Universal (iPhone / iPod / iPad)

IMG_0925
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Patrick’s Dinosaur: Aliens and Diggers is an imaginative and creative app that features dinosaurs, space aliens, things to throw, and even construction equipment. Most young children will be in heaven!
5

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Patrick’s Dinosaur: Aliens and Diggers is an imaginative and creative app that was made for a young child by his family. It will certainly capture the hearts and minds of many young children-after all, how can you go wrong with dinosaurs chucking rocks, hearts and cheese at aliens? It also includes a creative sticker activity.

Features include:

  • Completely child-safe
  • Child-designed artwork and game play
  • Contains dinosaurs, aliens, spaceships and construction equipment
  • Shows numbers of hits to promote number recognition and counting
  • Narrated by a young child

Quality

Patrick’s Dinosaur: Aliens and Diggers is a high quality app. The primary game play is a target activity where children will need to account for the “gravity” in each setting so they can launch the projectile to hit or land where they want it to. Tap the dinosaur on the front page to get it started. The app also includes a sticker scene where children can create scenes and save them to the camera roll. Recordings of a child’s voice directs young users with simple, clear directions. Tap the spaceship to get to the sticker activity. There is a simple, yet complete protected parents’ area that will answer any questions or minor technical questions, as well.

Education

This app isn’t really intended to be “educational,” as such, but children will nonetheless learn a lot while using it. Each of the activity scenes has its own rules about gravity that children will need to figure out and account for as they toss the items at the targets. The young narrator explains that gravity accounts for the differences-none out in space, a little bit near the moon, and a lot here on earth.  The app’s physics engine causes the projectiles to behave differently in each scene, and children will need to experiment to find out how high and far to toss in order to achieve the desired effect. Each time a player scores a hit, the app displays a number showing how many hits have been accomplished, from one to eleven.

The app also includes a sticker scene that can be scrolled to various areas in the “world.” It’s ideal for encouraging language and story-telling, so be sure to chat with your child as he or she gets creative with this section. Save the pictures if you wish by using the device’s camera roll.

Entertainment

It’s very tough to go wrong with an app for young children that combines dinosaurs, aliens and spaceships, construction equipment, and an excuse to throw things!  The artwork, animations, and sound effects are quite engaging. Most young children will find lots to love about this app. It’s easy to use and will be highly entertaining.  The use of a child’s artwork is also ingenious; it will encourage creativity in many ways and may even make your child a bit jealous that someone else’s family could create a real app from a kid’s vision.  Be prepared for your youngster to dream big, as well.

Value

Patrick’s Dinosaur: Aliens and Diggers costs ninety-nine cents on the App Store.  If your youngster has the slightest interest in dinosaurs, aliens, spaceships, or throwing things, it will be well worth the money. The app is entertaining, educational, and encouraging.

Child Friendliness

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

brownbearanimalparade

Eric Carle's Brown Bear Animal Parade

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendliness
Summary
Go on a parade with Brown Bear and his animal friends in Eric Carle's Brown Bear Animal Parade.
4.6

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 1
Download on the App Store

Overview

“Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?”

“I see a parade of animals following me!”

The classic story by Eric Carle gets a new twist in Eric Carle’s Brown Bear Animal Parade. In this app, kids lead Brown Bear on a journey around the forest. Along the way, they meet a host of animals. At first the animals are gray, but kids complete fun activities to reveal the animals’ colors. Then the animals join the line, adding their own special tune to the animal parade.

Features include:

  • Related to the classic story by Eric Carle
  • Interactive animals
  • Fun sounds
  • Recordable sounds

Quality

The app is so easy that even toddlers can use it. Kids simply tap on Brown Bear to make him move, and then tap on the animals as they appear. Most of the activities within the app only require a simple tap or two as well. The illustrations within the app are colorful and really bring Eric Carle’s book to life. The animations move smoothly and are responsive to kids’ touch. One area where kids may have trouble is recording their own sounds. Once the option appears, it’s hard to make it appear again. To do so, kids must press and hold on an animal until the microphone icon appears, then record their sounds.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

As kids move throughout the app, they’ll discover all of the characters from the story Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”. There’s a red bird, a yellow duck, a blue horse, and many more. Kids can add all of the animals to the parade or only click on a few of the characters. Not only will kids enjoy getting to select the animals to join the parade, but they’ll also enjoy the sounds the characters make. Once kids make it to the end of the parade route, they’re rewarded with confetti. They also have the ability to play the different animal sounds to create their own musical performance.

Value

The app is priced similarly to other animated ebook apps, even though it’s not a traditional ebook. Given the quality and the ability to record your own sounds, as well as the popularity of the book it’s based on, the app offers a good value.

Child Friendliness

A small menu icon allows kids to start over and reset their sounds. Underneath those options is an option to view more apps for the developer. Kids can see a scrolling list of app icons, but tapping on an icon reveals a parental block.

  • No in-app purchases
  • NO rate us
  • NO more apps
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES more apps (protected, but visible)

123awesomepark

123 Awesome Park

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Learn to count from 1 to 20 with 123 Awesome Park.
4.8

App Info

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

Overview

There are lots of counting apps out there for preschoolers and one of the best we’ve found is 123 Awesome Pack. This cute counting app helps kids learn to count from 1 to 20, one number at a time. Kids learn to count through a series of fun counting activities. As they do, they get to interact with characters, play fun games, and win silly prizes. Overall, 123 Awesome Park offers a fun, quality way to teach kids to count.

Features include:

  • Play fun counting games
  • Interact with animated characters
  • Set up multiple child profiles
  • Play in different languages

Quality

The app is easy for kids to play and navigate. They start at number one and work their way up to number twenty. Parents and teachers can use the protected parent area to set up profiles to track the progress of individual kids. In the parent area, they can also adjust the music and sound effects. The app is also available in 18 different languages, including Filipino, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, and Italian. Once kids choose a number to get started, they’re taken through a series of activities and animations. These move smoothly. However, in a few instances, the objects kids must drag and drop are a little difficult to move. For example, on a game where kids had to putt a series of golf balls, it was hard for little fingers to get the balls to move. In general, however, the app works very well.

Education

Kids learn to count numbers in multiple ways. They’re shown the number and must drag it to a box. They’re asked to pick out the number of figures. They must select a group with the required number. They must also count individual objects to get to the required number. Along the way they also get to follow a story between a series of characters. The continuation of the story from number to number makes the app somewhat unique.

Entertainment

While the series of activities is somewhat repetitive, it’s still fun for kids. With each number, kids see different objects and interact with the characters in different ways. After completing each number, kids also watch their prize bar fill up. For every five numbers they complete, they receive a silly prize. This helps motivate kids to keep interacting with the app.

Value

The app is priced comparably to other early math apps for kids. For the price, kids gain access to a quality series of activities for each number from one to twenty.

Child Friendliness

All content contained within the app is child friendly and easy for kids to interact with. Parents can access a protected parent area. There they can adjust the settings, set up individual profiles, and track child stats. A tab in the parent area also contains links to more apps and social media.

  • Protected Parent Area
  • NO rate us
  • NO more apps
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase

wonsterwordsapp

Wonster Words

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Build your child's spelling and vocabulary skills through fun games and silly animations with Wonster Words.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Wonster Words helps kids build their spelling and vocabulary skills through a series of fun spelling activities and animations. Kids can learn words from a variety of themed word lists, ranging from AT words to Space Adventures. As they do, they’ll be introduced to a host of zany characters and silly scenarios to help make learning to spell a lot of fun. Designed largely for students in elementary school, Wonster Words offers a way to break up some of the mundane aspects of spelling practice for kids.

Features include:

  • Learn to spell new words
  • Watch fun animations
  • Earn digital prizes
  • Purchase additional words

Quality

The main screen of the app features a sliding group of images. Each image represents a different collection of words. Those that must be purchased feature a lock symbol so kids know exactly what they can access. Once kids select a word collection to interact with and are given a particular word, the app shows off its quality animations and interactive components. Kids will find it easy to navigate through the activities and will enjoy the silly animations and fun background music as they play.

Education

In the free version of the app, kids can download the daily words, a themed word list, and AT words. Additional word lists, such as Birthday Surprises and PH words are available to download through an in-app purchase. Developers target the app towards kids and toddlers, but the words contained in the app are not really ideal for the toddler set. Yes, toddlers will have fun watching the animations and placing the letters on the words, but many of the words, including those with simple word parts (such as AT words) contain longer words. Parents may also want to preview words. For example, AT words contains the word BRAT which is not really a bad word, but may not be a word parents want their kids to learn about in-depth.

The app itself is similar to another popular spelling/phonics app series. Kids see a word and must drag/drop the letters into the word. After they do, they’re given the definition of the word and shown a short animation involving the word. This style works well to help kids remember each word.

Entertainment

Kids will enjoy the silly animations as they form the words and will also like watching the videos that help explain the meaning of the word. In themed word collections, once each word is complete kids also receive a prize that they can unwrap. Prizes include silly things like space boogies. Developers have worked hard to ensure that kids are engaged and entertained at every part of the app.

Value

The app is free to download and some activities are included. The free content offers a good sampling of what the rest of the app has to offer and helps parents and teachers determine whether other packs will be beneficial for children. Access to all of the words is available through an annual subscription or by paying extra for lifetime access. Individual word packs can also be purchased for lower amounts, but these can quickly add up.

Child Friendliness

In the protected parent area, adults can gain access to the developer’s contact information, as well as select whether letters should appear in uppercase or lowercase. On the main screen of the app are different word collections. Some collections come with the app or can be downloaded for free. Others must be purchased either individually or as a set. The in-app purchases are protected, but can be viewed by kids who are likely to beg their parents for word sets that look enticing.

  • Protected Parent Area
  • NO rate us
  • NO more apps
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchase (protected, but visible)

pjmasks

PJ Masks: Super City Run

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Fight crime in the city and find lost objects with your favorite PJ Masks heroes in PJ Masks: Super City Run.
4.8

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 3
Download on the App Store

Overview

“”Night in the city, and a brave band of heroes is ready to face fiendish villains to stop them messing with your day!” In PJ Masks: Super City Run kids get to play as their favorite PJ Masks characters and race around the city. This simple running game challenges kids to collect a series of lost objects while also chasing their most-detested villains around town. However, they must be careful because there are a lot of obstacles to get in their way!

Features include:

  • Play at Catboy, Gekko, or Owlette
  • Chase Romeo, Luna Girl, and Night Ninja
  • Find hidden objects
  • Avoid obstacles

Quality

When kids first open the app, it’s nighttime in the city and their favorite PJ Masks heroes are ready to go on an adventure and defeat villains. The app is laid out fairly simply. Once kids hit the play button, they can choose between three different characters. They can also view a list of the objects that they can find while playing the game. As the objects are found, they appear in full color in the list. At the beginning of each game, kids are taken through a brief tutorial that shows them how to move. After that, they use their fingers to make their way along the path. Tapping the right way to avoid obstacles isn’t always easy, but kids will get better at it the more they play the app.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

As kids make their way through the app, they’ll get the chance to interact with all of their favorite PJ Masks characters. Kids choose one character to start the game, but special barriers in the game occasionally prompt them to switch to another character. Whatever character they play as, their goal is the same: to avoid the obstacles and collect the fun objects they find. These include objects in the hidden objects list and other bonus features, such as golden masks. Along the way, villains such as Romeo, Night Ninja, and Luna Girl will also pop up for kids to chase. At the end of each round, kids are given a score and shown how many steps they took. Their ultimate goal is to beat their high score each time.

Value

The app is priced comparably to other apps featuring popular characters from Disney Junior. Parents will find that there are not a lot of activities to complete within the app, but kids who love PJ Masks and/or love simple racing games will enjoy this one, especially when it comes to chasing the villains out of town.

Child Friendliness

The app is free from ads and other content designed to take children away from the game. There are not any settings areas either. All of the content found within in the app is kid-friendly and perfect for kids who are PJ Masks fans.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO “more apps”

IMG_0915
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Pocket Sight Words provides a simple and effective way to practice recognition of 220 sight words from the Dolch List. It has few bells and whistles, which results in a very intuitive interface that should be apparent to preschoolers and kindergarteners in the target age group, but also is not likely to be exciting or intriguing for most children in this age group.
4.3

App Info

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

Overview

Pocket Sight Words is a simple app that will help young or struggling readers practice recognition of basic sight words from the Dolch list. The words are presented in isolation and embedded in simple sentences (designed by kindergarten teachers). The app includes an interactive exercise requiring players to find the spoken word from a list of distractors. It keeps point scores based on the number of words correctly selected in the interactive exercise and automatically advances when all words on the list are selected accurately.

