Two Christmas Freebies

15 Nov

I know it is early, but since our Australian schools break up in December, our teachers are already starting to discuss Advent and Christmas, and parents are planning holiday activities. I’ll be looking at festively themed resources for your iPods, iPads, and iPad Minis, along with a few suggestions that might be handy as Christmas gifts. Today, I’m going to highlight two festive and fun things for your iPads, iPhones and iPods. Both of these are favourites of mine, and are free, so enjoy.

Christmas Stocking Podcast iconChristmas Stocking PodcastThe Christmas Stocking Podcast

Suitable for iPad, iPhone, iPod and any device capable of playing MP3 files.

Lee Cameron has been doing this seasonal podcast for several years now and I’ve downloaded every episode of its 6 seasons. The Christmas Stocking Podcast kicks off around Thanksgiving and finishes just after Christmas each year, with a special Summer Spectacular (Christmas in July) edition mid-year to give everyone a boost. I can’t wait for this season’s podcasts to begin as my children and I listen to them as we are doing our Christmas crafts, writing cards, decorating the Christmas tree or driving around looking at neighbourhood Christmas lights. If you ever hear Lee mention Sarah in Australia, no points for guessing who he is giving the shout out to. Let me give a shout out of my own – Hello to Lee and his North Pole insider, Norman the Elf, and all the Christmas Stocking podcast listeners. Can’t wait for the next episode, which I am reliably informed is due about November 19th. This year’s promo is already in the iTunes store along with July’s Summer Spectacular, and episodes from earlier years. You can subscribe through iTunes by clicking the button above.

The podcasts cover all aspects of Christmas around the world, including stories, customs and traditions, and historical perspectives. Each episode always features a mix of modern and traditional Christmas music. The podcasts are family friendly and will be a great resource for teachers, families and anyone interested in learning more about this special holiday. Short, sweet and to the point, each podcast lasts about 10 – 15 minutes (Summer Spectaculars are longer), which is the perfect length for me.

Lee has a website at www.mychristmasstocking.net with relative links, photos and other resources for the show, including past episodes. Lee loves his listeners to contact him with questions and suggestions. The Christmas Stocking Facebook page is a great way to do this, or you can check his website for other ways of contacting him, such as email and Twitter.

Toca Hair Salon - Christmas GiftToca Hair Salon - Christmas Gift - Toca Boca ABToca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift

Universal: Will suit iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, iPod Touch

I’m a Toca Boca tragic, and this app was the first of their Apps ever to grace my iPad. This App is the free version of their Toca Hair Salon. You can cut, colour, shave and style Santa or a Christmas tree, and even re-grow hair. Think of it as a virtual version of one of those over-large doll heads that allow little people play hairdresser, except that this is less messy, non gender-specific, reversible (once you shave a doll’s head, that’s the end!) and a lot cooler. Take a photo of the finished result and see it festively framed in your camera roll. My children helped me to review this app along with other Toca Boca Apps a few months ago.

Unlike a lot of free apps, this one is add-free with no in-app purchases. There are external links to social media and the Toca Boca website in the “For Parents” section but these are discrete and most children won’t see them. Turn off wi-fi and Internet access before handing the device to your child to prevent them from accessing these links. While aimed at younger children, everyone can have fun with this lovely app. If you’ve never tried Toca Boca apps before, Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift will get you hooked.

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