Technology Teaches the Story of Creation

Technology plays a huge role in our lives today. It’s at home. It’s at work. It’s in the classrooms. You can try to limit your children’s exposure to it, but there are so many day to day activities we engage in that require technology, that it is hard to fully eliminate.

Technology does not have to be a bad thing, though. There are several applications that have made invaluable use of technology to do good.

For instance, Wanderful has taken several childhood books packed with lessons in how to behave well, be a good person, and how to cope with difficult situations kids so often find themselves in.

Extend from that the teachings of the Bible. Imagine if you could get your kids exposed to a fun way of reading and interacting with the Bible!

You’re probably wondering if that is even allowed. Well, believe it or not, it is Wanderful has created an amazing app called The Story of Creation, as told by Ruth Tiller.

It tells the story of Noah’s Ark, in two ways: kids can have the story read to them, or they can explore the story on their own.

The animation is fascinating, the graphics are bright, and the sounds are fun and entertaining. The animation is captivating for kids, making it fun to watch. For example, when God is separating the land from the sea, it shows the pieces of land acting like little fish trying to pry free from the ocean.

The artwork throughout is warm and welcoming, keeping kids engaged and interested.

The Story of Creation app

When kids choose the option to be read to, the words and phrases light up as they are spoken, helping younger children learn the words, and ultimately, learn to read. If you tap on a word it will light up and sound out.

What’s really neat about this app is that it presents the story of creation in a non-denominational way, so it’s great for all.

Key features include:

  • Eight fully animated story pages, prefaced by eight animated introductory pages
  • Entertaining music and sounds throughout the book
  • Every page is filled with items that dance when tapped
  • Move between pages with swipe or with scrolling page navigation
  • Multiple settings allow further customization that enhances your child’s reading experience
  • Parental tips to help you get the most out of this interactive storybook

The goal of this app is to help kids grow a love of language and learning, while exploring about how the story of creation came to unfold. Parents will love this app for it multiple layers of educational value. Kids will love it for its entertainment value.

What was confusing to me was there was no apparent option to outright read the story. After choosing both the “read the story” and the “explore the story,” I found that in both, the narrator read the story and the pages turned on their own. There was no chance to just stay on a page and explore it.

Maybe I had a setting incorrect, but I was hoping that there would be an option to actually read the words.

Hopefully they will have a fix for that. But in the meantime, the Story of Creation – Little Ark is perfect for parents looking for an app that fills their kid’s time, educates, and entertains, all in one. This is a must download!

Daniel in the Lion’s Den – A Story of Bravery Playfully Told in an App

Parents want so much to teach the old stories from our scriptures to our children; however, stories that were written so long ago are usually not as appealing to kids as watching cartoon or playing video games.

Well, now it’s time to level the playing field. The folks at Wanderful have taken the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, as told by Ruth Tiller, and have transformed it into a computer program that bring the story to life.

Yes, it’s an app.

Daniel’s story originally comes from the Old Testament. Now, kids can get to know Daniel, all of his fears, and how he overcomes them.

The app is full of several pages brimming with color, activity, and lessons to learn. Kids connect with the characters because they are portrayed in an accessible way. The narration voice is of a child, so that in and of itself is huge.

When you first download the app, which costs just $2.99, you are greeted by Daniel, who welcomes you with “Shalom!” From here, you can choose to have the story read to you or you can read it yourself.

Should you choose to be read to, the app will take care of everything. All you do is sit back, relax, and listen. In this mode, as the narrator speaks, the words light up, keeping kids’ attention and subliminally teaching them how to read.

Should you choose to explore, the page will be read to you, but then pauses for you to tap on words, read the text again, or just tap on the various items on the screen, which magically come to life. The animations and dialog are humorous and entertaining, which makes the learning so easy.

Daniel in the Lion's Den screenshot

When you are done with a page, you tap on the right arrow found at the bottom right of the screen. The next page will be read and then you can explore that one. If you want to go back to a page, you can do that, too.

Other neat features include:

  • Ten (10) fully animated pages
  • Engaging original music throughout the storybook
  • Virtually every item on each page comes to life when tapped
  • Multiple settings to further customize the app to meet your child’s needs
  • Parental tips to maximize value from the interactive storybook
  • Bookmark mode – you can set whether or not you want the app to remember where you were if you have to close it before finishing
  • Patience Mode – kids have to allow an animation to finish before they can trigger the next item
  • Page Story Completion – When ON, the narration on a page must finish before any animation triggered by taps will be allowed. This is a must for little ones.

There is no much negative that can be said about this app. As an adult, even I found it interesting. The one this I would change is make the screen a bit bigger. I’m being a pain because I was viewing this app from my iPhone. I probably should have purchased it on an iPad, but not everyone has one.

