Archive for the ‘ Apps ’ Category

Learning About Inauguration Day and Presidents the Tech Savvy Way

Friday, January 18th, 2013

On Monday, January 21, Barack Obama will be sworn in during our Nation’s 57th Inaugural Ceremony making it a great time to teach kids about the pomp and circumstance surrounding inauguration day as well as the role of the president and about our country’s past presidents. Where to start? Websites that are chock full of information satisfy curious learners while interactive apps engage kids of all ages.

Inauguration Day has many parts. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has a fantastic page about each of the Inauguration Day Events and the history behind them. Learn about the Procession to the Capitol, Vice President’s Swearing In Ceremony, President’s Swearing In Ceremony, Inaugural Address, and everything leading up to the night’s many Inaugural Balls.

For children who are interested in learning more about our country’s past presidents, an engaging way to learn is through iPad apps. Basher Presidents features fun facts and a bit of trivia about each of our presidents using text that is appropriate for first grade and up.

Upper elementary ages who are interested in a deeper dive into our nation’s leaders will enjoy the Disney American Presidents: Unofficial Oval Office Scrapbook iPad app. Based on the award-winning educational DVD series The American Presidentsfrom Disney Educational Productions and developed with the help of a producer from The Daily Show and Colbert Report, this app features an interactive scrapbook, cartoons, and animations that incorporate music, videos, art and more that makes for a fun learning experience for kids. Parents will also enjoy getting a history refresher course through real life testimonials from Mo Rocca, Bob Woodward, Paul Begala, Wesley Clark, Sam Donaldson, Melissa Harris-Perry, Robert Reich, and Jon Meacham.

If you happen to be traveling to Washington, D.C. to be a part of this historic day but are without inaugural ball tickets, The Washington Post shares 10 ways to celebrate for $20 or less. Consider involving your family in Inauguration Day of Service if you’ll be in town on Saturday to engage in charitable acts together. Also be sure to sign up for text alerts for real time information about Inaugural activities on the National Mall and parade route from the U.S. Park Police by texting INAUGURATION to 888777.

 Faces in the crowd on Bill Clinton’s Inauguration Day January 20, 1993 in Washington, DC spirit of america via Shutterstock.com

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Educational iOS Apps Reinforce Learning in a Fun Way

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

For families who received new iOS devices such as iPhones, iPods, and iPads, it can be a challenge to find fun, educational, and age appropriate apps for kids. There may be an app for everything but not all are created equally.

Since iOS devices are naturally interactive thanks to beautiful touch screens where colors just seem to pop, look for engaging content that will appeal to even the youngest learners as they work on school readiness skills. Older children enjoy more complex apps that require problem solving and feature different levels that can challenge them.

Here are some of my favorite educational apps that appeal to a wide range of ages and reinforce skills thanks to their engaging nature for your new iOS device.

WritingScribblePress app for iPad encourages young authors and illustrators to create their own stories directly from this easy to use app. New books and drawings can be created as inspiration strikes and saved for posterity until they’re deemed complete. Another great aspect of this app is the ability to purchase hard copies of digital creations to add to your family’s library to be read over and over again.

Reading— Once upon a time parents used to pack board books in their bags to entertain young ones during outings but the proliferation of eBook apps has allowed us to save our shoulders and pack lighter. While there are a ton of eBooks out there, my favorite publishers are Auryn and PicPocket Books. Both Auryn and PicPocketBooks features affordable titles for all ages with gorgeous illustration, interactive pages, text that is highlighted as it is read, and titles in foreign languages.

Math— The ability to know basic math facts is a helpful skill for elementary ages because it allows them to solve problems quickly. MathMateer is an engaging app that makes learning multiplication facts, money, solid shapes, odd and even numbers, and more fun. The variety of mathematical concepts can keep kids entertained while reinforcing important concepts. Another fun app for facts is Math Bingo. Kids can choose between addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts and then get to race the clock to solve problems by tapping on the bingo square.

Spelling— Advanced spellers will love challenging word play games such as Rojo that presents 7 word tiles and the task of creating as many words as possible with the letters. Each letter tile has a point value and higher scores can be obtained when integrating the red vowel tile that doubles the score of your word. Rojo is a fun game that tasks the brain and can get competitive juices flowing when playing with friends. Parents- Since this game does involve other players, be sure to have a conversation about knowing who you’re playing against by only playing with friends with known screen names and Apple IDs rather than using the Auto-Match feature.

