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.

March 10, 2011

Zoodles makes the Top 25 Android Apps for Moms list!

Babble's Top 25 Android App Badge

In an effort to kickstart this blog back to life, we thought we’d share some great news.  We’ve been recognized by Babble as one of the top 25 Android Apps for Moms!  Reaching over 6 million moms a month, Babble is a parenting site for “a new generation of parents.”  Their editorial crew sifted through tons of apps and highlighted our Kid Mode app as the #2 app for “Best Family Fun.”  Awesome!

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Here’s what they said about us:

When that 10-minute restaurant wait turns into 20 and the coloring book that you brought along just isn’t up to the task, what’s a mom to do? Hand your kid your Android phone, of course. But before your toddler starts e-mailing your boss or updating your Facebook status, be sure to install the Kid Mode app that protects your phone by locking the Home button and then provides your kids (ages 2 through 8) with a selection of fun, educational games and videos geared specifically to each child’s age.  See the full article.

Check out the other winning apps at http://www.babble.com/products/mom-products/25-best-android-apps-for-moms/

Big thanks to Babble for highlighting our hard work and putting us in some great company!  To all of our Zoodles families, we just can’t say it enough.  Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement – we would not be here without you!

September 8, 2010

Introducing a new mode for Android phones – Kid Mode

Every smart phone today has an “Airplane Mode” which puts the phone in a state that is safe to use while flying on a plane.  Think about that, your phone has a simple mode that makes it safe to use on an airplane!  Why doesn’t your phone come with more “modes”?!?

Well today Zoodles is launching an entirely new mode for Android phones and we are calling it “Kid Mode”.  With our FREE Kid Mode app (available now in the Android Market) children 8 and under will have access to hundreds of age appropriate games and videos while parents will be able to relax knowing that their kids will no longer accidentally make calls, send emails or delete apps.  This is an app that the whole family will really love!

So here is how it works:
The Zoodles Kid Mode app is a really smart app that adapts to the child using it.  Games and videos are shown to a child based on their age and other optional information provided by parents (such as reading ability).  In addition to adjusting to the age and skills of the child, Kid Mode adjusts to the capabilities of the phone it is being run on.  For instance, on an Android device without Flash, the Zoodles app will detect the missing software and remove games from the system that require Flash.

Here is a sample 4 year old experience where Kid Mode is filled with letter recognition games, counting activities, and interactive storybooks:

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Here is a sample 7 year old experience where Kid Mode is filled with fun logic puzzles, language activities, and fraction games.

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Here is what a Flash game looks like in Kid Mode:

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Protecting your Android Phone:

The optional “Child Lock” feature of Kid Mode means you can hand your Android phone to your child without ever worrying about what they might accidentally do while on the phone (say good bye to random phone calls to the boss, erased emails and deleted apps).  To accomplish this we disable the built-in buttons on your phone, so your child can’t accidentally exit out while they’re playing.  While children can’t accidentally exit when our child lock is enabled parents will be able to exit easily by following on screen instructions that children can’t follow.

So head over to the Android Market on your phone and upgrade your phone with an entirely new mode – Kid Mode!

Finally, I want to say thanks to the team for working hard on this app and to all the kids who tested Kid Mode for us.

Best,

Mark Williamson
CEO & Co-founder of Zoodles
.

July 21, 2010

How to make your iPhone kid friendly

Contributed By Ginny Haynies Zoodles Marketing Team

Contributed By Ginny Haynies Zoodles Marketing Team

According to reports, there are an estimated 40 million plus iPhones in circulation and 4.8 million Android devices activated per quarter. In addition, more than 3 million iPads were sold before July 1st. The sales only continue to grow and as the numbers increase so do the number of children with easy access to the Internet. With these devices comes the introduction of mobile applications for our children. As of September 2009, iPhone and Android users were downloading an average of 10 apps per month and iPod Touch owners at 18 apps per month. (http://blog.7touchgroup.com/tag/how-many-apps-sold-per-user/) A quick count of my own iPhone reveals 50+ applications with a large percentage of them being games, both fun and educational for my children.

According to Education.com there are currently over 3,400 education apps available for download at the iTunes store, with a large number of them targeted for children between the ages of two and five. They note that the top selling iPhone education app continues to be Wheels on the Bus and that “13 of the 20 top paid apps in this area are clearly child-directed.” (http://www.education.com/magazine/article/smartphones-kids) A quick search of the Android marketplace reveals the same trend occurring there. The preschool and young child market is clearly a hot topic and a market that is being heavily targeted.

Two great parent resources for finding great Smart Phone applications for your children are theiphonemom.com and momswithapps.com. While the iphonemom focuses more on iPhone/iPad applications, momswithapps also features Android applications. Their reviews and suggestions often lead you to some fantastic applications. While using discretion in selecting which mobile applications you choose to install on your device, you might also implement the 3 C’s approach to evaluating media for children as suggested by Lisa Guernsey, Director at the Early Education Initiative:

* Content – What is the basic premise of the app? How is it designed? Is it research based? Is it age appropriate? Does it come from a trusted source such as Sesame Workshop? There are a few great resources to help parents evaluate content, such as Common Sense Media and Children’s Technology Review.

* Context – Who is interacting with the child? How do parents talk about what’s on the screen? Is the child learning through a game, then applying that in another activity? Is the child telling stories about what he or she has experienced?

* Child – How much stimulation can this child take? What types of media trigger the most curious questions, playful reenactments, engagement and joy? What is she missing out on by spending time on the device – is she still exercising, socializing, and doing her schoolwork?

Apple reports that more than 1.7 million iPhone 4 phones were sold in the first week and that more than 75% of the devices sold were upgrades for existing customers. Which leads one to wonder: what is being done with the old phones? While many may be donated or resold, another use is to modify a few settings on your older model iPhone and let them function as an iPod Touch. Many of the current application offerings rival those of other popular hand held gaming systems and are quickly becoming more popular among elementary age children.

These same settings and suggestions are also easily applied to your own iPhone, iTouch, or iPad and will allow for some added security and protection if you choose to allow your child to play with your phone or device. These are all located under Settings -> General -> Restrictions.

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The first step is to apply a passcode that you will remember, but your child does not know so that you can keep the restrictions in place.

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Then you will see a list of choices of things you can either disable or set limitations to restrict. If you choose to use an alternate web browser application such as Mobicip or SafeEyes on your mobile device you will want to disable Safari so that you children will not get an unfiltered web browser. I also suggest you turn off YouTube. This will take away the button for YouTube, however, you would still be able to watch videos you have direct links to and through child safe video filters. This will keep little hands from navigating into Lady Gaga’s most recent music video accidentally. I also highly suggest you turn off In-App purchases. This will prevent your child from accidentally upgrading an application or purchasing something from within an application that they did not understand. Also located under settings are options for Music, Movie, App, and Podcast age ratings. Obviously the level that you choose to put these settings at would depend on if the device is being used by you primarily or if you are turning it into a dedicated child safe device.

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As always the best advice is to closely watch your little one, but these precautions and settings can help to make your iProduct a bit more child-safe.

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