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Get your children up to speed with current news events using News-O-Matic. Read the reviews (below) from two different families, and then enter the contest for a chance to win one of three 1-year subscriptions to News-O-Matic!
The world is going on around us, and I want my children to have a way to know what is going on. The obvious option would be to turn on the television and watch the news. Since we have been television-free for almost four years, that is not an option. Plus, much of what is included in the television news these days is not content that I am really ready to introduce them to. I can say the same about some of the content in the daily newspapers that are available.
Press4Kids has created News-O-Matic, which is an iPad app targeted to children ages 7 to 11 years old. News-O-Matic is a daily newspaper that provides children with content every weekday covering news. It also provides its users with games, history timelines, interactive maps, and other wacky news that is educational and basically a lot of fun. The best part is that my children were having fun the whole time they were reading, playing, and learning!
Users learn about current news events that are happening locally as well as globally. A neat feature that is included is the mapping capabilities. Using this feature, the reader will be able to see how close he is to where the actual story takes place. Measurements can appear in miles, kilometers, walking time, and even bananas or some other wacky type of measurement that is related to the story. That only adds to the fun of the full reading experience.
The team behind News-O-Matic not only includes writers, but also a child psychologist who edits the content prior to its publication. This should give parents a sense of comfort when it comes to their children reading stories that may be sensitive in nature. All of the “stuff” has been considered to ensure that what your child is reading is something that is age appropriate prior to it being including in the daily offerings of News-O-Matic.
My children’s use of News-O-Matic gave them an excuse to use the iPad for at least five days out of the week. Actually, I was happy that while they were playing the games they were also learning! I allowed my oler two to read the news articles during their break time and play the games after they finished their school work for the day.
My youngest, who is seven and an early reader, was able to use the app too. I read the articles to him, and he was able to use the games section. The puzzle game had puzzles that he could easily put together. For the Mystery Word game, I read the clues to him and let him guess the word to be spelled. We were able to practice his spelling skills using Mystery Word.
Some of the features that I like as a parent are the following:
1. There is an option for children to click underlined words that may be more challenging. With a click, they can listen to or read the definition of the word.
2. The content is not too overwhelming. The mixture of games, art and news content make a good combination for useful iPad or screen-time use.
3. If you miss an issue, that’s ok! The child has access to some of the most recent back issues.
4. Each article includes an act and fact. With the fact, the reader learns more about the subject/content of the article. With the act, the reader is encouraged to act in some manner that is related to the story. An example of an action was to donate food to a local pantry. Another was to help raise money for a good cause.
5. The app is ad-free.
Take a look at what News-O-Matic has to offer in this video. It gives you a great overview in about 4 minutes, so be sure to take a look!
I have to begin by saying that my 11-year-old daughter loves this app! She is not typically interested in news at all, so I wasn’t sure if she would like it or not. She does love to read, and I want her to learn more about what’s going on in the world, so I decided to try it out and see what happened. I’m really glad I did!
I won’t give more details about how the app works since Jennifer and the video she linked to cover that information very well. Instead, I’ll tell you how my daughter used and liked the app.
A few days ago when my daughter was reading the day’s news, she found out that a meteor shower was supposed to be visible for a few nights. She was so excited! She read the news story and showed it to me so we could figure out how many more nights it would be visible and if we would be able to see it in our area of the country. Unfortunately, we had several rainy nights so we couldn’t see it. Because it’s visible once a year, though, she felt better about it.
Several days ago when Nelson Mandela died, she read about him and the good things he did to help the people of South Africa. She also learned that the city where he lived is 8,836.88 miles away from where we live and that it would take 17 hours and 40 minutes to fly there. She thought it was quite funny that it would take 1,085,086 helicopters–on the ground lined up one in front of the other to measure the distance–to get there! She enjoyed listening to the way the people from his city say hello. She particularly likes the feature which allows her to hear the different ways that people say hello in the areas that the news stories cover.
Another story she read was about an art thief in London who stole some paintings by Damien Hirst, an abstract artist. She was able to click on the word abstract to hear it pronounced and to read the definition. I particularly like that the pronunciation is given so she’ll truly be able to learn and use the new word. (In my family, we love to learn new words and then use them as often as possible in lots of different ways over the next few days. Not only does it help us remember the words, but it gives us a fun way to learn them!) She found out that it is 4,499.42 miles from our city to the city where the art was stolen. It would take us 9 hours to fly there. It would take 23,681,154 paint brushes lined up on the ground to cover the distance from our house to the art gallery in London!
As far as the games go, she enjoyed shaking up the iPad to scramble the puzzle pieces so she could reassemble the puzzle. Another game called Mystery Word allowed her to choose letters (kind of like on Wheel of Fortune) to try to find the mystery word. The last game, On This Date, shows a timeline with various events that happened in several different years on this day in history. She got to move a little rocket to different places on the timeline to try to guess the date that a certain event happened. Once she moved the rocket to the correct date, the rocket took off.
If you’d like to purchase the app, click this link. I think you and your children will be very pleased with it! You can download the News-O-Matic app for free. You get 2 free editions to try out. If you’d like to continue your subscription, the cost right now is discounted, so you can get a weekly subscription for .99, monthly for $1.99, or $9.99 for 260 editions. The regular price is $1.99 weekly, $2.99 monthly, and $19.99 yearly. My opinion is that this app is well worth the cost! My daughter and I will definitely be continuing our subscription and keeping up with the news!
Also, be sure to enter the giveaway! Press4Kids is giving away 3 one-year subscriptions to our Hip Homeschool Moms readers! If you have children between the ages of 7 and 11, be sure to enter!
Wendy lives in the South with her wonderful hubby and 3 great kiddos! She is a Christian, homeschooling, work-from-home mom. She and Scott were high school sweethearts and have been married for more than 20 years. Her oldest child has autism, and Wendy began homeschooling her at age 2. Her son, a typical boy, would rather do anything than school! Her youngest child is a little social butterfly and people lover. Wendy loves reading and quilting and will hopefully return to scrapbooking some time soon. You can visit her personal blog at Homeschooling Blessings and on Facebook & Pinterest.