Thursday, 14 January 2016

KidzInMind App Review

These days most children know how to use iphones and tablets, sometimes even better than adults. The internet can be a very scary place so as parents we try our best to protect them in every way we can. You can download child specific apps but with ads and various other pop ups they can still click on things they shouldn't.

 
The KidzInMind app is a safe place for your children. It is an app which includes games that have been tested and hand selected to not contain inappropriate language, images, hidden fees, external links and no adverts. The games are selected with your childs development in mind. They will help your child grow, learn and play in a safe place.

We recently downloaded the app which is free to try out. There is an in app cost of £2.29 a month to get extra features for the app but you can use the app without any cost.

The app is designed for children 1-6 years old. Both Paige and Parker fall into this category and I love hat they can both use the app together. Some things are too hard for Parker and Paige happily helps him out. Some things are too hard for Paige and we can help her out. All the other apps we've tried are always too easy for her so I love that this one challenges her and that she actually has to use her brain to work things out.


 
There are six different sections when you first open the app. Starting from the top there is a scene/sticker section. In this section your child can place different animals into their scene. So for example they can place fish, jelly fish and a seahorse in the sea. When certain animals are pressed they make a noise. Paige and Parker both aren't keen on this section and Paige gets bored easily. I think it is aimed at younger children. Parker is hit and miss and some of the animals scare him. I have no idea why. There is also background noise on the scenes, Parker doesn't like the jungle one.



The next section is the easel. This one is pretty self explanatory. Your child can draw a picture. There are a selection of paints which your child can choose and a paintbrush and eraser. I think some more tools would be a good addition and maybe some fun stickers that the child could use too. Your child can also save their pictures to the camera roll.


Next up is the toy box. I think this is our favourite section because there is so much to do. This section contains 15 games for your child to play. They are each a different difficulty level. The main one Dino Lab is all about dinosaurs. They are split into different categories, eg: carnivores, herbivores. The games are all fairly similar, just with a different degree of difficulty.



There's a matching one, a jigsaw, a smallest to biggest and spot the difference. As you scroll right through the dinosaurs the games become harder. The other games are also really lovely. There's build it up, match it up, families and Matrix games. Again there is a wide variety of levels for your child to work through. Parker can do the easier ones and Paige can do the harder ones. She has to really think about the Matrix Games and I like she has to use her brain to work things out.

 
 
The idea behind this game is to arrange the matrix. You have to take a card and find out where to place it using the rows and columns.


Each game has a little information button which tells you what to do and who the game is aimed at.

The first time you play a game it has to download, it only takes a few seconds but then the next time you want to play its already there. To exit a game you press on the app logo and then done. To exit a section you press the X  in the top corner.


The next section is the video section. In here you have a few different series for your child to watch. There is Larva, The Fairytale Detective and Vitaminix. It basically like YouTube just with selected shows available to watch. Paige and Parker both love this section but they do prefer to play the games. Its nice for them to have an option to watch a short video if they feel like it.

 

 
The next section is the camera. Your child can take pictures and play around with different props. I'm guessing that the camera uses face recognition technology as the props follow your face which is quite cool. Your child can then pick different props and save the pictures.



 
The last section is the book. Inside this section there are two options. English and Spanish. This section goes through the alphabet telling your child the letter and some things which start with that letter. There are 3-4 items for each letter. There is music which can be turned on and off. An added extra would be the child tracing the letter on the screen for some extra learning. But its a cute little section to get children familiar with letters, words and sounds.



The best feature about the app in my opinion is the fact that if you hit the home button three times you can activate guided mode. This mode means that your child can't click out of the app.  To get out of guided mode you have to set a password. You can also set a time limit for your child. This really lets you be in control of what they see and how long they spend on the app. To go into the menu you also have to answer a simple maths timetable.


 
I love the added security. I don't have to worry that Parker has clicked on my recent call list and is calling someone. The games are fun, there is a huge choice of different activities for your child to do. The monthly subscription isn't my favourite thing, id rather pay a one fee and have it over and done with but with it less then £2.50 which isn't much a month at all. Without paying the fee you can use the easel and the alphabet section but all other sections are locked.

The app is available on both android and in the app store. For more information check out the KidzInMind website.

Both the children love the app. Paige is 4 in May and Parker is 18 months. They can play together, separately or with us and still have just as much fun doing either thing.

Would you pay a monthly subscription for an app for your children?

Nicola Xx

*Disclaimer - In collaboration with KidzInMind but all views and opinions are my own*

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