Old MacDonald (by Duck Duck Moose, the makers of Wheels on the Bus) is an interactive storybook for preschoolers based on the time-honored song of the same name. Kids navigate forward and back through the book's 12 "pages" using touch-screen arrows, and every page offers multiple opportunities for interaction with a simple slide or "poke." The song plays in several languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German) or with just instrumental accompaniment (piano, cello, violin, or kazoo)--or best of all, with a do-it-yourself recorded sing-along, which the app walks you through using karaoke-style subtitles.… Read more
Old MacDonald is a musical, farm-themed educational game designed for kids ages 1 and up. Based on the time-honored song ("Old MacDonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-o!"), kids choose from a spinning touch-screen wheel of 21 different animals, including a duck, cow, beaver, octopus, and more. As each animal is selected, you hear its name spoken aloud, along with a matching animal sound effect. You then touch the animal to see if it "belongs" on a McDonald's archetypal farm.
Many of them don't belong, and the narrator will let you know ("A fox? A … Read more
Talking Flash Cards aims to improve math, spelling, time-telling, and toddler basics with visual and audio tools. Its simple navigation and a variety of options allow this program to be a favorite of parents and kids.
We could see children really enjoying these cards, especially since they look exactly like physical flash cards, but tack on a digital element that can't be matched with traditional cards. The math cards gave us multiple-choice options, the spelling cards and time-telling function read the answers aloud for us, and the toddler learning tools felt more like a digital See-and-Say than a computer … Read more
There are many medical conditions that involve medication with intermittent doses on an as-needed basis, and often, that medication cannot be taken orally.
Scientists have long struggled with how best to deliver medication under these circumstances, where the delivery system might meet three key needs: intermittent dosing, with extreme precision, over the long term.
Research led by Daniel Kohane at Children's Hospital Boston may have hit on an effective new approach: a tiny, implantable device that releases the medication through a membrane whose porousness responds to the switching on or off of a magnetic field.
The membrane is embedded … Read more
I know it's hard to prevent your children from gaining an early fascination with drugs, violence, weapons, World of Warcraft, and illicit personal behavior.
The phenomenon that is Webkinz is but one brave attempt.
In case you inhabit a particularly large hole in Nova Scotia, Webkinz turns your children into loving, caring humans online.
On the Webkinz site, your children can look after their new pets. Well, as long as they buy the physical, three-dimensional stuffed version at a friendly neighborhood store.
So it is my heartfelt privilege to be able to tell you that should you choose to … Read more
Bouncing Balls is a basic game in which users eliminate groups of balls by shooting balls of the same color at them. It's a fun game, although we've seen similar games that are a little more interesting.
The program's interface is basic. A wall of different colored balls moves toward the bottom of the screen, while a shooter provides users with a supply of balls to fire at it. Shoot a red ball at a group of two or more red balls, for example, and they fall, taking with them any balls that are attached. The object … Read more
Although some of us remember life before computers and the Internet, there's a new generation of children who don't. From an early age, they're on PCs, playing games, and in many cases, learning about the Internet.
That's why it's so important to safeguard your children while they're surfing the Web. The Internet can be a scary place, but these resources will help keep the bad stuff away:
Glubble Glubble bills itself as a family "social network" and browser. Although I'm not entirely convinced that it's a social network, it does do a fine job of ensuring your kids stay safe online.
Glubble lets you upload content like photos, videos, or special moments for your family to see. But where it shines is in controlling what your kids can do on the Web. All the sites they can browse are approved by you. Whenever they go to different sites, it's recorded so you can see what your kids are up to when they use the computer. Glubble provides your kids with several activities, including games and puzzles. It's a nice app for both the family and the children.
Kido'z Kido'z is an Adobe AIR application that safeguards your children as they browse the Web. But unlike normal browsers, Kido'z determines what your kids can and cannot view.
After you download Kido'z, you'll be brought to a page showing icons for a handful of popular franchises for children, including Mickey Mouse, Dora the Explorer, and others. When you click on one of those options, you'll be brought to the subject's respective Web page within the app. You can click around as you would if you were using Firefox. Kido'z works well and it will help keep your kids safe from some of the Web's dangers.… Read more
Kids from two to 11 years of age are spending 63 percent more time online than they did five years ago, says a report released Monday from Nielsen Online. Children in that age range were online an average of 11 hours in May 2009 versus just 7 hours in May 2004.
Over the past five years, the total number of kids surfing the Net has shot up 18 percent to 16 million, says the report, while the overall Internet population has risen only 10 percent. The younger set now represents 9.5 percent of the online community.
Online use among … Read more
Totlol developer Ron Ilan had enough.
It had been just over a year since he launched his site of community-vetted YouTube videos--where kids can watch Elmo, cutesy animal videos, or "Big Comfy Couch" without the accidental off-color search mishap. And, despite its popularity, he couldn't find a way to make it sustainable or survivable without adverse impacts.
So, earlier this month, at two in the morning, he wrote a long explanatory note to Totlol's users that ended with, "I'm closing Totlol down. Life goes on." Then he went to sleep.
"I woke … Read more
In 2005, we got to witness the return of two extremely popular characters in the Final Fantasy franchise--Cloud Strife and Sephiroth--but this time they'd do battle in a movie and not in a game. As of 2006 that movie, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, has sold more than 10.5 million copies worldwide on DVD and UMD. And now it's getting the full Blu-ray treatment.
On June 2, Sony pictures is releasing Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete (director's cut) on Blu-ray. Exclusive to the release will be 26 minutes of additional footage and over 1000 revised scenes, each of which was re-recorded with the original voice cast including Rachel Leigh Cook (Josie and the Pussycats) and Mena Suvari (American Beauty), and a 25-minute original anime short film, telling the story of the character Denzel before the events of Advent Children; a featurette showing a story line digest incorporating related footage from the video games; a documentary on the history of Final Fantasy VII; and a first look at the Final Fantasy XIII video game.
We received an early preview of this upcoming release and it looked beautiful. It was so detailed you could count hair strands and see textures in the clothing.… Read more