Features include:

  • Includes 220 sight words presented in order from the Dolch List
  • Integrates audio prompts and examples throughout the app
  • Features brightly-colored illustrations for many words and sentences
  • Clear voice over saying the words and sentences with Australian accent
  • Sight words presented in groups of five for improved mastery

Quality

Pocket Sight Words is a high quality app that provides practice with 220 basic sight words appropriate for young children or struggling readers. The app is easy to use and intuitive, with a simple “find the word” interactive activity to check progress. Developers did a good job of making the app simple and straight forward; there are few bells and whistles, but the meat of the system will help readers master basic sight word recognition.

Education

Pocket Sight Words presents 220 words from the Dolch lists in order beginning with the preprimer list. The words are presented in groups of five, and sectioned into units of five groups. The slow, even rate of presentation is a plus for most students. The introductory section for each group presents the word in written form, and if students tap the microphone icon, they can hear the word pronounced. Touching the magnifying glass icon on the screen shows a sentence with the word used in context and again, a microphone icon that begins a recorded version of the sentence. Once all five words in the group have been previewed in this manner, the app presents a screen with a target word and distractors. The word is spoken aloud, and the student is expected to tap the matching written version. Any errors on this segment will force the student to repeat the section rather than allow him or her to progress to the next list.

Pocket Sight Words uses basic principles of learning to tap into critical memory skills to encourage sight word recognition. It would be better, perhaps, if the app automatically voiced each word in the practice sessions. As it stands, however, users can quickly tap through the practice segment without getting the auditory versions and move on to the more game-like portion of the system. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on the student and his or her needs.

I also feel this app is somewhat limited in the type of practice it provides. Matching a spoken word to a list of possibilities is a very different skill than reading a word outright, and such recognition is not necessarily indicative of the ability to recognize the word without prompting. Developers should look into including several types of games that require increasing complexity of response, such as sentences with missing words, typing or writing a word from oral prompt, and so forth.

Entertainment

This app plays a pleasant tone and a vocal praise when words are selected correctly on the interactive portion. It awards points for each correctly selected word, as well, and when all words are selected correctly from the lesson, it advances to the next level automatically, unlocking new content. All in all, it’s pleasant, but not particularly exciting, which again might be a good thing for some learners, and not enough motivation for others.

Value

Pocket Sight Words definitely achieves the goal it sets out to accomplish, which is to provide recognition practice with sight words. It costs $1.99 on the App Store, which is a reasonable price, and covers 220 basic words that all readers need to master quickly. It is definitely worth the money for families where several children will use it, or in classroom settings where multiple children will use the app. However, some children are likely not to find it particularly interesting or exciting, and may become bored with it before accessing most of its content.

Child Friendliness

This app, while intended for young children, has an unprotected link to email and one to Facebook on its front page. Developers should seriously consider putting these links behind an effective parent gate, as there are certainly some ambitious youngsters who will check them out without parental permission.

  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “unprotected social media and support links on front page”

animaliaapp

Animalia - Kids Learning Games & Interactive Story

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Kids learn a lesson by reading through the story and playing the games in Animalia - Kids Learning Games & Interactive Story.
4.3

App Info

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

Overview

The story of The Lion and the Mouse gets an update in this interactive ebook. Animalia tells of a lion and a mouse who like to watch horror movies together. As kids read through the story, they can interact with both the lion and the mouse. While the illustrations and narration are high quality, the interactive animations could be improved. As it stands, it’s still a unique retelling of a classic story.

Features include:

  • Story with a moral
  • Interactive animations
  • Fun mini games
  • Easy navigation

Quality

Kids can choose to view the stories in two ways – as a video or as an interactive story. The video moves quickly (perhaps a little too quickly) and is a good way to introduce kids to the story. The interactive story is easy to navigate through, however, it doesn’t have quite the same quality feel. This is largely because of the interactive components. When an opportunity to interact with the story is available, kids see flashing dots, but the dots are a bit off-putting. There is also a slight lag for some of the interactions. The app does do a good job of showing kids how to move their device at particular points in the story. For example, kids must tilt the device at times. It also features cute animations and quality narration.

Education

Developers say that the goal of the app is to engage kids and help them learn through motions and language. However, the main educational value in the app lies in the story. Kids will learn through the moral of the story about the lion and the mouse. There are elements of the story that are a little too modern and unbelievable. For example, the lion is watching a horror movie on his laptop. For early readers, the story is narrated. It is also accompanied by text that appears as the story is narrated. However, the text is a bit small for kids who want to read along.

Entertainment

As kids read through the story, they can interact with the animations on the page. For example, one of the first tasks kids get to complete is to feed the lion. The tasks are all fairly simple and generally relate to the story. One downside is that the written instructions, such as “tap the laptop” aren’t read aloud, so early readers may not know what to do. Also, while there’s a lot of tapping and tilting, many of the animations have the same feel, so kids may stop being entertained by them.

Value

The app is priced comparably to similar interactive ebooks. However, the quality knocks down its value a bit. If developers could increase the text size and improve the quality of some of the animations, it would have a much higher value.

Child Friendliness

A protected parent area gives parents access to additional developer apps, in-app settings, and a brief user guide. All of the content contained within the app is child-friendly.

  • Protected Parent Area
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO “more apps”

suntomoon

Sun to Moon Sleep Clock

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Help kids fall asleep and stay asleep with Sun to Moon Sleep Clock.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Parents looking for a way to get their children to stay in bed may want to consider Sun to Moon Sleep Clock. This simple app acts as a sleep timer and alarm clock for children. Parents simply set the wake time and the sleep time. Then they start the clock when it’s time for their children to go to bed. With its sound effects and other incentives, the app offers a unique way to help kids sleep.

Features include:

  • Sleep timer
  • Nighttime sounds
  • Wake up sounds
  • Points and rewards for sleeping

Quality

The app is fairly simple in design with the majority of the screen being taken up by a cartoonish moon or a cartoonish sun (depending on the time of day). At the top of the screen, parents will find a clock and an icon representing points earned. At the bottom of the screen is the wake up time and a button that says “Goodnight” (before bedtime). A small settings button also appears at the top of the screen. In the settings area, parents can set the sunrise and sunset times, as well as sleep sounds and sunrise sounds. Parents can also add additional elements to the sleep settings, such as 15 minutes of reading time.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

While this app is designed to get kids to sleep, it’s still entertaining. Kids can fall asleep to multiple sounds: a soothing harp, a blow dryer, waves crashing, whale songs, rain falling, tic toc clock, and music box. Many of the sleep sounds are harsh, but may provide the perfect white noise to get kids to fall asleep. Kids can also wake up to different sounds: digital beeps, birds tweeting, a rooster crowing, wake-up music, bongos, cats meowing, charge fanfare, and trumpet. Special holiday sounds are also occasionally found in the app’s updates. In addition to the fun sounds, kids can visit the Sleep Clock Shop and spend their points on fun add-ons, such as hats, seating, outfits, and accessories for the sun and moon. For example, kids can turn the moon into a banana or give the sun an eyepatch.

Value

This app is much less expensive than many of the trendy sleep clocks designed for kids. If kids have their own tablets or phones, it could be a reasonable option for helping them learn to sleep through the night.

Child Friendliness

All of the content within the app is child-friendly. Parents should be sure to turn on and set the pin for the app so that kids cannot get into the settings section. Otherwise, kids will be able to reset the awake and sleep times to whenever they want, which could lead to an unexpected wake up call at 3 a.m.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO “more apps”

IMG_0914
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Alligator in the Elevator Matching Game is a highly entertaining app perfect for helping toddlers and preschoolers build critical memory skills and language skills, as well as for encouraging language play that will improve later reading and writing skills.
5

App Info

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

Overview

Alligator in the Elevator is a version of the classic game of Memory using a six by four tile board. It also offers a catchy and engaging animated music video of the classic children’s song of the same name. The app is designed for toddlers and preschoolers, and focuses on recognition of numerals 1-10.

Features include:

  • Builds memory and other foundational academic skills
  • Features intuitive game play
  • Uses silly pictures and animations to grab and keep attention
  • Includes parents area explaining the app’s benefits
  • Includes music video

Quality

Alligator in the Elevator Matching Game is a high quality app that is well-designed for toddlers and preschoolers. The app features an intuitive interface based primarily on pictures, so youngsters do not have to read to enjoy the fun. It is simple to turn background music on or off using a musical note icon in the header for the game.

Education

This app is one of a set of three marvelously appropriate toddler/preschooler pastimes. The other two apps in this series from developer Little Starship Productions include Alligator in the Elevator Jigsaw Puzzles, and Alligator in the Elevator 123 and are definitely worth a look if you have children in this ages group.

Alligator in the Elevator Matching Game features a music video of the signature children’s song, a rollicking and silly discussion of what might happen if one were to meet an alligator in an elevator. The music is catchy and memorable, and the title character suitably silly, not to mention the sheer fun of saying the phrase “alligator in the elevator” again and again (try it and you’ll see what I mean!).

The main feature of this app is a memory game where the player turns over tiles searching for a match. Each tile has the title character in a different position with some animations. In addition, the numbers 1-10 are shown on 20 of the 24, encouraging children to match them. The board is six tiles by four tiles, so not too complex for beginners. Correctly matched tiles disappear, making the game progressively easier as more are matched.

Memory games of all sorts are foundational to later academic success, and this one not only exercises and builds memory skills, but it’s also quite fun.

Entertainment

Alligator in the Elevator Matching Game is wonderfully entertaining for young children. Few youngsters in this age group can resist silliness and nonsense, and the very idea of this alligator showing up in an elevator definitely qualifies. The music video is loads of fun, and will be played again and again. The memory game poses just the right amount of challenge for most kids in this age group, and since it’s different each time it’s played, has a lot of replay value.

Value

This app (and its sister apps “Alligator in the Elevator Jigsaw Puzzles” and “Alligator in the Elevator 123”) are free in the App Store, making the trio an excellent value. If you have young children at home or in your classroom, they are well worth the downloads.

Child Friendliness

Alligator in the Elevator Matching Game is very child friendly. There is a “More Apps” button on the front page, but it is protected with an effective parent gate.

  • Parent area
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)

boggajewel

Bogga Jewel

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Go fishing for hidden gems and learn a bit about cleaning up the ocean with Bogga Jewel.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Bogga Jewel, the latest member of the Bogga Tap series, gives kids a chance to go fishing in the ocean. This fun game has kids use three fishing lines to pick up boots and other objects from the water. As they do, they will discover lots of shiny treasures. Bogga Jewel has a simple design, but it’s packed with fun for kids.

Features include:

  • Play as a boy or girl
  • Fish for jewels
  • Unlock fun prizes
  • Build fine-motor and counting skills

Quality

When kids first open the app, they have the option to hit the play button or open the jewelry box. At first, the items in the jewelry box will be locked, but kids can unlock them by pulling up boots and other items in the game. Kids get to choose whether to play the game as a boy or girl. Both characters’ points are grouped in the game, so kids can switch back and forth without losing progress. When kids first play the game, they’re shown a simple tutorial. From there, it’s up to them to press the arrows and move to the proper fishing line. The game runs smoothly and it’s easy for kids to figure out what they do as they play.

Education

The educational components of the app are fairly subtle. As kids cach boots, a counter advances at the bottom of the screen. This helps reinforce counting skills. That counter also appears at the end of each round. In addition to building counting skills, kids can learn about concepts such as recycling. They get to place the boots they catch in a recycling machine and earn a sticker for a job well done. Other activities within the app help kids build color recognition and fine motor skills.

Entertainment

Most of the app involves moving the arrows to catch the boots on the correct line. As kids do, they may also collect other random objects. Hidden in those bags of seaweed and piles of driftwood are gems. Those gems are collected to unlock rings, crowns, and other pieces of jewelry. Kids can then arrange the gems on the jewelry any way they like. The app also has other activities. For example, kids may catch mystery boxes or place boots in the recycling machine.

Value

Given the simplicity of the app and the fact that its educational value is subtle, the app may be priced higher than what the content is actually worth. It may appeal more to little kids who like fishing or who like the idea of collecting jewels.

Child Friendliness

Parents can gain access to the protected parent area from the main screen. There they’ll find the ability to reset the scores within the app. There are also links to the developer’s website, privacy policy, and the “rate us” page.

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

tocalifefarm

Toca Life: Farm

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Kids get to run the farm any way they choose with Toca Life: Farm.
4.7

App Info

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

Overview

Put on your boots and head on down to the farm. Toca Life: Farm gives kids a chance to experience what life is like on the farm. From the inside of the barn and farmhouse to running to farmer’s market, kids can experience nearly every aspect of farm life. Like the other apps in the Toca Life series, kids have free range to explore the app, allowing them to experience the farm on their own terms.

