We’d be lying if we told you we never pass our little ones a smart phone or an ipad to keep them entertained. The truth is, sometimes it’s just easier – especially when traveling! With so many game apps available today, we thought it would be fun to share our top 10 favorite apps with you. They teach new languages, allow world exploration, help quiet loud nights, and make fractions fun! And remember, while a lot of these apps are over $0.99, in the end you’ll appreciate the ad-free, no fuss design the cost gets you.
Do you have a favorite that you don’t see here? We want to know! Leave a comment below.
1. Sleep Pillow Sounds $1.99 – Although this isn’t a game your children can play, we thought it was important to include. It can be hard to sleep in a new bed with unfamiliar sounds when traveling, but with the help of this app the foreign sounds will be quieted. We consider this to be a must when traveling with children.
2. Endless Alphabet free – We must warn you that skipping the ad before you hand your device over to the kids is key to this ‘free’ app, and once you get to the drag and drop screen you might not want to let go! The idea is for your little one to match the letters on the screen to create a complete word. The longer you keep a finger on the letter, the longer the letter is sounded out (maybe headphones would be best in public?) and once you’ve completed it, the definition is acted out by your new colorful monster friends and you’re on to the next!
3. Toca Kitchen $2.99 – Your children will be preparing 12 different ingredients 180 ways in no time! Since this app isn’t a timed game, there’s no pressure to get to the next level – they’ll able to explore at their own pace. Prefer a vegetarian mode? No problem, they’ve got you covered!
4. Barefoot World Atlas $4.99 – Travel the world through your 4 inch screen with this beautiful app. Geographer and BBC TV presenter Nick Crane will be your guide as you fly around the (3D) world exploring oceans and continents, meeting different people and learning about their way of life. Explore and discover the big world we live in.
5. Petting Zoo by Christoph Niemann $0.99 – You may know him as an illustrator from The New Yorker, but here you will see his illustrations come to life through alligator’s teeth as guitar strings and octopus arms as a mandolin. It’s silly, charming, and perfectly entertaining.
6. Stack the Countries $1.99 – A wonderful way to help your little ones learn country capitals, landmarks, and geographic locations. Want to start smaller? Try the Stack the States app. They’re simple and effective!
7. PBS Parents Play & Learn free – This interactive app is specifically designed for parents. Providing you with dozens of games, you’ll be able to connect every day “teachable moments” to math and literally skills, making trips to the grocery store more exciting for everyone! This free app can be toggled from English to Spanish – perfect bilingual families!
8. Learn Spanish free – Or Japanese, French, Italian, German, Mandarin, or Portuguese with each MindSnack apps. With 9 different games, your children will build essential vocabulary and conversational skills. Unlock levels as you progress and watch your avatar grow smarter and brighter!
9. Peekaboo Barn $1.99 – Although language packages (other than spanish) are an additional $0.99 per bundle, we think this app is a wonderful way to learn animals and the sounds they make. You can also record voices so friends or visiting family can capture their own voice for your children to hear.
10. Oh No Fractions! $0.99 – Math isn’t always a favorite, but with this app it’s easy to see how fractions compare, add, subtract, multiply, and divide through visuals. Keep track of your child’s progress with the statistics feature. The design is sleek and simple, and will have fractions learned in no time!
We’re excited to have Julia Pimsleur Levine, founder of Little Pim as our guest blogger today. Little Pim is the ultimate language learning gift for babies, toddlers and preschoolers – to learn more, visit What is Little Pim.
As the creator of the Little Pim foreign language teaching series for kids, people often ask me if my own sons, 3 and 7, speak French. They do speak passable French, but what is more important to me than the number of words they know is that they have fallen in love, as I did, with the French culture, sights, smells and tastes. Learning conjugations can come later.
Below are some of the ways we introduced our boys to French culture, language, and of course, le chocolat, on a recent trip to Antibes, France. Take a little voyage right here avec nous! (with us)
When kids want ice cream is a great time to get them to use their foreign language words… Even the most reluctant young student of French, Spanish or Italian suddenly finds courage in the face of ice cream. “Une glace au chocolat, s’il vous plaît” rolled right off my children’s tongue when we got to France! By the end of our two weeks there, they could say all the flavors and colors, a yummy and lasting learning experience!
We also got to attend a traditional French marionette show, where we saw carefully crafted paper maché puppets made in the same way they have been made for the last 100+ years in France …. And probably told the same jokes they have told for the last 100 years too. My three year old laughed himself silly and my seven year old scowled and could only be persuaded to sit through it on the promise of mousse au chocolat after dinner. C’est la vie!
