I recently discussed a few of the iPad apps for kids that my daughter and I have been digging on lately. Well, another one has caught our eye. Nancy O’Dell, host of Entertainment Tonight, has created an interactive educational app for kids that just came out on iTunes. At $2.99, it’s an app that won’t break the bank. (And, really, she had us at educational.) Read on for why Nancy created the app, her thoughts on kids and technology, how she fits in “me time” and her favorite go-to meal!
Interview with Nancy O’Dell
- FBM: Tell us about your new educational app for kids. How does it work and why were you inspired to create it?
- NO: It’s an animated Storybook app called “Little Ashby: Star Reporter.” It’s super-interactive and educational for kids, and it gives children the opportunity to travel the world via fun stories while learning so much about it along the way. Little Ashby: Star Reporter is given an assignment every story, so she and her FUNtastic cartoon crew go on an adventure to file the report when they return. The app teaches educational facts throughout, as well as values and acceptance. There are games at the end to reinforce what is learned.
- As the host of Entertainment Tonight, one of the things I love most about my job is how much I learn by meeting interesting people and going to so many different places. So, I thought how fun it would be for little kids to do that, too! Obviously, they can’t travel the world in reality by themselves, but they can via an app. So that’s the inspiration for Little Ashby: Star Reporter. And what better first assignment for a little reporter to cover than Santa’s Big Premiere on Christmas Eve? The little cameraman, Arty, is voiced by Bryson Foster, MDA’s National Goodwill Ambassador, so a portion of the proceeds will go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
- FBM: There’s a lot of hubbub about technology and kids and if it’s good for them or not. What’s your take on this?
- NO: I think it depends on what technology it is. I don’t believe in mindless video games that are played non-stop. But technology is what is now, so it is going to be a part of our children’s lives. So the most im
- portant thing is to look for quality technology from which they can grow and learn. I have a couple of computer games that my daughter loves to play that taught her things like patterns and simple math before kindergarten. And it makes it really fun to learn, which is key! And boy, was I smiling from ear to ear the other day when we were watching a Christmas movie together and the Northern Lights were in the movie and my daughter went, “Look, Mom! The Northern Lights!” In my new app, we have some actual real-life videos the kids can tap on a little icon and see…like the Northern Lights as Little Ashby and her crew see them while flying on Blitzen on their way to the North Pole!
- FBM: You’re a busy woman with three kids and an amazing career. How do you get your “me-time”?
- NO: Me-time? What is that? No, I am kidding. Actually, I am such a family gal that I would much rather be around my husband and kids than to have alone time. One thing I do do as a busy woman though is to try and do two things at once. For example, if I wanna get some exercise, I’ll go out and play tag with my daughter and sons. That way I get cardio and quality time with my kids!
- FBM: There is a lot of pressure in Hollywood to look a certain way and be a certain size. How do you deal with that and set a healthy example for your family?
- NO: That is very true…there is a lot of pressure. I believe in being healthy first so when I exercise it is as much for my health as it is for my shape. For example, when I exercise, I know it keeps my cholesterol down, not just my dress size! At our home, I just try to tell the truth to my kids. I explain why certain foods are good for them and that is why they need to eat fruits and vegetables–not because of how they make you look. It’s very important to always use the word “healthy” when encouraging certain foods!
- FBM: What’s the best part of being a mom?
- NO: EVERYTHING! Not kidding on that. I LOVE being a mom. I say the best thing about being a mom is that even if I have a tiring day at work, the minute I walk in the door and I see my daughter’s little face and she runs up and gives me a hug, everything is better automatically!
- FBM: What’s your favorite go-to healthy meal?
- NO: A romaine lettuce salad with feta cheese! Romaine lettuce is filling and has so many nutrients in it and it is so simple…no cooking. I oftentimes cut some up in the morning and put it in a Tupperware and take it to work, as it is so easy!
- FBM: What’s your weekly workout routine like?
- NO: I work out about four times a week. My poor trainer has to come at about 5 a.m. in the morning as I have to be at work so early. We do light weight-lifting and cardio. And as I mentioned before, I try to incorporate some kind of physical activity with my kids as well. We are all newly into tennis, so that is a fun family sport!
- A big thanks to Nancy for taking the time to answer our questions! Love how honest she is about “me time”…that it’s almost nonexistent! —Erin