On the BabiTech iPhone

I’m sure you’re all dying to know which apps made it to the current BabiTech list. If there’s something missing that Babis 1 and 2 really need to have, stick it in the comments and we’ll try it out.

IMG_4720Toca Boca

Toca Boca’s Hair Xmas, Toca Builders, Toca Band, Toca Fairy Tales, Toca Hair Salon 2, Toca Kitchen Monster, Toca Doctor

Yes we are huge fans of Toca Boca, no they didn’t pay me to say that. We’ve not found one we don’t all like. The games are well thought out, catchy but not mindless, creative, educational and fun.

Apps Cymraeg

S4C Cyw, Cyw a’r Wyddor, Mwnci Bach, Tref a Tryst, Cyfri gyda Cyw, Ben Dant

The apps produced by S4C are pretty good, my favourites are Cyw a’r Wyddor which helps teach letter formation (Welsh alphabet) and Cyfri gyda Cyw which does the same with numbers. Mwnci Bach is one of those interactive games where the monkey repeats back to you whatever you say, it frequently breaks and I recently removed it as it drives me nuts and has little edcational value. Ben Dant is Babi 2’s favourite, there’s a memory game, a spot the difference and a couple of other games with a pirate theme.

Big Click‘s Llythrennau and Llawysgrifen are excellent letter learning games created by a company in the Rhondda, just up the road from BabiTech HQ. They have a real community focus and work closely with kids, more about them soon I hope!

The Rest

Lightbot – one hour coding There are a few apps in the lightbot series and they all teach coding through a series of tasks which you have to programme the animated robot to complete. It’s cute and simple but needs some basic app literacy and a patient adult on standby.

TACU I have talked about before, great fun adding animated faces and audio to any picture, this is one of those apps to work on together as the interface is not terribly child friendly.

Singing Fingers is so lovely and creative, I wish the iPhone version worked as well as the iPad one does. It’s Babi1’s favourite way to make a lot of noise. Touching the screen triggers audio recording and leaves a mark, you re-touch the mark to play back the sound. Babi1 likes to sing a scale whilst drawing a spiral and then play it back backwards tracing her finger back over the pattern she drew.

If that sounds too complicated watch the video

And last but not least, my favourite app of all time is Qiver (formerly ColAR Mix) the augmented reality colouring book. You have to print the pictures from their website (pdfs so you can save them) and colour them in however you like. Then scan them with the app and see them come to life. Magical!

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Frozen Coding

I just found a lovely one hour coding tutorial where you learn how to get Anna and Elsa to skate in a snowflake pattern. I’d say it was suitable for a bright 6 year old with supervision, I’m going to try it with My 5year old but think she’ll get bored after the first few screens, I’ll let you know how it goes!

Try it on your computer at https://code.org/learn

There are other games apps and ideas on the site, I think the unplugged activities will be easier with younger children. I’m hoping I can get babis 1 and 2 to programme each other!

Taking advantage

Babi2.0 is off nursery with a fever, I’ve been entertaining her with my Kindle Fire, iPhone, and tv remote (as well as jigsaw puzzles, paints and toys, it’s not all tech!) She has mastered Amazon Prime kids shows, the Peppa pig painting app, a Frozen version of candy crush, drawing number shapes with Cyw, matching picture pairs with BenDant and hairdressing with TocaBoca. But my personal favourite is that she has worked out how ear-phones work! IMG_4376.JPG

Although I’m glad she hasn’t cracked my iPhone password.

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The Grandparent Effect

We recently returned from a week away in Bluestone where I partly embraced the “free-range” ethos and switched off my laptop for a few days.  The rest of the family had other ideas.  Babi is not such a babi these days, 2 years 10 months and she was showing her Mamgu how to use an iPad.  Given that we don’t have any type of tablet at home, this was Taid’s iPad, I’m still surprised at how confidently she handled it.  She picked it up, unlocked the screen, chose the app she wanted (Toca band), played it, exited it and put it back away like it was any other toy.

Later that day I was reading my Kindle (I did say partly embraced).  Babi believes that Mamgu’s touchscreen Kindle can access any story that she  can imagine but Mammy’s Kindle, being an older and more basic model, is merely a digital copy of Winnie the Pooh.

Babi2.0 is now 6 months old, she is only interested in things she can eat.  She has participated in on-line meetings and Skyped her Grandparents but her interaction still stops at slobbering on the keyboard.

Terrible Two

I’ve no idea where the last year went to but suddenly we are well into the summer birthday party circuit. We passed the 24 month mark this week so I had better get updating the blog.

A friend recommended Talkng Tom Cat’s canine counterpart, Talking Ben. For some reason I want to call the dog Dexter and have confused myself on more than 3 occasions searching for the app on my phone. After disabling the allow violence function, I let little one loose on the grumpy pooch who kept her entertained for a good ten minutes.

Once she’d “woken him up” by tickling and prodding the screen Ben repeats back whatever you say to him but in a deeper voice. Babi decided to put him through his paces offering increasingly more complicated vocal exercises to see if he could keep up with her. She then found the telephone function and had a short conversation with him consisting of a mixture of babble and barking.

As for developmental milestones, she now has much better control of the touch screen although she can’t yet manage to unlock it on the first attempt. She is aware that different pictures have different functions. She can swipe the screen sideways to navigate the home pages, she can tap the screen and knows that this action makes something happen. She can interact with an app vocally and has a good understanding of the camera function.

First child

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22 and a half months!

There’s been an awful lot of Weetabix cleaning this month (wouldn’t it make a brilliant adhesive!?), not to mention the alphabetti spaghetti, felt tipped pen, chocolate handprints…

My most amusing observation this month has to be the reaction to a calculator. I’d left my old one on the coffee table, she spent a good minute looking at it, picked it up, put it to her ear and enquired “Hello?”. Figures, buttons only, point it at the telly, buttons and a screen, must be a phone.

We’ve had a major development in using a smartphone, she’s not finely honed the skill yet but after a few attempts, and she definitely knows what she’s trying to do, she can manage the unlocking finger swipe. A word of warning to anyone attempting to outsmart their toddler with an unlock pattern, those little fingers migrate very quickly to the little red button direct line to the emergency services, no unlocking required!

She hasn’t yet got the dexterity to choose an app but we’ve had lots of fun firing multicoloured balls in Shoot Bubble Deluxe she loves the sound effects, especially when she loses, which is every time as she has no idea about the rules.

Her understanding of the camera function is increasing, she knows that the lens has something to do with the picture and she likes pointing it at people or objects, watching them on the screen and shouting out “Dadi!” or “Babbit!”

This is becoming quite fun, shows what an exciting life I lead. It’s half ten on a Friday evening and I’m looking forward to Googling my favourite fictional characters to see if they have baby friendly websites!

21 months

There hasn’t been a huge change this month, I think she’s been concentrating on her language skills. I downloaded the Talking Tom Cat app (the free version) which, once I’d disabled the Allow Violence function(!), she was obsessed with for exactly 2 days. She would hand me my phone and say “Eeeow” and then have happy conversations with the cat punctuated by tantrums when the Download New Features adverts popped up and crashed the phone.

If there is a milestone here it’s that she realised that she could interact with the game by talking to it. My LGP350 wasn’t quite up to dealing with the barrage of adverts to upgrade so I uninstalled while she was distracted by the real cat.