App Friday: BrightKnight & Quibble Kids!

Welcome to App Friday, our weekly link exchange of family-friendly apps. This week we have two featured apps for kids. First is BrightKnight Kingdom, an interactive comic book with reading quizzes & challenges. Second is Quibble Kids, a matching game for both readers and pre-readers. Both apps demonstrate innovative ways to for making quizzes fun!

What is BrightKnight Kingdom about? BrightKnight Kingdom is a fun educational adventure game for the entire family. It has an interactive comic book style that keeps everyone entertained, while improving reading and math skills. You get to interact with the story of BrightKnight Kingdom and each time you play, the storyline will be slightly different based on your answers.

Why is it special? This app combines elements that kids like such as castles, knights, princesses, and presents in an interactive comic book style. At BrightKnight Kingdom science always triumphs the power of magic, and as you answer questions correctly you earn points and control the storyline. This makes kids want to read this comic-book app over and over again. The storyline was designed by a teacher/writer to teach kids about manners, spelling, and math. The app also features classical music and fun mazes. You can watch a trailer of the BrightKnight Kingdom app at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjBv-9QgAOo.

What is Quibble Kids about? Quibble Kids is a picture match game designed by an Emergency Medicine physician and his wife who were concerned about the quality of games available on the iPhone for their four small children.  They partnered with their friends at Night & Day Studios to create an app that is both fun and educational.  Quibble Kids comes with over 50 puzzle sets that include more than 200 images. It provides an intuitive interface that will be familiar to any child who has ever played with blocks.

Why is it special? Quibble Kids is more than just a standard picture match game.  It uses three-dimensional spinning cubes to help develop a child’s spatial reasoning, memory, and logic skills. The game incorporates original music based on classic tunes like Yankee Doodle Dandy.  As your child solves each side of the cubes, the music score grows with added instruments, creating a sense of discovery and progress.  Kids will also be encouraged by the child’s voice that guides them through the game.  Finally, Quibble Kids grows with your child by offering more than just picture-based games. Additional puzzle packs can be purchased from within the app itself and include more picture-match games, as well as math skills and word association games for children up to 12 years old. Whether your kids are pre-school age or a little older and needing to improve math skills or expand their vocabulary, Quibble Kids offers challenging, age-appropriate games.

What’s in it for me this App Friday?

App Friday Link Exchange Our goal at Moms With Apps is to spread the word about family-friendly apps. We also like to let you know when there is a good deal out there on an app. Do YOU have some app news to share? If so, please participate in our link exchange and post it down below. Include the app name (& details) in the Link Title, your email, and a URL to the app. Thanks for your participation!

App Friday: PictoFun!

Welcome to App Friday, our weekly link exchange of family-friendly apps. This week we are featuring the Mom Duo from Appsnminded and their app PictoFun! Featured in the LA Times back in June, Cara and Jen have been serving up a sea of apps that especially resonate with tween girls (Curious? check out their facebook page and see the fan support!). Besides their own apps, they also produce apps for clients, and provide Appsolutely Easy resources for turning app ideas into reality.

What is your app about? PictoFun! is a visual association game for toddlers and young children packed with cute animations and unexpected fun. What “belongs” with a monkey? A flower, pirate or a banana? A banana of course! If the user chooses the right association, they are rewarded with a mini animation that always has an unexpected twist. As an added feature, this app contains PictoMatch – the classic game of concentration that uses the images from PictoFun!

Why is it special? PictoFun! has playful animations like a Flash Dancing hot dog, a cow that serves up chocolate milk, and a spider that “will work for bugs”.  These mini-stories delight the children as they try to match “what belongs with what.” By displaying visual and word associations in a cute and kid-friendly way, learning and fun become one.

What’s in it for me? For App Friday October 8th, PictoFun! is FREE to download on the iTunes App Store. But don’t delay, regular pricing usually resumes by 8pm US Pacific Time.

More Good Stuff Besides the wide selection of snazzy apps from Appsnminded, there is another special in the house just for App Friday. Stephanie of IAGmedia is promoting her app Let’s Go Chipper for $2.99 (regular price $4.99).  Let’s Go Chipper is an eco-educational app that helps excite and ready kids for camping, hiking, and connections with nature. 10% of the app goes back to Leave No Trace.  The initial download includes:  30-minute animated movie “Into the Great Outdoors”; 2 eco-groove music videos ; eReader “Into the Great Outdoors”; and a coloring pack. Special $2.99 pricing will last through Tuesday, October 11th, 2010.

App Friday Link Exchange Our goal at Moms With Apps is to spread the word about family-friendly apps. Do YOU have a favorite app to share? Please participate in our link exchange and post it down below. Include the app name in the Link Title, your email, and a URL to the app. Thanks for your participation!

