Plugged in peeps: what parent OR kid-friendly apps do you love?

December 6 2011 | offbeatbride
Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
WOODEN iPHONE! Design by Kyle Bean and Thomas Forsyth.
I'm a little worried about letting my toddler have free rein with my iDevices, but it's still something that happens from time to time. I've done my fair share of app research, and a lot of my offline friends often ask me for advice about apps for themselves or their kids.

These questions have had me wondering: do Offbeat Mama readers let their kids use their phones/tablets/computers? What apps do you love for yourself and/or for your kid? — Vicky

Do you have a kiddo or two always asking for your phone or other device? What games and apps do you both like? And hey… if you have a question, send it in!

  1. Our daughter is only 4 months old, but my husband and I use Baby Connect to keep track of her nap times, feedings, etc. It's awesome because you can add as many caretakers as you want and it will sync for everyone, so if you take care of the baby in the morning, nanny watches her in the afternoon and partner takes over at night, you could all be on Baby Connect and know exactly how the day went. Cuts out all the "when did she wake up last time?" and "how much did she eat?" conversations.

    Especially useful if you're doing any kind of sleep training; we're doing the 90-Minute Sleep Program and Baby Connect is a lifesaver for that.

    Highly recommended!

    • I love baby connect. We used it when my twins came home from the NICU. The Drs gave us a strict feeding and medication schedule. After a few days of "how many ounces did she eat with you? did he get his 3pm feed at 3 or 330?" we opted for this App. It made it so much easier to keep track of feeding times, ounces consumed, meds, dosage, ect.

  2. I let my 2-yr old have free control over my old iPhone 3 that was just collecting dust. Her favorite game is Tozzle, which she JUST figured out, and it's been really helpful with puzzle solving, even with real wooden puzzles. She also likes Tickle Tap, Peekaboo Wild & Peekaboo Barn, and the Duck Duck Moose apps. When I'm desperate, I have the same apps on my iPhone 4, but she's made me drop it a couple of times, so I'm really leery of doing that…

  3. honestly, my daughter loves youtube on my iphone. we look up something like "baby giraffe" and she knows how to scroll around and watch other related videos. She is 19 months old. Soon shes gonna figure out my password.
    I am interested to find some good apps that might be entertaining for her?

  4. My 18 month old loves Peekaboo Wild, Peekaboo Farm, Baby Piano, Fruit Ninja, and any app that she can talk to and repeats back to her in a funny voice. She also is happy to just scroll through photos or songs in iTunes. I bought a BubCap (http://bubcap.com/) to keep her from exiting out of the apps to the home screen and accidentally/on purpose calling people or sending text messages to my boss (because that has happened.)
    Recently, however, we had to put a stop to her playing with our phones all together because she thinks they belong to her and throws tantrums when it's time to put them away.

  5. My 3 and 7 year old are nuts about Angry Birds (who isn't???). The 3 year old calls it "Angy Birds". They also like Fruit Ninja and Peggle. They both call that one "Peggle my phone".

  6. For Android:

    *BabyESP tracks feedings, diapers, sleep, etc.
    *Toddler Lock is an app where they can touch the screen to color/make shapes and it chimes prettily. They can't get out of it without doing the secret code so they can't activate anything else on the phone. Useful in a slow grocery checkout lane.
    *Oceanhouse Media has a bunch of classic picture books (Mercer Mayer, Dr. Seuss, others)

    I have an ABC app, which there wasn't much interest in, but my 2-year-old ADORES apps where you push a button of a lion and the lion roars, and then you push the button of a car and the car revs, and so on. "Sound World" is the best Android one we've found.

  7. I think moderation is the key. Video games can't replace books (I think children should read or be read to every day), but games are much better than watching passive tv. Even non-education games will teach hand/eye coordination. Phone/ipad games are also particularly great while traveling – happy kids = happy flights!

  8. Omg, you all need to check out the iPlay case by Fischer Price. Matteo was way into my iPhone, and i too feared his throwing it across the room — I bought this case and now he can play with apps, drop it, throw it, chew it, spill juice on it… You get the idea. The most ingenius part is that the home button is covered, so your kid can't delete apps or call China. YouTube has some pretty good reviews so you can see what I'm talking about. Lifesaving!

