Category: app

Bringing Communities Together: Pokémon GO #SafariZone

How many of you grew up as a fan of Pokémon?

In my childhood home, my siblings and I were huge fans of Pokémon. We loved watching the shows, purchasing our favourite keepsakes (still have our giant Pikachu pillow from twenty years ago!). Pokemon was a huge part of our childhood but as we grew older, the craze died down a bit and it became more of a fond childhood memory.

That was until the Pokémon GO app was released and we were able to rediscover the world of Pokémon all over again. But this time it was an enhanced experience where we could connect with others in real life.

Not familiar with the game? In the app (can be downloaded on either the Apple Store or Google Play), users create an avatar and explore the world of Pokémon by moving through their everyday routines. The app shows your world on the screen and intertwines the Pokémon world within it (gyms, PokeStops, Pokémon, etc). You can capture new Pokémon, make friends, battle in raids and complete challenges for rewards.

What makes this game even more special for us?

That we can participate as a family – my kids LOVE the world of Pokémon! It has brought us closer as a family, as we spend several hours a week going for walks, going to parks, hiking and playing the game together. We have discovered new locations in our community and even at my work on campus (I found new sculptures on campus that I never knew even existed). It not only gets us active but learning about our community and each other. As a parent, there is no greater feeling then seeing the smile on your child’s face as they speak about something they love.

The second best part? The amazing trainer community. The trainers in our area are a special group of people that support, laugh and encourage us. At the last community day, we headed out to the Bay Front and my kids were giving high fives and receiving congratulations on their captures. The feeling was so special and so difficult to put into words. There is such a strong sense of community and inclusiveness in this global community. The game brings together people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

Pokémon GO Safari Zone at Montreal

This past weekend my family and I had the privilege of attending Pokémon GO Safari Zone in Montreal. To say my son was excited was an understatement – he had a countdown and could barely sleep! We packed up our car at 1:30 in the morning and made the long trek to Montreal.

The event was held in the beautiful Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The location was stunning with beautiful views of the water, gorgeous beach and stunning pathways through greenery. There were so many spots to relax – we ended up walking close to 25 km on the Saturday!

Our youngest was in Pokémon glory. He was bouncing around, dancing to the theme music playing and talking to other trainers. He loved catching his shiny characters and showing off his finds to those around him. We caught so many new characters and my husband (new to the game) leveled up quite quickly.

The group was huge (we later found out over 39,000 people attended the three day event) and spanned all ages and genders. I loved watching the young toddlers dressed up as their favourite Pokémon characters and helping their parents capture those shinys (talk about complete heart melting moments).

My favourite photo of the day is this one:

It is everything that this game means to us – that no matter how many years separate us and how busy are days are, this brings us together. We laugh, joke, support and play together. When we play, it is our time to come together as a family.

This event was an incredible experience from start to finish – hats off to all of those individuals who came together to make it a magical experience for all. Fingers and toes crossed for another event in Canada soon!

Make sure to connect with them on Twitter and Facebook. You can also find some great groups on Facebook that will connect you locally with other trainers to complete challenges and raids together.

Disclosure: I received Early Passes to the Pokemon GO Safari Zone. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Read with Phonics: An Interactive App to Help Your Child Master Reading

Learn to Read with Read with Fonics

Learning to read is a difficult task for children to master, the English language is not an easy language to learn! You want to support the education they are receiving at school but sometimes I find that as a parent, it is a tough job. I don’t know if I am teaching them the wrong way, is it similar to the teacher’s style and how do I teach them in an easy way that is fun and won’t discourage them. Just a small order right?

What is Read with Phonics?

Read with Phonics was developed by Sophie, a primary school teacher, who wanted to create the best way for children to learn to read but also make it fun and simple. Her method? Learning phonics! Phonics helps us to learn the sounds associated with each letter which in turns helps us to understand and read word in the English language (versus learning sight words, which is a common method in schools). The bonus? There are only forty-four sounds in the English language, which makes this method far easier for children versus trying to memorize hundreds of words. She also wanted to make it fun for children because lets face it, if they aren’t having fun children can become easily frustrated which slows down the learning process. Sophie not only created the idea, she designed the program and even loaned her voice to all the sounds you hear in the app! All of her hard work paid off when the app was launched and feedback came pouring in.

Learn to Read with Read with Phonics

How Does It Work?

The Read with Phonics app is split into four worlds: water world, forest world, lava land and jelly city. The main character, Albee the Alien, is there with your child the whole time, helping them figure out their mistakes. Your child works their way through each world letter by letter, each letter having roughly seven activities attached to it. Each activity helps your child sound out the letter, identify it in a word and match words. As your child passes each sound level, they unlock a new sound! The best part of this app? The positive reinforcement! Your child starts at zero and works their way up to a higher score.

Learn to Read with Read with Phonics

Our Thoughts

We LOVE the app! It was easy to figure out how to use, it was interactive and fun to use. I tried it out first to make sure I would be able to help our youngest but then I let him take over. He had no problem following the on-screen prompts and got a kick out of Albee (and his sound munching!). The lessons were perfect for his age (he is five) and he was able to easily correct himself when it was required. He never became frustrated with the app and instead I found him laughing and saying the sounds out loud! It was definitely age appropriate for him and very user friendly.

