Tilly’s Petting Farm App

Move over Old McDonald, Tilly has a farm too, and this one teaches you more than just animal sounds. E-I-E-I-O

Tilly’s Petting Farm app by Shoto is a fun, bright, educational app for children age 1-7, that focuses on speaking full and complete sentences. Children learn a great deal of vocabulary about life on a farm, though just a few words aren’t typically used in American English. This isn’t a big deal to me;  just another learning opportunity to have with your children about different cultures and language. I also like the English accent of the narrator.

Tilly’s Petting Farm app is $1.99 in the App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

I like how the narrator speaks in complete sentences, and that it really requires the child to listen. I feel like my two and a half year old daughter will open an app and just tap away, but this app forces her to stop, listen, and comprehend what is being said to her.

The app works like this: There are four different areas on the farm to learn about. When you select a scene, you can select the hand symbol to tap-and-learn about what’s going on in the scene, and then you can select the magnifying glass to enter a question-and-answer(tap) session. There are over 300 sentences spoken in the app, so your child won’t run through the app quickly.

This app isn’t one you can just toss over to your child under age 5 and expect them to play around with and learn on their own. You’ll have to show them how to go through the tap-and-learn phase (by selecting the hand symbol) then go to the question- and-answer phase (with magnifying glass). You’ll especially need to be around for assistance when questions come up that may be difficult for young children to answer like “where is the dried grass?” (hay).

Overall, I like the app, and my daughter does as well. I think it is worth the $1.99 price.

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Apps That Take the Stress Out of Family Vacations

Summer is here, and it’s time to make the memories of the “What I did on Summer Vacation” essays your kids will make come Fall.
Here are some apps that I’ve used on our recent trip traveling with our 2 1/2 year old, and will help you avoid having a vacation like National Lampoon’s ;)
I like using the Expedia App to book flights right from your phone, and you can also use it to book hotel, car rentals, or find an activity (amusement parks, museums, etc.). Once it’s booked, print your boarding pass at home, or simply print it out at the kiosks at the airport. Get the app now. Such a breeze for what you can control, security on the other hand…I have an app for that too….
This app is such a great tool when traveling with a child, especially when you are packing a “things to do” bag for the child to keep them busy on the plane. It has a tab that reads “Can I Bring?” and it is amazing. Just type in a questionable item you would like to bring on board the plane, and it explains if you can or not. It also displays any delays at your airport, and the waiting times at the security checkpoint. Though the TSA may get a bad rap, this app definitely helps make up for it. Get the app now.
Your little one too young to pack for themselves, or maybe doesn’t even understand why Mommy is putting their things in a bag? The My Suitcase App is great app for toddlers/preschoolers to play. The game allows them to pack items in a suitcase for a vacation at 4 different destinations. Once they pack their luggage, they arrive and play at their location. Real cute and my 2 1/2 year old plays it often. Get the app now.
Once you arrive on vacation, find the perfect restaurant or entertainment with the help of the Yelp App, an app (and website) dedicated to reviews submitted by real people about local businesses in the area. Find out which restaurants are great to bring kids too, but also has food that doesn’t come out of a bag or box.You can also “check-in” to places. Get the app now.

Build a Bug Workshop?… Create Cute Bugs With Your Toddler

If you’re like me, bugs make you a little squeamish…but with this cute app for your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad,  bugs are adorable and…creative.

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The Bug Builder app by Tickle Tap Apps is full of bright colors, charming music, and fun sound effects. Only $1.99, and it is a very simple concept; in fact when I purchased the app, I was thinking that you could choose what kind of eyes the bug would have, antenna, legs, etc., and was a little disappointed at just how simple it really was.

I later showed the app to my two year old daughter however, and realized that this simplicity is perfect for toddlers (which we all know have shorter attention spans). Toddlers love creating things, but don’t want to be patient and go through a lot of steps and details to get to their final product. Duh mom! The app developers recommend this app for children ages 3-5, though I’d say some two year olds can grasp this app also.

Let me explain this simple concept: first you choose from 4 different designs for the body of your bug. Then you choose from several different colors to draw on your bug. Next you tap the smiley bug face in the top right-hand corner, and your design is placed in an “egg”. Now it is your job to hatch it! You tap on the egg six times, and voila, your bug creation is hatched with a face, wings, antenna, legs, and whatever else they may have. Then you can click on the camera image in the top right-hand corner, and take a picture of your bug, which is saved in your photos section on your device. Goodness, I probably have at least 20 bugs in my phone! What can I say, my daughter loves this app! She laughs so hard when her bug hatches and she sees what crazy creation she’s made.

What’s also great is that there are many different bug features the app adds onto your  bug, so you’re sure to have a different-looking bug each time!

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Learning Letters: Toddler’s First Spelling App

FirstWords: Animals App

Your toddler always grabbing for you phone? Why not keep their fingers occupied while engaging him/her with a great app teaching them letters and forming words?

I love the FirstWords: Animals app for iPhone, iPod, and iPad. My two year old daughter absolutely loves it. She loves the animals, and I love that she is learning letters and how letters make up words.

The app basically works like this; there is an image of an animal, and the animal word is spoken. A jumble of the letters that make up the word are below it. Your child touches one of the letters in the jumble and drags it  up to the boxes to match it up to the same letter. The app also has a “magnetic” feature about it, so when your child drags the letter close to it’s place, it automatically snatches the letter in correct position in the word. Your child can also touch the letter in the box, which triggers a hint by “shaking” the letter in the jumble below as another method of playing the game. This feature can also be turned off for older kids needing more of a challenge, and you can also change the settings to how long you want the words to be, and adjust difficulty levels. Once the word is completely spelled, the speaker audibly spells out the word for further reinforcement, followed by a little animation of the animal.

Only after a few demonstrations on my part, did my daughter pick up on the concept of dragging the letter to it’s match. It’s really an easy app to introduce to your toddler to get their mind thinking about spelling. Right now we are working on selecting the letters from left to right in order.

There are several different kinds of FirstWords apps, like a Spanish version, the Deluxe, etc., so go with the one that you think your child will enjoy the best. There is also a free sampler of this app, if you want to try it out before purchasing it. The app is $1.99, and it comes with 39 animals/words.

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