Tuesday, December 7, 2010

iPhone apps for babies

Yes it's true, my infant daughter loves my iPhone, and she has her own apps on it.  Pretty much as soon as she could start grabbing for things, she would grab for my phone.  It didn't even have to be on to be fascinating for her, flipping it back and forth to admire it's shiny surface.  But to really capture her attention, I loaded up some apps.  These comes in VERY handy in certain situations when you prefer not to have a hysterical crying baby on your hands.  Such as in the grocery store, in the car, on a plane, or whenever all her other toys have ceased to amuse her.

Going looking for baby apps isn't as easy as you would think.  For some reason Apple doesn't make searching through apps at all easy, or intuitive, or even fun.  So I turned to internet searches.  Even that didn't give me the answers I wanted very easily.  Apparently people aren't seeing the value in a good baby app, and those that do claim to be child friendly are actually geared toward older age that can interact on a higher level (like reading or counting).

A great baby app must have these qualities:
- attention grabbing, with colors, shapes, and sounds.
- interactive with very simple (often accidental) swipes or shakes of the phone.
- NOT be easily exited once it's started.  Many apps we've tried seem good until they fail at this point, which renders them pretty useless because if I have to step in and reset the program every couple minutes.
- be free or close to it.  I don't want to spend $5 just to try a program on my phone.  At that point I may as well purchase a real toy.



So here is my list of awesome baby iPhone apps, the names written exactly as you'll find them in iTunes store.
1. Sound Shaker ($1.99, http://www.tickletapapps.com/soundshaker and http://itunes.apple.com/app/sound-shaker/id336912043?mt=8)
This is by far her favorite.  Simple little balls appear wherever the screen is touched.  They roll and rattle around as the phone is moved, they grow and turn into tweeting birdies when your finger is held down, and the sounds are pleasing to the ear, much like wind chimes.

2. Peek-a-Boo (FREE, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/peek-a-boo-baby-rattle/id320877923?mt=8)
Another big winner that brings happy smiles to her face.  The animals appear with a touch and announce themselves with a bark, meow, grunt, what have you.  The phone vibrates each time a new animal appears, which I think she gets a kick out of as well.

3. Look Baby! (FREE, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/look-baby/id325952583?mt=8)
This app is fun and interactive, but unfortunately a bit too easy to exit out of.  There are four different modes/games, a simple giggling teddy bear, floating bubbles that pop, jangling shapes, and butterfly that changes colors.  There is a constantly playing music in the background that is super soothing, like a lullaby.  This app is good for the quick calm down distraction.

4. Peekaboo Barn (FREE for lite, or $1.99 for full, http://www.peekaboobarn.com/)
I haven't bought the full version on this yet, simply because hey, how many apps does a baby need?  The lite version is very cute, so I have a feeling the full one will be worth the money.  There is a big red barn full of animals that zoom in one by one to introduce themselves with their respective noises.  Not easy to exit, plays almost like an animated cartoon.  Lite version ends way too quickly, so really it's just a teaser to try and get you to buy the full one.

5. Bebot ($1.99, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bebot-robot-synth/id300309944?mt=8)
This is one on my husband's phone, and he claims that she loves to play with this.  The screen becomes a sort of touch synthesizer that gives off robotic/electronic type sounds.  Bonus points for not being easy to exit.

A discussion of baby apps wouldn't be complete without a word about apps to soothe your baby to sleep.  This is actually our original use of the phone on her behalf, to play white noise at bedtime.  Here's what we love:
WhiteNoise ($1.99, http://www.tmsoft.com/iphone-whitenoise.html and http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/white-noise/id289894882?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D6)
There's a large list of sounds to choose from, and they aren't just a short loop that repeats over and over.  The ocean waves (a fave) actually sound realistic, and so does the stream (another great one), and many others.  Not just for babies!  You may actually enjoy setting this up to drown out sounds that may be keeping you up.  It has a timer and fade away options that are great for being able to leave it in baby's room and walk away.

Now, I wonder when she'll actually get her own phone?  Or perhaps iPad, could it be the world's most expensive toy?

If you have apps you love for your wee little one, please do share!

2 comments:

  1. I don't have a wee one, but my friend made this app for his son and daughter called puppet show.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/puppet-show/id473537023?mt=8

    it's a puppet, and by moving the phone you make the puppet move, and by tapping the screen you make it talk.

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  2. Thanks, nsa, looks like a cute app!

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