Universal (iPhone / iPod / iPad)

plum
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Plum's Photo Hunt is the perfect app for the nature lover and little explorer in your home. With a variety of photo missions and a field journal to add notes, kids are going to love this app.
4.4

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Plum’s Photo Hunt is a simple, yet fun app that encourages children to get outside and explore nature by taking photographs and notes on what they observe. With a variety of categories to explore including, clouds, water, animal life, plants, etc. this is a great app to keep children engaged and active especially during the summer months. This is a great app that the entire family can enjoy.

Features include:

  • 15 Photo Missions
  • Field Journal
  • Photobombs

Quality

The developers have done a great job making Plum’s Photo Hunt easy to use for children of all ages. With three simple activities, children can find a variety of interesting items, animals, and plants out in nature and log them in their field journal or add a special animated character in the Photobomb section very easily. With fun illustrations and characters within the app, Plum’s Photo Hunt is of good quality for what it does.

Education

While children aren’t learning specific facts about what they find from the app itself, they are putting their observation skills to work as they explore. It also encourages children to get outdoors and inspires them to ask questions about the things they find. As children find various plants, clouds, and animals out in nature and log their findings, they are also given the opportunity to learn lots of great information in a hands on way.

Entertainment

Plum’s Photo Hunt is designed to get children outdoors and exploring their surroundings by providing specific photo missions to complete. There are a variety of categories including, water, clouds, animal life, plants, etc. for players to find and document. There is also a field journal that allows children to include their notes on what they have found and any additional observations they may have. For families that love the outdoors and love exploring nature, this app can be lots of fun. Children are also really going to enjoy the Photobomb section that allows them to take pictures with fun characters included in the background.

To add a bit more entertainment value, it would be nice to have a reward system or an additional activity for children to enjoy along with the photo hunt activity.

Value

Parents will certainly appreciate the price of this app as it is completely free. With lots of things to explore in nature, and fun photobombs they can enjoy, this is an app that is likely going to be a favorite for the entire family.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done a great job of making this app safe and easy to use for children of all ages. With simple tap and touch functioning and the ability to type observation notes the user interface is quite intuitive and easy for kids to enjoy.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

image (15)

Say Word

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Say Word is a perfect tool for students in middle to upper elementary on up to use for practice with difficult homophones and easily-confused words. Most will find the vocabulary and concepts challenging and interesting.
4.1

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Say Word presents players with a list of several homophones (words that are spelled differently but sound the same) and sentences with blanks. Users drag the correct word into each sentence to score points and win stickers. The app ranges from grade 1 through collegiate level, and offers a score card when each grade is completed.

Features include:

  • Ten free levels and nearly 100 levels all together
  • Colorful drag-and-drop interface
  • Provides practice on sets of two, three, and four word homophones
  • Earn stickers and points for successful responses
  • Unlock level after level to keep the fun going

Quality

Say Word is a quality app that will help middle elementary students and above learn to distinguish homophones like “here/hear” and “purr/per.” The interface is simple to use; users just drag the correct word to the blank in the corresponding sentence. There is an optional timer to add an element of speed, and levels can be replayed for a better score or for review.

However, parents and teachers should be aware that the app has a decidedly British English flair that may confuse some American students. For example, one sentence in an early level talks about a teacher giving a naughty pupil a “knap” on the head. This usage of “knap,” meaning a sharp rap, is not at all common in the U.S., and may confuse some students.  There are also some sentences that use poor grammar.  For example, one sentence reads “The elderly patient was very weak and ail after receiving her medication.” The word “ail” was the supposedly correct response, even though it was not grammatically sound.  Another example of a poorly constructed sentence, also found in the early levels of the game, was “The stuntman performed a def defying feat.”  Developers should consider revising these items and check the rest of the levels for similar problems.

Education

Say Word is very educational and will help students practice choosing the correct homophone from sets of confusing words.  Most students need nearly constant review of these sets of words, and mastering them is extremely important, because errors with homophones are frequently missed by spell-check systems. Nearly everyone needs to present writing with sound spelling and grammar, and mistakes on these seemingly simple words look very careless.  Practicing with Say Word will help minimize these kinds of mistakes.

However, the app does have a few drawbacks. Though the early levels claim to be for grades 1 and 2, the vocabulary and concepts in the sentences are far too challenging for young elementary students. For example, one sentence in the second grade questions reads, “ ‘Who knows?’ is an example of a rhetorical question, because it is a statement that does not ask for an answer.”  The homophone needed for the response is well within the second grade reading vocabulary (knows), but the other words in the sentence, such as “rhetorical”, and the entire concept, are far beyond the understanding of most second graders.  So, while the app claims to reach all the way down to first grade material, a better age range might be at least middle to upper elementary level to introduce it.  The levels do claim to go past collegiate level, as well, so the app is likely to be a good practice tool for older students.

Also, the app presents the target words in a word bank with the words colored apparently randomly against a colored background. Most of the color combinations are fine, but a few of them are very low-contrast, which could be very challenging for some readers.  Any student with visual impairment could have serious problems seeing the words.  Also, many struggling readers make a lot more errors when reading with low contrast.  App designers should ensure that the words are always in high-contrast combinations against the background color.

Entertainment

Say Word is not very flashy, but most learners will find it engaging enough to keep playing if they have a goal of mastering these challenging homophones.  The game moves fast, and feedback is provided for each grade level in the form of a performance “grade” as well as a number score.  Players also can earn stickers for strong performances, but this may not prove very motivating for students beyond middle elementary school.  The app uses positive comments to affirm correct responses, but these are highly repetitive and somewhat difficult to understand.  Incorrect answers will cause the sentence to drop to the end of the list, so there is little negative feedback. This helps lend an overall positive feeling to the app, even for students who struggle.  However, after three missed items, the app closes the activity and puts a “failed” message on the screen. It would be good to refocus that onto a less negative response, such as “sorry” or “let’s try again.”

Value

Say Word is free to download and comes with the first 10 levels built in.  This covers homophones through part of the third grade level.  There are 66 additional levels that can be unlocked through in-app purchase.  Users can choose to spend $1.99 to unlock all of the additional levels or can purchase the next 20 levels for $0.99.  The free levels will give users a good sample of the app’s workings and capabilities, but may seem fairly easy to more mature users.

Child Friendliness

This app is child-friendly, but has a few negative features that developers need to redesign.  It is a concern that the in-app purchases are visible on the level choice screens, though these are protected by an effective parent gate as well as the user’s App Store credentials.  It is also a concern that there is a link to share scores on Facebook presented with the completion of each grade level.  Both of these items should be protected in a Parents’ Area where they would not be visible to younger players.

  • NO external links
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchases (protected, but visible)
  • YES Social media links (protected, but visible)

pete
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Join Pete & Mike on their adventure to help and save the townspeople from an angry dragon sleeping in a nearby mountain. With lots of adventure, interactive illustrations, and clues to follow, children will love this app!
4.4

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Pete & Mike is an adventure filled interactive story that children will love. With whimsical illustrations and lots of animated bits throughout, this app combines unique storytelling, problem solving and adventure to keep players engaged as they help Pete & Mike help a small town of people who are afraid of a nearby dragon. Children are going to love being the hero in this interactive fairytale app as they save the day!

Features include:

  • Interactive illustrations
  • Problem solving adventure
  • Unique user interface

Quality

Pete & Mike is unlike any other adventurous game-like app that I have seen. With a very unique user interface, children must use their problem solving skills to follow the clues to solve the mystery and help the townspeople with their problems. While the set up isn’t exactly linear and takes some getting used to, players must get creative and follow the clues provided to know where to go next. Overall the quality is very good with great illustrations and interactive bits and the developers have done a great job of creating a helpful guide with flashing indicators for players in the event they get stuck.

Education

While Pete & Mike isn’t focused so much on educational features, it does provide children with a fun way to use their problem solving skills to move through the adventure and help the townspeople. Since the set up isn’t linear and players must follow the clues, it creates a fun challenge for children and creates an opportunity to really use their logic and reasoning throughout the app. Parents will also want to know that this app is designed for children between the ages of 6-8 and the text and story does not have a narration option which makes it a bit more difficult to play for younger children. Adding a narration option would definitely enhance the app and allow younger children to not only enjoy the app, but also practice a bit of their reading skills as they play.

Entertainment

Since this app is designed to be a bit of a puzzle, children who love that sort of thing are going to really enjoy this app. As players follow the clues to solve the mystery, they are guided to help specific people in the town and they must do it in a specific order. This unique set up can be a lot of fun for puzzle lovers and children who love a good challenge. With that said, it seems that the actual play time of the app is a bit short and adding some sort of bonus round or additional activity would add a bit more entertainment value for players.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars, this app is priced well for what it includes. The illustrations are very well done and the interactive features throughout make it engaging and fun to play. Both children and parents will be happy with what this app has to offer and at a price that won’t break the bank.

Child Friendliness

While it takes some getting used to at first, the developers have done a good job of making Pete & Mike easy to use and child friendly. The help features are well done and are perfect for younger users who might be playing and get stumped. One thing that would help make this app even more child friendly especially for younger users would be to add a narration option.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

charliejumped
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Charlie Jumped out of the Clock is a great app that teaches children to tell time by incorporating educational lessons into an interactive story.
4.5

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Charlie Jumped out of the Clock is a cute storybook app that teaches children all there is to know about telling time in a fun way. Following Grandpa throughout his day, readers learn to set the clock to specific times so Grandpa doesn’t miss his daily chores. Along the way readers also have a great opportunity to learn to tell time as well.

Features include:

  • 17 Interactive scenes
  • 9 In-story quizzes
  • Practice mode

Quality

The developers have done a great job of making this app not only educational, but highly interactive in an easy to use way. The user interface is very intuitive with simple drag, drop, and tap functioning throughout. The graphics and simple animations also give a bit of interest to the app which is great to keep children engaged as they learn. Overall, Charlie Jumped out of the Clock is a great app for children of all ages.

Education

Learning how to tell time isn’t always easy, but this app makes it not only easy to learn, but fun too. Readers simply follow along with the narrated story as they learn all there is to know about telling time. Everything from learning what the hour and minute hands are used for to understanding the significance of AM and PM are covered in this app. Children are definitely going to get a lot of practice telling time as they complete each sequence with the additional quiz to test what they have learned all while helping Grandpa stay on task with his daily chores.

Entertainment

While not all educational apps are entertaining too, Charlie Jumped Out of the Clock is one that allows children to learn how to tell time while staying engaged and entertained. The story about Grandpa and Charlie the cogwheel is a good way to keep children engaged as they learn. Adding a bit more to the story or adding an additional fun activity or game would increase the entertainment value, however as it is now, it’s still a good app for kids.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars, this app is a very good value. With lots of great educational material to learn and a fun story to go along with it, children are going to get a lot of playing time out of this app. Parents will also appreciate the educational value for a price that won’t break the bank.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done a great job of keeping this app easy to use and safe for kids too. With simple tap, drag, and drop features to move through the app and narration throughout, players can easily learn to tell time with little help from parents.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

mysterywordtown
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Head to the Wild West and practice spelling sight words as you search for gold and explore Mystery Word Town.
4.5

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Put on your cowboy boots and spurs and head to the wild, wild west. Mystery Word Town is full of shady characters and it’s your job to find them. How will you do it? By collecting letters, amassing gold, and spelling common sight words. There won’t be any duels, but there will be plenty of big personalities and a lot of words to get through.

Features include:

  • Multiple player profiles
  • Three levels of difficulty
  • Two modes of play
  • Customizable characters

Quality

Mystery Word Town is home to a collection of buildings such as a general store and a circus tent. These buildings make up the town shown on the main screen. As kids travel from building to building (or level to level), a little ghost and a series of arrows guide them. The game moves smoothly from room to room in each building, but on the more involved levels has a tendency to crash occasionally. Fortunately, the game knows right where players left off when it is opened again. The game also allows multiple user accounts so different kids can play at different levels or progress at their own pace.

