Apps for kids

If you’re a parent and have a smartphone or tablet, your kids probably know how to use it better than you do. I have some suggestions that will help you spend quality time with your kids and turn any night into family night by finding the best apps for young people.

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kidappsApps for kids are one of the most popular categories available for smartphones and there are games and educational choices available in great quantity and quality. So for starters, check out the recommendations of the Best Apps for Kids website. They review and sort kid apps by age group and can quickly help you find the best app or eBook for whatever category you’re searching.

I like the apps from Duck Duck Moose, especially their free ChatterPix kids iPhone app that lets children take a picture with the smartphone and then turn their photo into a puppet that talks with your child’s voice.

If your kid likes science, try the Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island app. It puts your kids in charge of an island and they solve various environmental issues, from cleaning up an oil spill to planting trees. $1.99 for Apple and Android devices.

For educational and fun apps, check out SmartApps4Kids. Their various math apps are great to help young kids with their counting skills and even learn a little about money and finance. 99cents for Apple devices

Best Bicycling Apps

Summer is get outside an play time and as warm weather finally sweeps across the country, lots of folks are taking to two wheeled transportation and the sport and pastime of cycling. I have some special apps can help help you get even more from bicycling..

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Whether for recreation or transportation – earlier this month the nation celebrated bike to work week – cycling has become one of the nation’s most popular passtimes .

bikeapsAnd with everyone having a smartphone, there are some great biking apps.

Start with the app called Runtastic. They have apps for runners and cyclists as well as optional gear that reads out your heart rate and cadence. The $4.99 Runtastic apps measure speed and distance as well as tracking and mapping your route. You can share status and reports via social media. It works on all major mobile phone platforms and there are specialized apps aimed at road cyclists or mountain bikers.

The Map My Ride app has been around for several years but really has a strong following of more than 20 million cyclists. It is updated regularly and lets you find specific routes and trails to bike wherever you are, oretty much anywhere in the world. You can get maps of routes to ride, or create your own route. And the app, of course, tracks your speed and distance. The app works on all platforms and is free.

One more: Wahoo Fitness. A lot of hard core cyclists love this app. It tracks al the standard things but works with Bluetooth for heart rate monitors and other add-ons. The app works on the iPhone and Android phones and is free.

 

Gardening apps for 2014

With warm weather and spring now in full bloom, it’s time to get serious about our gardens. Growing fresh vegetables is fun and healthy and I have some apps for smartphones and tablets that will help your garden grow like you really have a green thumb.

gardening

My favorite app this year is the Organic Gardening Planting Planner for the iPhone. It starts with a calendar to maximize your planning and time your planting for your region of the country. This free guide covers vegetable, fruits and flowers, from artichokes to zucchini. This is a great resource app for new and experienced gardeners alike.

gardeningThe Burpee Seed people have a great app for Android and Apple devices called the Garden Time Planner. The app also tells you the best times to plant and it has an impressive database of plants, local weather, and links to how-to gardening videos. There’s also a calendar that tells what you should be doing by what dates.

Then there’s Plant Link. This puts a wireless sensor in your garden to monitor moisture. It connects to the Internet and then alerts you when your plants are too dry. You can even connect a hose to the system so your garden is automatically watered… no mater where in the world you happen to be. The cost? $79. The Plant link system works indoors or outdoors and you can add extra sensors.

Best to-do list managers

todoHere’s a test: Ask someone how things are going? Chances are they’ll say something like “fine, but busy.” We are all busy and our to-do lists keep getting longer! But the right to-do list can make all the difference. Here are three of my favorite task managing apps to help you take control of your to-do list.

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The task-managing app that I’ve been most impressed with lately is called Any.do for the iPhone/Apple platform and Android devices. It’s really a family of apps to run all aspects of your life…your calendar, your to-do list and even a planner to help prioritize where you need to be and what you need to do when you need to do it. It lets you keep separate personal and work managers. And it’s totally free.

Ah, but some of us need a bit more help. That’s where the Hassle Me app for Apple and Android comes in. This app does just that: It hassles you until you get your tasks done. Enter the task and then it reminds you at whatever time interval you set until you get it done. Yeah it’s a nag. But it works. And it’s free.

One more. Wunderlist is all-platform and has a basic free version. But for full functionality, pay $4.99 for the pro version. It does all the things a good task manager should do but also lets you work and plan with others, collaborating on projects and sharing lists.