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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Hiya

Babi2.0 recently had her 1st birthday.  She’s been having fun with the Toca Band app but hasn’t quite figured out what makes it work. She keeps trying to recreate the music by wiggling her fingers over a locked smartphone screen whilst dancing, makes sense, that’s what she did the first time and it worked perfectly.

Other recent advances are that she has started to hold rectangular objects, phone, tv remote, toy with buttons to her ear and say “hiya, hiya, hiya, hiya…” Before 11 months she had been known to hold conversations via pasta and wooden blocks. She has identified the dvd remote as not being a phone because she points that one at the TV, usually during an emotional scene in a Tinkerbell as if to torment her big sister.

She attempted some interaction with Mwnci Bach, a more child friendly version of the popular talking cat and dog apps but soon got frustrated as there’s no dancing to be done.

Babi1.0 is honing her fine motor skills and can just about trace large letter shapes with jerky movements. The CYW alphabet app is an excellent tool for this.

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Noisy Creatures

Happy Touch – Animals

http://www.happy-touch-apps.com/

The free version is a very basic cartoon farmyard scenes where the animals make sounds when touched. Provided 2 minutes entertainment max for both Babis. For 69p you can unlock more pictures.

Pros – pretty pictures and very little risk of exploring fingers accidentally downloading in-app purchases due to a nifty little double tap requirement, so thumbs up for that.

Cons – limited educational value, and some of the noises are a tad suspect.

 

Grasshopper Apps – Animal sounds

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/animal-sounds-baby-toddler/id692853597?mt=8

The free version has over 24 animal sounds linked to photographs of the animals, an upgrade will set you back 69p. Tapping on the thumbnail plays the sound and shows you a bigger version of the picture, you have to tap the picture to return to the menu.  Animals are divided into those well known biological kingdom categories of Cat, Cockerel, Rhino, Bird, Squirrel and Snake.

Pros – authentic sounds and good pictures provide some educational value.

Cons – you need pretty good fine motor skills to change categories as the buttons are tiny making it not so child friendly.