“If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”
-- Ignacio Estrada

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vacation time...iPads ready? CHECK!

As we get ready to take a long weekend road trip to see a couple of baseball games and visit a few children's museums, I had to make sure we did the iPad check. I wanted to make sure that both my work iPad and my husbands iPad 2 were "kids" organized and had a variety of apps to entertain 2 kiddos in a car. Even though they both are excellent travelers and enjoy looking at the scenery, I wanted to make sure we had all our bases covered. (No bun intended - if you closely, the background on my hubby's iPad is Pete Rose sliding into home plate.)

I have been asked several time about how I have organized my apps into folders. I don't think there is a "right" way or a "wrong" way. You have to figure out what way is going to work best for the user.
Here are a few pictures of how we have folders set up on our iPads. My husband's iPad 2 is sent up for his use. I have only advised on how to organize his apps.

But I made sure that since my kids would be using it too, they knew what apps were OK for them to play. So....
we made each kid a folder (Grace and Caleb), then we have a Books folder, games folder and a kids fun folder. These folder contain all the app that are appropriate for the kids to play.

My iPad, which is primarily for work use, is set up more "kids friendly" and academic. I have apps organized into folders set up according to subjects, such as math, reading, drawing, books, etc. Apps that I use on a frequent basis (like Proloquo2Go, Pandora, iDress, etc.) are no in folders so that they are easy access.

Here are the top 10 apps (ok, may be there are a few more than 10) that we have on at least one of the iPads that I know will make the road trip a little less painful.

  1. Every app from Toca Boca: Toca Tea, Toca Doctor, Paint My Wings, and Toca Hair Salon (our new favorite).  apps range in price from $0.99 to $1.99 with a free LITE version of Toca Doctor available. Toca Doctor and Toca Tea are some of the favorite apps of my 5 year old.
  2. My Underwear by Thumb Arcade and Todd Parr. Several activities all relating to....well, you guessed it underwear! You can decorate it, match it, and have monsters eat the undies. My kids LOVE IT! available for $2.99 in itunes.
  3. Playskool: Alphie by Red Urban. This app is a simple that teaches basic skills (colors, numbers, shapes). My kids love to help Alphie on his adventures and visit his Grandpa Blue. The price is amazing... FREE!
  4. The Three Little Pigs by Nosy Crow. See my review for additional information on this app.
  5. Chuck and Friends: Friends for the Long Haul by Ruckus Media Group. My 3 year old loves his cars and trucks so I knew that this interactive book was a must. Various learning activities are imbedded into the story. BONUS * app allows you to record your own voice reading the story* Chuck is available for $3.99 for full version or LITE version for FREE
  6. iDoodle Card by BND Co., Ltd. offers a variety of drawing activities. It allows for free drawing, follow a maze, complete a picture, or coloring pages. It is able 2 or 3 apps in one. I can't wait to do a full review because this one has so many potential IEP uses. I think it is a steal at $0.99.
  7. MiniSketch by FatalFun is similar to the handheld "Etch-a-Sketch", but with a twist. In this app, you can change color and line texture. Although I was never good that the original etch-a-sketch, I found this one fun to just play with due to the color and line changes available. If you hurry, it is FREE until June 27th.
  8. Bug Builder by zinc Roe allows you to choose between 4 different bug body shapes. Next, you can decorate your shape to create your bug. After your bug in complete, you have the choice of taking a picture of the bug going back to create another. I'm not a fan of taking the picture as I end up with 50 bug photos on my iPad if my kids are playing by themselves. Consider yourself warned. This app is $1.99 which compared to other "creative apps" is a little high for the simplicity of the app.
  9. Create a Car by ABCya!. See my review for additional information on this app.
  10. Moody Monster by ALEX toys allows you to create your own monster, take monster tour of the manor, and play games with the monsters. The app integrates both academic (colors) and social (feelings) components as well. Moody Monsters is one of the favorites of my 3 year old (until we got Chuck the Truck). Best of all, it is FREE!
  11. And last, but not least, we cannot leave the house without a copy of The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton made into an interactive story app by Loud Crow Interactive, Inc. This book, actually this board book, has had a place in our nighttime ritual since my daughter, who will be 6 in August, was born. We have read it so much that the whole family, even Caleb (age 3), can recite the book from memory. So when we saw that there was an interactive version for the iPad, we jumped on it. For the iPad version it is $2.99, iPhone version is $1.99 which I think is a great price for a very good quality interactive book. Both cheaper than the original board book which was probably about $5.99. However, I wouldn't be trading in the board book.....too many memories are attached to the book.
As you are planning your own vacation, hopefully this list will give you a few idea on how to "keep the peace" and quiet while traveling. Safe travels to all!


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