Universal (iPhone / iPod / iPad)

seterra

Seterra Geography

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Travel around the world and improve you knowledge of world geography all from the comfort of your own home with Seterra Geography.
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

How well do you know your world maps and flags? Find out your geography IQ when you play Seterra Geography. The app, which is available in five different languages, allows you to select different continents and countries to focus on as you put your geography knowledge to the test. Don’t know a lot about geography? The app also include a learn mode to help you build up your knowledge before you jump into a game. So what are you waiting for? Start testing and building your geography knowledge today!

Features include:

  • Identify countries
  • Locate states and territories
  • Discover natural landmarks
  • Play in five different languages
  • Track your progress

Quality

Seterra Geography is a very simple app. On the main screen, users see icons to take them to maps or flags. After choosing what to focus on, they’re shown a list of continents. Choosing a continent brings up a more specific list of continents. For example, selecting North American maps will bring up a list of North American Countries, North American Lakes, U.S. State Capitols, and a large selection of other continent-specific maps. Once users select an area to focus on they’re given the option to learn or play. Both modes consist of simply backgrounds with dots or flags that users can tap to identify them. The app tracks users’ high scores and the progress they have made in each continent.

Education

There are two main parts to the app: learn and play. Whether identifying countries, capitals, or flags, users can choose to interact with the app in learn or play mode. Both modes are very similar. In learn mode, users see a map with dots on it or a screen full of flags. Tapping on a dot or a flag reveals the name of the state, country, or capital associated with it. In play mode, users see the same screen and are told to find a particular location or flag. If they incorrectly identify the location or flag, they’re shown the name of the one they identified. For example, if you must identify Columbia, South Carolina, but tap on Raleigh, North Carolina, then Raleigh will appear next to the dot. At the end of each quiz, users are shown their score for the round. While the quizzes aren’t particularly innovative or entertaining, they offer a solid way to build basic geography knowledge.

Entertainment

One of the few downsides to Seterra Geography is that it’s not very entertaining for those who may not enjoy putting their geography knowledge to the test. Most quizzes feature a green map with little white dots and users must tap on the correct dot. In the flags section, users simply see a list of flags and must tap on the correct one. None of this is terribly exciting, but it is a good way to build recognition. The app does build in a bit of intrinsic motivation by tracking progress and allowing users to enter their names to appear on the high score charts.

Value

This app is full of geography quizzes that cover both U.S. and world geography. It also offers quizzes to test users’ knowledge of world flags. Because of the amount of content and the ability to track progress over time, this app offers much more than a one-time use and is worth a download.

Child Friendliness

In the settings area, users can turn the sound effects on and off and change the language. The settings area also contains links to share the app and send feedback. Neither is protected by a parental lock. After completing a quiz, users also have the option to share their score and this feature is also not protected by a parental lock.

  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES Send Feedback (not protected)
  • YES Share App (not protected)

aba
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Summary
ABA Preferences is a great tool to help teachers, parents, caregivers, and others who work with special needs individuals to understand their students’ and clients’ preferences. This information can be very useful in designing effective learning and behavior management interventions.
4.8

App Info

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

Overview

ABA Preference provides an organized and reliable system for discovering rewards and reinforcers that are preferred by students or clients with disabilities. It does not require language skills, and only minimal motor control, and can be used with nearly any individual.

Features include:

  • Easy, accurate assessment of preferences
  • Provides percentage scores to compare reinforcers’ value
  • Easily create and share reports
  • Use your own pictures
  • Intuitive interface

Quality

ABA Preferences is a high-quality app that will provide reliable and accurate information about a student’s or client’s preferences. The interface is intuitive and works quickly and well. The app accesses pictures on your device as stimuli, so everything can easily be individualized. Record, save, and share information for multiple clients.

Education

Special education professionals know that many individuals learn best when they use a tangible reward system. This is particularly true with lower functioning clients and those with autism. However, language and cognitive impairments can make it difficult to figure out what items have value to the clients. ABA Preferences solves this problem by presenting pictures of possible reinforcers and having the client choose which they prefer. It’s activated with a simple touch, and no language skills at all are necessary. On the other hand, if a student or client does not have motor skills to voluntarily touch the screen, the teacher can ask which they prefer and touch for them.

The app presents pairs of pictures from the master group, and compares the number of times the pictures are chosen to calculate a percentage of value from the given group. For example, if the master group contains pictures of a dog, a campfire, flowers, and a rocketship, these pictures are presented in pairs and the client indicates which is preferable or which they are most interested in. The app returns a percentage that indicates how interested the client is in each picture. In the above example, the client preferred dogs 100% of the time and campfire 85% of the time. This information would be useful in planning the client’s educational program, because the teacher could know that the client has a strong preference for dogs as opposed to rocket ships. Real dogs, toy dogs, pictures of dogs, or even dog stickers might be useful to reward success at learning tasks.

Entertainment

This app isn’t really intended to be entertaining, but clients are likely to enjoy choosing pictures they find most interesting, given that the teacher put in valuable pictures in the first place. Most people like to exercise control over their lives, and this app could be perceived as a way to show that kind of control.

Value

This app costs $0.99 in the App Store and includes credits to do five preference assessments. Additional credits can be purchased at a cost of one for ninety-nine cents, ten for six dollars and ninety-nine cents, or a premium package of unlimited credits for nine dollars and ninety-nine cents monthly. It would be easy to find out if the app will fulfill a need in your program, but the per credit cost for assessments seems a little higher than many will want to pay, particularly if they are parents working with a single child or a classroom teacher working with a small number of children. I wish there was a time-based model that would be appropriate for use in families or small programs where a small number of credits could be added after a few months to accommodate parents and teachers who would like to keep current on their student’s or child’s preferences but who do not want to spend a lot of money. It might also be effective to charge more for the app and allow unlimited use.

Child Friendliness

This app is not intended for use by children.

  • Tutorial area
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES in app purchase

cygnus
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Ready, Jet, Go! Space Explorer is a free app from PBS Kids that will get kids interested in the stars, constellations, and other aspects of the nighttime sky. With four modes of play, there’s something here for everyone, but the most exciting part is the app’s capability to “see” what is in the sky above the user and allow users to learn about objects in the sky that they can really see right now.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Ready, Jet, Go! Space Explorer from PBS Kids will allow children and parents to explore the night sky with interactive activities, fun facts, and games. The app includes information about planets, constellations, and more.

Features include:

  • Includes over 300 planet and constellation facts to explore
  • See real-world positions of the stars overhead by pointing and tilting the device
  • Create vivid “space art” by coloring and painting a masterpiece
  • Earn badges for playing games
  • See and hear facts and jokes about space

Quality

Ready, Jet, Go! Space Explorer is a very high quality app that works as intended. The app is fairly intuitive to use and will be enjoyed by preschool children on up. It includes a handy parents corner that has detailed explanations about how to use the app, which many will find helpful. The app uses swipe motions to move the view of the night sky around, and it can get quite confusing because things can rotate in unusual ways. It would be nice to have some way to reorient the screen when desired so users could get their bearings if they become lost.

Education

This app is highly educational. Younger children are likely to enjoy it most if they have an older partner or mentor, though, because it can get a bit confusing and frustrating. Some constellations have the outlines drawn and explanations of the meaning of names, locations, and fun facts available, but not all. Also, there is not a lot of indication about where to find specific constellations relative to one’s position on Earth. Locations are given solely in terms of proximity to other constellations, which may or may not be helpful to users.

It would also be very useful for the app to distinguish between constellations typically visible to the user and those that are only visible in other parts of the world, such as the Southern Cross.

Entertainment

Ready, Jet, Go! Space Explorer is a lot of fun to use. It will make exploring the local night sky a snap since it uses location and device positioning to show exactly what is up above, with explanations and illustrations. The app includes a painting section, where users can create their own constellation illustrations, which is an enjoyable pastime. There is also a hide and seek game where the main character, Jet, takes off into space and hides, giving clues related to constellations and planets to help users locate him. This activity is quite challenging, especially for younger users. In fact, I was not able to successfully locate him on several different trials, I suspect because of my lack of familiarity with the constellations. It would be a good idea to use the app for a bit in other ways before trying this activity, particularly if the user can be easily frustrated.

Value

This app is free in the App Store, so it’s an outstanding value! It provides comprehensive information about the stars, constellations and planets, it’s engaging and fun to use, and it has several different play modes.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. The parents’ area is not protected, but it does not have any links or other troublesome material.

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

homey
Quality
Education
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Keep your home clean and organized with this simple to use chore app. Homey is great organizational tool for families!
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

Homey is a unique chore app designed to help get every member of the family on the same page when it comes to taking care of the household responsibilities. With the ability to set up your household and unique chores for each member of the family, this app offers a great alternative to the traditional app chart. It includes leader boards, pre-loaded chore tasks, and the ability to take pictures of the tasks when they are complete in order to help households keep up with the ever-growing list of chores.

Features include:

  • Pre-loaded chore lists based on room
  • Multiple profiles
  • Easy to use

Quality

While the set up is fairly simple, Homey may take some getting used to in order to effectively utilize the app. Upon set-up, users create a list of tasks or chores and profiles for everyone in the family that might be using the app. Users then assign the tasks with corresponding due dates so everyone knows when their task is due. At a glance, users are able to see what is due and when as well as what has already been completed. While there isn’t much by way of illustrations and sound effects, users are able to add their own images for chores assigned and completed.

Education

While this isn’t a specifically educational app, it does provide an opportunity for children to take on more responsibility on the home front in a more organized and streamlined way. Parents have the ability of setting up specific profiles for family members and assigning the specific tasks to each member with a due date. There is also a fun leader board that allows parents to see who has completed the most tasks at any given time which can add a bit of a competitive edge to doing chores.

With more families and children having access to their own mobile devices, this app allows users to load the app on their device and keep track of the items on their own to-do list with a glance. As a learning tool for taking on more responsibility at home, this is a great app.

Entertainment

Not rated for entertainment.

Value

Parents will be happy to know they can keep their home organized and chaos-free with Homey and it won’t cost them a single penny. This organizational chore app is completely free and a great way for families to share the responsibilities at home and for parents to teach children a bit about caring for their space.

Child Friendliness

While young users may have a bit of trouble getting the most value out of the app, it is a great tool for families with elementary aged children on up. At a glance children and parents can both see what tasks need to be done and in what time frame with relative ease. Parents can also rest assured knowing that there are no outside distractions or links to worry about. This app is perfect for families!

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

artstories

Art Stories Cities

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Explore some of the world's major cities through the geometric world of Art Stories Cities.
4.2

App Info

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

Overview

“Discover some of the most beautiful cities in the world!” That’s how kids are welcomed to Art Stories Cities. From there, kids are invited to select a country and explore one of the cities presented. Kids explore the city by matching the outlines of local attractions. After correctly placing each attraction, kids get a chance to learn all about it. This app offers a unique way to help kids learn about some of the major cities in the world and the attractions they contain.

Features include:

  • Explore the world
  • Learn about tourist attractions
  • Interact with illustrations
  • Available in Italian and English
  • \

Quality

Kids will find that the app is fairly easy to navigate. It opens on an inviting main screen where kids are prompted to tap an arrow on the banner of an airplane to get to the cities. Then they’re prompted to “Discover the world” by tapping on a flag on the world map. Once kids select a flag, they’re introduced to a city and they see a few outlines with a scrolling selection of buildings along the bottom of the screen. Kids must select the building that matches the outline and drag it into place. It’s pretty clear which building fits in each spot, but a few of the skyscrapers may get confusing. Once kids place the building, they’re treated to a description of the building. The audio is clear and read at a pace that is appropriate to kids. All of the details are also age appropriate. Once kids have correctly placed all of the buildings in a city, they get to enjoy a short interactive animation related to the city. This component is not immediately obvious and may be a bit trickier for kids to figure out.

