TinyTap – Enormous Potential.

Creativity and simplicity are core elements of this very successful app… that also happens to be free! For all the thousands of simple educational apps focusing on one or two core skills, this app has the potential to blow them all away, with apps created by your own child! I see huge potential for TinyTap, applications for it are unlimited. Kids can create their own games with ease and access hundreds more in the marketplace if they choose to play only.

Essentially the app works by uploading a picture or series of pictures from either your own photo library, the internet or a selection of pictures available within the app. Drawing, text and full creative control of the game pages are allowed. Once each page is complete, a series of audio questions can be recorded and areas of the page corresponding to the correct answer, traced. This afternoon my children created a collage of their school holiday outings and recorded questions for their little brother to use in his search for familiar items. Great sound effects and the personalised nature of the game ensured it was a hit, squeals of delight were heard not only while game playing but also in the creation phase

I am very excited about the future of this app, for classrooms and in homes, across a wide variety of users. I can’t wait to see where our tiny tappers will take us next.




Early Primary (ages 5-8) App Recommendations

A round up of some top educational Apps for this age group. Prices do fluctuate so check the App Store price before you buy.


Bugs and Numbers – $4.19 Eighteen multi-level games covering early maths concepts including patterns, addition & subtraction, time, currency and fractions. Adaptive progression avoids frustration.
Squeebles Addition and Subtraction – $1.59. For a full review of Squeebles apps, tap here
Squeebles Fractions – $2.59
Squeebles Maths Bingo – $1.59
Times Tables: Squeebles for iPad– $1.59
Division: Squeebles Times Tables Reversed – $1.59
123 Sheep! – Free
iCAN count money New Zealand – $2.59 An introduction to NZ currency.
Marble Math Junior – $4.19 Use the marble maze to solve Maths questions.
Quick Maths – $2.59 Handwrite answers.
Targeting Maths 1 – $12.99 by Blake Publishing, the same people responsible for Reading Eggs. Aligned to the Australian curriculum for year 1.
Targeting Maths 2 – $12.99
Targeting Maths 3 – $12.99
Maths Monkey Quest – $2.59
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox – $1.29
Playful Minds – Math (5-8 years old) – Free (for 12 months). The best free maths app available in my opinion!
Monkey Math School Sunshine – $2.59
Splash Math Apps – $13.99 full version. Graded levels.
Maths with Springbird HD Free. (plus in-app purchases)
Park Math (by Duck Duck Moose) – $5.29
Magic Matrix – $2.59 Introduces matrices and tables.
DragonBox – $8.29 Algebra by stealth. One of the best examples of learning embedded in game play. Also available in a 12yrs+ version.
Math Heroes 1 – $4.19
Math Vs Zombies – $1.29
Math Ahoy! – $1.29
Mystery Math Town – $4.19
Mystery Math Museum – $4.19

Reading / Writing / Spelling

Monkey Word School Adventure – $2.59
Squeebles Spelling Test, – $2.59 Customise your own spelling lists for multiple users, record your own voice. Fun reward game.
Eggy apps – various prices. By the Reading Eggs people.
Little Reader – Free. (plus in-app purchases)
Little Speller – Free. Learn to spell sight words.
Little Writer – Free. Customisable – e.g. you can enter in child’s name or favourite toy with a picture and learn to write it)
Simplex Spelling – lite version free. Phonics.
Rocket Speller – 5 Levels, 140 words.
School Writing – Learn to write and more – $6.49 Developed for Aust & NZ schools.
Writing Wizard – $1.25 Fully customisable, add your own words. Fun colours and animations. We use this one to practise spelling words.
Sky Fish Phonics – $4.19
Monster’s Socks – $4.19 An adorable eBook. For a full review, tap here.
Kids Crossword – $2.59

Combined Reading / Writing / Spelling / Maths

Teach Me: 1st Grade – $2.59 also available in Toddler, Kindergarten, Grade 2 & Grade 3. Answers can be written, these apps have quite good handwriting recognition.

