Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

July 27, 2011

Most Popular Android Apps for Kids

A little over a month ago, we released an awesome new feature that lets parents add any of the apps on their phone to Kid Mode.  Before, your three year old had to leave Kid Mode to play their favorite matching app.  Now, you can simply add that matching app to Kid Mode and your child can play it, and everything else their little heart desires, all from one place!

In the days that have followed, we’ve collected some brand spanking new data on what the most popular Android apps for kids are!

Without further ado, here are the top 5 most-played apps inside of Kid Mode:

hi-512-3 Angry Birds –  This might not come as much of a surprise, but Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Seasons, and every other addictive version of this app lead the pack in what’s being added and played inside Kid Mode.  If you’re one of the five people who haven’t done so already, give Angry Birds a whirl and start slinging some birds inside Kid Mode!

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Ant Smasher – Here’s an app you might not have expected… Introducing Ant Smasher, a game that is all about exactly what it sounds like…smashing ants.  If the concept strikes your fancy (or more likely, your child’s), make sure the mayhem of Ant Smasher goes on within the safety of our app.

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Kids Doodle – The third most played app in Kid Mode is Kids Doodle by Bejoy.  With Kids Doodle, even the youngest kids can have fun drawing!  As your child draws, the colors, textures and tools randomly change so their drawing is different every time.  If your child likes art and neon colors, hook them up with some Kids Doodle in Kid Mode!

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Kids Connect the Dots Lite – Published by educational app maker Intellijoy, Kids Connect the Dots is a simple game where young ones connect numbers and letters to make fun shapes and pictures come to life.  If you haven’t checked out Intellijoy’s apps already, definitely try Kids Connect the Dots Lite and include it in Kid Mode!

talking-tom-catTalking Tom Cat – Introducing Android’s favorite virtual pet, Talking Tom Cat!  Not much to say here except that kids love animals and boy, don’t we know it :-)  [Insert plug for the adorable puppy in our Zoodles computer app.]  If you’re interested in adopting a new messless pet, check out Talking Tom Cat and make your Kid Mode menagerie complete.

December 7, 2010

Introducing Kid Mode for Google Chrome

We believe that every device a child interacts with should come with a Kid Mode… a simple, safe, fun way for kids to interact with age appropriate games and activities.  Today we are excited to announce that one of the most popular browsers on the web, Google Chrome, can now be put into Kid Mode!  So parents who use Google Chrome as their web browser can install our Kid Mode app from the Google Webstore.  Once installed there will be a simple icon that parents can click to put their browser into Kid Mode!

Here is a great video that highlights all the great features of our Chrome App:

We are looking forward to hearing about how we can improve this app so please be sure to send us feedback:  Support AT Zoodles.com

Best,

Mark
CEO & Co-founder of Zoodles

July 5, 2010

Kids Triathlon

Filed under: Family Activities — Tags: , , , , , , — Erin @ 6:00 am
Guest Blog by Jon Taylor of 365DayTriathlon.com.

Who’d Have Thought?

swim lineWhen I was young, I often tried my mother’s patience with the common phrase, “I’m bored.” If mom had answered, “Why don’t you train for a triathlon?” I probably would have started digging a tunnel in my room. You may have never heard the words “child” and “triathlon” uttered in the same sentence, but it can actually be a fun summer activity.

What’s a Kids Triathlon Anyway?

triathlon5-600x400If you’re not triathlon-savvy, here’s a quick overview of how they work. The race is split into three parts: swimming, biking, and running (in that order). Before you start imagining your child staggering though a desert, forced to drink cactus juice just to finish, triathlons for kids are actually quite doable. The length of each race is custom fitted to the age group your child is in. It will still take quite a bit of discipline and training, but if you’re looking for bonding experiences, how cool would it be to swim, bike, and run regularly with your son or daughter?girl biking

Studies have shown that child triathletes are very likely to obtain student body office, love broccoli, and surprisingly, help parents win the lottery. That may not be entirely true, but a triathlon will establish a great foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Not only that, but kids will gain self-respect and self-discipline. Triathlons take just as much mental conditioning as they do physical.

I’m In!  What now?

KidsTriathalonPicLGIf you’re interested, find the closest kids tri to you.  You can go to IronKids.com or just google “kids triathlons” in your area.  I live in a pretty rural neighborhood and there are a few within reasonable driving distance from me.

Maybe your child is tired of saying, “I choose you, Pikachu!” Or maybe he just wants to get out of summer reading. Either way, triathlons can be a challenging but rewarding event. You’ll never know unless you tri! (And if you do, you’ll probably find yourself making triathlon puns as I did in the previous sentence. Just a warning.)