App Friday: Pocket Zoo with Live Animal Cams

Welcome to App Friday, our weekly link exchange of family-friendly apps. This week we are taking a field trip to the ZOO! Come and explore Pocket Zoo with Live Animal Cams; an amazing way to see, hear and learn all about your favorite animals straight from your iPhone. The Mom and Dad developers and their team at Tiny Hearts are making a huge impression with animal fans world-wide. I don’t know about you, but this App Friday I’m goin to the ZOO!

What is your app about? Pocket Zoo™ with LIVE Animal Cams is a wonderfully wild portable zoo for nature lovers. Our app puts your very own zoo at your finger tips with brilliant animal photos, real sounds, fun facts and LIVE Animal Cams.There’s a lot more than lions, tigers and bears in this addictive virtual zoo. It’s great fun for the whole family!

Why is it special? One of the coolest things about Pocket Zoo™ is the Live Cams. You can keep tabs on a Panda in San Diego, watch Penguins in Japan or Siberian Tigers from Sweden thanks to live video streaming. See the animals doing something interesting? Capture an image from the cams, and share it with friends via email or Twitter – or save it to your Photo Album. Another neat feature is our unique earth-like zoo map interface, that allows you to explore and discover over 40 original animal illustrations. If you’re an animal lover and are looking for a fun and educational app…then Pocket Zoo is for you!

What’s in it for me? For App Friday August 13th, the developers at Tiny Hearts have set Pocket Zoo to FREE on the iTunes App Store. So give your iPhone a great big bear hug and DOWNLOAD before the app goes back to regular price (which is usually about 8pm US Pacific Time according to iTunes).

More Apps by the developers of Moms With Apps: Click to the page tabs at the top of our blog to scroll through lists of apps for kids and families. We highlight apps for learning, fun & creativity, reading, special needs, travel, and parents.

App Friday Link Exchange Our goal at Moms With Apps is to spread the word about family-friendly apps. Do YOU have a favorite app to share? Please participate in our link exchange and post it down below. Include the app name in the Link Title, your email, and a URL to the app. Thanks for your participation!

App Friday: iTouchiLearn Words

Welcome to App Friday, our weekly link exchange of family-friendly apps. This week we explore early childhood education with iTouchiLearn Words by Jane Scarano of Staytoooned and iPhoneKidsApps. If you have toddlers and preschoolers who are working on their words, this app provides engaging activities for budding language skills. Jane recently released an iPad version with additional interactive features – details below!

 What is your app about? iTouchiLearn Words for Preschool Kids features animations and word activities wrapped in an easy-to-navigate interface. Toddlers and preschoolers are treated to entertaining animations that teach them about the context of words along with engaging word games. It centers around three activities: Find the Picture that matches the word; Match the Word; and Animations that tell a story about related words in action. iTouchiLearn Words for Preschool Kids comes in two flavors: iPhone and iPad. The iPad version takes full advantage of the iPad’s high definition and size capabilities. This version adds a matching game and a pie chart spinner that lands on a random activity when a child taps the spinner, plus additional content.

Why is it special? What makes this app special are the cute and engaging animations that teach toddlers and preschoolers about the context of words and actions while making them laugh. The animations deliver a multi-sensory experience. A child can hear a word spoken, see the word spelled out and watch an animation of the word in action. This brings words to life and improves word retention. Each word activity provides virtual rewards for correct answers to reinforce and retain what they have learned.

What’s in it for me? See for yourself how mobile touch technology provides an enriching learning experience for your toddler and preschool child. Download iTouchiLearn Words (iPhone) for FREE or iTouchiLearn Words (iPad) for HALF PRICE this App Friday, August 6th!  NOTE: The apps usually revert back to original price on the iTunes Store by 8pm U.S. Pacific Time on Friday August 6th.

Related Apps by Staytoooned:  iTouchiLearn Spanish Words  (iPhone) teaches your preschooler about words in Spanish. Through animation and fun word activities, your child will learn and retain Spanish words at a very young age.  Staytoooned also publishes apps for kids, and if you have an idea for an app, we would be happy to hear from you and help you publish yours. In addition, our iPhoneKidsApps Blog helps families and friends explore the educational value of mobile touch technology.

More Apps by the developers of Moms With Apps: Click to the page tabs at the top of our blog to scroll through lists of apps for kids and families. We highlight apps for learning, fun & creativity, reading, special needs, travel, and last but not least, parents. 🙂

App Friday Link Exchange Our goal at Moms With Apps is to spread the word about family-friendly apps. Do YOU have a favorite app to share? Please participate in our link exchange and post it down below. Include the app name in the Link Title, your email, and a URL to the app. Thanks for your participation!

