Fun and Learning With the Orphs of the Woodland App (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

I’d love to be able to tell you that my children only use technology five hours a week. I’d love to tell you that instead of sitting inside hooked to a device, they happily roam the yard, coming up with creative ways to play. I’d love to tell you that. But I honestly can’t.

Review of an interactive book from Star Toaster

My kids love their devices. And while we do try to place some limits on how much time they spend on them, it happens to be summer where we live. And it’s been a very, very, very hot summer. So we’ve probably spent a little too much time with technology. Our recent Crew review, however, allayed some of my concerns about our technology usage. We had the opportunity to review Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree from Star Toaster.

Last year, Ashlyne and Rachel, my younger girls, had the opportunity to try out an Orphs interactive book that was computer-based. Although they enjoyed the game play and the concept- which included rescuing cute little animals and caring for them- the amount of reading was pretty heavy for them. I ended up doing quite a bit of the reading aloud. I was really excited to see a new Orphs book come out- this time in app form.

Star Toaster

Star Toaster is the site that published Orphs of the Woodlands- the computer-based book that we’ve previously reviewed. They want to produce learning experiences with character at the core. The production team acknowledges that all children learn first at home, whether homeschooled or not. And their goal is to create a series of these interactive books that will eventually be an entire year’s curriculum.

Right now, you can purchase the original Orphs book- The Treasure of High Tower– from the website. And there is the new app that we had the opportunity to review, available through the iTunes store.

Interactive book from Star Toaster

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree is an IOS app that can be run on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 8.4 or later. We accessed it with an iPod Touch and an iPhone. The app is designed for ages 9-11, according to the app store. My younger girls used it- ages 10 and 12 (just barely). My 17 year old daughter also tried it out and really enjoyed it, although it was too easy. She wants to petition Star Toaster to make a version with more difficult reading. The program allows multiple users on one device. We used separate devices just because it was easier for the girls to access. (We were able to get the app across multiple devices because our Apple devices use Family Share.)

Using Orphs of the Woodland

The game play involves a story book featuring Abba, a flying squirrel who cares for Orphs- orphaned woodland creatures- in his tree fort- Tangletree.

Interactive chapter book for elementary
Kids begin by reading the story of Abba. The app will take them to the place that they left off in the book. They can also choose to navigate with the chapter menu.
Academic skills in an interactive chapter book
Review of Orphs of the Woodland
As kids read the story, some words will be in blue. These lead to information kids can learn. The lesson include character lessons, along with lessons in math, science, language arts, life skills, and the arts.
Interactive chapter book
Practice academic skills with this interactive book
In each chapter there are also jobs that the kids can do. First, they’ll do a little job training. This training teaching academic and life skills. 
Summer reading for kids
Kids can find out how many jobs are still available in the chapter by visiting Stumptown. 
Academic skills practice
The jobs are fun games that practice academic skills. As they complete the jobs, they earn gold stars. These stars help them purchase the things that their baby Orphs need. There are screens that show what they can earn for their Orphs and how many more stars are required to earn the things they need. In this screen, Rachel only needed strawberries to complete what her Orphs wanted. She needed to go to Stumptown to earn more stars.
Interactive book from Star Toaster
I love that parents can check up and see what kids have completed. That way you’ll know the types of skills that they’ve been practicing.
Educational app from Star Toaster

Using the App

My girls really enjoyed Orphs. I had to sometimes remind them that I wanted them to play it for the review. But they always readily did so and really enjoyed their time playing it.

Both girls were very happy that this app version had easier reading and shorter amounts of reading. Ashlyne especially liked reading on her phone instead of the computer screen. That was one of her big problems in using the computer version.

Using Orphs of the Woodland

I was surprised by how much Kathryne- age 17- enjoyed the app. She really liked the concept and said she wished they make one with harder reading and more difficult jobs.

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tangletree has been a big hit here. It’s been perfect for inside play while the weather is so hot. It’s an app that will appeal to homeschool families and traditional school families because it’s a great way for kids to learn and practice skills.

Other Review Crew members had the opportunity to review this app. Click the banner to see what they thought.

Orphs of the Woodlands at Tanglegate Review

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