In a previous post, I made it pretty clear that we absolutely love Olivia in our house. And, based on my previous iTouch/iPhone app reviews, we also love our technology. So when the two combine, it is perfect multimedia enjoyment.

When I was given a promo code to download the new Olivia Paints app, I surprised Maia and loaded it up without telling her. She reacted with her trademark dramatic delight when seeing that her favorite pig had her very own app. Funny enough, Maia has also taken an interest in color creation lately – mixing different shade combinations to create new ones. Outside of promoting the Olivia brand, this is at the heart of this cute new app.

Olivia Paints hits the iTunes app store today and allows preschoolers to color virtual stickers with a brush and pallet and then place them on different backgrounds. The backgrounds will be familiar to those who watch Olivia on Nick Jr, as will the voice of the narrator used in the app. For $2.99, this app is worth it for Olivia fans, but also for any creative kid.

For us adults: To celebrate the launch of the Olivia app, developer Soma Creates is giving away an iPad with some Olivia goods. All the details on how to win are here.

Click here to download Olivia Paints.

Oliva the App
Olivia takes center stage in new app

It’s time again to look at some of the apps that are leaving smudge marks on my iPod Touch. Here’s a broad look at some of the best kid-friendly applications worthy of some gigabytes on your device.

Anorak Magazine (Oksar Ltd) –$1.99

Based on the beautifully-designed international magazine for kids, this app offers a handful of goodies for just $1.99.  Featuring the urban-art also present in the magazine, this ‘Happy App for Kids’ offers three categories of interaction: Read Stuff, Do Stuff and Play Stuff. Read Stuff features digital books taken right from the pages Anorak, including the delightfully unique “Three Eyed Dog” and the brightly colored and humorous “Gardens of Maryland.” Do Stuff features some standard drawing and coloring apps, but with added twists: the scribbling is on top of Anorak’s trademark character creations and kids are given a prompt on what to draw. Play Stuff features “Whack-Anorak” in a “Whac-A-Mole” style game that I found myself enjoying as much as Maia  did. A Cycling game included in the app is cool looking too, but was less interesting to Maia as it seemed a little above her skill level. This app will definitely be the most colorful and artistic on your iPhone.

The many colors of Anorak

Sprout Player (PBS KIDS Sprout)– Free

This free app lets the the little ones stream short video clips from the PBS KIDS Sprout network. You won’t find regular Sprout shows like Caillou or Sesame Street on the player, but instead, original Sprout-owned content like segments from The Good Night Show, The Sunny Side Up Show, and The Sprout Sharing Show. The app is easy to navigate for toddlers, letting them slide through visual thumbnails of the shows until they find the one they want. Maia’s favorites are episode clips that are all under 2 minutes or so, featuring  recipes or crafts being made by kids and their parents.  And, you know you are getting quality content when it is served from PBS.

Sprout content
Bite-sized Sprout

Disney Puzzle Slider (Disney Interactive) –$2.99

This app is currently getting the most usage in our house. Just like one of those scrambled tile puzzles you would find in a birthday goodie bag, this app serves up almost 100 puzzles with Disney characters on them. Users choose the number of tiles, a Disney theme and image, and then solve away. Maia especially loves collecting points to unlock “hidden” images. Some of the themes include Villains, Mickey and Friends, Classic Mickey, Fairies,  and my personal favorite, the stylized work of Bloc28. A recent app update also added a slew of “Princess and the Frog” puzzles to the mix. Favorite images can also be saved and used as backgrounds on your device. My daughter’s only complaint was the missing Princess category.

Disney eliminates need for dime-store plastic puzzles
Disney eliminates need for dime-store puzzles

Little Red Riding Hood StoryChimes (Siena Entertainment) – $.99

One of a series of digital books in the StoryChimes line from Siena, Little Red Riding Hood is a great addition to our growing digital book series. This book was notable for its ease of use, unique & retro artwork, professional narration and original music. Yes, “Little Red Riding Hood” can often be scary, but this version is softened with no dead grandma or slaughtered wolf.

