My iPhone is my saviour – not just for it’s usefulness in my life but also it’s ability to keep my 3 yr old son entertained – love it or hate it, the iPhone and it’s incredible array of apps have become a very portable, emergency babysitter for frazzled parents.
My son is already very adept with my iPhone so I’m constantly keeping my eye out for new apps that will keep him entertained.
The latest addition to my iPhone are two brand new apps from ABC for Kids featuring Bananas in Pyjamas – “Beach Fun” ($1.99 ) and “Say Cheese” ($2.99) – released just in time for Christmas and available from the app store.
ABC 2 is already a popular channel in our house and the new Bananas in Pyjamas (with computer generated graphics) are quite entertaining so extending the experience with a game app seemed like a great idea.
My curious little boy noticed the pictures of B1 & B2 in my email and immediately said “Oooooh, I would like that one and that one” (pointing to each of the pictures of the two apps). He asked me if it was a game and if I was downloading it – he’s such a little eager beaver.
The first app we tried was “Beach Fun”. On opening the app, there are instructions for parents, explaining the concept of the game and how that relates to the stories portrayed in the Bananas in Pyjamas television shows. Funnily though, despite my son being quite adept at some complex games I have on my phone, there were a few places where he asked me what he had to do. There are two game choices – the first game is for “teaching” children about what you do when you go to the beach – a Bananas in Pyjamas take on the 20+ year old Slip Slop Slap message. The second game gives choices of different sized sandcastles and a variety of beach items to decorate with. At the end of the decorating, the sandcastle sparkles and you can “stomp” the sandcastle by tapping it with your finger. This second game took a few tries to realise there was a finite limit to the number of decorations and you have to place all of them for the sandcastle to sparkle. With the first game, while my son is familiar with hats and sunglasses when we go to the beach, the sunscreen application provided more giggles because of the “farting” noises made by squirting copious amounts of sunscreen on B1 & B2 than specific education initially – I had to explain to him that he needed to rub the sunscreen in. After a few more plays, he’s now parroting the Bananas about needing sunscreen. Not something he’s learnt at home because we don’t use sunscreen.
While this might seem innocent and quite cute, I find it a little disconcerting that he’s picked this up so quickly. In Australia, despite our abundance of sunshine, the overuse of toxic sunscreens on children (and adults) is causing widespread Vitamin D deficiencies which has been shown to potentially lead to an increased incidence of cancers. This app would have been more appropriate had it explained spending a little time in the sun to let your skin make it’s essential Vitamin D and then covering up with a hat, shirt and sunglasses for extended periods of time in the sun.
Overall, the game is quite simple & while my son is being entertained with over-squirting sunscreen and decorating his sandcastle, I expect the novelty will wear off quickly because of the overly simplistic nature of the game.
From a parenting perspective, up to the age of 7, children are sponges – just absorbing all the information around them, they truly are learning machines. I think it’s important to think about what the long term outcome is of allowing potentially incorrect information to be fed directly to our children via seemingly innocent games.
The second Bananas in Pyjamas app was “Say Cheese”. Again, there were the familiar instructions for parents – I really like this aspect of both apps – it lets me know what to expect from the game without necessarily needing to play it myself (because I’ve usually got a little boy jumping up and down eager to get to playing on my phone).
This app was more complex than “Beach Fun”. First you select a “picture frame” to use for your final image – a variety of templates including characters from Bananas in Pyjamas. I found the scrolling through the picture frames was a little quick and sometimes difficult to select the exact one from you wanted (it had a tendency to skip to the next frame). Then you can actually take a photo of someone (or yourself if you have an iPhone 4 or 4s) from within the app or use existing photos within your camera roll. Then, similar to the sandcastle decorating in the previous app, there are a variety of decorations to use on your photo – funny hats, glasses, B1 B2 pyjamas, characters from the show etc, and they can all be resized to fit the photo better. Once you’ve completed your decorating, you click the camera icon to take a screen shot of your finished image.
This is a great app – my son already loves taking photos of everyone using my iPhone, so this takes it a step further and gives him the ability to decorate and make the photo really fun. I haven’t shown him yet that he can then send these photos either via email or text message to friends and family – he already sends smiley emoticon text messages to family members – I’m not quite ready for him to be sending crazy pictures of us to people in my address book.
A Present for You
Now that I’ve whet your appetite for all things Bananas in Pyjamas, I’ve got one copy of “The Magic Trick” DVD (RRP $19.99) to give away to one lucky reader.
I won’t make you jump through hoops and “write in 25 words or less…” (my least favourite way to enter a competition) to enter this competition. Just three easy steps:
- Enter your email address (at the top of the sidebar above) to receive blog updates (I don’t write everyday, so you won’t be bombarded),
- Tweet this post (I’ve added in some groovy little social networking buttons below and to the left of this post),
- And finally, post a comment below telling me what your child’s favourite ABC for Kids program is and why.
Disclosure: I received complimentary downloads of the Bananas in Pyjamas iPhone apps and a giveaway copy of Bananas in Pyjamas “The Magic Trick” DVD courtesy of ABC for Kids via Digital Parents. No financial payment was offered nor accepted for this post. All opinions expressed are purely my own.