Education

While the game focuses on common sight words, it expects kids to have some familiarity with those sight words. There are two different modes of play. One mode allows kids to enter any letter in the blank to make a real word. The second mode says a word and kids must insert the correct letter in the blank. As kids get further into the game words increasingly feature more than one blank and require kids to search around for the appropriate letters. Kids can choose from three different word lists to use while they play. While the word lists appear to be at different levels, all seem to present an equal level of challenge with the design of the game.

Entertainment

Developers worked hard to create a realistic wild west town. Each building contains a series of wanted posters that introduce the various characters in the game. Kids can tap on the posters to hear each character’s story. The stories and the setting in general add an extra bit of entertainment to the game. Kids also have to explore each building to find the gold which often becomes the main focus and spelling the sight word is a secondary focus.

Value

Kids gain access to three extensive word lists featuring common sight words. Adults get access to the ability to add multiple player profiles, making it ideal for a classroom or family with multiple children. These features alone make it a solid value and worthwhile purchase.

Child Friendliness

The app allows kids and parents to adjust the level of word list to play and the mode of play. A more apps button is visible at the bottom of the front screen, but otherwise the game is very safe for children, a feature that is also highlighted in the parent section.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)

mathlab
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendliness
Summary
Young kids can build early math skills in 17 different ways as they make their way through this engaging math app.
4.4

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

MathLab for Kindergarten gives four to six-year-olds a math app that’s focused entirely on the basic math skills they need. This app combines number, shape, and pattern recognition with concepts such as more or less to help kids gather the building blocks they need for more advanced instruction in school. Two modes of play allow kids to review individual concepts or practice them all together. As they practice, they’re rewarded with cheers, peppy background music, and other positive support to help make learning math very fun.

Features include:

  • Multiple player profiles
  • 2 modes of play
  • 17 different skills/concepts
  • 4 different languages

Quality

On the main screen kids see two main options for play: Trip and Lab. They can also change the language from English to French, Spanish, or German. A small button above the logo allows kids to select their player profile or create a new player profile. Once kids have chosen a profile and start to complete the activities in the app, things move smoothly. The app does not include verbal instructions to help kids understand what to do. To play, kids must simply look at the picture and tap the correct answer out of two choices. They’re then quickly rewarded with a cheer or a shaking screen to indicate a wrong answer.

Education

The app focuses on the basic skills every kindergartener needs to know and it addresses each skill from multiple angles to help make the learning more interesting and to help kids gain a thorough understanding of the skill. Skills covered include number recognition, pattern completion, comparing the size of items, comparing numbers, naming shapes and counting their sides, skip counting, reading a number line, and basic addition. The app also includes color recognition which seems a bit out of place, but is helpful when completing patterns. It lacks basic subtraction practice which is part of Kindergarten standards in the U.S., but is understandable since the app was originally designed to fit Canadian standards.

Entertainment

The activities found in MathLab for Kindergarten all follow the same pattern. Kids see a problem and must choose the correct answer out of two choices. While this may seem like it would get boring, the content is varied so much that kids will still enjoy going through the problems. Kids can also play in two modes: Trip and Lab. Trip mode allows kids to travel to 20 different levels by bus, answering a variety of questions that increase in difficulty. Lab mode allows kids to focus on a specific skill and see how many questions they can answer correctly at one time. The game offers a small amount of progress tracking by showing how many questions have been answered correctly in both Trip and Lab modes, but it would be much more motivating and helpful if it tracked progress by skill or activity.

Value

With MathLab for Kindergarten, kids get access to basic math skills represented in 17 different ways. They’ll see numbers represented backwards, upside down, and in dots. They’ll fill in patterns by color and by shape. These different representations of each skill help increase the value of the app.

Child Friendliness

Everything found in the app is appropriate for children. Parents won’t find a parental dashboard or info screen. They also won’t see any in-app purchases, ads, or other safety concerns. The sole focus is on math.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase

stargurus
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Star Gurus is a great app for young children that will help them practice important counting skills which are foundational to learning math in early elementary school. The dot-to-dot game is rewarding in its own right, and the teaching is so gentle and unobtrusive that kids will not even know they are practicing important skills.
4.7

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Star Gurus is designed to help young children master rote counting from one to twenty, number sequence, count odd and even numbers, and skip count by tens to ninety. Players touch stars in sequence to connect them with lines in similar fashion to other dot-to-dot games, and create simple constellation pictures.

Features include:

  • Designed for young children to play independently
  • Optimized for visually impaired players
  • 30 unique constellation pictures
  • Correct pronunciation of numbers and picture names in ten different languages
  • Helps children master important early math skills

Quality

Star Gurus is a high quality app that will appeal to children who are learning to recognize numbers and count. The dot-to-dot format is a perennial favorite of children, and the interface is intuitive. The simple illustrations are bright and easy to see, and the app responds quickly when stars are touched. It is possible to touch the stars a bit faster than the narration, however. This results in the voice saying “eight,” for example, when the user has touched the ten.

Education

Star Gurus offers a great opportunity to play with numbers in a relaxed atmosphere with guaranteed success. Parents or other adults can adjust settings to control the difficulty of the task, ranging from counting from 1 to 10 all the way to counting odd or even numbers only or skip counting by tens to ninety. The star patterns, like real constellations, are somewhat vague, so young children will often be surprised by the picture they have made. The pictures are intriguing, as well, including a brontosaurus, a sugar-glider, and a snail among other things. The narration is clear and crisp, and easy to understand, which will help children name the numbers. It’s very cool that the app can be used in any of ten different languages; with young children’s ability to pick up words in foreign tongues, this is a great opportunity to learn a few new words.

The developers did a good job of making the game failure-proof. The next star in the sequence begins to pulsate after a few seconds, and parents can control the timing of this hint system in the settings. If a child taps an incorrect number, the line appears briefly, then disappears immediately. Every user is nearly guaranteed success.

Entertainment

Dot-to-dot pictures fascinate most young children, so this app will quickly become a favorite. Currently, there are thirty different “constellations” so even though the pictures seem to stay in the same order, there are enough of them that youngsters are not likely to be able to predict which will be coming next even if they’ve cycled through several times.

The app’s illustrations are simple, yet detailed enough to be interesting, and the range of things depicted is wonderful. In addition to real world, common animals such as dog and cat, children are also treated to unicorns, octopuses, centaurs, and mermaids. The app will expand most children’s vocabulary!

Value

This app is a great value at ninety-nine cents. It covers a range of skills that most children learn between the ages of 3 and 7 years. In addition, kids have the opportunity to learn to count and say a few words in many other languages. Developers also indicate that they are adding more pictures with the updates, so it will be interesting to see what comes next.

Child Friendliness

Star Gurus is very child friendly with one glaring exception. The app presents a ratings pop-up after a few uses that is unprotected and takes the user straight to the App Store rating system. This really should be in the protected area to prevent young users from accessing it.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links and social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES “rate app” pop-up (unprotected)
  • YES “more apps” (unprotected and visible by default, can be hidden in device settings)

backsoon
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
The parents head on vacation and leave the kids behind in a cute story that teaches kids how to handle their time away.
4.3

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Most parents need to get away every now and then, but leaving the kids for a few days can evoke a range of emotions. Back Soon – Parents Vacation uses a cute rhyming story to help kids learn about the emotions they may experience when their parents go away. Even though Anna and her little brother Dan have their grandparents to entertain them, they still miss their mom and dad. By learning from the experience of Anna and Dan, kids will be more prepared when their parents take a vacation of their own.

Features include:

  • Cute rhyming story
  • Interactive illustrations
  • Read to Me option
  • Read to Myself option

Quality

Back Soon – Parents Vacation gains points more for the lessons it teaches than the quality of the story. The story is narrated with an engaging child’s voice, features a fun rhyme and is illustrated with colorful pictures. However, at times the rhyme seems a bit forced and the illustrations, while interactive, are very simple. Still kids will enjoy read through the story which they can do easily using the arrows and the page selector to help guide them from page to page.

Education

When it comes to teaching kids about emotions, the story does a good job. It accurately captures the way many children feel when mom and dad go away. The story is also good for encouraging kids to read as it is written in a fun rhyming format. What the app lacks is text highlighting which it could use to boost its educational value, especially because some of the words are a little advanced for the lower end of its age group.

Entertainment

Anna has a fun voice that will hook kids from the beginning of the story. Kids will also enjoy meeting her little brother, their parents, and grandparents. As kids read, they’ll have the opportunity to interact with the illustrations. Most of the illustrations don’t do much, but in a few instances kids can complete tasks such as packing a suitcase or matching toys with their shadows. These activities will appeal more to the preschool and kindergarten set, while older kids will enjoy more of the story itself.

Value

While priced similarly to other interactive eBooks for kids, the app’s value comes more from the story’s lesson and less from the features it contains. If parents are planning to go on vacation, it’s worth a download, especially for the longing chart at the end of the story.

Child Friendliness

Kids will be very safe within the app. Aside from a credits screen which contains information about the people who created the app and an inactive link to the developer’s website, the sole focus of the app is on the story.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

IMG_0509
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Explore the United States through its animals, landmarks, and geography with this exciting virtual atlas for kids.
4.1

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Discover the United States with Kids U.S. Atlas from Planet Factory. In this fun, interactive app, kids can explore all aspects of the United States, from the states themselves to the animals, national parks, monuments, and geographic features found within them. While learning about the states, kids get to test their knowledge with quizzes, puzzles, and other exciting activities while parents can track their progress on the parental dashboard.

Features include:

  • Quiz and puzzle games
  • Multiple categories
  • Progress tracking
  • English and Spanish

Quality

The main screen of the app displays a map of the United States with icons noting the different features. Along the bottom of the screen is a key representing the different categories: national monuments, mountains & deserts, national parks, the fifty states, lakes, rivers, and animals. At the top of the screen icons representing the different puzzles and games available for a particular category. Small icons also highlight the parent info area, more apps, new apps, and the language selector. The app is available in English and Spanish.

Once kids start interacting with a category, they will find informational paragraphs with clear audio narration and video clips to support the content they contain. Watching the videos requires an internet connection, but otherwise the app runs smoothly and kids can easily find their way through the games.

Education

Kids of different ages can explore the content of this app and feel like they are learning a lot. Every paragraph comes with audio narration, so even early readers can understand what is going on. Graphics and videos also support the learning and help the app appeal to multiple learning styles. Kids can also play a variety of games related to the content, including grouping items, answering quiz questions, and solving jigsaw puzzles. Parents can monitor kids’ performance using the parental dashboard and encourage them to focus on particular areas.

Entertainment

The way the app is organized allows kids to explore and discover at their own pace. They’ll enjoy tapping on the various icons to discover what hides behind them. They’ll also have a lot of fun playing the games and activities contained within the app. There are tons of options for kids to keep them entertained, especially if parents opt to purchase all of the categories.

Value

While the app is free to download, only the animals category comes with it. Parents can unlock additional categories individually or as a bundle. Individually, the categories are fairly expensive and not really worth the price, but the bundle is a decent value for the content they get.

Child Friendliness

The app is fairly easy for kids to navigate and provides a safe place for them to learn about the United States. However, it does offer in-app purchases and contains a few icons advertising “more apps” and new apps which can distract kids. Thankfully, they’re protected.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)
  • YES in-app purchases (protected, but visible)

iTunesArtwork@2x
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Grandma's Preschool is a great virtual learning app with lots of fun, interactive learning games and activities for children to explore. Great for the preschooler in your home!
4.7

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 4.5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Grandma’s Preschool is an interactive early learning app that uses a virtual classroom to teach children a variety of skills. Players can practice their letter sounds, numbers, shapes, and colors as they explore Grandma’s preschool classroom. With lots of additional interactive features throughout, children will have fun exploring the fun toys and activities included.

