Friday, December 16, 2011

More iPhone Apps for Kids

For a long time, whenever I received a "Look at this app and review it PLEASE" email, my answer was pretty much the same as the one on Smonk You: If you want me to review an iPhone app, buy me an iPhone. But then I got my iPhone, which I really didn't need but now will probably die if we spend a day apart, and like most other smart-phoners, I collect apps...

So this is my disclosure policy. One day I'll write a real one, but for now, this is it: I got one of these two apps for free. The second one was already free. So that's that.

The first is Solar Walk, which is selling now at $2.99. Yes, I got it for free, but you know I'm a sucker for these things. The app is from the same people who made the amazing Star Walk, and while Star Walk has some unique features you don't get with the solar version, this app includes educational movies, as well as 3D compatibility, so if you have those 80s blue-red 3D glasses or if you have a 3D TV, this will be even more amazing. Apparently.

I'm taking small steps with my kid. He's only 4, but he's curious, and every little thing can be a teachable moment. He noticed four shadows of his head in the kitchen yesterday, which gave me an opportunity to explain why that was, and then talk about shadows in general, and then I started talking about eclipses. He's at the stage where I can still teach him stuff, so I'm going to use that as much as I can before he realizes how ignorant I really am. Now back to the app.

While some of the features here are definitely for older kids or for adults, it's still a great one for kids, because a 4-year-old can spend hours playing around with this app, rotating planets, and learning about the places beyond the clouds.

Here are some pictures. As usual, they don't do this app justice. This stuff is absolutely beautiful.

Solar Walk

Solar Walk

Solar Walk

Solar Walk

Solar Walk





The second app, the free one, is the PBS Kids app. Unlike the PBS Labs website I mentioned before, which was all about educational games, this app is basically video clips of PBS Kids shows. It's very straight-forward: You choose a PBS character and a video begins. You can scroll to the right to pick another video out of hundreds available, then touch the screen once to get full screen. And that's pretty much it. I don't let either of my kids spend too much time with my phone, because I don't want them to destroy it, and because I use it, and because I somehow feel less guilty about my parenting if I get them to run around more instead of sitting and moving their fingers on a phone, even though these apps are educational and even though every time every time every time they run around one of them gets hurt and screams. Every freakin' time.

PBS Kids

PBS Kids

PBS Kids

PBS Kids

11 comments:

  1. That Star Walk app is amazing... I could look at that thing for hours and be amazed at how they do it. Very cool stuff

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  2. Hmm, nice suggestions here. I don't have a kid but I believe I'm a kid at heart. So I'll definitely give these apps a try. :)

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  3. Getting my first iphone soon. That starwalk app looks super cool.

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  4. I taught the kids in my preschool class about shadows and we went outside and traced their shadows and now every time anyone uses the smartboard some yells, "WE CAN'T HAVE A SHADOW!" so that I have to stop and explain that of course we can have a shadow, we just try not to have it obstruct our view of the smartboard.

    Anyway...that space one does look neat! I don't have that kind of phone, so I can't try it out so more or less I'm just blabbering about nothing here...

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  5. I know nothing about iPhones, but my son, who has one thinks this is a really nice price. I personally think it is great at being educational.

    I happened onto your site and love the fact that you are a dad who is involved with his child, finding cool educational things to enjoy together, and have your own website and blog.

    I know - you are not the only one. But it's still not the usual and I appreciate it when I see it. Thanks for the thoughtful post and the great idea for the app. I may buy that one.

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  6. Those were really astounding app, really suites kids of this age.

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  7. Daddy's in Charge?, I know. Isn't it great to live in the future?

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  8. James, congratulations! By the way, did you get the Kindle Fire? What do you think about it?

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  9. Jill, your blabbing is always appreciated! You can have the same experience if you simply go outside and look at the stars, though. That and bionic eyes.

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  10. My kids tried Solar Walk but they find it a bit difficult. The second app was more for their taste. Regards.

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