Features include:

  • Interact with multiple characters
  • Play in different farm-themed settings
  • Record audio and video of characters
  • Make music and other sound effects

Quality

When kids first open the app, they’re provided with a layout of the farm. From there, kids can determine whether they want to visit the farm house, the barn, or the farmer’s market or head out to the field. No matter which area kids choose, they’ll find that they can navigate through the app’s different activities easily. Kids familiar with other Toca Life apps will be familiar with how to interact with the characters and objects in the game, but those new to the series may need to spend a bit of time figuring out how the different elements of the app work. Thankfully, it’s all fairly intuitive and they’ll figure it out as they play.

Education

There are not any direct educational lessons and activities contained within the app. However, the app does help improve kids’ social-emotional development by giving them a chance to interact with characters in the world. Kids will also learn a bit about farm life, learning what types of crops are grown and how a farm store operates.

Entertainment

Kids have total control as they move around the app. If they want to play guitar in the field or drop apples all over the floor of the farmer’s market, they can do it. There are so many objects kids can use and characters they can interact with. They can plant a garden, pick apples, and run a store. They can also play music in the house, splash around in the bathroom, and move around animal poop in the barn. It may not sound too exciting to an adult, but to kids, it’s a lot of fun.

Value

The app is priced the same as other Toca apps. Not only is it a high-quality app, but there are a large variety of activities for kids to enjoy. For kids who like farms (or just like Toca Life apps), it’s worth a download.

Child Friendliness

In this app, kids have free reign, but they get free reign within the safety of a controlled community. All of the content is child-friendly and appeals to a child’s sense of humor. The app requests access to the microphone and photos so kids can record videos of their characters’ actions in the app. On the app’s main screen, there is a protected parent area and icons for additional apps occasionally appear in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.

  • 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)

IMG_0911
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
MeteoHeroes is a fun app that features child characters that discover they have weather-related super powers as they train and prepare to take on world-wide meteorology problems.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

MeteoHeroes introduces six characters that discover weather-related superpowers as they train and learn together. Their goal is to become superheroes that use weather to save the world from various problems such as pollution. This app poses six levels of challenges to the group.

Features include:

  • Earn Meteocards
  • Explore 6 different environments
  • Explore 6 different levels
  • Learn about 6 kinds of weather phenomena
  • Enjoy unique sound effects and scenery

Quality

MeteoHeroes is a high quality app that will help children learn basic information about the weather. The app’s instructions to users are in printed blurbs that appear on the screen. There are also printed tips to help the environment, however, these often disappear before a child would have a chance to read them. The app has a limited parents’ section that is well-protected. It contains a link to the developers’ website that gives a more complete backstory for the characters and some additional information about how to use the app. Developers included a brief tutorial to help users understand how to manipulate the characters.

Education

This app is listed as being for children ages 6-8, and the game play is appropriate for the age group. The reading levels, however, seem quite a bit higher than this, so many first, second and third graders are likely to have some trouble accessing the educational content. In addition, many children do not study weather in such detail until later elementary school.

The content of the game is very educational for children, explaining various aspects of climate and weather phenomena. The characters are sent on a journey and encounter obstacles in their path such as a burning forest and a frozen ice cave. The user needs to reason out what kind of weather phenomena will help remove the obstacle so the game can continue. For example, the only MeteoHero that can put out the forest fire is Pluvia, the Rain Hero. Only Nubes (the cloud hero) is able to block the extreme sun in the desert. Players can switch active heroes at will, and can choose a new one to face each obstacle. Once the obstacle is passed, the game presents a Meteocard. These cards have weather information on them, and are accessible from the main screen by scrolling to the far right. It’s not particularly obvious where to find them, though, so parents may need to nudge children so they get the most out of the app.

Entertainment

MeteoHeroes will have kids zapping lightning bolts, blowing breezes, and controlling rain showers to overcome obstacles around the training course, which will appeal to many. It did start to seem a bit repetitive after a while to me, though. Kids can experiment with using different characters to overcome the obstacles, but once the reasoning is clear to them, they will realize that one and only one character will get the job done. For example, only Pluvia can put out the forest fires.

Completing tasks also yields Meteocards to add to the collection, but as far as I could see, these were just informational in nature. Not that that is a bad thing, but kids may not particularly entertained for long by them.

Value

MeteoHeroes is free on the App Store, which makes it a good deal. If you have a child who is interested in weather, or one who likes super heroes, this app will be lots of fun. Adults should be aware, however, that this is a big app and will gobble up over 600 mb of your device’s memory.

Child Friendliness

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

IMG_0910
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Ben and Holly Elf and Fairy Party is an entertaining and engaging app that will get young children involved and keep them playing again and again as they create a new and different party experience each time.
5

App Info

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

Overview

Ben and Holly Elf and Fairy Party is a playful pastime that is designed to tickle toddlers and preschoolers with an entire party full of fun with characters from the television show Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, which originates in Great Britain and is popular the world over. The lead characters invite children to play party games, collect gifts, and enjoy silly surprises in this free-form game.

Features include:

  • Four party games with many options
  • Familiar characters, music and sound effects from the TV show
  • Interactive and engaging activities
  • Creative options to decorate gifts
  • Ample opportunities to play with gifts

Quality

Ben and Holly Elf and Fairy Party is a very high quality app that will entertain and delight young children, particularly if they are already familiar with the characters. The app is intuitive to use, and includes oral instructions for every activity. The narrator is enthusiastic and bright, which will encourage children to play. She does speak with a pronounced British accent, but everything is clearly enunciated.

Education

While this app is not really intended to be educational, it does have some qualities that will help children develop important skills. Players need to make decisions about which activities to pursue, and then they need to follow oral directions. The app encourages development of eye-hand coordination and allows children to learn about cause and effect as well as the passage of time since some activities have short time limits. Ben and Holly Elf and Fairy Party also includes several free play areas where kids can manipulate the presents they’ve received through playing, as well as the jelly flood that brings all sorts of items with it. Who wouldn’t want to play in jelly!

Entertainment

Ben and Holly Elf and Fairy party is highly entertaining for the target age group (toddlers and preschoolers). Kids will have no problem moving from game to game, and the play is engaging enough that it will keep them coming back for more. There are four different party games to select: decorating a present, breaking a piñata, popping balloons, or making music with a band. Each of the activities has several options within it as well, so children could play for a very long time without duplicating an experience.

The developers did a good job of appealing to young children’s sense of humor-the screen occasionally gets flooded with jelly, band members turn into fat frogs and play jarringly off-key notes from time to time, and so forth. All in all, it’s a ton of fun!

Value

This app is free in the App Store, and it’s a really fun app, so what’s not to love? Best of all, it’s child friendly and entertaining at the same time.

Child Friendliness

This app is as child-friendly as it can be.

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

safarischool

Safari School

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Practice counting, color, and sorting skills with Safari School, a basic early learning app for kids.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

All aboard! Leo the Cat and his friends are ready to take kids on an early learning journey. Safari School is an early learning app designed for kids ages 3-6. The educational activities within the app focus on basic early learning concepts. These include recognizing shapes, colors, and numbers. As kids travel along the track, they’re given the chance to complete different activities. As they do, they earn coins to receive sweet rewards.

Features include:

  • Content organized by age bands 3-4, 4-5, and 5-6
  • Basic early learning games for kids
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Non-verbal instructions

Quality

Safari School is an animated app for kids. It features a train that follows a standard track. Different activities appear along the track and a candy counter appears at the top. The app is fairly easy for kids to interact with. Nonverbal clues, such as a moving hand, guide kids as they play. In general, the components of the app move smoothly. However, when it comes to moving characters around at the station and putting coins in the candy machine, it may be a bit difficult for kids to touch and slide the correct objects.

Education

The app focuses on fairly basic early learning concepts. For most activities, kids are asked to sort different objects into train cars. They may sort the objects by shape or color. Each car is labeled with what goes in it. Kids must look at the pictures carefully to make sure they’re putting the right objects into the cars. Once they do, the train chugs along. It should be noted that while the activities in the app are designed for ages 3-6, many of them are fairly basic. The app is better suited for the younger end of the age range. It may also be good for kids who have struggled to learn basic concepts.

Entertainment

Kids will be attracted to Safari School because of the moving train and characters that appear within the app. They’ll also be entertained by the activities and the ability to earn virtual candy. However, because the activities are generally the same throughout the app, kids may not stay engaged with the app for more than a round or two at a time.

Value

The app is free to download and offers basic learning activities for kids. For kids who need more practicing with counting, sorting, and learning their colors, it’s worth a download.

Child Friendliness

A protected parent area can be found in the left-hand corner of the manin screen. The section requires parents to sign up with Facebook to access it. Once they do, parents can view general information page about the app and its developer. Parents can also send developers a code through Facebook Messenger to receive weekly progress reports. However, these may not be necessary, as the content in the app is fairly simplistic. Within the app itself, kids can access the settings screen. This screen allows them to select the age range and language. Some parents may not like that kids are rewarding with virtual candy during the game.

  • Protected Parent Area
  • NO rate us
  • NO more apps
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchase (protected, but visible)

kidjo

Kidjo

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Let kids watch fun and educational videos in a safe environment with Kidjo.
4.8

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 1
Download on the App Store

Overview

Parents looking for a safe place for kids to view educational and entertaining videos may find their answer in Kidjo. This video app, designed for kids ages 1-7, offers a range of videos just for kids. With the app, parents can set up a profile for a child. Within that profile, they can select the types of videos that child is allowed to watch. From nursery rhymes to tutorials, Kidjo offers a large selection of videos for kids.

Features include:

  • Free educational and entertaining videos
  • A safe viewing platform
  • Customizable profiles
  • Monthly subscription service

Quality

Parents will find that the app is well-organized and easy to set up. Once set up, kids simply tap on a video icon to see a list of available videos in that category. In the free version, premium videos are locked and clearly marked. All videos play directly within the app. Parents should make sure the device is connected to wifi to ensure videos play properly.

Education

Within the general settings, parents have the ability to determine whether they want kids to see only educational content, only entertainment videos, or a mix of both. However, all of the videos have a bit of educational value, even if it’s just teaching kids about social skills and recognizing emotions. Within the app, parents can customize what kids see, which means they can determine what content is most beneficial for their kids.

Entertainment

The videos found within the app feature a mix of popular characters, animated songs, and other fun videos for kids. Kids can watch videos featuring Garfield and Mr. Men. They can watch video yoga and view tutorials. They can also listen to nursery rhymes and other stories. All of the videos have been designed with kids in mind and are highly engaging for kids.

Value

The app is free to download and comes with a selection of free videos at each age level. Access to all videos is only available by purchasing a premium subscription which auto-renews each month. With the premium subscription, parents also get the ability to download videos and store them within the app for offline viewing.

Child Friendliness

In the protected parent area, parents have the ability to control various features of the app. Parents can set up individual child profiles which allow kids to search content appropriate for their age group. With each profile, parents can also set individual content controls to determine the specific types of videos kids see (or don’t see) within the app. The general settings section also gives parents the ability to limit screen time from 5 minutes to 90 minutes and (if the premium version is purchased) use the backpack to store videos so kids can watch them offline.

  • Protected Parent Area
  • NO rate us
  • NO more apps
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchase (protected, but visible)

IMG_0909
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Finding Stubby is a pleasant, low-key app that will help younger children discover some basic information, facts, and more as they pilot a remotely-operated vehicle down into the very bottom parts of the ocean floor.
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

Finding Stubby is a simulation app that pulls users deep under the ocean to explore using a Remotely Operated Vehicle. The app is sprinkled with multiple choice questions that help users learn about a variety of sea creatures as well as labels and explanations for some important processes, such as echolocation.

Features include:

  • No time limits or stressful music
  • Lots of content area to explore
  • Quizzes and explanations embedded in certain items
  • Beautiful graphics and sounds
  • Child-friendly interface

Quality

Finding Stubby is a high quality app. Developers worked hard to make the interface intuitive and friendly for young children. Every feature seems to work smoothly and easily. The one area that could be improved is to add a parents’ area containing an explanation of the app’s features and benefits. For example, by trial and error I discovered that the sub could use its robotic arm to pick up an empty bottle littering the ocean, but I could not figure out what I was to do with it once I had grabbed it. Some clarification for adult mentors would be very helpful, especially for children who are easily frustrated or low on creative sparks.

