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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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Friday, April 13th, 2012
It’s time to get your kids off the computers, Wiis, and cell phones and outside kicking soccer balls, swinging, and playing tag. Good old-fashioned outside play needs to make a comeback. On average, kids have eight hours less of outdoor playtime than their parents did. The folks behind CLIF Kid recognize the importance of outdoor play and are doing their part to help with their 2012 CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year program. “This contest tapped into something that kids need, which is inspiration to get outdoors,” said Jennifer Yun, CLIF Kid brand strategist.
Kids ages 6 to 12 are challenged to create a unique backyard game for the chance to win big. Six finalists will be flown to San Francisco in July 2012 to show off their new games with one being chosen for the grand prize: a $10,000 educational scholarship, Marin Bike’s kid’s bike, and a Bell kid’s bike helmet. The other five finalists will each receive a $1,000 educational scholarship along with the bike and helmet.
Here are the ground rules and instructions for entering: Each game must be able to be played outside with two or more players. Bonus points for game creators who use equipment such as balls, hula-hoops, and chairs. Some past game innovations include Hoop Ball, a rolling-target game; and Eagle’s Nest, a strategic tag game. “The contest focuses on not just getting the kids outdoors, but the positive benefits of nature long after,” said Richard Louv, best-selling author and Chief Outdoor Officer for the CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year. Sign-ups end on June, 17, 2012, so be sure to tell your kiddos about the contest and fill out the application here.
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Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
There’s no doubt PBS KIDS is great at entertaining and educating (“edutaining”) young children, and they are continuing to boost children’s development with (free!) new games, activities, and mobile apps at PBS KIDS Lab (www.pbskids.org/lab).
Launched at the end of last year, PBS KIDS Lab seeks to blend the latest technology with 50 games to encourage children’s math skills (numbers, counting, addition, subtraction). Games are related to popular PBS KIDS shows such as Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, Sid the Science Kid, etc., and further categorized by skills, age (3-5, 6-8), and device. Recently, a Spanish version of PBS Labs was launched (pbskids.org/lab/es), along with new resources and tools for teachers and parents to make learning fun inside and outside the classroom.
What I love best about PBS Labs are the mobile apps (pbskids.org/mobile) associated with some of the games, in particular Fetch! Lunch Rush with Ruff Ruffman. This unique game uses augmented reality, an extension of virtual reality, where objects in the real world (in this case, printout sheets) are recognized by the downloaded mobile app and integrated into the game. By downloading the app onto an iPad and placing it in front of the printout sheets, kids must figure out how much sushi to order for Ruff’s crew.
But you don’t need an iPhone or iPad to help your kids become math whizzes. PBS KIDS also offers these simple but fun ways to get kids to love numbers:
- When driving in the car, count the trees as you pass by.
- Call out street signs and identify their shapes.
- Count aloud the seconds it takes for a child to brush his/her teeth.
- Cook with the kids; count ingredients.
- Play grocery store with household items. Count out the change.
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activities, children's development, devleopment, education, Entertainment, Games, math, math skills, mobile app, mobile media, online activities, online games, pbs kids, pbs kids labs | Categories:
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Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Ready for a daring, underwater adventure? Dive into the deep with Discovery Kids Shark app for iPad. Inspired by the buzz worthy television program, Shark Week, the app educates kids, ages 5-9, on the ocean’s greatest predators through live-action video footage, photos and animated games—including a feeding game! Kids can learn about the different shark species, their feeding habits and where they live. Download from iTunes for $5 and collect virtual trading cards as you scroll through the underwater scenes to share with family and friends via e-mail.
Watch the demo!
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Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
With summer vacation just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking up fun activities to fend off the inevitable “I’m bored” whining. Enter Kids Bowl Free, a bowling program in which hundred of alleys across the US (and Canada) allow children to play two games a day—gratis—all summer long. Better still, the program is already up and running for the season in some locations. To register for a pass and find a participating bowling center near you (as well as get program dates, times, and age requirements, which vary by location), visit kidsbowlfree.com.
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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
Depressed Dads More Likely to Spank, Shortchange Kids: Study
Depressed dads are more likely to shortchange their children and use physical punishment, even on tots who are still crawling, new research suggests.A study involving fathers of 1-year-olds found they were more likely to spank and less likely to read to their youngsters than mentally healthy fathers. The finding adds more weight to the emerging awareness of “postpartum depression” among new fathers. [Yahoo News]
Mom’s Prenatal Stress Raises Child’s Disease Risk
The children of women who experience a stressful life event either during or before pregnancy are at an increased risk of being hospitalized from infectious disease, according to a new study. Children whose mothers experienced a stressful event, such as the death of a loved one or divorce, while they were pregnant were 71 percent more likely to be hospitalized with a severe infectious disease than children of women who did not undergo prenatal stress, said study researcher Nete Munk Nielsen, an epidemiologist at Statens Serum Institute in Denmark. [MSNBC]
Children Still Play the Old Schoolyard Favorites
Children still enjoy playing traditional games like skipping and clapping in the playground despite the lure of mobile phones, computer games, and television, a study published on Tuesday found. Playground games are “alive and well … they happily co-exist with media-based play, the two informing each other,” it said. [Yahoo News]
Updates Urged for Kids’ Heart, Breathing Rate Guidelines
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Guidelines for children’s heart and breathing rate reference ranges need to be updated, say researchers who reviewed 69 studies that included a total of about 143,000 children. The review produced new reference ranges that differ widely from existing published guidelines, according to Dr. Matthew Thompson, of Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues. The reference ranges are used for assessing and resuscitating children. [Yahoo News]
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GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, News
Monday, March 14th, 2011
After this year’s extra cold winter, your kids are probably itching to get outside now that temperatures are warming up. Here’s one more reason to do it right now: It’s National Wildlife Week!
In order to connect families and communities to nature, help us raise healthier children, and instill in future generations a life-long appreciation for the environment, the National Wildlife Federation is offering up a slew of awesome outdoor activity ideas for families (everything from looking for animal tracks to creating a nature journal), plus some great online games and printables for kids.
So go on and celebrate nature!
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Monday, November 29th, 2010
My sister is the best kids’-gift giver I know. Every single present she’s bought for my children over the years has been perfect for their age and developmental stage, not to mention something I hadn’t thought to give, and most importantly a hit with my girls. (No pressure on me this holiday season, her 8-month-old daughter’s first! And now I know how my two other sisters have felt for the past five years.) Part of the reason she’s so good at this is because it’s her job to know what kids like; she’s a pediatric occupational therapist here in NYC and one of the founding members of The Meeting House, an innovative after-school program for children who need a little extra help socializing and communicating. So she can spot a good toy, game, and activity a mile away.
Each year she creates a list of gift ideas for the parents of the children she works with. For the most part, the kids are between 3 and 8. The list is so helpful, I asked her if I could share it here. (In a few cases, her picks echo some of the toys we here at Parents picked for our 2010 holiday toy guide, or have featured in a previous issue.) The descriptions are hers, except where I chime in as noted:
To work on increasing independence and comfort for dressing:
EZ Sox are adorable socks that have little handles on them for small hands. Helps young children learn how to put on their own socks without the frustration that typically comes along with that. [From Kara: My 2-year-old happens to be better at putting on her socks than my 5-year-old, but they're both getting these this year.]
If you have a child who doesn’t like tags or has a difficult time with the feeling of some clothing, the brand Soft Clothing is perfect. Really cute clothes without tags, seams, etc.. [From Kara: We've featured these in Parents. The designs are very cool.]
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