Brains My Body is a very nice interactive app for children which teaches about basic anatomy and diversity and includes fun facts about the body.
The look of this app is crisp and clean, with colorful, textured woven fabric used as the background for these activities.
Also of note are the layered ambient sounds heard throughout, consisting of a beating heart, blowing wind and wind chimes – interesting choices I have enjoyed listening to.
Eight sections are included, four of which are puzzles that ask children to re-build the body. I do appreciate how this puzzle includes multiple levels of difficulty, seen in each of these sections as these puzzles become more in-depth.
The basic body structure is covered as one adds the head, chest arms and legs into an outline of a body, while a second level breaks down these parts into smaller ones while chunky parts like head, chest, thigh or foot still remain.
There is also a puzzle focusing on facial features, as at first the face is divided into strips such as hair, eyebrow, eyes, nose and mouth – pieces that must be placed back into a face template. In the second level, these features such as both eyes and ears need to be placed back where they belong independently as well as other areas of the face.
It is especially nice how in this face puzzle section, one can choose between a variety of faces, including diverse choices such as an Asian character and darker skin-toned non-Caucasian to re-build, adding to the re-play of this section as well as the diverse nature of this application.
The skeletal system has its own dedicated section, optionally narrating these bones as one places them back where they belong inside a body outline.
At first these skeletal pieces are large, consisting of a single piece for the trunk, arms, and legs, while later, in the second and third levels, breaking the spine, pelvis and ribcage into individual pieces, ultimately including each side of the rib cage as a separate piece, as are the hands and feet, upper and forearms, shin, and shin bone.
The internal organs are also touched upon here, as one needs to place the organs back into the body where they belong.
Again, during the first level of this game, these body parts are grouped together, such as brain and spinal column, lung and trachea, large and small intestines, bladder and kidneys, each of these pieces then separated into individual parts ultimately adding the nose and mouth cavity, as well as also including the pancreas, spleen and gallbladder.
Three other activities are included, such as an activity to tap various parts of the body to peel back a level, such as from the chest to the internal organs to then see an x-ray view of the bones. A variety of skin tones and different heads are included. One can also scroll through with a tap, creating an anatomical model of the player’s choosing.
There is also a chance to interact with a beating heart, as tapping in time to the beats will fill the body with blood, allowing children to see the coronary arteries fill, delivering blood throughout the body. A mistimed tap will remove blood. There are three levels to this exercise, increasing the speed of the heart being pumped, thus increasing the difficulty of this interaction.
One also has a chance to see a cross section of a body in order to view digestion at work. Do tap the hose included within the stomach as this adds necessary digestive juices needed to move the food through the body and out the other end, complete with flatulence noises – appropriate for this app.
A memory game is also included where one needs to turn over tiles in order to make pairs, with three levels ranging from twelve to sixteen tiles in play.
Each of these sections includes a magnifying glass that one can tap to read an interesting fact. A camera icon is also included to take and save a screen shot to the camera roll of one’s device.
The main note I have is that the organization of these sections could be arranged together – including the most basic sections as well as the more in depth anatomy puzzles.
This is a very nice, very stylized app introducing the human body to young children. I do see this app as a good choice for toddlers and early preschoolers and beyond as well as their adults who will enjoy this app a great deal, as these puzzles are reminiscent of multiple-layered wood puzzles I have always been interested in.
Yummiloo Rainbow Power, from the developers at Night and Day Studio, is an absolutely delightful universal, top-notch interactive app that teaches about healthy food choices in a way most charming.
When first exploring this app, one will watch a short introductory video that I found hugely impressive, with great looking, bright and colorful animation and music to rival the opening scene of any highly regarded children’s television program.
Presumably computer-generated, this video includes animation at its height of quality, including the details of the fresh foods shown in this scene – rich with realistic details, such as showing the tender delicate flesh of raspberries and other fruits, making this animated video, as is true of this application in general, a love letter to produce.
The included cheerful music is wonderfully upbeat – memorable and fun, even for adults and reminiscent of an indie band’s album for children. Narration is included which I greatly enjoy as well, talking directly to the user – wonderfully effective to be sure.