Education

This app presents some good information, primarily in the form of multiple choice quizzes that pop up when the user clicks on the item or animal. The quizzes are self-correcting in that users cannot choose a wrong answer-it simply shakes and stays in place when correct choices cause the incorrect ones to disappear. There are also some short explanatory pieces, such as one telling how whales use echolocation in the depths of the ocean to find food. The main drawback is that these features are print-based, and some are somewhat difficult to read. This will limit the app’s educational value to children who have a reading level of about grade 2 or 3 and lower. One solution would be to add some optional narration.

Also, this app, at this time anyway, does not seem to have a wealth of content. There are a handful of facts about at least three different kinds of ocean creatures, and an explanation of echolocation and also of a whale skeleton that I found in my explorations, but there was also an awful lot of empty ocean. Players will get a relatively realistic look at different parts of the ocean, with a handy depth monitor that follows the vehicle around as it travels. There is also some educational value in learning how to control the ROV-users will quickly master some basic physics as they figure out how to dive or climb and how to turn the vehicle around.

Entertainment

This app is quite soothing to use, so if your child prefers a relaxed and low-key play setting, it will be perfect. There are no flashing lights or buzzers, just the quiet of the ocean’s depths and some soft music. This “feature” is certainly a matter of taste whether children will find it relaxing or boring. Users earn a star for each correctly answered question, but there is no explanation about whether the stars are useful in some way or if the fun is in watching them accumulate.

Value

Finding Stubby is free on the App Store, so it’s a great value. It’s a very pleasant app with some educational content, and children are likely to play with it for a bit, if only to have the fun of controlling the vehicle. And as they play, they will learn sort of by osmosis as the app presents its information to them in a gentle yet persistent manner.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly.

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

IMG_0905
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens is a fun app that will help elementary children learn basic physics concepts while nurturing critical cognitive skills and emotional resilience.
4.9

App Info

Price: $3.99
AppStore User Rating: 5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Thinkrols: Kings and Queens is a problem-solving and logical thinking app designed for children from kindergarten through upper elementary levels. Players solve puzzles to accomplish goals and learn about physics principles, cause and effect, spatial relationships, timing, and more as they do so.

Features include:

  • 115 easy puzzles and 113 challenging puzzles
  • Builds logic, problem solving, and patience skills
  • Win accessories to outfit characters
  • Supports up to six separate player profiles
  • No time limits or other stressful features

Quality

Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens is a very high quality app. The app is completely wordless, relying on visual cues to help players discover the tasks that need to be completed. It’s easy to restart a level whenever needed, and no penalties are assessed, which keeps the app very low-key and fun. A protect parents’ area includes clear directions as well as a detailed list of the skills nurtured with each activity.

Education

This app does a fine job of encouraging players to build logical thinking, perseverance, and reasoning skills as they solve puzzles to find the key to each level, clear the paths and hallways, and then get out the door to get to the next level. Players must think logically and be willing to try various possible solutions and scrap incorrect ideas to try again in order to be successful. Puzzles include working out how to use ratchets and gears to raise and lower platforms, using levers to move items around in predictable ways, and even moving certain items into proximity with other items.

Developers put a nice list of skills that the different puzzles nurture in the parents’ section of the app. A quick perusal will help parents and teachers quickly see the value of the various types of puzzles and understand how they will benefit players. In addition to providing opportunities for hands-on experimentation with various physics concepts, there are also many opportunities to develop important perseverance and resilience skills such as trying new ideas and being willing to try again after a failure.

Entertainment

This app is highly entertaining. Players can create a little character to guide through the puzzles. They can add details such as mouths, glasses, hats and hair. As players complete puzzles, they earn extra items and create new characters. Also, as they work through puzzles, players have the chance to collect sweets and gems to feed to the resident dragon.

Value

Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens is a good value. The app costs $3.99 in the App Store, but it will help young players develop critical skills that will be transferable to many other situations in life. For just a few dollars more than most people invest in games, you can have an app that is as fun as many games but that also unobtrusively builds critical thinking and coping skills.

Child Friendliness

ENTER TEXT

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

motionbody

MotionBody

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Get an in-depth, animated view of the human body with MotionBody.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

With MotionBody, kids get an in-depth view of the human body. Kids can explore the human body using their finger or a special MotionPen. As kids move around, they’re able to zoom in on different parts of the human body. They also get to read text that helps explain the functions of the individual body parts. This app, and the other motion apps, offer kids a unique way to interact with the apps that they played.

Features include:

  • Interactive stylus
  • 3D animations
  • Information about the human body
  • Educational and fun activities for kids

Quality

MotionBody and the other apps designed to be used with the MotionPen have been designed well. They feature high-quality graphics and animations that make it easy for kids to interact with them. MotionBody works best with the MotionPen, but also functions well with just a child’s finger. The pen itself takes a bit of time to setup, but once it is set up, it is easy for kids to use it. When kids use the stylus, they build their fine motor skills and also find it easier to navigate within the app and interact with the app than if they just used their fingers.

Education

Through this app, kids can explore the human body. The app displays a boy’s body with different circles around it highlighting key areas of the body. For example, one circle shows the small intestine. Kids can move around the body to view the inside parts or tap on a circle to get more information about a particular part. The only negative to the way the information is presented is that it contains small text and there is no audio narration. Younger kids may not be able to benefit from the app as much as older kids because they cannot read the text.

Entertainment

Kids will have fun looking through the human body. The app basically gives kids a magnifying glass which they can use to explore the inside. They’ll see the heart, the intestines, the lungs, and all the other working parts. While the parts of the body are shown as animated images, they’ll still give kids a good idea of what their body looks like.

Value

Downloading the app is free. A MotionPen can be purchased separately. While kids don’t need the MotionPen to use the app, it does make use a lot easier for them.

Child Friendliness

The app is free from most content designed to take kids away from the app. In the settings section, there is a link to the developer’s website. It is not protected, but it is small and unlikely that kids will try to access it.

  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO rate us
  • NO more apps
  • YES external links

IMG_0901
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
KazuTime will help young children gain a better understanding of the passage of time, and may assist them with developing the self-control required to wait for anticipated events. It is also useful for timing activities that parents wish to have continued for a specific amount of time, such as brushing teeth or cleaning a room.
4.3

App Info

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

Overview

KazuTime is an app designed to help young children conceptualize and learn about the passage of time. It functions as a timer, but instead of displaying elapsed time or doing a traditional countdown, KazuTime shows a friendly husky and his playmate on an “adventure” or journey towards a designated ending. When they arrive at their destination, the time has passed.

Features include:

  • Multiple cues to help children gauge the passage of time
  • Users pick their own puppy to be Kazu’s companion
  • Users can collect reward stars for finishing tasks early
  • Adults can add personalized tasks with pictures to time
  • Customizable alerts for timer

Quality

KazuTime is a high quality app. Developers have made it intuitive to use and very quick for adults to set. The app includes nine preloaded tasks and events, such as dressing or bedtime, as well as a simple system to add tasks or events that are personalized using pictures from the camera roll. The app includes simple, clear instructions, and everything seems to work smoothly. The only feature that was unclear to me how to access was the capability mentioned to set an alarm to sound at quarter intervals through the period. This would be really handy, but I could not find a way to set this up.

Education

KazuTime is intended to help very young children (toddlers and preschoolers) learn to quantify the passage of time. It can be used as a timer to limit the amount of time spent on a task or to help the child gauge the passage of time before an anticipated event. It’s very nice that users can personalize and individualize the tasks and events using pictures. This makes it possible to, say, take a picture of the child’s bed and pair it with the bedtime task. You can set the timer to “go off” at bedtime, and your young child could quickly and easily learn to see how much time is left before bedtime without asking you and without knowing how to tell time.

Developers included many clues on the timer screen to help young children see how quickly time is passing. Kazu and his friend ride their dog sled to the destination igloo. When time is up, they arrive. There is also a standard time-measuring bar, similar to what some software programs use when loading. Another very nice touch is in the sky. Children (or their adults) can choose the color for the sky and it gradually lightens/brightens as the end of the period approaches.

Entertainment

This app’s entertainment value lies in the screen where Kazu is “on his adventure” during the period being timed. The free version of the app comes with a dogsled riding in a northern theme, with the destination being an igloo. Users can choose one of three friends for Kazu and pit them against one another to earn stars by completing tasks early and tapping the igloo. Two other scenes are available as in-app purchases, and they include other characters and other goals.

The app will likely be appealing to young children, but may not hold their interest using just the provided free material.

Value

KazuTime costs $2.99 in the App Store and does include protected in-app purchase opportunities. The price seems somewhat high for many families who don’t truly “need” instruction of this sort for normally developing children, but it might be a real bargain for families of children with special needs since it could help reduce anxiety and increase compliance. It is of minor concern that there is no indication of the cost of the in-app purchases before you are required to enter your iTunes password, and it’s not clear if entering your password automatically authorizes the purchase. Developers may want to consider making this information a bit more accessible in the protected parent area so people can make informed decisions.

Child Friendliness

KazuTime has a protected parent area that shields all links to the App Store, social media, and the internet. Children can see the themes available for purchase, but they have lock symbols on them and when tapped, they lead to the effective parent gate.

  • Protected parent area (contains external links, in-app purchase, & social media)
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES In-App Purchase (protected, but visible)

IMG_0897
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Spelling 9-10 Andrew Brodie Basics is a practical and hands-on method of practicing commonly troublesome spelling words for middle elementary students. Users can choose from standardized word lists, create new lists from the included words, or add their own words to create a unique spelling practice tool for each student.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

Spelling 9-10 Andrew Brodie Basics is a comprehensive spelling practice app that features a built-in list of age appropriate words as well as the capability to develop and record individualized lists for students. Players can practice words with the see-say-cover-write method and can take tests on the word lists to earn recognitions.

Features include:

  • Comprehensive grade level word lists
  • Practice and testing modes
  • Capability to choose one of three levels
  • Words given in context
  • Clear audio

Quality

Spelling 9-10 Andrew Brodie Basics is a high quality app that uses proven methods to help students master spelling words. The app’s sound quality is excellent, though parents should be aware that the speakers have a slight accent that makes a few words difficult for some to understand. The included sentences clarify the words tremendously, though. One minor mechanical drawback to the app is that the response fields seem to be a set number of letters larger than the correct words, so a student will get a cue that they are on the wrong track if they try to spell “thoughtlessness” instead of “thoughtful,” for example, because the longer word simply will not fit in the answer space.

The app does include minimal directions to parents/teachers, and these could be made just a bit more explicit to help adults know how to help students use the app.

Education

The study strategy used in this app (the see-say-cover-spell method) is highly effective for most students. The app is divided into two sections: one for practice and one for testing. Each included word is accompanied by a sentence in context so that students can see and hear how the word is to be used. The included sentences are visible in both the practice and the testing sections. The practice section shows the word and has students copy it into the answer section. The testing section shows the sentence with the word missing and voices it, then the student is required to type the target word into its place.

There are three built-in levels of difficulty. The included words are right on target for words that many students find troublesome at this age. They can be recombined into personalized lists so teachers or parents can create customized practices as needed covering just words that students have had difficulty with. In addition, it is possible to add words to the list by typing them in and recording the prompt. Added words, however, do not seem to have the option of displaying a prompt sentence like the built-in words do.

Entertainment

The app awards trophies based on student performance in an effort to keep student interest. This aspect could perhaps be flashier…spelling is notoriously tedious, and kids usually need a bigger dose of sugar to make it go down willingly. More differentiated levels of trophies, perhaps, or other types of “prizes” might help kids play more willingly and for longer periods, which would be necessary for this app to have the desired effect.

Value

Individually, this app is on the expensive side, considering that it might turn into a chore for children to want to use. The app costs $3.99 in the App Store. It is, however, available as part of a larger bundle. All six apps in the series covering ages 5-11 are available for $11.99 at Andrew Brodie Spelling Bundle. This is a bit more of an investment, but would be particularly valuable for families with several children or in a classroom setting.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child friendly.

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

sagominiplanes

Sago Mini Planes

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Give kids a license to fly and explore the world with Sago Mini Planes.
4.8

App Info

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

Overview

Prepare for takeoff! In Sago Mini Planes, kids become the pilots. They choose the plane. They choose the passengers. And they fly their planes through a series of fun habitats. They can go fast or slow. They can choose where to land. They can even choose to make the plane do loops in the sky. Hand out the motion sickness bags and get ready to let kids have some fun.

