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Tilly’s Petting Farm app by Shoto is a fun, bright, educational app for children age 1-7, that focuses on speaking full and complete sentences. Children learn a great deal of vocabulary about life on a farm, though just a few words aren’t typically used in American English. This isn’t a big deal to me; just another learning opportunity to have with your children about different cultures and language. I also like the English accent of the narrator.
Tilly’s Petting Farm app is $1.99 in the App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
I like how the narrator speaks in complete sentences, and that it really requires the child to listen. I feel like my two and a half year old daughter will open an app and just tap away, but this app forces her to stop, listen, and comprehend what is being said to her.
The app works like this: There are four different areas on the farm to learn about. When you select a scene, you can select the hand symbol to tap-and-learn about what’s going on in the scene, and then you can select the magnifying glass to enter a question-and-answer(tap) session. There are over 300 sentences spoken in the app, so your child won’t run through the app quickly.
This app isn’t one you can just toss over to your child under age 5 and expect them to play around with and learn on their own. You’ll have to show them how to go through the tap-and-learn phase (by selecting the hand symbol) then go to the question- and-answer phase (with magnifying glass). You’ll especially need to be around for assistance when questions come up that may be difficult for young children to answer like “where is the dried grass?” (hay).
Overall, I like the app, and my daughter does as well. I think it is worth the $1.99 price.
The Coloring Book Color Mix HD App by Eightfold Education, LLC adds a new level of creativity and imagination to digital coloring books and drawing apps. This app for iPhone and iPad costs only $1.99, and allows your child to create their own colors to draw on different types of backgrounds, color-in characters, connect the dots sheets, and doodle on photos from an album on your device.
The app works like this:
Here’s where the creative juices start flowing. Drag a color from the palette and drop it in one of your four color choices on the left to create a new color. Use the sponge in the middle to drag to the four color palettes on the left to change out a color. Tap the question mark to listen to audible directions if you get stuck.
Once you have the four unique colors of your desire, click the green check mark and go back to your drawing. Use your finger to draw, or if using a color-in sheet, just tap the area you wish to color, and it fills it in for you.
Other nifty features include (and can be found on the right-hand toolbar) taking pictures of your creation to save on your device, delete the image and start fresh, turn background music on or off, and undo.
I really enjoy watching my 2 1/2 year old daughter play around with this app, and I think she is understanding how mixing colors can create new ones. It’s a great new challenge for her since she knows her way around coloring and drawing apps already on my iPhone. Her creation is to the right 🙂
This app is not just a simple read-to-me story app; it has very good quality illustrations that are both animated and allow for interaction. Your child can tap on the characters for fun little surprises in the story. I did find it difficult to see what areas and what pages of the story had the interactions; you have to click on the letter “i” in the top left-hand corner to see explanations of what the interactives are on each page. If the interactives were highlighted better in the illustrations, I think it would be much easier and obvious, especially to young children.
I also struggled with trying to turn the page for the app (which is done so by swiping your finger along the bottom of the screen after the animation is compete), but I just updated the app with this bug fix. I still think a button with an arrow so you can find exactly where you need to touch to turn the page might be easier.
The story is cute and very silly and my daughter seems to enjoy it. Plus the narrator has a great accent which I like. I think once you learn what the interactives are and how to turn the pages, it makes the story experience more enjoyable. For $1.99 I feel the app is worth it; like I said my daughter really likes it, but I wouldn’t recommend spending $4-5.
The Toca Hair Salon by Toca Boca is an app that I bought for my daughter, but I like stealing a minute to play with it. In fact, I caught my husband playing it too….
You have several tools available to create your hair masterpiece: scissors of course, comb, hair coloring sprays, a blow dryer (love the facial expressions while doing a blowout), and special growing potion that grows the hair you just cutoff (we all wish we had some of that for the regretful haircut in the past).
What is also great, and what the app developers Toca Boca emphasize about their apps, is that there are no high scores or time restrictions. The game is fun and creative-not stressful. It builds into the child’s imagination in a unique way to be expressive.
The app is recommended for ages 3-7…or let’s just say 3 to infinity…I know you’ll enjoy it just as much as your kids. The app is $1.99.