones, but fun to collect)

I could probably fill up this entire post if I named all the features, so you will just have to try it for yourself.  Millie And The Lost Key is appropriate for any age child, and there is nothing inappropriate (within the wording or context).  This book is a sweet story in a collection of APPs about Millie! I am excited to see what comes next!

Monday, July 4, 2011

TouchyBooks Review and Giveaway: The Tortoise And The Hare

I am excited to announce that I will now be reviewing new TouchyBooks on a regular basis.  What that means for ME is that I get to test and review new stories on one of the best apps for kids there is, but what is means for YOU is the chance to win free books!  Hooray!
Today's story is the classic fable The Tortoise And The Hare.  I am happy to say that TouchyBooks stuck with the original story and added a modern twist with cute graphics.  I liked the purple Hare and the way he came off as cocky in the beginning and so forlorn at the end!  The Tortoise is very friendly and cute, especially with his little headband.

The kid's favorite parts of the story were the balloon that floats up at the starting line and you can touch it to pop it which begins the race!  They wanted to play that page over, and over, and ugh over.  Another page that received tons of laughs was where the Hare decided to take a nap because he had such an overwhelming lead.  As he napped there were snot bubbles that oozed out of his nose, and with a touch you can pop them.  Guess what the kids did over and over on that page?

This is a great, classic, simple story that was a lot of fun.  It didn't seem to have as many interactive features as some of the other books; however, we loved the ones it did have.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Little Sky Writers App: The Little Airplane That Teaches Writing And Phonics

Little Sky Writers by is a cute little app that any child, or airplane lover, will like.  It is the perfect app for young preschoolers who are learning to write, recognize letters, or phonics.  This app is available for the iPad and iPhone.  On the menu screen your little one will be able to pick which color plane he would like (red, blue, pink), and then you press the start button and your engine starts up!
You can choose to practice writing letters in capital or lowercase font.  My favorite feature of this app is that it shows a dot where the plane should start and stop writing the letter, and a 'track' that the plane should follow.  This teaches your child the correct way to write a letter.  Directionality is not often shown in similar apps, and as a Reading Specialist I have to say that I LOVE that they included this feature in Little Sky Writers.
As the plane follows the path it leaves behind puffs of smoke to show that the path was completed.  Such a cute feature.  What is even better is that it can not follow an incorrect path.  If your child tries to drag the plane on an incorrect path it will simply pull the plane back on track! A great feature for young kids with limited fine motor skills.

One feature that the kids found hysterical was the voice of the narrator.  As you trace the letters he says words and phrases that coordinate with the letter.  LoLo really liked the letter G which said "Gobble, Gobble is thought to be what a turkey says; however, he really says 'Hello, I am a Turkey'!"  Somehow this phrase just seemed to throw him into a fit of laughter every time...seriously, like 20 times!

This app is a great summertime activity to help your child learn writing and phonics skills for the upcoming year, or to review skills they need to perfect.  Check it out by going to your app store on your device, or iTunes and typing in 'Little Sky Writers.'

Friday, June 24, 2011

TouchyBooks: The Children's App You MUST Own!

In the world of Apps for your electronics there are too many to choose from, but not tons that are great for kids.  Sure Angry Birds is a fun game, but educational and fun...I think not!  That's why when I was asked by TouchyBooks to review their app store and interactive books for kids I was ecstatic.  Then once I tried them with the kids I was blown away!

The books are called TouchyBooks because they interact with your child's touch via iPad or iPhone.  These will soon be offering them via Android, Windows Phone, and Flash Web too.  You can download your own TouchyBooks bookshelf for free and try out a few sample books before you purchase any paid books.  This app can be downloaded via iTunes or the app store on your device.  Here is what your virtual bookshelf will look like:

I decided to try out the free books first and downloaded those on to our iPad.  The first thing I loved about them was the amazing illustrations! Each book has completely different styles of illustrations, but overall I found the graphics much more amazing than many children's books we own (and that is a ton given I am a Reading Specialist)!  The Moon Secrets book reminds me of a happier version of The Nightmare Before Christmas in regards to graphics, while The Candy Factory illustrations seem to take inspiration from the children's book Abuela.

Each book can be played two different ways: read to me (with audio), or read with me (no audio).  I love that the text seems to appear on the page in a font that is similar to the illustrations.  The funky font in The Candy Factory appeared tilted and silly, while the Sleeping Beauty font was elegant and floated on the page.  Each story has different touch sensitive areas on the illustrations, so your kids can make mice run, characters fly, or a prince kiss a princess (to name a few).  I especially liked that the kids could make the cotton candy cloud float around the page with a touch of a finger (in The Candy Factory).  In the book The Adventures of Alt you can make Alt (a funny little alien being) go on adventures! He flies in a balloon and rescues friends.  I could go on and on about what an amazing app this is, but you truly must try it out for yourself!

Here are my favorite books that we tried:

Sleeping Beauty: an abbreviated version of the classic tale with dramatic illustrations and a 'surprise' feature where you make the prince kiss Sleeping Beauty to wake her up!

The Adventures of Alt: take Alt on an adventure to rescue new friends while listening to a 'robotic' narrator (honestly could have done without that part, but overall loved Alt and the interactive features)!

The Candy Factory: a MUST have! You can make the kids float on a cloud of cotton candy around the screen....enough said!

Moon Secrets: a cute short story that works for young ones with short attention spans.  Adorable large graphics that move with the story. This one is FREE to try!

I Want To Be A Pirate:  LoLo's favorite one (of course).  He told me today that he wants to be a pirate when he grows up...oh boy! I liked the colorful characters and simple backgrounds.  LoLo really liked the canons that fire when you turn the page!

    So if you are going to download any app for your kids this summer...this is the one!  Try select TouchyBooks today for free and I know you will be hooked! Also, look for our upcoming giveaway in which you could win the TouchyBook of your choice for FREE!

    Disclosure: These downloads were given to me by TouchyBooks to facilitate this review.  All opinions and words are my own.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Great Digraph Printables-Carl's Corner

    If you haven't read my previous post on Carl's Corner, you might not be aware that I love, love, love this site! It has so many great resources for every area of teaching reading. 

    I thought that after my last post on digraphs and tongue twisters, you might be interested in more resources to help you teach digraphs.  Carl's Corner had a great page on digraphs (that also includes vowel pair digraphs), with TONS of printable worksheets, rhymes, games and activities.  This resource is free, and is a great place to find everything you will need to successfully teach digraphs to your reader.

    -To find out more about digraphs, visit my previous articles on:

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Sign Language and Phonics-Tip #1

    In my previous post on sign language and phonics I talked about the benefits of connecting phonics and sign language.  In this post I bring you a great resource that can teach you quickly and easily the various signs you might need.  This website, called, gives you an online dictionary that shows videos of people signing rather than other ones that show pictures. After all, sign language can not be shown accurately through words since it is a visual language. 

    I suggest that you use the ASL dictionary portion of the website. You just choose the word you want, click play, and watch the video which shows how to create the sign for your word. Enjoy!