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.

Old El Paso Giveaway

During the week I just don’t have enough time to make several trips to the grocery store, so I try to plan our meals for the week, and make just one trip to the store on the weekend. The only problem with this plan is that I tend to use a few meals each week, which means we get sick of them pretty quickly. Some meals can withstand the test of repeated time – others, after having it every week for a month or two, I never want to eat it again. My new plan is to now plan *two* weeks in advance and to only double up on ONE meal I know we could stand to have each week. I’ll still go shopping each week – as some food won’t last the two week wait in the fridge, but planning out 14 different meals, I’m hoping we won’t get sick of them quite so often.

One meal that will surely be going up on the list of meals is taco night! Tacos are fun and easy to make and everyone in the family loves them. (Except Zach – he’s a helpless carboholic. He eats bread and cheese. That’s pretty much it. But that eating-issue is for another post). A few months ago MyBlogSpark sent me an Old El Paso family taco night prize pack complete with a packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning, a Cactus Chip & Dip Serving dish, a set of 3 Fiesta Chili Pepper serving dishes and a $10 gift card to purchase taco fixings.

If you’d like to try and change the usual sibling bickering during dinner, you could also try a game during dinner time: El Tacodor™, a family taco night game. Challenge each other with trivia, wordplan and pantomime. To play visit today to download instructions, a score card, and a challenge sheet for even more fun on family taco night!

Interested in trying some different kinds of tacos? Check out Old El Paso’s website for tips and recipes.


If you’d like to win your own Old El Paso family taco night prize pack like mine, simply leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite taco topping or side-dish is. For additional entries (up to 1 additional entry awarded per day) just tweet the following (and leave a comment on this post for each tweet)

GIVEAWAY: Win an Old El Paso family taco night prize pack!

Contest ends December 30th, 2010 at 10pm PST. There is no purchase necessary to enter the contest. I will be using to choose the winner. I’ll contact the winner via email, and he/she will have 48 hours to respond. After 48 hours, if I don’t receive a response, another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: Old El Paso provided me with the products, information, and giveaway through MyBlogSpark.

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

Free App Alert: Memory Mania

JVacation’s over for another year. So to cheer up all the kids who just started back at school, we’re now giving away MemoryMania completely free! This is a limited period giveaway offer.

MemoryMania is the biggest memory match game for kids in the AppStore. In MemoryMania users find 20 different sets of cards to choose from, and each set contains 15 different pictures. That’s 300 pictures – no other memory match game can compare with MemoryMania!

There are two game modes – a classic memory match, where you look for pairs of cards, or a hide-and-seek game, where you try to remember where the picture is and uncover it.
MemoryMania users love the 2 different game modes, the large choice of cards and the cute design that’s just perfect for kids.

Here’s a link to see a video of the app. And if you’d like to read more about the app, you can do so on the developer’s website.

Memory Mania: FREE*


*Price at time of this writing