Author Byline

triJesse and Jon are two normal guys that have decided to train for a triathlon.  They, along with seasoned marathon runner and triathlete Graham and their coach, a physical trainer named Danah, are blogging about their progress at 365DayTriathlon.com.

July 1, 2010

Inexpensive Ways to Educate Your Kids During the Summer

Filed under: Family Activities,Parenting Tips — Tags: , , — Erin @ 6:00 am

Guest Blog by Eric Rea

Read mini-books. Mini-books are a terrific way to keep kids reading and discovering. You can improve reading skills, learn new things, solidify good social and moral lessons, and even create your own stories.

Geared for specific grade levels, mini-books can enhance and advance your child’s reading and writing skills. They spark creativity without being viewed as “educational”. You can even create games surrounding the stories you read. Best of all it’s an activity you can do together.

Go on nature walks. Grab a book on plants, birds, or history and hit the trails. Make a game of trying to find, identify, and locate all kinds of things. Other than the cost of some gas, and maybe some snacks or a picnic lunch, this trip is completely free.

You can check out books from the library and do some reading for a day or two before you go. Get the kids familiar with what they are to look for. The possibilities are endless – geography, geology, historic site markers, animals, stars, fish, shells, metal detecting, insects, or whatever you and your children can come up with. You might even schedule these outings once a week and look for new things each time you go out.

Educational TV sessions. Schedule educational television sessions for the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, History Channel, Travel Channel, or Planet Green and the like. TV is often a boon of pleasure for kids in the summer. With more time to watch, make sure that they’re going to pick shows that will get the wheels turning.

Scout out shows that one or all of you are interested in, or let each child pick a show with a subject they want to learn about. Throw your interests into the mix, so they can learn about you, too. They can write about what they’ve learned, have a discussion, or take unanswered questions to the internet to find out more.

Go to historic museums and centers. Sure, you have the big and famous museums that are super fun, but you don’t have to restrict your fun learning to these super museums. Tons of small cities have historic museums or locations that give children a glimpse of all kinds of history.

These lesser-known places have tasty tidbits of interesting and unusual historic artifacts, stories, and atmospheres. Plus, they’re usually not nearly as expensive as the big ones, and can take you and the kids to areas you may never otherwise visit.

Don’t forget Zoodles. Keep your child’s academic skills sharp this summer by encouraging them to play fun reading games and math games on the computer. You can teach and reinforce a variety of subjects by visiting our Games Directory and populating the games your child has access to with the type of educational subject matter he or she most needs.

Learning and fun don’t have to be opposites!

Author Byline

Eric Rea

Eric Rea

Eric Rea is a college student who loves the outdoors, blogging, and social media. He is a devoted uncle and his own blog can be found at www.ericrea.com.

June 23, 2010

Home Security During the Summer Party Season

Filed under: Family Activities — Tags: , , , , , — Erin @ 2:56 pm

pool bbqWith the warm weather here, you’re probably cleaning out your swimming pool and pulling out the patio chairs. As kids get out on summer break and the days get longer and hotter, it’s the perfect time to plan a summer barbecue or a party. Entertaining outdoors during the summertime is certainly a lot of fun, though it also comes with some responsibility!

Open house for burglars?

Unless you have a doorman, it’s impossible to personally greet everyone as they walk into your home. During the party, you’ll probably end up leaving both the front and back door unlocked and open so that guests can come and go. Though this is certainly convenient, it isn’t always prudent. Doing so may invite unwanted elements into your home because they can tell that you’re having a lot of people over, and with that comes the potential for them to get lost in the crowd. Consider buying a hidden camera or “nanny cam” to record what goes on when you aren’t there.

Introduce yourself

If you plan to host a summer party, don’t take this as a warning to keep your home shut off from the outside. Instead, keep in mind that you need to pay attention to the faces in the crowd. Perhaps your Valuablesfriends or coworkers have brought someone you’ve never met to your summer bash. If you haven’t been introduced to someone you see inside your home during the party, now is the time to do so. If someone has slipped in unbeknownst to the host or guests, everyone might assume that they are there with someone else, and they will be free to rob small valuables left lying around, as well as scope out your home for a future robbery.

Lock your private rooms

None of your guests will feel offended if you lock up certain rooms of the home, such as your bedroom or home office. Use locks or motion alarms to keep guests away from these areas during the party. After all, guests shouldn’t be wandering into these places anyway, when they could be outdoors enjoying the party. It also makes sense to do a quick sweep of your home before the guests arrive to remove any small and valuable objects from the areas guests are likely to be.

