Hot Trend Alert: Playdate apps for smartphones

The more developers realize that moms are devouring phone apps, the more they’re creating awesome apps just for us. Last week alone, we learned about a whole ton of new FourSquare-style apps just for parents, that help you connect with your social circle for playdates and organize your kids’ social calendars. Here’s our take on a few of them.

And, once again, I’m reminded that my children have better social lives than I do. -Jeana

I recently profiled a really fab app and complementary website called RedRover (get it?) which lets you spontaneously reach out to your social network of moms and plan playdates on-the-go. The interface is gorgeous, and it’s incredibly well-designed and intuitive. Best of all, it’s totally free. This one is easily the best of the best.

(RedRover is free on the web or on iTunes for iPhone, coming soon to Android)

YellowBrck 

YellowBrck is a mix between FourSquare and Facebook Places for moms and dads. You can check in to a location–say a bowling alley–and other parents in your network can see that you’re there and spontaneously join you for a couple strikes. In addition to making playdates on-the-fly, this app awards users with virtual stickers for checking into places and offers real discounts off local retailers à la Groupon–but it’s only limited to NYC at present. Hopefully, they’ll roll out more cities soon.

(YellowBrck is free on iTunes for iPhone, coming soon to Blackberry and Android)

Instant Playdates

Instant Playdates is an app created by popular mom blogger Colleen Padilla, who knows a little something about socializing and community connectivity. Upon logging in, you are automatically connected to all your friends on Facebook and can begin setting up playdates immediately. Just create an event like a birthday party or backyard playdate, select people to invite to it and see who responds. This is a pretty basic app, so if you want something that’s simple and easy (unlike the party I just planned for 12 preschoolers) this is a good choice.

(Instant Playdates is free on iTunes for iPhone)

CmomGo

CmomGo has both a website and app that automatically sync with each other, making it easy to use wherever you are. Instead of adding your Facebook friends by default, you can create different “circles” and choose who you’d like to include in each. Once your various circles are established, you can invite people to events, plan activities, and also share photos, which is a cool feature. This is the only app here that offers photo functionality, so if you don’t want to broadcast those cute photos of baby bathtime on Facebook, you can use CmomGo to share them privately.

(CmomGo is $1.99 on iTunes for iPhone)

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

2 Comments

  • Reply March 10, 2011

    Sue Polheimer

    All the apps take a different angle on playdates. Personally, I think RedRover is the worst of the bunch (even though it is the prettiest) – did you actually use it to try to set up a playdate? You have to choose from a limited list of locations – you can’t even schedule a playdate at your house or local park! That’s a total deal breaker for me.

  • Reply March 11, 2011

    Jeana

    Hi Sue, thanks for your comment. Sorry to hear that you are unhappy with RedRover, but you seem to have overlooked some features on the app and complementary site. There actually is an option to plan playdates from both your house and any location of your choosing. You can do both! On the app, if you hit the “Share” button, then “Make a Plan,” you’ll see the option to “Make the Plan at My House.” Underneath that, there’s also an option to “Add the Places You Love” to pick your own locale. Both of these features are offered through the app and via the website. We thoroughly tested RedRover and wouldn’t recommend something so highly if it didn’t have all the features we are all looking for!

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