KidloLand App Review and Giveaway

*I was given a free subscription to this App in order to review it for my readers.  All opinions are my own*

We don’t do a ton of screen time at our house, especially playing on the iPad.  The screen time the kids do have is closely monitored, both quality and quantity.  We keep track of how much they get during the week with popsicle sticks….one stick equals one show or 20 minutes of iPad time, and they get 10 sticks for the entire week.

As for quality, I’m picky.  My basic feeling about apps is that, in this day and age, there is absolutely no reason why they can’t be engaging and entertaining while still being educational.  Just like TV shows, if I don’t feel like my kid is walking away a smarter or better person, the app is a waste of time and brain space…what I call junk.  And unfortunately, there are a lot of junky apps and tv shows out there that contribute nothing of value to my children.

However, I’ve found a new app that thoroughly entertains Lincoln {and even Millie}, while teaching him some basic toddler concepts.  It’s called KidloLand.KidloLand Toddler App: A review and giveaway #toddlerapp #giveaway #ad @KidloLandWhen I opened the app for the first time, I was amazed at the main menu….so many options that cover all the pre-school concepts {numbers, letters, shapes, colors, animals, vehicles, phonics, nursery rhymes, etc.}.  And in each section of the menu, there are on average 10 different activities or stories to do.  Many with more!KidloLand Toddler App: A review and giveaway #toddlerapp #giveaway #ad @KidloLandAll of the activities are interactive, so even while a song or story is playing, the images on the screen can be tapped and manipulated.  Although some of the overlapping sounds and music are a bit much {for this mama’s ears anyway}, Lincoln loves the interaction.  For this kid who doesn’t get much touch-pad experience, it’s a fantastic app for cause and effect and basic tapping/dragging skills.KidloLand Toddler App: A review and giveaway #toddlerapp #giveaway #ad @KidloLandAnd while KidloLand is perfect for a toddler because of the songs and simple games, my 5 year old also has taken a liking to it after watching her brother play.  She prefers to “read” one of the 20 brand new stories, all with interactive characters.  I like the option of the narrator reading to her, so she can follow along with the words as she reads.  It also makes a great bedtime incentive….it’s amazing how fast teeth can get brushed when the bedtime story is literally an interactive book from the “Bedtime Stories” category.KidloLand Toddler App: A review and giveaway #toddlerapp #giveaway #ad @KidloLandMillie and Lincoln also use the app to practice their sharing skills. The “Games” and “Activities” categories flow from one right into another, and have varying difficulty.  This makes it easy for the kids to share, as Lincoln likes the “Tap-Tap” games and Millie likes the “Connect-the-Dots.”  It’s nice seeing them working together and taking turns.

Lincoln’s favorite game to play is “Chomping Monsters” in the Games category.  He has to click and drag puzzle pieces to complete a piece of fruit.  Then he has to drag the fruit into the monster’s mouth.  And of course the monster makes all sorts of chompy noises which makes Lincoln laugh.  I like that he is solving multi-piece puzzles and learning to identify new fruits….like guava and fig.KidloLand Toddler App: A review and giveaway #toddlerapp #giveaway #ad @KidloLandAlthough there is a limited free version of KidloLand, we are really enjoying the subscription with access to everything.  Categories like Vehicles, Fruits & Vegetables, Dinos, Animal Kingdom, Nursery Rhymes, Months & Days, Christmas Songs and Colors & Shapes provide more than enough new material to keep these kiddos entertained.  And because it doesn’t need wi-fi {just a lot of storage, which you can manage in Settings}, it will be a great entertainer in the car as well!

Today, I’m giving away FIVE winners a three-month subscription to this awesome app {a $39.99 value}.  The giveaway ends on Friday at midnight, so don’t miss out!  There are a ton of ways that you can win a 3-month subscription to KidloLand….check it out!

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If you want to bypass the giveaway and just download it now, here are the links you need to get it!

iOS (KidloLand) :

Google Play Store (Nursery Rhymes For Kids):

Amazon Appstore (KidloLand)

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‘Serafina and the Twisted Staff’ Review and Giveaway

*I received these books and promotional materials free of charge,  for review purposes on this blog. No other monetary compensation has been received or implied for this post.  All views are 100% my own.*Serafina and the Twisted Staff book review and GIVEAWAY for pre-tween girls @DisneyHyperion @BeattyAuthor #Serafina #win #giveaway #ad #kidlit #tweens #booksforgirls A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a couple of friends online begging for recommendations for books for pre-tween girls.  You heard me.  Girls who are NOT yet tweens, but still love to read.  Because I’ve got one.  Just to brag on my kid for a minute, but Jayna could read fluently when she was 3, reading chapter books by 4, and Nancy Drew by 5.  Before you start judging me, NO, I don’t think Nancy Drew is really appropriate for five-year olds…too many kidnappings, possible ghosts, and lost clocks.  You know, the stuff five-year-old nightmares are made of.  She started out reading Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew, which is geared for younger elementary kids, and then she “graduated” to the classics without me realizing it, after stumbling upon my childhood stash while “cleaning.”