Here you meet Rooty, a sweet little root vegetable character and friends from Yummiloo who need help as the Rainbow Machine which powers their carnival is out of energy. To get this machine going again, children will have to help Rooty gather up fruits and vegetables that will power up the Rainbow Machine.
The Rainbow Machine is a Seussian contraption, styled with different colorful sections that all have to be filled up with corresponding colorful foods that are found in the garden and need to be tapped and dragged to a basket – also nicely color-coded. I appreciate how one needs to wait to pull foods that are fully matured as well as adding other foods to the compost bin, which then gets emptied back into the garden – a very nice choice.
Children will enjoy this activity with mild arcade elements as they sort by color, also learning each fruit or vegetable by name as children’s narration notes each food’s name when added to the basket – a nice contrast to the adult who narrates prompts during this game.
When all the colored sections of the Rainbow Machine have been filled, this game is complete and children are rewarded with a video of the carnival in motion – a glorious display and quite the treat for children who spent the time to complete each color of the Rainbow Machine.
It is also worth noting that although the de-fault of this app is a dragging and dropping motion from the garden to the basket or compost bin, one can change these controls to a simple tap – great for toddlers who will gain so much from the color sorting and learning the names of these fruits and vegetables such as yellow squash or jicama.
This is a terrific app to re-enforce good eating habits, allowing children to fully appreciate the term “eat a rainbow.”
There is so much to love about Yummiloo Rainbow Power. It is sure to be a hit not only with children but with their adults as well. I am thrilled that this app is the first from a series of Yummiloo apps that I am quite eager to review in the future. I don’t think toddler and preschool families can go wrong with Yummiloo Rainbow Power – a special app that families will adore.
Birds & Bees Connection: Girls Part 1 is a cute and educational app designed for moms to share with their pre-teen daughters about the upcoming changes girls will face during puberty.
Intuitive to use, this application opens up to a main menu page that lists such topics as getting taller, developing breasts, sweat and body odor, hair, acne, puberty and emotional changes.
This app is nicely narrated by a girl reading the questions, answered by an adult female narrator. I do love the voice of the woman answering the questions, warm and motherly, while offering straightforward advice for young people, reminiscent to me of how I imagine Judy Blume to sound like and I was impressed by her delivery.
This app includes very basic information for young children new to this kind of information, also including pop-up windows with other fun facts as well as questions for mom such as “Does mom remember her first bra?” By and large, I enjoy the content and agree with the information provided, including a mildly animated moment of a baby actively nursing – a moment I especially appreciate.
There are a few mild points that I wish were elaborated on such as how a popup window offers the advice of keeping a deodorant in one’s backpack, but making sure one’s underarms are clean before applying. This may be difficult in public, and I don’t see the harm in a girl ducking into a bathroom stall to apply deodorant if she is feeling sweaty, even without first washing.
I do, however, really appreciate how this app re-enforces never sharing a razor with anyone, including friends or siblings. I also think it is good advice for girls to try to just shave their lower legs as many don’t need to shave above the knees, but this also varies from person to person. I do have my personal doubts that shaving upper legs will actually make the hair grow darker and more course as this app states, although the use of warm water and shaving slowly are good tips for girls to follow.
Likewise, I am not in full agreement with the section discussing acne, as this app focuses on dirt and grease trapped in the pores of your skin as a reason for acne, which may be true for some, but the issues of clogged pores and inflammation have other causes as well and are only briefly touched upon here.
I worry that this section will lead to over washing, especially a concern with the recommendation to use a washcloth and to vigorously scrub as shown in the animated illustrations of this section, complete with squeaking sound effects. I also doubt that a washcloth can rid the face of “germs and bacteria” as this app states any better than using one’s hands or cotton pads, and can also make things worse as washcloths can be a place for bacteria to breed.
It is worth noting that although hormones, puberty and the different emotions one may experience at this time are touched upon here, this app is mainly a good starting point about the changes girls will be going through. Likewise, this app does not offer specific information on periods, feminine hygiene products, any information on “where babies come from,” sexuality, pregnancy or diseases – topics that parents will still need to have with their children at a later date.