Science and Social Sciences

iLearn Solar system HD – $4.19 Learn about the Solar system and interact with the Planets. Explore and quiz modes.
NZ Fauna – Free
Museum Victoria’s Field Guide to Fauna – Free
Barefoot World Atlas – Free. An interactive globe.
The Human Body – Currently free. An interactive guide to the skeletal, muscular, circulatory, nervous and digestive systems.

Early Programming

Daisy the Dinosaur – Free. The most basic of intro to programming apps.
Kodable – Free. Similar to Daisy.
Move the Turtle – $4.19. ,uuProgressive challenges introduce programming concepts.
Hopscotch – Free. Enables free creation of animations, games whatever you can imagine. Drag and drop, easy to get started.
TinyTap – Free. Amazingly easy to use and a clever idea. Kids can create games by uploading pictures or drawings, record audio questions and tracing areas of the pictures that correspond to the correct response.


Snowflake Station – $1.29
Princess Fairy Tale Maker – $5.29 (by Duck Duck Moose)
Toontastic – Free
ArtRage – $6.49
Hello Crayons and Hello Color Pencil – Free
Scribble Press – $5.29
Toca Builders – $4.19
LiquidSketch – $2.59 Puzzles and free drawing.
ColAR Mix – Free (one page only) $4.19 (full version). Print off colouring in pages then use your iPad / iPhone to make them 3d and animated.
TypeDrawing – $2.59 Draw pictures with lines of text.
Pic Collage – Free! Very easy to use photo collage creator. Clip, trace, resize, colour, borders, stickers and more.


Jellybean Tunes – $4.19. Learn to read music
Piano Infinity – Free
Piano Free with Songs
Guitar Free with Songs

A bit more fun (but still found in the education section)

Toca Boca – $4.19 each. Currently about 18 apps. Some free versions available. Probably more pre-school but some like “Paint my Wings” and Toca Tailor” are still popular.
Dr. Panda apps – $2.59 each. Currently around 11 apps, some free versions available. Learn about various occupations and workplaces with fun games, including a mechanic’s workshop, a handyman, a restaurant, beautician and and an airport.
Little Fox Music Box – $4.49 Beautifully illustrated
Leo’s Pad – Free. 4 ‘Appisodes’ in one.
Dinorama – Currently Free. Create your own dinosaur theme park. Buy, name and feed your dinosaurs. Maintain and develop your park to attract visitors and maximise your income. Great for learning about finances and time management.

I Can Count Money NZ

Last week my very excited daughter came home from school declaring there was an upcoming fair to raise money for the senior school camp. Her excitement was accompanied by a note asking us to send a small amount of coins to school so they could pay for the items and activities on offer. I had been meaning to talk money with her more often but as we haven’t yet introduced pocket money, I was concerned she may get over excited and hand over all her money in the first purchase!

I then remembered an app I had downloaded some time ago – I can count money NZ (also available in AUD, USD, CAD, EURO and a generic currency). My favourite feature of this app is the localised currency.

There are five different modes, to build an understanding of using currency to pay for things like treats, food, toys, stationary, sporting equipment etc. Coins and notes are shifted from an available pool of money to an answer plate before tapping the cash register icon to check the answer:

Mode 1. I know how to pay
Mode 2. I can play in different ways
Mode 3. I know how much to get back
Mode 4. I can go shopping
Mode 5. I know how much is in it

There is also a calculator function where you can drop money onto the calculator for automatic addition. There are options to restrict the types of coins and notes you use. We found this useful as we were able to simplify the play to introduce coins and notes gradually.

Overall I would rate this as a very useful app for the specific purpose of gaining proficiency in using currency. More engaging than a worksheet and it provides an instructional element that keeps the play learning going!

$2.59 NZD from the App Store


Dr. Panda

As promised, here is the review of apps by the newly crowned king of all app developers (according to my household), TribePlay. Dr. Panda apps are targeted at the 2-6 yr old age bracket, a time when finding out about the world outside your front door is most exciting. I’m not aware of other developers using the term “educational values” but it is a fancy way the people at TribePlay have of saying that these very engaging apps won’t just teach your child to count or recognise the alphabet as you would typically expect of educational apps for this age, they will educate your child in a broader sense of the word. An example of this is the occupations explored by the various apps. Your child can discover; in a considerable amount of detail, what a doctor, shopkeeper, farmer, chef, beautician and handyman do.

