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My Son, The Techie: Basti’s Favorite Apps

There are so many parenting blogs and articles online that go by the way of “organic parenting” as I call it. You know, the no-tv-wooden-toys-only kind.

Well, this blog isn’t one of them. Not by a mile.

Sure I also dabbled with thoughts of not exposing Basti to technology early in life. But how could I? I have an internet love affair. Literally, a love affair with the internet and all things tech.

I have been online for as long as I can remember internet being available in this country. I started with a measly 14.4kbps modem tied up to my Pentium PC, and had a dedicated phone line installed so I could avail of the unlimited log-in time of my then-internet service provider. There was a certain comfort to hearing the modem dial-up, hiss, pop and whistle until that unmistakeable moment of connection.

I met lots of friends from my IRC days. I became an op of some channels, attended EBs, the works. Some of them are still my friends to this very day. I even found a way to incorporate my internet addiction into my college thesis. It was titled, “Internet Relay Chat: Defining A Sub-Culture.” I was lauded for introducing new research techniques to the Psychology Department (read: Yahoo! search) and no one could understand what I was talking about because my professor or any of the members of the panel of peers even had an email address. I got an A.

My switch from PC to Mac brought my addiction to a whole new level. It was around the same time DSL residential lines became available, and I was brought into the world of e-groups, chat and user forums. I was fiercely active in the Philippine Macintosh Users Group or PhilMUG, even getting on the board of directors. Yes, there is such a thing.

The internet became my lifeline when I lived in China. Inspite of The Great Firewall, it connected me to my family, friends and the outside world (thank you proxy servers). When I got back, it seemed like no time passed at all.

Going through baby blues, Twitter became my shrink, Facebook, my connection to the outside world and my blog, my sanctuary. Dr. Google was helpful for times of extreme paranoia, and through my blog, found like-minded mothers who share the same passions as I do.

Basti spent a good portion of his days as a newborn worn in a sling while I was in front of my Mac. Now at close to 1.5 years old, he likes to play with my keyboard and mouse (I got him his own so he doesn’t accidentally send a gibberish email to my boss), and he can unlock my iPhone and play music. He can also take Hipstamatic pictures, sometimes much better than I do.

Now that I have an iPad (droool), Basti’s got a ton of stuff to play with. In case you are in the same boat as I am, here are a few of Basti’s favorite apps and activities. If you have any of your favorites to share, please do!

1. The Wheels On The Bus

“The Wheels On The Bus” is high up on Gymboree’s most-requested songs, with its interactive lyrics and fun melody. This app is Basti’s ultimate favorite and I had to get it right away when OC Mom In Manila used it to keep him still while we had our nails done. It features interactive elements, the music in several languages and a record feature so you can have your baby listen to your own voice singing “The Wheels On The Bus” as they play the game. The bubbles go pop pop pop, the people jump up and down, birds hop and sing, dogs bark, at the touch of your child’s poke-poke-poke. So cute! Available for both iPhone and iPad.

2. Phone4kids

Why is it that no matter how many toy phones you buy, they always want the real thing? Basti loved using the call and text messaging functions of my phone that someone actually wanted to be textmates. This app builds on that curiosity and creates similar environments and other fun stuff without accidental calls to your client or boss.

It’s got a phone with the matching tones:

It’s also got a compass, fake SMS center, a function for learning letters, and a drawing palette. If you make the in-app purchase, you’ll also get a few more fun things for your kid to enjoy. The free version though, is more than enough to keep your toddler occupied. Available for both iPhone and iPad, though the app on the iPad makes it look like a giant phone. Hehe.

3. Toy Story Read-Along Interactive Book

Toy Story is Basti’s favorite Pixar film. This interactive book is so jampacked with features, I can’t believe it’s free!

You can choose between the built-in read-along feature (with the original voices from the movie) or you can record your voice! Some of the pages also transform into coloring sheets. I wanna get the others too, but they’re not free. I have to stop myself from purchasing all these apps.

4. I Hear Ewe

We Filipinos love this: “Baby what’s the sound of the dog? Of the cat? Of the alligator? Of the hedgehog?” Well here’s the perfect animal sound learning app.

Sound and image recognition, with another page for transportation sounds like car, firetruck and ambulance.

5. Any Piano app. We use this one.

We’re not married to it. Anything that generates the piano sound is good enough for Basti. I don’t think he’s going to play a Concerto soon. Unless I turn into Tiger Mother tomorrow.

6. My Drawing Book and My Coloring Book

These are free apps, but have in-app purchases for extra tools and drawing sheets.

The free version is enough for Basti while he's still getting a grip on his fine motor skills. Cute, kid-friendly interface and they're not skimpy with the color selection, even at the free version.


I have to give a special shout-out to Frances and Vince Sales, who allowed me to get their extra Dodo case for my iPad. It makes my tablet look like a Moleskine.

Photo courtesy of www.dodocase.com

Love it!!! Thanks guys!!