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!

IMG_2611

Babi two point zero

The late night blog is the curse of the working parent.  Still, reflecting on my little ones’ technological advances makes washing the dishes seem less of a chore.

The big little person (now 3 years and 3 months) started full-time school nursery at the beginning of the month and her language and communication skills have improved.  She is increasingly curious about the different apps on my iPhone, she wants to know what they are all for and is generally disappointed to find access to our external hard drive or the news headlines.  Her new favourite is Spotify although she can’t navigate it, she hands me the phone and says “I want ‘Mi Welais Jac y Do‘ please”.  We need to teach her some new songs.

The littlest little person is a few days short of 11 months old so I think it’s time she started earning her keep.

She was 8 months when she first showed any interest in a Smart Phone, Babi number one was watching a cartoon and it held Babi 2’s interest for around 10 seconds.  From around 10 months she started to pick the phone up and play with the touch screen so those would have been her first conscious interactions with it and I assume the realisation that “if I touch the screen the pictures move”.  I have not noticed her try to replicate the effect on books or magazines.

This week I gave her the iPhone with Toca Band open and running but no instruments selected. Within seconds she had dragged one of the characters onto the stage area causing it to play a tune and was so pleased with herself she spent a good 2 minutes bouncing up and down in time to the music.  So now we also have “if I touch the screen it sometimes makes a noise” added in to the mix.

I a my three!

Babi recently had her third birthday and to celebrate three years of motherhood I upgraded my LG smartphone to an iPhone. I have officially gone over to the dark-side.  I got a little bit baby app happy so now Babi has a hairdressing app, an app to cook for monsters, an app for dressing up pixies and an app for making music.  I’ve been blown away by the ease with which she interacts with this stuff.  She’s not spending long with it, 10 un-supervised minutes in the mornings while I’m feeding Babi2.0 or getting dressed, 3 mornings a week over a fortnight, so that’s what, an hour of exposure to the iPhone apps and already she has learned conventions such as a cross closes the app or window, a door takes her to a different virtual environment, a camera will take a snapshot of what’s on the screen, the “Big Button” takes her back to the home screen where she can choose another app.

Most suprising of all is that her favourite app is none of the above.  She calls it “Dime” (dim-er from a Welsh nursery rhyme), she pesters me for it, she sulks when she’s denied it (regularly).  It’s also my favourite app and probably for the same reasons.  You can create, record and edit sounds with it. Yes, my three year old’s app of choice is GarageBand!