Maya’s Dress Up (for the iPhone and iPad)

MMaya’s Dress Up.

In this game you can select from a number of different dolls to dress up: Maya herself, or one of her friends. You can change their hair style and color. There are hundreds of different clothing, shoes and accessories. You can change an item’s color or how they’re “layered” on your doll. You also have a number of different backgrounds to choose from. The selection is massive, really. And the publisher has plans to continually add new items.

You can save your favorite designs and send them to your friends.

Here’s a video so you can see how the game works. Or learn more about this game on the publishers website.

We’ve downloaded a few other free dress up games but none had the kind of selection this one does.

Maya’s Dress Up iPhone App: $2.99*
Maya's Dress Up - Total Eclipse

Maya’s Dress up HD iPad App: $4.99*
Maya's Dress Up HD - Total Eclipse

*Price at time of this writing. I received a copy of this app for review purposes.

Merry Puzzles – iPhone & iPad game

Did you know there’s only like 9 days until Christmas? (We do both Hanukkah and Christmas in our house. Yes, there’s probably a reason for tweets like this one:

Heh. Truth be told, I haven’t finished shopping – so a note from Santa is still a possibility. But I’m sure they’ll be angels the day before just to make me feel guilty if I didn’t get them anything…

In any case, one present I got earlier this month was this Merry Puzzles app (available for both iPhone and the iPad). There’s a bunch of adorable illustrations, cut into random little squares that you have to put back together again. The illustrations have built in animations you’ll see once the puzzle is completed. There’s a few different levels. Zach has stuck to the easy level. I tried one at the “expert” level… yeah, I’m no expert for sure. So there’s definitely a huge range of challenges there!

Merry Puzzles iPhone App: $0.99*
Merry Puzzles - Countdown to Christmas - Twigsbury

Merry Puzzles iPad App: $1.99*
Countdown to Christmas - Holiday Puzzles - Twigsbury

*Price at time of this writing. I received a copy of this app for review purposes.

Mathomatix Number Sense HD iPad app review


The creators of PunFlay’s Mathomatix Number Sense for the iPad, outdid themselves from a technical and educational standpoint.  As a child works her way through the 5 different games included in the application, she is having fun while gaining number skills and concepts that build on each other in a natural and pedagogically appropriate way.  I wonder how many other apps have been checked against the National and California Standards for teaching mathematics to kindergarteners.  Very impressive!

Booster Balls focuses on counting from 1 to 30.  The child collects 10 balls at a time and then feeds them to a cute little monster.  A child’s voice gives clear and easy to follow instructions and provides a model for the child to count along with.  The game is simple and fun.  My six year old granddaughter, Kayla, liked catching the balls and feeding them to the monster even though the game was clearly no challenge.  Five year old Joey and 3 year old Leah really enjoyed counting along, and with each repetition of the game became more confident.

Do the Dotty is a “connect the dots” game with sets of 10 numbers up to 30.  Now we are upping the ante.  Not only do you have to be able to count, you have to recognize what the number looks like and follow the instructions, connecting the numbers in sequence to create a picture.  Kayla, of course, breezed through, repeating the game many times, changing the colors of the completed pictures.  Joey declared the game really fun, but required some assistance as the numbers increased.  After a few tries, he began to recognize the numbers on his own.  I could tell that playing the game over a period of time would improve his skills.  Leah loved creating the pictures, but needed a lot of help following the directions and recognizing the numbers.

Recognizing  the numbers in sequence is one thing, but finding them in random groups is another challenge.  Numberella provides this challenge.  The players are asked to pick out a specific number floating in a cloud to create a rain shower.  Easy for Kayla, not so easy for Joey and Leah, but entertaining enough not to discourage repetition which leads to learning.

Now we come to the really conceptual challenge,  using an understanding of what the numbers stand for to manipulate objects.  Fishoonka and Toot Toot Train accomplish that brilliantly.  Fishoonka emphasizes the concepts of ‘more and less’ by having kids move fish back and forth to create the requested pattern.  Toot Toot Train takes it to the next level by requiring the addition or subtraction of cars to create the desired train length.  Joey needed guidance to achieve this but began to get the hang of it.  Even Leah began to get the idea and was very pleased with herself.

