- June 10, 2014

Free Apps: Managing Summer Days with Kids


Keeping up with kids’ routines can be overwhelming any time of year, but summer can really throw routines into a tail spin. Sleeping in along with more relaxed bedtime routines can lead to neglected tooth brushing. More free time leaves time for chores, and with that may come an allowance. And that free time can easily be overtaken with screen time. Try some of these free tools to help manage a few of those tasks, hopefully helping everyone’s summer days run more smoothly.

ChoreMonster (iOS, Windows, web)
Try ChoreMonster as an alternative to chore charts. Kids and parents each have connected accounts (on the same device, different devices, or online.) Parents can set values for different chores for kids to complete, set goals for rewards (which can be activities, outings, cash, whatever), and set some chores up to repeat if they want. Kids log on and see their assignments for the day and mark them complete as they finish. Parents get an email to approve the chore and reward the points.

PiggyBot (iOS)
Paying kids’ allowance doesn’t have to mean regular trips to the ATM for parents. PiggyBot tracks kids’
allowance for you, along with their spending, saving, and giving goals. It’s all virtual — no money is actually used. It just serves as an IOU so parents can track what kids have in their virtual piggy bank and can pay out when kids are ready to spend. It’ll even send push notifications reminding parents to “deposit” that weeks’ allowance.

ToothSavers Brushing Game (iOS, Android)
No more nagging kids to go brush their teeth. ToothSavers will send push notifications to a device at a time you set to remind kids to go brush. Then, as they brush, an on-screen animation shows them each area of their mouth to brush and ensure they brush for a full two minutes. It includes a few fun tooth hygiene games, as well, but the reminders and timer guide alone are super helpful.

Disney Magic Timer (iOS, Android)
Younger kids may find Disney’s Magic Timer more motivating for brushing. It doesn’t offer the helpful push notification reminders that ToothSavers does, but the timer reveals a picture of a Disney image as kids brush. If kids use Oral-B Disney toothbrushes, they can scan them before brushing to reveal an image of that character (though the scanning function doesn’t always reveal the correct character.)

PBSKIDS Super Vision (iOS)
Super Vision is another cool tool for the preschool set. Parents can connect their device to pbskids.org while kids play games or watch videos. From their device, parents can then set a timer for how long kids can be on the site, and it will automatically shut down after that amount of time. Parents can also see which shows and games kids are selecting and get ideas for off-screen activities to do with kids that develop similar skills or build on those areas of interest.

Amanda Bindel is an Austin mom of two girls and reviews apps for Common Sense Media. Follow her on Twitter to read about more apps she recommends.