Maker-Inspired Apps

KinderTown nods to the Maker Movement with three apps that encourage using tools, making plans, and creating a final product!

Pettson’s Inventions Deluxe

Ropes, pulleys, belts, and gears to combine and play with! Read KinderTown's review.

Ropes, pulleys, belts, and gears to combine and play with! My son really loves the challenge offered by this app, and it has quickly become one of his favorites. I like that it works on problem solving and engineering thinking skills.The app introduces the quirky characters, Pettson and Findus, and they serve as the student’s guide in creating crazy inventions. Each invention challenge involves the use of simple machines. Students must match the pieces up into the correct order to make the machine move and complete a task such as helping the bunny reach the carrots. Each challenge slowly becomes more complex as children understand how each machine part works. A star is earned for every invention that is completed correctly. There is also a “versus” section where two children can challenge each other to complete the task as a timer ticks away. In the settings section, you can increase or decrease the level of difficulty. Children will love this introduction to how simple machines work together. Pettson’s Inventions Deluxe is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 6-8.

 

World of Goo

The World of Goo is sure to inspire the messiest builders. Read KinderTown's review.

The World of Goo is sure to inspire the messiest builders. The heart of this app is playing with the gooey, stretchy substance. Students must stretch the Goo to complete a task such as making a bridge or reaching a higher object. Each challenge has a goal of a certain number of moves (or times you stretch the Goo) to complete the task. This is truly a unique game, and the graphics are captivating. The overall game is organized into chapters and tells a story as you complete the tasks. You have to try the World of Goo to fully appreciate the experience it provides. Playing with the Goo feels like a surreal cinematic experience! The World of Goo is $4.99 and appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Goldie Blox and the Movie Machine

The Goldie Blox app is inspired by the Goldie Blox toys. Read KinderTown's review.

The Goldie Blox app is inspired by the Goldie Blox toys. If you haven’t heard of them, they are engineering toys for girls made in appealing pastel colors. The app works to teach beginning animation skills. Children are given step by step directions for drawing simple shapes in different spaces in order to make an animation when played consecutively. The app is focused on creativity and uses photos, colors, shapes, and stickers to make a movie. Students can browse other creations for ideas, or watch the tutorials to learn new techniques for animation. The app is focused on children ages 4-8, and is free. Check out the Goldie Blox toys as well! From this app, you can print your creations and use them with the Movie Machine Toy Set. This combination would make a great gift for the girl inventor you know!

 

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Take Aways for Parents from SXSWedu

I am spending the week attending SXSWedu in Austin, Texas. There are so many amazing things happening in the world of education that are exciting for parents because you are your child’s first and best teacher.

 

There are so many amazing things happening in the world of education that are exciting for parents because you are your child’s first and best teacher.

SXSWedu Report

I want to share with you some of the engaging, educational toys I have seen and experienced this week that I think you’ll love as a parent. Here we go:

 

LightUp

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LightUp is a hands-on kit to learn about electronics. As I interacted with the kits, I liked their simplicity and how they naturally invited discovery through play. LightUp says:

 

“We created LightUp to empower every kid to understand and create their own electronic projects. LightUp combines an electronics construction kit with an interactive augmented-reality tutor app, helping kids understand the fundamentals of technology.”

 

I was able to get a sneek-peak at their app and talk to the creators, I’m definitely staying tuned, to see where LightUp is going, and getting my children’s hands on these kits. Way to go LightUp!

 

Play from Scratch

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I was immediately drawn to Play from Scratch. The design is brilliant and takes an activity that all kids naturally engage in, building, and inspires even more creativity. At my house, the cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, and paper towel rolls are never immediately thrown away. They are repurposed for play. Play from Scratch integrates their toy into this kind of play. Visit their websitefor even more creative play ideas. I can’t wait to create myself with Play from Scratch.

 

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Numbers Alive!

There is something for everyone at Numbers Alive! Learn about numbers with hands on materials and discover music and culture all integrated together into Numbers Alive! Their mission is to:

 

“Improve numerical literacy and encourage creativity by visualizing world patterns through fun and friendly number characters.”

 

As I met “The Numbers Lady,” I could feel her passion for early learning and creativity. She has developed a long line of products around her number friends for children ages 2-6. She is also soon releasing an app for kids, and I look forward to reviewing it once it hits iTunes.

 

I hope to discover new things here tomorrow to pass along to you!

 

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