Apps for Kids

by Cat on May 31, 2011

by Designing Mom Jackie of Avocado and Papaya

I’m still a newbie when it comes to the world of apps, but am increasingly appreciating how loading up my iphone with just the right ones can certainly make my life easier. And more stylish. And more organized. And instantly save me a la Mary Poppins when I’m in a pinch with the kiddos. I surveyed our designing moms to see which apps they recommend for their work, play and the kiddos. A special thank you to Designing Mom Mari for her contribution to this post. Here is a round-up of some favorites.

For Kids:

  • Paper Town – Adorable paper doll animals that are great for boys and girls, sweet papercut illustrations!
  • Doodlejump – Better for older kids, but the function is easy – keep the little jumper moving upwards on the mini platforms by tilting the phone. Easy and addictive.
  • Interactive Alphabet by Pi’ikea – Every letter leads to an illustration with hidden features to find, nice sound effects, and constant interaction. My 2 year old enjoys this one longer than most. Which is saying something!
  • Anorak Mag – This Brit mag’s app has a little of everything or kids over 3-4. There’s read along stories, a couple of fun games (whack-a-mole!!) and sketching. All with the adorable sounds of a little British Child narrating along! The illustrations are bright and graphic too.
  • Balloonimals – To make the balloon animals – you actually blow into the phone! Then you shake and shake to make the creature. My Tot has already figured it out, and the animals and animation are top notch.
  • Peekaboo Forest – Includes quieter, subdued illustrations that will remind you of BInth and Dwell Studio. Touch the images to see various animals peek out, with sound effects and the word for reinforcement. Beautiful to look at.
  • Scoops – Lets you tilt your screen left or right to sort falling scoops of ice cream. You can make patterns with same-colored scoops, while dodging the veggies.
  • iWriteWords – Turns the letters of the alphabet into dot-to-dot puzzles.
  • Scribble – This is one of many drawing apps that turn the screen into a tiny easel. You can also import pictures from your photo library to put a mustache on Grandma. A quick shake erases the photos.

For Mom:

  • ZenBound – It’s really hard to explain this app! It’s a puzzle game of sorts, your goal is to wrap paint-soaked rope around various wooden shapes. Tricky, but fascinating. It’s also very relaxing – which is the kind of game us busy moms need!
  • Cartolina – Gorgeous E-cards using vintage collages all from your iPhone, easy to personalize, easy to send.
  • Shazam – Quickly listens to almost any song you hear and it tells you who and what – sometimes even with song lyrics. (Mari even used it on an old Cary Grant movie and it worked!) It links you to iTunes for purchasing, and stores your list for later.
  • Hipstamatic – Turns your iPhone camera into an old-school camera with interchangeable lens and film options. Lots of fun, highly interactive. It’s not the best for quick snapshots because of all the options – but super fun to play with.
  • Lo-Mob – Takes any photo and gives you dozens of previews of various effects – lots of subtler vintage filters, black and white, etc. etc. Really fun to get lost in the options. Great for taking any image you’ve already taken and making it more visually appealing.
  • 8mm Vintage Camera – Gives you some great vintagey looks to your videos as well, easy to use, and fun to see the results. Just watch out for the mute button on the bottom – I’ve accidentally bumped it a couple times and lost the best part of the action I was trying to record!

For Work:

  • Evernote – This app is like a visual bookmarking system with “notebooks” for big categories, tabs, and search functions. It will sort links, your own notes, photos, etc. Combine it with FastEver Snap, it takes quick pictures on the go and catalogs them directly into Evernote for you.
  • Pulse – This is a newsreader/RSS feed that pulls everything into an easy to navigate, image-first list.
  • Calvetica – This replaces iPhone’s standard calendar, the interface is much more pleasing to look at, and offers more reminder. It syncs with your regular calendar as well, so you’re not loosing any functionality either way.
  • Teuxdeux – Along with a website for laptop use, this app will keep you on task. Functionality is basic, but intuitive and useful for everyday tasks and quick organization of your weekly to-do’s. Designed by SwissMiss!
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