Needless to say, she breezed through the rest of the ND series, Magic Treehouses, A to Z Mysteries, Little House on the Prairie, Wizard of Oz, Alice and Wonderland, and any other chapter books she could get her paws on.  I was running out of “appropriate” books for her very quickly.  Even the Christian chapter book section at the library was no good, as most of the books on her reading level {middle school} dealt with coming-of age/puberty stories about girls.  First of all, I’m not quite ready for her to learn about some of that stuff {especially if she isn’t hearing it from me!}, and I just don’t feel like she needs to read about middle school/high school girl problems.  Plus, she is really into the thriller/mystery set.

Anyway, one of my friends online suggested Serafina and the Black Cloak.  It got rave reviews online, and the only issues that people had was the possible intensity level for the lower age range that it’s recommended for {8-12 years old}.  So, we decided to give it a try.  But, because I’m the resourceful blogger I am, I reached out to their Public Relations staff, and not only did they send me that book, but they also sent me an advance copy of the sequel, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, not to mention posters, bookmarks, tattoos, notebooks, pens, and pins.  Jayna opened the package and immediately gathered up everything and retreated to the little library we’ve created under the fort in our playroom.Serafina and the Twisted Staff book review for pre-tween girls @DisneyHyperion @BeattyAuthor #Serafina #win #giveaway #ad #kidlit #tweens #booksforgirls Two days later, she emerged.  Just kidding, but really.  It took her a whopping two days to read both books, and she had her nose in them every second she could, adequately ignoring everything else that was going on around her.

So I thought I’d let Jayna give you her thoughts on the books.  Can’t get a more honest review than from a 7 year old, right?

Serafina and the Black Cloak AND Serafina and the Twisted Staff
{Disney Hyperion}
Author: Robert Beatty
Ages: 8-12 yrs

A review in her own words, by Jayna {age 7}

What are the books about?
 Serafina and her Pa live in the basement of The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in the 1800’s.  He is the maintenance man, and she is the Chief Rat Catcher.   In the first book {Seraphina and the Black Cloak}, Serafina becomes friends with Braeden, the Vanderbilt’s nephew, when they discover a strange man in a black cloak….and notice rich children from the estate disappearing.  In the second book {Serafina and the Twisted Staff}, Serafina and Braeden team up again when they realize that the animals on the Biltmore property are being controlled by someone, and attacking people.

What did you find interesting about the books? I had never heard of a catamount before, and the idea of Serafina being part cougar was really cool.  I also liked reading about the different rooms in the Biltmore house.  Someday I want my mom to take me there so I can see some of the secret entries and fancy rooms that were in the stories.

What were some of the scariest parts of the books?  In Serafina and the Black Cloak, the man in the black cloak…he was the villian… covered the children with his cape and they disappeared.  When I was reading that part, I was in bed and I had to take a little break and hide under my covers for a minute.  I wasn’t too scared, it just creeped me out.  But then I kept reading because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next.  I knew it would have a happy ending.

In Serafina and the Twisted Staff, I was a little scared during the part where they found all the animals in the graveyard, but I kept reading.

What did you think of Serafina’s character?  I think she was really brave to fight the bad guys and protect other kids that she didn’t even know.  She has a little bit of a temper, and gets into fights easily though…she needs to work on that.  But I guess it’s good that she stands up for herself.

Would you recommend these books to other kids your age?  Sure!  Even boys would like them because they have some fighting and magic in it.  They might be too scary for kids under um, 6, though.  But if they can handle Nancy Drew books, they probably would love Seraphina.  It’s like, the same level of mystery as Nancy Drew, but a little more intense since there is magic and some fighting.  And the whole book’s setting is creepy….Nancy Drew just has  little scary parts here and there.

Did you enjoy reading these books? Oh yeah!  They were awesome!  I read them so fast because they were so good.  I’ll probably read them a million times.  Or maybe a thousand.  Or maybe I’ll let Caroline borrow them, because she likes mysteries too.  I can’t wait until the next one comes out….maybe they’ll make a movie of them!!

Serafina and the Twisted Staff book review for pre-tween girls @DisneyHyperion @BeattyAuthor #Serafina #win #giveaway #ad #kidlit #tweens #booksforgirls

So there you have it.

The Serafina books were a hit with the kid.  After reading them, Jayna and her friend Caroline {who hadn’t even read them yet} acted out the stories while playing.  I don’t even have time to read my email, let alone an entire book, but I did glance through the ending of the Twisted Staff, and I was completely hooked.  I ended up reading the last five or six chapters with zero awareness to what was going on around me.  And I did catch this quote toward the end of the book, which just confirms my feeling that Serafina might be a good role model after all…

“She remembered being so frustrated by her limitations, by what she could and couldn’t do at that particular point in her life.  She realized now that her life wasn’t just about who she was, but about who she would become.”

And now for the good part.  THE GIVEAWAY!

Ends on Friday!  Good luck!

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Mark your calendars for a Serafina event near you…including meeting the author at Y’all Fest in Charleston on November 12!

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As always, all opinions in the post are 100% my own.*

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