The 12 Apps of Christmas (for kids)

To help get me through the Christmas Season I’ve just loaded my phone up with some new apps to keep Madame entertained.  I can’t wait till she rings Santa!

  1. Christmas Advent Calendar 2010 (free)  If you’re like me and didn’t get one in time.  The next best thing. (Note:  I just played with this one and to collect gifts you have option of going on the net.  I have removed it just in case).
  2. Sleeps to Christmas App (free)  How many sleeps left in days, minutes and seconds.
  3. Christmas for Kids – Call Santa (.59p) Ring Santa in the North Pole.
  4. Snow Globe (.59p) It does what it says on the tin!
  5. iChristmas Tree (.59p) Decorate your own tree on your iphone without having to hoover the needles
  6. The Smelly Sprout Lite (Free) this is half of the full version of the best-selling book.  It ends on a cliff-hanger
  7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (£1.79) Rudolph comes to the rescue.
  8. Dr. Seuss Camera – The Grinch Edition (£1.19) Turn yourself into the Grinch.
  9. Kids Can Count – Christmas Gifts (.59p)  Count the decorations on the tree.
  10. Talking Christmas Santa Kid Tickle his tummy, pull his beard and wiggle his hat!
  11. Kids Song Machine Lite (Free) Festive Christmas Tune to get you in the spirit.
  12. Christmas Card Match (Free)  How quickly can you find the pairs?

Once you’ve survived Christmas here are a few other recommended apps for pre-school.

Top Ipad Apps for Kids

Following on from my first guest blog post – Travelling just got easier Part 01 – I thought I would follow up, as promised, with a more detailed iPad review of what exactly my boys like and what works and does work.

Lets start with the oldest, a 7 year old. I am not the kind of parent that throws technology at my kids and let them get on with it, while I sit back with a beer and the newspaper. Although, as I type that it does sound nice doesn’t it. The iPad adds to the experience.

However, there are times, especially when travelling that it comes in very handy. Sometimes traffic or a delayed flight, you need something to take away the boredom. And here are the top 3 things that save the day with a 7 year old.

  1. Angry birds. It is brilliant, fun and very addictive. I have known parents to get hooked. It is also being constantly updated, with recently a “Halloween” edition being launched. If you have an iPad and even an iPhone / iPod you need to get this.
  2. Lets Golf. Now there are 2 additions to this game, but both work great and if your kids are into sport type games, then they will love it. Very easier to play, very colourful and has great features to improve and challenge your golf skills.
  3. Now something to keep the teachers happy. And educational App – Mathsboard. My boy loves this and makes me feel good as a Dad. It looks like a blackboard in design and you go through a series of Maths problems and puzzles to test your skills. You can change the settings, to make it harder and easier, so it grows as the children’s knowledge and confidence grows.

And now on to the 2 year old, which is a different thing altogether. We mainly use the iPad as a replacement for the suitcase full of stuff you normally need to carry as hand luggage. So here are 3 things that will keep the 2 year old from going crazy on holiday.

  1. Game cards. We use ‘Flashcards’or 123 counting. Very simply a series of pictures or images that come up on the screen and you learn to explain colours, sounds, animals, and letters. Pretty much everything. Flashcards has everything. From Sharks to Cars, from the colour orange to the letter G. The added benefit to flashcards is that it comes in other languages. Although we are trying with English first before moving on to Spanish. One downside to these types of Apps is the noise. Remember to turn the volume button down. You have been warned.
  2. ColourPlay Lite is a great App. The Lite version is Free and maybe a little limited. However you can upgrade to the full version for £1.19 once you have exhausted all the drawings. To start with, you get a series of animal’s pictures, pigs, horses and a colour palette. With the touch of the finger you get to paint in the picture. Simple, but my boy loves it.
  3. Videos. The iPad is great for showing movies and TV shows. In the library we have Thomas, Peppa and an assortment of Disney classics. Brilliant. No discs, no DVD boxes. Simple and very useful. We also have a good selection of older stuff for the 7 year old. Football, Top Gear etc.

I hope that helps. I think with the introduction of iPad type technology, Travelling with children just got easier.

