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My Kids Favorite Apps

I've been so caught up with work that I put my Pesach travels completely on the back burner. I literally didn't even go back to the flight reservation email to check what time of the day we're flying - until after I finished my last Babyccino class on Monday afternoon and fully finished the Babyccino "Spring!" curriculum (which is live and available for purchase if anyone new is interested). I can't really multi-task well these days, and I seem to function much much better when I only focus on one thing at a time. So! This morning I woke up completely psyched for our imminent trip to my family in Skokie! Aside from my parents and my brother Moshe (who has been my right hand man in the Babyccino office deptartment!!), my sister Shterni and her family are coming (cousins!), as well as my hipster brother and his awesomest preschool-teaching wife, plus my fabulous newest-married sister with her boy beau. I'm SO looking forward to getting away, checking out (work/life wise), and spending heaps of quality time with my family. This morning I started packing up the girls clothes, and organizing our in-flight entertainment plan. Aside from buying a couple novelty coloring books, a slew of stickers, and some small-fare games and gimmicks, I dug up my old iPhone and restored it to factory settings. I cleared it up of all the regular icons, loaded it with my girls favorite apps, plus a bunch of new ones to try, and left the camera on there for Freida to explore with photography over this trip. She's going to be so excited at the prospect of having her own "phone" (it's really no more than an iPod touch) for the trip that I think we should be pretty set for the 4 hour flight. Anyways, lots of you have been asking for good kids apps to download before hitting the road, and I figured I'd share our top 4 favorites here. The interesting thing about these 4 apps is that both my 2 year old and my 5 year old LOVE these. Enjoy! 1. Endless Alphabet $6.99

This letter recognition app is, by a long shot, THE best app out there for toddlers. The adorable graphics + the genius phonics-teaching method is preschool gold. Not to mention the animated short it shows for the definition of every word! The words are truly endless and I have even upped my vocab from eavesdropping on Freida's playtime (gargantuan, anyone?). Also, I find it completely mind blowing that Hudi has learned all her phonics from this app. She doesn't know the whole alphabet, but can point to any letter and make the correct sound!! This is totally worth the whole $7. Promise.

endless alphabet app

2. Toca House $3.99

Help the quirky Toca characters with chores around the house. Sort the family mail, mow the lawn, wash the windows... you get the idea. Awesome graphics and great sound effects make this app super-fun to play and non-obnoxious as backround noise. Your kids will love it.

toca house app

3. Drawnimal $1.99

This interactive artist app has fast become a family favorite. And for a while when I was sleep training Hudi last year, this was the activity I would set Freida up with after bath each evening. We upped the ante and made it even more fun by implementing a little lap whiteboard (the kind for practicing letter, $1 aisle in Target) and a dry erase crayon + eraser. The concept of using the device as an art component is wild, and the animations are adorable, to boot!

drawnimal app

4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends - Play & Explore $3.99

This 3-D popup storybook features the most beautiful and whimsical of illustrations. This app is so well done, and the story-telling narration helps walk the kids through how to play and what to do. And somehow that makes it just interactive enough for them to play with it longer than other apps. Plus, the activities are relatively educational.

very hungry caterpillar app

P.S. Don't forget about Fiete for the toddlers!


Fun with Fiete

Since my initiation into modern adulthood, I've discovered some simply fabulous apps that have slightly changed my mind about things. It's taken some time to sift through the junk and come out with some treasures, so while I already did the dirty work, I figure I'll share the bottom line goodies with you! Starting with one for the kids: childrens app: fiete

Fiete is an adorably illustrated interactive story board, inviting pudgy little fingers to try their hand at helping this friendly european sailor, Fiete, with his basic tasks: putting on his reading glasses to read the paper, fry his morning eggs, load cargo onto the ship, fix the tires on his car, etc. There are 16 different interactive scenes, including different levels of the sweetest matching game you'll ever find.

