iPlayPhone: iPhone app lets kids play “telephone” without actually calling

iPlayPhoneHow's this for a parent hack? Ryan Neudorf's one year-old son always wanted to play with Ryan's iPhone, but he didn't want him to accidentally call Japan. So he built an iPhone app, iPlayPhone, to simulate the fun while keeping the phone's calling features safely tucked away.

From Ryan's blog:

I built it for my 1yr old son who’s always running off with my phone. It’s simplictic but super fun. All the buttons play goofy sounds. The onShake sound totally baffles my son, he’s like “woah, i shake it and is makes sounds…weird.”

Ryan sent me three free download codes for iPlayPhone (at the US iTunes store) — if you'd like one, leave a comment some time today (Saturday). I'll randomly choose three folks and post the "winners" tomorrow!


  1. Megan says

    Oh my goodness!! What a great app! I will have to use that, my 3year old is already obsessed with the iPhone!

  2. Kat says

    I sure could use this! My little guy (19 months) called our local deli the other day with random button mashing (no idea how he managed it), and he’s a very poor Tetris player, so that only keeps him occupied until the blocks stack to the top and the game is over. =D

  3. says

    Hey, thanks for the coverage!

    I just wanted to mention that I’ll be releasing some sound effect packs for iPlayPhone in the near future, allowing you to change up the types of sounds.

  4. Jen R. says

    Jeepers! What a great idea for an app! My toddlers already love playing with my phone — for the game and drawing apps. They’d be very interested! I love the bright colored buttons on this one!

  5. Denise says

    This would be fantastic for my 14-month-old. I am so tired of hearing the Peekaboo Barn app and desperately need a change!

  6. Mom to G & C says

    What a terrific idea!! My 3 yr old and 18 month old are obsessed with my iphone- this is perfect!!

  7. says

    My kids are obsessed with our iPhone an iPod touch. We love this kind of stuff to keep them occupied at restaurants and on planes when the thrill of coloring books run out.

  8. says

    Great idea! I’d love to have that for emergencies — but considering my last phone died due to youngest child throwing it I try not to give him the iphone too much :)

  9. Sarah says

    I could almost kill my husband… because of his addiciton to his iPhone, my 2 yr old always sees him with it, and wants to be “cool” like dad and play with it too! We were doing so good keeping her away from video games! :(

    I like this ap though, it keeps it innocent and simplistic for the kids!

  10. Mandy says

    In the name of heave, I NEED THIS. we’re going on a 9 hour trip to California on Tuesday, and I am despairing that I will find enough things to keep my 22 mo old entertained! Does it work on the ipod touch?

  11. Janice says

    I need this app! My 16-month-old is obsessed with my iPhone.

    I’d love to know what other apps people have found for entertaining their kids. I have Peekaboo Barn, MiniPiano, DigiLite drum pad, Scribble, BubbleWrap, and Lightsaber. White Noise was really helpful for naps and bedtime when we were away on vacation. And the Sesame Street podcast, while not updated in a while, has bought me those crucial few minutes for the grocery store checkout.

    Anyone have any other favs?

  12. Wendy Huang says

    it’s interesting to see so many parents letting their 1, 2, 3 year olds play w/ their iphone. I’ve got an ipod touch and would like to enter the drawing.

  13. Alex says

    We’d love it! Between all our phones, it’s just a matter of time before our little one calls Siberia. Or 911. My friend’s baby did that 10 years ago. :)

  14. says

    Man, that’s totally a “Why Didn’t I Think of That” moment. My 1 and 3 year old’s are always fighting over my iPhone. My 3 year old can get on YouTube and my 1 year old has already figured out how to turn the thing on by himself. I need a kid-entertaining app!! I’d love a download code.

  15. Mary says

    Wow! My 2 year-old walks around with Daddy’s iPhone – “Pho? Pho? Pho?” – just begging to actually push the buttons. This sounds perfect!

