Monday, 30 December 2013

Hunter LOVED Christmas!

I'm usually not a huge Christmas fan, but this year was different. Knowing our son is the perfect age to begin understanding the season made it that much more exciting for both Lee and I. We went a little overboard, getting him two big pressies, as well as a Duplo set.


The first thing we got him was this sensational Hip Kids Retro Kitchen set- however we were lucky enough to find this one on eBay- one of those rare times where exactly what you want is listed in the wrong category with spelling errors. So we scored this for minimum bid. Hunter already had a bunch of wooden kitchen things, and now they have a proper home. He was wild about it!

Hunter was also lucky enough to get a pedal car- a Jeep that Daddy plans to respray into something a bit cooler than a Police car. As soon as he saw it he put KissKat in the passenger seat and drove off singing Jingle Bell Rock which was rather cute. It was rather difficult to get Hunter out of it in order to travel to Pa's for Christmas breakfast and Grannie's for Christmas lunch. 


Apart from giving our son gifts, we also gave bags of groceries to The Food Bank, a charity that does amazing work feeding families in need. 

Better than giving though was the time spent with our families. The older I get the more I appreciate this aspect of the holiday season. 


I hope you have all also enjoyed a brilliant festive season too.

Jingle bell time, it's a swell time
Sandi D




Monday, 9 December 2013

Makes me happy: We went to Bribie Island

Not that long ago we went to Bribie Island for a morning. Since I'm finally backing up my iphone and transferring the photos to my PC I figured I may as well share some of them with you. We had a really great day.

It was the perfect time to take Hunter, and I don't just mean the weather. He was so engaged in the experience. He wanted to find shells, to spot sharks (there were none, be he kept pointing them out), to build castles and to feed the birds. 


Life's a beach,
Sandi D

Monday, 2 December 2013

Hunter's First Toddler Christmas Party

On Saturday we went to Hunter's first ever daycare Christmas Party. 
We got to see his class perform Jingle Bell Rock, and the nursery rhyme Open, Shut Them while dressed as bells. If that sounds like it was an orderly event I'm afraid I have led you astray. I would have been better to explain it as watching the care staff, dressed as Christmas Town folk, sing while simultaneously wrangling a crowd of unruly toddlers. For their part the toddlers mostly pulled at their costumes and occasionally mimed some of the song parts (Hunter only mimed the part  'give a little clap, put them in your lap' and later 'put them on your chin' before reverting back to stunned mode). It was an adorable muddle.
(That's Hunter, putting his hands on his chin, last red bell on the right).

After the performances we all got to go and play. The daycare put on a big show, with a petting zoo, miniature train, merry go round, jumping castle, sideshow alley and Santa! It was pretty fab :)
Lee was off to the petting zoo like a flash, he and goats have a weird synchronicity. He patted a cow until it fell into a hypnotic trance, and all the cattle flocked to be by his side, which meant Hunter got to pat them all while the other kids were stuck getting snapped at by a grouchy duck. 
Of course we had to ride the train several times. Hunter has recently developed a fascination with building train tracks, so riding in a real train was a timely treat. 
 
After a few more rides Hunter came face to face with the Jolly Man himself. He didn't quite know what to do, so he simply stared the man down until the gift was handed over. Hold your ground mate. Hold your ground.
After Hunter was well and truely exhausted we headed home. But not before we took a moment to thank my mum for being there with us. Four years ago to the day I lost my father, so spending the day with my mum was good for the soul. 

All and all it was a really fab day. 
Merry Christmas, 
Sandi D

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

How do I teach my toddler how to clean up after himself? Teaching kids how to tidy, the Montessori way.



Even though I have a ‘relaxed’ interpretation of the Montessori Method, I do consider myself a Montessori Mum. One of the ways we incorporate the Montessori Method into our daily life is in our care of the home environment. This involves teaching my toddler how to clean up after himself.