    • I need to get this for myself. I'm a little, um, under-vigilant to be an iphone owner, but it sounds like this might help. Thanks for the suggestion!

  9. My 4 year old is completely able to navigate alot of phones. She loves angry birds. However I decided some time ago that my iphone is limits. It's my toy.

    • Not just for cranky babies! I use the white noise apps to help me fall asleep. There are heaps of free ones that do everything from static noises to the sound of a summer meadow 😀

    • The nightstand app just helped me maintain a semi normal sleep routine for a trip. Lullaby mode kept the baby asleep despite a creaky door and floors when he was quite interested in staying up to play.

  10. My 20 month old daughter loves the Boynton books, Cat in the Hat, and Dora and Diego's Vacation Adventure (even though she's never seen the TV show).

    I have a rubber case to protect my iPhone but I still don't let her get too far away when she's using it. One of her first dozen words was "iPad!"

  11. Asian sleep is a godsend for our son.
    We turn it on and choose a mixture of sounds and music on the iPad at bath time and he loves it.
    He is only 2 months old and the sounds are relaxing for him and the music is now familiar and perhaps associated with bath time.
    It's great as you can mix your sounds together for putting babies to bed, like waterfall and drums. It's brilliant and did I mention free 😉
    It also plays in the background so you can do other things. It's my favourite app.

  12. Oh and relax melodies has the White noise option which is brilliant. My husband prefers this as it gets our son to sleep almost instantly 😉

  13. There's a free iPhone app called "Phony Phone" that my 1 year old adores – he can always tell the real phones from the decoys (& he is NEVER interested in the decoy, he only wants to swipe our real phones) & this app is perfect because it turns the iPhone into a toy phone! So instead of accidentally deleting things when he presses buttons, it just makes noises, says the numbers out loud when you press them & even has a pretend call button (which makes a "*ring* Hello" sound).

  14. I just bought my friends baby the fisher price iphone case – we'll see how they get on with it come Christmas time
    http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Laugh-Learn-Apptivity-Case/dp/B004UU9W78/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323230763&sr=8-1

    as a Nanny for a young child with autism, the free visual activity timer on the Android is FANTASTIC.
    https://market.android.com/details?id=com.LiteDroidStudios.app.ActivityTimer.Lite&feature=more_from_developer#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEwMiwiY29tLkxpdGVEcm9pZFN0dWRpb3MuYXBwLkFjdGl2aXR5VGltZXIuTGl0ZSJd
    it solves so many problems, and reduces tantrums both when he doesn't want to leave a favoured activity, and when I say he has to continue to work on something/wait for 5 more minutes

  15. My husband and I travel a lot for his job and we decided to turn his old iPhone, that wasn't being used, into a completely kid friendly device for our two year old. It was cheaper than buying a portable dvd player an juat so much easier to travel with. It's loaded with Yo Gabba Gabba, our own music, and kid friendly apps. Some of her favorite apps are Smart Hands (a sign language app for babies and toddlers, Phone Tap (a free app that simulates a phone while teaching colors, numbers, etc.), and of course the Tesla app…. What baby doesn't love shooting lighting out of their fingertips right?

  16. My husband and I decided to turn his old iPhone, that wasn't being used, into a completely kid friendly device for our two year old. It's loaded with Yo Gabba Gabba, our own music, and kid friendly apps. Some of her favorite apps are Smart Hands (a sign language app for babies and toddlers, Phone Tap (a free app that simulates a phone while teaching colors, numbers, etc.), and of course the Tesla app…. What baby doesn't love shooting lighting out of their fingertips right?

  17. My husband decided to turn his old iPhone, that wasn't being used, into a completely kid friendly device for our two year old. It's loaded with Yo Gabba Gabba, our own music, and kid friendly apps. Some of her favorite apps are Smart Hands (a sign language app for babies and toddlers, Phone Tap (a free app that simulates a phone while teaching colors, numbers, etc.), and of course the Tesla app…. What baby doesn't love shooting lighting out of their fingertips right?

  18. I don't have kiddies, but I do have the PaintJoy app (Android), which I find entertaining as a grown-up and I also think would be fun for littlies. Changing colors/brushes would probably be a bit tough for the toddler crowd, but you could probably just give them the rainbow pen or something and let them go wild with that. 🙂 Plus, when they're done, they can watch a movie of their drawing being made!

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