Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Magical Birthday and My iPad 2 with a few ‘Apps for Kids’ Disappears…

To be honest, I was not looking forward to my birthday this year. I mean this past year alone has been the absolute worst health-wise, ever!
A horrible case of chicken pox last summer that left me out of commission for nearly 5 weeks and destroyed my immune system. Multiple cardiologist visits and tests, and then a ‘bout with pneumonia a few weeks ago …it’s just all downright depressing.
Getting old is freaking me out so much now that I find myself always wondering, “What’s going to happen to me this year?” I’ve never been like that.

Some observant friends caught on to this suspicious behavior of mine and invited my wife and I to the Magic Castle in Hollywood to celebrate my birthday. It really was a great start on a road to recovery of some sort.
If you’ve never heard of this place, it’s basically a real-life Hogwarts, except this castle was founded in the 1960’s, not 9th century, with cheesy decorations, and magicians not wizards roaming around entertaining cocktail-attired guests. And maybe about 10 bars just about every 50 feet from each other.
I’m sure if Harry had gone to school there, he would have one serious drinking problem.

The other component of a recovery was getting an iPad 2, with one of those nifty magnetic magical covers on it for my birthday!
I never really understood the full use of this thing – is it taking over the place of my laptop or my iPhone? And I didn’t get one last year because I learned my lesson from buying a 1st generation iPhone in 2007, the 2nd version was 4 times cooler than the original.
I’ve now come to find out that the iPad basically took over all of the time I did read an actual book or maybe magazine before going to bed and even the little TV I did watch. I literally watch no traditional TV anymore (Hulu yes!)

The other 90% when the thing is on my daughter has it. She’s basically taken over the device - desktop, created folders, has her Pandora stations, Netflix streaming set up to watch Scooby Doo, Spongebob, and Strawberry Shortcake. She’s 5! Not even 6 quite yet.

Although, my wife did help her set up YouTube to old musical numbers, and of course, she’s been playing that crazy Smurf game. I swear Apple is marketing to the wrong demographic for this thing - it should really be kids.
The thing is MUCH better than getting a kid a laptop/computer, as in parental controls, and knowing what they’re playing with. And the games/apps I’ve found for it have been incredible. Loads of quality educational, creative, and learning stuff that’s pretty cheap in price.
We were considering getting her a Leapfrog Leapster or even a DS for her upcoming birthday, but that’s pretty much out the door now since those cartridges cost so much ($20-40) and a much better equivalent app in iTunes from $0 to $6.

Some iPad apps I’ve found, so far, to be great for kids (5-7-ish):
  1. Math Bingo
  2. TeachMe Kindergarten/1st Grade
  3. StoryPatch
  4. Drawing Pad
  5. Learning to Draw is Fun
  6. Read Me Stories
  7. Toy Story Read Along
  8. Angry Birds RIO
  9. Fruit Ninja HD
  10. Toontastic
  11. Sock Puppets
  12. Pocket Frogs
  13. WordSearch Star Free
  14. MathGirl Number Garden (iPhone app running on iPad)
  15. Albert HD
  16. Stack the States
  17. Netflix
  18. NASA App HD
  19. Smurfs (my daughter insisted I put that on my list, just make sure you turn in-App purchases OFF. Settings/General/Restrictions, “Enable Restrictions”, In-App purchases “OFF.”)

Now that my daughter is finally asleep, I can finally play Words with Friends HD! By the way, if you play I’m “GjertsonB”


SciFi Dad said...

I never really understood the full use of this thing – is it taking over the place of my laptop or my iPhone?

My sentiments exactly, and since Hulu is blocked in Canada (and Netflix is a shadow of what it is in the US) I'm less inclined to get one than if I lived in the US.

Right now, I want an iPad 2 not because it would fill a void in my technological hierarchy, but because it's a cool gadget. I think if I coupled it with the keyboard dock that it might become more, but because of that I'm still waiting for a second universal port so I can type in landscape mode.

painted maypole said...

i went the the magic castle years ago for a friend's 40th birthday. very cool.

I hope this year is better for you. My year has sucked, sucked, sucked as well.

Amrita said...

I don 't have an iPad. Bu t I wish you a good year ahead

Daddy Geek Boy said...

I read this post and am writing this on an iPad 2. It's an amazing machine. My wife is getting sick of me saying, "I'm holding the future in my hands!". But I am.

As for the Magic Castle, I lived in LA for 13 years before I got invited to go. That place is awesome.

creative-type dad said...

Daddy Geek Boy: How funny - I'm always telling my wife, "it's like something out of "Back to the Future 1, 2 and 3!'"

Scott said...

That Magic Castle's cool--I'm glad you had a celebration there!

And as for tech stuff--your daughter knows far more than I, I'm sure! I know what an iPod is, although I have no idea how it works. But though I've heard of an iPad, I don't know what it is--I can just guess, by the context in your description of the games!

Kids are getting scary-smart!

Jason said...

Sup, Creative-Type.
Your iPad post has re-energized me to try to get one post tax season. Hope your feeling better overall. Was out for about two weeks once upon a time. Living dead, yeah?
LOVED your imaginary friends post. Laughed out loud at the little girl on the swing comic. I may need to be putting together some lost poster of our own. Great idea. We'll be looking for pet Snipes, Jackelopes, etc.

The Cheeky Daddy

Sue said...

I'm so glad to hear you are feeling better. I always seem to get sick around my birthday too - which happens to be in December, and coinsides nicely with feeling rotten through the holidays.

I visited the Magic Castle last year for the first time and had a ball. I'd heard about it for years, and it was fun to finally get a chance to check it out in person.

I've got an original iPad, and still love it...I'm thinking about checking out the new Blogsy app for when I travel...have you looked into that?

Gotta go...time to start a new Words with Friends game!

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Susan said...

I've always wanted to try out the Magic Castle. How in the world do you get in?

radioactive girl said...

I got an ipad as a gift not too long ago. I have never used it but my kids are always using it and love it.