Alphie The Squid: Awesome Game For Kids and Adults!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Heather

Easy

Alphie the Squid is an ocean exploration game that allows the user to follow an adorable little squid, named Alphie, through the deep blue sea to discover fish and aquatic creatures while racking up points to move to the next level.  The game is not only fun, but also educational.  When playing the game, the user needs to understand the characteristics and abilities of a real squid in order to effective conquer the enemies and rise to the top of the oceanic food chain aka become a big squid.

The game is extremely user friendly and suitable for adults and children alike.  Upon launching the game, the user can view the gallery which details the creatures and treasure fish that the user will need to discover.   As the user discovers the various animals, the picture becomes clickable and a short summary of the animal is available to the user.  Below is a picture of the gallery with the Giant Squid activated:

After a review of the gallery, the user starts at “The Beginning” of the ocean (the follow on levels have aquatic oriented names such as Blue Lagoon and Current Rides).  The purpose at this point is to swim along the ocean, eating fish and avoiding enemies.  The user only needs their finger to direct Alphie through his habitat.  Any user that is familiar with a touch screen phone or tablet will have no issue using the game.  Below is a picture of a seemingly satisfied Archie after he discovered a Parrot Fish!

The navigation of the game is simple and small pop up window will appear periodically and provide key directions, such as to avoid certain dangerous creature as Alphie is approaching an area infested with that particular animal.  As the user gets further into the game, the abilities of the baby squid become more integral to the success of the game. For example, Alphie can camouflage himself and then hypnotize his target in order to successfully capture and eat his prey. 

Overall the graphics of the game are great.  The colors are vivid and the detail of the sea life and the seascape is true to life.  The music is nice, elevator type music that won’t get on your nerves and there is an option to shut the music off completely.  The various prompts and pop-ups that appear throughout the game are helpful and not annoying.  This isn’t really a game for speed.  It is more about collecting the fish, learning about the fish/creatures,  moving to the next level and exploring numerous facets of the ocean.  This is a perfect game to play with a child to take advantage of all the learning opportunities without worrying about failing a level by running out of time. 

This is a paid app that I downloaded from iTunes and used an iPad to play it. The company that produces the game, Crystal Entertainment, has a solid online presence with an abidance of information to assist in the purchase decision or to help along the way after the game purchase. 

If you have an android device you can snag it for FREE on Amazon!

Make sure you like Alphie on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.  You can also find him on Google+ and a game trailer can be found HERE.

The game can be purchased via the following links:
:: iTunes
:: Googleplay
:: Amazon

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A Digital Library for Kids! Check it out!

Monday, August 19, 2013
Heather

The school year is fast approaching so I embraced the opportunity to review an educational app named BookBoard.

Bookboard is described as an app to encourage reading among children up to age 12. 

There is functionality that allows kids to browse and store books that match their interest and reading level. 

Parents have the opportunity to interact by setting up and suggesting reading for each child individually. 

The goal of the app is to provide children with a dedicated, digital space to foster a love of reading.


(Dashboard of suggested books for my 4 year old daughter with the option to Unlock More books.)


The process to opt-in to the free trial is very simple and minimal personal information is needed to create an account (name and email address). 

Once the account is created, a quick and easy tutorial will provide all the information needed to navigate the simple app. 

If the user is able to utilize the basic functions of an iPad, this app will be a snap to use. 

The app leverages much of the basic functionality that is needed to effectively use an iPad to browse the web so it is perfect for little hands and junior iPad users. 

Setting up the account involves creating individual profiles for the adults and children that will be using the app (this part requires date of birth for the children to ensure that the correct grade level books are assigned) and the app will automatically assign appropriate books to the dashboard.  

The user can review each assigned book and opt to store the book and add similar books to the queue.

This allows for a continuous stream of new content to read and each selection helps shape the genres and grade levels that will be offered to the user in the future.

Each book gives the option to hide (indicating you don’t want to see this book or similar books in the dashboard), share with a friend (via email) and unlock more books like this one.

Overall, I found that the app fills a niche that we were lacking. 

Previously we were storing digital children’s books in a common storage with all the other books that the entire family reading. 

There was no categorization of the kid’s books nor were there suggestions on other books to try out based on what we had already read.  

The Bookboard app fills that gap beautifully and takes it to the next level with the interactive nature of the platform. 

I used this app with my son (5), who is on the autism spectrum, and my daughter (4) who is considered a peer model. 

Both children enjoyed reading the books along with mommy and daddy. Both kids were easily able to navigate on the main screen and read the books that were suggested by the app.

The kids vastly preferred this app to what we had been using because it eliminated the need for them to navigate through the content that was not intended for them. 

