By Fiona Passantino
Good educational apps for our expat kids
The Winter Edition: Holiday Apps
Amazingly, the holidays are upon us. And while our kids are in a state of sugar-anticipation-frenzy starting with the bag of candy from Halloween, through the Sint and straight to Christmas, we can at least calm them down a bit with a few cute apps to get us all through. It is, a lovely time of year and we should be stopping to smell (and drink!) the glühwein.
Onwards, to the apps…
Gourmet Pixel Ltd.
Price: free with upgrades (Freemium)
“How many days until Christmas?” Now you can give your children a coherent answer by waving your device in their faces. None of us can wait for Christmas, although for the many moms out there who make Christmas happen for your families, there never seems to be enough time. Here is a helpful and very cute tool to get us through. It includes a day countdown (units of measurement here are, accurately, “sleeps”), an advent calendar with little surprises, a gift list with money tallying, Christmas songs, jokes, wallpapers and on and on. The advent calendar starts Dec 1. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving; it works year after year.
Light My Fire: a Hanukkah App
The Jewish Museum
For those lucky children who get presents every day for a week, build a menorah. Produced by the Jewish Museum, so it’s definitely kosher. Users select a contemporary or traditional Hanukkah lamp from the museum’s own collection, starting with a unique background to place it on (from their library or choose an image or photo from the user’s image gallery), light the lamp and then share with your family and friends. Users can also save the lamps in their own collections. Blessings are available in English, Hebrew, and transliterated Hebrew. This is a monster 169MB app but if your phone or tablet can take it, go forward.
Help De Sint!
Michel van der Wal
price: 0,89 €
Controversy swirling around Zwarte Piet this year seems more heated than ever before. This is always an odd time of year for expats who seem caught in the middle of the storm; we also have opinions on the matter, spanning the full spectrum, from those of us who wonder what planet we’re on when we see the bizarre, cringe-worthy minstrel show on full display, to those who wonder what the fuss is all about and we should all just calm down.
Thankfully there is a Sint app out there that is entirely controversy-free! A nice little game where kids sort presents and help the Sint out with his admin. Great graphics, fluid interface and touchability. Well done, Michel, and thank you for making something we can all enjoy playing. For iPhone and iPad. Learn counting, matching colors and advance up to 45 levels if you have the energy.
Fiona Passantino is the founder of The App Train (www.theapptrain.com), a small, app development company with a dual focus: building commercial apps, iPad magazines, folios and mobile websites for small to medium-sized companies and building own apps for commercial release. The in-house titles are largely children’s educational material with a special needs slant for the English market. Fiona lives in The Hague with her husband and two small but highly competent app testers-and-debuggers aged five and ten.