Learning Apps- Keep Your Mind Active

Summer is a great time to relax and enjoy time together with friends and family, but you don’t want to let your mind turn to mush during that time. According to the Northwest Evaluation Association’s research,  “summer learning loss was observed in math and reading across third to eighth grade, with students losing a greater proportion of their school year gains each year as they grow older – anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.” How do you keep your child from losing their learning or falling behind? Keep their minds active, keep them reading, and keep brains stimulated. No, Fortnight totally doesn’t count, sorry!

Got a little one? Start young and keep them active. There are some amazing books out there, and of course your local library will likely have summer reading programs you can do with your child no matter what age. There are also puzzles and educational games you can play with your child on technology and “real life” touchable options- we recommend a bit of both.

We recently tried out these fun and “edu-taining” science based apps aimed at preschoolers, and found them both adorable and fun. I’m a teacher by trade, and I love that there are these apps that let kids have fun while learning.  Since science is an area that is a bit neglected in many schools, the more ways a child can be exposed to it, the better.  Cosmic Cubs (www.cosmiccubs.com) help kids pre-k and up learn about ecology, the solar system, and just for fun, a space dress up game as well.

The website has lots of coloring pages you can download as well as information sheets in addition to the apps. The apps are technically free but cost $1.99 for full access. Kids will have access to puzzles, games, learning about the planets, asteroids, meteors, comets, problem solving, and more. They also teach new vocabulary words.The three apps available are the Cosmic Cubs Eco Puzzler, the Cosmic Cubs Dress Up, and Cosmic Cubs Space Puzzles. $1.99 on Android and IOS platforms for full access.

Learning a language is great for any age, and Rosetta Stone has options for any age learner at any level of knowledge. There are so many benefits that come from knowing a second language, and the younger you start, the better off you are. The benefits are really endless, from being able to get better job opportunities, to making better connections in the community and beyond, improving your memory, enhancing your ability to multi- task and decision making skills, improving your first language, and more.

For kids, there is Rosetta Stone Homeschool, which uses pioneering technology that “promotes long-term retention and correct pronunciation—without memorization or drills” (as per the company).
Using an immersion method, language is taught the way you would naturally learn. With patented speech-recognition technology, TruAccent®, your child’s speech is analyzed and corrected. There are reports and progress data so you can see how your child is progressing, and your child can learn from a computer, phone, tablet, or whatever is convenient, on or offline.

Not just for kids, Rosetta Stone helps kids or adults learn the language of their choice. With more than 30 options to choose from, choosing the language you will learn might be the hardest part.

It starts with a core lesson that introduces you into a bunch of new words. The core lesson takes about 30 minutes. This is followed up by several smaller lessons that focus on different aspects that you learned in the core lesson. These range from about five to ten minutes each.  Tutoring is also available.

We have started learning a new language here -and I will update you in 6 months and let you know how it’s going.

Cosmic Cubs Learning Apps For Kids

kids apps

Summer is a great time to relax and enjoy time together with friends and family, but you don’t want to let your mind turn to mush during that time. According to the Northwest Evaluation Association’s research,  “summer learning loss was observed in math and reading across third to eighth grade, with students losing a greater proportion of their school year gains each year as they grow older – anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.” How do you keep your child from losing their learning or falling behind? Keep their minds active, keep them reading, and keep brains stimulated. No, Fortnight totally doesn’t count, sorry!

Got a little one? Start young and keep them active. There are some amazing books out there, and of course your local library will likely have summer reading programs you can do with your child no matter what age. There are also puzzles and educational games you can play with your child on technology and “real life” touchable options- we recommend a bit of both.

We recently tried out these fun and “edu-taining” science based apps aimed at preschoolers, and found them both adorable and fun. My child didn’t even realize they were learning, they honestly enjoyed them. Even my 12 year old liked them- except the dress up app, but that’s pretty good for an age range in my opinion.

I’m a teacher by trade, and I love that there are these apps that let kids have fun while learning.  Since science is an area that is under-taught in many schools, the more ways a child can be exposed to it, the better.  Cosmic Cubs (www.cosmiccubs.com) help kids pre-k and up learn about ecology, the solar system, and just for fun, a space dress up game as well.