Making Masterpieces With Hanoch Piven (And His App!)

Our feature this week is written by Hanoch Piven, the Israeli artist and illustrator who is recognized globally through his award winning art, children’s books, and creative workshops. In collaboration with the iPhone app publishing house iMagine Machine, Hanoch’s work was the inspiration for the app called Faces iMake. Hanoch advocates the point of view of using the right side of the brain (as Dan Pink describes in his book – A Whole New Mind) for encouraging creativity, and shares with us the philosophy of his work and the story behind making the app. Thank you Hanoch and iMagine Machine for inspiring the artist within all of us!

Faces iMake is an art-making iPhone app based on my way of creating collages with existing objects. I would like to describe this method of creating and how together with iMagine Machine we made it into an App.

Preschool children enjoy drawing. They are proud of their creations and are used to being praised for them. Even as they reach primary school they are still drawing without much self consciousness. But as they advance through their school years (usually somewhere between third and fourth grade), they start to doubt their drawing capabilities. Their creatures just don’t ‘look right’ to them. They are not getting the praise they were getting earlier.

At this point only a few children will persevere and continue drawing, while most will gradually stop drawing and say to themselves: “I just can’t draw”. This line will accompany the child all the way to adulthood. Drawing will be associated with that frustrating memory. What the child probably did not do well was drawing realistically. They did not have the classical drawing technique. But there are other ways and styles of drawing.

Usually we draw by making a line on a surface with a pencil, a brush, or our finger (if we are on the iPhone). But we can also draw by moving objects on the surface. We treat the objects not only as what their name dictates, but also as shapes. Instead of making lines and shapes, we make choices from a pool of existing shapes about which ones to use and how to use them. The objects are our building blocks, and by moving them around we are actually ‘creating shapes’ on the surface. We are drawing…with objects. So let us indeed expand the definition of drawing and call it “Drawing with Objects”.

Because this is a new and playful way of looking at the world around us, people can enter it without the frustration usually associated with ‘drawing’, and will allow themselves to be creative again. Furthermore, perceiving objects by their shapes is looking at the world through the right side of our brain: intuitively. In simpler words it is looking at the world with fresh eyes, playfully and creatively.

My own road of becoming an illustrator followed a similar path: I wanted to draw realistically. I wasn’t very good at it and was frustrated by my technical limitations. I discovered (by chance) the possibility of making collages with objects. I embraced it with a newly found enthusiasm and much more creativity.

Eventually I realized that creating collages is accessible for everyone, and throughout the last 10 years it has been the basis for the Creative Workshops I conduct all around the world. This has been the guiding light for us in creating Faces iMake: to try to bring the feel of these workshops into the iPhone.

Faces iMake has lessons and inspirations of some very simple artwork created by me, and it has the space for the user to create their own creations. Trying to be as faithful as possible to the idea of creating with existing shapes and objects, we decided not to introduce the possibility to resize objects. What can be perceived (and is indeed a limitation) as a handicap is a push to be more creative, to find your way around this limitation. After all, you cannot re-size objects in the real world.

Faces iMake is thought of as a fun and creative tool. It is a game (in the wider definition of the term) of making creations. And every process of creation involves playfulness. Creativity and play are totally inseparable.

iMagine Machine is a developer and publishing house of innovative and cutting edge iPhone applications. Originally focused on children’s applications, iMagine Machine incorporates unique and intelligent programming to create and publish creative and entertaining applications for the iPhone platform. Copyright (C) 2010 iMagine Machine.

Why We Love Listening to Audio Books and Stories: One Mom’s Adventure

Our feature this week is from Tracey Weil, Chief Mom at Tales2Go, who shares her family’s experience with audio stories AND the real life story of how Tales2Go (audio stories for kids) got started. Her insights, from dedicated parent to successful entrepreneur, illustrate how gaps can be channeled into lively educational opportunities. Give a mom a challenge, and they give you back an entire mobile solution that is GOOD for your kids. Don’t you just love that?

Photo Credit: Marissa Rauch Photography

Years ago, a friend gave me a gift.  It was a story CD by storyteller Jim Weiss.  We first played it while schlepping the children somewhere in the car.  It was full of fairytales and myths, and immediately my [then] little ones were entranced in the back seat, virtually put under a spell by Jim’s soothing voice and clever tales.  We listened over and over and over until my children knew the stories by heart.

When our oldest started to read, he was struggling a bit.  So I went to great lengths to get him excited about reading.  We frequently read to him and books could be found on our kitchen table, beside his bedside, in the backseat of the car, and audio books were loaded into the CD players of our cars and in our home.

I tried not to miss an opportunity to feed his brain with age-appropriate literature.

