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Melody Jams app review

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Similar in structure to Toca Boca’s Toca Band (but both a little less substantial and a little less…out there), Melody Jams (Melody Jams Inc., April 2016; iOS only) lets you rock out with your own hand-picked backup band. Fill up to five band spots by selecting from twelve monster musicians on instruments such as guitar, […]

Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app review

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Classic nursery rhymes meet interactive twenty-first-century technology in the Nursery Rhymes with StoryTime app (ustwo, 2011; iOS only). Beginning with “Jack and Jill,” children can read and/or hear eight nursery rhymes and manipulate the characters and their props, sometimes in humorous ways — for example, swipe that pail of water up the well and a […]

DreamWorks Shrek & Friends app review

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A simple, drag-and-drop app, DreamWorks Shrek & Friends (DreamWorks and Fox & Sheep, July 2016; iOS only) invites you to get toddler-aged versions of six different DreamWorks characters ready for their day. The app opens with some very familiar typeface (hint, it’s green with ears) and moves directly into a colorful, early morning cityscape, complete […]

Sago Mini Boats app review

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I took Harvey the dog out in a pickle boat and made him seasick. And how was your day? At the beginning of Sago Mini Boats (2015; iOS and Android), you choose a destination for Harvey — and a friend to welcome him — and get packing. You can choose to put clothes and snacks […]

LumiKids Park app review

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LumiKids Park (2015; iOS and Android) is part of Lumos Labs’ series of “digital playspace[s] for kids to explore concepts through intuitive and adaptive activities.” Each of the four apps (so far; see our reviews of Snow, Backyard, and Beach) present different concepts to develop different cognitive skills. Park focuses specifically on visual-motor coordination, sorting, […]

Trilo Spelling app review

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In Trilo Spelling (Swedish/American developer Trilo, June 2016; iOS only), your goal is to spell your way to a story. As Spooka the ghost explains, correct answers in a variety of spelling games will earn you fuel for your plane. Then you can fly around the app’s island setting, gathering puzzle pieces which come together […]

Fiete Sports app review

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With the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics beginning tomorrow, what better time to play the Fiete Sports app (Ahoiii, July 2016; iOS only)? Similar in structure to Ahoiii’s Fiete: A Day on the Farm app, Fiete Sports allows the affable sailor — with your help — to compete against his friends Hein and Hinnerk in Summer Olympics–style […]

Daily Wonder app review

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Fans of R. J. Palacio’s 2012 book Wonder are probably familiar with the author’s #ChooseKind pledge and her 2014 book 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts. Now they can receive happiness-themed quotations each day with the Daily Wonder app (Random House, 2015; iOS only). The app is no-frills: tap “Daily Wonder” in the […]

Toca Tailor: Fairy Tales app review

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Toca Tailor: Fairy Tales (Toca Boca, 2012; iOS only) is a fairy-tale-themed companion to the original Toca Tailor app, in which you can “make” clothes by tailoring size, choosing fabrics, and adding accoutrements. Click on one of the two child characters (a light-skinned girl and a darker-skinned boy), and your chosen figure is brought to […]

GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine app review

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I first became aware of toy start-up GoldieBlox when I saw its smart commercial “The Princess Machine,” in which a group of young girls engineer a complex Rube Goldberg machine using (mostly) stereotypically “girl” toys. The mission of GoldieBlox and inventor/CEO Debbie Sterling is “to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of […]