More Info

Say hello to Ertle (rhymes with turtle), Luna, Sunny, Neeto and Juno, some of the 10 Cosmic Cubs that kids will meet in one of three Apps available for Android and IOS platforms, now available from the App store or Google Play. Leader of the pack Ertle is a good-natured cub who loves life and families found on Earth. Luna has many phases and she connects best with the Moon. Juno is playful and confident and admittedly leans toward the biggest planet of all, Jupiter!

The engaging cubs teach children as young as three about the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – in their Cosmic Cubs Eco Puzzle App (Free for some content and $1.99 for full access) for iPhone and iPad or Android phone or tablet. The App boasts 24 different puzzles.

Click on their website for a bundle of Cosmic Cubs Coloring pages to be downloaded and printed. These informative sheets are ideal for kitchen table or restaurant booth free time. On one 3Rs ecology page, Ertle shows youngsters how to save energy by turning down the heat in winter and donning a sweater.

Download Cosmic Cubs Space Puzzle (Free for some content and $1.99 full access) for a galactic game of planets. Children learn about the different planets and moons in the Milky Way as they complete jigsaw puzzles. They’ll quickly discover the ringed planet, the blue planet and the coldest planet. Asteroids, Meteors and Comets will become new vocabulary words!

Printable Cosmic Cubs Coloring pages (free on website) reinforce what youngsters discover on their Apps. Neptune has the strongest wind in the solar system while Uranus has 27 moons!

Cubs or kids can’t explore space without the proper outerwear! Cosmic Cubs Dress Up (free for some content and $1.99 for full access) is an engaging App for boys and girls to select a spacesuit, helmet and accessories for their next out-of-this-world adventure. Backgrounds, scenery and décor are equally important for a space exploration!

“Absolutely fantastic! My daughter loves the different bears,” writes one parent at the Apple Store. “The dress up is teaching her phenomenal hand/eye coordination. She’s learning so much with these apps! Colors, problem solving, everything 🙂 definitely worth it!” The review ends with a 5 (out of 5) star rating.

kidSafe Certified Each Cosmic Cubs App passed the kidSAFE Seal Program. This independent safety certification service and seal-of-approval program designed exclusively for children-friendly websites and technologies, including online game sites, educational services, virtual worlds, social networks, mobile apps, tablet devices, connected toys, and other similar online and interactive services.

Look for these Apps available now:

Cosmic Cubs Eco Puzzler • Ages 3+ • Free or $1.99 Join the Cosmic Cubs to learn about the 3 R’s — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — while playing a slide puzzle. Kids quickly figure out which puzzle pieces move in position to recreate an image. This app helps raise awareness and offers suggestions for children to save the earth resources.

Cosmic Cubs Dress Up • Ages 3+ • Free or $1.99 Clothes make the man and the cub! Choose from hundreds of different items to dress the various Cosmic Cubs as they step out into space. Look for enchanting themes from Princess to Spy. Outerwear, helmets, scenery and more make this a delightful way to spend downtime with family or as solo play in the backseat of the car.

Cosmic Cubs Space Puzzles • Ages 3+ • Free or $1.99 The Cosmic Cubs are exploring the Solar System and you can travel along. Learn about the solar system, with NASA images and fun facts about the universe. Download the free version that provides access to 17 images of the inner solar system, from the Earth and the Moon inward to the Sun. You can also purchase all 54 of the puzzles of the outer planets and entire the Universe. Children will be exposed to beautiful images from NASA and can learn about Planets, stars and other fun fact about space.

The Car Game for Which You’ve Been Waiting

Finding a challenging and fun car game for free online is like finding a needle in a haystack. If you’re a gamer, you know that little to no free online games offer entertaining and challenging gameplay worth your time. You might give them a try every once in a while, but you’re usually disappointed with the turnout and just end up going back to the more complex games you purchased. Now, there’s a car game for free online that won’t be a waste of your time. This game is challenging and fun. In this article, we’ll tell you all about the game, what we think about it, and if it’s worth your time.

What’s it like?