"The children of three years of age in the "Children's Houses" learn and carry out such work as sweeping, dusting, making things tidy, setting the table for meals, waiting at table, washing the dishes, etc ., and at the same time they learn to attend to their own personal needs, to wash themselves, to take showers, to comb their hair, to take a bath, to dress and undress themselves, to hang up their clothes in the wardrobe, or to put them in drawers, to polish their shoes . These exercises are part of the method of education, and do not depend on the social position of the pupils; even in the "Children's Houses" attended by rich children who are given every kind of assistance at home, and who are accustomed to being surrounded by a crowd of servants, take part in the exercises of practical life . This has a truly educational, not utilitarian purpose . The reaction of the children may be described as a "burst of independence" of all unnecessary assistance that suppresses their activity and prevents them from demonstrating their own capacities. It is just – these "independent" children of ours who learn to write at the age of four and a half years, who learn to read spontaneously, and who amaze everyone by their progress in arithmetic."
-Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence


Understanding that all his daily activities have a set up, interaction and then a clean up period gives Hunter a sense of order and control which is empowering for him. Actually playing a role in all of those stages is educational and transformative. For me, the positives of this are multiple:

  • The house is generally in a neat state, with only a few toys out at a time. This is great for me as it cuts down on chaos, makes tidying for guests a breeze and gives me more time to enjoy my ‘mummy time’ when Hunter naps. Instead of cleaning up after him, he has already done it as part of his play. As far as he knows, it’s all part of the fun.
  • Toy sets are kept together, meaning no lost parts which saves us money, and saves Hunter disappointment and frustration.
  • My son understands the ideas of preparation, anticipation, and focused play. Only having a few things out at a time limits his options in one way, but in another allows him a deep and meaningful exchange with what he is playing with.In return, he values his toys, and really plays with ALL of them- again, saving me money.
  • I have read that activities like wiping the table down after a meal reinforce development in fine motor skills such as pre writing skills (bring to your mind’s eye the movement of the cloth, left to right and up and down).
  • Being a part of the household activities, such as by wiping down the table after breakfast, helps Hunter feel like a valued part of our family team. He knows that he is contributing his part, and this contribution is valued by Mummy and Daddy. We reinforce this by communicating with him that his work is important to us as well as to him.
  • The respect he has for his environment is great too. He knows what ‘clean’ is, and knows that ‘clean’ is the optimal state for his house. When spills happen, he works with me to help get the house back to its optimal state. This has been so awesome during this time of potty training, as there is so much wee to clean up…
  • A happy house is a harmonious house. Both Lee and I feel more relaxed in a tidy environment. Clutter stresses us both out. Having all three of us on board the tidy train helps maintain harmony. It also helps Hunter understand the relationship between work, order and beauty. I have an inkling that this is part of teaching Hunter mutual respect too.
  • Finally, the seeing his determination, and witnessing the accomplishment and independence Hunter experiences knowing he can do things by himself is priceless.

Having experienced setting up and putting away as part of every activity, Hunter has begun to tidy as part of normal play routine. I said ‘begun to’ because I am not a strict Montessori Mum. There are days (like today for instance) when I couldn’t be stuffed to do much organisation. I haven’t tidied away any of his toys from yesterday, or the day before (I work two days a week, after daycare Hunter has free reign to play with any toy in any way, and Daddy often gets tasked with the tidy up, which sometimes means the tidy up is left for me to do on my first day off). Right now Hunter has out all his matchbox cars, the play garage, a couple of large planks of timber to make car ramps, his trike, pompoms and robot puzzles, his teddy bear and some playdough and cookie cutters- all of this clutter is so not Montessori (and neither are half the toys either, but thats another story for another time). And yet I notice that the cars that were scattered throughout the house are all now back at the ramp. When I told him it was time for a nap, the playdough was returned to the tub and the cookie cutters put in the kitchen sink without my intervention.

 
So how do I actually do all of this? First, I set up his play environment so he can access the tools he needs. Just near the door to the laundry I have a stash of cleaning supplies for Hunter: a child sized broom, dustpan and brush, and a play vacuum cleaner. In the bathroom there is a pile of washcloths and handtowels, a child sized basin and fresh water and soap. These all allow him to clean like Mummy and Daddy do. And then I show him how to use them. Sometimes we simply clean up as we go, and other times I set up little play tables where we practise pouring coloured liquid from a jug into various vessels, and then we sponge up the mess and look at how the food dye changes the colour of the sponge.

"These very children reveal to us the most vital need of their development, saying : 'Help me to do it alone!'"
-
Maria Montessori From Childhood to Adolescence

When we prepare meals, Hunter gets his own bowl from the cupboard. Where possible he helps me prepare the food, even if that is just getting the bread and putting it in the toaster slots, or stirring the diced fruit into the yoghurt. What he can’t help with, he watches. He spends a whole lot of time sitting on the kitchen floor looking up at me as I talk him through how I am making us whatever it is we are about to eat. Once the meal is ready, Hunter carries his meal to the table, and we sit together as we eat. Finally, he takes his empty plate and puts it in the kitchen sink, and grabs a cloth or sponge and wipes down the bench. I jokingly call myself a slave driver, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. This isn’t child labor. This is fun for Hunter- this is learning through play.