Features include:

  • Cute animated characters
  • Fun planes to fly
  • Multiple habitats to explore
  • Lots of fun for toddlers

Quality

This app contains the same quality sounds, graphics, and animations that Sago Mini is known for. From the signature characters to the selection of planes kids can choose from, all of the graphics feature kid-friendly colors and are easy for kids to interact with. The app is also really easy for kids to navigate. For most of the app, they swipe or tap to find their way around. The faster they tap, the faster the plane goes.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

Kids get to take control in Sago Mini Planes. First, they get to choose from a selection of planes, including a plane shaped like a bunny, a plane shaped like an ear of corn, and a plane shaped like a banana. Some of the planes seat two characters. Others seat three. Kids get to pick from the standard Sago Mini characters to fill the seats in the plane and, of course, all of the characters are eager to go for a ride. Once kids take off, they’ll encounter a lot of fun animations, such as floating balloons and jumping dolphins. They’ll also get to explore different habitats as they fly. Whenever they reach a new habitat, they can opt to land or keep flying.

Value

The app is priced comparably to other Sago Mini apps and apps with a similar function. It is a high quality app with a strong entertainment value. For kids that like planes, it’s a must-have.

Child Friendliness

On the main screen, there is a link to the parent area. There, parents will find information about the app, as well as links to the developer’s site. Access to the links is protected. Kids will also find a more apps icon on the main screen. Kids can tap the icon to see the additional apps, but access to those apps is also protected.

  • NO 3rd part ads
  • NO social media
  • YES more apps(protected, but visible)
  • YES external links (protected, but visible)

IMG_0886
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Mighty Colossus Storybook is a powerful, yet flexible system for creating digital storybooks using built-in characters, backgrounds, and props, or user-generated artwork, pictures, and other content.
4.8

App Info

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

Overview

Mighty Colossus Storybook is a digital book production app that allows users to create ebooks using provided characters and original text as well as imported photos and drawings. The books can be saved to a variety of formats, and exported or shared in a number of ways.

Features include:

  • Select from a variety of backgrounds and props, or provide your own
  • Change characters’ facial features, poses, colors, and more
  • Choose text fonts, colors, sizes and positions
  • Use an intuitive user interface to create and edit books
  • Share in a wide array of formats

Quality

Mighty Colossus Storybook is a high-quality app that offers users a seamless experience of creating, sharing, and reading digital storybooks. Developers have worked hard to build a powerful platform to satisfy nearly every creative urge while keeping the interface simple enough for all ability and technical levels. They included clear help options and a comprehensive tutorial to assist beginning users. Books can be saved, shared digitally in a variety of formats, or exported as PDF or PNG files for printing.

Education

This app does a great job of removing technical barriers from the process of creating digital storybooks. It is powerful, yet simple to use. Users can choose from an array of provided characters with editable poses and features, or they can import their own photos or drawings. There are objects and props to add detail to the story, as well as seven provided backdrops for each page. Users can add text in speech bubbles or directly onto the pages, controlling fonts, colors, and sizes. There are three starter books provided, with option to add to each story to finish it, as well as the tutorial book that explains how to use the app’s features.

Book creation has a wealth of educational value. It nurtures creativity and self-esteem, provides practical and hands-on experience with design and language, and promotes self-expression and language skills. This app is so easy to use that it will complement nearly any educational setting as well as provide hours of fun to families. It could even inspire some authors to share stories to a wider audience.

Entertainment

While this app is not really intended for entertainment, users will have fun creating and sharing their own stories. The embedded creatures and characters are whimsical and fun, and the provided props are quite creative. Best of all, users can import their own artwork or photographs as backgrounds, props or characters, leading to an array of possibilities. Mighty Colossus Storybook will encourage creativity, which is nearly always fun for all.

Value

This app is a fine value at $3.99 in the App Store. Most children will adore the opportunity to be creative and share their books with family and friends. The app is powerful and flexible, and can grow with the user. This one’s a keeper!

Child Friendliness

This is perhaps the only drawback to this app. While developers have taken pains to avoid third party advertising and tempting purchases, the app does have unprotected links to email and the main website. It would be much better if these could be protected from children who are too young or whose parents do not want them to have access to such things.

  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO third-party advertising
  • YES external links, email link, all easily accessible

myteethalien

MyTeeth All Inclusive

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Help kids learn to brush their teeth with the interactive timers and how-to resources in MyTeeth.
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

Parents looking for a tooth brushing timer for their kids may have found the answer in MyTeeth. This interactive tooth brushing timer allows kids to choose from four different characters that show them how to brush their teeth. Included in the app is also a wealth of information for parents about brushing techniques. This app is designed to motivate kids to brush their teeth and ensure they brush them properly.

Features include:

  • Four different characters
  • Customizable settings
  • Information about toothbrushing
  • Tooth brushing timer for kids

Quality

When kids first open the app, they’re shown a basic home screen. The screen features the four main characters. A small info icon takes users to some information about the app’s developers. The How & Why button takes parents to an overview of the tooth brushing process. There’s also a share button at the bottom of the screen that is protected by a parental lock. Within the actual timer, parents have the option to create separate settings for each character. These settings allow them to select the music kids hear and choose different elements of the brushing process. Those elements include toothbrush hand, order, brushing technique, and timing for each section (side teeth, middle teeth, chewing surface).

Education

MyTeeth is focused on helping parents and kids learn the right way to brush. In the “How & Why” section, parents will find information related to the basics of tooth brushing, different brushing techniques, and strategies to help kids brush their teeth. There are a few small typos in this section, but otherwise, the information is good. The interactive timer portion of the app is laid out in a way that is much more kid-friendly. The characters brush their teeth in the proper sequence (parents can choose a specific sequence for the character to follow) and a timer counts down the time, breaking each section up into smaller intervals to make it easier for kids to follow.

Entertainment

Kids can choose from four different characters to use while they brush their teeth: Lenia, Linus, Lisa, and an alien. Each character has a big smile and knows the proper brushing technique. As kids brush their teeth, they can imitate the character they chose. Kids can also listen to the in-app music or select a song that’s already on their device to make the process even more fun. Many kids will also enjoy watching the countdown timer.

Value

If you search for a tooth brush timer app, you’ll find plenty of different options. Many are free, while others have in-app purchases. Out of all of the toothbrush timer apps, MyTeeth is priced slightly higher. However, it is one of the only apps that comes with extensive how-to documents to help parents teach their kids how to brush their teeth. While you may be able to find this information for free online, you would have to look at multiple sources. You also wouldn’t have it organized as nicely as developers have organized it within the app.

Child Friendliness

On the info screen, kids can tap on links to developers’ Twitter profiles, e-mail addresses, and external websites. However, all links and any additional content not appropriate for children are protected by parental blocks. Most of the how-to content is written more for adults. However, it is all appropriate to be viewed and read by kids. The one big negative is that in some of the how-to documents, kids may see small ads for products related to oral hygiene.

  • NO more apps
  • YES 3rd party ads
  • YES social media (protected, but visible)
  • YES external links (protected, but visible)

IMG_0885
Quality
Education
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Lewis Dot CHEMISTRY is a handy reference tool to aid high school and early college students in understanding Lewis Dot diagrams and also to connect various traits of compounds to their structures.
4.8

App Info

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

Overview

Lewis Dot CHEMISTRY is a reference app designed to help chemistry students practice and review basic chemistry concepts, particularly those related to Lewis Dots. Students can look at specific compounds and see how the electrons and bonds are arrayed in Lewis Dot nomenclature, see basic information about the compound, an explanation of the compound and its traits, as well as review the rules for depicting compounds using Lewis Dots.

Features include:

  • Extensive (nearly 100) list of compounds referenced
  • Picture of the Lewis Dot structure for each molecule
  • List of the rules for Lewis Dot Chemistry
  • Handy periodic table
  • Explanation of the information contained on the Periodic Table

Quality

Lewis Dot CHEMISTRY is a high-quality app that is relatively intuitive to use. Developers have, however, tucked a lot of information into corners of the app, and users would benefit from a quick tutorial or at least a list of features to look for and how to access them.

Education

This app is a useful reference and practice tool for high school and early college chemistry students who are befuddled by Lewis Dots. Each of the nearly 100 compounds has a one page reference that shows the structure, indicates the charge, shows where bonds are, and more. The page lists statistics about the compound such as the molar mass, melting and boiling points, state at standard temperature and pressure, and more. There is a simple, step-by-step list of instructions for creating Lewis Dot diagrams for other compounds.

The app also includes a periodic table with all of the usual information about each element. A reference page about the periodic table includes basic and more advanced information about how to read the table and the information about groups of elements, reactivity, and more.

There are a few inconsistencies, however (noted by my resident professional chemist). The developers may want to consider adding more information about how to determine the charge for each molecule, as this might be unclear, especially to struggling students. Some compounds apparently do not show resonance as the developers indicated they should, and the geometry of some ionic compounds is shown in crystalline form instead of molecular form with no explanation about why this should be so.

Entertainment

This app is not intended for entertainment.

Value

For $1.99 in the App Store, Lewis Dot CHEMISTRY offers an inexpensive and handy reference tool. Students can surely find similar information available for free on the web, but this app balances its small investment with the convenience of not having to search each individual compound to determine its structure or to check many homework assignments.

Child Friendliness

This app is intended for high school students and older. There is a ratings pop up as well as a system to contact developers to submit Lewis Dot diagrams and information for compounds not yet included in their database.

  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES “rating” pop-up

alanabanan

Alana Banana

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Sing fun songs, laugh at silly puppets, and go on tons of adventures with the Alana Banana app.
4.9

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 4
Download on the App Store

Overview

The Alana Banana Show is a combination of real-life actors, puppets, and animation designed to spark kids’ imagination and help them learn basic skills. Through the Alana Banana app, kids can watch episodes of The Alana Banana Show, play music with Alana Banana, color pictures of characters from the show, and play fun memory games. The high-quality app, featuring an extremely fun show, is a great app to add to you collection. It’s perfect for children ages 2 to 5.

Features include:

  • Watch episodes of the Alana Banana Show
  • Color fun coloring pages
  • Play themed memory games
  • Learn popular children’s songs

Quality

Alana Banana is a high-quality, fun app for kids. All of the content contained within the app is organized into categories on the main screen: videos, music, coloring, and memory. If kids aren’t sure what to do in the music, coloring, or memory portions of the app, they can click on a question mark to view a helpful animation to get them started. In the videos section, all of the videos of The Alana Banana Show are well-organized. They display clearly in the app’s video player. The app is also full of bright colors and fun background music (which can be turned off through the sound icon on every screen) that make it very appealing to kids.

Education

Much of the educational content in the Alana Banana app comes from the videos of The Alana Banana Show. During the different episodes of the show, kids can go on adventures with Alana Banana and her puppet friends. They’ll learn basic concepts, such as fast and slow. The show also talks about different topics through the Letters to Grandma segment, where Grandma Phone answers kids’ questions. Many of the videos are labeled by topic, so kids and parents can look for topics that interest them. For example, kids may want to watch the video about farm animals or listen to Alana Banana read the book Humble Bumble.

Entertainment

There are plenty of activities within the app designed to entertain kids. Kids can color pictures of Alana Banana and her friends. They can play memory games that feature themes such as space, farm, dog, dinosaur, and silly. Kids can also play songs along with Alana Banana, tapping the notes on the piano as they appear, or making up their own tunes with piano, guitar, or silly monkey sounds. The highlight of the app, however, is the videos of The Alana Banana Show which feature a mix of puppets, animation, and real-life characters and settings to provide kids with plenty of entertainment.

Value

Given the large amount of content contained within the app, Alana Banana is a great value. With the free version, kids can access many videos of The Alana Banana Show, play a memory game, make music, and color pictures. Downloading the full version of the app simply gives kids more of the same content. If kids decide they like Alana Banana and her friends, which there’s no doubt most will, then parents should download the full version of the app.

Child Friendliness

A protected parent are provides parents with additional information about the app. This area also allows them to purchase the full version of the app, and directs them to additional apps for download. The app itself is free from ads and “more apps” information.. In the coloring book section, kids can give the app access to the photos so they can save their creations. Parents who don’t want their device’s photo library full of coloring pages may want to go into the app and disable access to photos before letting children play.

  • Protected parent area
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO more apps

spookyhollowapp

Spooky Hollow - Interactive Children's Book

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Discover why all of the pumpkins are different colors in Spooky Hollow, a cute animated story for Halloween.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

Spooky Hollow is a cute story about a skeleton who grows pumpkins that end of being all different colors instead of orange. As kids read through the interactive story, they’ll be anxious to find out what the skeleton will do with all of those colorful pumpkins. The ending of the story may surprise them.

