Hello, Android friends! What’s happening? This week I put on my Mom jeans and checked out some apps geared toward parents. Whether you’re expecting or have a brand new bouncing baby, rambunctious toddler or grade-school aged child, there might be something on this list for you! The rest of the staff, and our dear friend Taylor, helped out this week by suggesting apps they and their children use on a daily basis.
Please keep in mind that a smartphone app is no replacement for a doctor. Any medical concerns or questions you have should be taken to a medical professional. That said, if you’re trying to conceive or are currently expecting, there are mobile tools to help you monitor and track your progress.
Just because I’m a woman, they made me write about periods. Great. Seriously, though, monitoring fertility is important to couples who are looking to have (or looking to avoid having) a baby. OvuView provides three use settings: simple menstrual calendar, avoid pregnancy and conceive a baby. Depending on your goals, OvuView will require more information to accurately track your body. If you prefer, you can tell the app to use averages for a “best guess” of where you are in your cycle. OvuView lets you track as much or as little as you want. There are 34 standard symptoms to track, and you can add up to 8 additional custom symptoms. You can also set reminders to take pertinent measurements or conduct self exams.
The user interface for this app, while feminine, is polished and mature. The look and feel follows Holo standards, and the color scheme is customizable, too; you’re not stuck with pink and purple. OvuView also generates charts and calendars to view your cycle at a glance. Even if you are not trying to conceive, the app is useful in monitoring and learning about your body. Women’s bodies are friggin’ cool.
I looked at a lot of pregnancy tracker apps for you, dear readers, and most of them were disappointing. Pregnancy by Bounty is the best one I came across. (I also tried BabyBump Pregnancy, My Pregnancy Today and I’m Expecting). Pregnancy by Bounty includes weekly updates of your baby’s development; a journal to track baby movement, energy, mood, appetite, cravings, morning sickness, exercise, weight and contractions; a gallery where you can upload photos; and access to their forum for “mums” (the app is from the UK).
Babies are awesome, but they don’t do a whole lot. As the parent of a baby, most of your job is predicting and meeting their needs. These next two apps are great tools for monitoring and tracking your baby’s daily activities.
This app is great for newborns to around 3 months. It helps parents log every time their baby eats, sleeps and poops. It also logs statistics from doctor visits like height, weight and head size. You can track play and tummy time or make custom activities to monitor. In scheduler mode, you can view an hour-by-hour chart of your baby’s activities. I don’t currently have a baby, so I tested this app by tracking my cat. It works well and is simple to use.
The app is free to try, and there is a paid version that syncs up between two parents.
Admittedly, this app isn’t just for babies. But, it does make an excellent baby monitor. You can use a wireless IP camera or an old Android device as a camera. Your phone becomes the viewer. I tested it using my Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy S 4, and it worked like a charm. Plus, if you get tired of looking at your kid, you can check out public cameras from across the globe and see what’s going on there.
Toddlers want to be just like mom and dad. They see us on the phone, they want to be on the phone. These next two apps will not only keep your toddler entertained, but will allow them to be creative and entertaining while doing so.
Toddler Lock is a simple and brilliant app. I hate to admit that I played with this for a lot longer than I probably needed to in order to review it. The app locks the screen, but kiddos (or bored adults) can still draw or stamp while xylophone-esque music plays. Maintain contact between the screen and your finger to draw, or tap on the screen to make a stamp in a geometric shape. To turn the app off, touch the four corners of the screen in a clockwise fashion. Be careful not to launch your phone in “Easy Mode” when exiting the app, like some people did. (Me).
One of the talking animals is a “Ginger” cat. (Their word, not mine). So, of course I downloaded that one. I also got the giraffe one. Don’t judge me. These are insanely cute. The animals repeat what you say to them, and each animal has its own little game. In the Ginger cat game, you race against the clock to see how quickly you can swipe all the paper from the toilet tissue roll. And, it has a toothbrush timer, so your child can brush his or her teeth along with Ginger cat. Tina the giraffe likes to play patty cake. You have to get patty cake 100% right to advance! What gives, Tina? You perfectionist.
The next set of apps are excellent tools for children who want or need screen time. These apps are fun for your child, but sneak a little bit of learning in there, too.
AR Entertainment Games and Puzzles
I played a few of these, including Differences, Drawing, Write the Alphabet and Puzzles. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was really, really good at these games. The games have great colors and sounds and applaud when you get things right. The one thing I did not like is that not all the apps in this series have a safeguard to prevent your kiddo from upgrading the apps. Write the Alphabet made you solve a two-step math problem to access the Play Store, but it’s the same math problem every time. That’s why you need to use the next tool on this list.
Kid Mode allows you to create a profile for each of your children and control what apps they have access to. In order to enter and exit Kid Mode, you must punch in the year of your birth. The launch screen is interactive and will tell your child how to navigate to different games. When your child hits the “home” button, he or she will be returned to the main Kid Mode screen. And, the app comes with free games, including some of the games featured on this list! (This app does come pre-installed on many devices).
First off, the name of this game is awesome. Second, it is my strong and uncompromising opinion that kids need more math. This app is a series of mini games that will challenge your child in number and pattern recognition, number ordering and simple arithmetic. It’s also very polished and super cute. As a reward for rockin’ it in math, your child will earn prizes to populate and decorate their own virtual aquarium.