As a parent I found the app to be very easy to use and the colors in the books were vibrant and engaging. 

I was pleased to find a nice mixture of old and new titles (I was quite excited to find The Berenstein Bears in the suggested titles).  

Overall we felt that this app is a great addition to our collection of educational tools that will enable us to provide learning opportunities at home that are age and grade appropriate. 

I encourage everyone to take advantage of the Bookboard free trial by clicking here – the trial provides all the functionality that is available in the full version so you are able to determine if this app will be a good investment for your family.  

Not only can you look at the dashboard but you can also look by category.

This is the list of books that was suggested for my 4 year old daughter before I opted to unlock more.

If you are interested in seeing the type of content included in the app, take a look below:

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The Power Is In Your Hands With PowerMyLearning!

Monday, August 12, 2013
Heather

Easy

As much as I don’t want to admit it summer is coming to a close. August is upon us and it is time to start readying the little ones to get back into the school routine. 

For my household, this means more than just buying school supplies and warmer clothes. 

We start lesson plans with the kids to get them back into the swing of formalized learning and homework.  

During this month, my husband and I do not have the benefit of the teacher’s learning plan as a guide so we are on our own with regards to finding content and a forum for at home learning.  

This summer I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to review PowerMyLearning and use it as part of my planning for August and beyond.

The sign up process is easy and free – all you need to provide is your name and email address. 

After the quick sign up, the landing page is displayed. 

From here my daughter and I opted to view activities by grade although we could have looked at them based on the subject (there are 8 categories). 

As we scrolled through the activities available under the K-2 category, my daughter easily zeroed in on a word play game within the language arts discipline. 

Even from the main screen, I could see that the activity had received four stars based on one vote. 

At this point, my daughter is easily navigating the website while I observed.  Upon opening the activity she was excited to see an activity from the PBS character, Martha! 

After playing with the Martha word activity for a bit my daughter wanted to continue looking at other activities. 

Together we found activities for drawing/art, learning Spanish, exploring a guitar/music and counting/math. 

Before I knew it, we had completed 35 minutes of learning, discussion and fun!! 

PowerMyLearning is a one stop shop for educational websites and activities that would otherwise take the average person hours to find. 

The website is categorized in a common sense manner that makes it very easy to find the correct grade level of activities. 

It is easy to see the user feedback on the various activities and participate in the voting process by adding feedback. 

For parents with older children, there is a feature to link accounts to track progress and the ability to create “playlists” that set expectations of completion for the student. 

There are also many features geared towards educators so it is a good idea to see if your child’s teacher or school district is using this tool.  

PowerMyLearning is a powerful platform that is growing and changing based on user feedback. 

The landing page is currently advertising a substantial update to the site slated for September 3rd and I am quite excited to see what the site will have to offer in the future.

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Finally! Group video chat that's fun, easy, and FREE!!

Monday, July 1, 2013
Heather

Easy

There are many amazing apps that are coming out on smart phones that help make our day to day life so much easier.

Whether we use them for keeping up with our social networks, or editing our latest photos, having our virtual world at our hands, is an amazing thing made possible by up and coming apps.

We are constantly able to update each other, share exciting news, and be able to broadcast new things in your life with just a touch of a button.

OkHello is a brand new app that helps you stay connected with other people.

Not only are you able to chat and stay updated with your favorite person, but OkHello gives you the opportunity to stay connected with groups of people at the same time.

It is more than just a chat room where you can send messages, but it also gives you some other really neat features!

You can video chat with your entire group, send images, and even video of what you are doing.

There is a collection of images and stickers to convey any mood you are going through and get fun reactions from your friends and family.

It’s a fun way to keep track of just a certain number of people, and share important events with your exclusive group. This way, no one misses a thing!


You can easily add friends by inviting them through a text, email, or even connect with them via Facebook.

By giving you the ability to create separate rooms, you can have rooms for your best friends, family members, and even co-workers, to keep your life in order and your life constantly updated.


Download the free OkHello app and get started really connecting with the people that mean the most to you.

You’ll find that you always have something to share and learn about each other thanks to the growing trends of technology.

You can head over here to check it out!

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About Mamas Spot

We are a family of four that left it all behind to go travel the world. No, literally we left it all. We sold all of our possessions, packed what we could into four suitcases and said goodbye to suburban life. All we own is now pulled behind us as we travel to new and exciting destinations. Showing our kids the world and teaching them about new cultures, food, and ways of life is now our 9-5.

We love watching our kids learn, and learning along side them. Together we have now explored many new countries, visited family on the other side of the world, and made memories that will last a lifetime.

Welcome to our journey!