Other than that, Daniel in the Lion’s Den is a definite download if you are in the market for an educational app that teaches kids great things on multiple levels.

App Lets Kids Search for Ruff’s Bone While they Learn to Read

Books can be tons of fun, but in this day and age, kids are looking for instantaneous gratification in just about everything they do. Reading a book may be fine for some, but for most, they need more stimulation.

That’s where the folks at Wanderful have come to the rescue. Ruff’s Bone is actually a children’s book written by Oscar-nominated Eli Noyes. This app has taken that delightful dog, who is the star of this book, and has brought him to life.

The app is a creative take on apps that teaches kids how to read. It offers two options: kids can have the story read to them, or they can read it on their own. Well, they are really not fully on their own, because they can also tap on words to hear them sounded out.

But the educational aspects of this app do not stop there. Parents and teachers alike can delve deep into the teaching tips and resources offered by the app. These can be found from the Options menu, which is accessible from the main page.

The tips include:

  • Playing with individual words, so kids focus and learn them
  • Find hidden objects – search for Ruff’s Bone, it’s hidden on one of the pages
  • Encourage exploration with your child

The teaching resources offers previews of a full assortment of classroom activities and exercises that expound from the app bringing more emphasis and practice to what is offered in the app.

To obtain access to the full resource, which includes 66 pages of Classroom Activities, you will need to make an in app purchase of $2.99. A small price to pay for a treasure trove of educational value. Your kids will get so much out of the app with activities that they can do on their own or in groups.

Another nice feature of the app is the ability to use it in English or Spanish. Spanish speakers can use it to learn English, and English speakers can use it to learn Spanish. Learning a language through a fun activity is one of the best ways to master it.

Ruff’s Bone is super easy to use. Navigation is straightforward and self-explanatory. Kids will get a kick out of seeing their favorite character now animated and bringing his story to life.

One thing that needs fixing, and this may only be on the iPhone, is the display for the teacher resources. The wording was jumbled up a bit, with some lines overlapping others.  They may not be an issue on larger devices, but it sure would be nice to have this fixed on the iPhone.

I look forward to that fix, but until then, I am going to allow the app keep my kids busy while they explore the written word and learn more as they listen and explore. I enjoy watching my kids flip through the pages, have fun and learn to read, all at the same time!

Berenstain Bears in the Dark – Learn to Deal with the Dark

Ever want to dive in and jump around the pages of a book because it looked so fun?

Now you can. Wanderful has taken a boatload of books containing quality content that have been around for many years and transformed them into interactive and education.

The Berenstain Bears In the Dark tells the story of Brother Bear and Sister Bear, the beloved siblings of the Berenstain Bears book series, and how they deal with being in the dark.

This app takes the story from the book and skillfully brings it to life in an interactive app that keeps kids coming back for more. At a minimum, this app is a tool that teaches kids how to read. Explore its many offerings and tips, provided in the Options window, and you can unleash unlimited options for discovery and learning.

When you first download the app, you will see the main screen upon which Sister Bear is dancing and inviting you to play. Users have two options from here: “Read to Me” and “Let Me Play.”

If you choose “Read to Me,” you allow the app to narrate the story book as you sit back, listen, and watch as the animation acts out the story. Words will glow as they are spoken, subliminally teaching kids how to read through word recognition by sight and sound. Take note that in this mode, the user will not be able to tap on any of the item on the screen to trigger an action.

If you choose “Let Me Play,” you can navigate through the book on your own, reading what you want and tapping on all sorts of pictures and items on the display. If you tap on a word, it will sound out and glow. Tap on a lamp, and it will turn on and off. Tap on the curtains and they will open. All sorts of fun things happen around the Berenstain compound – there’s no end to the fun!

What’s really nice about this app is that you can use it in English or in Spanish. For kids who are learning Spanish, it’s the perfect tool to practice with! If you want get even more adventurous, you can make an in app purchase and use the Portuguese version.

Parents and teachers can take advantage of the tips and a preview to resources found on the Options page (navigate to it from the main screen). This helps them get the most out of the app and offers a variety of activities that kids can complete outside the app. To download the full version of the teacher resources, you have to make an in app purchase of $2.99, which gives you the Premium Upgrade version.

There were not very many negative things to say about this app. I love the Berenstains and Wanderful has done an amazing job of rendering their captivating story in an app. I would like to see a larger display, because as it stands now, it does not fill my iPhone screen horizontally.

That is very small price to pay for an app that has so much to offer. If you have kids, you need Berenstain Bears in the Dark!