This game is rather similar to the car games you’d find in an arcade, both in display and in function. The point of the game is to drift as long as possible without crashing. The longer you hold a drift, the more points you accrue. However, the second you hit the guard rail or anything else, all those points get erased and you’re left with nothing. It doesn’t erase points that have already been transferred over to your score, just the points that were accrued by the specific drift that ended in a crash. The more points and coins you accrue, the more things you can buy to customize your car. It’s important to note that this is not a racing game; the goal is to drift as many times as possible before the timer runs out without crashing.

There are a lot of options

In addition to having multiple tracks for you to master, they also have a number of options for you to customize your car to be exactly the way you want it. At the start of the game, you have to go with the basic options because you haven’t earned any coins yet. However, once you’ve earned coins, you can start purchasing new colors for your car, new tires, and more. Most things run around 250 coins to purchase. The only downside to this is that you can’t save the purchases you make, as it’s a free online game. While some gamers might enjoy this fact, it can be a deal breaker for others and is worth noting. Overall, the many options in this game keep it from going stale prematurely and keep you having fun.

Is it worth your time?

As far as free online games go, this one is exceptional. This game on Poki offers some interesting game play, decent graphics, and feels like the car games you’d play in an arcade; it’s pretty unique amongst car games. It offers a fun alternative to the standard, and frankly overdone, car games you’ve played forever and of which you are probably sick and tired. If you have some time you want to fill with a fun game that you don’t want to pay for, this game is for you. You won’t have to put up with other players racing when all you really want to do is go fast and drift. This game is free, easy to play, and easy to find; there’s no downside. It’s definitely worth your time to give it a try; we’re sure you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be hooked in no time.

Finding car games for free online that you can actually enjoy might as well be impossible. Or, at least, that’s the way it used to be. Now, this challenging and entertaining car game available on Poki fits the bill. This game is easy to find and play, offers some challenging game play, and is completely free. You have nothing to lose with trying this great game out. The cars in this game handle quite similar to those you’d find at an arcade. It also has decent graphics and entertaining overall game play; it’s sure to keep you playing and having fun.

The Newest Version of a Fun Game

The day we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived: the release of the next Duck Life game. If you haven’t played any of the previous three games of the Duck Life series, you’re seriously missing out, but this article is for the rest of us that have been waiting on this new release. Like the other Duck Life games, the newest installment certainly doesn’t disappoint. Despite the simplicity of this game, it’s incredibly entertaining. They’ve managed to uphold the integrity of the game on the whole without diminishing any part of what already made it great. The Duck Life series is truly unique and entertaining.

It’s simple, but not too simple

One of the best features of Duck Life 4 is that it is incredibly simple to figure out how to play. Usually, that sentence would be a red flag to avid gamers, but not in this scenario. Duck Life 4 is designed to be both simple and challenging, so it can be enjoyed by players of all ages while not being too simple or easy for the more avid players. The basic gameplay is beyond simple to figure out and they walk you through it thoroughly.

It’s much more fun than you’d expect

Duck Life 4 isn’t trying to hide the fact that it’s a simple game; that’s part of what makes it unique. While being simple, this game is highly entertaining. It’s also got quite a bit of details put in by the creators that truly show their care in its creation. This game offers an intricate storyline, fun gameplay, and is, on the whole, highly entertaining. Despite first impressions, this game definitely holds up as fun and entertaining. They truly managed to hold onto what made the original Duck Life fun and unique originally.

It offers more of a challenge

Like all of the Duck Life games, this game offers a bit of a challenge and tons of entertainment. The Duck Life version 4 game certainly doesn’t disappoint. They offer new challenges to allow you to earn money and more options for training. You’ll find yourself hooked on buying and creatively personalizing more and more ducks, training them to be the best so you can win the tournaments. You’ll love winning tournaments and unlocking the next level of training so your ducks can be the best around. This game definitely offers a unique challenge to its players, presented in a fun and hilarious storyline.

What’s different about this version of Duck Life

This version offers the same great gameplay that the other versions offered, but with slight changes in the mechanics. As we said before, you now have to train one skill at a time and win tournaments to unlock the next step in training. You can also now have more than one duck at a time and use them all in the tournament. They also added some new challenges allowing you to earn money and making the game more interesting. The additions to the game’s challenging aspects truly makes it entertaining and enjoyable without sacrificing what made the series great originally.