Features include:

  • Numbers/letter recognition
  • Colors
  • Shapes

Quality

The developers have done a nice job of making Grandma’s Preschool fun and easy to use. With lots of images and illustrations to explore, children can easily move from one activity to another without a lot of instruction or help from parents. The user interface is also quite inviting with great sound effects, music, and interactive features throughout.

Education

This is a perfect app for the preschooler at home who is looking to get some extra practice with letter and number recognition. There are also activities that allow players to tap certain shapes to hear their name as well as images that teach children the four seasons. There is also a word tree that helps children hear and recognize various sight words. The best part of this app is that it is designed in a way that encourages children to explore all the pieces and to tap through the activities at their leisure. Overall this app has great educational value.

Entertainment

Not only does this app have lots of great educational content, but there are also some activities that are just for fun. For instance, the art center allows children to paint and color images that they can save and share. There is also a class pet that players can help with and a video center that teaches players about the class pet (guinea pigs). There is a nap time activity where children must match the stuffed animal with their owner and recess to enjoy, not to mention the endless interactive images scattered throughout. Children playing this app are going to have a ton of fun as they learn.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars this app is a great value. Parents will certainly appreciate the awesome variety of activities and interactive images for children to learn and explore.

Child Friendliness

Not only is this app great for preschoolers getting ready for Kindergarten, but it’s also fun and easy to use. With a virtual classroom set-up that allows children to explore it and learn as they go, this app is perfect for young kids. With simple tap and touch functioning, players won’t need much (if any) assistance from parents.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)

IMG_1206
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Introduce kids to the letters of the alphabet and high-frequency sight words as they play a series of fun puzzle games.
4.4

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Early readers have a new tool to help build the letter and word recognition skills they need to become strong readers. A to Z Playful Learning introduces kids to the letters of the alphabet and high-frequency sight words through a series of six different games. These games combine learning with fun activities such as popping bubbles, growing flowers, and playing with letter magnets. The combination of the two creates a quality app for toddlers and preschoolers.

Features include:

  • Six learning games
  • High-frequency sight words
  • Letter recognition
  • Fun background music

Quality

The app centers around six main games which are highlighted on the main screen. From that screen, kids can select one of the games and start learning. In general, the games are high-quality and fairly easy to play. However, a few of the games, such as the tractor and bubble games, could use clearer instructions. Along with unclear instructions, the audio for the words used in the game could be a bit louder. A speech bubble allows kids to repeat the words, but many times they’ll have to turn off the background music to hear what is said. When kids decide to move to a new game, they can simply hit the home button, but it is occasionally slow to respond and may need to be tapped more than once. Despite these minor issues, kids will still benefit from the games in this app.

Education

Kids will learn to recognize both the words of the alphabet and high-frequency sight words. Some of the words seem designed for kindergarten or first grade rather than toddlers or preschoolers. However, the activities are focused more on letter recognition than the words, so younger kids will still be able to understand them. As kids make each word, they hear the letters in the word repeated aloud. American English speakers should note that the letter Z is pronounced “zed” in the app.

Entertainment

Each of the activities offers a different way for kids to interact with words and letters. They can use a watering can to help grow letter flowers, watch a train chug in with a new word, and bulldoze a word with a tractor. They can also bake cookies and blow bubbles with letters inside.

Value

For the price, kids get access to six different games and are introduced to a large number of high-frequency sight words. Despite some of the quality issues, this app is a great buy for beginning letter practice.

Child Friendliness

A small envelope in the upper left-hand corner of the main screen leads to a protected parent area. Beyond that, kids have free reign over the app and it’s educational content.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase

autorepair
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Auto Repair is a creative, hands-on app that allows children to use their logic and problem solving skills to fix a variety of unique vehicles.
4.5

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Auto Repair is a cute app for kids that allows them to get creative as they fix and repair a variety of cars. With lots of fun accessories, shapes, and challenges to complete, this app is one that will not only allow children to use their fine motor skills, but also tap into their creativity as they add fun lights, exhaust shapes, bolts etc. to fix each car.

Features include:

  • 20 Repairs to complete
  • 1 Hidden bonus
  • Easy to use

Quality

The developers have done a fantastic job with this app by adding wonderful graphics and sound effects that bring the app to life. With realistic looking car parts and tools, children feel like they really are fixing various cars. The set up is also easy to use for children of all ages with appropriate prompts to indicate what children must do to move forward in the game.

Education

While this app isn’t designed for educational purposes it does allow children to use their logic and problem solving skills to select the appropriate parts to fix the various issues they find. There is also an opportunity for them to hone their fine motor skills by welding pieces together and putting bolts in the correct spot.

Entertainment

Auto Repair is a blast to play! With lots of problems to solve and things to fix, children are going to fall in love with this interactive game. Each vehicle comes with it’s own set of issues, from fixing the exhaust system to replacing the headlights with fun colors. Once each issue is fixed, players are awarded a badge that they can view in their gallery. Once all of the badges are collected, they are able to unlock a secret part of the game for more added fun.

Value

Priced at just under a dollar, this app is a steal! With 20 activities to complete, plus a bonus activity to unlock and the wonderful images, sound effects and interactive bits, this app is one children with love at a price parents can appreciate.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done a nice job of keeping this app easy to use and great for kids of all ages. With little highlights and markers throughout the app, players are guided to what they need to tap or move in order to progress through the app which is great.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

operamaker
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Opera Maker is a fun, creative app that allows children to enjoy a few favorite operas and create their very own. Great for the creative child who loves creating their own stories.
4.5

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Opera Maker is an app that takes children on a wonderful adventure into various famous operas and allows them to create one of their very own. This creative app is one that music lovers will really enjoy as they create their own operas with fun characters, villains, props, and musical stories that they can save and revisit.

Features include:

  • 3 Famous operas included
  • Creative concept
  • Music

Quality

The developers have done a fantastic job of creating an app that is fun, easy to use, and safe too. With great cartoon-like graphics, music and simple animations, this creative app is one that children will truly enjoy especially if they love to create their own stories etc. The New Opera section provides prompts for children to follow to add their own characters, backgrounds, props, music etc. so they don’t get stuck. One thing that would be nice to have is a narrated version of the prompts in addition to the written versions.

Education

While this app isn’t necessarily set up to be primarily educational in nature, it does teach children about creating stories and the various parts of an opera. In the New Opera section of the app, players are prompted to set up their opera in stages and in doing so they learn the various parts of an opera including casting, overture, recitative I, aria I etc. This hands on way of creating and learning is lots of fun for children as they can see their opera come to life in the end and share with friends and family.

Entertainment

For children who love to create their own stories and who love music, this app is a lot of fun. They not only get to explore and enjoy three famous operas, but they also get to create their own by setting the characters, music, props, backgrounds etc. This is a fun way for children to explore their creativity and to share it with friends and family. One added bonus that this app offers is the ability to record your own voice for the characters making it highly customizable. Players can also save and share their finished operas for later viewing.

Value

It’s hard to believe an app like this could be free, but it is! Parents will definitely appreciate the awesome value that is included in this fun and easy to use app at no cost to them.

Child Friendliness

Opera Maker is an app that is easy to use and safe too. With written prompts throughout the app to guide players in creating their own operas, the developers have done a great job of making this app child friendly. Adding a bit of narration for the instructions would also be helpful for younger players to help guide them through the process of creating their own opera.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

KapuFishing
Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Help Mr. Fox catch his fish dinner! This easy to use virtual fishing app is full of great images, sound effects, and a creative activity where players can build their own lure!
4.5

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Kapu Fishing is a cute, easy to use app with great graphics and sound effects that allows players to do a bit of virtual fishing for fun. With bright colors, music, and a gorgeous lake to explore, children will certainly enjoy helping Mr. Fox fish for his dinner in this free play app.

Features include:

  • Easy to use
  • Build a lure
  • Free play concept

Quality

Kapu Fishing is full of brightly colored graphics and animations that children will love. Fish of all shapes and sizes are hiding in the water along with other fun lake finds including a pirate ship, a cute cottage and more. With fun sound effects and music to go along with this creative fishing game, the developers have done a nice job making this app easy to use and engaging.

Education

Not rated for education.

Entertainment

Kapu Fishing is a free play app that allows children to have fun exploring a virtual lake and help Mr. Fox fish for his dinner. There is also an added activity to build your own lure with silly faces, accessories, and colors to use while fishing. And if players aren’t catching enough fish, they can simply find a new spot by taking Mr. Fox on a ride around the lake. While the activities that are provided are fun and easy to play adding an additional activity would add a bit more entertainment value to the app overall.

Value

Priced at just under a dollar this app is a good deal. With the free play set-up, awesome images, fun sound effects and the ability to build your own lure, the value is very good. This app may quickly become little one’s favorite app to play and with that price parents will certainly see the value.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done a great job creating an app that is easy to use and fun too. Upon starting the app, there are simple visual prompts that show players how to cast the reel and how to pull it back in to catch fish. This is great especially for younger children and the tap and touch functioning makes exploring the lake very easy. The build your own lure activity is also very easy to use and fun for children to use a bit of their creativity to create unique lures to fish with.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)

roadtrip

Summer is here and that means it’s time for family road trips! We have put together a list of apps that will help keep kids engaged and entertained on long trips.

napoleon
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Discover the bones of the skeletal system in this simple, but fun kids app with a punny name.
4.4

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating: 1
Download on the App Store

Overview

Despite its name, Napoleon Bone Apart has nothing to do with the French Revolution. Instead, it’s a simple, but fun app designed to teach kids about the skeletal system. While the skeleton looks a bit too large to be that of the well-known, but petite, Napoleon Boneaparte, we still appreciate the clever play on words in the title. What we appreciate even more is the way kids can drag and drop the bones onto the skeleton and learn the names of some of the major parts of their bodies.

Features include:

  • Dancing skeleton
  • Drag and drop activity
  • Labeled body parts
  • Positive reinforcement

Quality

Kids pretty much go straight into the activity when they open the app. After hitting play, an on-screen guide shows them what to do and they can immediately set about doing it. If kids forget what to do, they can simply tap the help button to get a refresher. The app features a simple drag-and-drop platform where kids drag the bones from a bank at the bottom of the screen onto the skeleton. The bone’s location is highlighted to make it easy for kids to place. Unfortunately, many of the bones are skinny and small, so it can be a bit tricky to grasp them and drag them to the right spot. Once kids get ahold of them, though, the process runs pretty smoothly.

Education

When kids select a bone, they hear its name. Once they’ve placed the bone, its name appears on the screen and the name of the bone is repeated twice. The repetition helps cement the names of the bones in kids’ memories. In the settings section kids can also turn on labels which displays all the names of the bones on the sides of the screen. While this doesn’t seem to be an extremely useful feature, it does offer one more way to help the names of the bones stick in kids’ minds. The simple nature of the app makes it ideal for a range of ages and grade-levels. Even a kindergartener can place the bones and begin to understand where they’re located on their own body.

Entertainment

There’s not much in the way of extra entertainment value in this simple app. Once kids correctly place all of the bones, they’re rewarded with a hearty congratulations, and then they get to watch the skeleton dance. Then the bones reset and they get to do it all again.

Value

For the price, kids get a decent introduction to the skeletal system with the names of all of the bones clearly highlighted. Since the game resets after kids complete it, they also get the chance to practice placing the bones as many times as they want.