Although I do not know the content for the later installments of this app – part 2 and part 3, I will be curious to see which of these more advanced topics may also be covered.
Even if my advice to a daughter may be different from exactly what is offered within this app, I think this is an engaging way for mothers to start these kinds of conversations with their children, and I am happy to say that the illustrative style is fun and colorful, great for young tween girls whom this app is aimed at.
Oddly, this app mentions interactive illustrations which I am at a loss to discover, as this app plays pretty straightforwardly with arrows one can tap to turn pages, yet without any elements I could find that are truly interactive.
This is not a flaw as I do not think that this app needs any distractions to search for as girls and their moms share this time together. I do wish, however, that the iTunes description had less of a focus on interactivity as this promise may lead to disappointment.
Having made these notes, Birds & Bees Girls Part 1 is still an app that I recommend. I do hope parents will share this app with their children so they can add their own personal bits of wisdom as well, possibly opening the door for the more personal conversations to come.
Just Going to the Dentist – Little Critter is an adaptation of the title of the same name – part of the Little Critter series of storybooks now available in application form.
As the name may imply, this is the story of the Little Critter’s trip to the dentist. In this world, Little Critter is an anthropomorphic animal – a little boy who has been found to be relatable to by children for many years.
While reading about this trip to the dentist, I enjoy how some of this visit mirrors the experience my son has had while going to the dentist as well, such as the waiting room filled with toys and books, making my son desire to go to his bi-yearly appointment.
I am also glad to see Little Critter go back to the exam room to have his checkup on his own – something my son is now expected to do, which at first was stressful for both him and for myself.
Adults may note how some of the details included, such as the use of a spit sink or the archaic-looking x-ray machine might seem dated by many of today’s standards, but this is by far an adult concern and I am happy that Little Critter is wearing a protective apron before the image is taken.
It is important to mention that in this story, a cavity is found on the x-ray, which needs to be filled. A syringe is seen right before Little Critter is being numbed for the drilling that can be heard faintly as an ambient sound.
Parents may have mixed feelings about this detail of the app, some believing that cavities and needles may be too scary for children in preparation for their first visit. Others, especially those with a history of cavities in older siblings or other family members, may feel the need to bring up the topic of cavities as Little Critter is a champ through this process – a good role model who does not fuss during the procedure, yet discusses the odd sensation of numbness – possibly helping children to be aware yet not afraid.
I do think that telling Little Critter that he will not feel anything during this procedure is a bit disingenuous as the needle is felt even if the drilling is not. Therefore, I do wish that the poke was mentioned if this book feels the need to include the filling of a cavity. This explanation, however, may make for wordiness in a way that these titles are not known for.
Personally, I could do without the lollypop offered after the filing – even if it is labeled “sugar-free,” but this is a book worth discussing because parents, I am sure, may want a book which brings up the topic of dentists and even cavities to prepare their children.
Like other books developed by Oceanhouse Media, Just Going to the Dentist includes narration, a mode allowing one to read this book by oneself, as well as Auto play, allowing one to enjoy this book being read by the delightful child voice actor as with the pages turn automatically in Auto Play.
Do tap on the illustrations as object are labeled with narration and text, adding more details to what can be found in an dentists office, such as x-rays or a light box, but I did wish this app would go into even further details instead of labeling many items as just “dentist equipment”
New to this app is the ability to record one’s own voice, download this recording onto any device, as well as sharing personal narrations with others who have access to this app as well.
The text is also highlighted when read – always a nice touch, as is the ability to tap a word to hear it spoken individually.
As is the case of the other Little Critter apps, one can find Spiders and Frogs hidden among these pages, seen as well in the original printed versions that now are included as a simple and sweet added hidden picture mini-game. These original illustrations are also shown with zooming and panning of these pages to draw the reader’s eye.
Although this story may not suit the needs of all families who are looking for a story about visiting the dentist, other parents may appreciate how Little Critter handled himself during this visit as a way to prepare their children.