Features include:

  • Halloween-themed story
  • Animated illustrations
  • Narrated text
  • Auto-read option

Quality

When kids open the app, they’re shown a bookshelf which features the cover of the story and an icon labeled “Games.” A small information icon allows kids to turn on/off Auto Read Mode and enable/disable Graphics Lite Mode, a nice feature that reduces the amount of heavy animations to prevent the app from crashing, particularly on older devices. The narration in the story is clear and everything runs smoothly. It’s easy for kids to navigate through the story and tap on the illustrations to enjoy the animation.

Education

The theme-based story is narrated and easy for kids to follow along with. The story itself incorporates a nice problem/solution format that will engage kids and help build their reading comprehension skills. It works as a Halloween-themed story or a fun story to use while teaching suspense during the school year.

Entertainment

The story features very likable characters, an engaging storyline, and colorful and interactive illustrations for kids. Kids will enjoy reading through the story and tapping on the illustrations to see what happens. They’ll also enjoy the suspense that comes from wondering what the skeleton will do will all of the colored pumpkins. Will he be able to make them orange again or will he find the perfect use for them? The only downside to the app is that the games are included in a separate app.

Value

The app is free to download and allows kids to read the first few pages for free. After that, they’re prompted to purchase the full story to continue. The story is priced comparably to other interactive narrated books for kids. However, unlike similar apps, no games are included with the story. Instead, they must be purchased and downloaded separately.

Child Friendliness

Once kids read the first few pages of the story, they’re given the option to purchase the full story to find out what happens. On the main screen, kids are also shown an icon for games which (beyond the parental block) takes them to the App Store to purchase a pumpkin flinging game.

  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchases (protected, but visible)
  • YES more apps (protected, but visible)

IMG_0830
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
EduGuru 3-5 Maths is a fun and entertaining way for preschoolers and young school-aged children to practice crucial math skills such as counting, number recognition, geometry, relative sizes, and more.
4.9

App Info

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

Overview

EduGuru 3-5 Maths offers eight simple games to support the development of math concepts in preschoolers, including counting, shapes, time, money, simple computation, and more.

Features include:

  • Supports the UK National Curriculum
  • Intuitive interface
  • Keeps records for multiple users
  • Colorful, engaging graphics

Quality

EduGuru 3-5 Maths is a high quality app that works exactly as expected. It’s responsive and entertaining for preschoolers. Most of the games operate on a drag-and-drop or a tapping interface, which will be easy for children in the target age group to learn, yet there is an array of tasks that accomplish the goals so things won’t become boring. The parents area contains good information about what skills are covered in each game and also explains some about why these skills are important.

Education

This app provides a nice, well-rounded foundation for practicing a number of crucial math skills with preschoolers. Hands-on learning is very important in this age and stage, and apps such as this are one way of helping kids learn.

The app includes 8 games that cover skills in counting, number recognition, number sense, concepts of relative size, simple computation, time, money, geometry and more. Each of the games is centered around a kid-pleasing theme, such as outer space, farms, and pirates. The first and easiest level of each game is available when the game is first used, then additional levels are unlocked as players achieve prerequisite scores, which helps the game adapt quickly to a child’s age and ability.

American parents should be aware, however, that this game is from Great Britain, and while it includes a nice section on coins and money, the currency being used is the Pound, not the American Dollar. This is not likely to be too practical for children in this country! The rest of the app, however, more than makes up for the minor shortfall in the money section.

Entertainment

Developers did a good job of choosing themes for the games offered in this app. Each one seems to be more of a kid-pleaser than the last! It’s easy to switch between the Meadow, the Solar System, the Pirates, and the Fishing Hole, as well as a few other popular themes besides. The games are all easy to play, and players earn special badges for completed levels and accurate work.

Value

This app is a good value at $1.99 in the App Store. Kids will be able to play for quite a while as they progress through the levels in each topic. They will even get some beginning instruction in more challenging skills, such as multiplication and division. With all of the topics and levels available, this app will have a good long useful life.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child friendly. Young children could, however, find their way to the page that shows apps that developers are planning to launch in the App Store at a later date. There are currently no active links on this page, but it would be wise to monitor the situation. The recommendation would be for developers to protect this area with a parent gate if the links are to made live at a later date.

  • Parent area (unprotected, but no external links)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “more apps” (not yet live but visible)

caroline
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Caroline's Camera is a highly entertaining app for kids that uses creative rhythms, music, and camera play to create hours of fun. Easy to use and great for children of all ages, this is one app that both parents and kids will love.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

Caroline’s Camera is a fun app for kids that uses creative rhythms and music to challenge players to take pictures on cue. With loads of challenging levels, a free play mode, and lots of rewards to win in order to upgrade your virtual camera, this app is one both parents and kids will enjoy. It’s fun, interactive and quite the challenge!

Features include:

  • Easy to use
  • Increasing difficulty
  • Creative rhythms & music

Quality

The quality of Caroline’s Camera is incredible. With crystal clear illustrations, fun music and rhythms this app is great for kids who love musical apps. The user interface is easy to use as the developers have included practice options for new challenges and rhythms so players better understand how to play. They have also included a great way for players to receive feedback via a color system at the top of the screen that tells players if they snapped the picture at the perfect time, too fast, or too slow. Overall the developers have done an excellent job.

Education

One of the great things about this app is that it teaches children a bit about patterns and rhythm. It also helps players use not only their vision, but also their hearing to see and hear the rhythm as they play. The best part is that this app doesn’t come off as your typical education app as children are simply playing and learning along the way. While it may not teach traditional subjects, this app gives kids a bit more creative play as they learn.

Entertainment

The thing I love most about Caroline’s Camera is how entertaining it is! The basic premise is to follow the rhythm outlined and to snap a picture at the right moment based on the rhythm. Seems easy, until there are multiple different rhythms to follow and catch with multiple people included. It’s a game that is partially about reaction time, rhythm, and focus which is great for kids. The increasing difficulty levels make for even more challenging play.

There is also a reward system that allows players to earn coins that they can use to upgrade their camera and other equipment to take better pictures. The developers have also included a free play option that allows children to follow various patterns outside the structured challenges. And if that weren’t enough there are various locations including the forest, lake, and water environments for more play time. Truth be told, this app offers hours of challenging entertainment.

Value

Parents will be happy to know that this app is completely free which might be hard to believe with all that is included. The developers have really gone above and beyond the call of duty with all that this app has to offer and at no cost at all!

Child Friendliness

Not only is Caroline’s Camera a fun app for kids to play, it’s fairly easy too! The user interface is designed for little ones to get a bit of practice prior to diving into the more advanced challenges which is great. The increasing difficulty is also a fun way for children to test themselves and their skills in a fun environment.

While this app has everything you might want in a free app, it also has a few unprotected links and advertisements that are open for children. There aren’t a ton of unprotected links and advertisements and they are pretty deeply embedded and hidden in the app, they really don’t belong in a kids app, even if it’s free. For some parents that might be a deal breaker for this app, which is too bad because it really is a great app to play.

  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchases
  • YES third-party ads
  • YES external links
  • gomath

    Go Math! Go - Fun learning for grades K, 1st, & 2nd

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Go Math! Go offers high-quality, engaging skills-based math practice opportunities for kids in grades K-2.
    4.4

    App Info

    Price: Free
    AppStore User Rating: 3
    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Go Math! Go makes a high-quality math curriculum accessible to parents and teachers. This interactive math app covers a range of skills for grades K-2. Skills are organized by grade-level and allow parents and teachers to track a child’s progress and he or she works through the app. While most of the questions are multiple-choice or drag and drop, the app offers relevant, quality math content to help children improve their math skills.

    Features include:

    • Skills-based math practice
    • Multiple problem types
    • Positive reinforcement and rewards
    • Parent and Teacher portal

    Quality

    Before using the app, parents or teachers must set up an account. The process is relatively simple, but parents and teachers should be prepared to complete this step before handing the app to children. From there, they can choose which sections of the app to unlock. Each of the three grade-levels must be assigned a child’s name and the same name can not be used for multiple grade-levels, which may be annoying for parents who want children to work on content at multiple levels. Once an account is created and the content is set up, the app is easy to navigate. The main screen displays a button for Grade K, Grade 1, and Grade 2, each labeled with a different cartoonish character. Once children tap on their grade-level, they’re shown a list of skills and can tap on the skill they want to work on. Each skill is labeled with stars that are filled in to show a child’s progress. Every time a child completes a subsection, a star is filled in.

    The questions in the app are well-written and function well. Kids will find plenty of opportunity to interact with the questions and will also enjoy the bright colors and animated elements.

    Education

    Questions in the app are organized by grade-level and skill. For example, kindergarten is broken down into skills such as Count 0 to 5, Compare 0 to 5, Count 20 and Beyond, 3-D Shapes, Measurement, and Sort and Group. Each individual section is also broken down into subsections. For example, Count 0 to 5 is broken down into Model 1 and 2, Read 1 and 2, Ways to Make 5, Order to 5, and so on. To complete a subsection, kids must answer a set of questions in the practice round and then answer a set of questions in the challenge round. Most questions are multiple choice or drag and drop. In kindergarten and first grade, questions are read aloud to help students. All questions also contain visual images, such as counting cubes and number lines.

    Entertainment

    The main focus of the app is to help children build their math skills. As a result, there are not a lot of fun elements. However, the content is presented in a way that is engaging to kids. Each set of problems is accompanied by a tracker at the top of the screen, so children know how many problems they must complete to get to the end of the set. After completing a set, children are also given the chance to participate in a challenge round, which encourages them to continue answering questions. Throughout the app, children will also get to interact with animated characters and will receive positive phrase and small rewards, such as watching an animated character play an instrument, for answering questions correctly. The questions themselves are also highly visual, making it easier for children to stay engaged with the content.

    Value

    Parents and teachers can create an account and download a sample set of problems for each grade. The sample set contains a full set of problems in one skill area. Access to the full set of problems can be obtained through an in-app purchase. Each grade must be purchased separately and the price is fairly high compared to similar apps. If parents or teachers opt to purchase all three grades, the price can add up. However, parents and teachers should consider that they are gaining access to high-quality content produced by one of the leading educational companies and also note that the content is full of visuals and other features designed to help students improve their skills.

    Child Friendliness

    Parents or teachers must create an account to access the content. Creating an account requires an e-mail address and other personal information. Birth date verification prevents children from creating an account on their own. However, children may find a way to purchase full access to the problems if parents/teachers don’t have their device set up to require a password when attempting to download items from the App Store.

    • NO social media
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • NO more apps
    • YES in-app purchases
    • YES account required

    image (1)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Lingokids is a sampler app that allows parents and children to try out five lessons to teach English vocabulary to young children using engaging animated activities related to groups of eight vocabulary words.
    4.3

    App Info

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

    Overview

    LingoKids offers English lessons for young children on three levels (individual words, phrases and sentences) that cover over 3,000 words within the paid subscription version. Lessons are grouped by word function and by parts of speech and are conducted using simple interactive games.

    Features include:

    • Free lessons to sample the program
    • Supplemental activities available
    • Adaptive technology creates a unique learning experience for each child
    • No prior knowledge of English necessary
    • Offline play and multiple student accounts available with subscription

    Quality

    LingoKids is a high quality app that will encourage young children to play with English words, phrases and sentences. It includes an array of different types of interactions, colorful animations, and engaging sound effects. Developers also included some simple suggestions to help parents make the most of the learning experience with their children.

    Education

    This app provides a wealth of leveling options to guide young players into the right activities. When the app first begins, users have the opportunity to choose the child’s age and level of experience with English. The app utilizes technology that the developers term “Learning Gears” and will adapt if the selected content is too easy or too difficult.

    There are five types of lessons available in the free sample version of this app, with a total of twenty lessons currently available with the subscription. In addition, subscribers can see records of their child’s performance, use the app with multiple learners, download supplemental activities, and activate offline play for times when an internet connection is unavailable.

    The Games section includes simple, age-appropriate interactive activities. For example, the Animals section names farm animals as they are dragged to the bath tub, and gives users the opportunity to wash, dry and brush each in turn. A Video section shares a catchy tune with animation, and the My Teacher section shows a live teacher going over the words for the lesson. The Writing section allows users to trace related alphabet letters, and the Printables section (accessible only through a Parent Gate) takes users to the developers’ website where printable pdfs can be downloaded to continue the educational fun off line.

    Entertainment

    Young children are likely to enjoy the activities in this app. They are very relatable, and will seem very familiar to kids. The characters are funny and the animations and sound effects are engaging. The artwork is simple and bright, and will appeal even to young toddlers. There is a nice variety of types of interactions, but all are quite intuitive and developers have embedded clues such as pictoral directions and shaking items that should be touched.