Get in a Fight, Berenstain Bears – An Interactive, Educational App

When my kids used to watch The Berenstain Bears, all I could think of was how much I wanted to climb up and down the stairs of the treehouse, run around the yard with Sister and Brother Bear, and eat pie.

If you’re scratching your head, then let me explain. The Berenstain Bears is a series of books written by Stan and Jan Berenstain that center around a loveable family of bears. There’s Papa, Mama, Sister, and Brother Bear.

Their stories are just like ours. They are a family with kids that try to teach about good manners and how to be helpful. The Berenstain Bears Get in a Fight follows the book of the same title, bringing the story, the settings and the fun to life.

This app creatively takes every page of the book, animates them and adds additional activities that keep kids wondering and playing, all while they learn.

Yes, the app does have a purpose behind it. It’s basically an interactive book with learning activities. Wanderful has done an amazing job at creating the app and then also providing a detailed resource that teacher and parents can use to extract even more value for their kids.

In this story, Brother and Sister Bear are acting as typical siblings do. On this particular morning, they have woken up grumpy and tired, and the friction doesn’t stop there. The fighting continues throughout the day until Mama and Papa can take no more. In fact, the siblings get to a point where they can’t even remember why they were fighting to begin with.

This book allows parents to teach their kids to read, and then it goes beyond that with teaching important life lessons. Get in a Fight centers around avoiding arguments and disagreement; and, when do occur, how to deal with them without letting them get out of hand.

Key Elements in the App include:

  • Multiple languages: English and Spanish are included, and Portuguese is available for a $1.99 in app purchase.
  • Every page contains automatic animation, including extended multi-scene animations on tow pages.
  • All pages have items that come to life when tapped
  • Words are highlighted when spoken, during narration, or tapped
  • Hidden surprises abound throughout the app – prompting kids to explore even more
  • Easy navigation: swipe or tap to move to the next or previous page
  • Two Modes: “Read to Me” or “Let Me Play”
  • Parental and teacher controls that allow settings to be defined for different viewer ages

I really could not find any downside to this app, except for the fact that it may be wise to download it on your Mac or iPad. Trying to read the words from an iPhone is quite difficult and may defeat the purpose of the app altogether.

Other than that, I could not see anything that would stop me from buying this Get In A Fight, Berenstain Bears. I don’t think you can find a better interactive app that helps kids learn while they play; and, the storyline that is offered in this app is of the utmost quality. I would not mind if my kids spent hours on this app, because I know they would be learning so many great lessons.

Harry and the Haunted House Newly Reincarnated as an App

While the story may be 18 years old, it remains as interesting and entertaining as ever as newly reincarnated as an app.

Yes, you heard me correctly. The folks at Wanderful have taken the wonderful story of Harry and his adventures within a haunted house, and have made it a place where kids can wander and wonder about the words they see before them.

An interactive children’s book, Harry and the Haunted House is well designed and well worth the $4.99 sticker price. Every detail you see in the book has been painstakingly emulated in the app. Each page presents with animation and color that brings the old story book to life – why didn’t we have this when we were growing up!

As the explorer of the book, you are offered two ways to experience it. You can be read to, allowing you to sit back and hear the story while you enjoy the various animations that pop up around the screen. The second choice is to explore on your own. This allows you to read the story, tap on items you see on the screen, and swipe the pages back and forth. This option also allows you to listen to the narration while you tap away.

Parents should be fully aware that the app is completely safe for kids of all ages. However, if you still feel the need to put some boundaries in place so kids don’t feel too liberated, you can check out the settings under the home screen:

    • Skip the title page
    • Bookmark setting can be turned on/off. It allows you to resume from where you left off, is on by default but can be turned off
    • Patience Mode: allows you to choose a setting that controls whether or not kids can interrupt narration – a useful feature for the smaller user community
    • Page Swipe
    • Highlight Hotspots: Anything with animation or interchange is surrounded by a red box. Making it easier for preschoolers to find the activities.

Currently running in English and Spanish, the app can also be set in French for a $1.99 in app purchase; and for $2.99, you can get a premium purchase. This allows teachers and home schoolers access to curriculum that is valuable, bringing an even more enhanced experience to the app.

Harry and the Haunted House comes with a 12-page overview of activities and ideas that go beyond the app experience, and will have kids asking for more. They will ask more questions about the story, more questions about Harry, and may even be inspired to create their own storyline.

The only small improvement I would suggest is adding future upgrades where the animations on each page differ with every instance you visit. Kids are smart, and may get bored watching the same animation every time they go through the story and see the same movements on the same page.

But that is easily overcome by just immersing yourself in the storyline and enjoying what’s before you. I have never seen an interactive book that is so well designed and executed. Having kids actually learn something from it is the bonus.