No trip to France would be complete without a ride on one of their ornate and spectacular Carrousels. These are nothing like the US mall version and are a great place to teach kids words like avion (plane), cheval (horse) and unicorne (an easy one!).
Ever since the trip, both boys greet me in the morning with a half-joking “Bonjour maman!” in unison, and thank me for their Cheerios with “Merci maman!”. And they don’t even realize that with all the amazing things they experienced this trip, the best is yet to come!
What language would you like your child to learn? Answer below for a chance to win a Little Pim Gift set in the language of your choice.
Congrats to Lisa Pelanne who will be receiving a Little Pim Gift set in the language of her choice! Thank you to everyone who participated. Please follow our Studio T blog for more travel stories, contests, and our Behind the Design inspirations. To learn more about Little Pim, visit their website at: http://www.littlepim.com/
I saw this shirt in a shop in Seattle with some friends last weekend. They were joking and asking what “62″ had to do with Mexico, not actually expecting a response. I told them that there were more than 62 languages spoken in Mexico and they were rather impressed I had an interesting answer. They wanted to know where they could go to learn that kind of information about our designs. I told them to stop being bad friends and read my blog posts!
People often ask me how long it takes to design a graphic. There is no straight forward answer for this. Some graphics take days. This one is one of those serendipitous graphics that took about 5 minutes and just worked. Our designers happened to take a picture of hand painted house number “26″ during the Mexico inspiration trip. We loved the numbers and the concrete created a perfect texture. All I had to do was swap the order of the numbers and done!
Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. For more Behind the Designs click here.
poster by Michael Ciancio
Apple : Măr
Banana : Banană
Carrot : Morcov
Strawberry : Căpşune
Peaches : Piersici
Pepper : Ardei
Corn : Porumb
Pumpkin : Dovleac
Lettuce : Salată Verde
Pineapple : Ananas
Onion : Ceapă
Want to hear how the words are pronounced? Click here.
Today is International Literacy Day! Created by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) in 1965, International Literacy Day’s goal is to emphasize and celebrate literacy around the world, for all individuals and in all communities. According to UN statistics almost 774 million adults throughout the world have at most only basic reading skills.
Many libraries and community centers around the country use this day as an opportunity to reach out for volunteers to tutor and assist adults and children in improving their reading skills (such as our local San Francisco Library). If you’re in New York City, check out today’s blog post about International Literacy Day, and see how you can get involved.
At Tea we celebrate reading through our Children’s Books. We donate the proceeds from their sale to the Global Fund for Children, which funds grassroots organizations throughout the world, and focuses on promoting education for disadvantaged youth.
If you want to find more ways to contribute to organizations that focus on literacy, here are some useful suggestions.
What were your favorite books when you were a child? What are your favorite books now? Leave a post in the comments below.
Posted by: Kathleen Cantrell
Time: 6:01 PM
My little girl is the first grandchild on both sides of the family, and it certainly shows with the abundance of gifts she has received. So when my mother asked me what she might ‘need’ this past Christmas, I had trouble coming up with anything specific. I told her that I would think about it. What could a child, who has plenty, possibly need? Finally, the thought came to me; my little one could use something educational. She had just turned two and was just beginning to structure words into sentences. Maybe we could begin to slowly introduce her to a second language. That was when I came across Muzzy, a BBC series of cartoons designed to introduce children to a new language of choice.
I was not sure what to expect as my little one received her gift and immediately asked to watch it onscreen. I certainly had reservations about the idea of a toddler learning a second language. Would she actually enjoy the program? Would the cartoon be remotely entertaining? Would I be able to follow along as well? When the DVD began and Muzzy, a large, fuzzy green creature with a deep voice began speaking, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my daughter was quite engaged in the cartoon. I found it amusing that her favorite character is not the king, queen or princess, but a furry green thing that enjoys eating clocks and parking meters. She thought this creature was the most hilarious thing and now insists on watching him daily!
Although my little one thoroughly enjoyed the DVDs, I certainly still had reservations about a toddler learning a second language. How soon would she catch on? Well, I am pleased to say that my little one, without any prodding, randomly counted to five in French last week. I was so shocked that I asked her to repeat it, and she did! With a master’s in education, I was well aware of the malleability of a child’s brain, but to see it actively apparent in your own child is a completely different experience and well worth the effort. The DVD’s also come with a parent’s booklet that translates the DVD’s dialogue for moms and dads so we are able to guide our children through this remarkable learning process. Merci beaucoup BBC!