Sleep Well My Pet! is a simple and sweet collection of sleeping animals, relaxing to children, hopefully helpful in lulling them into slumber as well.
Easy to use, one can watch a slide show or scroll through these sleepy, charming images of animals such as dog, panda, pig or lion – all with their eyes closed as they rest. Non-mammal animals are included such as flamingos or green frog which are interesting as well as peaceful images.
Parents are also able to select or de-select images to focus on dogs or cats if they wish or to avoid an animal if they see fit.
One has a few musical choices to accompany this app, my favorite being the classical music piece Clair de Lune as well as an unnamed selection using the tankdrum instrument.
The images included here are lovely and are sure to be enjoyed by children of all ages, but I did notice as an adult that some of these photos, although nicely detailed, do have areas with a shallow depth of field which can create focus problems as well as an audio loop point that I found distracting – issues that I think would pass over the heads of the children this app is geared toward.
Even with this note, this app is a nice idea and may be effective in calming babies and other young children at bedtime or before their naps.
I do think, however, that the current price of this app at $3.99 is a little high compared to the content of other apps at this price point.
Having said this, Sleep Well My Pet! is a nice idea and may be effective in calming babies and other young children at bedtime or before their naps. Adults will also enjoy reading the included text with some insight as to how the idea for this app came about as well as some interesting information about the sleep habits of animals – a nice touch.
Whack A Bone is a wonderful app for iPad that is truly an educational delight, teaching about the anatomy of bones found in the human body.
Nicely sectioned into groups, users will learn about the bones that make up one’s core, such as cranium, sternum or vertebrae which is grouped here into three different categories – cervical, thoracic and lumbar, as well as the arm and leg bones, each consisting of its own section as well.
To play this pirate-themed anatomy game, place the bones from the different sections back to their rightful places inside a skeleton with the direction of a talking parrot whose attitude kids will find witty and fun.
It is also great that the entire skeleton is included, having players remember all of what they have been taught, including such differences as metacarpals vs. metatarsals as well as the correct placement of the different vertebrae included.
I appreciate that this is a great teaching aid for both those who need to study the bones in the human body including those new to this subject as the puzzle one fills in a labeled skeleton in the first half of these sections so that players will learn as they go.
Next, the parrot will quiz users on these bones by naming bones that need to be tapped as quickly as possible, and if successful, a bronze, silver or gold star is given based on speed.
I have had some issues with accuracy as I may tap the ribs when I was aiming for clavicle, and these mistakes are compounded by being timed.
Because of this, it would be great if the timer aspect of this app could be removed as an option, although I did like that if the player seems stuck during the quiz, the bone in question was highlighted to help. These answers, however, are not credited towards getting these bones as correct answers, and players are asked at the end to place the incorrect bones back where they belong and then need to re-build the bone puzzles again before being re-quizzed.
Although the adult human body consists of 206 bones, this app condenses the number being taught down to 24, with eight bones to learn per section – a very nice amount of information for children as well as adults to study.
This app is undeniably an excellent way to help students of all ages learn this information. The pirate theme is well-done and nicely stylized without getting in the way of what is being taught, and the salty attitude of the parrot keeps this game light and fun with just the right amount of competition that will be appealing to grade school children who otherwise may not been keen on studying the same topic over and over again.
I also appreciate that the music – ambient sound effects and parrot voice volume – can be adjusted independently.
I have certainly learned what has been taught within Whack a Bone, and I do wish this app were available when I was learning about anatomy as well, and I would love to see more educational apps like this developed in the future.
Doctor Cat is a cute children’s app allowing users to use different medicines to treat animals.
This app is bright and colorful, with a simple and sweet narrative about a cat finding a lost doctor’s bag and using its contents to treat creatures in need.
Do note the cloud at the top of each animal page which is pulled down to find the tools one uses to treat the sick. Although I don’t think the contents of the medical bag would necessarily be found by children who stumbled across this app themselves, the placement of these objects is explained in the parents’ section, and once shown, children will have no problem accessing and using these tools to help the animals feel better.
