The Galaxy Babysitter

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Moms Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.  That doesn’t mean I have any idea what I am doing, which is part of the fun!

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Let’s just get this out in the open right away, okay?  Kids love technology.  They are mesmerized by the blips and blings and their little brains are wired to master a device in about 2.7 seconds.  My children?  They’ve been clamoring for The Galaxy.  (Except they called it an iPad for a few weeks.  Please forgive.)

galaxy

As much as they take to technology like a fish takes to water, I am the mom who resists because I don’t want them to miss all of the LIFE happening around them!  NO dvd player in the car, there are things to see and songs to sing and siblings to fight with and topics to discuss and games to play!  Yeah.  I’m that mom. 

The weekend after The Galaxy arrived, Miss 10 had a basketball tournament.  One day her games were at 9am, 12pm, 3pm, and 5pm.  The next day 9am, 11am, and 2pm.  Yep.  Seven games, two days, no breaks long enough to go home and take a nap.  My husband and I have always been adamant that our children sit and watch their siblings’ ballgames.  They can learn about the game and cheer for the team.  And eat snacks.  Snacks have always been my one pacifier for a restless crew.  (See? I’m still a fun mom!  I have snacks!)

Well, seven games in two days with children ages 8, 6, 2, and 1 is enough to break my resolve.  Also, I had a brand spankin’ new Galaxy with 4G in my diaper bag and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it!  The temptation was too much.  By 3pm on day one we cracked open the Galaxy and handed it over.  (and the ipad.  shhhh, don’t tell.)  All of a sudden I was that parent letting technology babysit my kids so I could watch a ballgame in relative peace.  Oh, the horror!  ;)

My original intention was to stream a movie for them via Amazon Prime, but I kept getting an error message that the Galaxy doesn’t support whatever plug-in is needed for video streaming.  Poo.  I hadn’t downloaded any apps yet either, but the kids still grabbed that sucker and were entertained.  One played games from pbs.org and the other watched sports videos when it was his turn. (Apparently live 10yo girls basketball isn’t as exciting as the greatest game of horse everWhatever.)

All that to say yes.  Now I am that mom who lets the Galaxy entertain her kids.  (Just for the record, we’ve been home from a road trip for 6 days now and the galaxy hasn’t made its way out of my diaper bag to even be powered up.  So I guess I’m that mom, too.)  And here’s where you come in.

What (preferably free or very inexpensive, of course) apps should I download for the kids?  I’m rather certain we can do better than pbs.org and youtube.  (Mr. 2 loves angry birds, but isn’t that so 2010 or something?)  I’d also like to report that I did find the “apps store” or whatever it’s called and I do actually know how to download and use some apps.  Yay, me!  (The weather.com app is my favorite so far.  We’ve had some crazy rain and storms around here lately and it is so handy dandy to check them out on the Galaxy!)

Don’t worry, those of you with dropped jaws.  I have no intentions of letting my children’s eyes burn holes into the Galaxy.  That’s what the tv is for.  I kid!  I kid!  I’m not gonna fear the thing, though.  Galaxy play time can’t possibly be any worse reward (or distraction) than candy.  I use that sometimes, too.

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Comments

  1. My kids love Toca Boca apps. They are just now coming to Android. They are incredibly intuitive. Also, my kids enjoy Monkey Preschool Lunchbox.

    • Never heard of them. Thanks for the recommendations!

    • Lauren Cossman says:

      Totally agree! Toca Boca is great! A & J both love the monster kitchen one. Also for the littler ones I absolutely LOVE agnitus and lunch box.

    • Yes! That was the first thing that came to my mind to recommend to Amy – Toca Boca! We love their apps! :-) Toca Builders is incredible, and the Hair Salon, Doctor, House, Band and Monsters are all fun too! The Stella & Sam apps are great, such sweet stories with fun interactive stuff, as well as the American Girl apps and the Lego apps. :-)

  2. Rebecca S. says:

    I think it is great to use electronics sometimes to let our kids entertain themselves. I think as long as it is in moderation it is good for them, because this is the world that they live in. There is technology in almost every field.
    Some good apps are Where’s my water?, Angry Birds, Minecraft.

