PlayTales Kids’ Interactive Books

PlayTales Kids’ Interactive Books

Books to read and caress – it’s the smartphone way

Having already gone down a storm on the iPhone and iPad, with more than a million users being claimed by the developer, TouchyBooks has changed it’s name to PlayTales, as well as launching on Android.

This freebie app offers you a full PlayTales store, containing lots of interactive tomes to download, each for a relatively small sum. Aimed purely at children, PlayTales offers a decent library of entertainment in a variety of languages, with each book being easy to navigate and read. This library app is the glue which holds the whole thing together, letting you access purchased books as well as see what else is new.

Buying books is a simple process, although it is easier to do so on the iPhone. You can scour the selection of books either through the lists or the Search facility, which lets you look for books according to the title or age. The quality of the books is high, with original stories and a mix of audio and visual content, each one making great use of the phone. Each book offers a wonderful and educational alternative to playing games, and provides enough substance to keep youngsters quiet on long journeys or lazy weekend afternoons. To that end, this is one of the most essential apps available, and a must for any parent out there who wants apps for their kids.

Rated 5 out of 5

Taking a lot of cues from the likes of iBooks, PlayTales is an essential download.

Screenshots


  • TITLE=Super app for kids!;Good job, and congratulations for the Audience Awards n the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona

  • TITLE=DragonBox – The Coolest Algebra App Ever for Kids (Seriously!);RATING=5;If you have a child who loves playing mobile games, let me introduce you to Dragonbox. Dragonbox is a revolutionary new game that will help your child to learn algebra while progressing at their own pace. I´ve seen some great iPad apps before, mainly on this website, but this cool game deserves a special post. The people behind Dragonbox have created a game that enables children experience algebra concepts as a real game that is actually geart fun! After only one hour of playing, they´ll be able to solve mathematical equations and have fun doing it too – you could say a “win-win” situation. Move the picture boxes around the screen using the game rules (the rules of algebra) and try to isolate the dragon box. The DragonBox game has been tested in schools in Norway, where the results showed significant increased understanding of basic mathematics and the improved ability to solve complex equations. My own 11 and 14 year olds enjoyed competing to complete the DragonBox+ version (with 100 extra levels), my daughter even replaying levels to get to the full 3 reward stars available to collect in each level. I also caught my wife moving the colourful boxes around the screen and muttering how addictive it was. I´ve read that children as young as 5 years old have learned the ideas behind solving algebraic equations using this very clever game. It really is a great game for parents to play along with their kids – and freshen up their own maths skills. Starting with removing starbursts, and moving on to adding negative dragons to both sides, DragonBox introduces deviding and multiplying terms in the same step-by-step, easy to understand way. The game is great for young kids who have never heard of algebra as well as older kids who don´t completely understand the usual ´we move this one over here and devide this one´ type explanations. Read the reviews on iTunes and Google Play to see how much kids (plus parents and teachers) are loving this game. DragonBox+ contains an additional 100 standard equations featuring good old fashioned letters, to help your child become a master of algebra, even finding the most difficult looking equations easy to solve. DragonBox and DragonBox+ are universal apps. Buy once and play on your iPad (like my kids) or on your iPhone (like me and my wife). The games are reasonably priced – DragonBox costs £1.99 and DragonBox+ that comes with an extra 100 games costs £3.99. DragonBox has definitely got me smiling this summer – http://www.dragonboxapp.com

  • TITLE=MAKE ME MUSIC – GREAT FUN FOR YOUNG KIDS!;RATING=5;Stylishly rendered Garage Band for beginners that lets kids express their inner Mozart or Madonna while learning about rhythm and melody in a bright, beautiful sound garden. Make Me Music, is a loud, raucous cacophony of ringing, honking, strumming and banging instruments brought to life by legendary Beatles´ artist Alan Aldridge and the creative folks at FeeFiFoFun.com. The app is very user-friendly with little or no instruction needed. The home screen has a big play button in the centre surrounded by a few instruments including some with hands and feet. Pushing play takes you directly to the music room. It’s anchored by a winding red pipe covered in garlands of flowers that laugh or make funny noises when touched. A question mark in the top left corner brings up basic directions which let parents know that the four flowers across the bottom of the screen control rhythms and the arrows in the bottom right corner let you change the melody from a Caribbean vibe ukulele to a jazzy trumpet. When the melody is changed, the background in the room changes colour as well which gives pre-schoolers a subtle hint to perhaps change the tempo of their composition. All the kid-created symphonies and concertos can be recorded by activating the microphone symbol on the bottom left. Kids get a 3, 2, 1 countdown before recording begins. Compositions can be saved by emailing them to yourself or friends. They are converted to a mp4 format, so once downloaded, tunes can be made into ringtones or used as background music for home movies or whatever creative pursuit calls for maximum banging and clanging. Music is the great equalizer because you are never too young, too old or too disabled to participate in it. The recordings my kids and I made with Make Me Music were not as pretty as the app’s band room, but we had a lot of fun. Private music lessons or even the yuppie filled music classes I took my kids to are expensive and a luxury many families (and increasingly schools) can no longer afford. If the research is to be believed, this $1.99 app which follows the Orff method is a good investment in your child’s academic future. Regardless of your stance on the importance of music education, Make Me Music is a welcome departure from the plethora of preschool apps and games currently available. Recommended for 3+ ios. http://tinyurl.com/makememusic