History— Learn about where you are thanks to The History Channel’s History Here app. Using your device’s internal GPS, History Here allows you to explore the history around you at all times. It’s a great app for parents and kids who want to learn more about their surroundings whether traveling or when close to home.

Close up portrait of cute girl touching digital tablet screen via Shutterstock

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Tags: | Categories: Apps, Must Read, Tech Savvy Parents

5 Sites and Apps for Good Health in the New Year

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

The New Year is about a fresh start and making resolutions but while we have the best intentions for a strong start, sometimes it can be difficult to maintain goals related to a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating manageable changes are a great way to get started and apps can be helpful tools to keep the momentum going, provide accountability, and serve as inspiration for good health. For parents who are looking to get back into shape and eat more healthy as a family, here are apps that can help you maintain your 2013 resolutions.

If running a marathon is something you aspire to do but are overwhelmed at the thought of getting started, start small. A 5K is a perfectly respectable race distance for beginning runners and those looking to get back in shape. The Couch to 5K program allows non-runners to get ready for a 5K in 9 weeks and provides helpful tips through their website. The Couch to 5K app helps maintain motivation by allowing workouts to appear on your phone. It also provides bragging rights by connecting to your Facebook page where friends can help cheer on your progress.

For those seriously training for longer distance running events, Map My Run not only helps you connect to a community of runners in your area but provides new routes shared by users. The Map My Run app uses your smartphone’s internal GPS to track your route, measure distance, and record workout details like duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and your route through the interactive map. If you don’t want other users to see your route, you have the option to not share them to maintain privacy and safety.

For families with food allergies or sensitivities, it can be hard to go out to eat but the free EveryoneEat! app assists those with chronic conditions or dietary restrictions find restaurants serving meals appropriate for them. The EveryoneEat! app works to finds dishes that meet your dietary needs and displays them by cuisine type or restaurant name on your smartphone. It’s easy to use but does need to be set up by entering in your age, height, weight, gender and activity level first. The app is a partnership between nationally recognized health associations, clinical and registered dietitians, and thousands of favorite restaurants.

For food inspiration, the Whole Foods Market Recipes app is incredibly useful. The app allows you to search according to dietary preferences and ingredients and will find recipes, provide step-by-step instructions, nutritional information, and add needed ingredients to a shopping list. If you’re stuck with seemingly random items in your fridge and not sure what to do with them, the Whole Foods Market Recipes app can also help you figure out what to make by entering up to three items you have on hand.

If you’re looking to incorporate more local and in-season ingredients into your cooking, the Locavore app helps find nearby farmers’ markets with seasonal produce and provides ideas on how to cook with fresh ingredients.  Locavore uses GPS technology to pull up produce items that are in season in the user’s area, shares how long the season will last for a particular item, find recipes featuring those ingredients, and also tell friends what items you enjoyed and where they were purchased though an integrated Facebook feature.

Healthy lifestyle via Shutterstock

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Black Friday and CyberMonday Deals on Movies and Apps

Monday, November 19th, 2012

While you may be strategizing about your in-store Black Friday experience, retailers aren’t waiting for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to notify consumers about online deals or make them accessible. Discounts can be found on digital downloads like apps and movies before some of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Fox Connect is celebrating their brand new look and a streamlined shopping experience with huge discounts on favorite family movies on Blu-ray and DVDs. Movies and seasons of television shows seem to be starting at $5.99. Sale titles include family favorites like Rio, Horton Hears a Who, and Alvin and the Chipmunks to classics like West Side Story, Alien, The Devil Wears Prada, Walk the Line, and more. Get caught up on past seasons of favorite shows like The Office, Modern Family, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons, and many others. The site makes it easy to find what you’re looking for but it also features a sale page to locate great deals faster. Enjoy free shipping on orders over $25.

