As we move into the second week of school, the kids and I have been busy exploring the myriad of apps on our new HP ENVY Rove20 as part of the HP Canada Brain Training Challenge with Creative IQ. For our second task, we elected to improve our science knowledge, teamwork and artistic skills by playing educational games that are fun and engaging. With the Rove20’s 10-point multi-touch 20-inch screen, exploring the solar system and living cells, solving puzzles and painting has never been this exciting.
First up was the Puzzle Touch app. After spending a good while figuring out how to search for apps in the Windows Store (it's really quite easy), it wasn't long before the Puzzle Touch app was downloaded and automatically installed. With the Puzzle Touch app, you can choose from a large selection of beautiful photos as well as the number of puzzle pieces you would like. My son started with a 6-piece puzzle and loved the car puzzle the best.
Eventually he worked his way to 12-piece puzzles and turned on the rotation option, which turns pieces and makes it even more challenging to solve. Of course, a little help and encouragement from daddy made it all the more enjoyable.
For a free app, Puzzle Touch can provide hours of family fun. You can create a new puzzle easily by using a photo from your album or by taking a picture using the HP Rove20 built-in camera. And if you are a puzzle freak like me, you can get as many as 1,000 pieces but it'll cost you $2.99 to have full access to that feature.
Next up, we tried out the Star Chart app which allows you to explore the planets, moons, satellites, stars, and constellations within our solar system. It's the perfect app for that budding astronomer in your family.
For the younger crowd, Animal Sound Box is a fun, free app that lets your preschooler explore the sounds that animals make. It is easy to navigate and the illustrations are just plain adorable.
I thought my son would bore of it quickly based on its simplicity but it caught the attention of my 8-year-old.
And when they discovered the option of viewing photos of the animals in real life, my kids loved it even more.
Moving along, my son tried his hand at Fresh Paint, which I had used in the first HP Brain Training challenge. It comes with a single drawing of a whale and you can again easily upload any colouring pages you may have in your photo album. There are activity packs that you can purchase for as little as $1.49 for a pack of 6, $2.49 for a set of 22 Disney's Finding Nemo drawings or pay $2.49 for additional sets that contain 50 pages.
Corinth Micro Plant takes you into the fascinating microscopic world of plant biology. With the HP Rove20 HD display, you can view magnified images, fully 3D interactive models of trees, learn about plant cells, bacteria and mysterious forms of plant viruses, and more. And it's free!
Finally, we have my son's recent favourite - Zoo Train. I made my first Windows Store purchase and paid $1.49 for this app. While I felt it wasn't very challenging for my 5-year-old, my son didn't mind at all. In fact, he loves planes, trains and automobiles so his fascination goes without saying.
There is a bit of a puzzle component as your child creates a train track by placing track pieces on various layouts as well as other picture puzzles. There is also another activity that allows your child to practice letter recognition by matching letters to their tiles.
The brightly coloured train whistles are really cute and instantly appealed to my son who recently started piano lessons. They can, however, become rather annoying if your child isn't wearing earphones. If your child is in senior kindergarten, I would recommend passing up on this app as I'd say it's better suited for toddlers.
Seeing as this is my first time using Windows 8 and the Windows Store, it took some time getting used to finding my way around but luckily @HPSupport came across my tweet and shared some handy tutorials:
@TeacherMomOfTwo The tutorials here http://t.co/hea2QB1d9e might help. :)
— HP Support (@HPSupport) August 30, 2013
The more I use the Windows app and the HP Rove20, the more I like the new platform and the touch screen functionality. I'm looking forward to our third and final challenge!
Don't forget that the HP Back-to-School Bundle giveaway is well underway and is ending in one week. I know many of you have been eagerly waiting for the next secret word so without further ado, here you go:
Secret Word #6: WINDOWS8
Disclosure: The products to complete the HP Brain Training Challenge activities have been supplied by HP Canada and Creative IQ™. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own.