Life at Warp Speed

life, faith, food, parenting, homeschooling and just about anything else that is on my mind

Toy Shot™ App – Free for limited time March 31, 2012

Filed under: Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 8:33 pm
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App Store – Toy Shot™.

Toy Shot is a pretty fun variation on the “Angry Birds” physics game genre. This app is designed for the iPhone and is currently free for a limited time. It is normally $0.99. Your kids will love playing this game since it is like a mash-up of Angry Birds, knights, princesses, dragons, and Legos. Over 100 levels of play to keep you engaged. The play is a bit more challenging than Angry Birds.

Recommended for 5 and up.



uLearn to Write Chinese App – Free for limited time!

Filed under: Apps,Homeschooling Apps,Learning Chinese — lifeatwarpspeed @ 12:32 am
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uLearn to Write Chinese for iPad on the iTunes App Store.

ULearn to Write Chinese is a pretty good Chinese stroke writing app for the iPad that currently free for a limited time. It is normally $2.99. This app is fairly easy to use and has a well designed interface. If you are looking for an app that teaches traditional characters, this is the perfect app.

The app demonstrates stroke order for each character and provides a practice character for you to trace. The app also scores your writing for accuracy so that you get instant feedback. There is also a “?” button which gives you a hint if you forgot the next stroke in the order which also will tell you which stroke number a particular stroke is.

This app covers the 1,115 most commonly used Chinese characters which is incredibly comprehensive. There are twelve “books” of multiple lessons. Each lessons cover a specific radical family which is how a Chinese dictionary is arranged. Each character page shows the pinyin, the radical root, a pronunciation guide, the number of strokes and the English meaning. What makes this app quite distinctive for me in a lot of the Chinese learning apps I have tested, is that there is a phrase button where you can see a list of common phrases that use that character. This list includes pronunciation and an English definition. What makes this app even more useful is that you can collect the phrases that you want to learn in a your collection which can be accessed from the app on any page. It would be better if they also included the pinyin in the collection.

If you are using this app with children or as a non-native learner, you are probably interested in learning vocabulary by topic. The only problem with this app is there is no way of grouping the characters that you are working on together. Hopefully, this is something that the designers may consider adding in the future. However, the work around for that is the search function. Unfortunately, you can not search with English and must enter a Chinese character to search. In order to do this, you need to go to Settings>General>Keyboard>International Keyboards. Select the keyboard input that you prefer to use. I personally use the Chinese Traditional Pinyin input. A “globe” icon will appear on your keyboard input which will allow you to toggle to the Chinese input. I type in pinyin to get the character list and just select the character that I want to use.

Another nice feature of the app is the game that they include for practice.  You can practice matching Chinese with pinyin or Chinese with English meanings. This is a less painful way to get some extra practice in with Chinese. The only downside is that there is no way to only practice a small set of specific vocabulary.

Recommended for ages 8 and up. Grab it will it is still free!




Bouncy Bug App – Free for limited time! March 29, 2012

Filed under: Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:52 pm
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App Store – Bouncy Bug.

Bouncy Bug is a pretty fun game app for the iPhone and the iPad that is free for a limited time. Normally, it is $0.99. You are a bug that is trapped in a world of jello trying to escape. You have to collapse each “bubble” in the jello by eating up all the fruit by bouncing off the “liquid-y” jello walls by tapping the jello walls. The physics of the game are pretty interesting as it is very similar sensation and feel as a simulation of bouncing on a trampoline. There are lots of levels of play to enjoy and play. Even though it is easy to learn to play, the challenge is figuring out the timing and angles of the bounces.

Recommended for ages 5 and up.



Car Crusher App – Free for limited time!

Filed under: Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 11:40 pm
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App Store – Car Crusher.

Car Crusher app is an interesting and fun twist in the puzzle app genre. This app is designed for the iPhone and iPad and is currently free for download. Normally, this app is $0.99.

The goal of the game is to arrange the various tools (magnets, conveyors, fans, beams, etc.) in the factory to get the car into the crushing machine while avoiding hazards like dynamite. It is a pretty engaging game with 64 levels of play of increasing difficulty. It does a pretty good job of sharpening reasoning, logic, sequencing and spatial skills.