One thing I will say, is that this method isn’t all fun and games. Hunter’s participation in the entire process takes TIME. Even though he has ‘cleaned’ the table, I still have to go over it again. It also involves a bit of preparation, such as having a pile of handtowels accessible to Hunter at all times, refilling his water station, researching and setting up games to play that involve the skills, as well as the time it takes to show him what is expected and encourage him to do it correctly. There are times when outside commitments mean I just can’t take an extra ten minutes to have Hunter help. As I said, I am not strict Montessori, but I think having a grounding in this method is worth it, because those extra minutes of preperation will give me hours off in the future- imagine, a teenage boy who can make his own bed!?! :)

"How does he achieve this independence?  He does it by means of a continuous activity. How does he become free?  By means of constant effort. …we know that development results from activity.  The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences."
-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind

Through repeated tasks such a cleaning, my little man is refining his concentration, coordination, independence, and sense of order. These are skills and qualities necessary for any toddler to develop into a capable child, an empowered teen, a valuable member of adult society.

xo
Sandi D

Sunday, 17 November 2013

If a better world isn't possible, how will our children's dreams come true?

Ainda dá Tempo (There is still time) from Ainda da tempo on Vimeo.

If a better world isn't possible, how will our children's dreams come true?

There is still time.

It's a Savage-Darling life


November is flying by as fast as a monster truck. I know this because Hunter is still deep in the throws of his obsession with monster trucks, especially fast ones.

Lee has a couple of Tamiya RC cars, which have been accompanying us on our walks to the park. Even though together they drive like a drunk it is seriously adorable to see my two guys, with their matching concentration faces (tongue poking out), sharing the remote controller- Daddy on the forward and back and Hunter on the left and right toggle sticks.



When Hunter needs a bit of chill out time, he asks to watch monster trucks, which means we trawl YouTube for monster truck jump compilations. And watch them again, and again, and again.

At a recent trip to the oppshop I found Hunter a monster truck toy that drives forward and backwards. Needless to say he loves it. The first night he had it, I had to tuck it in to "bed" on the cushion of his reading chair. When he woke me up the next morning he was crying because he couldn't pull the truck through the cot bars, but didn't want to let the truck go.


Late yesterday afternoon Lee decided to move "ManLand" around, and after his bedtime bath Hunter decided to help him. I could hear them shifting the workbenches around and talking about what each of the tools was used for.  I looked in a little while later to find ManLand in complete disarray, planks of wood leaning on every surface, the two of them building ramps (or "big hills" as Hunter said) for racing toy cars and trucks. 


This morning Hunter greeted me with a smile and the words "big hill!". So today we are back in ManLand, racing cars down the planks again.

There are worse ways to spend a gloomy Sunday.

Xx
Sandi D

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Good Food and Wine Festival

Thanks to some amazing bloggy hook ups Lee, Hunter and I went with some friends to The Good Food and Wine Festival. It was fun, delicious and amazing! So many samples, so much cheese, so much wine. I never realised how many artisans are out here making fine wines, cheeses and other delightful noms.

I was most impressed, but not as impressed as Hunter.


The show is still on tomorrow, so if you're looking for a fun (and delicious) way to spend a day, tickets are $25 available at the door. The price includes all the free samples you can consume.

Big prams are going to be a hinderance as the event gets crowded quickly. Even though we arrived as the doors opened, within an hour it became more and more difficult to navigate through the throng of foodies. Face wipes are a must, as are bibs. Don't bother packing snacks though, there is plenty of fun toddler friendly available, from fresh organic fruit, to tapanades, yoghurts, meats and veg. Hunter loved the stewed fruits, conserves, scones, Maggie Beer icecream- although I wish I hadnt let him have that- not just because I wanted more, but because he doesn't get much refined sugar in his diet and so sleep time was an *ordeal*. Even though there was sleepytime hell to pay for the dietary sins I still recommend the day and will hopefully get to go again next year.

ALL THE WINES, ALL THE NOMS, MORE CHEESE PLS, IS THAT FREE BACARDI?
Sandi D


How to revamp old wooden puzzles.

Hunter loves playing with puzzles, so every time I go opp shopping I check to see if there are any in the toy section. Generally speaking, the puzzles one finds secondhand are a bit worse for wear.

 
I love an opportunity to get a little crafty, so we both get to enjoy the purchase!


Here is the 'before' puzzle- its scratched up and some of the pieces are chipped.