children's app fiete

I originally bought this app for Freida, but it's Hudi who's been adoring it! She loves figuring out just how to put the sunflower seed into the planter pot, is obsessed with giving the ladybug back her spots,  and cracks up when she uses the needle to pop his balloon! It's a perfect app for babies and toddlers, and the best part is the peaceful mellow backround music - something you don't find very often - this app won't make you want to pull your hair out. : )

childrens app fiete

It is the most beautiful children's app I've ever come across, and the charming little nuances and wonderfully well-done sound effects make this my very favorite app at the moment. Believe me, it's well worth $3 - perfect for lazy Sunday mornings in bed.

childrens app fiete


it's no biggie bounce We recently set-up a giant trampoline that we got from a friend in the backyard. The kids have been going wild on it, and it's proven to be the most efficient sleep enhancer I've ever witnessed. Right before bathtime, I've been taking them out back and letting them jump themselves silly for about 10 minutes. Bedtime has been a cinch. Freida likes to fantasize about being an olympic gymnast or a circus acrobat, and she'll flip around on the thing for anyone who is willing to watch her "show". And Hudi just gets the biggest kick out of the concept in general, she pretty much laughs hysterically through the entire bounce session. :)



Recently I've starting using it as well. After my evening run I get out there and onto that thing and seriously jump my ass off. Aside from it being great exercise and lots of fun, it's incredibly therapeutic! Especially when I'm already kinda "high" from the running and my adrenaline is pumping, and the rhythmic bouncing is so relaxing and puts me into a high-like trance. I know I sound insane :) but I really love it!! Common, ya'll better admit that SkyHigh is totally fun and you secretly look forward to chaperoning that field trip! Anyways, bouncing around on this thing always gets me thinking about the concept of "bouncing back". I feel like it's such an overused and abused term, we pretty much slap it onto any difficult experience; "bouncing back" after giving birth, "bouncing back" from losing a job, "bouncing back" from a sickness, a loss, a trail... we kind of always make it about bouncing back. But, really, life is about the bouncing itself.



There are countless cliches out about being down; that the only place to go is up. And lots of spewed information about life being like a wheel; when it's at the bottom it's gotta roll to the top etc. etc. I'm sure you've heard them all too. And really, there is an honestly to this concept of circular life. It's been embedded in us since the release of the Lion King and it's theme song, and since the 2nd grade when we learned the story of Yaakov and Esau's firstborn exchange, how he was cooking lentils for his mourning father - as a circular symbol of life. And so we understand and believe that life is a circle, going 'round and 'round and up and down. But mostly, we believe that life is about the "ups". And the downs are just an unfortunate side effect.



I'm probably working very hard to comfort myself through my discomfort, and I'm likely working overtime to convince myself that there is goodness within the pain and trauma and suffering... But in any case, I've been reading lots and learning lots and generally trying to do all I can outside of therapy to keep myself above it all, while still being able to feel it all and experience it all without too much pain. And I'm becoming more and more aware of the fact that life is really all about the ups and the downs. It's about the journey, and the wild untrodden roads we sometimes have to take to get there... I've already learned so much about myself  while going through this, and I know my studying myself and my psyche and habits has really only just begun, and I already see and feel and experience the benefits of this kind of self-examination. It's completely sick that I have to be here doing this, don't get me wrong, I weep and mourn the loss of life's simplicity at least once a day, but I also relish is the work - in the therapy and the focus I am now putting on myself. I love that suddenly I am putting myself first, and I mean really first. And it feels deliciously selfish and wonderful. And I needed it. So so badly. And a lot of this has shown me that part of the ups and the downs is the bouncing. And how good the bouncing can feel... It happens when you're not focusing on the fact that you're up or down, just on the rhythmic movement in between the two.



Annnd that's my little tidbit of extroversion for today. :)

P.S. How awesome is that bouncing gif?? Check out the tumblr it's no biggie - the adorable and quirky animated gifs are totally making me smile!

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