Education

The app offers a lot of information about main attractions in some of the best-known cities around the world. Kids will learn fun facts about the buildings and other attractions, such as who designed them and when they were created. Unfortunately, the app only offers information about a limited number of cities. This leads to kids learning random knowledge rather than focused knowledge. If the app offered a larger selection of cities, teachers and parents might be able to make more use of it in the context of a larger lesson about a particular city or country or even to familiarize kids with a city before they go on vacation.

Entertainment

Younger kids will enjoy matching the structures with their outlines. They’ll also enjoy the animations and sound effects included in the app. Older kids will enjoy learning the facts about the different attractions. While all facts are kid-appropriate, many of the facts are likely to go over younger kids’ heads.

Value

Given the limited number of cities available in the app, it doesn’t offer the best value. If developers doubled or tripled the amount of cities, the app would have immensely more value and be worth a download by many different users.

Child Friendliness

In the lower left corner of the main screen, kids will find a more apps icon. A parental block limits access to the apps displayed when the icon is tapped. Kids can also change the language from English to Italian with the tap of a button or view info about the app, but there is nothing inappropriate in the info section.

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

childspass
Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Childs Pass is a great parent app that allows users to search, find, and book fun activities for the family in a city near you. Great concept and easy to use!
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

Childs Pass is an innovative child activity app that allows parents to search for specific events and activities based on their location and interest. This on-demand app allows users to search, find and book specific events for fun family weekends on the go. With everything in one place, Childs Pass is a great tool to have all year round.

Features include:

  • Free to use
  • Book activities option
  • Easy to use

Quality

The idea behind Childs Pass is very exciting. As a parent to be able to easily search, find, and book specific family events on the go is a great opportunity and a time-saver. The app itself is very well done and includes clear graphics and an easy to use function that makes finding activities very easy. The ability to book activities within the app itself is really great so parents can do this on the go right from their phone with ease.

Education

Not rated for education.

Entertainment

While this isn’t a kids app and isn’t directly meant to entertain children simply by using the app it does offer an indirect opportunity for parents to keep children entertained. After setting up the specific profile for your children that includes gender, age, and interests, parents can search based on their city to see what activity options are available. The developers have also categorized the types of activities by including things like, ‘rainy day activities’ and ‘free’ options that make searching for things to do quite easy.

Unfortunately at this time there are only three cities listed for the U.S. which limits the usability of the app for many families. Currently the only cities included for the U.S. are Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. As the app gains momentum there will be other cities available, however as it stands now it is quite limited in terms of who can effectively use the app.

Value

Parents will definitely appreciate being able to use this tool absolutely free. This allows users to search for activities for free and if they decide to book a specific activity they can use the app to make the purchase with ease. Adding more options in terms of locations is certainly ideal and would increase the overall usability and value of the app as well.

Child Friendliness

This app is not meant to be used by children. It really is a parents only kind of app as it includes payment information and gateways that children shouldn’t have access to. With that said, parents will want to make sure this app isn’t on devices children have access to as it could result in unintentional bookings since none of those buttons and options are currently protected.

  • NO external links

mindfulness
Quality
Education
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Mindfulness for Children is a great app for parents and teachers to use in order to help soothe and calm children during quiet times or before bed.
4

App Info

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

Overview

It’s long been said that meditation is a great tool to calm, soothe, and keep children focused and Mindfulness for Children offers a variety of meditations to do just that. Perfect for use in the classroom or at home, this app offers guided meditation and soothing nature sounds to calm and relax little ones when they need it most.

Features include:

  • 5 Guided meditations
  • 4 Soothing nature tracks

Quality

When it comes to quality the most important thing to note for this app is the sound quality. It’s important for meditation and sound tracks to be free of background noise and to provide clarity of sound which Mindfulness for Children does. The voice used in the guided meditations is soothing and the simple bell sounds offer a nice calm feel as well. The nature sounds are also very well done and have a nice clean sound making it easy to listen and relax to.

Education

While this app isn’t designed to specifically educate children, it does offer a bit of information for parents as they use it. Each of the guided meditations also comes with a brief paragraph on how to expand on the experience for children. For example, in the connecting meditation, parents are asked to check in with their children and as questions regarding how they feel etc. so they get the most out of the experience. This is a great addition to the app and could even be expanded upon to offer more information for parents and teachers who may choose to use these meditations for their little ones.

Entertainment

Not rated for entertainment.

Value

Priced at just under two dollars this app is a good deal. With five guided meditations and four nature tracks, parents and teachers can both get a lot of use out of this app without breaking the bank. Perfect for quiet time in the classroom or as a relaxation ritual before bed, this app will certainly help little ones calm their bodies, minds, and souls before bed.

Child Friendliness

While the content of the app is very good, Mindfulness for Children unfortunately is not an app that children should be playing with. With lots of open links and unprotected social media channels, this app is one that is best used by parents or teachers instead of allowing children to use on their own. It would be nice to allow children to play with the meditations on their own provided the additional open links were protected under a ‘parents only’ section. As it stands now, it isn’t child friendly at all.

  • YES external links (unprotected, but visible)
  • YES social media (unprotected, but visible)
  • YES in-app purchase (unprotected, but visible)
  • YES rate us (unprotected, but visible)

forestexplorer

Piig Forest Explorer

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Explore the forest with Chipper the Chipmunk and learn all about his animal friends in Piig Forest Explorer.
4.2

App Info

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

Overview

Kids get to experience nature firsthand with Piig Forest Explorer which allows them to travel around the forest with Chipper the Chipmunk. They’ll discover new animals and facts along the way. For example, they’ll learn that mother birds are extremely protective of their eggs. They’ll also discover the names of 12 different animals. While all of the animals and scenery are animated, kids will feel like they really get to explore the forest on their own.

Features include:

  • Available in eight languages
  • Cute animated animals
  • Interactive components
  • Calm background music
  • \

Quality

When kids first open the app, they’ll discover a lush green globe that welcomes them with trees and rainbows. Kids can tap the play button to get started. Once the game loads, the screen opens on Chipper the Squirrel in his den. Kids wake up Chipper and head out to explore the forest. The game is well-designed and features quality graphics, sound effects, and background music. It is also well-organized and easy for kids to navigate. Unfortunately the app is plagued with technical issues. The app moves fairly slowly, so kids should be encouraged to tap slowly and take time to move around the forest rather than quickly changing directions. It also abruptly closes sometimes, making it a bit frustrating for kids trying to find all of the animals. While the audio narration is crisp and clear, it often plays at random times and sometimes plays in multiple languages.

Education

As kids work their way through the app, they’re given the opportunity to learn the names and key facts about 12 different animals. The ultimate goal of the app is to find all of the animals. As kids discover the animals, they learn about them both through how they interact with Chipper and through information that is provided through words and narrated descriptions of the animals. It’s a great way for kids to get some quick knowledge about animals and learn a bit about nature. Younger kids can also complete puzzles of the animals they find.

Entertainment

This app largely gives kids free reign to explore the forest. They can move Chipper any direction they want him to go. Some of the technical issues can make the app frustrating for kids because they may not move exactly where they want to go or the app may close when they’re in the middle of an activity. However, when they can move around successfully, they’ll find that they enjoy finding the animals and learning more about them.

Value

Piig Forest Explorer has a lot to offer kids. It includes tons of animal facts, lets them search for animals, and offers the information in eight different languages. Unfortunately, the quality issues really bring the value down.

Child Friendliness

A protected parent area is visible on the main screen. There parents can select the language, contact developers, and rate the app. Parents should select the desired language when they first open the app because sometimes the app does not open on the main screen after it has been initially opened. Aside from the protected parent area, the app is free from content such as ads and in-app purchases.

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

image (21)
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Math Galaxy Word Problems Fun offers a wide array of word problems in topics and levels suitable for grades 1-8, and if players enjoy arcade-style maze games, will be a motivational way to practice applying math skills. Game play is quite complex, however, and players may need adult assistance to learn the game well enough to enjoy it.
4.5

App Info

Price: $3.99
AppStore User Rating: 1
Download on the App Store

Overview

Math Galaxy Word Problems Fun is a maze-based app that encourages students to practice math story problems ranging from basic computation with small whole numbers through middle school/pre-algebra concepts such as ratio/proportion, signed numbers, geometry and graphs/tables. Players send remote-controlled robots into a maze to find treasures, and must solve word problems to proceed at certain points.

Features include:

  • Sixteen topics
  • Three levels of difficulty
  • Each player can choose individualized topic
  • Multi-player capability
  • Can save game to play over several sessions

Quality

Math Galaxy Word Problems Fun is a high quality app that performs as advertised. There are lots of ways to individualize the app, making it highly useful in classrooms or other settings where multiple people will be using the game. Each player can choose a different topic, if desired, however, the game as a whole must be set to one level of difficulty. The ability to save a game is also a great feature, since game play can take quite a while. Players can also set their own criteria for winning or for ending the game. The graphics are somewhat low-res, which may put some players off a bit. The directions are quite complicated, and it will take a bit of effort to figure out how to play, particularly if players are not already familiar with these types of arcade games. Developers set up a system where players have money to purchase new robots when needed, and to pay other players when they land on the opposing players’ caves, but this also adds quite a layer of complexity to the game, which may make it too challenging for some players.

Education

Math Galaxy Word Problems Fun is an outstanding way to encourage students to practice word problems, which frequently are challenging to students of all ages. This app’s built-in capability to focus different players on different skills is ideal for classroom and other settings where multiple students use the app. The topics cover most of the core math skills taught between grades one and eight up to and including many pre-algebra topics. The word problems are clearly written, and follow the usual pattern of situation and question. There is a built-in calculator (that includes an optional fraction mode) for students to use when they work to solve the problems.

Entertainment

This app has the potential to be quite engaging and entertaining for students to use, but it is quite complex to understand and to get started with. It does require a relatively high reading level to get through the directions (FK reading level of grade 9.6 on the instructions), and the story problems also may be difficult for younger or less able students to read comfortably. Game play is fairly complex, as well, with the introduction of money that changes hands between players and gets paid to the computer. The directions also mention choosing the size and speed of “sprites,” but all options except medium on both attributes were greyed out, so I couldn’t figure out what that was all about. Once I figured out how to play, it was fun, and students will probably enjoy the game play, since it is very arcade-like. It just may take a bit of help to get them to that point, especially for younger students.

Value

This app is $3.99 in the App Store, which is a good value for the amount of content covered, but may be a bit high for the play value if students don’t end up enjoying it. It would be nice if developers offered a free sample level for people to try out before purchasing, since it could be an “acquired taste.” It would be an expensive app to buy, and then have children refuse to use it because of its complexity.

Child Friendliness

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

TOP 20 (1)

It’s a challenge to balance family and work with so much going on. We just happen to hold a little magic in the palms of our hands disguised as phones that help us to create that balance. These amazing apps will help any working mom become more organized and productive.

Happy Kids Timer
Make your mornings run smooth with an app that walks your child through his or her morning routine. Your child can receive an award (of your choosing) for completing the assigned tasks such as brushing their teeth, making their bed, etc. on time.

Task Rabbit
It’s almost impossible to get everything done yourself. Hire someone to run your errands, clean your house, or even iron your shirts. Someone else will do the tasks you dread, so you can focus your time after work on your loved ones.

Moms Pump Here
This app is a must have for nursing moms. Find nursing friendly places that users have rated so you can pump comfortably.

Cozi
This app pretty much does it all. Keep a calendar (color-coded by family member), share things such as to-do lists or shopping lists, send reminders via test messages, keep a journal, and so much more. Everyone can access it so nobody should miss an appointment again.

