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APP REVIEW

APP REVIEW

July 1 2017

So it might seem ironic after last month’s post on technoference (‘the interference in personal relationships due to technology such as smartphones, computers, tablets, and other electrical devices’ - Joel Kimmel) but we wondered if there were any useful apps out there that might justify time spent on our phones or devices. Below are a few we thought worthy of mention ...

DAILY VROOM

First up is a useful American app called Vroom. With contributions from a multitude of ‘leaders in neuroscience, psychology, behavioural economics, parenting and early childhood development’ this app helps parents to think about and maximise ‘brain building moments’ with their pre-schoolers.

As the Vroom website says, ‘New science  tells us that our children’s first  years are when they develop the foundation for all future  learning. Every time we connect with them, it’s not just their eyes that light up - it’s their brains too. In these moments, half a million neurons  fire at once, taking in all the things we say and do. We can’t see it happening, but it’s all there, all at work.’

When you first enter the app you’re invited to enter information about your child/ren, including their name, date of birth and gender. The app then gives you a daily suggestion of something you can do together which will help their brain development - or you can choose your own from the Pick Your Own section depending on if you’re At Home, On The Go, or Out and About; or you can choose something from the ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ section. If you want daily inspiration you can set a reminder and there’s a handy ‘Completed’ list you can refer to whenever you want.

The activities are all easy enough to do, making use of everyday things and events, but in fun ways you might not have thought of before - and with each one there’s an explanation about how it’s helping your child’s development. As the developers say: ‘Vroom turns shared moments into brain building  moments. Whether it’s  mealtime,  bathtime, or anytime in between, there are always ways to nurture our children's growing minds.’

Oh, and if you don’t want to or can’t get the app, the website has a ton of useful info and activities too.

DETAILS

www.joinvroom.org

Free app available for Android and IOS platforms

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/joinvroom

Facebook: www.facebook.com/joinvroom

Twitter: twitter.com/joinvroom

Instagram: joinvroom

 

LET’S PLAY!

From the amazing folk at American early childhood-focussed institution ‘ZERO TO THREE’ comes this app, subtitled ‘Everyday Ways To Support Early Learning’.

The interface is not as attractive as Vroom but the activities and suggestions might just give you new ideas if you’re stuck for inspiration. You choose from three age groups: 0-18 months, 18-36 months or 3-5 years; and six activity types: Boredom Busters, Chores, Commuting, Meal Time, Bed & Bath Time, or Shopping. You can save ones you enjoyed or want to try later to you Favourites section and even add photos. And there’s capability to share to Facebook or Twitter from the app itself.

Like the Vroom app there’s an explanation about how each activity helps your child’s development but this is relatively brief. You might find accessing the ZERO TO THREE website gives you more ideas and inspiration.

DETAILS

www.zerotothree.org

Free app available for Android and IOS platforms

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/ZEROTOTHREE

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ZEROTOTHREE

Twitter: twitter.com/ZEROTOTHREE

 

S.K.I.P. Tips

This is a New Zealand app from S.K.I.P or Strategies for Kids | Information for Parents. It's a ‘handy, free parenting guide to the tricky bits of parenting under-fives designed by parents for parents. Flick through lots of simple, helpful things to try for all the behaviours most parents find stressful - like toileting, tantrums, fighting and more. With SKIP Tips, you can look up problems, get simple tips that really work, and set challenges to keep yourself on track’.

As with all the S.K.I.P resources, the app has an engaging interface and is easy to navigate. You can choose from a long list of ‘issues’ including Being Fussy About Food, Having Toilet Accidents, Lying, Refusing the Car Seat, and Whining. Under the main menu you can see your favourites, set yourself a 7 day challenge or reminders - and add details of your kids (their age, name and a photo).

The 7 day challenge feature is especially nifty; you can choose from a lengthy list of ‘challenges’ such as Read A Story, Find Something To Praise, Stay Calm With The Kids, Make My Kids Laugh or Have A Kids’ Sing-A-Long. Set the reminder to the time you want and with the sound you choose (all with very cool names like Epic Drums, Upbeat Ukulele and Reggaeton.

The tips themselves help you to identify what else might be going on for you before offering quite a number of suggestions. All in all it’s a good place to go if you are struggling with the normal ups and downs of parenting/caring for pre-schoolers. The website is also a great place to find information and even take a quiz about your parenting style.

DETAILS

www.skip.org.nz

Free app available for Android and IOS platforms

YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCeU4iqKLfRPgbXYejcjQmRA/feed

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SKIPcommunity