Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘apps’ Category

July 29th, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Fun iPhone Apps for Kids


Looking for some fun apps to add to your iPhone or iPad?

For your younger kids, try Alien Assignment (free). It is a fun scavenger hunt app that uses your device’s camera. When the alien needs something, your child must find a household item that fits the description and take a picture of it. Fun and learning at the same time.

It’s never to early to learn about healthy eating. Go Nini  (free) is a helpful app that makes a game of making good food choices. Foods that are “Go”, “Slow” and “Whoa” help teach children about the types of food they should eat anytime, sometimes, and rarely.

For ages 8 and up, try StoryLines (free). Think of it as a digital version of the “telephone” game. The first person chooses a common phrase and passes the device to the next person, who draws a picture of that phrase and passes the the device to the next person, who must write a caption for that picture. And so on up to 9 players. When the last person is done, you review the storyline to see how different the last caption is from the first phrase. It’s both fun and educational.

9-11. Weird but True (free with 0.99 add-ons for additional fact packs) is a National Geographic app that provides lots of little known and downright strange factoids about any number of topics like lobsters and astronauts.

And of course for the little ones just starting out with basic learning, the Garanimals Learn, Play, Share app (free) teaches letters, numbers and shapes by association.

Add a little fun and learning to your summer.

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April 8th, 2014 at 9:03 am

Apps for Expectant and New Parents


Baby on the way? Congratulations! Such an exciting, expectant, and nerve wracking time, especially if it’s your first. So much to learn, so much information about what to do and not to do. It can be overwhelming. But, while there’s no app for the hard parts, there are plenty of apps that can help you prepare.

Hello Baby app for iPhone  is a great way to learn about all of the stages of growth of your baby during pregnancy. It’s full of images and information that can help you understand the magic that is happening in the womb.

There is also the What to Expect apps for both pregnancy and the early years. This trusted series of books has been invaluable for so many of us as we navigate all of the stages of babyhood.

Sprout ($4, iPhone only) is another really helpful app for information and tips on pregnancy, weight tracking, prepping for doctor visits and what to know about all that’s happening to your body right up to timing your contractions.

Baby Bump is another app that not only provides information on your pregnancy but also has a social networking component so you can share your experiences with other moms-to-be.

And if baby is here, how about something to help with nursing, and tracking your newborn’s progress in those critical early weeks and months? WebMD Baby  provides many resources and really useful information about sleep, growth, feeding, and milestones to help you through the fraught early days of caring for your child.

I wish these apps were available when my kids were born, especially in the middle of the night when you just didn’t want to call mom, again!

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April 4th, 2014 at 9:00 am

Fun Easter Themed Apps


Easter is such a fun time filled with the anticipation of hidden baskets and eggs. Help spread the excitement by adding some games for your child to play. Whether it be an Easter themed puzzle, virtual egg coloring, or even an Easter themed book, these apps will make preparing for Easter even more fun!

Easter Bunny Tracker - See if the Easter Bunny is close to hiding his/her eggs at your house!

Paint Easter Egg HD – A fun app for coloring virtual eggs…same fun without the mess!

Hidden Egg Hunt - A hidden picture game where you find hidden eggs. Race against the clock to beat each level.

Easter Bunny Call – Make your little ones think the Easter Bunny is calling them directly.

Color Me! Easter – A virtual coloring book with pictures of the Easter Bunny, eggs, and other spring things.

Bubble Blast Easter - A puzzle game you won’t be able to put down.

Puzzle Me Easter – Work on your jigsaw puzzle skills with this easter themed app.

Easter Bunny Scan O’Meter - Tells children whether they are being good or bad according to the Easter Bunny – the best part is that you set it secretly!

Easter Expressions - Make cards that can be emailed to wish Easter blessings to family and friends.

Easter Egg Design Generator - Another virtual egg dying app.

Easter Bunny Dress Up – Have your child take a picture with the Easter Bunny that they dressed up themselves!

Easter Bunny Games for Kids: Easter Egg Hunt Jigsaw Puzzles HD for Toddler and Preschool - An easy jigsaw puzzle app for the littlest ones.

Sneezies Easter Edition - A chain reaction game with sneezing fun!

Easter Egg Match – A fun slider game matching Easter Eggs.

Fly the Flappy Easter Bird - An arcade style game.

Bunyfur’s Easter Eggs – An Easter eBook.



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March 11th, 2014 at 10:13 am

A Few Apps That Save You Some Bucks

piggy bank

Looking for ways to save when you shop? Here are a few apps that can help you do just that.

