My Top 10 iPhone Apps for Mamas & Kids

Last year I traded in my tiny and annoying Blackberry for an iPhone and I am, once again, worshiping at the alter of all things Apple. After downloading some duds (really, did I need that virtual Zippo?), I’ve found some great Apps that I thought I would share. These are Apps I either use on a daily basis or Apps I use to keep my toddler, Maisie, happy everywhere from the car to the grocery store.

1. Hipstamatic (Synthetic Corp) $1.99

Apple named Histamatic the App of the Year and for very good reason. Basically Hipstamatic brings old school photo style to the digital camera on the iPhone. You can change film, lenses and flash with the flick of a finger and the pictures are pure nostalgic gold. I adore it and love capturing my family in different ways.

2. Sound Shaker (zinc Roe/Tickle Tap Apps) $1.99

Sound Shaker may be my favourite kid-friendly App. You choose the type of sound you want (chimes, flute, drum, xylophone, farmyard animals or the mystery sounds) and then touch the screen to produce sound. Holding your finger on the screen changes the colour and tone of the sound. Shake the phone and they all bounce against each other – kind’ve like a 21st Century rattle. My favourite, FAVOURITE thing about this App is that the sound isn’t tinny or annoying AND if you keep holding your finger down the “sound circle” turns into an egg and a little bird, Robin, is born. SUPER cute. In fact I’ve just downloaded the Field Flier App from Tickle Tap Apps which involves Robin flying around and engaging in different activities (dancing, nesting, sleeping, etc) and Maisie ADORES it. They do other games for older kids as well, which although I haven’t used I would recommend checking them out if you have older kids.

3. Yelp (Yelp) Free!

This is one of those Apps that leaves you wondering how you lived without it. Yelp finds businesses near you and provides you with their details, links to their website and even maps and driving directions if you need them. For example, one afternoon my mother and sister kidnapped Little Miss and I was left with (gasp!) several hours of free time with nothing to do. I entered “spa” into Yelp and after two phone calls was able to snag a last minute appointment pedicure appointment at a local spa. HEAVEN! I’ve also used it when we’ve been in unfamiliar neighbourhoods and wanted to grab something to eat – the reviews mean we don’t end up somewhere hideous or child-unfriendly.

4. Preschool Prep Games $0.99 (Meet the Vowels is currently FREE!)

We love Preschool Prep here at Spilt Milk Moms so I was tres happy when I discovered they had iPhone Apps as well. You can choose fromMeet the Colors, Meet the Vowels, Meet the Numbers, Meet the Shapes, and Meet the Letters (both upper and lower case). They use the similar imagery to the popular video series, and as games they are fantastic. My 16 month old can already identify different colours and loves the game and the little clips when she picks the right answer. A great educational entertainer!

5. Talking Tomcat, Hippo, Santa, John, etc (Outfit7) FREE – $0.99!

You might hate me for this one. Outfit7 have created a series of Apps with critters (cat, hippo, robot, hedgehog, bacteria, Santa, bird) which are interactive. For example, you can stroke the cat (above) and he’ll purr, stomp on his foot and he’ll hop around – you can even punch him till he falls over and sees stars. You can also be nice to him – pressing little circles next to him will give him milk, have him try to eat a bird, throw a pie or (every child’s favourite) fart. But wait – that’s not all! The best part of these Apps is that they listen to anything you say and then repeat it in a silly voice. Even though Maisie can’t really talk she LOVES making noises and having the cat (and the Hippo) repeat what she says. It generally sends her into hysterics, which then sends whichever critter she’s playing with into hysterics and the whole cycle repeats itself. I use this one in the car A LOT. It keeps her busy and I’d rather listen to the resulting bizarre conversation than whining any day!

6. Toddler Activity Farm (EduGameUK) $0.99 (Lite version is FREE!)

I ADORE Toddler Activity Farm. All you have to do int his game is scroll through and touch an animal to hear its sound. The name of the animal appears in the cloud (where it says “Hello” above), and if you touch the cloud it says the animal’s name (cow, horse, duck, etc).  Then, if you touch the animal you hear the sound it makes. Maisie is really into animal noises right now and this one keeps her very happy. I loved how they brought out a winter version (picture above) and that the update itself was free because I’d bought the previous version.

7. Baby Sign ( $4.99 (Lite version FREE!)

We are using baby sign language with Maisie and I absolutely LOVE it. I have a fabulous signing dictionary at home, but sometimes we’re out and about and I need to remember (or discover) a sign. The absolute BEST thing about this Bay Sign App is that you’re not just given images of a sign but also a video so that you can SEE the sign in action. I tried the Lite version and the ads drove me insane so I shelled out the $4.99 for the regular version and I think I’ve definitely have gotten my money’s worth. The dictionary isn’t extensive (for example there aren’t signs for “pretty” or “good”), but you can look at it alphabetically, by category or you can quiz yourself (or your kid). It’s a great tool to have with you on-the-go.

8. Color Me!!! Free (Sid On) FREE!

This was a late arrival to my favourite Apps of 2010, but it’s a great one so I thought I’d share it. Color Me!!! is so easy to use – you simply scroll through the different types of images to select one and then you’re presented with a black & white colouring page. You can choose between three painting modes – the dainty paintbrush which fills areas with colours without going outside of the lines, the household paintbrush which adds colour anywhere you touch, or the paint can which fills in any area you touch. Choosing colours couldn’t be easier than sliding your finger along the colour spectrum on the bottom. Color Me!!! is such a cool App to get for FREE and offers hours of colouring fun at the touch of a button.

9. Baby Piano (Dream Cortex) $1.99

I don’t know what it is about the Baby Piano App, but we love it. Maybe it’s the cute animal art, maybe it’s the fact that you can lock the different modes so your child isn’t constantly fiddling with things, or maybe it’s the fact that you don’t have to take your finger off the screen to play the different keys. You can swipe your finger over the keys and each note is recognized, so there are no frustrated little fingers playing around without producing any sound. You can choose from three different modes and even record your “concertos” for later listening.Baby Piano is so easy to use that even a baby can use it (literally!)

10. Angry Birds ( $0.99 each (Angry Birds & Angry Birds Seasons)

This one’s for Mama! Oh Angry Birds how I love (and hate) thee! First I downloaded the regular Angry Birds, then I discovered the Halloween version but THEN there was the Christmas-themed Angry Birds Seasons (kicked off by the Halloween version) which was an advent calendar. Every day leading up to Christmas a new level of angry birds were released – it’s embarrassing how excited I was to open the “big” window on Christmas day. The premise of the game is simple – the green pigs have stolen the eggs of the (protagonist) birds and it’s your job, through a combination of skill and physics, to beat those evil pigs and rescue the eggs. It might sound stupid but it is SERIOUSLY addictive and I will admit that both Husbando and I have stayed up long past our bedtime trying to get rid of those crazy pigs! This is the best $0.99 you will spend!

So there you have my Top Ten Apps of 2010 – which are your favourites?

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