Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘apps’ tag

July 29th, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Fun iPhone Apps for Kids

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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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May 6th, 2014 at 10:08 am

Turning Your Photos Into Art

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Looking for a way to turn a terrific photograph into an even more terrific memento or piece of art? Here are a few ways to take you beyond simply enlarging and framing your prized photos.

A really fun site is AllPopArt.com. Turn a headshot into a superhero comic book cover, a Warhol-style pop art poster or comic-style artwork. They are a bit pricey but if you’re looking to immortalize your pet or family members in a artsy, fun or funny way, there are a lot of creative ideas here. It’s fun just to browse the possibilities. And there are some great Mother’s Day gift ideas. Hint hint…

Another Photo-to-Art option is MyDavinci which offers options for transforming any photo into photo sketches, pop art, caricatures, a DaVinci sketch, and more. Gorgeous.

For the free apps that unleash your own creative photo editing potential, try Fotosketcher (Windows app), for artistic treatments, Waterlogue (iPhone/iPad) turns your photos into watercolors, and PicsArt (all platforms), the hugely popular photo editing app.

And when you’re ready to commit your masterpiece to a final product, consider these options:

FractureMe is a service that takes your photograph and mounts it on glass. Send them your digital image and they will provide you with a ready-to-hang or ready-to-stand ‘Fracture’.

And Walmart, Costco, and EasyCanvas are a few sites that print your photos on canvas in multiple size options. These make incredible wall art.

Happy editing!

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April 4th, 2014 at 9:00 am

Fun Easter Themed Apps

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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

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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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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 Songza.com. 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 Calm.com. 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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October 8th, 2013 at 10:19 am

Never Pay Full Price Again With Smart Shopping Apps

I just did a Google search on the keywords “coupon shopping” and it returned 163 million results. That’s a lot of information. The couponing industry has come a long way from clipping money savers from the Sunday paper.

Now you can find an app that does the work for you. Have your eye on a particular jacket? You may love it, but not enough to pay full price. No problem, just download the Hukkster button to your browser and click it when you find something you like online. You’ll get notified when the item goes on sale. Wow – that’s easy.

Then there’s RedLaser. It’s a phone app with a variety of features that lets you save money and time on shopping. Looking for a favorite toy? Check out who is selling it locally and for how much. Then if you want you can order it through the app and have it waiting for you at the store. Or, if you are in the store and want to comparison shop, just scan the barcode and the app will quote competing retailer prices. You’ll never pay more than you should again.

A bonus feature of RedLaser lets you scan a food item barcode and discover if there are any allergens in the ingredients. Having nut allergies myself, this is really helpful.

There are many ways to shop and lots of apps out there that let you to search, collect, compare, check in, scan, get alerts, share, review, and of course, buy. It makes clipping coupons the old fashioned way seem so quaint. On the other hand, sitting down with the circulars and a pair of scissors sounds absolutely relaxing.

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

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September 10th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Get Your Personalized Weather Forecasts With Nooly

How should I dress today? Umbrella or no umbrella?  Ever cancel an event because of a weather forecast only to have the bad weather pass you by? It’s pretty hard to know for sure when it comes to the weather.

The problem with your typical forecast is that it’s usually for a larger region as opposed to your particular location. Sure, the storm will come through your town, but maybe where you are will be just outside the cloud line.

So if you’d like to know with a little bit more precision whether, and when, the rain will come to your backyard or soccer field, I’ve got just the app.  It’s called Nooly and, using a patented technology called “Nowcasting”,  it provides you with a micro forecast for your specific location as well as a timeline that you can drill down to increments as small as 5 minutes.

How cool is that? Imagine knowing that you’re going to get rained on if you leave now, but you’re good if you just wait 15 minutes? Or that even though the skies are threatening, you’ve got an hour before the thunderstorm arrives to finish soccer practice.

I’ve been using Nooly for the last couple of weeks and I’m a fan. Even though rain was predicted for my area on several different days, Nooly told me it would be dry in my neighborhood – and it was. Pretty neat.

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

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August 27th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Software – Should It Stay Or Should It Go?

Do you have a lot of software on your pc? Do you actually use the programs or are some of them just excess baggage? We tend to become a little careless about cleaning out the clutter, and like our closets and cabinets at home, it’s good to purge once in awhile and get rid of the excess stuff.

When you install new programs, you sometimes end up with little “extras”. Download one thing and you might end up with an extra toolbar, virus scan program, adware or other pesky or even malicious software that you don’t want or need. Over time it adds up. You can go to the control panel and remove them but most of the time we just don’t know what the programs are or do, and don’t want to mess up the works by deleting something that actually makes something else work.

Should I Remove It? is a free app that scans your pc software and identifies what programs you’ve got and provides detailed information like what the it does, user ratings, publisher info, what operating systems it runs on, and more. It will even tell you what percentage of people uninstall it. While the real junk is pretty easy to identify, the background info (that isn’t available in the control panel) can help you avoid deleting something that is needed. If it should go, just click on the Uninstall button and it will thoroughly clean out the software.

Unless we’re really vigilant, we accumulate software clutter that bogs down system performance. This app lets you know what’s there and helps you make the right choice when deleting. Think of it as an organizing consultant for your PC.

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

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