Recommended for ages 7 and up. Younger children can play the game, but they will have difficulty in solving the puzzles. They will enjoy just moving the different tools around and watching the cars bounce around in the factory.



Write On for iPad on the iTunes App Store March 28, 2012

Filed under: Apps,Homeschooling Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 9:36 am
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Write On for iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Write On Lite for iPad on the iTunes App Store. (free version)

Write On is one of the most played with and best loved tracing and alphabet apps for the iPad in our family. This is one of the best designed educational app for preschoolers that teach your child to write.

I love that this app incorporates a lot of different animals to associate with each letter. There are over 100 animals featured in the app. On the tracing screen, you have your lined “paper” with the letters to trace. There is a “pointer finger” that demonstrates the correct stroke for the letter. You can toggle between upper and lower case letters. You can switch from the alphabet to tracing the name of the animal which introduces vocabulary and spelling as well. There is audio voicing for each letter and animal name. This is app also incorporates a toggle that switches to cursive tracing which does extend the usefulness of this app.

My son’s most favorite part is the ABC song where 26 animals are pictured which wiggle as each letter is sung. There is also a “personalized” feature in the app where you type in your child’s name for tracing practice. I also really love that this app also allows your child to learn to trace from easy to hard letters based on stroke difficulty in a manner similar to the Kumon method of teaching writing. This is a much more natural, effective, and progressive way to teaching writing.

You can test out this app using the free lite version which limits the number of letters that are available. This app is worth every penny of the $1.99 paid app price and even worth the original $2.99 price. Great tracing apps like this one is why my son was able to pick up a crayon at 2 3/4 and was able to write the entire alphabet on his own without ever being taught to write.

Highly recommended for ages 2 and up.



Fruits for Little Lamb Book App – Today only! March 27, 2012

Auracle HD – Fruits for Little Lamb for iPad on the iTunes App Store.

This is a really lovely story app for the iPad from Auryn Books that is adapted from Leslie Ann Clark’s devotional book by the same name. This book teaches young children about the fruits of the Spirit in such a gentle and heartwarming way. This app is free for download today. Normally, it is $1.99.

My most favorite feature of the app is the ability to personalize the audio. This is a wonderful inexpensive alternative to the more expensive hard copy recordable books for children.

Highly recommended for children 2 to 6.



Lunar Racer app – Free for limited time!

Filed under: Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 12:27 pm
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Lunar Racer for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad on the iTunes App Store.

Lunar Racer from Noodle Cake is a very fun variation in the racing game genre. This app is designed for both the iPhone and iPad. It is currently free for download for a limited time. (normally $0.99).

You get to race your toy race in extraterrestrial race courses in a low G environment. The game uses a tilt and tap interface to control play. You have to navigate different hazards and pitfalls while picking up and using special tools along to way. There are 12 different race courses to explore and conquer.

Recommended for ages 7 and up. Younger children will be entertained by the app, but they will have difficulty mastering the multiple controls needed to play the game.



Geared App – Free today only!

Filed under: Apps,Kids — lifeatwarpspeed @ 12:03 pm
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App Store – Geared. (iPhone, $0.99, free today)

App Store – Geared 2!. (for iPhone and iPad, normally $2.99, discounted to $0.99)

Geared for iPad for iPad on the iTunes App Store. (iPad, $2.99)

This week has been a really great week of great free game apps!

Geared is a super fun puzzle app for older kids and adults for the iPhone that is free today only! This is a #1 rated app in many countries. This app has won many awards and accolades including “new and noteworthy” and app stores staff pick. I was lucky to find this a couple of years ago, and just noticed this deal today.

You must correctly arrange and place your gears so that your puzzle design will function. Over 200 levels to play of increasing difficulty. This is an excellent game that teaches spatial, sequencing, and logic skills which are great for reinforcing these key math skills in a non-academic way.

Highly recommended for ages 7 and up. (Can be used with younger kids that are good at puzzles and logic games.) Grab it before it is gone! Otherwise, the iPhone version is a great deal at $0.99 and works well on the iPad.



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