All in all, I give this app 5 stars.  As an educator, I appreciate the careful crafting of the games from the concrete to the conceptual.  This is a real learning tool as well as an attractive and entertaining game, a bargain at $1.99.  Bravo, PunFlay!

Number Sense HD: $1.99*


*Price at time of this writing

Disclosure: We received a free copy of this app for review purposes

The Big Brag and Yertle the Turtle – ebooks for the iPhone and iPad

Oceanhouse Media has recently released the next set of Dr. Seuss books as universal apps that work both on the iPhone and iPad. I’ve already expressed my love of Dr. Seuss books, so once again I’m thrilled to see the collection continue to expand. The Big Brag and Yertle the Turtle feature the ability to read the story yourself, have the story read to you (manually turning the pages), or auto play (pages turn automatically). Sound effects can be turned on or off.

In case you’re not familiar with these titles: in The Big Brag, a rabbit thinks outloud to himself about he thinks he’s the best animal of all, at which point a bear listening nearby disagrees with him and boasts that he is the best of all animals. So they put their skills to test against each other, the rabbit trying to hear as far away as possible, the bear trying to smell as far away as possible. They are then interrupted by a worm who says he can see so far, he sees around the world and back again to two fools who have nothing better to do than argue who is better than the other.

In Yertle the Turtle, Yertle is king of his pond, and all he can see, but he is greedy and wants to be king of more – to do so he needs to see more. So he orders his poor loyal turtle subjects to come and make his thrown higher and higher. They obey, but one turtle complains that it isn’t fair. Yertle ignores his pleas and continues to order more and still more turtles over so he can sit on them. Finally the complaining turtle sneezes and makes the huge turtle tower crumble to the ground, sending Yertle into the mud and freeing all the turtles.

I think you’ll love these stories as much as my kids and I do. Zach happily listens to the stories over and over again.

The Big Brag: $1.99*

Yertle the Turtle: $3.99*

*price at time of this writing
Disclosure: I received a free copy of these apps for review purposes

Green Eggs and Ham – eBook for the iPhone / iPad

OGreen Eggs and Ham.

There are three options for the story: Read to Me (The story is read to you, and you can turn the pages manually. This gives you time to click on things in the picture to have the word shown to you), Read it Myself (You read the story, you turn the pages. You can still click on individual words to have them read to you, or pictures on the page to have the word read and shown to you), Auto Play (The story is read to you, and pages are turned for you. There is a pause at the end of each page so you can click those pictures and words still). They’ve added some sound effects to the pages. If they drive you crazy, you can turn those off too – click on the little “i” on the main menu and you can turn them off.

I really love the Dr. Seuss books, and I’ve been really pleased with the way Oceanhouse Media has been creating the eBooks. They’re fun, the kids love them. If you’d like to see the full collection they have available, check out their website.

Green Eggs and Ham: $3.99* (one app works on both iPhone and iPad)


*Price at time of this writing.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for review purposes.

Baby Explorer – iPad App


Baby Explorer was a real winner with my neighbor’s seven-month-old grandson, Elan. The App features brightly colored activities that are virtual representations of the traditional “busy box”. Elan could choose from wheels to spin, butterflies to slide, buttons to push and sounds to change. Although putting the iPad in his mouth was something he found really appealing, it is not recommended. 😉

The bright and attractive colors got his attention immediately. Many of his movements were random, but since they produced interesting sounds and visual changes, he was encouraged to keep swatting away. Soon he began to purposefully go for particular activities. The spinning wheel was easy for him to do and produced a satisfying melody. Random pokes at the objects on the central display caused eggs to hatch, frogs to leap and flowers to explode, depending upon what was selected. He had a little more difficulty making the rings move along the virtual rod. They seemed to hang up a little even when I tried them, as did the spring loaded butterfly. I was actually surprised by the length of time this App held his interest. After seeing Elan’s reaction, I have no doubt that this App will appeal to babies from about 6 months to perhaps 1-1/2. My 2-1/2 year old granddaughter, Leah, played with it for a while and then moved on to something more challenging.

Baby Explorer is well designed to stimulate the curiosity of tiny tots and does a good job of encouraging the development of hand-eye coordination. This app would make a useful addition to a parent’s toolbox of worthwhile activities to entertain and stimulate the development of baby.

Baby Explorer: $2.99*

*price at time of this writing.