The graphics were perfect and visually stimulating without being overwhelming. The choice of words that accompany the sounds was very suitable for his age group. Overall, this is the perfect app to download to help your child learn to read. It is a platform that they love to use, it is fun and interactive and they can work their way through each level boosting their score and confidence. Learning the sounds that correspond to each letter is by far a better method of learning to read then memorizing.

You can purchase the app on the Apple store or Google Play. You can find more information on Read with Phonics on their website.

Disclosure: I received the Read with Phonics in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Creating Magical Christmas Memories with the Portable North Pole Magic Pass

Portable North Pole

For the last six years, our family has been creating Portable North Pole (PNP) Santa calls for our children. My Dad started this tradition with our eldest son and we have carried it on.

Portable North Pole (PNP) allows parents (or grandparents/aunts/uncles,etc) create a personalized video call for the special child in their life. They can personalize it with their name (which you can choose the right pronunciation of the name), their pictures, an achievement they made this year and what they have been asked to do this year. At the end of the video the child finds out whether they are on Santa’s naughty or nice list (not going to lie, my husband and I made joke ones for each other that the kids think are hilarious as Daddy is always on the naughty list!).

Creating Magical Memories with Portable North Pole

Each year the video calls are different with the most amazing attention to detail. The calls are engaging and Santa is animating and attentive. He really makes you feel part of the video call. Our youngest sits there listening to his video answering ‘yes Santa’, ‘I will try Santa’ and ‘okay Santa’. It is priceless and something we can’t wait for them to experience each year.

With the magic pass, you have access to all of the premium videos for an unlimited amount of video videos, a reaction recorder (this is for the mobile app), unlimited Santa calls, HD downloads of your videos and a story time video with Santa every week during the month of December. Right now you can save 20% on the PNP Magic Pass by visiting their website here.

Portable North Pole

I highly recommend downloading the app on your phone for the PNP. You can always watch the videos online but the app has so many extras that are perfect for parents and kids. There is a parent section (password protected!), where you can create the videos as well as email them. I used the app to create all my videos this year. There is also a call button on it that I have convinced my youngest and all his friends that it gives me a direct line to Santa when they are being bad. The second section is just for kids where they can playing a matching game, tree shaking game and watch their videos.

Creating Magical Memories with Portable North Pole

Make sure you follow Portable North Pole online to keep up with all things Christmas and Santa, you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Happy video calls!

Disclosure: I received a Magic Pass in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Boost Concentration with Focus @ Will

Boost Your Concentration wtih Focus @ Will

Music has the power to soothe, to create energy, to relax but did you also know it can help you concentrate?

One of the hardest things I find at the office is drowning out the constant conversations, requests and noise from others around me. But somehow I have to as my works depends on it. The skill of concentrating on the task at hand is extremely important to ensure my job is done and done well. While naturally I want to think I am great at concentrating on the task at hand, this is not always the case. Neuroscience and psychology have looked into ways that we can help boost our concentration levels to produce higher quality work and Focus @ Will uses this to help boost your concentration in the best way possible – with music!

Boost Your Concentration wtih Focus @ Will

Science has discovered that after about twenty minutes in a crowded, loud environment that individuals were able to concentrate on their work while drowning out the outside noise (see there is reason behind those coffee-house study dates!). So the trick for Focus @ Will is to find something that will occupy your brain just enough to allow the other part of your mind to concentrate on the task at hand. But not all music is created the same as they found, lyrics can be distracting to workers as well as music that the listeners perhaps liked or disliked.

Boost Your Concentration with Focus @ Will

Focus @ Will has developed an array of music collections to suit your every need (I personally enjoyed the classical and focus spa). I found they helped to calm my anxiety, allow me to relax and focus on the task at hand. They did not feel distracting and the music did not bother my co-workers at all, as I kept it playing on my computer while working throughout the day. I did take recommended breaks and you can even track your focus during your session.

Boost Your Concentration with Focus @ Will

So if you are ready to get your concentration on while listening to scientifically formulated music, head over to Focus @ Will to sign up for your free trial now!

Make sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with news and more.

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Oddsoks for Storypanda #Review

“Where did the Oddsoks go?…”

How many times have we put our socks in the washing machine to only have one come back out? It is almost a weekly occurrence in our home!

But where do the Oddsoks go?

The Oddsoks app for Storypanda is the story of Jimi who loves his fabulous socks! But one day half of his socks are gone leaving him with one sock from each pair. He receives a letter from the Oddsoks explaining the whereabouts of his socks. The Oddsoks are creatures that power the washing machine and love odd socks. They love odd socks so much they have taken them on an adventure.

Our family fell in love with the adorable Oddsoks and their adventures with the socks. The boys loved to be able to re-create the story using their own ideas which also provides hours of extra fun. The Oddsoks app also has some pretty awesome sound effects as well to go along with the story which our boys fell in love with and copied themselves.

Want to meet Jimi and the Oddsoks yourself? You can purchase a copy of the Oddsoks on Apple for $2.99 CDN here.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this app to provide feedback. Regardless the opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.

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