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Monday, March 24, 2014

Interview: how to choose the right gaming app for your kids

iPhone Screenshot 1
I’m sharing here an interview about how we choose the gaming apps for our kid, the article and interview was supposed to appear in a newspaper. I asked the writer if its okay to publish this interview in my blog, the writer said its okay.

so here’s the interview
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I’m Azrael D. Coladilla, 36 years old, a blogger , a dad to 3 year old son, Ashton, and husband to Lace Llanora.

I blog at Azrael’s Merryland Blog, www.azraelcoladilla.com or www.azraelsmerryland.blogspot.com – it was set up first as my online diary and then I converted my blog into a pop culture blog, lifestyle and entertainment blog and now it’s just my life blog about my interest and reporting for different topics – events, pop culture, travel, tech, food, social media, brands and etc.


1. How old are your kids, and what devices do they use?

I have one kid, 3 years old, Ashton, he uses Samsung Tab 10.1 and iPod Touch, he owns those devices, but sometimes he borrows my iPhone4s and our laptop to play games or watch cartoons in YouTube. His first ever device was that Xenon portable DVD player hahaha.


2. How much time do they spend on devices like that?

During his 1st and 2nd years, he plays with it every morning and every meal time. But for his 3rd year, we limit him on using the device up to 30min or 1 hour every game play, he can play the devices up to 3x per day only. We limit the playtime with devices in order for him to have more time to learn to hold the crayons, pencil and start to color or draw, we’re preparing for his first day of school this June 2014.


3. What apps do you let them play with?

In his 1st and 2nd years, we chose apps that are with alphabets like ABC Gogo, then apps with story telling time, I love that Zoodles app, there’s a feature that you can record your voice and video of yourself while reading the story.


iPhone Screenshot 3
I also installed some Painting and drawing apps, but some devices got some built in drawing apps, but for me Kids Paint app is the best, there’s color and sound while you draw, We also have the WheelsonBus App, one of his favorite, there’s some nursery rhymes songs, bus driving game with alphabets and some puzzle games. Apps from Tab Tale are also good, they have a wide range of games most are puzzle game apps like Animal Zoo, Pirates Island, My Vehicles, and Kids Songs apps. I also installed that Abakada Alphabet, it’s the only pinoy app for our native tongue, this way he can learn not only English, but also Filipino words.

During his 2nd and 3rd years, he’s into puzzle games like , car racing, coloring games, and cooking simulations like Ice Cream!, Crepe Maker, Meal, Cake maker, donut, pizza and burger maker. He also love playing the Toca Boca role playing game developed apps, like being a one man doctor at Toca Doctor app, Be a barber at Hair Xmas app, feed and cook with the Toca Monster app.

There’s a time that he requested that we install some games coming from popular cartoon shows, then I realized that there are lots of game apps for kids coming from Nick Jr, Cartoon Network, and Disney Jr. So I installed some games that he can do karate moves in Gumball mini game app, bus driving with The Little Bus Tayo bus game app, snail hyper racing with Turbo movie app, Minions Rush game app, Monster’s University’s Catch Archie,Real Steel robo fighting game app, LEGO games, and Bad Piggies.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Now he’s into serious game play, he loves simulations and then he now plays aircraft, tractor, car, truck simulation games, even Iron Man 3 simulation battle game because he likes Iron Man. And also some racing games for kids. Forgot to add that he loves cars – all of his toy collection are mostly die cast cars and construction toys.

I also installed some bed time apps, like play and sing bedtime songs in Twinkle Star app, there’s a lullaby music from My Baby Music Boxes app, and bed time story with Barney app and iStorybooks app.


4. Do they choose what to play with or do you? How do you reach a compromise?

After installing the game, I let him choose what he can play, and since we installed it according to game rating suitable for their age, there’s no worry from us, since the games installed are for him. But there are times that he ask us to activate the game for him to play, and there are times that we play together, especially if he can’t finish a puzzle or finish a game to advance in the next level.


5. What apps do you believe your kids benefit from?
The alphabet apps are one of the best, he knows ABC and then recognize a thing or object because of that app, when he saw a Zamboni on TV, he just shouted “oh a zamboni!”, and few people can only understand what a zamboni ahaha, then I told him, I’ll show him a real Zamboni parked in an ice skating rink in a mall.
The puzzle game helps him to think and find a way to solve problems, also a way to be patient and not too careless.

The games helped for the development of their skills – thinking,speech, decision and interaction, but then our doctors told us that we should limit gaming to young kids from 30 min to 1 hour only, just not to give them eye stress and kids don’t listen to you if they are hooked in playing mobile games.


6. What advice would you give parents when it comes to choosing?

I advice that choose the right app suitable for their age, always protect your app store account with a password, in Android devices, always choose not to be logged in always to your Play store account. Just to avoid them downloading a game by themselves.

Start with simple games, then level it up once they got tired of playing it for 1 or 2 months. There are lots of FREE apps available for download, but before you hand them the game, you should start play with it first and see if the apps are safe and no obscene ads are popping up. Free ads got so many ads during start up screen. If you have the budget, feel free also to buy and download the game, this unlocks many game features and activates the game with no advertisements.


Kid Mode: Free Games + Lock - screenshot thumbnail
Apple store and Play Store always feature the new game of the month, they categorized each game accordingly, check the new games, free games, top games and then KIDS games category of each app stores. Read the reviews and rating, and even see if there’s a YouTube demo of it.

Consult also to your friends which app is the best, there are times that I check with my co-parent friends what apps are good at this times.

The blogger

Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, PBNetwork PH, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collects Transformers toys.
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