Apps we love! Doodlecast

I absolutely love this app, bar the music at the beginning.  At first, Doodlecast (£1.99)  just looks like another drawing app which we have many, but if I’m honest we prefer paper and crayons for that.  What I really love about this one is that the children can record their own narrations whilst drawing the pictures.  It comes with a selection of templates for inspiration (shopping trolley, park, dinner late, faces etc) or you can start from a blank canvas.

In addition, if you set it up, it will automatically upload the final product to YouTube which makes it incredibly easy to share with friends and family!

You can check our more of our favourite apps here.




Win a £50 Online Polarn O. Pyret Voucher (Children’s Fashion)

The Swedes are rather clever when it comes to all things design and this includes children’s fashion.  I was recently sent a Fleece Jacket (£39) and Check Shirt (£11) for my 5 year old and I love, love, love them.

You could feel the quality as soon as I took it out of the bag.  The shirt is so soft you can’t help but stroke it.   My husband thinks she looks like a Lumber Jack, but what does he know!  It looks great with black leggings and winter boots.

The attention to detail on the jacket is also impressive; everything from reflective strips, to little holes to put your thumb through to a Chin cover to protect against the zip from chafing.

Now it’s your chance!  Win a £50 Online Polarn O. Pyret Voucher.  Simply enter using the Rafflecopter Form Below.  UK Entrants only please.  A full list of Terms and Conditions are also available within the form.  Closes 12:01 am on the 7th Oct 2012 (EST).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Music to our ears! Kids’ Ipad App Reviews

My hubby and I are pretty much tone deaf. The only exposure our daughter really gets to music is the radio playing in the background or in the car. We have abandoned music classes because, if this is hereditary, it’s probably better to spend our money elsewhere. However, I was recently sent the following two music apps which we really like and hopefully will foster an appreciation of Music.

Tap-A-Tune (free)by the folks at Mindshapes, this app reminds me of whack-a-mole. You have the option of either a keyboard or mole holes, where a selection of hilarious characters pop up and by clicking on them in order you end up playing a nursery rhyme. You can choose from a selection of Nursery Rhymes and instruments. There is also an option that allows children to create their own music and another for babies; no matter what they click it will play a nursery rhyme.


Meet the Orchestra (£1.49) this is an excellent app that introduces children to the different sections of the Orchestra (Brass, Woodwind, Percussion, Strings, Piano). Children can tap on each of the instruments to listen to the sound they make. After exploring the instruments there are a selection of quizzes.; identify by appearance, find by sound, matching and my favourite but a bit challenging for my four year old, defining the order where they listen to a short piece of music and then they have to press on the instruments in the order that they hear them. The graphics are amazing along with the sound. Shortly after playing this app we attended a children’s concert by the local Symphony Orchestra and said mummy ‘that’s a violin’! Brilliant!


Kid’s Ipad App Review: Word Wall HD

When I was at school we learned the alphabet by singing the alphabet song but this  a major ‘no-no’ now, as it is all done by phonics. Even though I’m a former teacher the whole phonemes, word families and CVC words is all a bit of a mystery to me, as I taught slightly older children and they tended to be able to read when they got to me. However, now that I have a four year old I really need to get my head around all of this.

About the App
I was sent Word Wall HD (.69p) by Punflay which was designed to develop early reading skills. To start there are two sections that introduce children to the letters and their sounds individually and then the children are introduced to word families (am, an, ig, un) and are asked to drag and drop any letter to create a word, which is then supported by the pronunciation and picture of the object.

After they have explored the writing sections there are then 4 activities to consolidate their learning; see and find, hide a word, bubble words and jigsaw. The matching game is pretty straight forward; children have to match the picture to the word.

My four year old really likes the Seek and Find where you have to swipe your finger over the screen until you find the hidden object. Once they find the object it reads the word to them supported with a picture to reinforce the meaning.

The Bubble Words, where you have to look at the picture and drag and drop the letters to spell the word that matches the picture, was too advanced my daughter as she is at the really early stages of reading.

The Jigsaw does pretty much what it says on the tin.

What we thought

Overall, I thought the app was okay and helped me, to some degree, better understand word families. My only worry is the American accents, as we’re based in the UK and the way they teach phonics is ‘unique’. I’m Canadian so I have no problem with this but I know parents who have removed some Ipad apps as they felt it was confusing for their children. However, many others have stated that they grew up on Sesame Street here in the UK and it’s not a problem.

Come to think of it there are huge differences between accents in the North and South in the UK. Would this put you off buying an app for your kids?

For more of our app reviews click here.

Disclosure: I received a free promo code for this app.

What should I tell my daughter about religion?

My four-year old daughter skipped into the lounge last week and declared ‘baby Jesus’ is coming to school.  My heart skipped a beat as this was a conversation that I wasn’t prepared for.  It’s time for the Christmas Nativity.  As it’s not a church school, I do question why they’re doing the birth of Christ. However, I’m not anti-Christmas but, as a family we look at it as a time to celebrate family and friends with less emphasis on religion.

I’m an atheist, but I was baptised (can’t remember what religion) and I did attend Catholic School for a year.  However, my daughter was not christened, to the surprise of my mother in-law, as we felt that it would be hypocritical of us as we aren’t practicing Christians.

It’s not my intention to shelter her from religion but I will make it clear what I believe.  I love that schools have Religious Education in the curriculum, introducing children to many different religions thus, hopefully, fostering respect for people’s different beliefs.

I think that religion is a very personal choice, one that I don’t feel she can make till she is quite a bit older, at least pre-teen.  I’m going to do my best to remain unbiased and let her sort out her own belief system.  If she wants to regularly attend services we will support her.  Unless it’s some bizarre cult of course and then I’m totally up for an intervention.

This is why I probably turned my nose up when I was sent a copy of ‘Littlest Angels’ to review as it introduced the concept of Heaven and Angels.  It’s based on the classic children’s story by Charles Tazewell.  To be honest, I haven’t watched it from start to finish, hubby has and said it was ‘okay’ but Madame really liked it and has asked to watch it several times.  The Littlest Angel is out to own and download on DVD now

When should you introduce your children to religion?  What should you tell them?  I’d love to hear your comments.