The fourth version of this great game has finally released and fans are ecstatic. This game offers fun gameplay, challenging and entertaining new additions, and of course, one adjustment we weren’t too thrilled about, but warmed up to in the end. On the whole, we rate Duck Life 4 as one of the best additions to a series we’ve seen from free online games in a while. They’ve managed to improve on the initial game without being a disgrace to the series on the whole. It’s every bit as unique as the original game and is sure to spark joy in the hearts of Duck Life fans. Likewise, if you haven’t played a game in this series before, you’re in for a treat. You won’t be disappointed by the challenging, entertaining, and quite fun gameplay of Duck Life

Emoji Trends Show Strong Growth Patterns

Are Emojis the #1 Communication Tool for Everyone?

It’s hard to imagine a world without emojis. These little icons are fast gaining traction as the preferred communication tool across all demographics. PCs, smartphones, and tablets would be better served by replacing alphanumeric keys on their keyboards with emoticons and emojis. The widespread popularity of emojis is evident in the number of retailers, restaurants and online platforms that are now incorporating emojis onto their platforms. Several notable cultural changes have taken place in recent years, including emoji-style order systems by pizza giant Domino’s, or the emoji-style logo that IHOP adopted.

The emoji culture is alive and well, as evidenced by the recent slew of emoji animation being adopted in Hollywood. Consider the latest Adam Sandler movie Pixels which was bordering on the emoji theme, as aliens attempted to attack Earth with video games invasions. Emoji purists will argue that the biggest Hollywood blockbuster is ‘The Emoji Movie’ which debuted in 2017.

This comedy-adventure has a run time of 1 hour 26 minutes, and it details the story of an Emoji named Gene who wants to be a normal emoji without having multiple expressions. While critics have slammed The Emoji Movie as one of the worst-ever Hollywood movies, kids certainly found it entertaining enough, and it is driving the cultural zeitgeist of emojidom.  These emojis allow for greater levels of engagement and far more effective messaging than simple words or number systems.

Whether you like them or loathe them, emojis are here to stay. These little images perfectly capture sentiment and transmit feelings and opinions at the click of a button. Many online review companies now provide emojis over numerical rating systems to gain an accurate reading on a company’s products or services. Digital advertisements are typically rated with emojis, and they have proven to be a highly useful form of transmitting emotionally-based feedback for people.

The Top 5 Most Popular Emojis on Twitter

Such is the rollicking popularity of emojis that an emojitracker monitors all emoji activity on Twitter. The top-ranked emoji of all is the laughing face with tears of joy. Its unified ID is 1F602, and the shorthand representation of it is: joy: It currently enjoys a popularity ranking of #1 on Twitter. Far behind, but in position #2 on Twitter is the heavy black heart, with a unified ID of 2764, and a shorthand representation of: heart: At position #3 on Twitter is the smiling face with heart-shaped eyes emoji. It has a unified ID of 1F60D, and a shorthand representation of: heart_eyes: At position #4 is the black heart suit, with a unified ID of 2665, and a shorthand representation of: hearts: And to round out the top 5 emojis is the loudly crying face. This emoji has a unified ID of 1F62D, and a shorthand of: if sob:.

Rising Popularity of Emojis in Gaming

Emojis enjoy widespread popularity in gaming circles. A quick search reveals scores of emoji fun games such as mood spinners, emoji slots, Barbie DIY Emoji Style, Valentine Emoji card games, Disney Emoji BLITZ! and many others. A popular slot game that is now available to fans is Emoji Planet. This slot machine game is powered by NetEnt, and features 5 spinning reels and 6 rows of fun. There are Cluster Pays™ mechanics involved, and players will go on a wild ride through an emoji paradise, known as Emoji Planet.

You can win up to 1 million coins, and there are plenty of added extras in this game. There are 10 bet levels (1 through 10), and coin values start from as little as 0.01 through 1.00. The game features cascading blocks which fall away to reveal new emoji symbols which you will use to complete winning combinations. These include rocket ships, bombs, slices of pizza, poop, tears of joy, hearts, lips, aliens and other cute little emoticons. Players are tasked with collecting as many useful emojis as possible to activate the 5 Emoji Features. These include The Two Hearts Feature, the Rocket Feature, the Kiss Mark Feature, the Pizza Feature, and the Bomb Feature.

