Top 10 apps for preschoolers

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And then one day my husband and I finally got our iPhones and the destiny of both our iPods was decided for us by our then 2 and 4 year olds. That destiny was that they would take them over. So I started a mission of cleaning out any grown up apps and downloading safe, fun and educational games. You know. Something that wouldn’t turn them into a frustrated mess or a cocky winner. Something in between, that kept them happy and entertained for a short while. The other tricky part of this is that some apps, paid but specially free, have crazy amounts of banners and adds that keep switching screens on them, so I test drive all of them to see what kind of adds they have.
Now, like all things, I believe that electronic time should be limited and monitored. They don’t watch much tv – which is courtesy of our wonderful Netflix for children- and their iPod time is also limited.
Some days, I save their iPod time for when I know I will be taking them out on an errand with me. I have gotten so many compliments from strangers on how well behaved they are while I shop, to which I nod and smile guiltily. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!
Here’s a fun list. Enjoy!

1. Toca Boca Builder :

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If you are not familiar with the Toca Boca games, I really recommend that you get to it. Most of their games are paid, true, but they are so cute for the kids. My little ones, now 4 and 5 have pretty much all Toca Boca games and love them all! This is the newest one, as the name suggests, is all about building things. $1.99 App Store

2. The Lorax Garden :

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My kids are huge fans of The Lorax and my daughter specially loves this game.
You can replant a region of your choosing with potted plants that you grown yourself by giving them water and care hearts. Be aware, care hearts cost money. $0.99 App Store.

3. Interactive Alphabet ABCs :

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I got this game when my son was 2 and it was by far his favorite. The alphabet is interactive, so say there’s an Apple for “A”, your kid can take bites out of it by touching it. The music and artwork are nice, and this one had a “baby mode” lock which was great to keep the letter flowing without getting stuck on just one! $2.99 App Store.

4. Awesome Eats :

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This one is powered by Whole Foods, and it has the intention of showing them some healthy foods. It is a cute sorting game that gets challenging and fun for the wee ones and bigger ones, too. Best of all, free! App Store.

5. Loopy Tunes :

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Oh. I must admit that this is one of my favorites. The artwork and the sounds are amazing, and it’s all around a great music app. $1.99 and totally worth it.

6. Geo Dash :

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Powered by National Geographics.
Now, this is a game in the Mario Brothers meets Sonic style but much slower and easier. I’m not a huge fan of this type of game, but my kids are wild for it. They have converted all of their cousins and now everyone loves it. It’s one of those things that I can’t understand, but… Why bother.
$1.99 App Store.

7. The Math Tree :

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This is a very nice game to help with their early math skills. My daughter who is now 5 likes it a lot. $0.99 App Store.

8. Gesundheit! :

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Okay. This game is one of MY favorites and I am not at all ashamed to say I play it sometimes. Everything about this game is enticing, the artwork is amazing, the soundtrack is wonderful, and I love the little piggy guy. My son got a little freaked out at first when he got eaten, but soon the joy of throwing snot at the monsters face was more powerful and we all enjoy this game together! $1.99 App Store

9. Endless Alphabet :

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You might not be a big fan of that price tag. I get that! But if you are willing to drop some cash, this app is very educational and easy to use, extremely beautiful and the phonetics are amazing. By touching and dragging a letter to form a word, the letter makes its sound, helping the kids associate the visual and sound effects. $4.99 App Store.

10. Barefoot World Atlas :

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Being in a biracial home, my kids love to be exposed to other cultures. I love a good Atlas for myself, although I cannot answer you what is the Capital of New Zealand on the spot to save my life, but the thing about this Atlas is that it’s extremely easy to use, and appealing to kids. The artwork is quite beautiful, displaying major monuments on top of their country, giving you the option to click and see a real picture of it (although this feature is available only on iPads) – this app is optimized for iPhone 5, and our iPods are on the older side by now – still, this is a really great way to show them a little bit of how much world there is out there.
$4.99 App Store.

Now comes the REAL tip:
Some apps in this list, such as Gesundheit, Barefoot Atlas and Endless Alphabet were downloaded for free or for a fraction of the price. The way to do that is to check the App Store on a weekly basis, and go on their “New and Noteworthy” section to see what is new. Most of those apps are just coming out and they go at a trial price or free. Also, check for their “app of the week”, and make sure to always check under the categories is your choice to see if anything there looks interesting and is in your price range. Don’t forget that a free app, if not loved later by you or the little ones, can easily be deleted! No harm there.

