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Best Apps Round-up Summer Edition

It’s official! Breezy Mama now receives countless requests for app reviews since we have done a few articles on the best of the best. How’s a busy mom to decide which are worth our while? Enter our now famous app guru, Maya! As always, she not only tests them, but gets feedback from kids, other moms and more.

From Maya:

Whenever I work on my iPad, other Apple enthusiasts emerge and we share favorite apps with each other. I find that these ‘word of mouth’ recommendations are always the best resources for me as I try to discover what apps are available. I am looking for fun, educational and useful apps that will help me as a mom and as a teacher too! After reviewing countless apps that were sent to me or shared by friends, I have found my favorites. I have organized my suggestions in the following categories:

• 3 Coolest iPad Apps for Young Children
• 3 Awesome iPad Book Apps for 1-7 Yr Old Children
• Wonderful eBooks for 8-14 year old Children
• 4 Super Helpful iPhone Apps for Parents
• 6 Super Smart iPad Apps for the Classroom
• 2 Must Have iPhone Apps for Summer…Purely for Fun!

These apps will help your child explore, read and continue to learn core subjects during the summer months. My list also includes some helpful apps for parents that might ease their busy schedules. And, I’ve included a few favorite apps that are just for fun, too!

Top 3 Apps for your young Child:

World Academy by Makers Interactive-
This is a stellar app and my favorite one for all ages!! I LOVE this app because it encourages the player to learn about the world and different cultures. The best part is that you can play the game with friends and compare scores.
According to the creators of World Academy, Makers Interactive-
World Academy is the ultimate educational quiz game that turns learning the world culture into fun. The game features three difficulty levels in which users are offered to answer the questions about culture, history, food, music and geography. World Academy with its stylish hand-drawn world map abounds in hundreds of magnificent photos, musical and audio clips from all over the world.
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68qYSXgKsiQ
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/world-academy/id395794032?mt=8&ls=1

Swapsies by Spinlight Studio-
This is an adorable and educational app for your young child. Our neighbors loved swapping the clothes and it kept them entertained for a long time.
According to Spinlight, the creators of Swapsies,
Make a cowboy, an astronaut or even a “cow-stronaut” in this fun matching game, designed to help little learners improve their motor coordination and empirical reasoning skills…And because it’s designed for young minds, it’s built to explore, with large, buttons and fun sounds that reward children each time they make a match.
Swapsies 1.0 is currently available in the iTunes App Store for $1.99 on the iPad and $.99 on the iPhone.
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/spinlight-studio/id416577462?uo=4

Wanderland by elffarm.com-
I chose this app as one of my top three because the graphics are beautiful and the simplicity of the game really captures children’s imaginations. Wanderland is a magical land filled with wonders for your young child to explore. We loved watching the caterpillars turn into butterflies and seeing the enchanted world come alive right before our eyes.
According to the creators at ElfFarm:
Come stroll through a magical forest filled with fairies, flowers, bugs, bubble-blowers, lion-flies, and even elephant-flies. Decorate your tree house, collect treasures in your bug jar, find fairies, plant flowers and let your curiosity lead you through this magical world.
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wanderland/id417605491?mt=8

Book Apps for 1-7 year old readers

Going to Bed Book : The first of a series of titles to be transformed into a digital offering from Boynton Moo Media, a partnership between author/illustrator Sandra Boynton and Loud Crow Interactive-
This is one of my favorite childhood authors. The narrator’s voice is so soothing and calming. My sons and I loved all the interactive features throughout the book that engages the reader. It is a relaxing book and I highly recommend it just before going to bed.
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-going-to-bed-book-for-ipad/id421933225?mt=8

Mrs. Gigglebelly is Coming for Tea created by Donna Guthrie author and creator of the website MEET ME AT THE CORNER, Virtual Field Trips for Kids (www.meetmeatthecorner.org)-
This is a sweet message between a mother and child. The story reminded me how important each minute is with your child. The book has a clever ending and the simplicity of the story is a gift to the readers.
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mrs-gigglebelly-is-coming/id414425743?mt=8

Oh the Thinks You Can Think- Oceanhouse Media’s latest Dr. Seuss Book app-
I loved this app because the creators have put the child’s imagination first. The story allows the child to predict what will happen, or what a creature will look like before an illustration is shown. I love this concept and look forward to using it in my reading groups next school year!
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/oh-thinks-you-can-think-dr/id442839429?mt=8


eBooks for 8-14 year old readers

Not every child loves to read. I see it in my classroom and the differences with my own sons. However, there are ways to keep these children reading, and I am happy to say that I found an app for that! If you have a reluctant older reader, I encourage you to download these two ebooks from SkyReader. They are graphic novels targeted for 8-14 year old readers. These books are engaging and allows readers to explore the words, story and graphics at their own pace. These books are definitely worth downloading!

