Free Apps, Music Apps, Toddler Apps

Sanity Savers! Apps and Ideas for Entertaining Toddlers on a Plane

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Entertaining little people on a plane!

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”

Age 5, Co-playing Apps, Music Apps, Preschoolers, Toddler Apps

Bubl Draw: your art makes music!

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I. LOVE. THIS. APP. Which is fairly self evident since I’m posting it on my blog. But I just love it when you come across that happy symbiosis of super fun apps that also promote creativity and curiosity. Plus it’s a fun one for kids and adults to use together and apps that promote co-playing are always a good thing. This app seems pretty simple and well, actually, it is! It is simple to use straight away but rewards deeper investigation. That’s one hallmark of a well designed app in my book.

Bubl Draw is an enhanced drawing app, every mark you make creates music. Experiment with colours, with different areas of the page and with different shapes. All will contribute to a fun composition based on three musical styles: Classic, Disco or Rumba. The instruments naturally complement each other and are always in tune (thankfully).

Both my kids (age 2 and 4) love this one and have even been known to play it together. For a short time… let’s not set expectations too high here! I enjoy playing it with them too but they definitely love to take charge with their own compositions!

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Age 5, Age 6, App Reviews, Book Apps, Preschoolers, Toddler Apps

Brilliant Book Apps to Enthrall All

We love books and book apps are a whole new fantastic way of enthusing young readers. The ones featured here are our pick of the bunch, those that have been heavily used and hugely popular in our house. Some have wow factor, some are sweet, all are brilliant! The list is in order of suitable age range: youngest to oldest.

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Interactive Alphabet (age 1+)

It’s chilled, it’s sweet and has just enough interactivity to keep their interest. Take a leisurely stroll through the alphabet and touch any of the pictures to interact. A for apple is one of Cool A’s favourites, touch it and the apple slowly gets eaten, cracks him up!

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Red in Bed (age 1+)

Very sweet introduction to colours for our youngest readers. Poor red is sick in bed and can’t go out to colour, so the other colours fill in for him, but get a few things wrong. Simple, bold drawings and basic interaction with quick responses make this a winner for little hands. Cool A totally adores this app, he thinks red’s ‘sick’ voice is hysterical. He also enjoys waking the little colour bubbles up when in bed and sending them to sleep at the end. Plus look out for the bonus secret colour bubble who likes to hang out with Indigo and Violet.

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The Monster at the End of this Book (age 2+)

This was one of our early favourites, based on a classic Sesame Street book of the same name. The story is funny, no annoying music and Grover is adorable. He’s scared there’s a monster at the end of the book and will do anything to stop you turning those pages! Which of course makes nothing more enticing… Wonderfully done and such a success that it spawned a second book app, Another Monster at the End of this Book, starring Elmo. Also worth getting. I just love Sesame Street apps.

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The Three Little Pigs (age 3+)

This app was made by Nosy Crow and if you love a good book app, get to know that name. Really I could have chosen any of their lovely fairytale books. There are loads of interactive surprises and some cunning use of the iPad format, such as blowing in the microphone to help the wolf blow the houses down, or tilting the screen to find hidden characters. The stories are read in children’s voices which kids always love to hear. Also available are Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk.
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Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol 2 (age 3/4+)

Bartleby has already rated a mention on this blog as one of L Star’s favourite all time apps. Both my boys are button fanatics and wo betide anyone who tries to operate the microwave or dial a phone number by themselves! Noooo! Button armageddon will be visited upon you. Well thankfully Bartleby saves the day, a whole story with various buttons to operate (although never enough for my two), puzzles to solve and a curious enough story to get them interested. Sadly it’s a To be Continued… which is very frustrating, but that hasn’t stopped this being super popular in our house. The mystery is, where did Bartleby Vol 1 go? No word from the developers.

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Millie’s Crazy Dinosaur Adventure: Book 3 (age 4+)

We have enjoyed Milly’s third adventure just as much as it’s two predecessors. It’s a fun tale with heaps of switches, levers and buttons (yay!) to activate to progress the story. Millie forgets a birthday present for her friend so invents a time machine to go back in time to get herself out of trouble. Except the dial is set a little too far back in time. The ‘Story Switch’ feature enables you to choose the path the story takes and there are secret stickers hidden on each page which encourage investigation and experimentation. L Star loves this book and when I asked him why (hoping for some useful insight to use in this review) he gleefully told me it’s because he likes it when Millie almost gets eaten by a dinosaur and he wishes she would. OK! Maybe the developers could take that on board and Millie could get eaten in her next adventure? Yeah, he is 4. Whether he roots for the heroine or not, he still has a great time with Millie and her adventures.

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Dinoboy (age 4+)

We love this one for it’s imaginative whimsy and the lovely hand illustrated pictures. It’s also one of the few multiple choice books we’ve come across, so the kids can decide what happens next and experience a different story on each reading. There’s something to do on each page before the story can progress and L Star returns to this one again and again.

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Rom and the Whale of Dreams (age 6+)

A truly beautiful book, more in the style of a traditional picture book with exquisite illustrations and simple animation. We love a story about imagination and curiosity and this one does not disappoint: “In a land where no one dreams, Rom – a gypsy prince – dreams of a strange creature: a whale with lion’s paws and butterfly wings. Convinced that the animal exists, Rom travels to strange lands in search of it…” Aimed at older kids 6-8, but this has been a lovely reading experience for L Star (4) and I.

In one of my next posts I’m going to review some truly spectacular books incorporating Augmented Reality. What is that? Well it brings a whole amazing 3D aspect to your story time. But don’t worry if you don’t have a clue how it works,  I’ll be going through a quick run down of exactly what it is and how to make it work on your iPad. Suffice to say it’s purty fricken cool…

What are the favourite books apps at your place?

App Reviews, Toddler Apps

Paint My Wings – beautiful apps for Toddlers

Paint My Wings - beautiful apps for Toddlers

I love apps that encourage creativity and don’t necessarily have exact answers to input. This app is delightful, again no distracting music or flashy visuals, just the occasional hello! or giggle from a butterfly as you paint its wings with a simple variety of squishy fruit paints and brushes. One of Cool A’s favourites. The makers of this app, Toca Boca make top notch kids apps. Be sure to do a search for them on the App Store.

App Reviews, Preschoolers, Toddler Apps

Apps Montessori Style

Apps Montessori Style

In a rather special collision of old style meets new world we have the delightful range of Montessori apps, designed with minimal, well, everything. Muted colours, simple audio and best of all, made to look like they are constructed from wood. Are these not a bit dull compared to all the whizz bang other apps provide? Not at all. The are a perfect intro to apps for your little learner and both mine found these apps to be clear favourites. Simple, elegant and well priced. Covering many subject areas, this stable of apps will last you for a few years with apps for toddlers – primary.
Click on image to read about them and hunt them out in the iTunes store.

App Reviews, Toddler Apps

Great app for toddlers: First Words Deluxe

Great app for toddlers: First Words Deluxe

You will be amazed how quickly your little one picks up how to do this one. Cool A loves it. Not only is it working on letter familiarity but also vocabulary as the word is spoken before and after completion. With just basic animation and spoken word audio, there’s nothing here to overstimulate little eyes and brains.