To give an example of the level of detail you can expect, here are a couple of our favourite activities:

In the Handyman app you get to assemble a bunk bed. From sawing the timber, lowering in slats and mattresses to nailing the timber together.

In the supermarket app, fruit and vegetables need to be weighed, price labels printed and placed in shopping basket. After this you can go outside and collect up the trolleys in the car park.

The restaurant app was the earliest we discovered and still remains a firm favourite. Learn what it takes to make scrambled eggs, stir fry and who could resist the gingerbread men.

Each app contains several pages of activities like the ones above, including activities for sorting, shapes, creativity and puzzles. The true test of how good an app is for me is the number of times it is requested. Requests for Dr. Panda in my house are implicit, my children would notice immediately if any of the Dr. Panda apps were deleted from our iPad!

Lookout for the new Dr. Panda Garage coming soon! If wheels are your little one’s thing (we have a huge fan of anything with wheels in our house) this will be a guaranteed hit.

$2.37 – $2.50 on Google Play (except a couple of free lite versions)

$2.59 on the App Store (except a couple of free lite versions)









Squee, It’s time for Spelling and Maths!! Well to be honest, I’m pretty sure no Maths or Spelling app would ever illicit such a response from my kids (though if I do find one, you will be the first to know) but Squeebles apps can help with reluctance towards spelling, basic math facts, fractions, times tables and division.

Delightful characters “The Squeebles” from Squeeble Island (there is a blog if you want to find out more about their off-app antics) are there to help you with these key early primary skills. Stats are available and many of the apps can be accessed by unlimited users – making them ideal for the classroom. Here is a quick run down of what you can expect from each app:

Squeebles Addition and Subtraction $1.59 NZD

As the name suggests, kids are asked to solve addition and subtraction basic facts problems to help the Squeebles compete in the Squeeble cart rally.  The nasty Maths Monster has stolen all their cars and correct answers will win them back.  There are 4 levels of difficulty ranging from beginner to very hard.

Squeebles Fractions $2.59 NZD

Again the Squeebles are battling the Maths Monster, this time to enter a cake competition. There are 4 mini games each tackling a different fractions skill – A piece of cake (visual recognition of fractions as part of a whole), Tricky pairs (matching equal fractions with different denominators), Think Big (determining the largest fraction) and Super Sums (adding fractions together). The reward for this one is time to design your own weird and wonderful cake from a list of over 100 ingredients – you can imagine the appeal!

Squeebles Math Bingo $1.59 NZD

From cakes to ice creams, these developers really understand kids. In the Math Bingo app, the Squeebles are united in their quest to help Ruby re-stock her ice cream parlour after the Maths Monster stole her ingredients. There are 5 different game modes – multiplication, division, addition, subtraction and random. As you would expect from the title, each mode contains a 25 number bingo card and 5 in a row will earn a reward.

Times Tables and Division $1.59 NZD each

Help Wizz the Squeeble rescue his friends from the Maths Monster by solving times tables. One of the clever features of this app is the automatic saving of “tricky tables”, so that your child can re-visit the tables they found difficult. The Division app is the reverse of the times tables e.g. the question 5 x 4 = ? would be asked as 20 / 5 = ?.

Sqeebles Spelling Test $2.59 NZD

This was the first Squeebles app discovered in our house and it has definitely helped us get into the swing of regular spelling practice. This app is very adaptable, there is the opportunity to create your own spelling lists and record your own voice pronouncing the words for each individual child. The reward for completing spelling tests is a fun mini game called Squeeberang.







Bugs and More

Bugs and Buttons 
Bugs and Bubbles
Bugs and Numbers

A progressive suite of apps, each with 18 multi-level games covering early math concepts including colours, sorting, shapes, patterns letters, numbers, addition & subtraction, time, currency and fractions.

My testers love the beautiful illustrations and engaging scenes. A tiny world for tiny people!

Clever adaptive progression avoids frustration. When a child answers incorrectly a few times, the current game will congratulate them for their progress, close and move on to a different topic.

The ability to register multiple users ensures each one is operating at an appropriate level.

I can’t wait to see what these developers come up with next!

$4.19 NZD each