Firstly, gently sand pack all the pieces using a fine grit sandpaper. You don't need to go back to bare wood, you just need to remove as much of the lacquer varnish from the pieces to enable the fresh paint to stick. If the pieces are missing parts, use a little car bog or spacfiller to fill in the gaps. Once dried, sand back to smooth.

Rather than go out and buy new paint, i used what I had at home: basic artists acrylic paint. If you have spray paint or lacquer you can totally use those on wood. Just remember the paint trick: oil based finishes will go over acrylic finishes, but not the other way around.




Having watched Hunter play with this puzzle before the revamp, I knew that he needed a little extra help figuring out where the pieces go. I was just going to paint the insert to match the colour of the puzzle pieces, but then I remembered my collection of origami paper. I went through the pieces, finding patterns in similar hues to the puzzle pieces. A smarter person would have chosen their paper first, and then mixed paint to match...I prefer the idea of the pattern because it is a little bit of abstract extension for his developing mind.

I traced the puzzle pieces directly onto the origami paper, and then fiddled around with tidying the edges to get a snug fit. I found an X-acto knife/scalpel to be invaluable, but scissors worked great too. Using a small amount of wood glue (acid free craft glue) I glued the paper down.



Once dried, I took the base board and the puzzle pieces outside and varnished them, using a spray matte varnish.

I can't wait for Hunter to wake up and play with his 'new' puzzle!



Sandi D

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Backyard Painting With A DIY Toddler Safe Easel

An easel is on Hunter's Christmas Wishlist, but until then I have been using an old coffee table turned on its side with some masking tape to hold the paper up.

It is surprisingly sturdy, and just the right size for a large sheet of butchers paper.


I'm also being thrifty with the paint palette, using the base of an old baby food purée freezing station- but you could also use a muffin tray or an ice cube tray, or even an old egg carton.


I love watching Hunter paint- he has now started telling me stories about what he is painting. He painted some wheels, a cats ears, whiskers and tail and then a spider. 

"Paint me like one of your French girls"
Best of all I love to capture his hand prints- lots of Hunter's art gets used as wrapping paper and stationary but the ones with hand prints get kept for me to weep over when he's fully grown.


Bless this mess,
Sandi D

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Halloween in Brisbane

Halloween MumClub was a great success. The kids loved the playground! 




Halloween at home was not as well planned- we ran out of 'treats' just as the last group came by- next year I'll be sure to pick up more sweets and spooky stickers. The kids that did come by were characterized by exuberant politeness, and $2 shop costumes. I saw a whole bunch of Scream masks and glittery witches! In general the kids that came by were in groups, with parents (and family dogs) dressed up waiting on the footpath. I liked seeing everyone out together, it seemed like they were all having a lot of fun.




Hunter had a great time making Halloween art, and loved wearing my witches hat too, so even though we didn't go trick or treating we still had loads of spooky fun together :)


How was your Halloween? Did you also get bunches of super cute kids knocking for treats?

Trick or treats,
Sandi D

Thursday, 31 October 2013

MumClub is on today at New Farm Park Adventure Playground.

Good morning!

I'm up early prepping a delicious fruit platter for today's MumClub. I hope to set up in one of the covered areas close to the playground- look for the MumClub bunting :)


As I've mentioned in previous posts I have some great giveaways this month- two pairs of adorable toddler sunnies courtesy of National Sunnies Day, more great mini homewares thanks to House, and some KMart bath crayon sets too. 

I've also made up some Halloween treat bags, with stickers, chocolates and bento box goodies :) 

Because this is MumClub's first playground location I've also made up a mini first aid kit (sunscreen, bandaids, Savlon and Stingoes). There is a cafe nearby, but it is a bit expensive and has very slow service.

I'll be doing some (very very simple) face painting too, so no need to dress up- but if you want to dress up feel free to go wild! :D

I look forward to seeing you all today :)
X Sandi D

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Halloween MumClub

Come and celebrate Halloween with MumClub at New Farm Park Adventure Playground, 9:30am on Thursday 31 October. 


There will be loads of giveaways, including rad toddler sunnies, adorable bento box supplies, mini frypans and tongs, a VTech baby walker and more.

I'll also be bringing face paints so your little ones can get in the spooky spirit :)

Happy Halloween!
Sandi D

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Give your child a literate future: read to them.

"We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. Use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside."
-Neil Gaiman


Monday, 14 October 2013

Simple Super Hero Costume for Toddlers

Hunter was invited to a super hero themed party on the weekend. I didn't have any money to buy him a costume so made him one using felt, craft glue and Hollywood tape!








