Traveling with kids can be one of two things…an absolute joy, or a terrifyingly stressful ordeal. The best thing a parent can do to prevent the latter is to BE PREPARED. Enter my secret weapon—the iPad. On long bus, train or plane rides, we do as many non-digital activities as possible. But the inevitable point always comes when the iPad is the best solution. My arsenal of Apps always have a real world component, that means whatever activity we do on the iPad, we will also have the opportunity later to explore in the non-digital world.
ArtMail and Sendy both fit this criteria and are available for both iPad and iPhone. These 2 Apps are a great tool for a traveling kid or any kid who has relatives in other places. They both offer full control to create letters and art work that can then be emailed to family and friends, like digital postcards.
ArtMail takes a bit of trial and error (this, to me, is always the fun part of using a new App. I like to see how user friendly it is before I read the directions on how to use it…), but after a little fiddling it’s a lot of fun to use. The App offers you different ink colors with varying thicknesses to choose from. You can write a letter, draw a picture, or both. You can also choose from different festive stationary, plain lined paper or even a snapshot you took of yourself at the beach. Plus you can write in large font and it will format it later to fit into a smaller, personal letter. It’s a great App for a kid who is just learning how to make letters and numbers, but it’s also useful for an adult. My favorite thing about it is you can just jump in, play around and email your creations to whomever you’d like when you’re finished.
Sendy: Steam-Paint Kids Art is a similar experience, but created just for kids. It includes digital stamps and stickers you can plop on your artwork to draw around, but the main difference is the set up. In order to use it, you have to set up an account first that requires your email address. When your child creates something, it will only email their work to the address you have supplied. Depending on how you look at it, this can be a very important distinction, as Sendy has a specific Privacy Promise that ensures your children’s work only ends up in your hands.
All in all, the digital introduction to correspondence is a lovely tool for my 3 year old. It’s better than just an old boring email for his MiMi, it opens the doors in a creative way to the important of correspondence with your child’s loved ones. Plus it’s something we can also do with paper, markers and envelopes later when we’re not on a bus. The only down side—MiMi says she loves it, but it’s hard to hang on the fridge!
Both ArtMail and Sendy are available for iPhone, iPod and iPAD. ArtMail is $1.99 and Sendy is FREE.
If you would like to check it out or purchase it, please use the App Store link provided below. The cost is the same to you, but iGameMom gets a small percentage. Thanks for your support! Note: The link works for all countries.
Today’s apps are reviewed by Elizabeth Wolf. Elizabeth blogs about parenting, culture and travel at LeMaisonLoup.com. You can also find her on Twitter @WolfBetty