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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Fun iOS Apps to Beat the Winter Blues



By Tracey Dowdy

Let’s face it, it’s been a long winter. During the past few weeks my area has seen record lows of -41F, which led to spectacular ice caves on the Great Lakes and then just a couple of days ago there was a massive thunderstorm that dumped almost 15 inches of rain and caused flash flooding.

Even the most avid fans of winter are starting to feel like enough is enough. To pass the time and keep our spirits up until we’re ready to face the great outdoors again, here are a few iOS apps to help you and your family beat that cabin fever.

For young children:

Alien Assignment

Created by a kindergarten teacher in cooperation with the Fred Rodgers Center, Alien Assignment is a fun game that gets your child’s imagination and body moving. A spaceship has crashed and it’s up to your child to go on a scavenger hunt to find things to help the aliens repair the ship. Kids follow clues from Gleep and Glop to take pictures of everyday objects, then “show their grown up” so you can work together using the photos to fix the ship and send the aliens home.

Cost: Free



NFL Play 60

The NFL partnered with The American Heart Association to create this endless runner app. With NFL Play 60, kids run, jump obstacles and turn in place to keep their character moving. By tilting the device, the character moves down different paths to collect coins and power ups, enabling them to unlock different characters or buy NFL gear.

Cost: Free



Lego Movie Maker

If your kids are excited about The Lego Movie, here’s their chance to make one of their own. With Lego Movie Maker, kids can shoot and edit their movie, add or delete frames, insert title cards and add text with custom dialog cards. There’s an option to choose from 7 different soundtracks or you can choose from your own library, and you can even add your own sound effects. Once complete, kids can save the movie to the device or upload it to YouTube.

Cost: Free



For older kids:

Action Movie FX

Unleash your inner Michael Bay with this special effects app. With Action Movie FX, you can unleash a multitude of creatures, including parasites, aliens and dragons, or add a missile attack in any movie that you shoot. You can purchase additional effects for $0.99 including cyborgs, attack packs, and even a Star Trek Pack.

Cost: Free, but with $0.99 in-app purchases



iSwap Faces

Are you sleeping well at night? Here’s your chance to change that! iSwap Faces lets you morph one face onto another, bringing a whole new cast of characters into your dreams. Either take a photo or choose one from your photo library, place the “mask” over the faces you want swapped, and the app takes it from there.

Cost: $1.99



Animate Me – Talking Photos

Create hilarious videos from any photo by adding voices, sound effects, tattoos, mustaches, accessories or even “Hey Girl” quotes, because, as we all know, everything is better when you add a little Ryan Gosling! With Animate Me – Talking Faces, you can record your own narration or choose from their own library, and videos can instantly be uploaded to Facebook and YouTube or emailed to your friends as e-cards.

Cost: Free

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, Ontario. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology.



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