RedRover, RedRover, let Chloe, Caleb, and Ella come over.

This winter break week has been my official indoctrination into the complexity of the public school calendar. In talking to my girlfriends who are also school vacation newbies, we’ve come to the consensus that indoor play spaces and spontaneous play dates are godsends. Coincidentally, I just discovered a super helpful, brand new app that makes those on-the-fly kids get togethers so much easier for parents and caregivers.

It’s clear that a mom invented RedRover because it’s absolutely brilliant. It lets you invite people from all your contact lists–Outlook database, iPhone address book, Hotmail, Google, AOL, and so on–and essentially create a private social network of your peeps that you can reach out to and schedule something on a whim.

The nicely designed app uses GPS technology to track locations near you. Simply select which one you want to meet at and send it to your contacts as an invite, or just inform them that you’re there. Think of it like a Facebook status update–I’m at Polka Dot Playhouse!–but for a private group.The app also lets you filter locations by kid-friendly locations and (genius!) places with clean bathrooms. You can also use the same features on the app’s complementary website. But one benefit of the mobile app is an auto-call/text feature for emergency contacts and 911.

Some fun trivia: the clever mama who created this app is Kathryn Tucker who also happened to be the producer for the award-winning indie film, The Station Agent. If there’s an award for a great app for moms, she deserves it. There are a lot of school vacations and play dates in my future and I’ll be RedRovering all over them. -Jeana 

RedRover is free and works with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices. It is available in iTunes.

Jeana Lee Tahnk is a prolific tech writer, crafty mom, and fan of any products that make it easier to raise three children.

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