Remember your swimming pool

pool alrm picFinally, if you do have a backyard pool, it is your duty as the homeowner to keep your guests safe around it. Even if the pool is off-limits for swimmers during the summer bash, the possibility still exists for someone to fall in. A pool alarm will alert you to a child or adult in the pool, whether you have dozens of guests over for a party or are home alone with your family. This simple device is a must-have security feature for any pool owner to install. With the start of summer and the swimming season, now is the time to buy a pool alarm.

Inviting dozens of guests over to enjoy a summer evening at your home is 2834603121_pool nitecertainly an enjoyable occasion, but the night could take a sudden turn if you return indoors to find that you’ve been robbed while you were on the patio entertaining your guests. Whenever you have a large number of people in your home, be mindful of the security threat that this presents, and take the necessary precautions.

Author Byline

Tara-HomeSecGuest Blog by Tara Shaw, a mother of three happily living in Austin, Texas.Tara was born in England and moved to USA in 1998. Together with her husband James she started the Resist Attack website in 2009 to make available a wide variety of personal safety products and to educate families on how to stay safe. So far they have published over 250 articles on the subject.

June 14, 2010

7 fun and frugal summertime activities

Filed under: Family Activities — Tags: , , , , , , , — Erin @ 10:18 am

Contributed by Danae G.

Contributed by Danae G. Zoodles Marketing Team

Wondering what to do with your children this summer that won’t break the bank (they can’t play Zoodles all day now that we’ve added our play timer!)? Creativity and advanced planning are your best bets for building fun family memories that you can enjoy, guilt-free.

Visit the library.

libraryThe library is not what it used to be! But they’re still completely free. They have kiddie computers, child soft seating, and baskets of toys to encourage free play. Children have their own DVD section, books on tape (great for car rides), and story time is quickly being rivaled by the library’s free summer reading program. This is an excellent program that gets kids really excited about reading books (they can even win prizes!). This summer my local library’s having Rubber Band Car Races, a puppeteer show, and at some point, a fireworks display. All really fun stuff that I wouldn’t have thought would be available through a library.

Dollar movies.

Check with your nearby theaters to see if they offer summer movie clubs. This typically means you pay a reduced cost if you take the kids to a movie during the week. No, you’re not going to see Disney’s latest release, but they usually show pretty good children’s movies that most kids will enjoy. Word to the wise, if you don’t want to spend all that you just saved at the concession stand, pack some snacks to enjoy once you are inside the movies.

Turn on the sprinklers.

Tsprinklershis is one of the best ways to cool off when it’s hot out! Delay the sprinklers so they come on later in the morning than usual. Kids love getting wet and will be entertained for hours (assuming your local water supply and water bill allows!). Besides watering the grass, there is really no clean up like you would have if you pulled out the kiddie pool. And I don’t know about you, but I like NO CLEAN UP!

Explore your neighborhood.

When my kids were little we walked around the block almost everyday. Granted, they are likely to say “that sounds boring”, but once they’re on the walk, they usually change their minds. When you’re at the library, pick up a book on edible plants and trees so when you go on your walk, the kids can try and identify what they could live on if they were “lost in the forest.”

Set up a lemonade stand.

lemonadeI just love the entrepreneurship lessons involved in this one! Loan the kids some “seed money” for supplies. Take them to the store and have them pick up the necessities like cups, lemons, and sugar. A powdered mix is fine but it’s a lot more expensive, less authentic, and not nearly as fun to make. Whether the kids are inside (preparing the world’s best lemonade) or outside, remember to have an adult with them at all times. And not just because they tend to drink up the profits!

Check out local museums.

There are probably several museums nearby that you’ve never heard of before. And most of them are free.  Do a search on Google or post a question on your Facebook and let local friends and family share their favorite spots. Spending time together as a family and learning about new things is a wonderful combination any time of year. Plus, if you walk the kids around long enough, they are likely to fall asleep in the car on the ride home!

Smores and backyard camping.

smoresWhat kid doesn’t like building a fire after dark and roasting marshmallows? This, in and of itself, makes for a fun and exciting evening any day of the week. But why stop there? Dust off your tent, unroll those sleeping bags, and sleep under the stars to create an unforgettable experience for children of all ages. No need to pack the car, drive for 2 hours, or make reservations a year in advance. Just open your back door! Build a campfire, tell silly stories, and play flashlight tag. Don’t forget your cell phone (no reception problems here!). There are some great constellation apps available that are sure to thrill even the finickiest of children. It’s amazing what we can teach our kids these days, right from the comfort of our very own backyards.

backyardDo you have any ideas to share? Please leave us a comment, We’d love to hear from you! And remember, the kids will be off to college (or at least back in school) before you know it. Make the most of the short time you have with them by building fun family memories that can be cherish for years to come.

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