Child Friendliness

While the parental gate that restricts access to the parent info section could be strengthened a bit, the app itself is fairly child-friendly. However, parents should note that some younger kids may be scared by the bright white skeleton on a black background, particularly when it starts to dance.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase

count2play2
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Help young kids learn to count while interacting with silly animations and playing fun counting games.
4.4

App Info

Price: $4.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Kids can learn their numbers and play fun games at the same time. Count 2 Play introduces kids to the numbers 1-10 through a series of fun animations that allow them to see the numbers represented multiple ways. Each number is accompanied by a fun game that helps reinforce basic counting skills and help kids build other key skills, such as puzzle solving, finding hidden items, and matching pictures. The counting games and activities help make this app a strong choice for toddlers and preschoolers.

Features include:

  • Numbers 1-10
  • Fun number games
  • Oral counting
  • On-screen guidance

Quality

Count 2 Play is a simple and colorful app designed to help kids learn their numbers. The main screen directs kids to start at the number one. A question mark provides kids with instructions and, if kids do not complete the task within a few seconds, a finger appears on the screen to show kids what to do. All of the counting screens and the activities that follow respond well to kids. All of the numbers are displayed across the top of the screen and kids have the ability to switch from number to number, even if they do not finish an activity. A star appears next to numbers they have already completed.

Education

Kids can learn the numbers 1-10. As each number is displayed on the screen kids must drag the correct number of characters on top of it. The characters are counted out as kids add them and once they add the correct number, helping kids both see and hear the number to reinforce their counting skills.

Entertainment

As kids learn their numbers, they get the opportunity to interact with funny characters. After dragging the correct number of characters onto a number, kids get to enjoy a silly activity, such as putting hats on cats or finding all of the ants that are wearing pants. Most of the activities are appropriate for the toddler and preschool age level, but a few present a higher degree of difficulty. For example, for the number 9, kids must stack 9 fish on a plate by moving their device left and right, but the fish easily fall off the plate, making it nearly impossible to complete the activity.

Value

The app covers the numbers 1-10 and offers a fun activity to go with each number. These activities help increase the value of the app. While parents may find similar counting apps for free, this app is still a quality counting app and worth a download, particularly if kids are working on building their counting skills.

Child Friendliness

The protected parent area could use a slightly more involved parental lock, but otherwise children are focused on the game. Within the game, kids will find the option to adjust the volume and will find a help button to help them figure out what to do.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase

image (10)
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Painting Gallery offers coloring book pictures, varied backgrounds, and blank canvas for young artists to make their own using 30 colors and 100 stickers. Young children can save their work in an art gallery, arrange the pictures on the digital wall, and pick the perfect frame to compliment their work.
4.6

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Painting Gallery offers an almost infinite array of opportunities for kids to color, paint and create using a range of backgrounds, coloring book drawings, stickers and other tools. There are even blank canvases to create masterpieces from scratch. Users can save their creations in a gallery with their choice of frames, and even arrange the pictures on the “wall.”

Features include:

  • 30 colors
  • 100 stickers
  • Choice of pencils, crayons, markers or paints
  • Control line width or use a broad stroke to cover entire areas at once
  • Parents can add voice recordings of color names

Quality

This app is intuitive and fun to use, making it perfect for the under-five crowd for which it is intended.  It’s pretty straightforward: choose a picture with or without background and/or coloring book-type drawings, then add colors and lines to make the picture uniquely yours. Save the creations in the app’s art gallery, where you can rearrange the artwork to your heart’s content, or change the frame by touching it.

The app works as intended, but it does seem to be missing a couple of key features.  I did not see an “undo” button to take care of the inevitable “oops” that users, especially young ones, will undoubtedly want.  There also did not seem to be a way to reset a picture back to its original state or to delete it from the gallery.  There is an eraser tool, but it gets quite tedious to erase everything from a picture if you want to start over, and the eraser also takes out the picture’s background art, leaving only whatever coloring-book drawings were provided.

Education

It’s very important for young children to have countless opportunities to manipulate their environments, and tablet usage is no exception. Kids will be learning fine-motor control, basic colors and color names, and developing creativity and planning skills. The app will undoubtedly also foster language skills since young children tend to create art with a running dialog.  It’s great that paintings are saved to the gallery; kids will love looking back at their work and recalling what they did or even calling it up again to work more on it later.

This app has a feature that allows parents to make audio recordings of the color names, as well. This is really neat, because the young artists will learn more effectively when they hear these words in a familiar voice, in their own language, and with a familiar accent. That’s a really nice touch from developers.  You will, however, need to be prepared to broaden your child’s color vocabulary; with 30 color choices, you have to get a bit beyond the basic words like red, blue, green and yellow.

Be sure to point out the lack of an “undo” button to young users, though, especially if they are used to such features in other apps. It could be very frustrating to make a whopper of a mistake or even change your mind about a color choice and find no option for correcting yourself.

Entertainment

There’s something about the sheer joy of filling in blank sections in a coloring book that never grows tiresome, and this app allows plenty of that sort of activity.  Kids will love the huge color selection as well as the various “utensils” and stroke qualities.  The app includes quite an array of pictures and backgrounds, as well as blank canvases that will unleash creativity. There are stickers to add and frames to try out.  All in all, this app is very entertaining.  The one concern is that there does not seem to be a way to reset a picture to its original state.  This feature would be very helpful, especially for families with multiple children who may “outgrow” the app at different times.

Value

The app is an excellent value at $2.99. Kids who enjoy art, colors, and coloring will get hours of play value out of the program, and will build important foundational skills for success in school and in life.  No two creations will be alike, and the ability to rearrange them in the gallery can make the collection seem fresh and new.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. The Parents’ Area is protected by a swiping system that will be effective for the under-five age group.

  • Protected parent area (contains external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

duckie
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Duckie Deck Card Wars puts a high tech twist on a traditional card game many have grown to love. A perfect app for long car rides or to pass the time on vacation!
4

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Duckie Deck Card Wars puts a high tech twist on the traditional game of war played with regular playing cards. This digital version plays very much like the traditional game only in a more compact and fun way with fun sounds and animations with each card that is played. Great to use on long car rides or while on vacation, this is app is one children will definitely enjoy.

Features include:

  • Easy to use
  • Great graphics
  • Play alone or with friends

Quality

Duckie Deck Card Wars is a simple and fun way to keep children engaged while on long car rides or a rainy day indoors. With lots of fun graphics, music, and simple animations, children are able to enjoy this classic game with a digital twist. The developers have done a nice job of making this app simple to use with tap and touch technology making it accessible to children of all ages. While the set-up is very easy to use, for children who have never played this game before, it could be a bit of a challenge getting started. Including a simple intro for children to better understand how to play, would be a great addition and it would definitely make it a bit easier to use.

Education

While this app is more of an entertainment app, it does give children the opportunity to practice simple math skills. The winner of each hand is the player who has the higher card so being able to recognize which number/card is higher or lower is key. For children who are new to this concept, this game provides great practice in a fun and engaging way.

Entertainment

One of the great features of this app is that you can play it alone (playing both sides) or play with a partner. The general set up is the same for each way of playing as children playing alone would simply play both sides. Adding an actual single or double player option where the single players are playing against a ‘computer’ would be ideal as it still keeps the competitive feel. With that said the game itself is fairly entertaining and for siblings and friends to play it can be quite engaging and a fun way to pass the time.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars, this app is a bit more than you might expect to pay for such a simple game. Of course there are fun images, animations, and sound effects that add to the overall feel of the app, but the options within the app itself are a bit slim. Adding the option to play against a ‘computer’ or another simple activity would definitely increase the overall value of the app.

Child Friendliness

It is always nice to find apps that are not only easy to use, but safe too. Duckie Deck Card Wars has done a great job of keeping the app virtually distraction free. The main page does offer an ‘other apps’ tab with additional apps from the developer with each additional button being protected. Adding the protection on the main page is ideal, however there are no other buttons or distractions to be concerned with.

The only other thing that would make this app a bit more child friendly is to add some brief instruction on how to play the game for children who may be new to the concept.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES external links (inactive, but visible)

train
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Train Your Hand is a great early learning app that provides players with practice at tracing various lines and shapes to prep them for writing. Great for young children and fun too!
4.4

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Train Your Hand is an early learning app that teaches children to trace various lines and shapes that turn into funny characters and pictures as they play. The idea is to help children with their fine motor skills as a way to help them as they move into tracing letters and numbers. This entertaining app is full of bright colors, engaging music, and is very easy to follow along. It’s great for young children.

Features include:

  • Easy to use
  • Fun music
  • Fine motor skill practice

Quality

Train Your Hand is really designed with a young child in mind. The main page offers fun pictures for children to tap in order to get started which takes them straight into fun lines and shapes to trace. With simple tap and drag technology, children must follow the dotted line to trace each set of lines/shapes and for each one they complete correctly, they win a new award. Overall the developers have done a nice job making this app one that is easy to use and fun too.

Education

As children begin to learn to write their letters and numbers, they must really hone in their fine motor skills and tracing capabilities. This app provides a bit of practice with that with fun lines and shapes. Straight lines, squiggles, and other shapes are used to provide ample practice which is really great for young children.

Entertainment

While there aren’t any specific games outside of the educational tracing that is used, there are some fun animations and music that will keep children engaged. After tracing each line/shape, it transforms into a fun farm animal or item that comes to life. As players continue to correctly trace the lines and shapes, they also earn awards that they can view in their award gallery. Adding an additional game would definitely make this app a bit more fun, but for the young audiences this is made for, it is still pretty engaging.

Value

Priced at just under two dollars this app is a great value. With endless play and the ability to reset the trophies for children to practice over and over, this app is one children can go back to time and again. For early learners especially it’s great because it provides lots of tracing practice.

Child Friendliness

With simple tap and drag technology, children will easily be able to move through this app and trace each line and shape without a ton of instruction or help. Should they get stuck or get too far off the dotted line, there are markers throughout that will highlight the correct path so they can more easily complete the exercise.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

IMG_0498
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
The Berenstain Bears are going on a car trip and they're inviting kids to read along in this illustrated ebook.
4.1

App Info

Price: $3.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

The Berenstain Bears are headed on a car trip in this illustrated ebook about the popular family of bears. Kids can go along for the ride while they listen to a narrator or read the book themselves. They’ll find highlighted text, tappable words, and classic Berenstain Bears illustrations accompanied by peppy background music and sound effects. Kids won’t find animated animations or a lot of other features designed to entertain them, but they’ll still get access to a classic story that they will enjoy.

Features include:

  • Read to Me option
  • Read to Myself option
  • Record your own narration
  • Tappable words and pictures

Quality

Oceanhouse Media ebooks are known for their quality and this book is no exception. However, it has a few surprising flaws. When kids go to turn the page, they may find that the book is not as responsive as they would like. They’ll also notice that the page selector doesn’t actually include all of the pages in the book, so while kids may think they’re actually selecting the final page of the book, they’ll actually have a few more pages to go. Aside from that, the narration is clear, although it may be a bit fast for younger readers. The background sound is engaging, but quiet enough not to distract from the text.

Education

The book features text highlighting and tappable pictures and images. Many of the tappable words in the story are designed to focus on the early elementary level. Kindergarten and first grade students may find a lot of new words, while second and third grade students will more easily read through the story and enjoy its theme.

Entertainment

The lack of animation makes the book a little less exciting for kids. Thankfully, it has the benefit of classic Berenstain Bears illustrations to capture kids’ attention. Kids can also choose from three different options for reading the book, including one option that allows them to record their own narration. Since there are multiple characters in the book, kids can experiment with funny voices to help make the story more exciting.