Mint
Keep on track with your budge and control spending with this easy to use app. You can even set it to alert you when bills are due, or automatically schedule a payment.

Snapp!
In just 10 seconds, you can have new business contact information put into your phone. After adding it, Snapp! Will even send your new contact an automatic email with your contact information and will even include a business brochure.

Shoeboxed
Never worry about saving your receipts again. Just take a picture of it, and Shoeboxed will take care of the rest. This app will fill in the date of the receipt, how you paid, which store, and the total dollar amount your spent. It will also create and email you expense reports so you can be prepared for tax season.

7 Minute Workout
Between working and taking care of your family, it’s hard to find time to take care of yourself. This app delivers high intensity exercises with voice prompts – no need to look at your device. It’s a no excuse 7-minute workout that will give you energy to face your day.

Calm
If you’ve never tried meditation before, now is the time to start. Calm will leave you feeling peaceful and refreshed. There are numerous sessions to choose from to help ease mental tension, sleep better, increase your focus, and much more.

Health Tap
Receive unlimited medical advice from actual doctors immediately. The doctors can order lab tests, send prescriptions to your pharmacy, or refer you to a specialist. You can even connect with your own doctor from anywhere. It’s much easier to virtually consult with a doctor over your little one’s cold, than taking time off work to run to an appointment.

Flipboard
Flipboard is basically a personalized magazine just for you. Gather the content you are interested in from social networks, videos, blogs, or other places and this app will display them in a magazine-like format.

Sleep Pillow Sounds
This app claims to be able to put you to sleep within minutes. There are over 300,000 sound mixes you can create. You can set a sleep-timer with a slow fade-out, and add an alarm clock with a slow fade-in to wake you up naturally and feeling well-rested.

Lumen Trails Daily Organizer
Never forget anything again with this app. Take notes and keep track of everything from expenses to calories consumed. You can even make note of where you parked the car.

Dark Sky
Dark sky will tell you exactly what the weather will do up to one hour in advance with remarkable accuracy. You will know to leave the office early to avoid the snow, or what time to take the kids to the park and stay dry.

Amazon
Shop with the app just as you would online. Update your subscriptions, compare prices, and complete your orders with 1-Click purchasing.

Care Zone
Always have medical history, medications, and medical conditions at your fingertips. Share with your sitter or family members so you know your child will be well taken care of.

Red Stamp
With a busy schedule, it can be hard to find the time to send someone a card. Create cards, notes, invitations, and announcements right from your iPhone or iPad. Email, text, or post to social media your card. Red Stamp will also print your creations and mail them directly to your recipients.

Dropbox
Let’s face it, there are times when we just have to bring work home with us. We don’t want to, but at times it has to be done. Leave the files and notes at your desk and upload everything into Dropbox. You can complete your work and even share it with others instantly.

Habit Changer
Learn how to easily make small changes to get your children to make healthy choices. This app will provide tips, ideas, and recipes. Avoid the “picky-eater” syndrome that plagues many young kids.

Facetime
Most iPhones come with this app already installed. Take advantage of it by connecting with your kids throughout your workday. Hear all about their day, see their art project, or help them with a homework problem. You can still be involved even though you work outside of the home.

bitsboardpro

Bitsboard PRO

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
A unique flashcard and games platform makes Bitsboard PRO the ideal app for learning just about anything.
4.8

App Info

Price: $19.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Bitsboard PRO is one of those must-have app for teachers, parents, occupational therapists, and others who work with children and teens. This unique learning platform uses boards to help kids learn. Each board centers around a different topic and combines media and text to create a flashcard-style slideshow experience. Kids can then take each board and interact with it through a variety of games. Whether using pre-created boards or creating boards of your own, Bitsboard PRO helps you create an interactive and customized learning experience for kids and teens.

Features include:

  • Create your own boards
  • Join classes
  • Play games
  • Track progress
  • Customize the learning experience

Quality

At first glance, Bitsboard seems a bit busy. This is because the main page comes pre-loaded with suggested boards and classes. However, these can be turned off in the settings area so that kids only see the boards you want to them to see. The settings are also allows users to customize the learning experience. This includes everything from the font and contrast in the app to the success sounds kids hear and the specific number of rounds in each game. The settings icon also takes users to the portion of the app where they can create or upload new boards, share boards with other users, and get help using the app. The settings section is extensive, but that’s only because the app has so much to offer. Kids, however, will see a much more streamlined portion of the app with classes and boards clearly labeled on the home screen and games to interact with the boards clearly labeled with both the title and a descriptive image.

Education

One of the highlights of Bitsboard is the ability to customize the learning experience. Users can choose the boards they want to interact with or even create boards of their own. The games can also be customized to help them fit kids’ needs. For example, the Photo Touch game can feature images only, text only, or descriptions only.

In addition to offering a customizable learning experience, the app incorporates games and activities designed to help kids learn. Kids can learn keywords and information about virtually any subject with the flashcard-style boards and related activities. Its format is ideal for review of vocabulary words and key concepts, but it also works well for tasks such as letter and number recognition or solving basic addition and subtraction problems. One area where Bitsboard is particularly is with content for kids with special need. The format is ideal for creating social stories and other activities to help children learn how to express themselves verbally and emotionally. You can even customize the sounds on many of the pre-created boards so kids’ can hear the voices and pronunciations they are accustomed to.

Entertainment

There are over 30 different ways kids can interact with each board. These range from simple flashcards to word search puzzles and memory games. That means kids could review each board a different way every day of the month if they wanted to. Users also have the ability to add or remove games, so if kids don’t enjoy a particular type of game, it won’t even appear on their menu of choices when they go to review a board. The game also offers positive reinforcement as kids complete the games and activities. Users can customize the success sounds kids hear to help make the app more enjoyable for them.

Value

Given all that the app has to offer and the way it allows users to organize content, it is priced competitively. You could use a variety of free online programs to create content similar to Bitsboard, but the content wouldn’t be nicely organized and it’d be hard for kids to maximize the effectiveness of the resources. With this app, it’s all contained in one place, it’s easy to use, and you can track kids’ progress as they use it.

Child Friendliness

Adults should not that Bitsboard PRO does offer a child lock, but it must be turned on in the settings area. There are two options for a child lock – a traditional child lock that has users enter a string of three numbers or a password option that allows users to set a simple passcode to access content that is not designed for children. Turning on the child lock restricts access to the settings and search area, so kids are focused solely on the boards and classes that they have been given access to.

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

playandlearn
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Play and Learn with Corabelle is an easy to use, early learning app with lots of fun and engaging early-learning activities that children will love. Fun, educational, and perfect for the little one in your home.
4.7

App Info

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

Overview

Play and Learn with Corabelle, is a multi-faceted early learning app perfect for young children, with gorgeous illustrations and fun activities to enjoy. It includes a variety of activities including matching, puzzles, seek and find, and so much more, making this app one that will keep children busy for hours.

Features include:

  • 11 Early learning activities
  • Wonderful graphics
  • Easy to use

Quality

The developers have done an amazing job with the visuals in this app. With bright colors, realistic images, and magical sound effects, this app is one that will keep children engaged while they learn. The user interface is also very well done with easy to use tap and drag functioning and simple indicators to help players understand how to complete each activity. Overall, Play and Learn with Corabelle is very well done.

Education

With 11 early learning activities that help children with a variety of skills including matching, puzzles, etc. this app is perfect for the little one in your home. There are some activities that are a bit more challenging than others as the developers have created a good balance of learning games for players to enjoy. Overall, this app is perfect for getting little ones acclimated to skills they will expand upon and grow in pre-school and Kindergarten which is great.

Entertainment

While there are quite a few early learning activities within this app, the developers have also included some fun-focused activities as well. For example, the aiming and throwing game, shadow puzzles, and the seek and find games all offer children a bit of fun as they learn. There are also engaging sound effects, music, and gorgeous graphics that will help keep children engaged as they play. Overall, the developers have done a great job making this app engaging for little ones to play.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars, this app is a good deal. When you consider that it includes 11 activities, gorgeous graphics, and fun sound effects for children to enjoy, it’s one app you don’t want to miss. Parents can certainly appreciate all that this app has to offer at a price that won’t break the bank.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done an excellent job keep this app easy to use and completely safe for children too. With simple instructional markers throughout each activity that are easy to follow, children of all ages will be able to successfully play and engage with no trouble at all. Parents can also rest assured knowing that there are no open links or unprotected areas that children could have access to.

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

mathclimber
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Math Climber HD is an outstanding, engaging resource for practicing basic math and pre-algebra skills, useful for students who are learning these skills for the first time and those who need quick review or extra practice.
4.7

App Info

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

Overview

Math Climber HD is a game to help math students practice basic math skills ranging from addition and subtraction facts through operations with fractions, percents and decimals. Solve problems in timed or untimed environments, earn coins that can be exchanged for various rewards and hints, and send progress records via email to teachers or mentors.

Features include:

  • 18 topics
  • 3 skill levels per topic
  • Multiple games
  • Progress reports available
  • Motivational rewards

Quality

Math Climber HD is a very high-quality app. Everything works as it is designed to, and developers have done a good job of minimizing distractions and making the game intuitive to use. There is a brief instructional page about the scoring system. The graphics are somewhat minimalist-animations are a bit jerky, but overall, the game is fun to play. It does gather data about players’ performance, and teachers or parents can see player accuracy at each level attempted. However, the reporting system could use a few tweaks in regard to how it shows student errors. It seems to be showing the stimulus problem, but not the answer selected, which would be very helpful for adults to be able to see.

Education

This app presents outstanding opportunities to practice a wide array of math skills at the elementary and middle school levels, and is age appropriate for all age groups. Players select one of 18 topics, and then one of three levels of difficulty. There are four options for play, ranging from an untimed practice system through competitive play against the computer. The app allows for practice on basic computation, operations with fractions, work with decimals and percents, least common multiple and greatest common factor, place value, and more. Each section presents problems in multiple formats. For example, the addition game might ask 4+8=? Or it might ask 4+___=12. It also gives four multiple choice answers that may be numbers or other addition combinations that are equivalent to the answers. There is great variety at all of the levels in problem presentation.

Entertainment

Math Climber HD is a fun app that kids are likely to be willing to play for quite a while. First of all, players get to create an avatar by choosing clothing, hair color, skin tone, and so forth. As they play, they earn coins for successful work, and the coins can be used to purchase additional items for their avatar, such as hair styles, sunglasses, and so forth. Coins can also be used for a 50/50 option for difficult problems to eliminate two incorrect answers. After each successful climb, the climber gives the player a “high five.” After stars are earned, the climber goes into a dance hall complete with disco ball and lighted floor to perform a victory dance. One suggestion would be for a bit of change up to the end-of-round animation and sound effects-currently the climber goes back down the wall, out of sight, then sounds like he or she falls the remaining feet and animals make disturbed noises. The announcer always responds that “That’s going to leave a mark.” Some variety for this portion that is randomized would help keep students from becoming bored.

Value

This app is $1.99 in the App Store, and is a great value. It can be used by students from early elementary school through even high school to practice basic math skills in timed or untimed settings, so it would be very useful to just about everyone.

Child Friendliness


Math Climber is mostly child-friendly, but there is unprotected access to email through the Progress Report section.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES Unprotected email link

traceittryit

Trace It, Try It

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Trace It, Try It gives kids multiple opportunities to learn how to form their letters, numbers, and three-letter words while still having fun.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Trace It, Try It gives kids the chance to learn how to form their letters, numbers, and basic words. This cute app from This Reading Mama offers three different types of activities: learn, practice, and play. Throughout all of the activities, kids learn more than just how to form letters; they also build basic phonics and word recognition skills.

