Aug 30, 2016

Apps on the News: Toca Life: School

Just in time for back-to-school, here's a great app that might give you a new way to ask your kid, "What did you do at school today?"

Read my written review here.

Aug 17, 2016

Supper Club: What's Inside?

Apps that dig a little deeper to find out what's INSIDE?

 -- an alphabet app with interactive x-ray art of each object.

 -- how deep can you dig on a ladybug's back? It'll boggle your mind!

--take a walk with Bato as he gathers friends and instruments for a music party.

--a crazy mash-up of classic children's book and high-tech x-ray images revealing the "hidden" gears that make the pop-up pieces move.  (See an excellent preview video by clicking on the app title above.)

Skyscrapers by Tinybop ($2.99, iOS only)
--explore and play with the properties of very tall buildings. The plumbing gets the most giggles per minute!

Tiny Pirates by Wonderkind ($2.99, iOS only)
--design your own pirate character, then play in the seaport or out on a pirate ship (cut away so that you can see the activity inside the ship)

Take-out box:

How to make Electricity by Crayonbox (FREE for Lite version, full version $2.99, iOS only)

Bogga Magic by BoggaTap (99c, iOS, free-Amazon)

Dada Trains by DADA Company ($2.99, iOS only)

This evening's hands-on project was to create our own pop-up books (or cards) using these fabulous reference pages from Bookzoompa. Only one kid had time to stay and make one at the library tonight and you can see hers above in the title photo.

Aug 13, 2016

The Supper Club presents: Apps about circuits!

 In July, we featured lots of apps about electricity and circuits.  Having just finished a full day of Wild Rumpusing, a few of these apps were beyond my logic capacity, but perhaps it was a more realistic demonstration of how your kid might interact with the app?  Anyway, if you or your kid are interested in how circuits are created, try out some of these apps. 

The free "lite" version lets users try out different combinations to try to complete the circuit and light a bulb. If you buy the full version, you can also explore how hydroelectric, thermal and solar electricity are generated.  Note: This app has a lot of written text and no read-to-me options, so it's best for older kids or for adults and kids to use together.

Multiple "virtual science experiments" including creating a circuit with a battery, lightbulb and switch.
A beautifully designed explore & discover game, a prequel to the even more beautiful Lumino City game.  There were a few parts of this game that I found extremely difficult to solve without seeking hints, so this one is best played with a partner.  The storyline does deal with electricity and circuits!

This app has so many possibilities! Figure out what each of the different components can do, then put them together in various ways to build your own "machine"!  For instance, combine a light sensor and a recording of your voice saying "Stay away from my cookies" then put your iPhone in the cookie jar.  If someone lifts the lid, they'll get quite a fright!

Several of the "inventions" in this game are about connecting multiple parts of a circuit.  All of the "inventions" are hilarious!

Today's activity was Circuit Blocks!  The Madison Public Library's Bubbler loaned me the kit of home-made Circuit Blocks and those were DEFINITELY the biggest hit of the evening!

Aug 4, 2016

Wild Rumpus: Bonus appearance at the library carnival!

Before we finish up this Wild Rumpus report for the summer, I would be remiss if I didn't share these great photos and experiences from a different kind of Wild Rumpus.  Every summer for the past maybe 10 years or so, Madison Public Library has hosted a carnival at the Central Library location. This year, the Carnival planners asked if I'd like to bring the Wild Rumpus materials into the mix and I thought that was a great idea.  We arranged four carts of play materials in one of the large, sunny meeting rooms upstairs and let kids play however they wanted to.  Here's what happened:

Aug 3, 2016

Apps in the News: Monkey Spot Scavenger Hunts & Lumikids Park

(p.s. ACTUALLY, the name of this app is Monkey Spot Scavenger Hunts and it's by MonkeyBar Collective... sorry for the confusion!)

Aug 2, 2016

Wild Rumpus: Week 7 (the last one... for now!)

Week 7: wrapping up this summer's Wild Rumpus!  This week, Mr. Fun from Minnesota kicked off our Wild Rumpus with a lesson in how to make a "poi" spinner toy from recycled materials.  Since we were running a little late in setting up the usual materials, most participants started off with his activity.
Here's a video of the poi in action:
(you can see some super fancy poi spinners on this video if you're still not sure how in the world this toy is used)
Once we were all set up and the poi's were mostly finished, the last day of AnjiPlay really got started.  Here are some of my favorite scenes from this week (after the jump)

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