Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery iPad App Review

Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery iPad app by Jamie Lee Curtis and Auryn Inc is an app based on a book of the same name that is guaranteed to captivate young kids imaginations and keep them entertained while they play. I love the simple story which attempts to answer a question that all kids ask at some stage, "Where do balloons go when you let them go free?". Kids will not only love the story but as the app is packed full of interactive features and activities including a brilliant Balloon Theatre it is definitely fun and engaging.

Where Do Balloons Go? iPad App, Menu Options
Menu options
When you first load the app, a video introduction by Jamie Lee Curtis plays where she explains her inspiration for the story. She got the idea while at a children's party and a little kid asked the question "Where do balloons go when they are set free?". This instantly prompted her to write about it. I like this background information to the story's origins and I think it adds to the app experience by giving it a personal touch. After the video is played, the home screen appears and you can choose between Start where you launch the Story, Balloon Theatre, Settings or to replay the Jamie Lee Curtis video.

Balloon Theatre is so much fun and not just for the kids which I can personally attest to. Once in the theatre you first design your balloon characters by selecting items from the closet,  you then press Next where you can select a background to add your characters to, then you can record your voice and put on a play. It is fantastic for encouraging your child to tap into his or her imagination and get really creative not to mention lots of fun.

Designing our Balloon Characters
Designing our Balloon Characters
Recording our play
Recording our play
If you select Start the story begins, it is seventeen pages long and is packed full of interactive features on each and ever page. Ben had lots of fun discovering them all as we read through it and was eager to scroll around each and ever page trying to find all the surprises. Amongst the many interactive features included in this app, you can drag a fan and make the balloons fly about, join stars in outer space to create a constellation (which is a big hit with Ben), customise, write and send postcards and inflate a balloon and twist and turn them into animals shapes. The app is beautifully illustrated and easy to use with arrows you tap to navigate forward and back through pages and if hints are turned on in settings you get prompted about the interactive features.

Hints to help you discover the interactive features
Ben loves this app and has spent quite a lot of time exploring and finding the clever interactive elements, these are nicely integrated into the app in a way that does not detract from the story itself which is good as it ensures that your child still listens or reads along. The story is read in a karaoke type format with words underlined as read which is great for children learning to read. You also have the option to switch on and off some of the settings including Voice over, Music, Hints and Bookmark. I loved the extra voice snippets such as the astronauts talking and the people chattering.

Where Do Balloons Go? iPad App By Jamie Lee Curtis, Create your own postcard which you can email to a friend
Create your own postcard which you can email to a friend
Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery is available to download from the App Store and is compatible with the iPad with a free Lite HD version and a full version which costs £3.99.

Where Do Balloons Go? iPad App By Jamie Lee Curtis, Ben busy joining the stars in the constellation to create an aeroplane
Ben busy joining the stars in the constellation to create an aeroplane
*Disclaimer: I received a promo code to download Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery iPad App for free but this has in no way biased my opinion.

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