Disclosure: KidloLand offered me a complimentary subscription in exchange for an honest review of their service. All opinions, as always, are my own.
Until recently our kids didn't know how to operate an iPhone or iPad independently. Once in awhile we'd set up a game and hand it to them but the second something went wrong they'd hand it back and we'd need to start it again or tell Siri we didn't actually need her help.
It's not like we're technology luddites, they can operate the television and Netflix like champs, we've just been overwhelmed with the options for kids' apps and had a hard time telling which ones were quality and educational versus useless and mind-numbing.
So when KidloLand contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing their app for kids in exchange for a six month subscription, I hesitated. I wasn't sure if, first of all, they'd even be interested in using it, and, secondly, did I even WANT them to use it? Don't kids who use handheld technology turn into zombies? Pretty sure I read that in a Judgey Parent article recently.
I did a little research on the app first and read some other reviews. I saw that they touted that it was educational as well as fun and had over a thousand games, stories and songs on the app so I figured if I was going to let the kids try any app, I may as well try one that they could learn from too, right?
My first impression was that the images were very bright and colourful and drew the children in right away. Miss M (at 5.5 years old) and Mr M (3.5 years old) were equally interested in exploring the app. The first series that caught their attention was the connect the dots activities as they do those on paper already.
Mr M had a little trouble figuring out how drag the image along the screen, but once he got the hang of it, he was off and running, and I could see how it can help with hand-eye coordination, as well as with counting.
They also both loved the cake decorating game - no surprise there. We have a couple board games that are focused around baking and we love baking in real life here so they had fun choosing the decorations and colours in this game.
THEN they discovered Crunchy and Munchy, the Chomping Monsters. They tell stories and have interactive games like brushing teeth where you have to get all the germs and they LOVE these monsters. They've actually extended this play into real life imaginary play where one of them is Crunchy and the other is Munchy and it sends them into hysterics every time.
There are activities for every holiday and season, lots of interactive elements where tapping on a character makes them do something silly or unexpected, and learning games - not just in the sense of ABCs and numbers, but also about good hygiene and choosing healthy foods.
Best things about the app for us:
- Once you download the activities you can use them offline which makes them PERFECT for those long waits at the doctor's office or when you need to bring your kids along to register them for swimming lessons or summer camp.
- NO advertisements. None of those annoying pop-ups for other apps or upsells on the product.
- Initially the fact that it was a subscription service, rather than owning the app, was a negative in my mind, however once I considered that you receive 1000 activities for less than $6.00 per month I decided it's actually a pretty good deal.
- Learning and development elements are integrated into most of the activities. Some were obvious, like the counting or phonics ones, others were less obvious like the hand-eye coordination skills.
- Seven day free trial to the whole app to give you a chance to try it before you subscribe to it.
Least favourite things:
- Downloading as you go. The first time they tap an activity it has to download it (only took a couple seconds) but then it would pop them back to the main page and they'd need to tap it again to get it to start which was a bit confusing at first.
- One thousand activities downloaded to your device could take up some space, but they are surprisingly small. They're easy to delete too so you can remove some that they don't use often if you need to. It shouldn't be an issue but it's something you might want to keep an eye on so you don't try to take a video and find out you're out of room.
They've surprised me with how much they enjoy the app, with having had very little exposure to these types of activities before. It has enough to keep them occupied and they've learned basic skills with managing the device so I don't need to help all the time. The app seems to be best suited for toddlers and young preschoolers as I think Mr. M is learning more from it than Miss M, but she still has fun with the games.
Truthfully, my favourite part of it is hearing them play it. The GIGGLES and GIGGLES from them are contagious. They love finding the hidden interactive elements and watching those silly Chomping Monsters in the different stories and games. I also love how the activities work well with them using it at the same time and/or are short enough that they can take turns without either getting impatient so it's rare for them to get into an argument about one of them taking too long. Music to any Mama's ears!
CONTEST (CONTEST CLOSED)
If you'd like to enter to win a free three month subscription for the KidloLand app, please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below (be sure to check off each task in the widget once you complete it so your entry is recorded!). Winners must be residents of Canada, excluding Quebec, who are the age of majority in their province. Good luck!