Cool New Feature on Dr. Seuss App

The award-winning line of Dr. Seuss digital books, including two of my personal favorites, The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, features a cool new function that lets parents read the stories while the app records your voice.  You can then share the recording with friends, grandparents, teachers, etc.

As someone who travels often for work, this app is so useful — I can record my voice reading the stories so my wife can play it for the kids at bedtime.

The updated app costs $3.99.  Worth every penny.


JibJab Launches StoryBots

Remember JibJab?  The folks that brought us the hilarious pre-YouTube viral videos and the company that reinvented the e-card with the Starring You series has launched a new educational and entertainment service called StoryBots.

I downloaded the StoryBots app for the iPad and it definitely has potential.  The app is free, and there is no charge for one of the stories.  You select a photo of your kids and the app transposes the picture onto the body of the main character and guides you through an e-book adventure focused around the dances/rituals of different cultures.

Unfortunately the app crashed several times when my daughter and I tried it on the original iPad (which has the most updated software system installed), so let’s hope there’s an update coming soon.

Free Apps Come with a Cost

Great article in the Wall Street Journal about marketers taking advantage of child consumers via hidden fees within so-called “free” apps.

From the piece, “Firms have long targeted children with toys, candy and entertainment.  But the simple touch-screen interfaces of the iPad, iPhone and the like, paired with instant purchasing, have brought merchandise within constant reach of children.  Wily sales techniques keep kids coming back for more.”

So the next time your son or daughter asks you to download a “free” app, keep an open mind but be skeptical and vigilant.

Coloring on Your iPad?

That’s right.  Kids can actually color ON their iPads using DigiTools from Crayola, which recently got the NY Times treatment.

DigiTools is a set of physical coloring tools for the iPad that includes 3-D glasses and three apps.  It’s Crayola trying to bring the crayon’s waxlike simplicity to touch-screen coloring.

Can’t wait to try this one out.  I mean, can’t wait for my kids to try it!

Marketers Reaching Kids Through Apps

Demonstrating how new technology is changing the way marketers reach young consumers, U.S. food companies are embedding their products in simple and enticing games for touch-screen phones and tablets, which is far cheaper (and more effective) than Saturday morning TV commercials.

Makers of snacks, sweet drinks and candy have long been under government and public pressure to limit advertising to minors on TV and the Web.  They’re now finding the unregulated medium of mobile devices an effective substitute to trigger demand and develop brand loyalty.

So the question is, should we, as parents, forbid our kids to use apps such as “SuperPretzel Facotry” and “Icee Maker”?