RetailMeNot  is a coupon site that houses hundreds of offers for discounts and freebies. Browse by store or category and get promo codes or printable coupons that save you real money. Visit the site before you head out or sign up for emails bringing the deals to you.

Are you a frequent shopper? How cool would it be to get rewarded for just visiting a store? Get the ShopKick app and head out to your favorite store. When you go in, the app lets you know about products and promotions going on in the store. Earn kicks (points) just for walking in and trade in the kicks for gift cards.

Need to shop for car repairs? How about an app that can help you find a good mechanic? Put your car’s make, model and year into RepairPal and the site will recommend local repair shops and provide estimates on common repair procedures. It’s pretty interesting to see the range of prices for standard services.

And don’t forget GasBuddy for getting the lowest price on gas in your neighborhood.

We all love to shop. On the other hand, we also love to have a healthy savings account. With the SavedPlus app,  the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Set up a plan so that when you spend, a predetermined percentage (5%-20%) is automatically sent to a savings account. It’s similar to banks that round up debit card purchases to the next dollar and put the difference into a separate account. Depending on the percentage you choose, this app will build up your savings a lot faster.

Go forth and save.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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February 21st, 2014 at 8:35 am

Fun Apps to Encourage Reading

reading-appsMy boys are in love with their iPads, but they aren’t always being used for games; we like to use them for learning just as much. My youngest son is learning to read and loves the interactive reading apps that we have found for him. Many of these can be enjoyable for different ages.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This app!

This app lets you interact with a pigeon and create a story of your own.

The Cat in the Hat

Read along with this favorite Dr. Suess story word by word.

Little Bella’s – I Close My Eyes

This animated app is great for pre-readers and tells the story of Bella’s adventures.

Bob Books

One of our favorite book sets while learning to read are the Bob Books. These apps help to introduce new words and letter sounds to the beginning reader.

Pete the Cat

We love to jam out with Pete the Cat at our house and this app brings his story to life.

The Monster at the End of This Book…starring Grover!

This book was one of my favorites as a child and now my children enjoy it. We love to watch Grover try to stop us from getting to the end of the book. We also like the companion book with Another Monster!

Some other favorites include:

All By Myself – Little Critter

The Kissing Hand

Once Upon a Potty

Five Little Monkeys

The Berenstain Bears

Dr. Suess Books

What are your favorite reading apps?

 Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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February 11th, 2014 at 10:37 am

5 Fun and Free Apps for Your Toddler

Animal-Touch-Worlds-for-ipadNeed a little electronic diversion for your toddler once in a while? Something to keep them occupied while you take care of other business? Of course you do. Here’s a few apps that should help keep the little one happy and engaged, while learning important skills.

Puzzingo is a great app for your toddler to begin learning about vocabulary and memory in a really fun way. Games and puzzles that they can play alone or with you help build and develop important cognitive skills. Android and iPhone.

Toddler Counting 123 is a charming counting app with fun bright graphics, combining both photos and illustrations. You might even find yourself playing with this one. Android and iPhone.

Animal Touch Worlds is a very basic app that makes it usable for toddlers as young as 18 months. Tap on a scene and an element or experience is activated with a delightful short animation and sound. iPhone and iPad only.

With all the hype surrounding the new Lego movie, Lego® Duplo® Zoo will be a big hit with your little ones. Blending Legos and animals, this little adventure should keep them engaged. Android and iPhone

Oh and just for fun, and maybe for mom’s mindless entertainment too, there’s always Bubble Snap (iPhone) or the Bubble Wrap (Android). Because after all, who doesn’t like popping bubble wrap?

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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January 28th, 2014 at 5:00 am

It’s Like Having A Personal Assistant

anydo icon

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about some apps that can help you get organized in this new year. One of them,, is a really easy to use To-Do list app that warrants another mention. It makes quick work of creating and keeping an ongoing list of tasks for for today, tomorrow or an upcoming day.

With, today, tomorrow and upcoming do not mean a specific date. Today’s task rolls over to today’s list tomorrow until you swipe it as done. It’s like having an electronic paper list that you can keep adding to without it ever getting worn, torn, or lost. In my house, “Have you seen my list?”, is a common question. Every night it prompts you to review the list and cross off what is complete. It reminds you of what you didn’t get to and gives you a preview of what’s up for tomorrow.

I’ve been using this app for over a month and loving it more every day.

The phone feature is also quite useful. If you reject a call, it presents options to dismiss, send a text, call back call later (25 min/1 hour/tomorrow) and then reminds you to do so at the suggested time!