I think he looked super adorable. 

Super Hunter to the rescue!
Sandi D




Thursday, 3 October 2013

Montessori Bathroom For Toddlers

I recently purchased a water cooler for Hunter's bathroom, so now he can wash his hands and pour himself drinks whenever he pleases.


He has his own hand towel, a bin, the water cooler and basin, a cup, a face washer, a cup, his toothbrush and hairbrush, a box for undies and a place for spare towels and face washers, as well as (not shown) his potty, tissues and baby wipes all at his level.

The pride Hunter takes in maintaining his own hygiene is wonderful. It has been so validating for him to be able to accomplish these simple tasks without adult intervention. 

The first day I modified this space to accommodate the water cooler he spent a bit of time 'playing' with the water, filling up cups just to pour them out, spilling water on everything. I simply showed him how he was expected to use the bathroom and he has since given up with the inappropriate play. Likewise when he was first given tissues and baby wipes he pulled them all out and it took a bit of explaining to get him to use them only when needed.

If you have the space at home I recommend setting up a mini-bathroom station for your little ones. As you can see it can be made of humble bits and pieces, there is no need to splash out on purpose built items. The only thing I bought specifically for the bathroom was the water cooler, and at $14.95 from Aldi I can't complain about the price. What is priceless is seeing Hunter's confidence soar each time he is able to complete these tasks for himself without any adult intervention. 

So fresh and so clean,
Sandi D

Saturday, 28 September 2013

How to Raise A Good Son

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed I post a lot about equality between the sexes. For me, it is the most important issue of our time. Part of that discussion is about men. Bad men. 

I don't want my son to grow up to be a bad man: disrespecting women, hurting women, raping women. I can't leave this to chance. I have the power to help guide him.


Sure, its early days. He is only two for goodness sake. But here's the thing: he is learning how the world works, even now. I plan to start as I mean to go on.

There is no place for patriarchy in my house. Gender roles are not welcome here. 

In our house, we all do housework. We read books meant for girls and boys. Hunter loves his That's Not My Mermaid book almost as much as he loves his That's Not My Truck book. Hunter has a tutu, and a dolly, and a dolls house. He pushes his teddy around in a pram. He helps with the cooking. He dances with Daddy and plays trucks with Mummy. He is taught (and told off) by both Mummy and Daddy- we share authority and use the same balance in our dealings with each other, so every way Hunter looks he sees men and women treating each other with respect. Hunter is secure in the love and affection he gets from both mummy, and daddy. None of this is by accident. Both Lee and I actively seek this kind of life out.

When he gets a bit bigger and starts developing sexuality we will talk about sex. The first thing we will talk about, and the last thing we will talk about, is consent. If you are interested in reading some more about these topics, you may like to read this article in the Huffington Post about the conversation all parents should be having with their sons, and this insightful piece by famous childhood development author Steve Biddulph on the role of feminism in bringing up good kids.

"It all starts at home. We have to be wide awake, or we can end up being the vehicles of harm to our own (sons and) daughters."
In 2009 at the Vancouver Peace Summit, the Dalai Lama said "The world will be saved by the western woman". I believe it.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Great Design, Beautifully Illustrated, Easy to Use, Simple iPhone and iPad Apps for Cool Toddlers and Very Young Children

Hunter has only just started to be interested in playing apps. He is 27 months old, so the apps he likes best are simple and easy to use. I try to pick apps best suited for toddlers aged 2-4- and try to keep them beautifully illustrated. I have a soft spot for beautiful illustration and thoughtful design, so the interface is very important for me too- chubby toddler hands need special design!

Here are some of my sons' favourites:

Endless Alphabet



This app is teaching Hunter letters and sounds- a beautifully illustrated 'puzzle' game in which letters must be matched to their place in a word. Happy monsters scramble the letters and kids are asked to drag the letters back to where they belong. As they drag each letter, the letter hisses and gurgles its sound (So P says "pah, pahpahpahpahpah"). Once the word is complete, the happy monsters come back and act out its meaning. The kids can take as long as they want to complete the puzzle, the animations are beautiful and the interface is loose enough for clumsy toddler fingers to manage without frustration. I paid $6.49 for the app and have not regretted it.