While it was easy to find a wide selection of books, I found it challenging to get audio books.  I jumped through hoops to find them Saturday at the library (time consuming and poor selection), at the bookstore (costly), and downloading them (actually I never really did figure out the downloading and syncing process: too pesky).

One day, I was looking at my iPhone and turned to my husband and said, “Why can’t I just get stories delivered to my phone? I always travel with my phone so I’d be able to play a story whenever and wherever. There’s got to be a way to do that!”  And that was the beginning of Tales2Go, where kids can listen to a huge library of audio books and stories streamed on-demand to mom or dad’s iPhone (or iTouch/iPad).

Interestingly, my kids (now almost 10, 8 and 6) love listening to stories more than ever: ­ in the car, at home during mealtime, at bathtime, and even before bed (after we’ve read to them).  Instead of a shorter tale (which they still enjoy from time to time), we now listen to multi-hour books and series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, American Girl or How To Train Your Dragon.

It turns out, kids of all ages (yes, including the kid in you) love to listen to a good story that is well told by a storyteller or professional narrator. And, of course, I feel great about letting them listen. The kids are entertained while building listening comprehension and learning new vocabulary words on the sly. Meanwhile, ­I’m secretly pleased their imaginations are being sparked and their brains are at work.

Try listening to a story with your kids sometime on a car trip or while waiting at the dentist’s office.  I think you’ll find audio stories are a gift that keeps on giving.

Just Got Your iPhone for Mother’s Day? We’ve Got Apps for That!

Aaaahhh, your shiny new iPhone – a gift from the family – arrives clean and unfettered on Mother’s Day morning. After a tasty breakfast in bed, you dream of spending time loading apps, personalizing the wallpaper, syncing the calendar and customizing the settings to suit your particular needs. However, the gift of free time didn’t seem to get the memo. Here, hand it over, and let us help a mother out…

FOR STORYTIME  Mommy’s High Heel Shoes – A sweet story about a working mom and her daughter “Cakes”

FOR FUN  Rescue of Ginger – a fun and hilarious interactive storybook for kids (FREE for Mother’s Day)

FOR REFERENCE  Baby MedBasics – A quick reference guide for parents on basic baby medical care

FOR TRAVEL  My Little Suitcase kids travel app (FREE for Mother’s Day), Mom Maps FREE app for kid spots on the go, and Global Roos for translating basic phrases in different languages.

FOR MEMORY MAKING   Emmbook, a baby book for your iPhone

FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR   Motivational apps such as iEarnedThat, iReward, and iRewardChart

FOR MORE KIDS   Baby Bump Pregnancy App

FOR ANDROID Didn’t get that iPhone for Mother’s Day, but you did get a hungry baby to feed? Try Newborn for Android.

FOR MORE IDEAS  Visit our sidebar on the right to view the websites of our member developers, who are mostly parents creating apps for their own children. There are also some hot tips from Appolicious, and you can never fail at the one and only iPhoneMom.

Happy Mother’s Day and best wishes from Moms With Apps!

5 Cool Ways to Learn Math with Apps

Our feature this week is from Lynn Rasmussen, creator of Arithmaroo – a math counting game focused on number patterns and relationships. The Arithmaroo team is working on an entire series of educational math apps that engage the user to explore and experience numbers.  Today Lynn highlights the many different ways math is being presented with mobile apps, which makes it an exciting time for students and educators.

Many of us were taught math in classrooms. Everyone was given the same worksheets, drills, homework, and tests at the same time. If you didn’t get it, the class kept going.  Too many of us were either “bad at math” or bored.  Apps offer a solution. They are personal, interactive, and provide instant feedback. Most of all, they are fun.

Here are five ways that Moms With Apps developers apply math to apps:

  1. Apps offer a beautiful introduction to math for little ones.  TickleTapApps’ Counting Caddy is a simple, fun counting game. With their Pattern Painter preschoolers learn to identify shapes and then they learn to draw shapes.
  2. App games are great for practice and assessment. Kids can start at their own levels. Incorrect answers are challenges, not failures. The KidsMathFun series  separates math operations by grade level and replaces grades with wins. They even have an app for Telling Time!
  3. Some apps are real tools that can be applied in fun ways.  Using Percentally kids can tally basketball stats or tally how many times someone says thank you, and then see how tallies convert to percents.
  4. Apps bring math alive. The iLiveMath series is not only graphically beautiful, but their app design and navigation is fascinating. Word problems with gorgeous photos are way more fun than standard worksheets.
  5. Apps offer diverse learning experiences.  Using a “right brain” approach, the Arithmaroo series replaces rote memory methods with increasingly complicated rock and hand patterns, all presented as games.

Apps offer powerful new ways to teach and to learn. We developers are just beginning to explore the possibilities!