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  • Baby Tech - cool gadgets for babies, kids and parents!

Welcome to Baby Tech!

In this ongoing update, we’ll fill you in on the latest in gear, gadgets, and new ideas that can make caring for your baby safer, more efficient, or more fun.

We also want to hear from you! Have you found a great gadget that’s helped you during pregnancy or parenting? Let me know, and we’ll share that idea with millions of our BabyNames.com readers. Email us!

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Killer Apps for Kids: Part 2

We asked educator and BabyNames partner Kate Glinsmann for her favorite apps for children. This is Part 2 of her report:

The following apps are ones that I use with my English Language Learners who are in grades pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade. I think all kids at this age would benefit from and enjoy these apps. I try to make sure they all are academic in nature, although some might not seem like it at first. The kids really love using the iPads and look forward to Fridays, which is when I bring them out.

Flow Free by Big Duck Games. FREE! I love this puzzle game where you have to connect the colors to each other. It starts out very basic, which is great for the younger kids, and the puzzles get progressively harder. There are different sized grids starting with a 5×5 block grid and up to a 9×9 block grid. A great app for everyone, whether a child or a senior. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flow-free/id526641427?mt=8

Letter School by Sanoma Media, $4.99. This app is the best one I’ve found so far for teaching young children how to make letters. I love how versatile it is, allowing you to set the alphabet for Zaner-Bloser, D’Nealian or Handwriting Without Tears style. Kids can work on upper case, lower case or numerals 1-10. For each letter or numeral the child starts by tapping the button where each stroke originates, in order. The second part has the child trace the path of the strokes and the third part has the child produce the letter/numeral independently. If s/he has trouble then arrows or lines appear to help. I feel that this app is well worth the cost. http://www.letterschool.com

Kids Learning Photo Touch Concepts by Innovative Investments Limited, $.99. This is a great app for young children (2-4 years old) or English Language Learners. It emphasizes basic vocabulary and concepts like positions, colors, shapes, quantities, and other basic concepts. Adults are able to choose which concepts the child can work on so it is easily adapted to each child’s needs. There is even a setting for displaying hints. I like that this app uses photographs instead of drawings, and this makes it engaging to even the youngest child. Even though I set the age to start at 2 years old, a younger child could even benefit from this app with adult help. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kids-learning-photo-touch/id423247346?mt=8

Killer Apps for Kids: Part 1

We asked educator and BabyNames partner Kate Glinsmann for her favorite apps for children. This is Part 1 of her report:

The following apps are ones that I use with my English Language Learners who are in grades pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade. I think all kids at this age would benefit from and enjoy these apps. I try to make sure they all are academic in nature, although some might not seem like it at first. The kids really love using the iPads and look forward to Fridays, which is when I bring them out.

Interactive Alphabet ABC’s by Piikea St. LLC: this is an engaging app that my pre-kindergarten and kindergarten kids love. Each letter is named, the sound it makes is spoken, and then there is a picture of something that begins with that letter. Each one is interactive so the child can manipulate the scene in some way (or ways). It is a fun way to learn the alphabet. http://www.piikeastreet.com/apps/interactive-alphabet/

My PlayHome Stores, My PlayHome Schools, My PlayHome by PlayHome Software LTD, $2.99 each. These are great apps that encourage expressive language in children. They manipulate family members around the home, stores and school to engage in various activities with objects. The English Language Learners that I work with all love these apps because there is so much for them to do. As a teacher I love them because I can ask so many open ended questions that stimulate conversation. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-playhome/id439628153?mt=8

The Monster at the End of This Book…starring Grover! By Sesame Street. $4.99. This is an interactive version of the book. The story is read by Grover, and almost every page has the reader doing something to make Grover turn the page. Warning-this story can be a bit loud at times. J https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/monster-at-end-this-book…starring/id409467802?mt=8

 

Part 2 of Killer Apps for Kids will be posted on Friday, Jan. 23.

 

A scale for wiggly babies

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 2.17.58 PMThe Salter 914 Electronic Baby & Toddler Scale is a sturdy plastic scale with a large digital readout. It comes with a lock-in mechanism to secure the base to the platform even with the wiggliest babies.

The scale measures in half-ounce increments up to 44 pounds, and once your baby is standing you can remove the platform and have your child stand on the base for a weight reading.

The Hold function displays baby’s weight for 30 seconds after removing her from the scale, and the Zero funtion allows you to subtract the weight of a diaper or other clothing from baby’s weight reading. The scale runs on one 9-volt battery (not included), and includes an energy-saver off function to preserve battery life.

The Salter 914 Electronic Baby and Toddler scale is available here.

A chair that grows with your child

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 2.17.40 PMFisher-Price’s Laugh and Learn Smart Stages chair is designed to provide fun and educational activities for your little one based on his/her age and aptitude.

The chair, which plays songs and phrases when your baby sits or stands, includes three activity levels: The first level, for babies around a year old, is called Explore, and is geared toward early recognition of numbers and simple words like “up” or “down.”

The second level, Encourage, for babies around 18 months, teaches opposites and includes interactive activities. The third level, Pretend, is for toddlers around 2, and has prompts for creative playtime. All three levels include colors, shapes, numbers and counting activities.

Parents can program the chair according to their babies’ ages, or adjust the learning level manually. The chair, which runs on 3 AA batteries, also includes a manual adjustment for volume control, an empty compartment under the liftable seat, and a built-in book and “remote.”

The Laugh and Learn Smart Stages chair is available here.

Baby’s First Bluetooth

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I love my Bluetooth wireless headsets and own two of them. They come in handy for playing music or TV at night without bothering my neighbors, for doing household chores without being tethered to my audio source,  and for exercising accompanied by my favorite music.

So I was delighted to come across the LilGadgets Untangled Pro Children’s Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, which include all the features of grown-up headphones, but are tailored to younger ears and fingers.

The headphones, which have gotten a 5-star overall review from Amazon buyers, have a 10-hour charging life and a 180-hour standby; they come with a USB charger and a 3.5mm cable so you can use them wired to an audio device if the battery runs down. The headphones have a 30-ft range from their source device, and come with a one-year warranty.

The earphones and headband are made of soft, meshable fabric that’s friendly for young ears and heads. Although the official manufacturer’s recommendation is for use at age 4, many parents report that their 2 year olds use the headphones and love them.

The Untangled Pro Children’s Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are available here.

Countdown till Birthing Day

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Looking for a fun, yet inexpensive, baby-shower or new-grandparent gift? The Baby Edition Countdown Clock, currently priced at $13.95 on Amazon.com, fits the bill.

The countdown clock can be easily set to display birthing due dates and other milestone events. It comes with four template overlays for baby’s due date, baby’s first birthday, baby’s first Christmas, and first day of preschool.

As your child grows and learns to tell time, you can use the countdown clock to mark important future events.

An order form is included for purchasing additional overlay templates for first day of school, summer vacation, chanukah, and braces off.

The clock runs on one AA battery (not included) and weighs a mere 6.4 ounces. Instructions to set countdowns are available online. The countdown clock can be purchased here.

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