Recently I’ve been interested in exploring new ways of interacting with the iPad, seeing how we can move beyond finger to screen interactions and integrate more 3D real world into our regular iPad experience. I was encouraged in this direction by my discovery of Crayola Digitools and soon I discovered there are a number of fabulous 3D resources out there. Each of the products reviewed below is designed to be used with the iPad to enhance our kids’ enjoyment of learning and inspire creative endeavors. Variety is the spice of life right? And a little, no actually a lot, of variety always goes down well with the kids, so anything that changes our routines up a bit and inspires the kids to start thinking and experimenting in a new way is always worth investigating. Plus research has shown that children learn faster when they are required to engage their visual, auditory and tactile senses in an activity. I’ve looked at iPad accessories made by three companies at the forefront of creative and educational iPad innovation: Tiggly, Touchtronic and Crayola. And luckily for us the kind folks at each of these companies has offered Flying Start Kids readers a chance to win some of these fantastic sets for free! Continue reading “iPad Accessories for Learning and Fun: Review plus GIVEAWAY!!”
This beautiful open ended nature play app is Apple’s Free App of the Week. Designed for kids 6-8 but fun for younger kids as well, this app enables them to design their own little world of nature and animals. They are presented with a plain piece of land to which they can add mountains, water and five types of tree. The trees provide habitats for different animals. They can spin the globe in the corner to look at the land from different angles or tap Continue reading “Free App: Toca Nature”
I’ve been asked by a few slightly, shall we say… apprehensive parents which apps I would recommend for their 1 or 2 year old to entertain them on a plane journey. I mean really, what are they worried about…? Cue droll laugh. In my mind any flight over about 6 hours with small kids is akin to one of those mad endurance challenges that people put themselves through where they have to crawl through mud for 20 kilometers carrying three tyres on their head or swim under arctic pack ice with no wetsuit. No that is not melodrama, that is… traveling with kids. If you are thinking the in flight entertainment will sort them out, well sorry, they don’t sit and pay attention to that until around age 3 I reckon, when the fact Continue reading “Sanity Savers! Apps and Ideas for Entertaining Toddlers on a Plane”
Patience, hmmm… clearly a learned skill wouldn’t you agree? Can’t say I know that many… any… kids (or adults!?) that are naturally full of calm and zen? Let me cast my mind back to, er, oh yes! To the misty distant past of 1 hour ago at lunch when L Star was sitting upside down in his chair at the table with his feet smiling sweetly at the rest of the family as we ate our eggs. Mr Fidget could not sit still and was struggling with staying the right way up long enough to eat a few morsels. The volume from all was getting louder and louder and the whole family could have benefited from taking a few deep breaths. I try to model patience to my kids but have to admit that the 15,000th request/demand of the day, or an upside down boy at the dinner table waggling his feet at the food, well, on the wrong day that might just press a few buttons. So any tools that can help me pass on patience and de-stressing skills are most welcome. In this recent post I mentioned how both adults and kids can benefit from understanding how to slow down and be more mindful and this is one app that we’ve been practicing with that successfully introduces these concepts. Sesame Street have done a stellar job, the app is part of a series to help kids build emotional resilience, which is a monumentally important life skill we can help them with.
The cute Sesame Street blue monster engages kids by getting them to help him deal with problems. Kids have to choose how the monster deals with each situation, this helps them learn strategies for dealing with similar situations in the real world. Kids learn a good emotional vocabulary, a calm breathing technique and an approach to tackling problems: ‘Breathe, Think, Do‘.
Features as mentioned on the Breathe, Think, Do app store page:
• Explore five interactive activities with a unique, everyday challenge
• Tap, pop bubbles, and more to help the monster breathe, think, and do to solve problems and feel better
• Personalize encouraging phrases that your child will hear as they help the monster think of a plan
• ”Breathe with the Monster” activity to help children practice taking deep breaths to calm down
• Robust Parent Section with great resources for navigating everyday challenges with your young child
These days I’m often encouraging L Star to Breathe, Think, Do at many different points in the day. And quite frankly it’s good for us grown ups too. I also found these printables from Sesame Street to go with the app, some of which I’m going to put in key hotspots where trouble can strike. Hope these help you to a calmer happy household 🙂
This app makes clever use of augmented reality to enhance game playing. Firstly you print off some PDF’s from the game website and cut up the numbered ‘sushi plates’ and place them around the house. When playing the app, Ruff Ruffman challenges the player to solve a maths problem. The player has to hold the phone over the ‘sushi plate’ which has the correct answer. The screen then magically displays the correct number of sushi (augmented reality bit). Has wow factor and we enjoyed playing this one with L Star and seeing him puzzle over the solutions and run around trying to find the right plate. The sums get harder quite quickly to we had to stick to the first level but looking forward to using this more as the boys maths skills improve.
Oh and did I mention it’s FREE? Yay!
Fetch! Lunch Rush! is a free app from PBS Kids show Fetch with Ruff Ruffman.
Alien Assignment is a very simple but effective app which encourages problem solving and involves getting off the couch as the player is asked find various real world things to help fix the alien’s spaceship. They have to take photos of the objects they find. Lovely to see L Star running around working hard on his assignment! This app is free too!