Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Favorite Things - App Style

Over the last couple of weeks, all of the talk shows have been plugging various apps for people to consider downloading over the holidays. As you are well aware, there are an enormous amount of them covering a variety of genres. There are education apps, book apps, game apps, holiday apps, and the list goes on and on (and on and on and on). Every time I see a new app that I think might be worth anything, I check it out. Now I don't have any connection to the apps I am about to mention, and this is just my opinion, but I wanted to make a short list of my favorite apps at the moment. Here it goes...

1. The Reward Chart

I downloaded this app due to a very unimportant, very selfish reason: Busy was taking her own sweet time getting into her car seat while I was trying to get the Beans into his. Small potatoes, I know, but still. Anyway, I like this chart because it is very straight forward and easy to use. You set a task and how many stars each task is worth. Then you and your kid agree on a reward that she will get at the completion of the chart. Every time you click the task as done it says "You have won a star!" You then drag the star on to the chart and see how full your chart is. Busy loves hearing that she has won a star and checking her chart! And yes, she picked chocolate milk for her reward on the first chart :) 

This app is one of my favorites! With all of the art activities we do around here, not to mention everything Busy brings home from school, and now that the Beans has started to join in on the fun, I find myself trying to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to toss! This app allows me to take a picture of her picture and archive (or artkive) them all. The photos are displayed and categorized by child. What's even better? They have now come out with a book option! You can choose which pictures you want to use (or use all of them) and have them put in a book to display at home!!!! You have to have at least 20 pictures I think to make a book, but we are well on our way for a year's worth of books :) 

This is a Christmas app that I thought was super cute! You can check in to the countdown to when Santa will hit the road (or air). Then on Christmas Eve at 6:00 am EST, you can begin to track his progress across the skies! I mean, I am an adult but this still gets me so excited!!! Now, this could be a total bust, and we shall see on Monday, but I am hopeful. I can't wait to sit down with Busy and stalk to big guy in red :)

4.  RedLaser

I saw this one on Live with Kelly and Michael but haven't had a chance to use it, but it looks really cool  especially with the shopping season under way. Let's say you're at Target (because I always am) and you find a gift for your niece. You can scan the barcode on the item and the app will tell you if there is a better deal on the same product at another store near you. If you have the time to store hop, then I think this is pretty savvy. I am hitting the stores tomorrow for some last minute gifts, so I'll see how it goes. 
This app is a little bitter sweet in that you don't ever want to have to actually use it. It is a "convenient place to electronically store photos and vital information about your children so that it's literally right at hand if you need it." You store information like their name, address, phone number, DOB, gender, height, ethnicity, weight, hair and eye color, and any distinguishing features that could help identify your child if they were to go missing. If something were to happen, all you do is click 'send' and all of the info is sent via email to the local authorities with a few clicks. This way you have all of the info in one spot so you don't have to fidget around trying to compile it. It put a lump in my throat when filling out all of the information, but better safe than sorry. It also has safety tips to keeping your children safe and a checklist of what to do if they go missing. 
The problem I have with the app is that none of this information, including your address and phone number is protected by a password :( So if you were to loose your phone, someone else could have access to that info. And believe me, I have written them to see if they could change that :) 

Busy and I LOVE this app! It is so simple yet so much fun! You can pick a friend to dress up then choose from a variety of hats, glasses, shirts/dresses, pants/shorts and shoes. That's it. You can save your creation to your photos file or you can just start over and dress another friend. Yep. That's it. But it is so cute and fun.

Pocket Phonics is great because it is easy for Busy to use and she actually likes to use it. It's a writing/phonics app that helps teach letter sounds (and blends) and letter writing. And you can customize it to best suit your child's leaning level. 

Warning*** This app is addicting. Busy and I were at Panera waiting for a to go order a few weeks ago when a mom and her 5 year old son sat next to us. He was playing a game called Where's My Water and neither one of us could stop watching him play (I mean, I even apologized to the woman for lurking). We got to talking about it and he said he liked playing the game of strategy. We downloaded it and that night I couldn't put it down! The point of the game is to get the water from wherever it is to the pipe that leads to the crocodile in his bathtub (weird). Anyway, Busy likes playing too and is getting better at the lower level, although it gets pretty down right difficult the higher in levels you go. So this one may be more for me :), but she is determined to get that water to that poor water deprived bathing croc. 

So there you have it. My favorite apps (right now, anyway). I am always curious about what other moms, or anyone else for that matter, think are good apps. So if you read this and care to chime in, please do. Happy app hunting ;)

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