Features include:

  • Write uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Spell basic words
  • Write basic numbers/li>
  • Play matching and sticker games

Quality

The main screen of the app features icons for each of the three types of activities. These icons are front and center on the screen, making it easy for little fingers to decide what to play. At the top of the screen are small icons to allow kids to adjust the background music and sound effects, as well as a small icon to take parents to the settings area. The activities themselves are well-organized and easy for kids to play and navigate.

Education

Forming letters and numbers is the main activity found in Trace It, Try It. The app gives kids two ways to form the letters. First, they follow numbered dots contained within the outline of the letter. After tracing within the outline a couple of times, the outline disappears and kids work to form the letters on their own, guided by the numbered dots. As kids learn to trace letters, they’re given simple reminders to stay in the lines. They’re also introduced to some basic phonics skills through cute icons. For example, for the letter P, kids drag a small pizza around dots. For the letter D, it’s a dinosaur. In addition to uppercase letters, the app also allows kids to trace lowercase letters, numbers, and three-letter words.

Entertainment

Peppy background music, positive reinforcement, and cute icons help make this app more entertaining for kids. When they’re ready to take a break from tracing letters and numbers, kids can enjoy fun matching and sticker games in the “Play” section of the app.

Value

The app is very similar to many other tracing apps out there and it is priced comparably. It is one of the better handwriting apps out there and, combined with the resources from This Reading Mama, is a good choice for those looking to help their kids learn to form letters, numbers, and basic words.

Child Friendliness

Parents can access the settings section which contains information about the app, social media icons, and a link to This Reading Mama’s website. On the website, parents will find printables and other resources to help expand the learning kids do.

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

ipad3_screenshot1_english
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Monster Numbers is a math app full of adventure, excitement, and education all in one place this app is the perfect way for players to practice their math skills. Fun, exciting, and highly educational, this app is great for families.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Monster Numbers is a fun game-like educational app that provides an exciting, interactive way to practice math skills. With a nice balance between entertainment and education, this is one app that kids are going to love, even if they aren’t a fan of Math. This app is perfect for children ages 4-14 as it offers a various levels of mathematical concepts that players can practice.

Features include:

  • Addition & Subtraction
  • Patterns
  • Multiplication & Division

Quality

Monster Numbers is full of cartoon monster characters and other illustrations that create a fun environment for children to play. With a user interface that is very intuitive and supportive prompts strategically placed, this app allows children of all ages the chance to practice their math skills with ease. The developers have also included exciting music and sound effects to add to the gaming experience, creating an exciting educational environment for children to play and learn in.

Education

There is no doubt that this app offers lots of great educational material and in a very interesting way. At the beginning of the app, children are asked to set up a profile with their age which then allows the app to adapt the specific math challenges to their age. With lots of different math concepts including counting, sequencing, and the traditional addition/subtraction and multiplication/division, Monster Numbers includes a wide variety of practice for children of all ages. The developers have also created a nice balance of educational material and entertainment by alternating between game-like levels and educational levels to keep children interested.

Entertainment

It’s always nice to find apps that offer both education and entertainment in a balanced way and the developers have hit it out of the park with Monster Numbers. With a fun, game-like set up that allows children to alternate between entertainment levels and educational levels, players get the best of both worlds in one app. This app offers everything you would expect in a ‘gaming’ app with levels, challenges, bad guys and lots of adventure. Very well done.

Value

Priced at just under two dollars this app is a steal! With varying levels and a variety of educational material all in one place, this is a great app for families. It is full of education, entertainment, and lots of fun for children at a price that is perfect.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done an excellent job creating an app that is easy to use and quite intuitive. With a variety of markers and simple tutorials for new levels, the developers have seamlessly incorporated support and guidance where it’s needed most. Children will have no trouble playing and practicing their math skills in this app while having a ton of fun.

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

image (18)
Quality
Education
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
The free version of Mathway provides students with ready answers to math and chemistry problems at nearly any level. A subscription must be purchased to access step-by-step solutions that some students may need to understand the process of solving the problems, though.
4.1

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 3.5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Mathway – Math Problem Solver is a tool for math students of nearly all levels. The app allows users to enter equations at nearly any level of complexity and then solves them.

Features include:

  • Nine levels of math plus chemistry
  • Built-in graphing calculator
  • Subject-specific menus of terms and symbols
  • Covers basic math through high school and early college topics
  • Includes a list of the types of problems covered in each section

Quality

Mathway is a high quality app. The ten sections are easily navigated using tabs near the top of the screen. Each section includes drop down menus of symbols and number arrangements such as fractions and exponents that allow easy input of equations. The app does, however, have a few apparent technical glitches, such as an inability to solve any integral from n to n evidenced by the entire system hanging up (the answer should be zero). Furthermore, it would be very helpful if the developers included some sort of tutorial or written directions-people who are not familiar with the level of math needed (such as parents trying to assist high school students), will have some difficulty figuring out how to enter equations. An information section could also include examples of how to use the app, as some parents’/teachers’ first response may be that it seems like “cheating” to be able to enter an equation and get an answer. The app has legitimate educational uses, such as checking one’s work, but some people may need this pointed out in a clear manner.

Education

Mathway could be a huge help to any student working from basic math concepts such as fractions, division, and percents on up to those taking classes in calculus, linear algebra, and finite math. The app also includes a chemistry problem solver, as well. The free version of the app allows users to input equations and receive answers. The type of process used on the input can be chosen from a drop down menu when there are multiple types of problems that may be created from the given input. For example, the basic math section includes a section designed to work with three dimensional figures such as cylinders. Once the height and radius of the cylinder are entered, the drop down menu allows the user to choose to find volume or surface area.

The app is apparently missing a few common input types, however. For example, it operates in degrees, and there is no apparent method to convert from degrees to radians, which is a common sort of problem at that level of math. The chemistry section does not seem to have a method of inputting the information necessary for working with nuclear chemistry, and it does not apparently show how to balance equations or calculate the products and yields of reactions, which are both very common exercises in beginning high school chemistry. There doesn’t seem to be a method of working with inverse matrices, either.

The free version of Mathway provides answers to problems that are entered, but does not show solutions or methodology. To get this information, which is vital for tutoring or understanding how to solve troublesome problems, users must either pay for a single month’s subscription or an annual subscription. There is a companion website that can be accessed using the same credentials required to use the app that includes a math glossary as well as the same equation-solving engine that powers the app.

Entertainment

This app is not intended for entertainment.

Value

The free version of this app is a great value, especially since it does not require an active internet connection to function. Math students will appreciate the capability of checking their work whenever the circumstances dictate. The subscription to see the solutions may or may not be worth the money, depending on the user’s circumstances. Most of the information is available for free on the internet at other websites, but having it right at your fingertips may be well worth the investment. A one-month subscription costs $19.99 and an annual subscription costs $79.99 at the present time. It is worth noting that when answers to problems are offered in the free version, the step-by-step solution is apparently on the screen, but covered by a pop-up inviting the user to purchase a subscription. The purchase system is readily accessible by any user with an Apple ID, and is auto-renewing unless users go into their accounts and disable this feature intentionally.

Child Friendliness

This app includes a rather aggressive system of soliciting in-app purchase of the subscription plan to purchase access to step-by-step solutions to problems. While this sort of thing is not usually a problem for the high-school and college level students that are likely to use the app, it is a real problem for younger users whose parents may not want them exposed to this sort of pressure. The app also includes unprotected, visible links to social media and to the developers’ website.

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

tinyplaybox

Tiny Play Box

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Toddlers and preschoolers gain confidence and build basic skills through the games in Tiny Play Box.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

Tiny Play Box has joined the toddler and preschool app space with fun games for young kids. Parents and kids are encouraged to interact with one another through simple games such as memory, matching, and fun animal games. The bright colors attract kids to the game, while the simple designs make it easy for kids to enjoy.

Features include:

  • Multiple learning games
  • Simple interface
  • Colorful graphics
  • Parent/child interaction

Quality

When kids open the app, they’re presented with a screen featuring icons that represent each of the different games. The icons feature descriptive pictures rather than words which works well for the target age group. The games themselves are designed fairly simply and are easy for kids to navigate. Some of the games are a bit more complex, but those include little details, such as gnomes with blinking eyes, to help kids recognize when to make their move.

Education

Through the simple learning games included in Tiny Play Box kids can build basic skills, such as hand-eye coordination and color recognition. Developers encourage parents to interact with kids as they play, but the design of the games is simple enough that kids are able to figure out the games and play on their own.

Entertainment

Kids don’t need a lot of flashy graphics or zany sound effects to have fun. Tiny Play Box entertains kids by allowing them experience success. The simple design of the games helps kids feel confident in themselves and their ability to be successful while playing a game.

Value

Kids can experience the app’s games for free, but additional games are available through an in-app purchase. The cost of the in-app purchase is small and worth the price for the variety of activities kids get to experience.

Child Friendliness

Developers encourage parents to interact with their children as they play the games. The app does include in-app purchases.

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

sagomini
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Sago Mini Trucks & Diggers is an easy to use app that allows children to explore the fun world of construction. With trucks, diggers, and homes to build, this app is going to keep little ones busy for hours!
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

Sago Mini Trucks & Diggers is another great interactive app in the Sago Mini series that allows players to experiment with various trucks and construction equipment. This hands-one, free-play app allows players to build various houses and buildings using a variety of diggers and other construction equipment. Easy to use and fun too, this app is great for children of all ages.

Features include:

  • Free-play environment
  • 6 Machines to explore
  • 6 Homes to build

Quality

Sago Mini Trucks & Diggers are full of lovely graphics, fun sound effects, and exciting surprises for children to explore. As always the developers have done an excellent job with creating an easy to use app that children of all ages can use with ease as the user interface only requires a bit of tapping and dragging to move through the app. With lots of exciting friends to enjoy and interactive activities to explore, this app is very well done.

Education

While this app doesn’t utilize the traditional educational features you might expect in another app, it does offer experiential learning through play. As children move through the app trying the different trucks and diggers, they begin to learn how each works. They also learn a bit about building as they complete a variety of fun castles and homes for their friends.

Entertainment

There is no doubt that children are going to get a ton of entertainment out of this app as there is so much to explore. With lots of friends to meet and a variety of interactive activities to enjoy, this is one app players are going to play for hours. The free-play environment also provides a ton of freedom so players can explore the interactive parts of the app in their own time. The developers have also included six unique homes for children to construct for their animal friends adding a bit of focus to the app. Overall, the entertainment value is very good.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars, this app is priced well for what you receive. With a free-play environment for children to enjoy, plus six diggers and trucks to explore, and six homes to build, this app is one that will keep kids busy for hours.

Child Friendliness

Sago Mini Trucks & Diggers does a nice job overall of making the app easy to use for children of all ages. With an intuitive interface, fun interactive activities, and lots to explore, this app has a lot to offer for young children. Parents can also rest assured knowing that the developers have made this app completely safe for children to use with no external links or ads.

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

image
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Peppa Pig's Golden Boots is a fun app for preschoolers that will keep them occupied with constructive readiness practice and skill-building games. They will enjoy dressing Peppa and interacting with each of the other five games as she travels through her day.
4.9

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 3.5
Download on the App Store

Overview

Peppa Pig, a favorite television character, becomes interactive in this app designed for preschoolers. Kids can play with Peppa in six different activities, solve puzzles, fly a space ship, and find Peppa’s boots to reveal some exciting surprises.