Right hand taps to page turning arrows allow this story to progress, but children are able to choose the animals directly from a menu page styled like a map or maze, showing the cat making his rounds to each patient. Feel free to follow the path or choose any animal favorites one may desire. Other Simple hotspots along the way that add some other interactive details without too much distraction.
Narration is included which is clear and well-spoken, and I appreciate how children use both their empathy as well as rudimentary first aid knowledge to choose the appropriate remedy for each animal.
I can seen this app being used as a gentle reminder to be easy and helpful when taking medicine, yet I can’t help but notice that many of the drugs given, even on an OTC level, are not typically approved for children at the young age this app is geared for, and I would not want my young child asking me for drugs as treatments for simple colds or other viruses.
Having said this, I do think this app is charming, allowing children to take steps to make hurt or sick animals feel better – which children will really enjoy. My son loves to play animal doctor with his stuffed animals, and although I would never expect this app to take the place of this creative play, I like how he can still do this kind of pretending when we are out and about without all the plastic medical tools he has collected over the years.
There is an undeniable level of quality in Dr. Cat, a role-playing app that children are sure to enjoy a great deal, making this app great for toddlers’ social intelligence and simple cognitive skills.
Dr. Panda’s Hospital – Doctor Game for Kids is a cute and fun universal interactive for children which nicely simulates the experience of taking care of sick anthropomorphic animal patients in a hospital setting.
This app starts out by seeing a medicopter land on the roof of a hospital. Scroll down to see the inside of the animal hospital which includes two floors of patient rooms as well as a waiting area where one meets new animals who need medical attention. After helping a few animals, children will also be able to earn a sticker for their hard work.
Eight creatures are included as are two other mini-games of picking up trash from the waiting and patient rooms as well as organizing Dr. Panda’s medical bag by placing his tools in their rightful areas within this puzzle section.
Children will enjoy playing doctor during these simple but fun exercises which will get children somewhat familiar with basic medical procedures such as looking into one’s ears, adding drops to one’s eyes or ointment to chicken pox.
Children will also enjoy some cute details included within this application, such as being able to change the bed that these animal patients use into fun theme beds children would approve of, such as a princess or car bed, as well as turning on music, starting ceiling fan or opening windows – each detail either making these patients noticeably happy or sad and adding a social element to this app that young children as well as children with special needs will find helpful.
My son really enjoys pretending to be a doctor and has enjoyed this application as well. It is an easy app to recommend to children who like creative play and roll-playing applications.
Where’s my Dress? is an interactive application focused on teaching children about different outfits to wear corresponding with the seasons.
The first time viewed, one will notice right away within this app how bright and colorful the graphics are, rich with style, as one chooses from a girl or boy character to dress, complete with quirky hair and facial expressions.
After this choice is made, choose with a tap the season one would like to explore, denoted with the use of icons demonstrative of each season as here, no text is offered to read nor do these characters speak, making this a lovely language-neutral app that children of all backgrounds can enjoy no matter what language they are fluent in.
Once a season is selected, players are brought to their character’s room, nicely decorated for this time of year, such as Christmas lights and faint festive singing for the winter or a pretty collection of leaves for fall.
Do make note of the weather going on outside the window in this room as these will be valuable clues as to what clothing to choose for these characters.
Children will enjoy opening and closing the closet door, drawers and cabinets looking for clothing choices such as hat, shoes or boots, as well as a main outfit, complete with outerwear if needed. It would be a nice inclusion in the future if one could choose from a selection of individual clothing choices such as tops, pants, dresses or skirts to mix and match with as to be creative as well as weather appropriate when choosing an outfit for these characters to wear.
I really enjoy the social aspect of this app, as the characters will show happiness or displeasure with their outfit while being dressed, but the main test here is when the characters are allowed outside, and whether or not they are comfortable in their clothing or unhappy with the way they are dressed. If the players are successful in choosing the clothing correctly, they will be rewarded with a colorful conclusion – a nice touch.
Much of the information provided is nice to share with children, specifically about not wanting to be too cold or too hot, but sometimes the answers are subjective. I as a parent at first answered these answers wrong because it is unclear why one should choose a specific boot, shoe or hat, especially when one is not allowed to feel the weight of the material in question.