Matt Bigg


Madame’s First Review: Peppa Pig – Happy Mrs Chicken App

When I was asked to review the new Peppa Pig – Happy Mrs Chicken App for Iphones, by P2 Games, I jumped at the chance as I love apps and Madame loves Peppa Pig.

So without, further adieu, here is Madame’s Verdict.

Here’s what we thought:

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Parental Note:  When I first had a look at the app I wasn’t convinced of the educational value as it didn’t have the usual elements of learning colours, numbers, sounds etc. However, as you can see, it’s great for fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and problem solving.

Overall, I would recommend this app and as you can see Madame love it as well.

YouTube Videos for Kids?!?!

I wouldn’t in a million years watch YouTube videos with my daughter before vetting them first; even though I’m tempted at times when I have a spare 5 minutes to kill while waiting for dinner.  Unfortunately, I don’t often have time to sit down and sift through all the inappropriate content.   So tonight, I thought I would go through and make a list and share it with you in hopes that you would share a few of your favourites.

There are ways of making YouTube a bit safer for kids but they aren’t failsafe and I’m not willing to risk it.  You can create a favourites list in YouTube, watch them on full screen to avoid inappropriate comments popping up, put it in safety mode and/or register an account for your child with an accurate age so that YouTube’s filters kick in.

I started making quite a list and then came across the following two sites which were exactly what I was looking for.  Both of these sites pull the majority of their content from YouTube but they have been closely monitored.  Every video that I had found previously could be found on these two sites.  So, my list just got a lot shorter.

I like the looks of Kideos because you can search by age group (e.g 2-3, 3-4).  They have everything from Sesame Street to Disney to Dancing Bears.  Plus, they have an iphone app which I’m off to download now.

ZuiTube follows a similar idea but boasts the largest collection of Kids Videos anywhere and all of their content has been approved by parents and teachers.

Happy Safe Surfing!

Travelling Just Got Easier Part 01

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Toddler Tech.  I can’t justify buying an Ipad at the moment but I have no problem with letting my 3 year old loose on my Iphone.  Here are my Top 10 Iphone Apps for Toddlers.  However, the lovely Matt Big does have an Ipad and kindly wrote this post about his experience of travelling with two kids and an Ipad. I can’t wait to read part 2.

Photo Credit

I can remember holidays as a child, packed up in the back of the Volvo, with a packet of top trumps and a 6 hour journey to Cornwall. And for whatever reason, you always seemed to be sitting in traffic, hot, bored and not actually going anywhere. I think everyone has that type of travel tale to tell.

These days it is a lot different. The journey to Cornwall still might have its moments, but the time seems to pass a lot easier.

I have 2 boys, aged 2 and 7. As you can imagine keeping them entertained on our travels is no easy task. Car journeys seem to be ok, with pit stops etc., but airplanes, with their small spaces and no where to go. A nightmare! Or is it? Let me tell you about our last trip to Spain.

I always used to say that when travelling all you needed to remember was PMT. No wait, I am not mad. PMT. Passports, Money, Tickets.

However, I need to add in one more thing to my list. The iPad. Something I only normally use for work, is brilliant. The day before I clicked on to the App store and download a few games, movies, stories and apps. £20 was the approximate cost of my purchase, but compared to the games and books on offer at the airport shops, that seemed quite reasonable.

I will write a proper review on all the bits and pieces I brought and what was and wasn’t a success, but for those 2 x 3 hours plane journeys, the iPad was just brilliant. The 7 year old, like all 7 years knows his was round technology better than some adults and had no problems flicking between ‘Angry Birds’ and watching 500 best Premiership goals.

For the 2 year old, a little assistance was required. However, he loved looking at the shapes and colours as there appeared on the screen and enjoyed the 123 counting game. And even when the novelty of those educational games wore off, we still had an episode of Peppa Pig up our sleeve.

And I know using technology is not everyone’s cup of tea. But when you are packing up your carry on bag for the airplane, with the mountain of books, games and the DVD player, think if that could all be condensed down into one easy to update, easy to use, easy to carry iPad.

Travelling with children just got easier.

Matt Bigg