Visit our Crayon Kiosk for Appy Learning!

While we don’t recommend screen time for babies or real little ones, preschoolers ages 2 and older may benefit from playing educational apps with a parent. Each DBRL branch now has a crayon kiosk with at least one iPad attached to it (and four iPads attached at the Columbia branch). These iPads each have the same app – an educational preschool app that will be switched out periodically. Each app is chosen for early literacy learning.

Child using iPad at crayon kioskThe current app is “Moo, Baa, La La La!” by Sandra Boynton. This digital story is narrated, and children can touch the animals to see them move and make sounds. My favorite is the dancing pigs, but many in the department prefer the snorting rhinoceros! Since these apps are for preschoolers, we encourage parents to play the apps with the children.

We also occasionally run a feature on DBRL Kids called “Get Appy.” Some of these apps are appropriate for older kids, too.

Feel free to check out the crayon kiosk with your child and explore the digital world in a safe way!

Get Appy: Cut the Rope

Cut_the_Rope_logo

How about an app from the past? If you have seen this app before, let’s reminisce. Om Nom. That is the name of the cute monster that you need to feed in Zeptolab’s “Cut the Rope” app. It takes some ingenuity and skill to figure out how to get the swinging candy into Om Nom’s mouth. You have to wait for just the right moment to cut the rope. Sometimes you have to keep the candy away from a spider or overcome other obstacles. There are also bonus stars to collect. Continue reading

Get Appy: Faces iMake

Faces iMake

I downloaded the app Faces iMake because it was pitched as being creative and entertaining. So, I shelled out three bucks (depending on the Apple device that you use, it can range from $1.99 to $4.99) and took a gander. What I discovered: the app is really fun, the possibilities for play are practically endless and my 5-year-old son and husband love it! These photos are just a few examples of what my family did with this app.

FacesIMake PhotoFaces iMake lets you create fun pictures out of interesting everyday things. There are several categories of objects from which to choose: candy, kitchen utensils, toys, shapes, tools, etc. There is even a favorite category where you can save the items you like to create with most. You choose the color of your background and start the creativity! Continue reading

Get Appy: Toca Kitchen

In my household, my husband does all of the cooking, which is awesome. Even better is the fact that he includes my son in the meal-making to teach him the art of cooking. Aware of the kiddo’s budding culinary talents, my in-laws let me know about a simple app called Toca Kitchen (available in the Apple App Store for $1.99). This easy-to-learn game lets you cook things using a variety of techniques, and then try to feed that food to a person or an animal of your choosing. Like a good mom, I read the reviews. While some users wish you could cook more than one ingredient at a time, kids seem to like the simplicity and enjoy learning about chopping, boiling and sautéing, as well as how the different eaters react to different foods. (The eater might gobble up the fish you just microwaved or stick out his tongue in disgust.) Toca Kitchen is a fun way for kids to explore cooking, and it’s a big hit at my house.

If you want some low-tech tools for kids in the kitchen, the library has some great cookbooks available. Try “Mom and Me Cookbook” (or, as it should be called in my house, “Dad and Me Cookbook”) by Annabel Karmel. You’ll find recipes that are fun, simple and unlikely to be rejected by picky eaters. Happy cooking!

Oh, the App-ony!

Here’s an app, there’s an app, everywhere’s an app app! How can you keep up? Here are a few reviewing tools to help you choose the best apps for you and your young child to explore together.

  • Digital Storytime: Rates and reviews picture book apps for iPad
  • Touch and Go: A guide to the best apps for kids and teens from School Library Journal
  • A Matter of APP: A children’s educational app review blog
  • Kirkus Reviews: Picks the best book apps for kids in a variety of categories
  • apps4Stages: Makes suggestions based on a child’s stage of development

Keep in mind, screen time of any kind is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children under 2 years of age, and the organization recommends no more than one to two hours of total screen time per day for children older than 2.