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Monday, October 28th, 2013
If you’ve been on Facebook over the last few days, you may have noticed that your Newsfeed is now inundated with cartoon comic strips about your friends. At first, I thought my old college buddy had suddenly become very artistic, but as more and more people began posting the images, I started to wonder what the deal was.
It turns out that the images are from a Facebook mobile app called Bitstrips. It allows users to customize an avatar, choose a scene and then add text to the bottom. (Check out my first attempt on the right!) You can also select a Facebook friend (or your child, if she has an account) to appear in the scene with you. And of course, once you’re done, you can share on your social media accounts. New background images are added every day, so it’s no wonder my friends have been so busy lately.
Bitstrips actually launched on Facebook back in December 2012, but thanks to its recent releases of iPhone and Android apps, it is now seeing a massive surge in popularity. Currently, it is the top free app in the iTunes store, and when I first went to check it out, the site was unavailable due to “unprecedented user growth.” According to the official Twitter account, the team is working hard on fixing the program so it will be available on all platforms again. Still, the delays and crashes do not seem to be deterring users. (FYI, if you’re receiving error messages on the website, you may want to try the phone app instead, as it seems to still be running.)
Have you tried Bitstrips yet? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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Friday, October 11th, 2013
With the hefty mix of apps and games available, it can be hard to determine what’s not only fun, but also appropriate for your child.
If you use LeapFrog products, they’re helping parents decipher the daunting world of gaming with their recently-released Parent’s Guide . From skill-building to privacy concerns, six key points help you decipher what to consider the next time you’re purchasing Leapfrog games or apps for young ones.
Another way to keep track of kids’ games, especially for the older crowd, is a free mobile app from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Search for titles by age rating and filter out apps that share personal information or location. You can also flag options that contain violence, strong language or other mature content. Check out how to navigate through the app below.
If you’re still at a loss, ESRB’s Resources for Parents offers even more websites to decode everything gaming for your son or daughter.
What ways do you check for fun and safe games and apps for your tyke? Do you try every app yourself? Ask other parents for their reccs? Share your strategies below and help other parents!
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apps, ESRB, ESRB app, Games, gaming, kids apps, kids games, LeapFrog, LeapFrog Insider Checklist | Categories:
Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun, Your Child
Thursday, July 11th, 2013
If you’re looking for a little portable entertainment for your child while traveling this summer or simply seeking a quiet activity out of the sun, I’ve got you covered with some of my favorite apps for kids ages four and up. Moderation is my motto when it comes to screen time. But let’s face it: Sometimes it can be nice to keep your little one occupied for a bit while you enjoy some much-needed downtime. (After all, I enjoy a little screen time just as much as my little ones do.)
It can feel impossible navigating your way through the endless sea of apps to find ones that are entertaining, educational, and suitable for your wee ones. Plus, those 99¢ apps add up, and, before you know it, you’ve spent a whole lot of money on not very much value. Here’s my round-up of favorite apps for preschool-age kids:
1. More Pie by Maverick Software allows little ones to make 30 varieties of pies with over 45 choices of toppings. If your child enjoys this app, check out the others in the series, such as the cupcake making or BBQ grilling app. $1 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
2. Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers by Nickelodeon is great for building math skills like counting and number identification. $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
3. The Little Engine That Could by Once Upon an App is a fun starter app for any little train lover. Your child can choose to read the book by himself, or have the app read the story aloud to him. $4 for iPad and iPhone
4. Pip and Posy: Fun and Games by Nosy Crow features cute English accents as your child plays matching games and completes jigsaw puzzles with lovable characters. $3 for iPad and iPhone
5. What Does Not Belong by Brain-Go LLC builds vocabulary and classification skills which are essential for preparing your child for kindergarten. $2 for iPad and iPhone
6. Little Fox Music Box by Fox and Sheep is a fantastic interactive music app available in multiple languages for kids with over 100 interactive elements and sounds. $3 for iPad, iPhone, and Android
7. Koi Pond HD Lite by The Blimp Pilots is a calming, introductory app to get your wee ones used to using a touch screen. Enjoy seeing the water ripple and the Koi fish react as your child plays the game. $1 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
8. Dr. Panda’s Hospital by TribePlay Ltd. is perfect for little ones who love to role-play. In this app, your child can fix broken bones, ease stomachaches, and measure the blood pressure of furry patients. $2 for iPad, iPhone, and Android
9. Snackerdoodle by Maverick Software is a fun drawing app that allows your kid to use fruits and veggies to create their own pictures. Plus, it’s a fun way to start talking about healthy food choices with your child. $1 for iPad and iPhone
10. Zoo Train by Busy Bee Studios combines puzzles, music, and spelling games into one app filled with five fun activities featuring two kid favorites—trains and animals. $1 for iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Windows 8, and Android
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Thursday, March 21st, 2013
Who doesn’t love Little Critter? We read the books all the time (see my son Joe with our favorite, about going into the city with Mom, down below) and I was thrilled to talk with the author and illustrator, Mercer Mayer, also shown, on the eve of his launch of the Little Critter app for iOS, Android, Nook and Kindle devices.
Q: First, what is Little Critter?