Features include:

  • Six different activities
  • Games build vital readiness skills such as matching and fine motor coordination
  • Engaging sound effects and animations<
  • Familiar characters
  • Fun storyline

Quality

Peppa Pig: Golden Boots is a high quality app that will definitely give fans a lot of play value. The app is easy to use with narrated directions as well as intuitive controls. The app allows for up to four separate players, retaining prizes in the “toybox” for each user. It would be helpful, though, if parents could reset the app or delete users in a protected system. One aspect of the gift shop game on the moon could also be frustrating for youngsters, as well. This activity requires players to find gift store merchandise amid a jumble of items, and at times, the required items are not visible on the screen. Users must mix the objects around to rearrange them enough to make the desired item visible.

Education

Peppa Pig: Golden Boots will definitely help young preschoolers practice vital readiness skills, including matching, fine motor control, and following directions. In addition, many of the activities really encourage persistence and attention, which though tougher to measure, are at least as important as the other readiness skills.

The game features six different activities: dressing Peppa, playing in the mud, driving a space ship, visiting the gift shop on the moon, feeding ducks and singing along with a theme song. Kids can move freely among the six activities and easily choose whether to repeat the exercise or try something different.

Entertainment

This app is highly entertaining and very interactive. Kids will be able to try any of the six activities in any order, so there’s a lot of room for decision making and empowerment. Many of the games are intrinsically rewarding, such as stirring around gooey mud and finding hidden creatures at seemingly random intervals. The illustrations are colorful and clear, and even young preschoolers will enjoy the story and the activities.

Value

This app is a very good value at $2.99 in the App Store. There is a lot of play value, so youngsters are likely to return to it again and again, and the skills addressed are important to school success.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child friendly.

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

Password ManagerApps

In today’s world it seems like you need a password for almost everything. It’s a challenge to come up with many different passwords that have excellent strength, and a bigger challenge to actually remember them. Especially when many of them expire every few months, leaving you to constantly change them. Between memorizing passwords and PIN numbers, our brains are on overdrive.

One excellent solution to reducing the amount of these secret words and codes we need to know, is to use a password manager app. I recently installed one on my phone and iPad, and it has made life much, much simpler. Instead of remembering numerous passwords, I really only have to remember one: my master password into my manager app.

I spent some time researching different apps and these three below were my top choices.

icon128

DASHLANE

Dashlane is a free app that saves passwords for you, automatically fills in forms, and can even create strong passwords for you. You will only need to remember the one password to open your Dashlane encrypted vault. This easy to navigate app safely and securely stores your passwords, personal information, and credit cards.

Dashlane is free, but you can pay for additional features such as the ability to sync across all of your devices instantly. This premium version also securely backs up all of your passwords, and gives you priority user support.

lastpassapp

LASTPASS

LastPass is a password manager app very similar to Dashlane. It also secures your passwords and will autofill forms. In addition to those features, LastPass will keep information, such as credit cards and health insurance, protected in the Private Notes section. One password is all you need to manage everything. You can either sign in traditionally, or scan your fingerprint to access your account.

Like Dashline, LastPass offers a premium version to access even more features.

keeper

KEEPER

Keeper is the most downloaded password manager. You can store and organize an unlimited amount of passwords with one single password or scan of your fingerprint. You can also share your records with other Keeper users if you wish. You are able to sync between your devices and computers, and it will automatically log you out after a certain amount of time to prevent theft. You can customize your template and add your own background theme.

Keeper offers free storage on any of your devices. Additionally, unlimited Sync and Backup is free during a trial period, but does require a subscription thereafter.

in-app purchases warning on Apple App Store

In-App purchases made by children (or adults) unaware of the cost involved can wreak havoc on your budget. A cursory Google search highlights the horrors of unsuspecting parents whose children racked up bills in the thousands before they were made aware of the issue.

Protect yourself and your bank account from disaster by learning how to turn off in-app purchases on your iPhone or iPad.

Just what are in-app purchases?

An in-app purchase is just what it sounds like: a purchase for extra content or subscriptions made inside an app or game after you’ve downloaded and installed it on your iPhone or iPad. You’ll note that apps and games that offer in-app purchase options do warn users of this before you download anything.

in-app purchases warning on Apple App Store

 

Still, for children just learning to read or busy moms and dads who are new to portable technology, this fine print can often go unnoticed.

The best solution: turn off in-app purchases by default. You can still buy in-app purchases, when need be, but you’ll have a little more control over your phone and your digital purchases by needing to mindfully make each purchase separately.

How to turn off in-app purchase options

Here are the basic steps you need to follow to turn off in-app purchasing:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap General
  3. Scroll down the page and click on Restrictions
  4. Choose Enable Restrictions

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be told to add a passcode that will need to be used to make future purchases. Enter a numeric passcode here, and remember not to share it with anyone you do not want making unauthorized purchases from your device.

After you’ve completed the above steps, turn the slider for the iTunes Store into the “off” position so that any future purchases made will require your secret passcode.

turn in-app purchases for iTunes off

 

Pro tip: Do not use your lockscreen passcode as your in-app purchase passcode.

 

smartcolorpath
Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Smart Color Path is a fun and unique puzzle app that offers hours of challenging play for players of all ages. Simple, fun, and challenging!
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Smart Color Path is a unique and challenging puzzle app that uses a variety of colored circles and patterns that users must correctly place based on the rules provided. This brain-teaser looks simple, but looks can be deceiving. While it does have a bit of a minimalist look, it can create quite the challenge for even the most seasoned puzzle fanatic.

Features include:

  • Unique concept
  • 3 Difficulty levels
  • Challenging puzzle

Quality

Smart Color Path is an interesting, albeit minimalist puzzle app that uses colored circles and connections to create a challenging experience for users. Technically, the user interface is easy to use with simple drag and drop functioning, however actually playing the game could be a bit challenging at first. The concept is simple, but it takes a bit of experimenting to really get the hang of how to play.

Education

Not rated for education.

Entertainment

For even the most seasoned puzzle lover, this app can be a bit of a challenge. The concept is fairly simple as users must create the correct color path using colored circles. For each puzzle there are rules for various color connections that help players as they play. It sounds simple, but with three difficulty levels it can be quite difficult to do. For children or parents who love a good puzzle, this app has a lot to offer.

Value

Priced at just under two dollars, this app is a great value. For users who love a good puzzle, this app could get quite addicting which offers lots of playing time at a great price.

Child Friendliness

Smart Color Path may not be the easiest app for younger users, but children aged 10+ could easily enjoy the challenges this app has to offer. The developers have not only included an instruction section within the app, but also a hint option that users can use points in order to access. This function will certainly help players of all ages should they get stuck. Parents can also rest assured knowing that this app is perfectly safe for children of all ages to play.

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

image

You Make Me Smile, Albert

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
You Make Me Smile, Albert will make kids smile with its cute animations and touching story.
4.7

App Info

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

Overview

Albert is a dog, but he’s not just any dog. He’s a dog who really cares about his animal friends. This short animated story teaches kids a very simple lesson about taking the time to make others smile.

Features include:

  • Touching story
  • Animated illustrations
  • Good moral lesson
  • Spirtual elements

Quality

Developers spent time crafting a quality short story for kids. On the sides of the screen, kids will see icons that allow them to control the narration and the animations. They can also navigate between the pages of the story. The narration in the story is done well and the text is easy to read. While somewhat simple, the animations are also done well and the illustrations fit the story well.

Education

As the story is read, the text appears at the top of the screen. The text is not highlighted as it is read, but it is presented in short chunks. Some of the animations include speech bubbles which are not narrated. This may pose s bit of a challenge for younger readers.

Along with the textual elements, the story offers a great lesson for kids. Albert is a kind dog who cares for others, prays for his children, and helps out his friends. His actions make them smile and will encourage kids to make others smile too.

Entertainment

The story is fairly short and seems to end a bit abruptly. Kids will only be disappointed by this because the story is a good one that helps hold their interest. They’ll love the animated illustrations and feel connected to the animals on the page.

Value

Despite being short, this animated story offers quality illustrations, animations, and narration. It also has a great moral lesson. These factors make it worth a download.

Child Friendliness

This app only contains the animated story. What you see if what you get. There are not any settings screens, parent areas, or other elements to take kids out of the story.

  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO more apps

mathtales_thejungle_icon

Math Tales - The Jungle: Nursery rhymes and math games for kids

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Math Tales - The Jungle combines fun math games with a cute nursery rhyme. Are you ready to party with the jungle animals?
4.3

App Info

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

Overview

Head into the jungle to enjoy some math tales. Math Tales: The Jungle combines catchy rhymes and early math learning activities to create a fun experience for kids. As kids read through the rhyme and complete the activities, they learn a lot and help all of the jungle animals get ready for their party. Grab your party hat! The animals are waiting!

Features include:

  • Interactive math activities
  • Six early learning skills
  • Rhyming story
  • Animated illustrations

Quality

The app is organized into nine different chapters. Each chapter starts with a few pages of rhyming text and ends with a learning activity that is focused on one of six key skills. The illustrations in the app feature cute animals that are slightly animated. The app would be improved by making them slightly more animated or by allowing kids to interact with them more as they read through the rhymed text. The rhyming text is narrated clearly, but the text features awkward line breaks. These breaks are designed to highlight the rhymes, but end up making the story more awkward and harder to understand.

Education

Each of the chapters in the app focuses on one of six areas: spatial perception, logic, visual perception, colors, numbers, and math operations. The activities are fairly simple, but they all tie into a larger story about a jungle party. Kids will count birthday hats, find hidden decorations, and make patterned festoons. Speaking of festoons, while the rhyme is cute, many of the rhymes are forced and use awkward words. There are also a few misspelled words. For example, necklace is spelled “neckless.”

Entertainment

While the rhyme is a bit forced, the addition of the rhyme adds an additional entertainment factor to the app. To unlock each new chapter, kids must complete the previous chapter, so they’re motivated to successfully work their way through all of the activities so they can hear the entire story. Kids who don’t like the story can skip straight to the activities using the arrows that allow them to navigate from page to page.

Value

This app combines six learning skills with a cute rhyme for kids. It does have a few quality issues that keep it from being a standout, but it’s still a cute option for kids.

Child Friendliness

A more apps icon is present on the main screen. Kids can access the list of apps, but access to the App Store is protected by a parental block. In the protected parent area, parents will find details about the app, links to social media pages, and other developer resources.

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

image (17)
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Math Galaxy Whole Number Riddles is a fantastic app that will help with basic computation practice as well as working with time, money and measurement. Kids from first grade on up will play for hours competing to see who can be first to solve the riddles or figure out the jumbled words.
4.8

App Info

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

Overview

Math Galaxy Whole Number Riddles provides users with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems ranging from basic fact combinations through problems using two digit numbers. The app also includes time, money and measurement problems. The format is game-like, set up for one to three players, and correct answers are rewarded with a score in points. Correct responses reveal letters that eventually spell out spell the answer to a riddle. Correct answers in the Jumble section reveal a hidden word from the scrambled letters.

Features include:

  • Seven skill areas
  • Includes all four operations
  • Two game types
  • Multi-player capability
  • Engaging reward system

Quality

Math Galaxy Whole Number Riddles is a high quality app that is simple to use yet provides lots of options. The directions are straightforward and easy to understand, as well as being consistent across the game formats. Players will like competing with friends, so the multi-player feature is a nice touch.

Two minor concerns are the formatting of items in the Money and Measurement sections. In the Money section, players need to count coin replicas, and when there are multiple coins on the same item (such as four dimes), the coins are overlapped, making it difficult to see their value. Many children, particularly those struggling with math concepts, will have a very hard time counting these accurately. In the measurement section, students need to add, subtract, multiply and divide measurement numbers (such as 1 ft 6 in + 1 ft 1 in). However, the answers are written in the form “2/7,” which many students are likely to interpret as a fraction instead of “two feet, seven inches.” It would be better to use the abbreviations in the same way that the problems are set up, or if space does not allow that, then it would be better to use the standard ‘ and “ symbols for feet and inches.