Peekaboo Forest



Night & Day studios have a range of beautiful apps in their Peekaboo series. Hunter adores Peekaboo Forest (featuring the art of Charlie Harper), and Peekaboo Trick Or Treat (featuring the art of Ed Emberley). The premise is simple- a simple picture in which one part is moving, touch the moving part to be rewarded with an animal (in Peekaboo Forest) or a Halloween themed spooky (in Peekaboo Trick Or Treat). Slow paced, beautifully illustrated and easy to use, these apps are ideal for very young children. Also in the series is Peekaboo Barn, Peekaboo Farm, Peekaboo Friends, Peekaboo Wild and Peekaboo Fridge. Some are free. All are beautiful.

Mini-U Zoo


This one is a bit advanced for a 2 year old even though it says 2+ years, and is available on iPad only, but Hunter enjoys playing this app with a bit of help from Mummy. Mini-U Zoo Alphabet has two ways to play. Children can play the games to learn the letters, or take a quiz about what they have learnt. The animals are not always the common ones either- for example, K is a Komodo Dragon! Both modes feature delightful illustrations, surprising animations and
a good level of ease of play.

First Words: Toddler Touch and Say



Super simple- touch a picture to hear its name and sound. There are four categories (pictured above- Vehicles, At Home, Animals and Toys) and about fifty words to play with. Hunter finds this game very rewarding, and easy to use. There are no in-app purchases so its safe for him to play without strict supervision. It costs $1.99.


Sound Shaker (Tickle Tap)


Hunter loves to play Sound Shaker because he gets to make all kinds of sounds simply by tapping and tilting the phone. The graphics are simple and yet beautiful, and each sound has a surprsing animation-tap the screen to make a ball that makes sounds as it bounces around, hold your finger for longer and see the ball grow, change colour and change sound- eventually cracking like an egg and revealing a happy bird who flies away. This was the first app Hunter ever engaged with, and he still enjoys playing it to this day. I bought it in a bundle called Tickle Tap, which also features a variety of other games more aimed at pre-schoolers. I'm sure Hunter will grow to enjoy those games but for now he loves making sounds and cracking eggs! Sound Shaker alone will set you back $1.99.

Plic Ploc Wiz


Plic Ploc Wiz is beautiful- simple like a tangram game, Hunter loves to move the shapes about, change their colours, and generally muddle up the shapes. Best of all, it's free.

Fiete


16 mini games with cute illustrations and charming music make this app one that I like to play with Hunter. Hunter can play by himself- there are no in app purchases or links to the Internet, and there are no written instructions either- movement and sound help show toddlers what is needed. Hunter hasn't quite mastered the games, but he likes fiddling around with it. It is $2.99 in the iTunes store.

Petting Zoo by Christoph Neiman

Quirky, funny, beautiful. This interactive book style app is adorable- Hunter loves touching the animals and watching what happens next. This app is loads of fun - each of the 21 different animals react to being selected in very odd ways. $3.49 in the iTunes store.

Sound 123


We have the free version of this app which only features animals- touch an animal to be taken to a photograph of the animal and hear it's noises- each time you touch the animal, it takes you to a different high quality photograph and plays a different noise- for example the first time you touch the cat icon the cat miawos, next time it purrs. The paid version of this app feautres hundreds of icons arranged in different themes, animals, musical instruments, vehicles, food etc. I think I will end up buying this app, as Hunter enjoys it but his clumsy hands swipe over to the not included topics and he ends up in iTunes which is frustrating for us both, but the app itself is very pleasing to Hunter so its a small price to pay for being a cheapskate :)

Seja


The amazing felt sculptor and rock musician Seja has made a free app, featuring her felt synths - Hunter loves to play the keyboards and sound pads, and I love how adorable it is while still being free. A simple app, this one is loads of fun.

Toca Band





Another beautiful app by the always stylish Toca Boca Studios- Toca Band features cute and sassy characters who alos happen to be musical instrucments. Drag them onto the stage and hear them sing! Hunter and Daddy play this one together as it is a bit beyong Hunter yet but with guidance Hunter gets a kick out of playing this app. $2.99 in the app store- and be sure to check out the rest of the apps from Toca Boca- all of them have an amazing style, perfect for fans of Yo Gabba Gabba.

Other cool apps to check out- for slightly older kids or for playing together:

Helicopter Taxi
Go Away Big Green Monster
Criteroos
Monster Mash
Little Things Forever
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore
Build A Robot
Space Crayons
Richard Scarry's Busytown
Paper Town Friends
Make A Monster HD
Monster Coloring Book
Cars Search and Find Wimmelbuch
Press Here
The Human Body by Tinybop
The Monster at the End of This Book

C'mon get appy,
Sandi D
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