Mercer Mayer: “He technically is identifiable, but I don’t tell anybody what it is.”
Q: Is he based on you as a child? Or your own children?
MM: “Everything you do as an author is from that well of your own childhood. I got some advice many years ago from a publisher to ‘Just start with your childhood and lie like hell.’ Little Critter is full of things that happened to me as a child and then I exaggerate when I imagine what a kid might go through.”
Q: You have kids of your own, right?
MM: “Three boys and a girl, and now grandkids. They just added to the whole pastiche. I would love to find a way to get this into a book: When my eldest boy was 9 years old, he would never go to bed. I would throw him up in the top bunk and he’d scream that he was hungry, or had to go to the bathroom. Then one night he said he was sick. I didn’t believe him…and then he threw up all over me.”
MM: “I write about situations that kids get into that can be overwhelming. But now my books are getting an extra kick in the pants with the apps! There are more possibilities with them.”
Q: The apps sound like they’d be good for Spring break and Summer travel.
MM: “The games are simple for 3- to 7-year-olds. There’s animation and the story pops out. So there’s reading, and it’s educational, but also games, such as a hidden alphabet and color-by-number. The GamePak includes DigiStix, which are interactive stickers that a kid can move around. I know some apps are just for reading, but these two create a whole little world of adventure, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Q: Are you still writing new books?
MM: “Yes, I’m working on Just a Kite now and finished up Just a Little Love. I write about three a year. I’m still doing it. I guess I don’t know how to stop!”
You can get The Trip-Little Critter Reading Adventure for $3.99 at all the usual channels (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Barnes & Noble). And for the first 30 days of the launch, you can buy the additional The Trip-Little Critter GamePak for $2.99 (after that it goes up to $3.99). The GamePack is the one that includes more than 175 cool DigiStix digital stickers.
Want the chance to win both the apps and also a signed giclee print from Mercer Mayer? It’s this collage of Little Critter and his baby brother with their toys, and would look great in a kid’s room! It’s officially worth is $75 but I think it’s fairly priceless. Leave a comment below, up to one a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, March 27th. After that we’ll pick one person at random to win both the print and a code for the apps, worth about $83 all together.
You can click here to read our official rules. Goody luck!
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Monday, December 17th, 2012
If you’re an Angry Birds AND Star Wars fan, you’re in luck this year! Now your family can shoot for the stars with Angry Birds’ new line of movie-themed toys, games, and an app, of course. We particularly liked Hasbro’s play sets for little jedi and princesses, which include the awesome Death Star version of the game Jenga, complete with a piggy Darth Vader. May the anger be with you!
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Friday, November 30th, 2012
This time of year can put children’s (and parents’) patience to the test — long trips in the car to visit family, seemingly endless shopping lines. Make the most of the time your kids will spend waiting with a fun new educational app, Little Ashby: Star Reporter.
Created by Parents’ celebrity correspondent and Entertainment Tonight co-host Nancy O’Dell and developed by StoryChimes, the app is an interactive storybook that allows children to follow TV reporter Ashby (named after Nancy’s daughter) and her crew on exciting assignments.
Ashby’s first job? To interview Santa! Children will love joining Ashby on her journey to the North Pole. Along the way, they’ll learn educational facts, values, and morals that will be reinforced with engaging activities and games.
Little Ashby: Star Reporter – Santa’s Big Premiere is available on Apple devices now for $2.99. A portion of the proceeds for the app will go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) in honor of Bryson Foster, MDA’s 2012 National Goodwill Ambassador and the voice of Arty, the little cameraman, in the app.
Remember to keep an eye out for more adventures with Ashby and her crew in the new year!
Read more from Nancy O’Dell on Parents.com:
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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
New Study Aims to Prevent Agricultural Deaths in Children
Teens are four times more likely to die on a farm than any other workplace. A new study seeks to prevent tractor related deaths in children. (via ABC News)
Children Protected from App Developers Collecting Information
App developers are hesitant to collect information from children’s apps because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (via Washington Post)
Smoking During Pregnancy Increases Child’s Chance of Obesity
Mothers who smoke during pregnancy predispose their infants to choose fatty foods, researchers reported. (via LA Times)
Breast Milk Banks See Increase in Demand
A breast milk bank director says demand for breast milk is up as more hospitals are using donated breast milk for pre-term infants. (via USA Today)
Teen With Down Syndrome Banned from Flight
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A 16-year-old boy with Down syndrome was deemed a flight risk by American Airlines and forced to switch to another flight. (via New York Daily News)
agriculture, apps, breast milk, breastfeeding, Down syndrome, Noelia de la Cruz, obesity, Parents Daily News Roundup, Pregnancy, smoking | Categories:
Monday, December 26th, 2011
Were you lucky enough to snag a new tablet from Santa this year? Or did you pick one up for yourself while you were busy shopping for everyone else on your list? If it’s the latter, we definitely approve, but either way we have some exciting news for you.
When you download all of your favorite books and magazines on your new tablet, don’t forget us! Parents has digital editions available for the iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and Nook devices. And the best part? For most tablets, our digital editions are free for print subscribers.
Find everything you need to know about how to get Parents on your tablet here.
And make sure to check out our great apps:
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