More organized with less effort. Now that’s what I call a useful app.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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January 14th, 2014 at 9:59 am

My Favorite Apps for 2013

best of 2013Time for a trip down memory lane. Which apps did I have a relationship with in 2013 and which ones were a passing fling? Here are my faves.

I have spent many hours browsing the gazillion home photos of Houzz. And even though my kitchen remodel is done, I still find myself searching out more ideas for every room. This site is so addicting.

Every generation of new apps brings features that we used to only dream of, constantly raising the bar. While GPS in and of itself is awesome, Waze brings navigating every car trip to a whole new level. SO helpful to know where the delays, accidents and jams are before heading out.

And what’s up with this crazy weather? While it’s not quite an exact science, the near term weather forecast for your specific location is brought to you by Nooly, right down to  5 minute increments. A most helpful app.

Cleaning out your closet? If you’re like me and find the consignment store option a bit of a chore, try Tradesy.  Simply take a picture of your item, upload it, and wait for the prepaid shipping package when a buyer has chosen it. An easy way to turn your closet into a goldmine.

Looking for a good soundtrack to match your mood or task at hand? I turn to Songza for a great mix. Lately I’ve been grooving on opera, and finding it’s a great background sound when I’m working. Who knew?

And as a footnote, I must give a shout out, for the third year in a row, to Evernote because it’s just…excellent. It has replaced my various piles and folders full of collected clippings, photos and notes. Now I just scan then, tag them, and toss the paper. This killer app is definitely a long term relationship.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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November 19th, 2013 at 9:33 am

Music To Match Your Mood

Media-songza-iconDo you listen to tunes when you’re working, surfing, or socializing online? iTunes? Pandora? Streaming your favorite radio station? Great tunes can help get you motivated and enrich your time online, but sometimes you need to mix it up a little. If so, I’ve found a few sites that you might want to try.

If you’re looking for some variation in your musical diet, try Pick a playlist by mood or music style, or even by decade and sit back and let the music concierge play you some great tunes. You might choose a playlist of old favorites that make you smile and sing along, hear new indie artists, or listen to film scores or showtunes. Need a holiday music fix? Some Hawaiian tunes? There are playlists for them.

Other times, you might just want some atmospheric background sounds that don’t distract you. For that try The sounds of rain, birds, or running water can help take the edge off and allow you to focus on your work. If I can’t be on the beach, the sound of the sea is a nice alternative.

Are you a walker or runner? Don’t you just love it when the perfect song comes on that keeps you motivated? TempoRun is a $3 app that will look at your music library and sort the songs into categories that match your walk/run speed. Choose your speed and the app plays the tunes that match that tempo so you can concentrate on your workout without having to skip past the slow love songs while you’re in a full out sprint.

Need some help brushing your teeth? Try BrushDJ, an app that plays a song from your library for exactly two minutes so you can be sure that you’re brushing your teeth for the recommended length of time. I’m not sure I need to bring an app along when I brush, but this one can help your little ones learn healthy dental habits.

Happy listening!

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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November 15th, 2013 at 6:42 am


turkey-boyI am still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away. I feel like fall just started and time is going by way too fast. Dare I say that in a blink of an eye  it will be the end of the year!

In the last two years that I have blogged for Garanimals, I am truly grateful for all of you! I am also grateful for many of the same things as I posted here. The Garanimals bloggers have produced  some great Thanksgiving posts and I wanted to recap some of them here :

I love the ideas for the children’s table for Thanksgiving. There are some wonderful ideas to keep the kids busy and fun ideas to make the tablescape fun. Speaking of tablescapes, Liz recently wrote a great post on creating your Thanksgiving tablescape. I will definitely be using some of her advice. Or have your kids create the decorations.

If you are starting to think about your Thanksgiving menu, there is an app for that. Just in case you were wondering.

It is amazing how different areas of the country and heritages celebrate Thanksgiving. I am Norwegian, so our Thanksgiving table holds lefse, as my Italian friend has lasagna on hers. If you want to add some ethnicity to your Thanksgiving check out the ways to add a Latino twist.

The whole premise of Thanksgiving is based on recognizing things you are thankful of.  I posted some touching ideas for helping your kids recognize what they are thankful for. We still do a form of this today. An easy way to do this for beginners is a gratitude turkey. You can even start to make your children think about gratitude all year long.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, take some time to think about what the holiday is really about. Take the next two weeks to reflect on what you have to be thankful for and make this Thanksgiving extra special!


Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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