Mars Colony and Banana NinjaSkyreader™ Media Launches Two New High-Powered Interactive eBooks;
According to Skyreader Media these 2 ebooks are…packed full of engaging scientific facts, sound effects, discoverables, reading aids, animations, and historical video, Mars Colony is a full package reading experience.
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/banananinja/id421647076?mt=8
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mars-colony/id421647028?mt=8

Helpful Apps for Parents

Birth announcement apps by Stork.CC-
I love this app! I wish this was available when my sons were born. You can create a birth announcement with a picture, your newborn’s information and your contact list. Your newborn’s information becomes front-page news in a newspaper layout and is sent to friends and family! It is a very creative idea!
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stork-cc/id406829847?mt=8#

Thank You Pen by ThankYouPen.com-
Such a clever idea for the busy mom! You simply put in your request for a card, you send your message and give the contact information to this company. Then, a person will hand write your message and send the card for you. I would still have my children make their own cards because those are precious but I think this site would help during our very busy lives and ensure that cards are sent on time!
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/thank-you-pen
YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWmLwKAm9mc

Passport to Health by HealthyWomen, the nation’s leading nonprofit health information source for women, announces the launch of the Passport to Good Health app for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch –
Just recently my friends and I were discussing how confusing it is to keep track of immunizations for our children and what was necessary for our own health. This app is a very important resource for women, mothers and parents alike who want to have a handy medical reference of what procedures and doctor checkups are necessary. I would recommend the free download but please remember to be cautious about giving your personal information. You can still navigate through the app without giving any information. There is plenty on the app to help parents make informed decisions without giving out your personal details.
Website:
http://www.healthywomen.org/passport-app
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/passport-to-good-health/id418612831?mt=8

Saving Grace Courtesy Of International Boutique Hotel Group Grace Hotels –
I just got this app recommendation yesterday and I thought it would be a good app to help prepare for summer vacations. This is an innovative idea because it is a list that you can create for each trip, modify it for the next one and keep the lists saved. Personally, I will try this app because I am always forgetting something!
App Site:
http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/saving-grace-travel-packing/id441237653?mt=8

Classroom Favorite Apps:
These are some of the apps that I use in my classroom. If you want your child to continue to practice their school subjects, word building skills and math fast facts download these apps:
Stack the States
WordPro
Word Bingo
Math Bingo
Super 7
Book Worm


My Must Have Apps…Purely for Fun!!!!

Finally, my 2 favorite apps are for pure pleasure:
Words with Friends By Newtoy Inc.-
Challenge your friend to word tile game. It is a rush to have a triple score word!

Hanging with Friends By Zynga-
Many of you play Words With Friends, but have you played this game? It is really fun and takes the original game to the next level! I love it!

App site:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/words-with-friends/id322852954?mt=8
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hanging-with-friends-free/id440786655?mt=8

These games are available for free. They are addicting and so much fun to play!

I hope these recommendations are helpful! Please share your favorite app with me. I am always looking for the best ‘apps for friends’ !

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maya_familyAbout Maya:

Maya Ramirez Drake lives in Carlsbad with her husband Todd and their three reading sons, Noah (13), Lucas (11) and Joshua (9). She is a first grade teacher at Buena Vista Elementary School. Maya graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Major in English and a Minor in Spanish. She recieved her Teaching Credential from the California State University, San Marcos. Her teaching experiences include ESL/Citizenship instructor, EL and Reading tutor as well as first and second grade teacher. Maya grew up in a family of educators and values all that she has learned from her family and from her own teachers throughout her educational career. Her teaching philosophy is to value each child and to instill a love of learning in all her students. Maya and her family enjoy surfing, paddle boarding, soccer and camping in Northern California. If you would like more information, please visit Maya Ramirez Drake’s website at Buena Vista Elementary School:

http://buenavista.schoolloop.com/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1283111110188&no_controls=t

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Comments

  1. Loved the article and the apps. Thanks Maya ( my wonderful talented daughter!)

  2. Very talented — we are lucky to have her contribute!

  3. Nice work Maya. I will most definitely be coming back here if I ever get an iproduct. Thanks for all the writing and research. It’s like we have our own little R&D department.

  4. Reading through the list of recs with my 3-1/2 yo on my lap. We’re downloading the Boynton book right now – we love those! This is a great list. A few of my daughter’s faves: Cupcakes! and Dora’s Skywriting ABCs.

  5. My daughter is obsessed with bugs and fairies so Wanderland is a GEM! I’d never found it before while searching for apps. Thanks for the recommendation. She loves it!

  6. Those of you who enjoy using the ThankYouPen app on your phone will surely be interested in Thankuz, an new Web app (currently in beta) that allows you to send ‘Thank You’ notes to People, Places and Things for thoughtful Gifts, kind Acts and heartfelt Expressions.

    Not only that, but you can also receive and track notes from others. It’s fun to do, easy to use and shows you care! Feel free to send feedback to http://thankuz.com – Thank Uz

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