Little Red meets Big Bad

Belindra–Vegetable Delivery (Morgan Marion) –$.99

This cute interactive storybook features “hand-drawn” style illustrations that really pop on this platform. ‘Belindra’ is certainly not flashy, but it is quirky and sweet in its appeal. The book tells the story of Belindra as she delivers veggies to her neighborhood. As an added bonus, this digital book features surprise interactions by clicking on cherries featured in each image.

Belindra delivers veggies and a smile

Old MacDonald (Duck Duck Moose) – $1.99

The creators of one of my favorite apps, Wheels on the Bus, are back with a worthy follow-up, Old MacDonald. Similar to its predecessor, it is described as an “interactive musical book” where users sing along with each line of the song on a different page. Each page also includes a different activity as well, such as using your fingers to shear a sheep, paint a pig, operate a tractor and trigger a cow’s alien abduction. Duck Duck Moose have definitely found a way to tap into the interactive possibilities of the iPhone/iTouch touch screen.

And on that farm he had a painting pig...
And on that farm he had a painting pig…

Slide-a-ma-jig (Lucky Radish Amusements) –$.99

This app is definitely not going to be called educational, but Maia has a lot of fun with it. Players create wacky, and sometimes gross, character creations by either shaking the iPod or sliding the hat, head, torso, legs and feet. Backgrounds can be switched up as well, creating tons of new scenes with every play. The entertainment value is provided by the detailed work put into the design of each character, and the humor behind it. Definitely an inexpensive distraction for older children.

Mobile gooey, gross-out fun
Gooey, gross-out fun goes mobile

We have two nightly, alternating bedtime traditions in our house.

1. Storytime

Life’s a party in The Jimmies’ videos. Life's a party in The Jimmies' videos.

2. “Watching Music”

While the first in pretty self-explanatory, the latter may need some clarification.

Maia is a music-junkie, and enjoys anything to which she can sing, dance or rock out. Once upon a time, after streaming an episode of Caillou, we showed her a music video on YouTube and a nightly tradition was born.

“Watching Music” now consists of firing up the laptop and watching kindie-centric music videos available online. Alternatively, we have also ripped some of Maia’s favorite music DVDs onto an iPod for her to enjoy on shuffle mode. We call it her own little MTV, minus the bad reality shows.

Believe it or not, there is an ample amount of resources online for finding kid-targeted music videos. Here are a few ways to get your own kiddie music video network going in your house. – This online destination strictly shows music videos for kids.  It is a great resource and one we have used often to find new artists and new videos. (Video Page) - One can spend multiple nights just watching the videos on this site. The detail, artistry and sheer fun put into each video by this NYC-based band has to be seen to believe.  There should be a kids category at the VMAs based on their videos alone.

Zooglobble’s YouTube Channel - Stefan Shepherd’s Zooglobble website is well known by kindie music lovers worldwide. He has also set up a YouTube channel as well with links to hours of music videos and live performances of kids and family music.

“Jack’s Big Music Show” Music Videos – You are sure to chance upon one of the many  music videos from this show on JitterBug or Zooglobble. However, this is a one-stop source for the music videos pulled from this show.  (Maia’s favorite video, Lisa Loeb’s Jenny Jenkins, comes from this show.)

Xilisoft DVD Convertor Software – Taking some of Maia’s favorite music DVDs, we have used this software to rip individual files onto our iPod so we can also watch videos on the “big screen.”

Some of the ripped DVDs in our private iPod mix include:

PokeyPup – This is a great place to shop for music DVDs, as it concentrates on kids entertainment only.

Below are a few of our favorites videos for the sampling.

Lisa Loeb – Jenny Jenkins

Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang – Farm Animal Friends

Justin Roberts – Pop Fly

Renee & Jeremy – It’s a Big World

The Jimmies – Cool To Be Uncool