  16. Sierra says

    Awesome- my two year old has cost me a few $$$ in the past playing with my phone- this is brilliant!

  17. Antoinette says

    I love this. My two year old is always playing with my phone and has called people in other countries before!!

  18. Michelle says

    My 2.5 year old is addicted to the iPod. I start to feel guilty…and then she learns a few new numbers and I am thankful instead!

  19. Laura K says

    Does this work with the iPod Touch? That’s what I have – but my boys are enthralled with it.

  20. Amanda says

    *raises hand* Oooo please count me into the contest. My iPod is by far the greatest parent hack for doctor’s appointments and this would be a great program to have.

  21. Paige says

    Pick me, pick me!! My 2yo hasn’t called japan, but she did manage to call Spain! I NEED this!! :)

  22. Rachel says

    That’s awesome! I have wordex on my phone for spelling learning, but my son has already mastered it.

  23. says

    My 13 month old would love this! We just have an ipod touch, but she thinks it is a phone and loves to play phone with it.

    She also enjoys the free app I Hear Ewe, which allows her to tap animals and hear animal sounds. She loves all animals, and this game makes her giggle and giggle.

  24. Jana says

    Yea! What a clever idea! My little guy is getting tired of the MiniPiano! This looks fantastic!

  25. philldo says

    Good idea. My 1yr old is into the ballon game while my 2 yr old already rocks out to full games like tank , car, and ball games. They learn all too quick.

  26. Lynn says

    My girls would LOVE this. They are always taking my iPhone and playing with the different applications on it.

  27. Mark Kennedy says

    My 3 year old son would love this. All he wants to do is play “Monkey” which is short for Super Monkey Ball. The problem is he has no idea how to play.

  28. Annelies says

    That is such a great idea – and how cool that the dad just wrote the app himself; necessity is the mother (and father!) of us all.

  29. says

    sweet! Maybe my son will start pushing the screen instead of just drooling all over the phone, and making calls to other countries.

  30. lance says

    My wife would love this for our little boy. You can only play the photos slideshow so many times before that trick doesn’t work any more. It loses the entertainment factor.

  31. says

    I have a couple kids that would totally dig this. I work with phones ALL day at work (www.freedomiq.com), and I’m sure my kids would love to follow in my footsteps. Not to mention, Apple wasn’t very nice to my invention (www.mynewber.com). Glad you were able to get your app in to the exclusive app store!

  32. Cynthia Vargas says

    This is an awesome app and we’ll be sure to get it! Our two-year-old has his own app page on my husband’s iPhone and just loves it. He knows how to unlock it on his own and to go to his page of apps that includes youtube, Monkey Ball, a penguin game, Dress Chica, and many more. The most hilarious thing for us was watching him teach his grandmother how to use the iPhone the other day.

  33. Stephanie Terrell says

    Genius!!! My girl loves my phone. Sesame street podcasts only entertain for so long. What a neat idea!

  34. Felicia says

    I’m also wondering if it’ll work on the itouch. Great app idea. Perhaps it’ll give rise to more fun for kids on an iphone.

  35. says

    Ohhh I sooo need that!!! My daughter won’t leave my phone alone. Sometimes giving her my phone is the only way to chill her out. She sees her daddy on the phone all the time so therefore she wants it. Thanks for this opportunity!!

  36. SAR says

    The bane of any iPhone app that purports to be kid friendly is that none of them can “lock out” the home button… and I don’t know about all of your kids, but my 19 month old has no problem mashing on that button constantly (and he just figured out how to do the slide unlock)

  37. youreanidtio says

    WTF?!?!?! Don’t let kids or ANYONE play with the iPhone. This is a bad habit. I have two year old twins and can always keep them occupied without my precious electronics being broken. BAD BAD idea!! You’re all f’n crazy. Kids play with their toys, not my tools!

  38. says

    I’d prefer to let them play using a UI that is decidedly less like a real telephone… perhaps an iPhone app that mimics a rotary dial ;)