Education

This app does a great job with making necessary drill and practice enjoyable for students. Computation, particularly computation of the 100 basic math facts in all four operations, must be practiced until it becomes automatic, and this app will encourage practice in an entertaining way. Kids are bound to enjoy the classic riddles and knock-knock jokes.

It’s also very nice to have so many levels available in one app. Kids can practice basic computation in all four operations, problems with two-digit numbers, counting coins, identifying the time on clock faces, and performing computations with mixed measurements.

Entertainment

Most kids (and even many adults!) love riddles-and this app is full of them. The riddles activity randomly selects a riddle and poses a set of problems that have letters attached. Match the problem to the solution correctly and the letter will drop into place in the answer, eventually revealing it. If you happen to get a riddle that you’ve seen before, there is a button on the screen to change the activity to a different riddle. The Jumbles section will appeal to word puzzle fans, as well, with scrambled letters that reveal a secret word when matched to their problems. With hundreds of riddles and jumbles, you are unlikely to run out of fun!

Value

This app is $3.99 in the App Store, and is a great value when you consider the vast range of play activities (suitable for students from grade 1 on up through middle school), and the incredible number of different problems and games. With multi-player capability, it’s also a wonderful addition to home or school.

Child Friendliness

This app is completely child-friendly with no links to the internet, email, or social media.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • trybie
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Trybie Journey is a unique storybook app that includes fun experiments and scientific information for children to learn and enjoy. Educational, entertaining, and perfect for little scientists ready to explore the world of chemistry.
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Trybie Journey is a unique and interactive storybook that takes readers on a journey through Chemistry in a very hands-on kind of way. With great graphics, an interesting story line, and lots of fun experiments for families to try together, this app provides an engaging way to learn for kids of all ages.

    Features include:

    • 13 Experiments
    • Story included
    • Great graphics & sound effects

    Quality

    The developers have done an excellent job of creating an app with playful images and engaging activities for children to enjoy. The set up of this app is quite unique as it offers educational material in the form of a story with hands-on experiments that children can do at home, sprinkled throughout. The user interface is also quite easy to use as it only requires simple tap and touch functioning to move through the app. Since a large portion of the app includes reading, it would be nice to include narration with text-highlighting for ease of use, however as it is now, it is still a great app.

    Education

    Trybie Journey is an imaginative story app that includes lots of great educational information for children to enjoy. With 13 experiments including creating a glowing light, magical chemical flowers, and so much more. These exciting experiments are not just for show as the developers have made sure to include the scientific explanations and additional information to help readers understand the chemistry behind each experiment.

    Parents can also rest assured knowing each experiment comes with specific safety information to keep both parents and children safe. There is also a list of warning symbols that provide additional information so children can better understand what each symbol means for future reference. For children who are looking for a fun way to learn a bit of science, this app is perfect.

    Entertainment

    One thing that parents will notice immediately is that this isn’t your typical educational app. Instead of listing a variety of experiments and sharing the educational information behind them, the developers have included a very interesting and imaginative story about a test tube named Trybie who goes on a journey to learn about the science of the world outside of the laboratory. This is the kind of app that children will enjoy so much they’ll forget they were even learning.

    Value

    Priced at just under five dollars, this app might be more than some parents expect to pay for an app, however it is a great deal. With 13 experiments, a cute story, and excellent illustrations, Trybie Journey is well worth the price. Educational, entertaining, and perfect for little scientists ready to explore the world of chemistry.

    Child Friendliness

    Overall, the user interface is very easy to use and only requires users to tap and swipe their way through the app. There are very useful visual instructions that walk children through the step-by-step process for each experiment with illustrations so there is no confusion on how to do each experiment. Parents can also rest assured knowing that any “additional information” links are protected so children won’t be getting into any areas they shouldn’t be.

    There is a lot of reading in the story sections of the app and while older children are likely going to be using the app most, it would be nice to have a narration and text-highlighting option included for younger users. The developers have also done an excellent job adding in specific safety precautions and warnings with each experiment as needed in order to keep children and parents safe.

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

    charlie
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Charlie & Company Volume II is a great app to present educational episodes and related music videos to preschool children. Kids will love the varied themes and will learn from each episode.
    4.8

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Charlie & Company Videos II is designed to introduce preschool videos from developer School Zone. The free app includes one music video about colors as well as a preview video designed to introduce the series.

    Features include:

    • High quality learning videos
    • Nurtures curiosity and encourages exploration
    • Positive, upbeat lyrics and music
    • Colorful, active, engaging videos
    • Intuitive navigation and controls

    Quality

    Charlie & Company Volume II is a high quality app that will allow young children to watch educational videos on their own or with a parent. The videos (available as in-app purchase) are well-produced and engaging. A sample music video (one minute fifty-two seconds in length) is included, as well as a video preview of the entire series. The app requires a stable internet connection to download videos, but can run downloaded material off-line.

    Education

    The video episodes of Charlie & Company (available as an in-app purchase) are highly entertaining and educational. Each is clearly labeled with the skills and areas covered, making it a good investment for classroom or program use. The episode videos are of similar length to other children’s television series, just under thirty minutes. The videos cover a wide array of age-appropriate skills and use engaging topics such as the zoo and boats to convey educational messages.

    Each video episode uses the same characters to guide children on a learning adventure based on the theme. Users can see and hear demonstrations and explanations, and feel like they are a part of the action. There is an on-going task of finding puzzle pieces to solve a mystery introduced early in each episode, and the videos have the feel of audience participation that will also help keep children’s interest. The themes are very child-friendly and interesting, and each episode is created with education in mind. There is a companion music video for each episode.

    Entertainment

    The Charlie & Company video episodes and music videos are highly engaging and entertaining. Developers and producers did an outstanding job of creating videos that preschool children will find nearly irresistible. The main character selections (a golden retriever named Charlie and a wholesome-looking preschool teacher named Miss Ellie, “your anywhere teacher”) are ideal for the age group, and the themes for each of the videos are guaranteed kid-pleasers. And what’s a kids’ show without a bit of magic? Charlie the dog has the capability of becoming animated, talking, and joining other animated friends. If your preschooler enjoys television shows aimed at preschoolers, he or she will fall in love with this series.

    Value

    Charlie & Company Videos II is a free app that includes a preview of the series and a music video titled, “I Love to Paint” which is about painting and color. Additional episodes and music videos are available as in-app purchases. Single episodes of the show cost $2.99, or there is a bundle available that includes 5 episodes and 5 more music videos available for $19.99. The episode videos are just under thirty minutes long. With the bundle purchase, the app can provide positive, engaging video just like a television series. If your preschooler enjoys educational videos, these are a good value.

    Child Friendliness

    This app could be improved by putting the videos available for in-app purchase behind the parent gate and only showing purchased material where children can access it. As it stands, each additional piece of material is shown with an interesting still shot from the video that is designed to entice youngsters into wanting an adult to make the purchase.

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

    toadsuesgod

    Toad Sues God

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Toad has a problem, so he heads to heaven to take it up with God in this classic folktale from Vietnam.
    4.3

    App Info

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

    Overview

    What do toads have to do with rain? The answer to the question is explained in Toad Sues God, a folktale from Vietnam. This unique folktale follows a toad as he travels to heaven to sue God for not providing enough rain. He takes his friends fox, tiger, and bear along with him. The animals face some trouble when they reach heaven, but eventually they reach God and make a deal. Read this unique folktale to find out whether they get what they ask for or are sent back to a dry Earth.

    Features include:

    • Interactive illustrations
    • Read to Me option
    • Read to Myself option
    • Shares an important message

    Quality

    Kids can opt to read the story themselves or have it read to them. Even if they choose the “Read Myself” option, they can always turn on the narration. The narration of the story is accompanied by a weird echo. Perhaps its supposed to sound like a voice coming from heaven or a voice in a rainstorm, but overall it misses the mark. The text in the story could also be improved. It often sits awkwardly over the illustrations. Kids can tap an icon to make it disappear so they can experience the animations fully, but it’d be better if it were placed at the top or bottom of the screen rather than overlapping some of the illustrations. Thankfully, the animations are fun for kids and help redeem some of the misses with the text and narration.

    Education

    Despite sometimes overlapping the illustrations, the text is displayed clearly on the screen. During the narration, words are highlighted as they are read. Kids can also tap on the illustrations to discover keywords related to the story. This helps improve vocabulary skills. The story itself is also a good for education. Teachers and parents can discuss the moral of the story with kids and even encourage kids to use the story as inspiration for their own folktale.

    Entertainment

    As kids read the story, they’ll get the chance to enjoy the interactive illustrations. These illustrations are cute, although the toad doesn’t always look like a toad, and will help kids interested in the story. Finger icons direct kids where to tap to start the animations and they can play them over and over again on each page if they choose.

    Value

    This animated story is priced lower than many of its counterparts. The cost helps offset some of the issues with the narration and text. Parents may find that this is a unique folktale worth adding to their children’s eBook collection.

    Child Friendliness

    An info screen is accessible from the main page. There kids will find a link to the developer’s website. There are also icons for e-mailing the developers and rating the app. All of these options are protected by a parental lock. Once parents solve the math problem to unlock one link, all of the links remain unlocked until the app is closed.

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

    image (15)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Learn Spanish with Stories by Gus on the Go is a fun way to pick up new Spanish vocabulary related to familiar stories using sound instructional strategies, great interactive activities, and an ebook.
    4.7

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Gus on the Go teaches basic Spanish vocabulary to express the characters and actions of familiar stories. It offers interactive exercises, an animated e-book, and a game to build fluency with the words and sentences.

    Features include:

    • Four types of activities for each story
    • Immersion language education technique
    • Use of familiar stories to teach Spanish
    • Colorful animations and interesting sound effects
    • Interactive scenes and exercises

    Quality

    Learn Spanish with Stories by Gus on the Go is a high quality app. Developers have made the nonverbal interface very easy to use and understand. The narrator reads in clear Spanish, but with the visual cues on the screen, it is easy to understand what to do and how to accomplish the exercises. The app includes a parents’ area that gives guidance about how the app is laid out and how to use its features. Parents might appreciate a bit more information about why the app is structured as it is, and perhaps an English-Spanish dictionary to help parents learn the same words as their children, but overall, this app is very nice.

    Education

    This app presents words, phrases and sentences relevant to the story in Spanish, with animated visuals that often include sound effects. There are four sections for each story: a teaching section that goes over the important words, phrases and sentences, an interactive practice activity that requires students to choose the picture that matches the given word, phrase or sentence, the story in ebook format, and an interactive game that requires players to respond quickly to verbal cues by choosing the correct pictures based varies from story to story, but verbalizes the same words and phrases from the instructional section. The app allows players to click on words to hear them again with highlighting, to click on characters and items in scenes to hear the Spanish words, and more.

    The fact that the stories are very familiar tales for most children will really help with acquisition of the relevant vocabulary and with understanding the story as it is told in Spanish. The free version of the app includes the stories of the Tortoise and the Hare as well as the Lion and the Mouse. Two more stories, The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, are available as in-app purchases, with the developers promising to add additional story packs as time goes by.

    One aspect that some children might find challenging or even frustrating is that the story narration includes words, phrases and sentences that are not expressly introduced in the lesson portion of the app. There is no way to translate these within the app, either, so children are expected to pick up what they can from context. Some may find this frustrating. It might be better to have a method of making the translation available, at least to adult mentors who could then assist the child.

    Entertainment

    This app is intended to be more educational, but it is highly entertaining, as well. The developers used cute animations and sound effects to help tell the stories. The instructional section and the e-book sections are both interactive in that users can tap various parts of the picture to activate additional sounds and actions.