Value

Considering the story does not come with animated illustrations or any games for kids to enjoy, it does not offer the best value for the price. However, for parents who want to build up their child’s virtual ebook collection, it’s a solid choice to add to the shelf.

Child Friendliness

Unfortunately, most Oceanhouse Media ebooks contain a lot of features to distract kids. At the end of the story, a “rate this app” button pops up. The main screen of the book also contains an info icon, a more apps icon, and an icon leading to the OM Bookshelf. While all of these are protected areas, it’s still a bit annoying to see them featured so prominently on each book, including this Berenstain Bears title.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)
  • YES “rate this app” (protected, but visible)

lucky2
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Lucky, a squirrel, and a series of educational games will entertain kids, but may be a bit challenging at times.
4.1

App Info

Price: $3.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Head on over to Lucky’s tree and get ready to enjoy nearly 20 fun and educational games for kids. Lucky’s Tree of Puzzles features matching games, math games, word games, puzzle games, spatial awareness games, and many other types of games kids will enjoy. As they play the games, kids will also get a chance to build their motor skills as they play games that utilize multi-touch and tilt features. The wide variety of games and they different ways to play make Lucky’s Tree of Puzzles a whole lot of fun for kids.

Features include:

  • Multiple player profile
  • Play limits
  • Track performance
  • Three levels of difficulty
  • Available in English and Suomi

Quality

When kids first open the app, they’ll see Lucky’s tree clearly labeled with the names of the different games. Kids can move from the top of the bottom of the tree to focus in on the games they want to play while they listen to the cheerful background music. A settings screen allows kids to turn off the music and vibrations. They can also set up a different player profile, see their game stats. Parents have the option of setting a playtime limiter, although sneaky kids can turn it off themselves. They can also change the language from English to Suomi.

The games themselves are not very involved, but all feature clear instructions that are both written and read-aloud. With nearly 20 games, it should be expected that there will be a few kinks and indeed there are. Some of the games could use a bit more polish. Others, particularly those that utilize multi-touch and tilt technology, are a bit clunky and difficult for kids to play.

Education

Kids can build many different skills by playing the games found in the app. They can build emotion skills with the Learn Emotions app, test their animal knowledge and learn to pay attention to detail with the follow instructions app, or test their listening abilities and reflexes with the speed test. There are also multiple games that test basic math and spelling skills. The app doesn’t seem to focus on one particular age group. For example, the Learn Numbers game is best suited for preschool and kindergarten, while the Hint Into Word game is better suited for first, second, or third grade.

When kids play the games, they must be careful to pay attention the exact instructions, as the games don’t deviate from them at all. In some instances, however, even listening to the instructions may not be enough for kids. For example, in the Follow Instructions game, when asked to tap an animal with hooves, a horse wasn’t accepted. In the pancake game, kids were warned not to let the pancake burn, but there was no visual change of color to let kids know when the pancake was done.

Entertainment

Each game comes with 3 levels of difficulty. For younger kids, many of the easy levels will still be extremely challenging. Thankfully there are so many games to choose from that kids can quickly move on to something else. As kids play, they’re given the opportunity to earn stars. Randomly throughout the game, Lucky will also appear on the screen and instruct kids to quickly catch a nut. If they do, they’ll be rewarded with a special card for their animal collections.

Value

The app offers nearly 20 different games for kids, but those games come with a high price tag. Considering the inconsistency in the level of difficulty in the games and some of the quality issues present in the app, the high price tag isn’t quite justified.

Child Friendliness

Kids won’t find any in-app purchases or advertisements in the game, but they will find access to Game Center. Parents should review their Game Center accounts to make sure kids are safe while they play the game.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES Game Center access

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Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendliness
Summary
Multiplication app offers a very unique and highly confusing approach to teaching the times tables.
3.3

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

For kids who have trouble understanding multiplication using traditional methods, Fun Timesables! offers a new method to try. This new method focuses on mnemonic devices, cute cartoons, and a few key rules. While it may have worked for the developers’ children, it is hard to imagine that the method will work for anyone else. Its explanations are dull and confusing, making it difficult to see its appeal, but if your child is really struggling, it’s price may make it worth a try.

Features include:

  • Multiple player profiles
  • Multiple levels
  • Mnemonic devices
  • Cute multiplication characters

Quality

The opening screen directs kids to start playing the app and also includes a large info button that contains a note to parents. This note describes the game to parents and gives them a few tips for navigating the app. For kids, it’s easy to add a name and get started, but the introductory video is very long and it’s not immediately clear how to get past it. Once in the app, kids must also click through a series of extensive explanations that can end up frustrating them. The app talks more than it seems it lets kids play which will cause them to lose interest very quickly.

Education

The method uses a series of mnemonic memory techniques to purportedly help kids learn their times tables, but these techniques are extremely confusing. Perhaps they become easier with practice, but at first glance thinking of the sound “ra” for four because four has an R in it and thinking of “na” for two because the number two has two tally marks seems like it would make little sense to kids. Each sound is also connected to a cartoon character, but these adds another layer of confusion to the game.

There are a few redeeming qualities in the app. For example, if kids get an answer wrong, the video with the explanation pops up to jog kids’ memory. The drills also track kids answers based on correctness and the time it takes to answer so parents can see if kids are improving their recall times.

Entertainment

So much of this app is video-based and the videos themselves are not very engaging. To get to the drills kids have to get through multiple videos highlighting the numbers 1-9 along with the characters and the sounds that represent them. Most kids will put down the app after the first set.

Value

One thing the app has going for it is that it’s a decent value. If your child is really struggling with multiplication, you may want to spend the small price to see if this method could possibly be the one that finally works.

Child Friendliness

The app itself is fairly child friendly. It does not contain any social media or clickable links. The video in the parent info section does display a link to the developer’s website and an e-mail address, but since they are part of the video, kids cannot click on them.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

mochupop2
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Mochu Pop is an interesting app designed to help young children retain and build their ability to learn sounds in other languages. Its fun, balloon-popping format will intrigue toddlers and preschoolers and keep them engaged for quite a while, and they will be building a host of important skills in addition to hearing the sounds of English, French, Spanish or Italian.
4.8

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Mochu Pop introduces the very young to the sounds of four languages: English, French, Spanish and Italian. Scientists and educators know that toddlers’ and preschoolers’ brains are at a critical phase of development for acquiring language skills. In fact, the younger the child is, the easier it is to learn languages. This app introduces the special sounds of each language in a fun way that stimulates memory and prepares youngsters for learning words and sentences.

Features include:

  • Enhances language-learning ability
  • Builds eye-hand coordination
  • Develops working memory
  • Introduces sounds of languages
  • Features blue-light filtering technology

Quality

Mochu Pop is a high-quality app that will fascinate most young children. After all, who doesn’t love to pop balloons? The app works exactly as intended, is easy to use and intuitive, and fun. One intriguing feature is the optional blue light filter. Some believe that blue light emitted by electronic screens such as Ipads, phones, and other devices disrupts the body’s production of melatonin, a vital chemical that controls sleep rhythms among other things. Mochu Pop allows parents to filter these light rays to minimize this possible problem.

Education

Mochu Pop is a very simple app for very young children. Researchers know that the period from birth to age three is critical for language development. They also know that children are born with the ability to hear and create the full range of sounds in every language from around the world. As they learn to speak and understand the world around them, their brains naturally focus in on the sounds that are specific to their native languages until finally as children and adults, they literally cannot make, or even notice, many sounds found in other languages. Of course, this is one reason that learning foreign languages as teens or older adults is so challenging for most people. Mochu Pop is an attempt to forestall this selection process and keep the brain open to these sounds so that language learning can continue well past the usual age. The developers’ claim is that if children are exposed to a wider range of sounds, they will remember and be able to access them well past the normal language learning period. Does it work? Perhaps. Studies show that young children who grow up in households where multiple languages are spoken are far more likely to be bilingual and also have an easier time learning the second language even years later.

The app presents a balloon with a specific color and shape. When kids pop that type of balloon, they hear a sound from the chosen language. Pop other balloons and they just pop without the reward of hearing a sound. The balloons are floating around the screen, so users exercise not only memory skills but also eye-hand coordination. Young children also will be developing self-control as they try to restrain themselves from popping everything in sight.

One downside to this app is that the directions are only in printed form. Since it is aimed at the very young, kids working on their own may need guidance to get started since they can’t read yet. The app also ends each round with a written note about how many sounds the kids have heard and a numerical score, which, of course, parents will need to interpret. The app also floats “character balloons” across the screen from time to time, which deliver positive verbal messages of encouragement. These are wonderfully fun, but they seem a bit counterintuitive to the “pop only these balloons” instruction given at the beginning of each round.

Entertainment

The main source of fun for this app is in the popping of balloons. Young children adore repeatable actions where they can quickly see the outcomes of their efforts, and this app delivers that in spades. For most toddlers, this will be as addictive as tossing the cereal bowl on the floor or hearing the favorite book again and again. Preschoolers, however, may tire of the action fairly quickly. The app does distinguish between age groups, however, and make the game more challenging for older users, which will help. When profiles are created, the app asks for a birth date and calculates an age. The game play is differentiated based on the child’s age. For example, a two-year-old’s profile will trigger a single type of balloon to pop and a single sound introduced per round, at least for the first few rounds. A four-year-old’s profile will cause multiple types of balloons to be remembered and targeted, and the sounds are introduced at a faster pace with multiple sounds used in the early rounds.

Value

This is a free app, and an outstanding value. It’s fun, especially for the very young, and it just might truly help kids’ brains stay more flexible to ease language learning tasks later in life. And in addition to its value as a language learning app, it offers valuable practice on foundational skills such as memory development, eye-hand coordination, cause and effect, self-control, and more.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. There is very little chance of a youngster accidentally stumbling into the protected area.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase

my-alphabet-b01

My Alphabet: Underwater ABC for Kids

Education
Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
My Alphabet: Underwater ABC for Kids is a great early learning app that teaches children to learn, recognize, and write the alphabet. Perfect for young children!
4.4

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

My Alphabet: Underwater ABC for Kids is an easy to use early learning app that teaches children to learn, recognize, and write the letters of the alphabet. With fun puzzle concepts, writing activities, letter recognition games, and a missing letter activity, children will learn a great deal of information about the alphabet in this fun underwater themed app.

Features include:

  • 5 Mini games
  • Puzzles
  • Letter writing
  • Narration options throughout

Quality

The developers have done a great job of creating a visually engaging app that children will love. With a lovely underwater theme in the background of each activity, children can see fish, bubbles, and coral in various images as they learn. The narration throughout for the activities is also a great as it helps players through each activity. They have also included simple tap and touch technology that is very easy to use to move through each mini game making this app quite intuitive. Overall, this is a great early learning app for kids.

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Education

With 5 mini games to explore children have lots of opportunities to learn and practice their alphabet. Players will not only learn the alphabet sequence, but also the names of each letter, how to write each letter and they will learn to recognize each letter visually. With puzzle games, fill in the blank, and matching activities the developers have set up a creative way for children to learn their alphabet in a fun environment.

While overall this app is great for early learners, it would be nice to add a phonics activity under the ‘letter sounds’ section of the app. In addition to teaching children the names of each letter, allowing players to learn the sound each letter makes would definitely add a great deal of value to this app.

Entertainment

While the activities in this app are primarily educational they are set up in a fun way that will keep children engaged. With puzzles, matching, and fill in the blank games to complete, this app creates an entertaining way for children to learn their alphabet. The developers could add an additional game that combines some of the things children have learned throughout the app as an added bonus activity to increase the entertainment value, but overall the entertainment value of this app is pretty good.

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Value

Priced at just under three dollars, this app has a lot to offer in terms of educational value. With 5 mini games to enjoy while learning the alphabet, the names of each letter and letter writing, this app is a good deal. Parents will certainly be happy with the overall value.

