Ansel and Clair App Series by Cognitive Kid, Inc.
Claire and Ansel are "Virtoosians" who need to learn about the world by flying around on their spacecraft, affectionately named Marley. There are currently 3 exceptional apps in the series from Cognitive Kid, Inc.: Ansel and Clair: Paul Revere's Ride, Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs, and Ansel and Clair's Adventures in Africa. The latter is the only app of the three to have an iPhone/iPod touch version available; the other two are for iPad only.
My ( almost 9 year old and 5 year old) kids love all three- they keep playing them over and over- I am pretty certain they have completed each app but they continue to play anyway- the developers have managed to make learning really fun!
Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs by Cognitive Kid Inc. (iPad only, $1.99 at time of review)
What I like:
Use of visual and auditory cues to guide the learner
Fine motor / sensory activities: fossil dig, puzzle etc.
Guide on how to use the app
Factual information about geology, paleontology etc.Photo journal- take pictures to add to your journal
Sticker book- collect stickers when you learn additional facts about each subject
In this app, you learn about extinction theories, fossils, meteor showers as well as facts about a variety of dinosaurs. There were also some surprising facts, such as how the Oviraptor got its name, and the difference between a meteor and a meteorite. This is my favorite of the trio of apps- in fourth grade I did aspire to be a paleontologist! I also adore this app for its ingenious integration of fine motor skills- the fossil dig activity requires three different types of taps/ finger motions to mimic the tools used to uncover a fossil-a two-fingered tap breaks up the large rocks like a pick, a one-fingered tap works as a hammer or chisel, and a sweeping motion functions as a brush. My children both have fine motor delays, and I only wish they had a motivating task such as this earlier to help encourage finger isolation for example. I feel this version of Ansel and Clair is absolutely the best of the three for young learners and also has the most features that appeal to many kids on the spectrum, such as the sensory/ fine motor activities of wiping away sand (or snot) too.
My formerly dino obsessed 8 year old recognized the different types of dinosaurs and confirmed their authenticity, you'll be happy to know- although he is not sure about the neon color of the Kosmoceratop's snot ! The kids can't decide which of the Ansel and Clair app series is their favorite- the ick factor in this one certainly appeals to my two boys though- they think cleaning up after Kosmoceratop's sneeze is hilarious!
Wish List :( I always have one!)
An easier way to jump to the different activities
Inclusion of images from real dig sites
Size- 235 MB stated in description but actual storage space is 431 MB. Unfortunately with its size, we will have to put this app in our app rotation- it simply takes up too much space on our iPad to keep it there full time.
Hide the links to iTunes- The "More apps" button present when the app first opens should be hidden under the Information tab.
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