Alright, alright. I've heard from enough folks that want to discover more cool kid-friendly iPhone applications that I decided to compile another list of OWTK tested and approved applications. Here's a fun little 4-pack for y'all!
(Revisit my previous reviews of iPhone Apps for Kids)
Toon Tango ($.99) - think of a slimmed down, portable Jib Jab. Toon Tango allows users to carve out, with just your finger, a face (or any area) of an existing or new photo and place that cutout on to one of 4 dancing bodies. Choose from a cheerleader, police officer, sumo wrestler or Vegas-era (read: glammed, up chubby) Elvis. It's a pretty fun and easy to use app but Toon Tango needs more cartoon choices, more control over the figure's movements (touching the screen seems to change the dance moves but there is no menu or list of options to know what you are doing or capable of doing). Toon Tango also needs to add the ability to share your dancing cartoon with friends via email/SMS (the app promises this capability is coming soon via a free update). Even with some fixable flaws, Toon Tango is a humorous way to spend a buck and entertain your kids...and yourself.
Think Fast ($.99) - this is the 1st math app/game we've ever tried. I downloaded Think Fast thinking the Bear could use it to sharpen her skills but even on the easy setting the complexity of the problems (after the 1st 2 levels) and overall speed of the game make it impossible for her to play (without losing all confidence in herself). I actually enjoy the game myself, even when I must calculate 867 + 946 (a typical equation in the 10th round of the easy level) and do so swiftly. It's fun to see the on-screen monsters gobble up the candy after a correct or incorrect answer (too many wrong answers and the little red guy will grow to eat the green dude, thus ending the game). My father used to dazzle me with his ability to calculate numbers similar to those in his head and spit out an answer...a correct one to boot! I sorta take pride in mimicking his off the cuff mathematical ability and Think Fast is a nice iPhone app that will help me stay sharp as my mind slowly slips away.
Blowfish (free) - If the Mrs. has stolen my iPhone, which happens more than I'm comfortable with, she's probably playing one of two games: Flight Control or Blowfish. Blowfish is a very simple game in which you must hold down your finger to inflate blowfish, enough of 'em to fill up a good portion of the screen. The catch? Little purple urchins that will poke and deflate your good guys while they're expanding. Blowfish is addictive but has one major flaw, well two actually. The thing that agitates the Mrs. is the inability to pick up where you left off. Once you die, you start from scratch. There are no saved levels or anything like that. Also, the game gets a bit repetitive. The makers of Blowfish would be well served in mixing it up in the later rounds, even if it's just a new look for the blowfish...something, anything to make the game progress more interestingly. Still, the Mrs. has been trying to get past level 8 for weeks now and to this point hasn't become frustrated enough to quit her Blowfish habit. Simply put, it's free and it's fun. The Mouse liks to make Mommy and Baby Blowfish, with no concern for the competitive nature of the app. Your kids will really enjoy Blowfish, go get it.
iKids Play "Maybe We Are Flamingos" ($2.99) - Previously, I reviewed iKids Play's "Caterpillar's Dream", a similar 5-in-1 storybook app. Back then, there were just two different iKids Play iPhone storybooks...now there are 8! "Maybe We Are Flamingos" by Safari Sue Thurman follows the same concept with a 5-activities-in-1 reading app for youngsters. The story of 2 young not-yet-pink flamingos is cute and enjoyable and the coloring book/read along/painting options are just as pleasing as they are on "Caterpillar's Dream". The iKids Play franchise makes terrific use of the iPhone's inherent portability, sensitive touch screen and it's alternative use as a powerful learning tool for families comfortable with their kids using their precious devices. The price seems steep, at first, but consider the typical $9.99 price tag of those kid's book/CD combo packs and the $3 for an iKids Play app may turn into a bargain, especially considering you get the chance to use this app as a coloring/painting tool and a voice recorder as your child reads along with the story. I'd love to see a subscription service or some multiple-app discount for returning iKids Play customers looking for the newest read along book Apps.