    • Absolutely. They do need to know it and use it well. I still freak out about them “losing site” of the rest of the world sometimes, though. (And I wonder what my own parents and grandparents freaked out about… ;) )

  3. I have fruit ninja on my phone. The kids love that and it’s free. I keep it on there for when we are out and momma needs to concentrate and the kids are done being quiet.

  4. My kids (4 and 2) love Endless Alphabet. It used to be free and teaches letter sounds in a fun way.

    I’m glad I’m not the only mom without a DVD player in my minivan. :) I tell them to look out the window. That’s what I had to do.

    • I *know* technology is amazing and helpful, but I’m still a little freaked out that kids can no longer just SIT and observe/enjoy/interact with their surroundings.

  5. Toca House. I got it for free one day, and the two year old LOVES it. Motivated Moms is expensive for what is basically a list of chores, but I like it ( because some days, I little check mark is the only proof I actually washed dishes or vacuumed!).

  6. I second Monkey Preschool Lunchbox and Fruit Ninja. Also, Fisher Price has some cute & free Laugh & Learn apps. Googlemaps is free and SUPER handy.

    I can’t remember if it’s free or not, but AlphaTots is a favorite for ours as well!

  7. I second all of the above apps. My daughter loves the easy bake oven app- you can make cupcakes, cookies and cakes.

  8. A neat app that I have is “Star Walk”, if you are interested in astronomy. I am assuming the Gallexy has a camera, but you point yor tablet at the sky ( at night) and it shows you constellations, planets, satellites etc that you are seeing. You can tap on anything and it gives you TONS of information. I’m into that sort of thing but you and your family may not. I think the app is about $5.00 (it is the only app I have ever paid for and I think it is worth it).

  9. Angie Jacobs says:

    Ask there teachers, they always have great ideas and they are usually free. I have paid for a few but most are free. For the little ones I would check with a local pre-school teacher and ask what they are using. In our school district there are as many Ipads as computers. Each class has several ipads and then they have the computer lab as well. In Middle School and High School they each get there own lap tops. Technology is strong and the schools have to keep up. But time limits are a good thing too!!!!

  10. Yep, as of right now Amazon Instant Video is only supported on mobile iDevices (iPad, iPod, iPhone) and your computer’s and tv’s. I’m not going to lie, we’re an iFamily. We all have an iDevice, except our iPad is getting so old that I got the kids each a Galaxy Tab II. The only drawback is the lack of Amazon instant videos. We do Netflix instead, but I would LOVE for Amazon to support Android. You can actually submit that request to Amazon.

  11. Oh and I don’t know if its available on the Google Play store or not, but Disney has a couple of app’s we have on the iDevices that stream Disney Jr. Video’s. I’ll have to look and see if I can find a comparable Android version. We also love weather.com. My three year old is obsessed with the radar when we have those awesome Kansas storms!

  12. My kids love my Kindle…so much so that now they only get to play it when we’re waiting for something really boring, like dentist appointments. Too much of a good thing was getting to be just too much!

    My 3-year-old loves the Dr. Panda apps…there’s Handyman, Veggie Garden, Supermarket, Restaurant, Hospital. Another favorite is Pepi Tree. My 5-year-old loves Where’s My Water, Angry Birds, Dibbles, and Train Crisis.

    Some of my favorites are OverDrive (to borrow library books), feedly, Couch to 5K, and of course, Pinterest!

  13. Oh, and don’t forget to check out “smart apps for kids .com” – they feature daily free and discounted apps for both the iphone/ipad and android. I signed up for the emails because they are family friendly and give me the heads up on free-only-today apps without me doing the work. ;-) I have saved sooo much money by using this great resource, I just can’t make myself spend a lot of $$ on apps I haven’t tried out yet. :-)

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