    Two of the sections are designed to review and reinforce the words, phrases and sentences being taught. The first gives a phrase or sentence in written and spoken Spanish and a selection of three animated pictures, one of which matches. The last section is different for each story, but requires players to interact with the app to review the words, phrases and sentences. For example, the story of the Lion and the Mouse has a jigsaw puzzle of a scene with the story characters, and the story of the Three Pigs includes a memory game where players match cards with illustrations and animations from the instructional portion of the app.

    Overall, the app is cute and fun. The free version, with its two included stories, will likely entertain children for a few rounds of play. Adding the extra stories will extend the play value as well as the learning.

    Value

    This app is a good value. The free version includes two stories with four activities. There are several words, phrases and sentences to learn with each story. Two additional stories are currently available as in-app purchases for $1.99 each. It might be nice to have perhaps one more type of practice activity included with each story to make it a great value, but as is, it is definitely worth a look.

    Child Friendliness

    This app is very child friendly for the intended age group.

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

    puzzleitout
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Puzzle It Out Preschool is a highly entertaining early learning app that teaches little ones valuable skills in Math, Science, and Reading. Very well done.
    4.6

    App Info

    Price: $4.99
    AppStore User Rating:

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Puzzle It Out Preschool is a great early learning app that provides children with lots of practice with learning and recognizing letters, numbers, and some early math practice. With engaging activities and rewards for completing various lessons, children will have lots of fun playing while they learn valuable skills.

    Features include:

    • Puzzles
    • Early Math practice
    • Science practice
    • Pre-reading activities

    Quality

    Puzzle It Out Preschool is by far one of the best early learning apps that I have seen. With brightly colored images, exciting sound effects, and interactive activities that will keep children engaged while they learn, this app has it all. The developers have done an excellent job with the high quality illustrations, music, and easy to use interface that allows children of all ages to easily move through the app. Very well done.

    Education

    For children who are preschool aged, this app is the perfect introduction to valuable math, reading, and science skills. With activities that include letter recognition and tracing, counting, weather recognition, etc. this app offers a wide variety of early learning opportunities for young children. Parents will especially enjoy the opportunity to track their child’s progress within each category as they play. Overall, this app offers great educational material.

    Entertainment

    The developers have done an excellent job of making Puzzle It Out Preschool a balance of educational and entertaining activities. In addition to the fun educational activities, players have the opportunity to earn puzzle pieces they can put together once they have collected all five pieces. There are even bonus activities that are available once players have completed all of the activities within each category. This provides a bit of encouragement and additional entertainment for players to keep moving through the educational activities.

    Value

    Priced at just under five dollars, this app is a bit more expensive than some early learning apps that are available, however it does offer a wide variety of educational activities that are great for preschoolers. With a total of 100 activities plus an additional 20 bonus activities, children will get lots of great practice to prepare them for Kindergarten.

    Child Friendliness

    Parents will certainly appreciate the fact that this app is very child friendly and easy to use for players of all ages. With simple indicators to help children if they get stuck and an intuitive interface, this is one app players can use without a ton of assistance from parents. The developers have also made sure to protect any “parent only” areas of the app which is great.

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

    image (12)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Bamba Space Station is an app that will encourage exploration and creative play with young children as they immerse themselves in the space station’s many rooms and activities.
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Bamba Space Station is a fanciful outerspace playground filled with rooms to explore, machines to manipulate, and space friends to play with. The app encourages creativity, inventiveness, and storytelling as young users visit the many rooms on the Space Station.

    Features include:

    • 12 unique rooms
    • 7 crazy space creatures
    • Over 100 machines
    • Over 500 unique items to play with
    • Preserve scenes in each room with ipad’s screen shot feature

    Quality

    This is a very high-quality app that is completely intuitive and language free to use. It’s wonderful for young children or those with language issues. That being said, it would be very nice for the more tradition-bound among us if it had a bit more guidance about its features. A parents’ area that explains all of the benefits that young children will realize when using this app would not only be very helpful when guiding children who are less likely to explore on their own, it would also be a wonderful sales tool to convince adults to invest.

    Education

    While this app is not directly educational (and I’m not sure it’s really intended to be!), it does have several features that will benefit young users’ academic development. First of all, there are twelve “rooms” on board the space ship, each with a different theme, different machines and different activities. This will challenge anyone’s memory banks as they try to return to places they remember enjoying previously.

    Each room contains many “machines” that dispense items ranging from power tools to cupcakes. In many places, the items can be combined to cause them to morph into variations of themselves. For example, combining the strawberry with an ice cream cone will produce a scoop of strawberry ice cream. The rooms have dance music to turn on or off, and many other types of entertainment. Children can preserve their creations in each room by snapping screenshots using iPad’s camera.

    The app could be improved by offering parents some suggestions about how to use it to enhance a child’s learning. Ideas include sequencing by telling what activities were tried in which order, describing the objects that were created, counting the number of each type of item produced by the machines, telling stories about the app’s characters, and so forth.

    Entertainment

    Young children will enjoy exploring the Bamba Space Station. There are currently 12 rooms with various themes and focuses, and developers indicate in the app’s description that more are in the works. The machines, other illustrations, sound effects, and actions are all very engaging, and kids will adore exploring this app’s many, many “nooks and crannies” and then revisiting their favorite parts.

    Value

    Bamba Space Station is a good value at $1.99 in the App Store. The app is engaging and has enough content to keep most young children occupied for hours. In addition, its nonverbal presentation makes it ideal for younger children and those with special needs. The app can be enjoyed by toddlers on up.

    Child Friendliness

    Bamba Space Station is child friendly. However, there are two links on the home screen that open suggestions for other apps. If a user clicks on any of these links, there is a parent gate requiring typing the answer to a simple math problem. This might be too simple for older users who still enjoy the app.

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

    Eric&Bruce
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Eric & Bruce BBQ Party is an interactive app that allows children to experiment with food to create various dishes to serve to fun characters. Fun, easy to use, and great for children of all ages.
    4.5

    App Info

    Price: $2.99
    AppStore User Rating:

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Eric & Bruce BBQ Party is an engaging free-play app that allows children to experiment with various foods and recipes as they create delectable delights for the town to enjoy. This BBQ party gives little chefs lots of interactive play time to cut, chop, toss, and create whatever their creative minds can come up with. Simple to use and highly entertaining, Eric & Bruce BBQ Party is fun for children of all ages.

    Features include:

    • Easy to use
    • 27 Foods to play with
    • 14 Guests to feed
    • Free play environment

    Quality

    There is no doubt the developers put a lot of work into the interactive images and sound effects in Eric & Bruce BBQ Party. The illustrations are brightly colored, fun to interact with, and the sound effects (i.e. chopping, squeezing, and sizzling) add a realistic feel to them that children will love. The user interface is also quite intuitive with simple tap and touch functioning and gentle reminders for players should they get stuck moving through the app.

    Education

    While Eric & Bruce BBQ Party is very much an entertaining app, it does offer experiential play that allows users to learn a bit about cooking as they play. The app offers lots of various foods to explore and provides children the opportunity to get creative with their own recipes in a free-play environment. The developers could certainly add a bit to the educational value by including names of the foods to help children identify various fruits, vegetables and meats. As it is now, this app isn’t the most educational app around.

    Entertainment

    Children are going to love the free play environment that allows them to select 4 guests at a time to create fun food concoctions for. After selecting the characters they will cook for, players are provided 27 different foods they can choose to use as ingredients. Once the ingredients are selected, they can then grill, toss, simmer, or chop their ingredients to create a fun meal to serve to their guests. The best part is that children can experiment and play over and over again with the free-play set up.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars, this app is priced well for what you get. With 27 foods to choose from and endless playing time, children can enjoy this app over and over again creating new dishes in a variety of ways. This is one app children are going to get a ton of playing time out of.

    Child Friendliness

    The developers have done a great job creating an app that is great for children of all ages. With an easy to use interface, free play environment, and simple indicators for children if they get stuck. Parents will also appreciate the fact that all parents-only areas are protected so children won’t get distracted from playing.

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

    leviatopia

    Leviatopia

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Leviatopia takes kids on a journey to a city in the belly of a whale. Is it a real place or it is just a dream?
    4.3

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Leviatopia tells the story of two children, Ella and Alex, who discover a city that has been swallowed by a whale. They get lost in the city, which is full of magical characters and plenty of sweets, until they use a spell to get themselves back home. Was it all a dream or did it happen for real? Despite some quality issues, this is an animated story worth sharing with kids.
    Features include:

    • Read to Me and Read to Myself options
    • Available in English and Hebrew
    • Animated illustrations/li>
    • Audio narration

    Quality

    When kids first open the app, they’ll see the main screen. This screen is a bit busy, but contains clear icons that lead them to the beginning of the story. They also have the option to choose the language. The story is available in both English and Hebrew. Other icons lead to the about section, which includes short notes from the author and illustrator. Once in the story, kids can opt to read the story on their own or listen to the narrator. The narration starts automatically, but kids can switch it off by hitting the microphone button. However, they should make sure the page is fully loaded or there will be a bit of lag before the app responds.

    While the quality of the narration and the text is good, the app does have a few issues. Pages can be a bit slow to load and, if kids are too active on a page, the narration may restart. On some pages, if kids start tapping around before the page is fully loaded, the image will zoom in, causing the text to enlarge and become unreadable. Kids who want to read the actual text of the story will have to continually bring the text up on the screen which blocks the illustrations.

    Education

    As kids work their way through the story, they must choose between looking at the text and looking at the illustrations. Each page features a large block of text that covers the entire illustration. Kids can read along with the text as the narrator speaks or simply listen to the narrator as they look at the illustration. The app would be improved if both the text and the illustrations appeared on the screen at the same time. It would also benefit from short chunks of text as it may be difficult for younger children to follow along.

    The story itself is cute and the narration is strong with a clear distinction between dialogue and the rest of the text. Some of the rhymes in the text are a bit forced, but kids are more likely to find themselves immersed in the sweet city they discover inside the whale.

    Entertainment

    While the app offers animated illustrations, the animations are somewhat limited. Hand icons indicate where kids can tap on the screen. However, interacting with the illustrations too much during the narration can take away from the story and, occasionally, cause the narration on the page to restart. Little kids will enjoy interacting with the story, but older kids may want to focus more on the entertainment aspect of the story itself. It’s a pretty zany story set in a fun imaginary world that kids may wish they could visit themselves.

    Value

    Leviatopia is priced comparably to other interactive ebooks. It offers a quality story with audio narration and slightly animated illustrations just like other ebooks offered in the same price range. However, it does have a few limitations that may not make it a parent or teacher’s first choice for a download.

    Child Friendliness

    The app is free from adds, in-app purchases, and other content that is not child friendly. The opening screen includes icons for Twitter and Facebook, but the icons are not connected to active links. Instead, users are encouraged to search for the app’s accounts on those sites. Kids will find that the app is easy to navigate and use and, aside from a couple credit screens, the app is entirely focused on the story being told.

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

    pictoword
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Pictoword is a fun and possibly addictive word puzzle game that is sure to provide hours of problem-solving fun. Note: Not recommended for children.
    3.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Pictoword is an engaging and challenging word puzzle app that can easily become addicting for players of all ages. The concept is simple, yet highly entertaining as players are provided with two pictures that provide hints to create one word. With a variety of themes and levels to play this is one app that has the potential to provide hours of non-stop fun.

    Features include:

    • 14 Theme options
    • Easy to use
    • Challenging puzzles

    Quality

    The developers have done a great job making Pictoword easy to use for both children and adults. The game is self explanatory as it provides two pictures that are set up to create one word that players can spell using a letter bank within each puzzle. The user interface is also quite intuitive with simple tap and touch functioning all the way through. Overall the quality of the app is well done with clear pictures and simple sound effects that create a pleasant playing experience for all.

