The personal learning network for educators
One of the joys of the long Summer holidays is being able to go away for a well deserved family adventure. For me it often involves a road trip around the country (preferably with at least one beach and a hammock along the way). After a day of fun filled activities and for those moments of downtime entertainment, I usually take a laptop and a hard drive full of movies and shows so that we can all chill-out in the evenings! This year I have decided to add a few iphone/ipad apps that will hopefully add some creative fun to our time away from home. Here is what I will be taking:
Kindle for iPhone/iPod/iPad
My first essential holiday app is Amazon's Kindle. The free Kindle for iPad/iPhone application lets you read Kindle books on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch—no Kindle required. When you first launch Kindle, you'll be asked to enter your Amazon.com account e-mail address and password so you can access your Kindle library and shop in the Kindle store. There's a version of the Kindle Store optimized for the Safari browser on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. You can also shop the Kindle Store on Amazon.com and choose a registered iPad, iPhone or iPod touch as the delivery location [1. Amazon Kindle]. I have downloaded a number of books onto my kindle app for iphone. The books are very readable and you can easily have enough books for a long vacation. I have also downloaded the app for my ipod and can sync my books to that too... both my kids will be able to read at the same time if they want too!
Rory's Story Cubes for iPhone/iPod/iPad
I remember as a kid playing 20 question games and Charades to fill the holiday hours. We always had great fun and the creative thoughts were always flowing. Rory's Story Cubes is a great app to add a bit of fun to your holiday evenings. Rory's Story Cubes is the app version of an award-winning dice game that encourages storytelling and creativity. Shake the device to roll nine dice. Each die has a simple picture on it, such as a lock, turtle, flower, or word bubble. There are a variety of ways to play, but basically players use the images to create stories. Stories can be created individually or cooperatively. The app version of the game also includes the ability to take a photo of the dice or to lock the dice in play [2. Common Sense]. This is a really fun app and you can create the rules that suit you best.
Puppet Pals for iPhone/iPod/iPad
I recently came across a fantastic app called Puppet Pals. The free version comes with Wild West backgrounds and actors and with the paid version you get many other scenarios such as pirates, fairies, monsters, farm setting and fairies. The Director’s Pass is worth getting as it gives you all the extra actors and scenes. You can even make your own! This app is great fun and kids spend hours creating their own puppet shows to perform.
Faces I Make for iPhone/iPod/iPad
My sons love playing with Faces I make. It is a very simple activity, but there is loads of scope for creativity. The app allows kids (or adults) to design portraits with random objects such as lemons, grape bunches, pencils, tape rolls, paintbrushes, cheese graters, dominoes, etc. Users can also upload photos using their phone's camera or use a photo from the device's image library [3. Commonsense]. Faces can then be used in other apps. Perhaps my favourite feature is the theme tune... extremely catchy!
Sky View for iPhone/iPad/iPod
Living in the city (ok, the outskirts) as we do, I am looking forward to getting some clear nights where we can gaze up into the universe and have a look at the millions of stars and planets. To find out a bit more about what we are going to be looking at, I am going to be taking Sky View. Sky View is is an Augmented Reality based sky viewing app. Basically this means that it uses the iOS device’s camera so that you can view exactly where a star, constellation, solar system or satellite is located and in the background you can see exactly what’s in front of you. SkyView is just incredibly fascinating to use. The imagery that comes up to depict everything is clear to see and somehow brings the sky alive more [4. Sky View]. I cant wait to impress everyone with my new found knowledge!
I Can Animate for iPhone/iPod/iPad
I Can Animate is a must for the holiday. This is a seriously fun app and the kids will spend hours creating their own animations. A previous post i wrote on I Can Animate has all of the information you will need to get going.
Crayon Physics for iPhone/iPod/iPad
For those moments when the kids need a game, go for Crayon Physics. Crayon Physics is a 2D physics puzzle / sandbox game, in which you get to experience what it would be like if your drawings would be magically transformed into real physical objects. Solve puzzles with your artistic vision and creative use of physics [5. Crayon Physics]. This really is a fantastic app that uses some great thinking skills. I have not come across a kid (or adult) who doesn't like it.
Isaac Newton's Gravity for iPhone/iPod/iPad
Isaac Newton's Gravity is one of the tougher physics games available, however, my eight year old is able to work through the majority of levels (in fact he has completed more than me). The object of the game lies in the challenge of getting gravity to work for you. In each puzzle you are given a handful of pieces. All, or in some cases a few, of these pieces must be arranged to allow a ball to roll through the screen, eventually bumping a button to complete the level. These pieces may be bars, balls, or other items to transport the ongoing wave of motion. One useful tip... keep trying and you will get there in the end.
Monopoly for iPhone/iPod/iPad
Monopoly is a must for a bit of family fun in the evening. Thanks to the app version, you no longer have to worry about missing parts (and trusting the banker). I have played many full games on iPhone and iPad and both are as enjoyable and easy to use. The graphics and animations are fantastic. The only thing to watch out for with this one is when your kids say, "Can we play again?".
There are of course thousands of other apps to choose from in the app store (Please add suggestions). However, these apps offer a range of creative activities for all to enjoy. What I particularly like, is that they offer a great deal of interaction... perfect for a family holiday.