My 6 year old and mom just spent the evening playing tic tac toe, coloring together, and doing mazes and word searches.  They ended their visit with my mom reading my daughter a bedtime story.  Before you begin the hate mail, this was all from the comfort and safety of our own homes.  The app is called Caribu, and it states in the app store, “to help keep families connected during the Covid-19 pandemic, AT&T is funding 60 days of free access and unlimited usage of Caribu.”  I am amazed by this generosity, and am even more inclined to pay the $6.99 a month for this service after the free access ends.

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I am still exploring all this app has to offer, but have found THOUSANDS of books, including major series kids love (like Barbie, Thomas the Train, Highlights, and Baby Einstein), tons of coloring pages again with all things kids love (space, dinosaurs, unicorns, mermaids), connect the dots, color by number.  There are also more educational activities that teach counting, the alphabet, how to draw, matching words to pictures, and adding money.  I also noticed under “Holiday” they had books, coloring pages, and more for Easter, Greek Easter, and Passover, which I very much appreciated.  In the Passover section were several books with the words to Passover songs, as well as several recipes for dishes with matzo, a guide to setting up a seder, and even a Haggadah!

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The selection of books and activities is unbelievable, but even more amazing is how easy this app is to use.  My 6 year old and mother (I won’t mention her age) figured it out instantly.  It was amazing to see the empty tic tac toe board get filled in with an X on our end as my mom wrote it in on her own iPad from her home.  As they colored, my daughter worked on the unicorn’s head while my mom colored in its body.  While they played, small screens showed our video and my mom’s, and they could speak to and see one another just like a Facetime call.  They were then able to choose and open the same book and my daughter turned the pages while my mom read.

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In this time of social distancing so many of us are missing our family and friends.  I have done a few Zoom and Facetime calls with my daughter’s friends, but at her age, they aren’t excited to sit and chat.  This app allows them to color together and do some of the activities they would normally do on a playdate to make the online experience a little more familiar for them.

I want to help spread the word about this incredible app so every grandparent who is missing their grandchildren, and every child who is missing playdates with their friends can get just a little bit of that normalcy back in their lives.  And when things return to normal (which they will one day) I imagine this app is amazing for parents who have to travel for work and miss reading their children a bedtime story.

Before you rush to immediately get this app, a bit about me.  I am a mother of 2, a former teacher, and an author.  If you browse my website (Lorifettner.com) you can learn about my books (Welcome to Motherhood, Teaching to the Child, and picture books No Place Like Earth, What Do You Do with a Doodleloo?, and Goodbye Bad Dreams–an I Create Art book.)  I also have a comprehensive book database with books to help kids and parents get through just about any difficult situation.  Finally, check out facebook.com/authorlorifettner to see two live readings I did with my daughter for two of my books that can be particularly helpful at this time.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you found the information here helpful!