Child Friendliness

With simple tapping and drag and drop technology this app is very easy to use for young children. The narration helps to keep players engaged as they play. While the user interface is fairly simple to use, parents may need to provide a bit of guidance when children are first playing each activity until they get the hang of it.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)

screen520x924 (1)

Wonder Bunny Math Race: 1st Grade Kids Advanced Learning App for Numbers, Addition and Subtraction

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendliness
Summary
Wonder Bunny Math Race: 1st Grade Kids Advanced Learning App for Numbers, Addition and Subtraction offers a creative and entertaining way for children to practice first-grade addition and subtraction skills while having lots of fun.
4.9

App Info

Price: $7.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Wonder Bunny Math Race is a comprehensive math computation practice app that will excite and entertain children for hours.  Its arcade-style racing action and point system will occupy the children’s attention so fully that they will hardly even notice they are building vital skills such as speed and fluency as they add and subtract.

Features include:

  • Customizable characters and crazy modes of transportation
  • Thousands of math problems
  • Simple, intuitive interface
  • Gradual increase in difficulty level up to numbers to 100
  • Progress report

Quality

This is a high-quality app that will occupy kids for hours and through many sessions. The app is intuitive to use, colorful and entertaining. Developers have covered all the bases-it is responsive and thorough. It might be nice to have a bit more detail about the educational underpinnings in the Parents’ Section, but certainly not necessary for parents to see the value of the game nor for kids to enjoy it.

Education

Wonder Bunny Math Race: 1st Grade provides exactly what is promised-a comprehensive practice system for addition and subtraction suitable for children who are beginning math studies.  Nearly every child needs a healthy dose of drill and practice on basic math computation combinations, like 8 + 9 and 2 – 1. The design of this game encourages kids to build speed and accuracy, but does not demand that they answer fast if their skills are not yet to that level. The problems start out simple and gradually become more difficult as subtraction is introduced, then mixed operations, and as the problems get progressively more difficult.

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The game is controlled by a map showing each level. Players are free to skip around if they wish or to start with a more complex level if they don’t need to review sums and differences to nine. The various activities are also accessible from the Progress Report page, as well, so it would be easy to tell which level needed more work and send the child back to it. The actual game play involves racing to “hurdles” that can only be jumped by tapping the correct answer to the given problem. The faster the problems are solved, the faster the bunny moves, allowing him to eventually beat his opponent.

In addition to the main path on the map that travels from adding sums to nine all the way up to adding and subtracting up to 100, there is one brief side trip available into telling time. Activities alternate between setting clock hands and reading clock hands to the correct half hour. An easy-to-access progress report will clue adult mentors in to strengths and weaknesses, and even allow direct access to troublesome levels that need review. The progress report does need a way to be reset, however, in case multiple players need to use it or if a child should start over again for whatever reason.

Entertainment

This game will appeal to youngsters with its racing format. Most children love to do things faster and faster, and in the case of learning addition and subtraction facts, that’s a great thing! Speed and fluency with these problems will enhance their learning of more complex concepts in future lessons.

In addition to the sheer joy of speeding along as fast as you can, this app offers many other incentives to play that most children will love. The backstory, which is available for reading when the app is first opened and also from the home page, tells about a group of bullying bunnies who have taken over our hero’s hometown. They have stolen carrots and generally caused mayhem, so it’s up the main character to win the races to run them out again. Along each race track, children can pick up some of the missing carrots if they have sharp eyes and quick fingers, then the carrots can be traded for “fun stuff” such as fancy modes of transportation for the next race, such as a magic carpet, helicopter ears or a rocket. Carrots also can purchase decorations or clothing items, as well.  Bunnies can also be customized (for free or for carrots) to be a specific gender, color, and more. Name the bunny, and it’s ready to race.

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Value

This game’s $7.99 price tag may give pause to some, but it is quite likely to have staying power for the length of time that most students need to practice this level of addition and subtraction. It is a reasonably good value, especially if you have multiple children who will play or if your student needs a good deal of extra practice to memorize the important math facts or to practice addition and subtraction at this level.

Child Friendliness

This app is child-friendly, but it does always start out with a screen enticing users to try other apps from the same developer (with a parent gate). There is also an occasional ratings pop-up during game play.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)
  • YES “rate app” pop-up

bogga-magic-screen4

Bogga Magic

Education
Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Bogga Magic lives up to its name in that it will entrance most young children. Make the most of this app by playing with your child, and you will find that it builds language and thinking skills in almost magical fashion.
4.7

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Bogga Magic offers an interactive look at the magic of illusion for the very young. Preschoolers can dress the star of the show, choose magic tricks for him to perform, and exercise their creativity and language skills as they play this low-key, stress-free activity.

Features include:

  • Creative control over look and feel of Ted, the magician
  • Interactive magic show puts kids in control
  • Intuitive control for all activities
  • Unique interactions foster language development
  • Interesting way to apply cause and effect

Quality

Bogga Magic is a high-quality app. Developers have really focused on making the app intuitive and easy to use. All of the features work as expected and are well-designed for the target audience. The artwork and sound effects are cute and fun, and the tasks that make the app work are perfect for very young children.

bogga-magic

This is a very low-key app that will delight young children while providing essential practice in reasoning, language, sequencing and a host of other readiness skills.  It’s a fun way to put your child in charge of learning through play. Players first get to dress the main character in their choice of colors, which is a great time to talk about and name colors as well. Next, they can assemble a magic wand to use in the show. While they work, be sure to talk about “top” and “bottom” and other descriptive words and phrases. Once the wand is ready, the show begins!

Your child can name the bear anything he or she wants, but for convenience’s sake, we will follow the designers’ lead and call him “Ted.” Ted takes center stage and young users can choose from an assortment of illusions by choosing options on the right of the screen. These are grouped by type, and your child will enjoy exploring each section to make Ted perform different types of tricks.  The tricks range from standard stage illusions like floating through a hoop or changing the content of boxes through very unusual feats that will astound and amaze little ones. Each is accompanied by appropriate oohs and aahs from the audience, as well as the occasional “Ta-dah!” from Ted. As the magic show goes on, have your young one describe what is happening in each trick, and speculate about how the trick was done. Be sure to use sequencing words like “first, next, and then,” position words, and descriptive words.

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Ted also reacts when your child touches him. Most of the interactions are cute, but some sensitive children might be a bit offended when he passes a little gas!  Young users can also change Ted’s outfit color or try out a different type of magic wand by using the controls on the left hand side of the screen.

Entertainment

Magic is fascinating to nearly all age groups, and young children are generally no exception, especially when they are in charge of the show. It doesn’t really matter the magic is digital; the point is to use the action on the screen as a jumping off place for language and for learning. Developers also have included a link to a magical project that your children might well enjoy in real life, so check the parents’ section for details.  This app provides lots of control to empower children, which will enhance its play value for many usages, too.

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Value

Bogga Magic is a good value, especially if your child is about to see or has recently seen a magician. Making that connection to real life will be invaluable! Even if no real magic acts are on the horizon, this app is a wonderful tool for encouraging those all important language skills. It’s vital that young children get a good command of how to describe what they see and experience, learn to relate events in sequence, and learn to tell about position in space using words like “under,” “above,” and “beside.”

Child Friendliness

Bogga Magic is very child-friendly. The app contains a parents’ section that is well-protected by an effective parent gate. Inside this section are outside links, social media, and ratings, as well as instructions to use the app.  The parents’ area contains some great information about how to make the most of the app, as well as information about a magic trick children can learn from the developers’ website, so it’s well worth a look. Children who play will just experience the app, and parents can rest assured that the kids are safe no matter what buttons they happen to touch.

  • Protected parent area (contains external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

mylittlecarwash

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 4.5
Download on the App Store

Overview

It’s time for a hands on trip to the car wash and man are those cars dirty. Kids have the opportunity to spray off paint splotches, scrub the tires, and make sure the cars all get squeaky clean. On the way to the car wash, they might get a bit distracted by the invitations to unlock the premium version of the app and, within the premium version of the app, may get distracted by the invitations to play other apps, but once they get to the actual game, they’ll enjoy picking out a car to wash and making sure it gets clean.

Features include:

  • Different cars to wash
  • Multiple car wash features
  • Car washing liquid lab
  • Funny self-portraits

Quality

As long as kids follow the play buttons, they’ll have little trouble getting to the car wash game. Once in the game, kids are given instructions for choosing a car, but that’s where the explicit guidance ends. Kids must figure out what to wash and how to wash it in order to get to the next step which can be a bit frustrating at first. The app itself is also a bit busy, with a mini laboratory (in the premium version) that doesn’t seem to really connect to the car wash, a parent info section, and invitations to download the premium version or other developer apps.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

It takes awhile for the car to go from dirty to clean. This means there are a lot of steps to keep kids busy. In the free version, there are only four steps to get through the car wash. In the premium version, there are 7 steps to get to the end. Once kids clean one car, they can select a different car and start the process all over again. Buried in the parent section and, surprisingly, protected by a parental block, is a funny self-portrait game that will also entertain kids.

Value

The free version of the app is fun for kids and worth checking out. In the premium version, kids get access to more cars, more car wash features, and the mini laboratory, but these features do not really justify the price. The fact that the premium version comes with more ads for other developer apps also lowers its value.

Child Friendliness

The app is full of parental controls to keep kids from accidentally purchasing the premium version of the app, downloading other apps from the developer, or accessing social media. Access to the funny self-portrait feature is also protected by a parental block. However, kids can still access the parent info area and see that it links out to Facebook and Twitter. In the free version of the app, they are continuously encouraged to unlock the premium version of the app. In the premium version of the app, the premium version ads are replaced with an invitation to play a new game which is actually an ad that takes kids to a page featuring other apps from the developer.

  • NO external links
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES social media (protected, but visible)
  • YES more apps(protected pop-up ads)
  • YES in-app purchase (protected, but visible)

pinkie

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

My Little Pony: Pinkie Pie’s Sister is a cute storybook app that My Little Pony lovers will really enjoy. In this story, children are introduced to the Pinkie Pie’s very unique, very different sister named Maud. As much as Pinkie Pie wants her friends to become best buddies with her sister, things don’t go according to plan. Overall this is a fun story that teaches readers that everyone is just a little bit different and that’s perfectly okay.

Features include:

  • Read to me/Read to myself
  • Vocabulary words
  • Lively animations
  • Text highlighting

Quality

The first thing you notice in the My Little Pony apps are the amazing colors and details in the illustrations. Each page has animated segments where the characters come to life when tapped, which definitely helps to keep children engaged. The sound effects, narration, and music that is included also helps to bring the app to life to create an overall experience that children will love. The developers have also done a fantastic job creating an intuitive user interface that makes it easy for children of all ages to enjoy.

Education

Not only does My Little Pony: Pinkie Pie’s Sister teach children a great lesson about how we are all just a little bit different, but it also offers great practice for early readers. With narration options and text highlighting, children are able to follow along with the story and practice their reading skills. There are also highlighted words throughout that when tapped are repeated which will definitely help children learn new vocabulary words. There is also a word round up located at the end of the story that takes readers through various images with corresponding words to add even more words to the reader’s vocabulary.

Entertainment

Children are going to love the fun story and lively animations that are included in this story especially if they already love My Little Pony. With so many sound effects, bright colors, and enthusiastic characters, this app is more like a cartoon at times than a storybook app. With that said there aren’t any additional games aside from the word round up at the end of the story. Adding an additional activity or game would definitely increase the entertainment value of the app a bit.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars this app is a good value. With lots of animations, sound effects, narration options, and vocabulary words included, this app is one children will love to read many times over.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done a great job creating an app that is easy to use with arrows located at the bottom of each page and highlighted characters to indicate an animation point. The narration and auto play options also make it accessible for young children who aren’t reading just yet.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)

monstermedic1

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 3.5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Monster Heart Medic is a great educational app that teaches children all about the cardiovascular system and health in a fun, interactive game. Ragnar is ill and needs your help to diagnose the problem and help get him better. Through various tests, challenges, healthy foods, and games, players have the opportunity to learn about healthy habits while helping to get Ragnar the monster healthy.

