Tag Archives: iOS Android

Apps to Get Your Kids Up and Moving

By Tracey Dowdy

‘Tis the season for comfort food, holiday treats and decreased physical activity for kids and adults alike. Here in the northeast, we’ve already seen snow and the cold temperatures will be a fact of life for the next several months. That makes it challenging to meet the 60 minutes of physical activity recommended by the CDC for kids ages 6-17.

Fortunately, there’s a fitness center in the palm of your hand, so there’s no need to hunker down and go dormant until we hear from Punxsutawney Phil.  Here are some of my top picks for apps to get kids of all ages up off the couch and moving:

Iron Kids

iron-kidsDeveloped by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Iron Kids helps kids “safely build strength, balance, and fitness; prepare to excel in sport; and keep playing by preventing injury.” The app includes videos to help kids develop their upper and lower body and core, as well as tips on strength training. Workouts can be customized to season, sport, and skill level.

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $3.99


NFL Play 60

nfl-play-60Developed by the NFL and the American Heart Association, this endless runner game challenges kids to run, jump, turn, and move holding their phone or tablet while the onscreen character mimics their actions. Kids collect rewards two ways: coins that can be used toward the purchase of NFL gear, and AHA hearts that make them invincible!

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: free


I Am Love: Kids’ Yoga Journey

kids-yogaverseThis app (Kids Yogaverse: I Am Love on iTunes) won the U.S. Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge for Kids Fitness. The app has a quick Yoga Flow of 13 simple positions for kids with clear instructions and beautiful illustrations. Designed to empower kids and help them feel good about their bodies, each pose is modeled by a child and incorporates elements of visual, audio and tactile learning.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: $3.99


Move Like Me

move-like-meSuitable for younger kids, Move Like Me incorporates memory and movement skill development in one app. Users choose a character then mirror the characters’ movements such as hopping, clapping, marching, swaying or dancing. For each round, the character adds a movement that the user must remember and repeat in sequence – think “Simon” for your body. You can play in single player mode or pass back and forth to play with your child.

Platform: iOS
Cost: $1.99


Zombies, Run!

zombies-runZombies, Run isn’t for little kids, but teens will enjoy running for supplies – and their lives – with this fun and interactive app. Users upload their own music, map out their route and the app customizes a story about getting supplies and avoiding the undead to accompany your run. At different intervals the app will announce zombies are near and the sound of their heavy breathing becomes part of the fun to keep you motivated and moving. Even if you’re on a treadmill, you can input a route and enjoy the fun of avoiding virtual zombies.

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: $3.99


The Walk

the-walkIf you’re not a runner but have ever wanted to live out The Proclaimers song I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), have I got an app for you! Based on the premise that a bomb has gone off in London, The Walk challenges you to walk 500 miles – the length of the U.K. – to deliver a package, encountering all sorts of adventures along the way. Designed to be accomplished over a period of 3 months, it may be the most fun you’ve ever had with your pedometer!

Platform: iOS, Android
Cost: $2.99

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. 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. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Tablet vs. Laptop: Which One Is Right for You?

By Tracey Dowdy

Ever since the advent of the tablet, the debate of laptop vs. tablet has raged. Well, maybe not raged, but frequently discussed, occasionally with vehement hand gestures.

Are they interchangeable? Does one perform just as well as the other? Well, yes and no. Before investing in a tablet or a laptop, stop and consider what your needs are and use these tips to determine which device is best for you.

PRICE

For most of us, price is a primary issue. Laptops generally start at $500, whereas a tablet like the Verizon Ellipsis 8 is available for as little as $79.99. Depending on what your needs are, if you’re on a budget, a tablet may be the way to go.

Advantage: Tablet

POWER

Most tablets use a variation of a smartphone operating system. For example, the iPad uses iOS and the Verizon Ellipsis 8 is Android based.  Like many mobile devices, the focus is on touch screens and ease of use. Consider that tablets generally come with 1 GB of RAM or less. Laptops on the other hand come with 4-8 GB of RAM making it much easier to multi-task. Think of your hard drive as a file cabinet and RAM as your desk. Once you pull files from the cabinet, you can spread them out on your desk and jump around. More RAM means faster speeds and better performance, which is especially important for gamers – and by gamers I don’t mean those playing Candy Crush or Kim Kardashian.

Advantage: Laptop

BATTERY

Ah battery life, the bane of our tech existence. To be fair, it’s difficult to compare laptop and tablet battery lives because of the different ways the devices are used. However, if you compare battery specs from the manufacturers you get a better picture of what to expect. The average laptop battery offers roughly 6 hours of continuous use whereas the average tablet offers 10 hours or more. Enough said.

Advantage: Tablet

STORAGE

Another important piece of the puzzle is how much storage you will need. Tablets generally come with 16-64 GB of storage. High-end tablets offer much more, but they also come with a high-end price tag. On the other hand, you can get a laptop with a full terabyte of storage for under $1,000. In fact, storage doesn’t really impact the price of a laptop. Of course, cloud storage is an option for tablets but you’ll need to consider security issues, whether you’re willing to pay a monthly fee, and whether or not you’re disciplined enough to regularly transfer those photos and other data to the cloud.

Advantage: Laptop

DISPLAY

Most newer tablets offer displays of over 250 pixels per inch, with the latest iPad mini coming in at a whopping 326 ppi. That’s why Denzel looks so good on Netflix. Well, that and good genes but I digress. On the other hand, most laptop displays are below 200 ppi, although the number of hi-res laptops is increasing every month. Keep in mind most laptops screens are larger than tablet displays, so that image doesn’t necessarily need to be as crisp.

Advantage: Tablet

CONNECTIVITY

Before making that purchase, think ports and connectivity. Will you want to connect to your home theater system? Will you need to print from your device? HDMI and USB ports are standard on most laptops, not so much with tablets. Likewise when it comes to printers. It’s relatively easy to connect your laptop to a printer, again, not so much with tablets.

Advantage: Laptop

Once you know what your primary needs are, the decision is much easier than you may think. In the words of Inigo Montoya, “Let me ‘splain…No, there is too much. Let me sum up”:

Choose a laptop if you:

  • need high performance – think speed and compatibility
  • need lots of storage
  • will use it as your primary device

Choose a tablet if you:

  • already have a laptop or PC and you’re looking for a companion device
  • primarily want a device for surfing the net and entertainment
  • want something simple.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. 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. Follow Tracey on Twitter.