    Value

    This app is free on the App Store, and is intended as a sample for the complete program. A few samples of the five types of lessons available for free, including 4 games, 5 videos, 4 My Teacher lessons, 6 Writing lessons, 4 sets of Supplemental Materials are included in the free sample, which is a very nice array to see what the app can do. The app indicates that an additional five lessons are “coming soon.” However, in order to see the other materials, use the offline play feature, the record keeping, and so forth, users must sign up for the one month free trial. The app indicates that additional months will be billed at $4.99 per month, and that users will be billed $59.99 after the first free month for an annual subscription. It was very unclear to me if there was a monthly payment option available, and the information within the app did not seem to match that provided in the description in the App Store, which indicates that the monthly fee is $9.99 with a no-fee cancellation at any time. This is quite confusing, so be sure you understand the terms of the subscription and cancellation policy before you commit.

    Child Friendliness

    There are a number of links that are visible to children, including links to paid subscription content. Clicking these links leads to a page detailing the free one month trial subscription, with the actual “start” link on the page protected by a parent link. The links all seem to be protected with an effective parent gate, but it would be better if they were not visible to children at all.

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

    mathdoozy

    MATHdoozy

    Quality
    Education
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    MATHdoozy comes with some technical difficulties, but has the ability to offer real-time math help to students.
    3.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    MATHdoozy offers students a way to get help solving tricky math problems in real-time. The app allows students to take a photo of or type in a problem and submit it. From there, the problem is presented to one of the app’s solvers who works to provide an answer for the student. Problems are solved quickly and in real-time, offering students help when and where they need it.

    Features include:

    • Real-time problem solving
    • Ability to take a picture of problem
    • Purchase credits to solve more problems
    • Get benefits from referring friends

    Quality

    When students first open the app, they’re prompted to sign up or sign in. In order to use the app, students must have an account. Creating an account requires an e-mail address, phone number (optional) and password. Students are also prompted to select a username and their grade-level. On the opening screen, students will find a video tutorial to help them navigate through the app and understand the credit system. It is helpful to watch this video, but the app is easy to figure out even if they don’t. When attempting to sign up or login, the app often crashes, so it may take multiple tries to successfully login and get started. Students can access the same service by logging in online, but they must upload problems in a .pdf format.

    Education

    The idea behind the app is to help students get real-time math help. Students can upload a PDF of a problem, type in the problem, or even just take a photo of the problem. Then they submit it to the solvers. Developers note that the solvers have been tested and come from some of the top universities in the world. They are also available to help 24/7, so students can get help whenever they need it. When you’re able to use the app, the solutions do come quickly and are accurate.

    Entertainment

    This app is not being rated for entertainment.

    Value

    While the app is free to download, it is accompanied by in-app purchases. Students aren’t given the solutions for free. Instead, each solution costs money. Students can opt to pay as they go or to buy a bundle. Adults can also gift solution packages to students. Solutions aren’t cheap, so students shouldn’t expect to use this app to get answers to ever problem. Instead, it’s designed as a tool to help when they really get stuck.

    Child Friendliness

    This app requires a student’s e-mail address and grade-level. It also suggests adding a phone number. Developers note that the solvers don’t know a student’s name. Students should take care not to include their names on any problems they submit. The app also has in-app purchases to allow students to purchase additional credits.

    • NO social media
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • NO more apps
    • YES in-app purchases
    • YES account required

    image (10)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child-Friendly
    Summary
    The free version of Highlights Shapes-Preschool Learning Puzzles does a good job of offering practice for toddlers and preschoolers to match, sort, and categorize 4 types of shapes and colors as they solve puzzles by sliding the correct shapes into the matching areas on the screen.
    4.8

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Highlights Shapes-Preschool Learning Puzzles offers toddlers and preschoolers a chance to practice matching shapes, colors, and sizes by dragging colored shapes to outlined sections of the screen. The app is virtually wordless, except for the narrator naming the attributes of each object when it is correctly placed.

    Features include:

    • Intuitive to use
    • Develops sorting, categorization, and other readiness skills
    • Incorporates fine motor skills
    • Provides a safe, ad-free environment
    • Improves matching skills

    Quality

    Highlights Shapes is a very high quality app that is easy to use for even the youngest toddler. Developers did a fine job of focusing just on the tasks at hand, and of scaffolding more difficult tasks by presenting plenty of practice on easier skills first. Players will easily be able to understand the tasks and to accomplish them in the no-fail environment. There is a parent section that explains some of the importance of the skills addressed.

    Education

    Toddlers and preschoolers typically are very interested in colors and shapes, and learning to match, sort, categorize, and identify these are very important pre-reading tasks that all young children need to master. This app will help even the youngest players get started on these reading readiness skills. Children need to learn to manage skills such as sorting, matching, and categorizing before they can learn to distinguish letters and words with slight differences, such as b and d, or cat and can.

    This app uses a no-fail system, where an incorrect shape (or color) cannot be accidentally dropped into the bay reserved for another item. This means that children must place the shapes correctly, or they will return to their original position. There is absolutely no chance of confusion because of the way this app is set up to work.

    Entertainment

    Highlights Shapes is a very relaxing and soothing app to play. The quiet background music sets a mood of concentration without undue anxiety. The app has several sections in the first level (the part that is available for free), with variations in scenery and focus, which will help children to maintain their interest. Developers mention a “story” being told in the app, but I’m having trouble seeing it. It might be good, if that is the intention, to be a bit more obvious in the visual telling so children realize there is meaning to the pictures other than a change of scene.

    Value

    Hightlights Shapes is free to try on the App Store. The free version includes level one of the game, which goes over four shapes and a few colors. When level 1 is completed, users have the opportunity to purchase 2 additional levels, bringing the total to 11 shapes and 11 colors. Users can also repeat level 1 as desired.

    Child Friendliness

    Highlights Shapes is very child-friendly, with effective parent gates on all links and adult areas. However, the in-app purchase that becomes available following completion of level 1 is put on the screen as soon as level 1 is finished. There is also a “more apps” link visible on the home screen that children could click into, but that they cannot access due to the gate.

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

    arties magic pencil

    Artie's Magic Pencil

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Go on a drawing adventure with Artie and his magic pencil in an app designed to help kids learn to draw basic shapes.
    4.6

    App Info

    Price: $2.99
    AppStore User Rating: 4
    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Artie’s off on an adventure with his magic pencil. Just like in the classic story Harold and the Purple Crayon, when Artie gets in trouble or needs to help others, he calls upon the powers of his magic pencil and draws a solution. From trees and houses, to dogs to live in a dog house, Artie draws the world around him. He does so while following after a destructive dinosaur, which adds a bit of mystery to the app and presents an fun story for kids to follow.

    Features include:

    • Multiple levels
    • Positive reinforcement
    • Puzzle pieces to collect
    • Individual letter sounds

    Quality

    Most of the instructions found in the app are non-verbal. Light bulbs pop up next to Artie’s head or the heads of other characters in the story when there’s a drawing activity for kids to complete. Kids will find it fairly easy to move within the app and to help Artie travel throughout his world. When it comes time to draw the shapes, they may experience a bit of frustration, because the app requires them to draw lines that hit certain points on a shape. It’s okay if their lines aren’t straight, the app will straighten them, but kids must make sure their lines are long enough.

    Education

    Artie’s Magic Pencil offers two educational components. First, it teaches kids how to draw basic shapes and introduces them to the type of basic shapes that make up common objects. This is done by having kids create objects in Artie’s world. For example, one of the first tasks kids create is a butterfly, which is done by making two connected triangles. Kids also make other items, such as trees, buildings, and dogs. For each item kids make, the app has kids trace the item, shape by shape, and then shows them the final project.

    In addition to presenting an art lesson, the app includes a story for kids to follow. A dinosaur stomps around Artie’s world and destroys things in his path. As Artie repairs different items in his world, with the help of his magic pencil, the app reminds kids that the dinosaur is still on the loose, drawing their attention back to the story.

    Entertainment

    There are a few elements of this app designed to entertain kids. First, kids are encouraged to keep playing through to the end of the app with the appearance of the destructive dinosaur. They’re constantly reminded that the dinosaur is somewhere ahead of Artie and encouraged to follow him. As kids help Artie complete activities, they’re also rewarded with pieces of a heart. The app only focuses on three basic shapes, so kids might get a bit bored at times, but the promise of filling the heart and getting to the dinosaur at the end is likely enough to keep them going or keep them returning to the app, although they might not play it again once they’ve reached the end.

    Value

    In the app, kids will find access to 15 drawing activities and the embedded adventure story. For kids who need help with fine motor skills or who need to learn how to draw basic shapes, this app offers a different way to do it.

    Child Friendliness

    A protected parent area provides parents with information on how to play the game and the developer itself, as well as links to social media and the developer’s website. On the main page, kids will see rate us and more apps icons, but access to these sections is protected by a parental lock.

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

    screen
    Quality
    Education
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    ScreenGuide is a great app for parents and teachers that allows them to monitor and control kids' screen time. Perfect for use at home and in the classroom.
    4.9

    App Info

    Price: Free
    AppStore User Rating: 1
    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    ScreenGuide is a parental control app that allows parents to monitor and control their child’s screen time remotely. With the ability to customize restrictions such as screen time, bed time hours, time out, and block certain apps, this app is great for parents and teachers who are looking for ways to create a monitored learning environment for children.

    Features include:

    • Customized restriction settings
    • Bedtime
    • Time out

    Quality

    ScreenGuide is a high quality parental app that allows parents to monitor their children’s screen time. The concept is pretty straight forward and allows parents to set up the app on their device so they can set up specific restrictions for their child’s device. By using specific settings for bedtime, time out, and the ability to hide specific apps and features on the child’s device, this app is easy for parents to set up.

    Education

    While this isn’t exactly an educational app since it is a parent’s app, it is one that allows parents to stay up to date with what their children are doing on their own devices. By being able to monitor their child’s activities and customize the applications they can use on their device, they are able to help keep their children safe and focused on the apps they want their children playing. This is also a great app for teachers to use in the classroom as it allows teachers to limit and monitor screen time for students.

    Entertainment

    Not rated for Entertainment.

    Value

    The best part about ScreenGuide is that parents and teachers can try it for free and check out all the great features before committing to the premium version that is just under three dollars. By signing up for a profile, parents and teachers can monitor multiple devices for children in one place which makes this app a great value. When you consider all that you can do with the ability to analyze the app usage, remove in-app purchases, set bedtime, and the time out feature, this app is one all parents will want.

    Child Friendliness

    This isn’t the kind of app that is likely going to be used by children. It is designed for parents to use and monitor on their child’s device so children aren’t likely going to be using the app and it’s features.

    image (9)
    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Jurassic GO-Dinosaur Snap Adventures is a fun game where users seek out fanciful dinosaurs in their natural habitats, photograph them, and can get the best pictures hung in the museum they build and operate. The game offers a lot of ways to earn points, unlock levels and other perks and generally advance quickly.
    4.5

    App Info

    Price: $3.99
    AppStore User Rating: 5
    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Jurassic GO-Dinosaur Snap Adventures puts users in charge of taking photos of unusual dinosaur specimens and using them to fill a museum that attracts visitors from all over. Take trips into different settings to find the fanciful creatures, test your reactions as you try to capture the very best photographs, and then submit them to the Captain to see if they pass muster to display in the museum. Along the way, users can earn points to use to open new worlds, add to the museum and much, much more.

    Features include:

    • Dozens of dinosaurs to photograph
    • Four Worlds with loads of adventure to unlock
    • Build a museum
    • Get your photos evaluated by the Captain
    • Hours of relaxing game play

    Quality

    Jurassic GO is a very high-quality app. There is a walkthrough with printed documentation explaining each new feature as it is unlocked, vivid animation, and a touch-sensitive “camera” that will challenge observation and reflex skills to snap great photos of each make-believe dinosaur. Developers should consider including a parents’ guide, though, so that mentors could more effectively guide young users towards success-it took me quite a bit of trial and error to figure out what was going on and how to use the app.

    Education

    This app is not really intended to be educational.

    Entertainment

    Jurassic GO is highly entertaining and addictive! The more a user plays and becomes involved, the better the game play becomes. Players are invited to explore several different “worlds” in search of elusive dinosaurs to photograph and display in their museum. The dinos are cute and animated, and all very different. Some are sneaky, fast and require fast photography reflexes, while others are slower and take their time waddling around. That makes them much easier to photograph. Nearly every trip will yield at least one or two sightings and hopefully pictures. Once the trip is through, users can show their pictures off to the Captain, who evaluates each for several criteria. Points are awarded for positioning, size, and angle, and if a shot is perfect, it can go in the museum. Medium quality shots are “sold as postcards” as well to help players move forward in the game. Points earn opportunities to get new equipment, expand the museum, and unlock new worlds.