Some of the many exciting aspects of the game include the Cluster Pays™. Plus, Cluster Pays rewards you when part of the cluster is vertically or horizontally adjacent to an identical symbol. 5+ identical symbols will result in wins. The Emoji star is the Wild symbol and it substitutes for all other symbols to form winning combinations. The Pizza Feature is activated when a 3 x 3 grid of pizzas form on the reels. The Bomb Feature is activated when 8 random symbols form on the reels, and the Kiss Mark Feature forms with 3 sticky wild symbols. These are but a few of the many exciting emojis that await you in Emoji Planet Video Slot™.

Taking Savings to a Whole New Level: Yesterday’s Tomorrow

It happens to everyone sooner or later – the big financial emergency that makes you feel like your life may crumble and fall. But if you have a good financial plan from the start, great big one time bills or financial emergencies aren’t as life altering as you might expect.

Yesterday's Tomorrow

Saving money is critically important in today’s society. Unfortunately, a majority of young adults are still struggling with high levels of debt and lack of a personal budget to help save for the future. For the past decade, Ad Council and AICPA’s Feed the Pig campaign has been working to improve financial literacy among Americans by encouraging them to make savings part of their daily lives.

The action you take today could change your life, really. But how do you know what financial decisions are the right ones? There are tons of resources and articles out there on what people think you should do with your finances, but not everyone could possibly understand where you come from, where you are going, and what your future financial goals are.

Yesterday's Tomorrow

Thankfully FeedThePig.org has great resources to help you figure out how and where to save more and spend wisely, including a new game called Yesterday’s Tomorrow. The game is like a “choose-your-own-adventure” in the form of a digital photo album! You get to develop a relationship with a future version of yourself – how incredibly cool is that? You get to jump through key life stages and instantly see the outcomes of those choices you make from teenage years through retirement. As you think through some life decisions like school, job, and awesome vacations, you’ll see how your choices may save, or lose money. No one wants to blow their money needlessly, right?

With kids and young adults today being so involved in gaming, what better way to teach them important life skills than with a game, something they can really relate to. And if my kids are going to be playing “video games” I would much prefer that they be learning something along the way. The new Yesterday’s Tomorrow game lets you not only have a little fun, but also see that financial literacy is important. I love that you can virtually see how adopting healthy financial habits can pay off!

Yesterday's Tomorrow

After using Feed the Pig’s resources, I realized that just by switching up how I spent my money, I could really begin to save. It felt impossible before, but playing through Yesterday’s Tomorrow helped me to focus more on my future self and realize the different ways to reach those goals for where I want to be financially. It is also a great game to show tweens and teens the importance and impact of specific financial decisions. At that stage in life, all they can think about is the fun stuff. This shows them how great the fun stuff can be, and how to get to a point where you can do the fun stuff without losing out on the important stuff too.

The game and FeedThePig.org helped us a lot. A majority of millennials (65%) attributed their lack of saving to impulse buying and not establishing a personal budget (62%), so I’m not the only one who has done this (and immediately regretted it!).

Yesterday’s Tomorrow helps young adults realize the importance of making positive financial decisions early in life, and shows the long-term benefits of being financially savvy. This unconventional approach to financial literacy is a win/win in my book – no matter what your age.

Yesterday's Tomorrow

What are your financial goals? Make sure to play Feed the Pig’s Yesterday’s Tomorrow and figure out how you can make them happen!

For more information and to play the game, visit FeedthePig.org!

Brutes.io App

Have your children been playing .io games as much as mine? At first, I didn’t know what ‘.io’ meant. After doing some research, I learned that ‘.io’ represents an entire class of multiplayer games. Some are focused on action, like traditional free-for-all bouts. Other .io titles are more puzzled-based, challenging gamers to think while they play. And some .io games are focused completely on strategy. The point is, ‘.io’ represents just about any modern multiplayer game, with one key feature: they’re free to play!

Brutes.io is a brand-new game on Poki. Like other .io titles, it loads in the browser, without downloading any special apps or making purchases. But, Brutes.io takes a little bit longer to load than other games. That’s because it has rich, 3D graphics. Very old computers might not be able to handle Brutes.io, but any modern device will have no problems at all.

