Category Archives: Gaming

An ode to an app

My kid has been playing with the iPad for a long time and we have tried a lot of learning apps; some have been bigger hits than others. Some she has loved and I have hated because I don’t understand what they were actually teaching.

We’ve had some big hits that she still plays with, like the Monkey Preschool apps that I recommend to anyone looking for a toddler or preschooler friendly game. Last week I downloaded the Super Why! app from PBS Kids.

This is my ode to that app.


In the mornings we tend to watch CBC Kids while I’m getting some a bit of work done, and I had noticed that the kid got into Super Why! and was doing well with the sounding out of works with the Super Why team. I figured the show would have an app so I went looking and downloaded it.

When the kid plays the app, which has all four main characters doing different activities with letters and words. Princess Pea sings, and right along with her my daughter says ‘S-P-E-L-L spell!’

She finds the sounds, makes the words, sings and laughs. This app is working her towards reading more than any other she’s played so far and I love to watch it. When I sit down with her with workbooks or a crayon on some paper she doesn’t get as involved as she does with the Super Why! team.

I give it an A+.


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App Review: Lola’s ABC Party

By Amy

theme_enMy daughter is a big fan of games we play on the iPad and over the years I’ve found a few really great ones, but as she grows I’m always looking for new apps to help her learn and have fun.

Watching the video introducing Lola’s ABC Party I noticed right away that the skills the app is teaching are skills we have been working on (letter sounds, drawing letters, etc) and that it has a format that she has liked in the past, of several mini-games inside the game, and when you’re done a set of mini-games you get to build yourself a party – a bowl of ice cream, balloons, hats and cake.

The game is bright and colourful, and the kid liked Lola. The mini-games were similar to ones she had played before, but the first game where you find letters based on their sound was a bit tough with letters like ‘I’ – even I thought they were making the ‘E’ sound. Overall I could see what they were teaching, and she enjoying the rewards she got after each level. She did tell me one or two things was too hard for her, but with a bit of help and encouragement she kept going.

party_roomShe really liked being told she was smart as a panda, and she loved getting to add toppings to the ice cream, blow up balloons, and decorate a cake.

Before I even got to show her the app she found it for herself and Daddy reported that she was giggling away. When I asked her if she like it she said yes, which is enough for her to keep trying and learning more about phonics and that’s good enough for me.

Amy is mom to three year old The Kid and a 7 year old schnauzer named Henry. You can read her blog at where she writes about motherhood and anything else that’s on her mind. She was compensated for this review but the views are her own.


Learning through gaming

by Lara

Kiernan loves to play video games. On the computer, on the iPad, on the Wii – wherever we’ll let him. I try to make sure that he gets a variety of games to play. Sure he can play angry birds and where’s the water, but sometimes I want him to play something that challenges him to think a bit more.

Scribblenauts is a game that gets the player to figure out how  to get through the levels by typing in words for items they need or actions they need to do. It takes a lot of thought to figure out what tools are needed and then how to spell the word.

I loved that Kiernan loved this game but the thing is, he can’t spell, at all.  So playing this game became “Mommy, how do you spell tree?” “Mommy, how do you spell magic box?” “Mommy, how do you spell green potion?”

So I came up with a plan!  He had to TRY to spell each word three times.  If he couldn’t do it, then he would draw a picture in his newly created Pictionary and I would then print the name of the word underneath the photo for future reference.

It made me feel better about letting him play games too much because he was alternating between being creative on paper and being analytical on the iPad.  Seemed like a great mix to me.

What creative ways have you come up with to turn the every day into something educational?

Lara is mom to five year old Kiernan and three year old boy/girl twins Quinn and Juliette. Between the kids and her social media consulting business, she spends most of her time running frazzled.

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