Filtering by Category: Toys

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!



goldieblox Recently, I had a little triumph involving tools*, and it finally got me to sit down and post about Goldieblox. A draft of this post had been sitting in my outbox since Chanukah (when my wildly trendy sister Rivkee gifted 5-year-old Freida with Goldieblox and the Spinning Machine), and while we've been enjoying fiddling with the thing, mastering the many prototypes in the users manual, and even coming up with some of our own creations, I haven't yet spread the good word about this goody for girls here.

Goldieblox - dubbed 'toys for future innovators'- has been blowing my mind. We all know the ins and outs and young women in the business world in general (and as #banbossy goes to show, it's still a serious issue), but this toy just took things to a whole new level. Forget pushing education and college courses, and try cultivating the innate love for puzzles that is in every child. Toys like these not only encourage children to think outside the box (much like legos do), but they inspire young minds to problem solve and work through things on their own - resulting not only in their own solutions, but in their own creations.

Freida found it a bit difficult at first, but once she got the hang of the concept she fully took off, and has been happily messing around with it since. Once they understand the basic concept and know the logistics of the different pieces, it's a refreshingly fantastic toy for kids to play with on their own. On the weeks that I have the girls with me for Shabbos, I break this out when I want to keep Freida occupied while I put Hudi down for a nap and even sneak in some "me" time with an iced Irish coffee and some pages of the latest Vogue. The fun with this toy is never fleeting, and it's a great gift to consider for girls ages 4-8.


Here is their original commercial (feat. the Beastie Boy music they were allegedly sued for, but it's still so stinkin' cute!):

And here's their latest commercial from this years Super Bowl:

How cute, right? This totally makes me nostalgic for that 90's catchphrase: #girlpower

*I had been living in this apartment for a whole bunch of weeks with a broken play kitchen. The fridge had some loose screws and 2 cabinet doors had fallen off. I stashed them behind the kitchen, and figured I'd get someone to come fix it. I didn't. It wasn't exactly an urgent priority, and so it sat idly somewhere on my to-do list. Until one day recently - I just got fed up with looking at a broken piece of furniture in the girls room - I just grabbed a lonesome screwdriver that had been sitting amongst a slew of pens and pencils at my desk, and fixed it all up like new. It was so easy! And I felt so dumb! I couldn't get over how ridiculous it was that since I was always used to someone doing the handywork for me, I figured I shouldn't even try. It made me think about how many other things I leave waiting on the back burner because I think I don't know how or am not able to do them as well as somebody else... And so this lil' tool triumph has taught me to (at the very least) give things a try. 

girls tools

Yes. She's cooking Foofa. And frying Plex. I know, perplexing.

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

Toys at the Table

I recently spent $5 on one of the most useful toys ever! I was in Lakeshore, and happened upon this mini bead maze at the checkout counters (you know, when they drop a bunch of random little tchotchkes that are just cheap enough to remain under-the-radar and just cute enough that you need to swag one?). The only reason I even thought to buy one is because I remembered my sister Shterni had an adorable little classic bead maze with a suction cup underneath it that she used at her kids high chair years ago - she said it kept his fingers occupied for a few precious little minutes before the snack actually landed on his tray.

I bought one on a whim thinking I'd somehow figure out how to attach a suction cup to it, at some point... But, of course, I failed to remember all about my crafty husband and his ingenius ideas; he whipped out a roll of heavy-duty velcro from his (impossibly random!) tool bag and snipped a little strip off to secured the toy directly to Hudi's high chair tray. Of course that's not as clean as a suction cup, but I figure it will stay fixated there for a while now, and when I really want to rid of it - a little GooGone and a warm sponge should ease off the adhesive easily.

Hudi has been loving it! It gives her something to fiddle with while she waits for me to settle her sister (who seems to need her toast cut into very precise pieces lately), fry up an egg, get her afternoon snack together, or finish the dishes (she's happy to play around with that and munch on some cheerios while I speedily wash some breakfast plates).

Anyways! I tried to find this one online, but strangely had no such luck. So I browsed around a bit to find you something similar. Here's: one with a suction, a cuter one with a suction, and an ever cuter Eric Carle version a lot like mine.

Perfect Puzzles

A few years ago I posted here about Kid O puzzles, the most aesthetically awesome and most practical puzzles on earth. But when Freida was actually ready for them, they seemed to be discontinued and I couldn't find them anywhere! On my latest trip to Scottsdale I scored the "fractions" puzzle for $3 in my favorite kids consignment shop "KID to KID" (seriously, I think about driving to Arizona just to shop there!!), and Freida is now totally hooked on fractions!

Seeing how well-made and kid-loved this puzzle is got me searching once more for the rest of the original Kid O puzzle family  (on the Kid O website there are plenty of puzzles, but none even come close to the greatness of their originals!). And so, after a wild web hunt, I managed to track down most of their versions somewhere online. Here they are, grab 'em while you can:

Narrow to Wide Puzzle, Short to Tall Puzzle, Fractions Puzzle, Shades Puzzle. Enjoy!

She sure does!! :)

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