Inspiring Sights and Sounds
I’ve never seen such pretty graphics in a free game. The first level in Brutes.io is called Grimm Graveyard, which is a haunted mountain region. There are spooky cliffs, tiny caves, and narrow bridges abound. The environment feels alive, as ominous thunder and flashes of lightning strike the ground. Old, bare trees sway and creak in the wind. All the while, high-energy music plays in the background. The soundtrack at Grimm Graveyard is reminiscent of children’s Halloween music. It’s playfully dark, goofy, and fun!

Controlling Beasts
The controls in this game aren’t nearly as complex I would’ve thought. With such modern graphics and layered levels, I assumed that there’d be too many buttons to memorize. Thankfully, that’s not the case. The controls are so simple that anyone can play, from a three-year-old to a not-so-savvy adult. There are just a pair of controls: one to move and one to punch.

Playing with the mouse is easy; the right button allows movement, and the left button punches. The keyboard controls are also kid-friendly. The arrow keys (or WASD) move the character, and the spacebar (or enter key) punches. If players have a gamepad, they can use that to control their Brute. The gamepad is recommended, as it makes for the easiest controls of all: use the left joystick to move and the X/A button to punch.

Action and Strategy
Brutes.io is essentially a fighting game, where monsters try to knock each other down. The action is very cartoonish, which means that it feels more silly than violent. I view that as a positive factor, because I won’t worry about my young ones playing. There is no blood, and when a Brute dies, it leaves a bunch of shiny orbs behind. Even though the action resembles a free-for-all, a little bit of strategy goes a long way. Players can use unique power-ups at the right time to take out the biggest players. Also, knowing when to play defense, hide, and not fight can lead to more successful rounds.

There’s a lot to uncover in Brutes.io, and now’s the perfect time to try!

For the Young Ones, Pineapple Pen app

apps for kids

Games geared towards children are everywhere. There are dress-up games for girls, popular cartoon games for boys, and just about everything in between. But not all kids’ games are worth our children’s time. More specifically, I’ve seen my fair share of “kids’ games” that are simply inappropriate. That’s why the hubby and/or I check every game first. If our young one is going to spend hours (or even just a few minutes) playing, we want to ensure that everything is up to par. And that means no violence, no bad language, and hopefully, a productive time.

The Purpose
Pineapple Pen is a game that tests players’ reflexes and timing. In that sense, I’ve found the gameplay to be pretty productive. Plus, its simple nature—there’s only one button to press—is perfect for our youngest to enjoy. In Pineapple Pen, players try to hit gliding pieces of fruit. There’s nothing else to control or worry about. In fact, there isn’t even a character to move left or right. Tap the screen to throw the pen, and hope to hit the target.

The very basic controls are part of Pineapple Pen’s mass appeal. Everyone from age 2 to 92 can play. Of course, there are a few other elements to the gameplay that make things even more challenging. For one, no two fruits glide exactly the same way. During the first couple of rounds, apples and pineapples might fly straight left and right. But after that, anything goes. Fruits can glide in circles, diagonal lines, or totally random paths. Certain fruits are also armored. Instead of falling after one hit, protected fruits require three strikes. More hits = more points = more fun!

Types of Games
There are three different ways to play Pineapple Pen. Classic mode was described above. That’s the main gameplay mode, and our young one’s favorite. For older players, Hardcore mode is a great choice. There are no slow-moving, easy levels in Hardcore mode. Instead, players will face zippy fruits right from the first round. The third mode, Orbital, is a bit more unique. All of the fruits in Orbital mode fly around in a circle. Each fruit crosses your path twice during every orbit, but at different distances. So, it’s actually twice as hard to hit. Try it, and you’ll see what I mean.

Unlockables
Practically every addictive game gives players a reason to come back for more action: unlockable items. In Pineapple Pen, there are 16 different throwing utensils. Players begin with a basic pen. After earning 200 coins, they can unlock a pencil. The standard pencil is followed by all sorts of oddities, from darts to screwdrivers. There’s even sharp lipstick! With a new item every 200 coins, the savviest gamers will keep playing to unlock each one.

Overall
Pineapple Pen is simple enough for the youngest players and can be tough enough for the most experienced ones. It’s safe for kids and entertaining for us parents, too!