    Value

    Jurassic GO-Dinosaur Snap Adventures costs $3.99 in the App Store, which is a good value, especially if your child enjoys seek and find games, dinosaurs, or any type of game that unlocks privileges for points earned. It’s pricey enough, though, that it would be nice to have a trial version of some sort so families could decide if the game is right for them before they invest.

    Child Friendliness

    This app has unprotected links to ratings, emails, and the open internet.

    • NO 3rd party ads
    • NO in-app purchase
    • YES unprotected access to the internet
    • YES unprotected email and ratings systems

    image (8)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Blimp Code is a computer programming puzzle that will challenge reading comprehension, memory, and logic skills as players follow along with tutorials and hints, and then attempt to solve the puzzles to save the world.
    4.6

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Blimp Code presents computer coding and logic puzzles based on the backdrop of a futuristic story about saving the planet from ecological disaster. The app has 15 puzzles arranged in order of increasing difficulty, with helpful tutorials and hints to move players along and help them develop skills.

    Features include:

    • Clear tutorials
    • Hints for players
    • Capability to save game progress
    • Settings to control background music and similar features

    Quality

    Blimp Code is a very high quality app that works reliably and without glitches. The tutorials provided prior to starting level one are accessible throughout the game, and are very clear and succinct. Optional hints are provided within each level, as well.

    Education

    Blimp Code is a good tool for helping youth learn the basics of computer programming and develop logical thinking skills. Even if students are not planning a career in programming, learning about the logic of these languages promotes important thinking skills that can be useful in nearly every type of learning. In order to be successful at this game, players must attend to the tutorials and hints very carefully, then apply the information in the game. This exercises comprehension and memory skills, as well.

    Entertainment

    The app begins with a bit of a backstory about how mankind had polluted the world so badly that new creatures were engineered to clean the air. These hybrids between living things and computers got into trouble when sunspots disrupted their mechanisms, and the player’s job is to repair them and so save the world.

    The premise is cute, and the puzzles seem more relevant with the backstory. Some players, though, especially younger ones, are likely to lose interest after a few levels. The complexity increases fairly sharply, so it may be challenging for some to be successful.

    Value

    This app normally costs just under $3 in in the app store, which is very reasonably priced. If your child or teen enjoys computer programming or logic puzzles, then it will make a good addition to your collection. If your child is not into these things, or if he or she has never tried them, it might make more sense to find a programming game that is less expensive to be the first taste of the genre.

    Child Friendliness

    This app has an unprotected link to the internet leading to the developers’ website.

    • NO social media
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • NO in-app purchase
    • YES unprotected link to the internet

    trilospelling

    Trilo Spelling

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    A series of unique spelling activities that naturally progress in difficulty will help kids build basic spelling skills in Trilo Spelling.
    4.7

    App Info

    Price: $4.99
    AppStore User Rating: 5
    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Trilo Spelling is a phonics app designed to help kids improve their knowledge of letter sounds and learn how to spell common words. This is done through a series of simple activities that have kids spell words and identify pictures related to the words they hear. Along the way, they collect puzzle pieces and receive positive reinforcement from the characters in the app. With multiple levels of play and a variety of activities, Trilo Spelling is a quality app that can help children improve their spelling skills.

    Features include:

    • Multiple levels
    • Positive reinforcement
    • Puzzle pieces to collect
    • Individual letter sounds

    Quality

    In general, the app features quality graphics, sounds, and animations. The background, which features a series of mountains, can seem a bit busy at times, especially when kids must create words on top of it. If you accidentally turn of the sound in the info area, you may also have to restart the app to get it to turn back on. Other than that, the app responds well to kids’ actions and features the bright colors and fun sounds that kids enjoy.

    Education

    Included in the app are five different levels of play. Parents will find a detailed explanation of levels in the info section. The levels focus on topics such as short vowel sounds with CVC words, initial and final consonant digraphs, the floss rule, intial blends, and final blends. All of the levels build on one another and are designed to help kids build their skills gradually.

    Each level has kids rotate through a series of phonics activities. Some activities have kids look at a picture and/or listen to a word that they must then spell. Other activities have kids listen to a word and then choose the picture that fits the words. Even activities that are generally the same are presented in multiple formats to help kids stay focused.

    Entertainment

    As kids complete the levels, the characters in the app pop out to provide them with positive reinforcement. This includes phrases such as “that’s the spirit” or “wow.” Some of the activities are also timed to make them more exciting for kids. For example, kids must spell a word before the plane drags a picture related to the word off the screen. Completing words helps kids earn fuel for their plane which they can use to explore the island. They also collect puzzle pieces.

    Value

    This app is priced somewhat higher than many of its counterparts. However, it comes with five different levels of practice, with multiple practice activities at each level. The app was also developed by teachers and uses tried-and-true techniques to help kids build their phonics skills.

    Child Friendliness

    The app is free from social media, external links, ads, and in-app purchases. There is not a protected parent area, however, parents can read through the info screen (accessible through a small icon on the bottom of the main screen) to learn more about the design of the app and the different levels it contains.

    • NO social media
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • NO in-app purchase
    • NO rate us
    • NO more apps

    mullemeck

    Mulle Meck's Cars

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Kids design their own cars and then test them out with Mulle Meck's Cars.
    4.7

    App Info

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

    Overview

    In Mulle Meck’s Cars kids are invited to come into the shop and design their own car. Once they’ve finished, they’re given the opportunity to take the car for a test drive on a mini obstacle course. As kids test out their cars, they learn a little about physics too. This app is a fun way to teach kids a little about science while allowing them be creative at the same time.

    Features include:

    • Customizable cars
    • Concepts related to physics
    • Fun driving game for kids
    • Translated into 9 languages

    Quality

    When kids first open the app, they’re shown the main screen. Tapping the play button in the middle of the screen gives kids access to the workshop. Once they enter the workshop, arrows appear to show kids how to choose the different parts of their cars. The graphics and animation found in the app are high-quality and are easy for kids to interact with. Kids will have little trouble figuring out what to do and how to get their car completed so they can drive it on the track.

    Education

    Developers have designed a course that helps kids learn a little about physics. The connections to physics are subtle and kids who only play the app a few times may not pick up on them. However, as kids test out different cars, they’ll begin to notice how cars with different weights and wheels sizes perform on the obstacle course. For example, a small car may go a lot faster up and down the hills than a larger car with a lot of weight.

    Entertainment

    With over 100 combinations, kids will spend a lot of time designing and testing out different cars. They can choose the front and rear of each car, as well as the wheels it contains. Then, kids are also able to paint the car. They can choose to paint it one color or multiple colors. There are so many possibilities!

    Value

    Kids who love cars will really enjoy this app. It’s priced comparably to other apps of similar quality and really can be a lot of fun for kids.

    Child Friendliness

    On the bottom of the main screen, kids will see small “rate us” and “more apps” buttons. Access to these areas, as well as the parent area, is protected, but the “more apps” button may still take kids’ attention away from the game. The parent info button opens up a webpage where parents will find more information about the app, as well as links to the developer’s social media accounts, and a second invitation to rate the app.

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

    image (7)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Inclusion Bridges is a simple game that requires players to raise a tower that will fall across a gap to bridge it. The app is intended to raise awareness of social injustices and potential solutions, but it does not do much toward that end, either.
    3.6

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Inclusion Bridges is an awareness tool that offers a simple video game to familiarize players with social problems such as religious discrimination, racism and violence as they also become familiar with solutions such as social programs, education programs, and inclusionary artwork. The game is built around the main character building bridges over gaps to turn the “monsters” into inclusion strategies, which is highly symbolic of the work that the consortium that has created the app, Erasmus and the “Social Inclusion Out of the Box” project, an international partnership representing a number of countries.

    Please note that developers of this app recommend that children under the age of 17 not download or use it due to unrestricted web access.

    Features include:

    • Representation of exclusionary monsters such as racism, unemployment and poverty
    • Representation of inclusion strategies such as school education programs, community artwork and so forth
    • Simple video game to represent changing exclusionary monsters with inclusion strategies
    • Contact information for supporting groups from the various partner countries

    Quality

    Inclusion Bridges is a quality app that allows players to participate in a simple video game to raise awareness of the issues causing exclusion around the world. The video game is symbolic, requiring players to build bridges over gaps by touching the screen to lengthen their bridge so it is just the right length to cover the gap. The app really needs more clear directions for users to make the game a bit more fun-I had quite a time understanding exactly what was needed to complete a level. The English translation has multiple grammar errors that make it difficult to understand the app’s purpose, as well.

    Education

    This app is not really intended to be educational in the academic sense, but rather a tool to raise global awareness of societal problems that force individuals and groups into marginalized positions. Each level lists three such problems, such as age discrimination, violence, and lack of education. When a player successfully builds a bridge, the “monster” turns into an inclusion strategy, such as intercultural activities and professional education. However, the inclusion strategies and the names of the problems only appear at the beginning of each level. After that, they are represented by stylized monster figures of different colors. An awareness tool should probably keep the target information in front of the user more consistently.

    Entertainment

    The challenge of Inclusion Bridges is to build bridges of the correct sizes to bridge the gaps but not to be too large or small. The bridges are built vertically by touching the screen, then they fall into place when the finger is lifted, and if not too long or too short, allow the main character to cross and proceed to the next area needing a bridge. It is very difficult to judge when the vertical line is the correct length for the horizontal gap. If it is too long or too short, the monster will crash the bridge, ending the level and posting a large “FAIL” sign with an option to repeat the level or go on anyway. The game play itself does not change between the 11 levels. In other words, many people would either give up in frustration or become bored with the limited nature of the play.

    Value

    This is a free app, but is not likely to offer much in the way of fun for kids. It also does not do a very good job of its intended purpose of raising awareness of social injustices for adults. As such, developers should include more information about HOW to address the problems listed, rather than simply offering names of types of programs that could eventually offer solutions. It would be nice, also, to see more information about how each of the participating countries are addressing these problems, especially since each level professes to be from a different country, and the app is available in eight different languages.

    Child Friendliness

    Developers of this app recommend that children under the age of 17 not download nor play this app due to unprotected internet links.

    • NO social media
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • NO in-app purchase
    • YES unprotected internet links

    us
    Quality
    Education
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    United States Map Quiz Education Edition is an easy to use app that allows children to practice their knowledge of U.S. states, capitals, and flags.
    3.8

    App Info

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

    Overview

    United States Map Quiz Education Edition is an all-inclusive education app that provides kids a fun platform to practice their geography skills. This app is packed full of a variety of ways for players to test their knowledge on states, capitals, and flags and would be a perfect addition to any classroom.

    Features include:

    • 15 Game modes
    • States
    • Capitals
    • Flags

    Quality

    While the content of this app is very good, the set-up is not as polished as it could be, especially for a paid app. The graphics and user interface are a bit clunky and not while it’s not difficult to use the app, it’s just not as clean as you might expect it to be. Using the app is fairly simple as players need only to tap the correct states in order to move through the quiz. Polishing some of the graphics and making it more visually appealing would most certainly increase the quality of the app.

    Education

    There’s no doubt this app offers kids tons of educational practice when it comes to knowing their states, capitals flags etc. With 15 different modes organized by type of quiz and region, this app allows children a wide variety of ways to test their knowledge. While this is much more a quiz app, it assumes children know the information ahead of time and are simply testing what they know. It would be nice to have a specific mode that allows children to study the states, capitals and flags in order to learn them prior to testing their knowledge.

    Entertainment

    No rated for entertainment

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars, this app isn’t one that will break the bank, however the quality of the app leaves much to be desired. While it works well for a quiz app, it’s not as polished as you might expect from a paid app and might be a disappointment to some parents. With that said, it does offer an easy way for kids to quiz themselves on their knowledge about the U.S. states, capitals, and flags.

    Child Friendliness

    United States Map Quiz Education Edition is easy for kids to play and quiz themselves on what they know. With simple tap and touch functionality, children can easily select the correct answer for each quiz. They also have the option of swiping and enhancing the map in order to get a better look at the possible answers.

    While it is easy for kids to use, it’s not completely safe as there are unprotected external links. In addition to the “more apps” link, there is also a “rate this app” link that should really be protected or under a parent only gateway.

    • NO in-app purchase
    • NO social media links
    • YES rate us (unprotected, visible)
    • YES more apps (unprotected, visible)

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