I waded through several favorite app lists, from blogs to magazines, looking for ways to keep Nate (at 2.5 years) occupied in certain situations (like waiting for our food at a restaurant or waiting in the checkout line). I faced a few issues: 1) I need Android apps, 2) some apps are not available in Kenya or on Safaricom, 3) some apps are too fancy for my phone (i.e. my phone would freeze just trying to start the app), 4) I only go for free apps (with one exception). I was able to install some of the fancier apps on the Kindle, but we don't take that everywhere with us. Nate gets some game time on the Kindle at home.
Here are Nate's apps, for phone and Kindle:
* Undersea Adventure for Toddler - Kindle. It froze my phone when I tried to put it on there, but Nate loooooooves it. It's so simple: an underwater scene, fish swim by, when you touch the fish they swim faster/turn flips/etc.
* Giraffe's Matching Zoo - Kindle. Just a basic memory/matching game with animal pictures, complete with sound effects, though I think some of the sounds are made up. It has a high score/fastest time record, which Nate doesn't care about, but Rodgers and I compete (*ahem* I am winning). [[Note: it says it is $0.99, but I got it free.]]
* Animal Hide and Seek for Kids - Kindle. Each scene has 5 animals hiding. I think Nate is starting to memorize each scene and where the animals are hidden, though there are a lot of scenes and a lot of different animals.
* Kid Mode: Free Games + Lock - Kindle. This one is kind of cool, but you have to be consistently connected to Wifi. You create a profile for each kid, with their age. They "log in" by tapping their picture, then the app has games and YouTube videos that are age appropriate.
* Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad - Kindle. Of all the drawing apps I've tried, this one is the coolest. You can't, for instance, draw a picture of a dog. It's more like doodling, inside a kaleidoscope. Way cool. Nate thinks so, too.
* Little Piano - Kindle. It's one octave. There are several instruments to choose from, but Nate prefers the piano. There are also lots of different songs it will help you play, by highlighting the next key.
* Peek-a-boo Safari for Kids - Phone. This is similar to Animal Hide and Seek, but there is only one animal per scene. He still likes it. My phone screen is not quite large enough, though. The giraffe hides off to the bottom right corner, only a few pixels show on the screen. I usually have to get that one for him.
* Kids Memory Game: Animals - Phone. This memory/matching game has easy/medium/hard levels. The easy one has only 6 cards, which is good for beginners. Not as fun as the one on the Kindle. And not Nate's favorite because...
* Match Picture Game for Toddler - Phone. This is a matching game with Sesame Street pictures.
* Toddler Fireworks - Phone. It's a black screen, when you tap, fireworks happen. Even 10-month old Ben can play this one.
Mama's apps, for phone:
* Sky Map - This is so cool! If your GPS function works (mine doesn't work on Safaricom), you can use that, otherwise, you enter in your location. Then, you simply hold your phone up to the sky, and it shows you what stars/plants/galaxies/constellations are there. You can easily identify what you're looking at because you're holding the map up to the sky.
* Google Translate - It's just translate.google.com in app form. Invaluable if you're living in a place where you are not fluent in the local language.
* Hey Wire - Gives you a free US phone number to use for texting, via internet. You can only text to phone numbers in 45 countries, and Kenya's not one, so I still have pay for my local texts. I use it so that Americans can text me without having international texting plans, but you can use it with an American phone, too, if you don't want to pay for a texting plan at all.
* Evernote - I'm not sure how much I like it. I use it for info I need to keep but keep losing (like instructions for how to change the time on Rodgers' watch) and also for shopping lists. (I wanted Cozi, which I have used online, but I can't get it on Safaricom. I wonder, if I go back to the US one day, and get a US sim, if I can download Cozi there and still use it here...or if it's just incompatible with my phone entirely.)
* BYKI Swahili - This is the one app I've paid for. $7.99. It's thousands of flash cards, with recordings to help you learn proper pronunciation (not that I lack chances of hearing words spoken in Swahili). I have actual paper flash cards, but I have to remember where I put them, and remember to throw them in my purse if we're going to be in the car, bla bla bla. It's so much easier to have some on my phone for practice.
* Daily Bible - A verse of the day, daily Bible reading (with various reading plans/translations to choose from), and many daily devotionals. What I like best is the audio option on the daily reading plan. I can listen while changing Ben's diaper, fixing his bottle, and feeding him every morning.