We’re going on vacation next week and I’m trying to decide how best to slog through an eight hour plane ride with a high energy two year old. Solution: Apps. Wonderful, glorious apps for the iPad.
But what Apps to download? There are seven billion to choose from. And I have a thing against spending more than a few bucks for any of them because, well, I’m just cheap like that.
Apps for toddlers are tricky. June is still new to the iPad so she still doesn’t quite grasp the swipe concept — she either touches the screen too long and too hard or not hard enough. I’m looking for games and programs that will entertain and stimulate her but not be so complicated that my husband and I end up absorbed by their general awesomeness while she stares out the window longing for a lousy bag of nuts aboard the tin can to nowhere. (Can you tell how much I love commercial air travel?)
Anyway, here are four age appropriate Apps we’ll be bringing aboard next week.
1. Moo, Baa, La La La!
What I like about this one — and why it’s great for baby iPad users — is that it doesn’t require excessive interactivity. It’s a page by page reading of Sandra Boynton’s popular book (which just happens to be one of June’s favorites) but with animation, animal sounds, self-narrating words and some touch-animated animals. A child’s favorite book come to life. What could be more captivating to a captive flier than that?
Moo, Baa, La La La! ($3.99)
2. Mickey Mouse Club House Road Rally
Of all the Apps I downloaded, this is the one that mesmerized June the most. She called out, “MICK-ey! MICK-ey! MICK-ey!” whenever his face appeared on screen. I find this strange because we don’t have cable so she’s never seen his visage at our place (I guess this means she’s getting her Mickey fix at the babysitter’s!) Disney Junior WATCH makes full length episodes of its shows available online at www.watchdisneyjunior.com and via the Disney Junior WATCH app on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. And Comcast Xfinity subscribers have access to Disney show content, including a live feed of the network online and through the app. After the live feed, current shows will be available “on demand”. (Fans who aren’t on Comcast can contact their cable provider to ask for the service via the website or the app.)
In this App, Mickey takes tykes through a series of simple challenges involving memory skills, counting, logic and speaking commands. She loved the part where she was asked to shake the iPad to get coconuts to drop from a tree. I forsee this occupying her for at least 30 minutes of flight time.
3. Jake’s Never Land Pirate School
This one is a bit more complicated for a toddler just turned two, but still doable and totally engrossing with a parent present. Players are encouraged to complete four pirate-themed classes including sailing, playing a musical instrument, navigating and completing mazes. My favorite thing about this game is that you can import a photo of your child’s head from your photo library and graft it onto a pirate’s body to make an avatar. I think I got more laughs out of this feature than did June because I’m really a simple sort of person.
This app turns the screen into a wildly colorful musical instrument on which toddlers can bang out tunes from a variety of musical instruments, listen to familiar songs, learn about colors and generally annoy all the other passengers around us. Here’s to a great flight!
Download Mickey Mouse Club House Road Rally and/or Jake’s Never Land Pirate School and join other Disney App-minded parents August 8th at 9 PM EST for a Disney Junior Twitter party! You could win an iPad. RSVP at http://bit.ly/QsXDE2 and use the hashtags #spon and #mackidtips
A big thanks to Disney Junior for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.