Jangle App Review – The app that teaches kids money skills!

IMG_1379Towards the end of last year I was invited along to a rather lovely lunch with Dragon’s Den newcomer Sarah Willingham. Sarah has collaborated with the financial chaps at Experian to create a brand new App called Jangle aimed at demystifying finance for kids.

The idea is to help kids manage their own money by completing various tasks in exchange for financial rewards. This not only teaches children the value of waiting and saving for non-essential items but the time spent completing tasks helps them to learn the value of their own time and therefore money. At least that’s the idea but let’s take a look at it in practice.

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At the moment Jangle is only available on iPad, but it’s in the pipeline for other platforms soon. Initially Mum or Dad downloads the app and sets up an account. This account acts as the master login which is used to approve the actions of your kids.

Create a Pot

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Once you’ve set up a profile for your child hand over the iPad and they can create a ‘pot’ to save for. This can be anything at all, a day out, a game, a toy etc. Add the cost and you’ve begun your saving journey. To add further motivation an image can be added to the goal, for example if you’re saving for a Pokemon game you can upload or search online for a image of Pikachu etc.jangle3

Finally a parent has to enter the master password to approve this savings goal.

Choose Activities

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Time to earn that reward! In this section your child choosing various activities, then requests what they believe to be appropriate payment. This is a really interesting exercise as they are essentially valuing their own time and the differences for various tasks can be dramatic. Of course they may think they deserve £25 to clean their room but that doesn’t mean you agree, so each task and payment has to be approved by a parent.

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Interestingly enough this really appeared to teach my kids the value of money. If they’ve just spent an hour earning £2.50 then suddenly blowing it on sweets doesn’t seem like such a great reward.

Once an activity has been completed a parent can approve and the money earned is added to their total which can be seen to grow towards their pot.

jangle6Kids Thoughts

My kids love this app, it allows them to save for whatever they want and how quickly they receive it depends not on their nagging skills but on their own motivation and hard work. If they don’t want to complete activities they don’t, but nor do they receive the reward.

My Thoughts

I love this app because it significantly reduces the nagging from the kids and I really think it teaches them the value of their time and consequently the value of ours too.

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However… I have come to find one aspect of the app somewhat annoying and that it the need for my approval at every single step.

Pick a pot and I have to approve before my child can go any further. Pick an activity and I have to approve before they can move on and so on. Believe me this gets frustrating when they are trying to reach £32 in £1 increments and you’re just trying to get dinner on the table or your hair dried. I think it would be vastly, hugely improved if kids could pick their goals and activities which then go into an approval que. This would allow me to login later and approve/change/deny in one go.

I believe it has been set up this way so that the financial learning journey is shared between parent and child which is great, but in reality approving each step was a bit tiresome.

Despite saying all that though I still think this is a minor niggle overall as I believe the app really offers such valuable learning that having to stop and approve constantly isn’t the end of the world. Incidentally it’s way more annoying to me than the kids, they weren’t remotely bothered.

For more Info and to download Jangle visit www.experian.co.uk/consumer/jangle or the App Store

 

 

 

 

 

Drayton Manor’s War of the Worlds Fireworks Spectacular Review

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Last night I took my family along to the best firework display I’ve ever seen! Full of atmosphere, drama and sparkle it’s an event you really shouldn’t miss. But if that isn’t enough to convince you then read on for sneak peaks in today’s Drayton Manor’s War of the Worlds Fireworks Spectacular review.

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We arrived shortly before 4pm and delighted at the Halloween decorations strewn around the park (nothing overtly scary for the little ones either :) ).firework9+

 

As the sun went down, the lights came on and a wonderful sense of atmosphere flowed thoughout. Some areas (like the zoo) shut at 5pm, but most of the rides have been covered with lights and can be enjoyed right up until 9pm. The carousel is always a firm favourite and creates a magical blur of lights and sounds in the evening.

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Shortly after 7pm we made our way to the lake to wait for the firework display. The show started at 8pm but if you want a front place view you have to get there reasonably early. Although I should add that the fireworks are huge so you can actually see them from most of the park. There’s also a screen provided from one of the lawns which is great if you’re taking smaller children.

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At 8pm Liam Neeson’s voice came over the speaker and we knew that the Fireworks were about to start. For those unfamiliar with the War of the Worlds musical, Liam provided the narration.

firework5+The fireworks began in stunning style as they shot high above the lake. All perfectly timed to the music it made for a truly breath-taking display.

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Complementing this was a kind of smoke cloud set upon the lake showing images from the critically acclaimed musical, plus an alien spaceship to one side which was shooting lasers!

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I’ve seen many fireworks over the years and certainly some very impressive displays but never such a perfectly choreographed event that utilises images, lasers, music and the most stunning and gigantic fireworks! I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit if you can get there.

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The fireworks close out the 65th Anniversary season at Drayton in epic style and they continue tonight and tomorrow (31st Oct, 1st Nov, but fireworks at 7pm) so there’s still time to get tickets and book a visit to the event.

 

firework8+For more information and to book your tickets (you know you want too!) then pop over to Drayton Manor’s website here.

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Finally a short video showing the amazing fountain that rested on the lake playing images from the War of the Worlds musical.

 

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The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggie Li Review

bodydetectivesMy children are growing up and with age comes curiosity. Why do they dream, what is a brain and why are their eyes blue? These are all questions that my youngest has bombarded me with in recent times. Of course I answer him but sometimes relating biological facts in a way that a young child can grasp and understand is remarkably difficult. Thankfully I was recently sent a copy of The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggie Li to review and we’ve been perusing the pages to see if they can offer a better insight for a small inquiring mind.Photo 26-07-2015 14 27 50

Maggie Li’s brand new book is aimed at kids aged five and above and it’s packed with fun pictures that illustrate various parts of the human body, what they do and why they do it. On the front cover there is an embedded magnifying glass that can be used at various points throughout the book.Photo 26-07-2015 14 28 09

My son was initially quite reluctant to look through the book with me, he just didn’t seem overly interested for some reason. However once we’d removed the magnifying glass and opened the pages he was immediately hooked! He loved the images and none were scary or intimidating. He was so impressed with any new found facts we discovered that he took the book away to show to his siblings.Photo 26-07-2015 14 29 15

We didn’t read the book from beginning to end, I chose instead to let my son pick out the pages that appealed to him. This means we’ve still got plenty to explore as and when he wants too. I asked him why he likes the book:

‘Because it shows things that are inside you and because the pictures have lots of parts and I like the magnifying glass.’

Photo 26-07-2015 14 31 48Would I recommend this book?

If you are looking for a child friendly book, beautifully illustrated but still able to answer some complicated questions then this is a great book to purchase. Perfect for young ones to read with an adult or older kids to read on their own.

Could it be improved in anyway?

Quite a minor complaint but once the magnifying glass is removed from the front cover where it is secured with clear tape there is nowhere within the book to keep it. I can see this getting lost quite quickly. Although the book isn’t unusable without it.

Details

Publisher: Pavilion Children’s Books (11 Jun. 2015)

ISBN-13: 978-1843652977

RRP: £9.99