Disney fans will love knowing that on Monday, November 26, Disney is reducing prices on Disney Book Apps available in the iTunes Store. From Cars to Princesses to recent Pixar hits, now is a great time to load up your tablet or smartphone before holiday travel. Here the apps that you can download at a substantial discount beginning on Monday:

  • Cars 2 Read and Race for $2.99 (orig. $6.99)— Rev your engines for this thrilling Cars 2 Original Story! Read along as Lightning McQueen and the world’s top International Racers power through the streets of Tokyo, Japan; Porto Corsa, Italy; London, England; and finally Radiator Springs!
  • Tangled: Storybook Deluxe for $2.99 (orig. $6.99)— Rapunzel has never left her tower in the woods. One day, a thief named Flynn discovers her and the unlikely pair sets off on an action-packed journey across the kingdom. From mischievous thugs to dazzling festivals, Rapunzel quickly learns there is much more to life outside the tower!
  •  Brave: Storybook Deluxe for $2.99 (orig. $6.99)— The Scottish Highlands have long been a fierce, proud land filled with stories, and magic, and danger. Merida, the Princess of DunBroch, adds her tale of courage and determination to the ancient lore as she sets out to defy an age-old tradition and forge her own destiny.
  • Princess Royal Party for $1.99 (orig. $4.99)— Welcome to the Magical and Enchanting world of Disney’s Royal Party, just in time for Rapunzel’s own celebration! Disney’s Royal Party includes many fun activities and crafts for hours of fun with favorite Disney Princesses.
  • A Royal Christmas for $1.99 (orig. $4.99)— From beachside gatherings to New Orleans feasts, every princess celebrates Christmas in her own special way. Cinderella throws a festive party, but there’s a very merry mix-up when her Fairy Godmother adds a touch of magic to the event. Ariel surprises her family and friends with a Christmas-morning treasure hunt.

Woman doing online shopping via Shutterstock

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Dress Up Goes Digital

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Toddlers and preschoolers thrive on imaginative play that helps them understand the world around them and love dress up. A dress up bin full of clothes, hats, and accessories has unlimited possibilities but what about when you’re out? Today’s kids can exercise their imagination through digital dress up options to unleash their inner fashionista at any age.

Fairies Fashion Boutique— Fans of Disney, Tinkerbelle, and the fairies, will enjoy the new free Fairies Fashion Boutique app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPads that allows fans to create and style their own Fairy. Select from a variety of hairstyles and over 500 patterns and 100 color options in the clothing and accessories lines. Parents should note that while the app is free, fashions are available to purchase and charges go directly to your iTunes account. Be sure to have a conversation with your child to point out free fashions versus the paid ones so you don’t rack up an abundance of charges. Also, the undressed fairy figures are modeled after curvy women, rather than the bodies of girls, and could result in questions and concerns about body image.

 

Fashion Playtes allows budding fashion designers the fun of designing their own clothes via the website with the option of purchasing products from their very own line. Girls can design endlessly by personalizing tops, bottoms, dresses, outwear, loungewear, accessories, and even doll clothes for themselves and miniaturized matching versions for their favorite 18” doll. Select the color of the garment, choose embellishments (appliqués, rhinestones, lace, and more), and then add a personalized label saying who it was made by.  Items are affordably priced even after customization! Choices that were plentiful but not overwhelming. Parents should know that girls can create as many designs as they want without having to pay for their creations. Payment comes when a girl wants to have her article of clothing made and delivered to their house. Once you use the site, it’s probably best to not have Fashion Playtes remember your credit card info in the event that the check out button is hit accidentally

Imagine Fashion Designer

Imagine Fashion Designer New YorkPart of the Imagine game series for the Nintendo DS, Imagine Fashion Designer New York allows tweens to pretend they’re upcoming fashion designers trying to make it in New York City as part of a famous fashion house. They’ll style, design, and trend set their way to the top! Wii owners can get in on the fashion action with Imagine Fashion Party, a game that uses the Wii controller to go through as series of challenges to prove you’re the best designer. Imagine Fashion Designer is similar to the other Imagine games in that it allows for fantasy role play with a healthy dose of dress up where girls can style the models they will use to show off their fashion on the runway. Parents should know that while both games are rated E and designed for ages 6-14, it’s important to preview the games first before turning your daughter loose to ensure that the content is just right for her.

Images courtesy of the aforementioned companies.

 

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