I will follow up with a “top 10 free apps” soon! Hope you enjoyed this one!

$ Coin! $

Well. So my son did the unthinkable. He got US$0.01 richer, and I’m not talking about his piggy bank.

Let me start by saying he is 3 and has long forgotten his habit of putting everything in his mouth. So when my daughter came running and saying that her brother had chocked on something, I thought of any type of food he could have gotten his hands on, but never a penny! So I immediately went into overdrive: Where is he? Is he breathing? Where am I?

He followed her and came into the kitchen crying seconds later and I was relieved to see he was breathing (crying never sounded so good!) and I could determine that the item in question was indeed somewhere in his tiny body. So I asked them (him!!) what it was and they told me it was a penny. I searched my brain to try and remember if I had ANY batteries lying around – not that we ever do, but in these moments you start to doubt yourself. As a parent. As a human being.
He is crying so hysterical now that he pukes. I search it in vain, hoping that the coin would have been there. No dough. So I lay out all types of coins so he can show me which one he has wolfed down and he points at the penny. I was relieved because I trusted him and knew it wasn’t a battery! So then I proceed to do what we all do when in doubt: GOOGLE! I found this blog of a mom in the same situation and her decision was to wait for it to pass. We decided on the same thing, but called the doctor just in case. She then advised us to take him to the ER in our local hospital the next day for an X-Ray. And if you must know, our local hospital SUCKS. So the next day, with no symptoms whatsoever, we waited. And we did that the next day, and the next. My husband had done the same thing at the same age, and his mother waited. My brother ate all types of weird things as a kid, and I never saw my mom rush him to the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, that coin could have been stuck somewhere and when it comes to your kid, you want to be safe!! But you also have a 6th sense, and I trusted mine. But after the 5th day, I had to take my daughter in with a nasty cough, and took him along to get looked at just in case. By then, dr. wanted an X-Ray just to see where the damn penny was. Sure enough, it was still in his stomach, hadn’t moved! No signs of it coming out. Believe me, I was inspecting his deposits religiously to make sure it wasn’t going to get flushed without my knowledge!

Doctor then proceeds to tell me she wants it removed (endoscopy!!! Going under!!!! Damn you, Penny!!!!!!!!) because it could be attaching itself to stomach walls. Take him to ER tomorrow, she said. Now if you were reading, you saw that our local hospital SUCKS, right? So we drove all the way to CHOP, adding only an extra half hour from the alternative hospital we were talking him to, and it was the best thing we ever did. Getting there, X-Ray tells us.. not much.So they needed to do a GI test to take a better look at the penny. More radiation! And to do it, his stomach needed to be empty (damn you, Gatorade!!) so they would need to pump his stomach. Mommy is in hysterical tears by now. G.I. doctor and main doctor are going back and forth on what to do, and it was then decided that since he seemed absolutely fine, we would give one more day (this time, no eating or drinking!) and they would decide what to do the next day. We bought one more day, but I’m a nervous wreck. Before we left, dr. managed to make me cry again by saying, “Mommy, you did a good job. We want to avoid harsh procedures on the little ones as much as possible, and you did great at watching his symptoms and trusting yourself. He is fine! Mommies always know.” :)

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That’s my 3 year old’s little body!! How weird is that? And the “foreign body” of a penny.

Next day arrives, and mommy had to stay home with a sick daughter, so daddy took him all the way to Philly again. Boys day, we called it. And boy, was I happy when my husband texted saying the penny had moved and was right by his bottom!!! X-Ray showed it ready to make its way out!! So the boys came back home to a very excited mommy. Bathroom, anyone?? No? Ok, I will ask again in 15!

So, the next day, which made it the 8th day of the penny being swallowed, he went. I was preparing the above birthday party for my daughter. I layered my hand with 4397 plastic bags and went in. Cha-Ching!! I got $0.01 richer!!! It was a happy day. We were celebrating my daughter’s 5th birthday, and the Penny made its way out!!

So I guess that the point to this post is teach your kids to storage their coins in a coin jar!! Haha just kidding, although my son is now terrified of anything other than food going in his mouth, the point was to just trust yourself. Don’t panic! Our parents and grandparents ate of sorts of crap, and somehow made it. Of course, had it been something like a battery, that must be removed. And if you think there was any change in behavior, take them in immediately! Otherwise, wait for it with your 2856 plastic bags, and good luck!!