Features include:

  • Health tips
  • Very informative
  • Interactive games

Quality

Monster Heart Medic is a great, interactive app for kids that teaches lots of great health information in a fun, game-like environment. The developers have done a great job making this app engaging and fun with various tasks for players to complete as they learn. The illustrations and interactive images used within the app are cartoon-like with bright colors and simple background music to keep children engaged. There is a lot of text within the app from various characters sharing health information and directions for players to move forward in the game and unfortunately there isn’t an option for narration, which would definitely make the app a bit more user friendly. It also takes some getting used to in the very beginning to understand all aspects of the app, but once children begin playing, they won’t want to stop.

Education

There is no doubt that Monster Heart Medic is full of great health information and it’s presented in a fun way. The object of the app is to help Ragnar the monster get healthy again. Through a series of tests, lessons about the cardiovascular system, exercise, eating right, and lots of other great information, players must help guide Ragnar back to health. Throughout the app children will learn about heart murmurs, high blood pressure, exercise, and lots of the tests and tools doctors use to diagnose specific conditions. The only thing that would add a bit more value to his app is providing a narrated option for all of the text that is involved. It would definitely help keep auditory learners engaged in the material they are learning. Other than that, the developers have done a great job with this app.

Entertainment

Some of the best apps around are not only highly educational, but highly engaging too and Monster Heart Medic is one of the best I have seen with a nice balance of both. With various items to collect, tasks to complete, and fun bonus challenges to complete, this app has lots of entertaining activities that will keep players coming back for more. The video game-like feel also makes players forget they are even learning.

Value

It’s hard to believe an app like this with so much education and entertainment could be free, but it is! Parents, this is one app that is a must-have. Loads of information, fun, and interactive learning in one awesome app.

Child Friendliness

While it may take a little bit of getting used to at first, Monster Heart Medic is a highly engaging app for children to learn and enjoy. While including a bit of narration and a bit more instruction and help indicators through out would make it more user-friendly, it is a great educational app for kids.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • Parent area (unprotected, may contain external links & social media )

Georgie

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Georgie & The Birthday Girl is a cute storybook app that takes readers on a fun, musical journey with Georgie and his friends as they prepare a special gift for their friend Pebbles. This interactive storybook app is great for children of all ages especially those who love musical instruments.

Features include:

  • Text highlighting
  • Narration throughout
  • Interactive images

Quality

Georgie & The Birthday Girl is a cute storybook app with narration, interactive images, and a fun storyline that children will love. The developers have done a great job with the illustrations and images throughout the app. The interactive pieces are simple to use, but could definitely use a bit of work to create more engagement from the reader. With that said children will most definitely enjoy the music and sound effects used throughout the story as they follow along with the narrator.

Education

Not only does this app give children the opportunity to practice their reading skills as they follow along with the narrator, but it also teaches children to be quite resourceful. In the story when Chaos the Crow steals all of the musical instruments the animals must get creative and find another way to deliver their birthday song to Pebbles. With paint cans, bells, and a flute made from a carrot, the friends were able to perform their birthday song for their friend. Parents may also want to know that the British version of some words are used versus the U.S. English version.

Entertainment

While there are no additional activities or games included in this app, there are some interactive images and illustrations for children to stay engaged as they read. Tapping the images helps to bring them to life a bit and is especially great for the musical scene with each friend playing their instruments. While the story and the interactive images are great to have in the app, it would be nice to include an additional activity or a bit more interactivity within the story to help children stay engaged overall. Adding a musical activity at the end of the app would also be a great addition.

Value

Priced at just under four dollars this app is a bit more than you might expect for what is included in the app. Adding an additional activity or game as well as increasing the engagement with more interactivity in the app would definitely make this a more valuable app. With that said the storyline is entertaining and the educational benefits are good so young children will definitely enjoy the app.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done a nice job making the app easy to use for children of all ages. With arrows at the bottom of the page and various indicators throughout the story to help children move through the story, this app is quite easy to use. The narration throughout also makes it so pre-readers can enjoy the story while following along with the text-highlighting.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase

ready

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Ready Set Stack! is a great early learning app that encourages children to practice their hand-eye coordination while they stack various rings while learning new vocabulary words and colors. With the narration option throughout as children tap various images and rings, this app combines audio and visual learning which is great for young children.

Features include:

  • Hand-eye coordination practice
  • Vocabulary words
  • Various timed options
  • Problem solving activities

Quality

Ready Set Stack! is a great early learning app full of bright colors, fun illustrations and sound effects that encourage children to stay engaged and learning. While the app uses simple drag and drop technology as well as simple tapping to interact with the illustrations, it does require a bit of extra assistance from parents. The concept of dragging the rings to the peg appropriately isn’t fully explained within the app and the developers encourage parents to enjoy the app with their child to help them as they play and learn. Overall, this app is well done and a great early learning tool for children.

Education

This simple app has so much to offer in terms of educational value that it’s hard to believe. Not only are children working on hand-eye coordination as they stack the rings accordingly, but they are also learning new vocabulary words and colors as they play. Every time an image or illustration is touched the narrator will say the word out loud. When the rings are tapped and dragged into place, the color of the ring is said out loud creating an opportunity for children to practice recognizing their colors.

As the difficulty level naturally progresses, children are then asked to stack two different color rings on separate pegs which teaches the concept of sorting. There is also an opportunity for children to stack based on size (largest to smallest) and so on. The natural progression of the difficulty is nice as it provides a very organic learning environment that children will enjoy. Another great feature is the ability for parents to set up a timed playing option so children can get breaks from learning regularly depending on parents preference.

Entertainment

While there aren’t specific games in addition to the educational material, there are fun little interactive images and toys in the background of the playing screen that children are encouraged to tap and touch after they complete a sequence. This encourages players to continue playing and learning. There is also a celebratory animation that pops up in the bottom of the screen once each sequence is complete that adds a bit of excitement to the app. While adding an additional activity could be more of a distraction, this app could use a bit more entertainment within the educational material. Even adding a sticker reward of sorts would help keep children more engaged.

Value

There is no doubt this app is a great value since it is absolutely free. There are a ton of great educational components within the app and not having to pay a dime for all that is a steal! Parents will certainly love all you get in this app for free.

Child Friendliness

Ready Set Stack! is an easy to use early learning app that is great for children. With simple drag and drop technology, parents can easily teach players how to move through the app as they learn lots of great skills. And while the app is child friendly with protected links etc. it could use an additional layer of protection by requiring a password upon entry to the ‘other apps’ buttons etc.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)

math

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

MathLab for Grade 1 offers a comprehensive system that will allow young children to practice vital math skills at their own learning pace. The software offers two learning modes: a sequential mode that varies skills but gradually increases in difficulty and a “laboratory” mode that allows users to pinpoint specific math skills and practice selectively.

Features include:

  • 2 modes of play
  • 17 vital math skills covered
  • 30 levels of difficulty
  • Recall of highest level and ability to reset play
  • Gradual increase in difficulty level

Quality

MathLab for Grade 1 is a high-quality app that is easy to use and engaging. All features of the app work well. It is also helpful that developers included a “reset” system so players can begin again or new players can start from the beginning. However, to make this app truly useful in the classroom, developers may want to consider incorporating individual “accounts” to keep records for multiple players. As it stands, the app will remember the last level played and can be reset to begin again, but this prevents multiple students from progressing beyond what they can do in a single session. Also, there is a misspelling in the English version on the home page: the Laboratory Section is labeled “Laborytory.”

Education

This app is well-designed to improve students’ understanding of a large array of key math skills, including rote and skip counting, number identification, sequencing, addition, subtraction, and even beginning algebraic thinking and telling time. The two modes offer both an entertaining journey through mixed practice and also a method to focus practice on specific skills if needed. The app is available in four languages, and so will be useful to children from a wide array of backgrounds.

The Expedition mode shows a thirty-step path on a map and offers different math activities at each stop along the way. The exercises are randomly generated, so students will not know what to expect each time a new one is presented. They gradually become more difficult as the journey unfolds, which will keep young learners on their proverbial toes.

The Laboratory mode shows all seventeen skill categories, labeled by icons. Some are relatively clear in meaning, such as a clock with hands but no numbers, while others are a bit more cryptic, such as a plus sign next to an equals sign. It is also doubtful that children in the target age group would recognize the italicized “x” as representing a variable and indicating algebraic practice activities. It would be helpful, especially to parents and educators, to have written labels or a key available somewhere. The Laboratory exercises begin very simply with each skill and get progressively more challenging. When a player has accessed a Laboratory activity, a number appears beneath the icon to show how many exercises were completed correctly of the 20 or so offered. The app ends the Laboratory exercise when an error is made.

Entertainment

MathLab for Grade 1 will be fun for the target age group (preschool through grade 1). The Expedition mode randomizes the skills presented so that players have to think flexibly to achieve success. Correct responses are rewarded with cheers and applause and move the exercises forward. Incorrect responses trigger a slight shake of the graphics and a mild “negative” sound, and players get to choose another answer. In the Laboratory mode, correct responses move the system forward, through up to 20 exercises for the skill. The players hear applause and cheering when they enter a correct response. If an incorrect response is entered, the system stops the exercises and displays the current score. If it is the best on the activity, then the word “Best” appears on the screen. Between activities of either mode, when the decision screen is displayed, the app plays a version of “Eensy Weensy Spider” that could get just a little tiresome if heard enough times. Developers could improve this aspect of the app by offering a better array of correct response rewards and including an optional timer so players could compete with themselves for best times as well as best scores.

Value

This app is a good value for families or classrooms with children who need to practice foundational math skills. It covers a wide range of skills, including counting, number order, sequencing, beginning addition and subtraction, early algebraic skills, and more. The format is engaging and allows for mixed or skill-focused practice. The game might not have the staying power of other apps, however, because it can get a bit repetitious.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. There are no connections to the internet, social media or email. The app is easy to use and very intuitive.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

screen520x924

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating: 4.5
Download on the App Store

Overview

When it comes to being creative, most kids don’t need any help. So rather than helping kids express themselves creatively, Lazoo Art Box seeks to broaden their creative horizons. Through its imaginative prompts and different drawing modes, kids can create fun pieces of art, many of which actually come to life when they’re finished drawing.

Features include:

  • Five different creative modes
  • A palette full of drawing tools
  • Fun animated drawings
  • Engaging sound effects and background music

Quality

Kids will find it very easy to get started. Whenever they open a new area of the game, they’re shown a short tutorial on what to do. They are then given a prompt that is read aloud and highlighted as it is read, so they know exactly what to do. Once they draw, the play button really animates what the kids draw. It doesn’t worry so much about kids staying in the lines, but instead rewards any effort with something fun. The only downside is there doesn’t appear to be a way to save all of the fun drawings kids create.

Education

While this app does not focus on any academic skills, it encourages kids to think creatively. Many of the modes contain prompts for kids to respond to. For example, they must decide what is coming out of the elephants trunk or draw squiggles on lollipops. These kinds of activities help kids learn to think outside of the box and help them later on when it comes to writing stories or completing other creative tasks. The app also includes written and verbal instructions and includes text highlighting to help kids learn a few words as they play.

