Reflection Journal - February 2013

The month of February has just passed. Even though it was a relatively short month, we managed to introduce several changes on our site.

First, we announced a new section on our sidebar entitled New and Noteworthy, highlighting five brand new apps that we handpick every week. Then, we reviewed our first Newsstand app, Ranger Rick's Tree House. We also managed to review six exciting creativity apps—a category relatively new for us.

Cookie Next Door ~ Rainy Days.Cookie Next Door ~ Rainy Days lets you participate in a comic adventure.

Creativity Apps

Creativity apps let your imagination comes alive through a digital medium. In Creativium, you create your own fairytale-themed paper dolls. In Cookie Next Door ~ Rainy Days, you become the cast members of an animated adventure.

If you have little storytellers around the house, Puppet Pals 2 is an app that lets you record animated videos with virtual puppets made using your own photos. Younger kiddies can also try their hands at puppeteering in Sofia the First: Story Theater. Based on Disney’s newest animated series, the app lets you use characters and scenes from the show to record simple animated stories.

Two other apps that stand out for us are Easy Studio and KidsCraft. Easy Studio allows you to create simple stop-motion animations using colorful geometric shapes. KidsCraft encourages you to start craft projects with your juniors by providing 20 unique craft ideas complete with step-by-step instructions and annotated photographs. If you have been looking for ways to stimulate your juniors' creativity, I suggest you to check out our reviews of these apps.

Noah's Ark Interactive Storybook.Noah's Ark Interactive Storybook is a beautiful adaptation of a classic biblical tale.

Storybook Apps

There is a close relationship between our ability to create with the stories that inspire us. I would like to share this quotation from Steve Jobs when he was interviewed on Wired back in 1996:

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they've had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people."

Reading this quote has convinced me to continually search for great storybooks. I believe that exposing my juniors to great stories and authors would allow their creativity to bloom.

Below are five storybook apps that we reviewed last month:

Each of these storybooks excel in their own way. For example, Noah's Ark Interactive Storybook renders a classic biblical story in a beautiful format and adds contextual dialogs to help juniors understand the plot. In Monster Morning, you can read a relatable story of little monsters going through their morning routines.

Vixes is an interactive story of how dreams are made. Dino-Store is a highly imaginative tale of a father and son pair who goes grocery shopping and comes home with a dozen of baby dinosaurs instead.

Finally, if you want a more classical tale, you can check out the story of Moomin and the Lost Belongings. Based on a popular children's book in Europe, the app recruits your help to find a bunch of missing items.

Mini-U: Zoo Alphabet.Mini-U: Zoo Alphabet is our new favorite animal-themed alphabet app.

Alphabet Apps

Out of the many alphabet apps on the App Store, we found three great to share with you. The first one is a new favorite at my home, Mini-U: Zoo Alphabet. It was also recently updated to include nine new animals including Cheetah, Chimpanzee, Octopus, and Pelican.

The second app is Faces iMake - ABC, which Noah enjoys playing everyday. The app uses colorful collages to introduce the alphabet, and has funny sound effects to keep your little ones interested.

The last app is one that grown-ups can also enjoy. Entitled Alphabuild, it is a quick game in which you build letters from geometrical shapes that move on a conveyor belt. Its simple, fun, and intuitive gameplay makes it a perfect pick for juniors to play during short breaks.

Leo's PadLeo's Pad is a beautifully made interactive animated series for the iPad.

Other Notable Apps

In addition to all of the above apps, we also reviewed four more. Two of them, Sakura Time and Mathlandia, are math-related. Sakura Time allows you to practice telling time in smart and intuitive ways, whereas Mathlandia introduces the basics of numbers, ordering, counting, adding, and subtracting.

We also reviewed Preschool EduKidsRoom, a great activity app where juniors can learn various skills through 16 different mini games. The games are quite addictive that my three-year-old son, Philip, can play them for a long time in a single seating.

The final app that I'd like to mention is Leo's Pad. Camila published an epic review of two apps in the series. I agree with her that these apps are must-have, especially if you want your juniors to be inspired by great scientists like such as Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei, and Marie Curie.


I have a feeling that the general quality of educational apps on the App Store is increasing steadily from one month to the next. More apps are also targeting juniors ages four and up. If these positive trends continue, I believe that our juniors can reap the benefits of being born in this awesome decade. I'm really excited to see the amazing things that developers will come up in the rest of the year.