Craft, Creative Projects, Preschoolers

Cool Cardboard Castle Creation

Cool Carboard Castle Creation

How gorgeous is this home made castle playscene? Fun in the making and in the playing. With a random abundance of cardboard boxes at our place at the moment I thought this might be right up our street. And no purchase of (more) crappy plastic toys required. In fact we may even be able to eject a few to make room for this.
You’re looking at this thinking, yeah, she’s one of those super-handy-at-craft-type-people aren’t you? Well… no. I have no idea how ours will turn out and in fact I can almost guarantee it’s going to be more along that ‘Nailed it’ meme that’s going around the web (check out this cake one if you have no idea what I’m talking about, cracks me up).
The fun will be in the spending of time with L Star working on a project together, in the discussion of ideas and the act of creating. If I’m brave I may even post a pic of our probably slightly more disheveled cardboard masterpiece.
Click on the pic for the link to the super trendy Mermag blog for details and templates.

App Reviews, Book Apps, Preschoolers

Button Heaven in this Wonderful Book App: Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol. 2

Button Heaven in this Wonderful Book App: Bartleby's Book of Buttons Vol. 2

Is your kid obsessed with buttons? Mine are. To the extent that my youngest thinks my moles are buttons and likes to press those too. Thank goodness for Bartleby, finally, my moles are safe. A wonderfully interactive book app with heaps of great puzzles to solve before the story can progress. Each page boasts a number of buttons and switches to press and a bit of thinking is required to work out what to do.
Sadly it’s ‘To Be Continued…’ at the end so we’re hanging for the next part of the story, but L Star LOVES this app and has played it multiple times, despite the lack of a conclusion.
It’s won a swag of awards, including: Apple 2011 Best App: #1 Book App iPhone, #3 Book App iPad, Children’s Technology Award.
For all fans of books, button and puzzles.

Age 5, Age 6, Age 7, App Reviews, Augmented Reality, Free Apps, Maths, Preschoolers

Fetch! Lunch Rush! A Maths App to get Kids Moving

Fetch! Lunch Rush! A Maths App to get Kids Moving

This app makes clever use of augmented reality to enhance game playing. Firstly you print off some PDF’s from the game website and cut up the numbered ‘sushi plates’ and place them around the house. When playing the app, Ruff Ruffman challenges the player to solve a maths problem. The player has to hold the phone over the ‘sushi plate’ which has the correct answer. The screen then magically displays the correct number of sushi (augmented reality bit). Has wow factor and we enjoyed playing this one with L Star and seeing him puzzle over the solutions and run around trying to find the right plate. The sums get harder quite quickly to we had to stick to the first level but looking forward to using this more as the boys maths skills improve.
Oh and did I mention it’s FREE? Yay!

Fetch! Lunch Rush!  is a free app from PBS Kids show Fetch with Ruff Ruffman. 

App Reviews, Preschoolers, Science Apps

The Human Body App

The Human Body App

What a fantastic app! Your child can easily explore the different body systems, zooming in on different aspects of each system, with a few special activities for each system, eg the eye uses the camera to show the image of your child looking at the screen being flipped upside down. A wonderful intro to learning about the body and a great way to help answer those first questions like, where does my food go?

App Reviews, Free Apps, Preschoolers

Cute App for getting kids moving

Cute App for getting kids moving

Alien Assignment is a very simple but effective app which encourages problem solving and involves getting off the couch as the player is asked find various real world things to help fix the alien’s spaceship. They have to take photos of the objects they find. Lovely to see L Star running around working hard on his assignment! This app is free too!

App Reviews, Toddler Apps

Paint My Wings – beautiful apps for Toddlers

Paint My Wings - beautiful apps for Toddlers

I love apps that encourage creativity and don’t necessarily have exact answers to input. This app is delightful, again no distracting music or flashy visuals, just the occasional hello! or giggle from a butterfly as you paint its wings with a simple variety of squishy fruit paints and brushes. One of Cool A’s favourites. The makers of this app, Toca Boca make top notch kids apps. Be sure to do a search for them on the App Store.

Apps for Grown Ups, Preschoolers

Have you discovered Monument Valley?

Have you discovered Monument?

Hands down one of the most beautiful apps currently out there. I bought this one for myself but L Star soon assumed control and LOVES this app. So do I. It’s based on the drawings of Escher, so optical illusions abound, great for stretching those lateral thinking muscles. The object is always simple, press a button, enter a door, but how to get there… The graphics move slowly and elegantly, the design is exquisite and the music is ethereal and relaxing. L Star and I play a couple of screens of this before bedtime stories. Love it for its ingenuity and peaceful play style.

App Reviews, Preschoolers, Toddler Apps

Apps Montessori Style

Apps Montessori Style

In a rather special collision of old style meets new world we have the delightful range of Montessori apps, designed with minimal, well, everything. Muted colours, simple audio and best of all, made to look like they are constructed from wood. Are these not a bit dull compared to all the whizz bang other apps provide? Not at all. The are a perfect intro to apps for your little learner and both mine found these apps to be clear favourites. Simple, elegant and well priced. Covering many subject areas, this stable of apps will last you for a few years with apps for toddlers – primary.
Click on image to read about them and hunt them out in the iTunes store.

App Reviews, Toddler Apps

Great app for toddlers: First Words Deluxe

Great app for toddlers: First Words Deluxe

You will be amazed how quickly your little one picks up how to do this one. Cool A loves it. Not only is it working on letter familiarity but also vocabulary as the word is spoken before and after completion. With just basic animation and spoken word audio, there’s nothing here to overstimulate little eyes and brains.