I also think it is interesting that here, Spring is though of as still quite cool as the ice and snow from winter is still cracking and melting, although I think of Spring as quite warm, yet not as hot as Summer, not a mistake per say, but a different way of looking at things.
This concern would be more of an issue without the use of the emotions of these characters, wonderfully portrayed with both expressive facial features – vocalizations both of glee and disappointment – making this a lovely app for children with special needs.
It is also worth noting that one can also tap a button asking the characters what they would like to wear, allowing the user to match these selections.
Children will find the look of this app very engaging thanks to the bright colors and fun, interesting characters one gets to dress. I admire the added benefit of deciphering the emotions that these characters express as well as the ability to match their clothing selections.
This is my body – Anatomy for kids is a delightful interactive educational app full of terrific content as well as a charming sense of style.
I have really enjoyed perusing this application, consisting of many sections that cover such topics as how fast one grows, the skin, one’s senses, as well as the different systems of the body, such as digestive, respiratory, muscular, nervous and skeletal, going into a very nice amount of depth for children to appreciate.
As this app opens up, children are given a choice of characters to follow, nicely including boy and girl choices some of which are children of color and an Asian character – lovely inclusions still not seen often enough in the US iTunes store.
From here, do note the blue arrow one pulls down at the top right of the page, allowing children enjoy themselves while peeling back the layers of their character, including down to their underpants while learning about their skin and later their body’s senses as well. The digestive system allows one to see inside these figures as food and water as they are swallowed, traveling to the stomach. The lungs and throat can be seen while investigating the respiratory system, and I appreciate the use of standard red and blue colors to detail the circulatory system, which is explained in further details.
The muscular system is also interesting to look at, complete with the red striated muscles, as are the detailed images of the nervous system and later the body’s skeleton.
I really enjoy how each of these sections goes into great detail which can be found as one triggers arrows right of the screen going into these sections in more depth, as the level of scope this material provides is wonderful for children preschool-aged as well as younger and older alike.
I greatly appreciate how this app includes narration allowing non-readers to enjoy this app while also including the “smarty pants” section for older children – not narrated and which can be accessed by pulling down many of these included pages to go into even more depth regarding what is being introduced.
Children of all ages will appreciate the interactive elements found throughout, such as x-raying a broken arm and applying a cast or putting back the bones of a skeleton which includes a nice level of challenge that will engage children as well as teaching them basic anatomy.
Star achievements are also included. Do look for them among these pages and perform the cute, specific interactions to gain these stars and to be rewarded at the end. I did, however, have moments of difficulty figuring out what actions were being asked of me to gain these stars. Because of this, I would love some sort of hints also included so that children can make the most of this wonderfully educational application.
There is just so much to love about this application, packed full of information that children and adults of all ages will learn from. While this may not be the most interactive application available, I think the developers have done a wonderful balancing act of adding just enough interactive elements to enrich without distraction.
I do not feel, however, that the navigation going from the peeling back the layers of these characters into the more in-depth sections is fully intuitive the first time one explores this application. This is not a huge flaw, but parents may want to familiarize themselves with this app in order to demonstrate its inner workings of scrolling side to side as well as up and down, as it would be a shame for children to miss any of the elements offered in this terrific app.
I also admire how this app includes a default setting keeping these child characters in undergarments from the waist down, but it also includes a setting to allow these characters to be seen fully undressed and including anatomical details that I personally feel quite comfortable with my son seeing. Having said this, I could also see some families being more comfortable with the girl characters keeping their chest area covered at all times – not an option at this time.
I would love to see this app also include the reproductive system as well, as I have yet to see an app tackle this subject – an app that I can see some parents really appreciating as their children begin to ask questions about where babies come from as my son has.
I am sure, however, that not all families would welcome this segment. An area that could be excluded in the default yet made available as an option would be wonderful.
All in all, This is My Body – Anatomy for Kids is a most impressive educational application that a wide range of ages – both child and adult – can learn from and enjoy. This is certainly an application worth checking out in both the home as well as school setting at a very reasonable price.