Have I ever mentioned that I’ve got 5 sweet kids roaming around my house? I did? Did I mention that they’re 9 years old and under, and that four of them are rambunctious boys? Oh, I have?
You can imagine the chaos that engulfs our day. We have routines that keep us sane but it’s also imperative that we all get a little quiet time each day.
Each afternoon, usually around 2pm, I pull another shot of espresso (This is the espresso machine that I use and it’s the deal of the century). Then I bring out my kindle or laptop, and proclaim, “It’s quiet time!”
The Outdoors and Kid’s Apps: a Perfect Prescription for Peace
Isn’t alliteration fun? The children play in their rooms or outside. I enjoy some peace and quiet (or at least, that’s the goal). Later in the afternoon when the kids come back in from the brisk outdoors, they’re allowed to use their token jars for technology time.
That’s our routine. I bet yours is somewhat similar if you have young children at home. Here are a couple of new apps we’re enjoying that make our quiet time possible. I’ve even got a coupon to sweeten the pot!
Kid’s App #1: Ronnie Robot by Silver Bay Labs
Ronnie is an interactive play game aimed at kids ages 2-8. Kids build and interact with a town and its robot, Ronnie. As one reviewer put it, “it’s like robot Sims for small children.” That reminds me of my Sims days before I had kids. Playing for hours in my PJs… but I digress.
Ronnie is by far my 3 year old’s favorite iPad app. I am continually amazed at what he finds for his robot buddy to accomplish.
- Great price. Free! The first scene is free (each scene provides hours of entertainment). The farm scene is a great deal at $1.99.
- Cooperative play. The 3 and 4 year old can play this game together with no yelling or screaming. How weird and cool is that?!
- No in-app advertisements. I don’t have to worry that my kids are going to be watching and reading advertisements.
- There are only 2 levels out right now (a third is in production). If your kids go nuts for it, and they probably will, they’ll have to wait a while for a new scene to be introduced.
Kid’s App #2: Leo’s Pad by Kidaptive
Designed for preschool aged children, this is my 4 year old’s new favorite game. After a session with Leo today, he rightly told me, “gravity makes things fall!” Totally true, little buddy.
This iPad-only app is more like an interactive storybook and less of a typical kids educational game. It provides various preschool lessons through interacting with Leo (young Leonardo da Vinci).
- Outsdanding animation. The quality is fantastic, with the best animation that I’ve ever seen on a kids app (and we’ve seen quite a few).
- Age appropriate instruction. The lessons are on target, with the instructions being told clearly so that it doesn’t frustrate or confuse children. There’s nothing worse than trying out an educational app and finding that it exasperates the kiddo.
- Accompanying parenting app. Download the free Learner Mosaic app to your phone to get updates on your child’s progress and ideas for reinforcing the lessons they’re learning on Leo’s Pad.
- The $24.99 price is steep compared to other apps (I imagine that it cost quite a bit to hire the fancy pants animators that brought Leo and his pals to life). The good news is that you can snag it now for 20% off with the code TRYLEO, bringing the price down to $19.99. Still hurts a bit, eh? Here’s a help; think of it less as an “app” and more like pre-schooling software, which it is.
- The creators designed the chapters such that the child must repeat the information (at increasing levels of difficulty) several times before the next chapter of learning is automatically unlocked. This is a smart feature, but in practice my preschoolers have wanted to progress faster. I’m curious to see how this plays out as we continue using the app.
The next time that you need a few minutes of peace and quiet, hand over one of these apps to your little loves and enjoy a cup of espresso on me!
What are your children’s favorite iPad apps?
- Want an iPad for your app-loving littles, but short on cash? You’ll find awesome deals in the Apple refurbished store. These devices are as good as new but cost significantly less. We’ve purchased several refurbished devices from Apple (including the iPad shown in the videos).
- Covet you neighbor’s smart phone but trying to save money with less mobile bells and whistles? *Side note: I used a Net10 phone for years and loved it.* An iPod Touch will do nearly all of the same fancy stuff as an iPhone, as long as you’re connected to a wireless network. For years I carried around a Net10 phone in one pocket and my iPod touch in another and I never felt like I was missing out. You can find great deals on iPod Touch’s in the Apple refurbished store.
- Looking for a way to keep up on kids tech? The Wired Homeschool is a podcast aimed at parents of homeschoolers, but it’s applicable to any parent who incorporates tech into their life. John Wilkerson keeps up with tech news as it applies to children and parents. Then he passes this information on to parents with how-to’s for surviving and thriving in our tech-based world.
*Disclaimer: I received the Leo’s Pad app as a free promotion. This review is entirely my own wording, I don’t feel pressured to write something awesome just ’cause I took them up on their free app offer. That’d be crazy. You can be confident that I won’t try to lead you astray.