Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

April 30, 2010

Celebrating National Poetry Month!

Filed under: Family Activities,Schools and Learning — Erin @ 4:54 pm

Inspired by the feedback we received after National Nutrition Month, we decided to keep the themed content going through April, National Poetry Month!  This month we added a bunch of lyrical goodies.  Here were a few of our favorite games!

Poetry Idea Engine

Poetry Idea EngineYour child develops writing and reading skills as they learn about the structure of different poems, and can even use the Poetry Idea Engine to build their own!

Magnetic Poetry for Kids

Magnetic Poetry for KidsYour child develops poetry writing skills with a fun virtual set of Magnetic Poetry.

Highlights Poetry Player

Highlights Poetry PlayerYour child develops storytelling and listening skills as they interact with the Highlights Poetry Player and have wonderful poems read aloud to them.

Enjoy!  And be sure to let us know of any gems we might have missed :-)

April 8, 2010

Zoodles Recommends: 3 Fun iPad Apps for Kids (+ Adults!)

Filed under: Family Activities,Technology in the Home — Erin @ 5:58 pm

Apple iPadThe iPad has arrived, and we here at Zoodles have been happily fiddling with our “family Pad” all week.  Are you as excited as we are?  Touch interfaces may be sexy for adults, but they are an insane game changer in the world of kids and education.  Until now, a lot of the motor skill constraints that toddlers face have kept them from benefiting from the great education technology already out there.  Apple’s iPad breaks that barrier, and it enables content developers to build unique experiences for kids that don’t require a mouse or a keyboard.

We took it upon ourselves (and it wasn’t exactly torture) to play a few of the early apps out there with this kind of potential, and see what ones were fun for kids and adults alike.  Here’s what we found.

Toy Story

It’s free, and it’s pretty stinkin’ cool. Disney Digital’s Toy Story takes stunning visuals straight from the movie, and narrates the story as your child follows along with the highlighted words.  During the best scenes, short clips of the movie play. The coolest part is that parents can record themselves reading the story!  Now when kids beg “Again?” after their bedtime story, you can save your singing voice.

Smule makes us think that the future of music will never be the same. This app, Magic Piano, lets kids and adults create music without having to read notes or properly “hold” an instrument. With this $3.99 purchase, your family can unlock a bundle of instruments that sound and look something like a piano, but play more like a game.  Oh, the joy of music without the pain of practice. :-)

DrawThe name says it all, but Draw creates much more than a drawing experience for kids.  The extra goodness thrown in — Tic Tac Toe, Dots, and a Word game — make the classics feel young again, and make plain ol’ paper seem like a downgrade!  Once the scribbles are down, Draw lets you Tweet, email, or save them into perpetuity.  It’s the refrigerator door that never runs out of magnets!

Let us know if you discover any other cool apps, and stay tuned for our next batch of recs!

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