Friday Fun: 5 great iPhone apps for parents

iPhoneWe’ve all been there: sitting around a table at a restaurant, waiting for food to arrive, with kids complaining that they’re bored or hungry. I’ve been known to beg waiters to put a rush on the kids’ food in order to retain my sanity, and my children are usually pretty well-behaved in restaurants! I recently discovered that the tool to save everyone in the family from restaurant migraines was in my pocket: the iPhone.

You might be scratching your head and asking, “Why would a psychologist who writes about families and communication let his kids play video games in restaurants?” That’s not what I’m suggesting – in fact, there are iPhone applications that provide a springboard for interaction. Here are a few that my kids and I have enjoyed:

Kids Jokes
Kids Jokes – Jokes for Kids by Kids [app store link]: This application is just what you’d think – simple jokes that will either make kids laugh or groan. Here’s an example: “What do you call a 100 year-old ant? An ant-ique!” I read a bunch of these to the kids while we wait for our order to arrive, and they try to guess the punchlines. Not a bad way to pass a few minutes. The app is 99¢, but I found it on sale for free.

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MakeMeSay
MakeMeSay – Catch Phrase [app store link]: This is a game that could easily be played without an iPhone, but the app is a good reminder of a fun game to play with your kids. The idea is simple. Just like on the $20,000 Pyramid, parents can give clues to help their kids guess a word. The game has a timer that’s set by default to provide 5 words that players have to guess within 60 seconds, but you can modify these as you like. This is another app that costs 99¢, but you can download the Lite version for free [app store link].
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20Q Mind Reader
20Q Mind Reader [app store link]: Another game that doesn’t require an iPhone – anyone can play 20 Questions! What’s cool about this application is that it asks Yes/No questions and it can guess the word that you’re thinking! You might have seen 20Q games at parties – they look like little coloured balls with small LED screens. It’s surprising how accurate they are! This app is a bit more expensive at $2.99 (which is the 40% off sale price as I write this), but there’s a Lite version that’s free [app store link].
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Fun FIBs
Fun FIBS [app store link]: FIB stands for “Fill in the Blank.” This app basically gives you some Mad Libs, but with a twist. The app asks for an animal, a place, a person’s name, etc., but players record the words. Then the story is read out loud, with the kids’ recordings inserted into the blanks! This version of the app is free, but there are several other versions (FIB Nursery Rhymes, FIB Greetings) that cost $1.99.

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BargainBin with Push
BargainBin with Push [app store link]: This one isn’t really an app for kids, but it can be a lifesaver! Some of the applications above cost a buck or two, but they sometimes go on sale. BargainBin is free, and it allows you to add apps to a “Watch List.” If the apps go on sale, you get a push notification. Take this suggestion with a grain of salt, though. I haven’t used it long enough to receive a notification yet, and it seems to take a while for new apps to show up on the Bargain Bin list.

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Do you have mobile applications that you and your kids can’t live without? Leave us a comment!

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