As we are already in triple digits and haven’t even celebrated the 4th of July, many parents are opting to stay indoors rather than brave the blistering heat. While we will make the occasional trip to the Children’s Museum, Magik Theater, and Schlitterbahn, my focus has been trying to come up with alternatives to playing in the heat.
If you are like me and have two young boys (or children of any age for that matter), you are probably looking for something to keep your kiddos busy… indoors. If I am not prepared, activities around the house may be as simple as block day (where we dump all of the Mega Bloks out on the floor and build various structures) or city day (which consists of pulling out all of our Fisher Price toys…airport, barns, zoo, cars, people, etc… and arranging them into something that resembles a metropolis of sorts).
These activities are fun but given some more time to prepare, I like to arrange activities that bridge the gap between fun, technology, and instruction. The activities listed are broken up into categories and are accessed via the iPad. (Upcoming posts in the series will focus on both apps and Web 2.0 tools).
As I am also a bargain app shopper, the majority of apps suggested are… FREE (or moderately priced)!
Imaginative Play: Many of us remember tea parties and puppet shows so the idea of using technology to foster imaginative play is not so far-fetched. While Toca Tea Party may only appeal to preschool and elementary age children, Puppet Pals & Sock Puppets will bring joy to all who are young at heart.
- Toca Tea Party (paid): This app is entertaining for boys and girls of all ages. Consider having a tea party with friends, Barbie, Handy Manny, or stuffed animals.
- Puppet Pals (free: best value is Director’s Pass): See Puppet Pals post for more detailed app info and suggestions for use
- Sock Puppets (free): This app is available for both the iPhone/iPod and the iPad and is wildly engaging. See examples in Raise the Curtain & Raise the Bar post.
- iCreate (paid): This app fosters visual-spacial & visual-linguistic intelligence by allowing children to create and decorate rooms in their home. Also check out My Scene (free) and other paid apps (Clicky Sticky, Little Kitten Shopping Cart, Create a Car) for imaginative play.
Need ideas for your next Puppet Show? Check out Three Little Pigs, Three Billy Goats for some great examples of puppet shows (both are paid). Plums Rhyme and Tortoise and Hare Puppet Show (includes step-by-step video workshop for how to make puppets and create a show) are both free!
Legos, Board Games, and Puzzles: Cure Boredom!
- Legos (both free): Lego Creationary (mimics the board game) & Lego Instructions (gives step-by-step instructions for building various creations). Check out Blocks! & Bricky (paid).
- Free “Board” Games: Guess Em’, Reverse Charades, Peg Light Free, Pac-Man Lite, Uno Free
- Paid “Board” Games: Say It!, 6-in-1 Board Game Club HD, Monopoly, The Game of Life, Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, Price is Right, Where’s Waldo? (there are 4 or 5 of these available), Pictureka, Guess Phrase (While some of these games run as much as $6.99 in the iTunes store, it is still a great savings compared to buying the actual board game at cost for $20-$30.)
- Fun EDU Games & Puzzles (free unless stated otherwise – mostly primary & elementary): Pirate Treasure Hunt, Bluster, Chicktionary (also check out Whirly Word), Diet WordPop! Free, Zoo Wordfind, Make My Own Word Search, WordSpotter!, WordSearch Star Free, Mad Libs, Wordventure, Tacky Wales, Spot the Mistake (interactive book – paid – worth the $), My First Find the Differences Game (also My First Games: Find the Differences HD), Insect Puzzle HD (there are 5-6 of these available for free… including Dinosaurs), Dots for Tots (paid), Pentanimals Lite, Zentomino Lite, Tangram XL Free, My First Tangrams HD (paid), 123 Dominoes, Sticker Shop
- Fun EDU Games & Puzzles (free unless stated otherwise – late elementary and secondary): iAssociate 2 HD Lite, WordSearch Unlimited HD Free, Hanging with Friends Free, Word Abacus, Word Solitaire (paid), Topple (paid), Hello Hangman HD, Ultimate Hangman Free & Hangman (2 player mode), Slice it!, iCut, Family Dominoes Free, TKO Tiles Free
Have an overcast day or an early morning? Check out 225 Kid Outdoor Games (games for ages 2-16 from around the world – paid app).
Don’t have an iPad? Consider creating your own board game (Tools for Educators) or dusting off Uno and Connect 4.
Stay Tuned over the next couple of weeks for upcoming Part 2: Virtual Vacations, Part 3: Books & Storytelling,and Part 4: Scrapbooks, Timelines, Arts & Crafts.
Tune in: Thursday June 23rd at 8pm to Social Geek Radio where I will be a guest discussing cool technology for kids (apps and Web 2.0 tools) that they can utilize on these hot summer days.
Please Comment with your favorite apps (and Web 2.0 tools) for imaginative play and games.