Entertainment

Kids will have a lot of fun completing the prompts in funny ways. For example, they may give people crazy purple hair or help rockets blast off with zany squiggles. They can create animated drawings in three main modes: squiggle, color, and draw. Kids who want a little more creative freedom can also simply draw on a blank page or take a photograph and draw on top of it.

Value

Even though the prompts stay the same, every time the kids open the app, their experience will be a little bit different. The different modes of play, along with the extensive palette of colors, tools, stickers, and other art supplies will give kids endless opportunities to create new works of art.

Child Friendliness

All of the imaginative prompts are kid-friendly and geared towards the preschool and kindergarten ages. One mode does give kids access to the device’s camera, but it does not save the photos children take. A protected parent area provides a bit of background for the app and links to social media. Kids will also see a protected More Apps icon at the top right-hand corner of the main screen.

  • Protected parent area
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES more apps (protected, but visible)

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Twist and Count-Pinball Math is a simple and easy-to-use app to help young children practice addition and counting skills. Players twist the iPad to guide colorful ball-like characters to the correct answer in this no-fail game.

Features include:

  • No possible way to get wrong answers – great confidence builder!
  • No complex control gestures- just twisting the device
  • Simple design is perfect for the very young or children with disabilities
  • Cute characters to engage and maintain interest
  • Delightful soundtrack to hold attention

Quality

Twist and Count- Pinball Math is a high-quality app that will delight young users. The app works well on phone or tablet, and is very easy to use. The twisting motion required to make the characters bounce into the correct number bin is easy to master, and the game’s no-fail design ensures that children will always get the correct answer.

Education

This app is a wonderful introduction to simple addition sums to nine. Developers have taken the old adage that “simple is often best” to heart and have created an amusing game that will delight and entertain children while helping them internalize some very important math concepts. Game play truly is simple: Users are presented with a math sum when they begin the game. For each addend, corresponding numbers of character-balls bounce onto the screen and line up. When the device is twisted, the balls begin a pinball-like journey down the screen to one of three number bins. The correct answer to the sum is always one of the choices. Twisting the device can help guide the balls around obstacles and into the correct bin, or if the user finds it amusing, can try to deflect the balls and keep them away from the correct bin. It will prove to be an impossible task! The game is designed so that even when balls fall onto an incorrect answer, they zing outward with renewed vigor and eventually make their way to the correct response. After all have landed, the numeral representing the correct answer appears and the balls line up obediently for counting off, should the player wish to do so.

The no-fail design ensures that kids, no matter how they play, will always arrive at the correct answer to the sum. There is also always an opportunity to count the balls both before and after answering the problem. The only suggestion I could think of to enhance the app would be to have an optional system where the problem, counting off, and answer would be verbalized after the correct answer is revealed. But it is really fun as it is, and the simplicity is a real asset, particularly with its target audience of young or disabled users.

Entertainment

Developers hit the nail on the head for entertaining young players with this app. The “balls” are really roly-poly characters with googly-eyes that will appeal to nearly all children. They bounce and roll around the screen with varying speeds, and are accompanied by some very entertaining sound effects. It’s fun to twist the device and to try to guide the ball-characters into the correct number bin, and it’s even more fun to try to keep them from landing where they are supposed to be. Either way, children will still need to predict (or add) to find out which number represents the correct answer, so the goal of the app is met no matter how children decide to play.

Value

This app is a good value for young users. It will help most children gain a more firm foundation with basic addition and counting. Since it only goes up to sums of nine, though, some youngsters may quickly outgrow it. It also may become a bit tiresome for long-term play value, since the novelty of the characters, the movements and the sound effects could wear off. It would be nice if the app had a way to “grow” with the child a bit farther.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. It perhaps could benefit from a parents’ section, however, that could house options about the sound effects and perhaps give suggestions about how to get the most educational value from the game.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Season of Tree is a cute app that allows children to explore forest animals using three unique activities and games. With music, pattern play, matching, math and so much more, this app offers lots of great ways for children to learn, explore, and have a ton of fun.

Features include:

  • 3 Activities
  • Matching
  • Music
  • Math

Quality

The artwork used in this app is very well done. With lots of bright colors, fun illustrations, and engaging sound effects, this app is great for children of all ages. The set up is quite intuitive and doesn’t require a ton of direction to get started. With that said there are areas where children can get a bit of help if they get stuck with a particular activity or are confused about what to do to move forward. Overall this is a high quality app for kids.

Education

With each new activity comes a new way for children to learn and there are lots of fun educational activities throughout. This app helps children use their problem solving and memory skills to replicate musical patterns, match specific animals, and add a certain number of food items to a plate. There is another activity that teaches children about the changes that trees go through with each season. This app does a great job of using a hands-on approach for learning which is great for children who are more visual learners.

Entertainment

With three different activities and smaller games within each section, this app offers lots of entertainment for young children. The Road To Courage activity is especially exciting as children are able to see the forest through the eyes of another animal that allows them to explore in a new way which is great. They even get to fight a scary snake toward the end of the activity which is pretty exciting. With that said, all of the activities include lots of fun with interactive images and music to keep children engaged.

Value

Priced at just under two dollars, this app is a great deal. With three interactive activities and lots of music, sound effects, and fun animals to explore, this app is one that young children will come back to time and again. It’s a great learning tool for kids and one that won’t break the bank.

Child Friendliness

With the hands on approach to learning that is really the centerpiece to this app, the app is great for children. The developers have also added various hints and buttons throughout the app to help children if they get stuck, which is great. With the great images, fun games, and educational activities, this app is a great for young children.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)

screen568x568

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Earth Day Carol takes the classic story of A Christmas Carol and turns it into a story about saving the earth. Plastic Bottle Scrooge, who hates Earth Day and isn’t concerned in the least about the environment, is visited by spirits who help him learn what happens to plastic and why it’s important to reduce, reuse, recycle. As Scrooge learns how to avoid the same fate that befell his old companion Styrofoam, kids are presented with a wealth of facts about plastic and the effect it has on the earth.

Features include:

  • Plastic facts
  • Interactive illustrations
  • Positive environmental lesson
  • Read to Me and Read to Myself options

Quality

This interactive eBook is focused less on the quality and more on the content. While it offers an engaging story and fun illustrations, it lacks some popular eBook features, such as text highlighting. Some of the illustrations are interactive, while others simply contain facts that pop up when the screen is tapped. While these facts are useful, they are contained within large text boxes that can sometimes cover the text. They also appear in a random order. The story itself, however, is cute and comes with a strong lesson and the narration in the Read to Me option is clear.

Education

After reading this story, kids will be motivated to start paying attention to how much plastic they use and will start to make sure they reduce, reuse, and recycle. The story itself does a good job of outlining how plastic is made and the effect it has on the environment. Aside from the story, the book also features many pop up facts related to plastic. These facts are presented a bit randomly so kids may not fully digest them. However, teachers and parents may want to encourage kids to go back and review the facts after reading the story. Some of them may encourage kids to conduct research or start their own recycling campaign.

Entertainment

Most kids will be familiar with the tale the story is based on which will make it easier for them to understand. It’s a fairly interesting story and kids who are concerned about the earth will particularly enjoy all of the facts inside. For those not so concerned about the earth, there are a few interactive elements spread among the pages to help keep them interested.

Value

While the app lacks text highlighting and a few of the other interactive features found in popular eBooks, it has one thing going for it that those books do not – it is free. It’s definitely worth a download, even if kids only read it once.

Child Friendliness

The app does not contain a parent section, but it does promote earthdaycarol.org on the main page. While kids cannot click on the link, they’re encouraged to go to a computer to look up the website. The website itself is fairly simple and harmless, but it does contain information for teachers and other sections not designed for kids.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES visible link to website (not active, but visible)

Earth-Day-600x600

Earth Day is a good time for us to remember the need to be good stewards of the Earth. Children are never too young to learn how important it is they do their part. We’ve included a list of reviewed and recommended apps for a wide range of ages.

coosi_size350

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Coosi Box is a creative art app that allows children to use their imaginations to create fun pictures that are turned into interesting animations. With the ability to share pictures with others and support the artwork of other children around the world, this app puts an unique twist on the traditional art apps out there.
Features include:

  • 9 Picture themes
  • Picture share capability
  • Creative set up

Quality

Coosi Box is a full of fun images and animations that children will enjoy. This virtual art app allows children to draw, paint, and color their own images that are then infused into fun animations. While the graphics are well done, the set up needs some work. It isn’t completely clear what needs to be done and how to use the app and having a little how-to video or instructions would definitely be helpful. After a few drawings children may get the hang of it, but it would be nice to have a bit more instruction up front.

Education

While this isn’t an educational app it does allow children to explore their creativity as they draw, paint, and color fun images to be included in the animations. Once users get the hang of how to move through the app, they can really use their imaginations to come up with fun and fantastical interpretations of each picture and animation.

Entertainment

There are 9 picture themes in addition to one blank canvas for children to explore and enjoy. After selecting the theme, children are provided a blank slate to create their masterpiece using one of three tools; a crayon, a small paintbrush and a large paintbrush and 16 colors to choose from as they complete their masterpieces. Once their picture is complete, they can see it utilized in the themed animation in a fun way. For instance, one of the themes includes a plate and a fork and when the animation begins it shows someone eating the picture that was just created.

This app also allows children to view pictures that other children have drawn and give a heart to the ones they like and also see which of their pictures receives hearts from other children. This is definitely an interesting reward-like system that is meant to boost each child’s confidence in their drawings.

While the app allows children to utilize their creativity and wonder it would be nice to have a few other drawing tools and options to add a bit more to the app.

Value

When you consider what you are getting in this app for no cost at all Coosi Box is a steal. For children who love drawing, coloring, and creating their own artwork, this app is perfect!

Child Friendliness

As mentioned above it isn’t completely clear how to use the app at first glance and takes a bit of experimenting to really understand how it works. Adding a simple how-to animation or simple instructions would help make this app easy for children to understand and use.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase

iconoJOKOTOKI

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

The Magic Pond is a cute app with great graphics that includes 4 simple, but fun activities that children will love. Each activity brings a little bit of magic with singing frogs, magical stairways to the moon, and a challenging game of search and find with chameleons that will delight young children. Simply put, this app is a combination of magic, music, and fun that little ones will love.
Features include:

  • 4 Activities
  • Music
  • Search & find activity

Quality

The quality of the images in this app are very good and include bright, crisp colors that are engaging for children. The music and sound effects also help to bring the app to life and make for a fun online playing area for children to explore this magical pond of fun animals and characters. The developers have also done a great job creating an easy to use app that is very intuitive for young children to use without a ton of assistance from parents.

Education

While this app isn’t specifically educational in nature, it does provide children with an opportunity to use their problem solving skills as they search and find the hiding chameleons in one activity. Children can also explore the many animals in the pond and sing along with “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” as the words are shown on the screen. Adding an additional one or two activities that are more educational in nature would definitely increase the overall value of the app.

Entertainment

The Magic Pond includes four activities for children to explore including a search and find game, a magical bubble pop activity, the pond’s band, and a free play activity that allows children to interact with tons of pond animals and enjoy ‘Row Your Boat’ song. While the activities are fun and easy to play, they may not keep children engaged for long periods of time. Once children have been through the app a few times it may lose it’s excitement. It would be nice to add a few other options or levels for some of the activities to enhance the entertainment value.

Value

Priced at just under one dollar this app isn’t going to break the bank. While there are four activities to enjoy it seems to be a better fit as a free app with an offer for an upgrade. The upgrade might include additional levels for the search and find game as well as other activities for children to enjoy in order to increase the overall value of the app.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done a great job of making this app very easy to use and safe too. Children can easily tap their way through the activities without a ton of assistance from parents which is great. The intuitive set up is great and especially easy for young children to enjoy.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase