From the developers of Toca Boca apps comes this FREE gift for the holidays: Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift. Kids can go into the salon to groom Santa and/or his favorite Christmas tree, Topzy. They can use the tools in the salon to style their hair – cut it, comb it, make it grow, shave it, color it, and drag decorations into it. Great sound effects are also included in this fun app. Kids or parents can take a photo of the finished creation and save it to their camera roll. If parents wish, creations may be posted on the Toca Boca Facebook page. The developers have also built-in options to turn off sounds, pictures, and news. What a great springboard for creative writing – give Santa a whole new look and write a story to go with it. Thanks to the developers for a gift that inspires kids to be creative. 🙂
‘Twas the Night Before Jasper’s Christmas is FREE e-book for the iPhone/iPad. Jasper the dog and Smiley the cat are the stars of the classic tale. Kids can read the book to themselves or read along as it is narrated. In the read along mode, chimes let kids know when to advance to the next page. Background music (We wish You a Merry Christmas) can be turned off or on. The pages are not interactive but they are cutely & colorfully illustrated – appealing to kids. And, at the end of the story is a matching game. Beware – there are ads at the top of each page that are easy to click and will take your child to the app store. Cute FREE book – worth downloading. 🙂
FREE – Friendly Christmas from the developers of Friendly Shapes. Preschoolers will enjoy meeting Oval, Heart, Triangle, Rectangle, & Square in this cute Christmas story. Kids use shapes to help build a snowman, build musical instruments, help elves in Santa’s workshop, and more. There are three modes: auto-play, read-it-to-myself and play. The app also has puzzles, coloring pages and games. So how can it be FREE? Well, this app has ads placed at the bottom of each page between the backward and the forward arrows. For $.99 you have the option of removing the ads.There are also options to purchase additional puzzles and coloring pages – $1.99 per pack. All in all, this is a nicely done app for little ones to learn shapes, colors, left/right, etc.
Gingerbread Crazy Chef Cookie Maker – Kids can virtually bake and decorate their own gingerbread cookies. An in-app purchase of the full version is available. There are also ads along the bottom. TabTale Books has several other free holiday titles that you can download when you open this app if you are comfortable with their model of delivery – ads, upgrades, etc.
Where is Santa Lite – Santa Tracker is FREE for the iPhone/iPad. The app keeps track of where Santa is and how long it will be before he arrives at your home. When using the “Where is Santa” page, it scans the world every 60 seconds to locate Santa and report on his activities. For instance, “Santa is in the North Pole and he is helping Mrs. Claus in the kitchen.” When using the “My Home” tab, it shows the location of your house and tells how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds it will be before Santa arrives. Beware – there are ads at the bottom of this app that are easy to click and will take your child to the app store. Teachers could use the app to make up math problems with the information given. Have kids convert days into weeks, days into hours, figure out the exact time he is scheduled to arrive, etc. Kids could write a story about what Santa is doing on a particular day, illustrate a timeline of what Santa has been doing for a week, etc. – lots of cute possibilities. Parents can use this app with kids to check on Santa daily – cute way to count down the days to Christmas!
FREE for a limited time – Elf Dance by Jib Jab. This app is incredibly easy to use. Just upload up to 5 pictures of yourself, family, or friends from your device’s camera roll or Facebook. They’ll be transformed into dancing elves in no time and results are super cute! Videos can be shared via email with family and friends. When I was teaching I turned my students into elves and played the videos as class motivators. The kids LOVED them!! Last year, I made the family dog into a dancing elf. 🙂 Spread some fun holiday cheer!!Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/elf-dance-by-jibjab-starring/id723967141?mt=8&uo=4
FREE for a limited time – The Night Before Christmas presented by 100 Robots. The Night Before Christmas was written by Cement Clark Moore in 1822 and it has become one of the most popular pieces of Christmas literature. Christmas would not be complete without a reading of this classic. This educational app is beautifully illustrated by Bill Ledger and the animations are enchanting. The quality of the graphics is amazing – kids will be delighted when Santa stuffs himself down the chimney and arrives inside all covered with soot! Check out this delightful rendition of a holiday classic!
Teachers – It would be fun to compare and contrast this contemporary version of the story with a more traditional version. 🙂
FREE for a limited time – Tiny Dentist Holidays: Christmas. Too many cookies for Santa has landed him in the dentist’s chair! Kids get to be the dentist for a day with the holiday version of this educational app. Like Tiny Dentist, this app teaches about dental treatments and the instruments that dentists use to keep teeth healthy. 24 patients with dental problems need fixed. The “dentist” has the tools to: remove cavities & fill in the hole, remove plaque, use water & air sprays, remove decayed teeth, put on braces, and more! He/she also has 36 fun braces, 18 hair styles, and 6 unusual kinds of toothpaste to use. The app was developed to help alleviate children’s fear of the dentist. Another fun feature of the app is the ability to take before and after pictures of the patient. The app is rated by Apple as 9+.
FREE for the holidays – Talking Santa Carl. Kids can talk to him and he will repeat what they say. Santa Carl can be poked, tickled, swiped, etc. to make him move, grumble, or laugh out loud. He will help kids make their Christmas list then cleverly save it into your Photo Library so you can find out what they want. Kids can also use Santa Carl to send holiday greetings to friends and family. Talking Santa Carl even says goodbye.