Doctors might be recommending that kids limit their screen time on computers, tablets, and televisions, but there is no discounting the educational value that can be obtained with these devices. With four young ones at home helping me every day, I have the perfect opportunity to get their honest, unbiased reviews of the best apps for kids that are on the market today.
From ebooks on Amazon to websites like ABCmouse.com, kids today are better connected than ever before. I used to find it fun to play binary battleship on a PET 8088. My kids get upset if the website or app buffers for more than 3 seconds! These apps will help you take advantage of the interest kids today have in technology and boost their learning curve.
[Please Note: Some apps require a paid subscription for full access.]
This app brings the popular television show to live in every home. It’s on the iOS right now, but thanks to a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, it will be made available in classrooms and other platforms in the near future. You get to read books to your kids or the app will read books to them if you prefer. The books have animations in them as well. Add in the classic video field trips and your kids will have a great time!
2. Angry Birds
My 3 year old son can’t get enough of Angry Birds. “Can I use a powerup Daddy?” is a constant question in our home. Although it is a game, it does promote logical concept development as progressive thinking skills. Add some Star Wars goodness into the mix and Transformers coming up in September and you’ll have an obsession too.
There are times in life when the kids are going bananas, you’re stuck in traffic, and someone is inevitably screaming about the shots the doctor gave them three years ago. This app contains 150 game ideas to help you get through even the toughest situations and your doctor will like it because no screen time is required. With bedtime games included, kids will find that the daily routine ends up being a little more fun.
Your kids will get to join their favorite Planes characters to help fight a massive wildfire! There are three free interactive games that come with this app, but in-app purchases are required to complete the entire story line. There are also 3 free jigsaw puzzles to put together, but the best aspect of this app is the scene builder activities in each game. The kids love collecting the character cards and the boys now have decided that they too are going to be firefighters when they grow up.
5. Todo Math
Mathematics is the one universal language that we all share. It is at the core of many of the things we do every day, whether we realize it or not. Try getting the average kid excited about doing 5 sheets of math problems, however, and you’re in for a challenge. This app provides a complete math curriculum that makes math learning fun and a lot easier to do. There are 18 games that help kids begin to solve problems and it starts at the kindergarten level. Since transitioning to this app, the twins have been zapping through their math schoolwork like crazy!
Trees have a lot of secrets. With this app, kids will start to learn these secrets and begin the journey of understanding how difficult it can sometimes be to take care of a specific environment. You can rule the weather, but if you’ve got boys, you’ll find that they like to set forest fires more than anything else. As for the girls, they now point out what every kind of tree happens to be.
Who doesn’t love building stuff up and then smashing it down? That’s pretty much the concept of this app. It helps to develop creativity and logic while speaking to that inner desire to break stuff. From a kid perspective, because there are no time limits on the game, a full world can be constructed without a hurried pace.
If you’ve got girls, then you’ve undoubtedly heard several versions of “Let It Go” over the last couple days. With this app, now they can sing along with their favorite tracks while getting to see clips of the movie [you know, so you don’t have to watch the whole movie again for the 500th time]. You can also record voices with the original tracks to create your own performance. You also get the rights to share your vocals with Disney’s tracks with others.
9. Whac A Mole
We use this app when we need a few moments of peace and quiet. The kids love the game because it’s a 3D version where you just tap and swipe. Just watch out for the flying tablet if something doesn’t go your child’s way!
10. The Artifacts
This app is an original picture book that was specifically created for iOS systems. It’s about a little boy named Asaf and he likes to collect things. It works well for kids ages 4 and up… and parents are going to like it too.
This app is a 23 minute pilot “television” episode that talks to kids about emotional and social issues. It has some moments of humor within it and a number of opportunities to speak to your kids about sometimes sensitive issues in a natural way.
An original soundtrack, several illustrated stories, and mini-games to play, the kids really love this HD iOS app.
Bonus Listing: Cosmos – A Spacetime Odyssey
When my son heard that I was writing a piece about these apps, he insisted that the Cosmos app that works with the rebotted television series be included. “It makes science cool,” he said. “I like exploring black holes, going through time, and learning about science.” He’s 5. He’s also watched the entire 13 episode series twice.