    Education

    While Pictoword is much more of an entertainment app, it does offer players a chance to test their logic and problem solving skills with each puzzle. There is also a spelling component that provides good practice for players as they must spell each word correctly in order to complete the puzzle.

    Entertainment

    Like many word puzzle apps, this app can become quite addictive for players who love a good challenge. With seemingly endless puzzles across 14 themes like characters, animals, holiday, brands etc. Pictoword offers lots of playing fun. It also provides opportunities for players to earn coins that they can spend on new theme packs within the app without having to make purchases through the in-app purchase options. With enough playing time and puzzles completed, this app can provide hours of fun.

    Value

    There is no doubt that Pictoword offers loads of value as it is completely free. The free app offers one main theme with 326 puzzles and the opportunity to earn coins for puzzles in 13 other themes. There is also the option to purchase additional coins that can be used to get more themes as well.

    Child Friendliness

    While Pictoword is a fun and challenging app to play, it is not set up with children in mind. In addition to the in-app purchase links that are unprotected, there are a number of additional buttons and links that are also unprotected. There are also options to earn more coins by watching videos with advertisements etc. All of the external links should be protected and the video advertisements should be removed entirely in order for it to be child friendly. The way it is now, this is not an app that I would recommend for children.

    • Protected parent area (contains external links & social media)
    • YES external links
    • YES in-app purchase
    • YES 3rd party ads

    iPad Scavenger Hunt

    One of the biggest complaints I hear from fellow moms and dads, is that their kids are spending too much time on their tablets or smartphones. One great way to get kids up and moving is to incorporate their devices into their activity. An awesome way to do this is to create a scavenger hunt. Kids love the thrill of looking for items, the triumph they feel when they find it, and the attention they receive when they share it. Scavenger hunts are one of my kid’s favorite activities. Even my teens love to get involved in this game.

    Location

    The first thing you need to do is to pick a place to hold your scavenger hunt. You can do it right in your backyard or at the local park. You can even change it up a little and do it while camping, at the zoo, or somewhere on vacation. You have an added bonus of additional vacation photos if you choose to do it then.

    Create Your Hunt

    You’ll need to make a list of what items you would like your child to find. Depending on our location, some of the items I have chosen to list in past scavenger hunts have been a yellow flower, a smooth rock, a butterfly, a cat, a bird, a footprint, and a stick in the shape of the letter. The list of possibilities is endless, which makes this an activity you can do over and over again. For the younger kids who cannot read, you can either find or draw a picture of the items on the list. You may need to simplify your items, depending on the ages of the kids participating. In the past we have also split into teams, paring an older child up with a younger one.

    Rules

    You will want to take time in the beginning to thoroughly explain the rules. Our rules are that each child must mark off the item that they find on their list, and they have to take a picture of it with their device. You can even have the list on the same device they are photographing with so they have less to handle. Make sure you make clear any safety rules – especially when doing a scavenger hunt away from home. You should decide on a time limit that you want the hunt to last. I personally like to set a time of 20-30 minutes. It seems long enough to keep the kids moving quickly, and still keep them excited about it at the same time.

    They’re off!

    Send them on their way to begin the hunt! Be sure to give time updates throughout the game to keep them focused. Have a designated place to meet once the time is up.

    View Their Photos

    When everyone has returned, look through the photos together. The kids will love showing off their photography skills! You can reward Have a small prize or a treat at the end if you wish.

    This is a great way to get kids moving while utilizing their devices they love so much. You also get the added bonus of creating wonderful memories with them!

    image (9)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Math Galaxy Fraction and Decimal Riddles is a simple yet outstanding app that will appeal to children from grade three on up. It provides nearly endless practice in basic operations with fractions, decimals, and measurements, as well as practice identifying and working with special pairs of angles.
    4.8


    App Info

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

    Overview

    Math Galaxy Fraction and Decimal Riddles provides users with identification and computation problems ranging from recognizing parts of a whole through operations with fractions, operations with decimals, operations with four types of measurement numbers, and calculation of angle measures using parallel lines. The format is game-like, set up for one to three players, and correct answers are rewarded with a score that represents “prize money,” similar to popular game shows. Correct responses reveal letters that eventually spell the answer to a riddle. Correct answers in the Jumble section reveal a hidden word from the scrambled letters.

    Features include:

    • Four skill areas
    • Includes all four operations
    • Two game types
    • Multi-player capability
    • Engaging reward system

    Quality

    Math Galaxy Fraction and Decimal Riddles is a high quality app that is simple to use yet provides lots of options. The directions are straightforward and easy to understand, as well as being consistent across the game formats. Players will like competing with friends, so the multi-player feature is a nice touch.

    One minor concern is the formatting of the answer numbers in the measurement section. While the problems are clearly written with mixed units (4 feet 5 inches), the answers look as though they are written like fractions (4/5). Some children might find this confusing. Instead, it seems like they could be written in more standard form, such as 4’5” for linear measurement or 5:30 for five hours and thirty minutes in the time section.

    Education

    This app provides an outstanding method of putting life into the essential drill and practice that will allow students to become comfortable with computations with fractions, decimals, measurements, and so forth. Every teacher knows that these types of problems won’t truly be mastered until students have done countless examples, and Math Galaxy Fraction and Decimal Riddles is a great alternative to endless paper and pencil drills.

    It’s also very nice to have so many levels available in one app. Kids can practice identifying parts of a whole, putting fractions or decimals on a number line, and all four operations with both kinds of numbers. There are sections that provide drill on adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing both fractions and decimals as well as computing the answers to problems involving units of length, volume, weight and time. In addition, the app includes an “angles” section where students must mentally calculate the measure of the chosen angle using concepts such as complementary and supplementary angles, alternate interior angles and so forth.

    Entertainment

    Most kids (and even many adults!) love riddles-and this app is full of them. The riddles activity randomly selects a riddle and poses a set of problems that have letters attached. Match the problem to the solution correctly and the letter will drop into place in the answer, eventually revealing it. If you happen to get a riddle that you’ve seen before, there is a button on the screen to change the activity to a different riddle. The Jumbles section will appeal to word puzzle fans, as well, with scrambled letters that reveal a secret word when matched to their problems. With over 500 riddles and 600 word jumbles available, you are unlikely to run out of fun!

    Value

    This app is $4.99 in the App Store, which may seem a little pricy at first, but by the time you consider the vast range of play activities (suitable for students from grade 3 on up through middle school), and the incredible number of different problems and games, it is a great value. With multi-player capability, it’s also a wonderful addition to home or school.

    Child Friendliness

    This app is completely child-friendly with no links to the internet, email, or social media.

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

    image (10)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Domi Domi Nature Shapes is a high-quality, fun app that young children will enjoy as they practice matching by shape and color, sorting by size and type, using fine motor skills, and much more.
    5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Domi Domi Nature Shapes helps toddlers and preschoolers learn to match shapes and colors as well as categorize shapes using fun bugs, fish and birds in color settings. Playing the game will also help young children develop fine motor skills, the ability to focus on desired items in a busy visual field and other foundational skills that are important for later academic and life success.

    Features include:

    • 20 activities that change each time they are used
    • Bright, engaging animations and backgrounds
    • Soothing game play
    • Fun creatures from forest and sea
    • Parental control over music and other background aspects of the game

    Quality

    Domi Domi Nature Shapes is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. The app is of very high quality, easy to use and enjoy, and with intuitive controls. It is completely nonverbal, so it is perfect even for the very young. Eye-catching animations will guide young users into knowing exactly what to do to be successful. Developers included a protected parents’ section where adults can learn about the benefits of the app, as well as get instructions about changes to the device settings that will make it easier for youngsters to use effectively. Parents will want to go over these instructions before giving the game to the little ones-following them will prevent youngsters from getting frustrated or accidentally dropping out of the app. It’s also nice to know that the app can be reset from the Parents’ Section at any time, so the play value is increased.

    Education

    Domi Domi Nature Shapes is very educational. It is designed to help toddlers and preschoolers master the skills of matching by shape, size, and/or color, sorting/classifying, using fine motor skills and more. Children who play will also be practicing focusing their attention, picking out relevant items from a busy background (figure-ground skills), and attention to detail. All of these readiness skills will help young children get ready for more complex tasks as they prepare to enter school.

    Entertainment

    This app is engaging on many levels. The illustrations are brightly-colored and interesting, the animations are fun to watch, and the tasks are challenging, yet appropriate for the very young. Background music is bouncy and upbeat, yet not so stimulating that kids will want to stop and “dance.” Plus, parents can turn the music on or off as desired. The characters are realistic in their shapes, yet easy to match. The app shows pictures of birds, bugs and fish for the various activities. Matching exercises require kids to match the shapes of the creatures to their shadow outlines. Sorting exercises involve putting groups of like creatures together. All in all, it’s simple, yet a lot of fun. The sound effects and animations that reward correct responses are cute, yet not overwhelming.

    Value

    This app is a fine value at $2.99 in the App Store. There is a lot of play value here for young children, plus parents can reset the app back to its original state and kids can “start over” whenever you wish. This one is likely to be a favorite for as long as your child finds these types of readiness activities interesting.

    Child Friendliness

    Domi Domi Nature Shapes is very child-friendly. Be sure to visit the protected Parents’ Section to learn about changes that you should make in the Settings of your device to make it as child-friendly as possible.

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

    funwithcolors
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Fun With Colors is an app that uses underwater themed games to teach children a variety of vocabulary words in both English & Mandarin. Educational, fun, and easy to use for children of all ages!
    4.7

    App Info

    Price: $2.99
    AppStore User Rating:

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Fun With Colors is great early learning app that teaches children various colors and vocabulary words in English & Mandarin. It is full of fun activities including coloring pages, underwater interactive games, and a fun vocabulary section that children will love. With lots of fun colors, interactive games for children to enjoy, this is one app that will please both children and parents.

    Features include:

    • 6 Underwater scenes
    • 30 Vocabulary words
    • Coloring pages

    Quality

    The developers have done an excellent job with keeping this app engaging and simple to use. With lots of bright colors, interactive images, and fun sound effects, children are going to love all that this app has to offer. The user interface is also easy to use as it only requires simple tap and touch functioning to move through the app, however the developers have included simple prompts that tell players what to do should they get stuck. Overall, Fun With Colors is very well done.

    Education

    Fun With Colors is so much more than an app that teaches children about colors. While it does teach children about the primary and secondary colors, it also teaches a variety of vocabulary words in English and Mandarin which is great. It also allows children to use their logic and problem solving skills as they complete each of the underwater activities to help various sea friends get their color back. The developers have done an excellent job creating a multi-faceted education app that is great for learning and fun too!

    Entertainment

    In addition to the wonderful educational material included, this app also has a great balance of entertainment as well. The coloring pages offers six coloring pages as well as a blank page for children to use their imagination and creativity. The underwater activities ask children to help each of the sea friends get their colors back by selecting specific items creating a fun way for children to use their logic and problem solving skills.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars, this app is a great deal. When you consider the awesome variety of vocabulary words in two languages and the fun activities that children will love, this app is not one to miss. Parents can certainly appreciate the value and the affordable price tag.

    Child Friendliness

    Not only is Fun With Colors fun, but it’s easy to use for children of all ages as well. With simple tap and touch functioning and additional prompts when needed, this app is very user friendly. The developers have also done an excellent job of keeping it safe too with the appropriately protected parent only section.

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

    12huiabirds

    12 Huia Birds

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Learn about the extinction of the huia birds and how to protect other birds from suffering the same fate in the interactive story 12 Huia Birds.
    4.6

    App Info

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

    Overview

    12 Huia Birds introduces kids to the huia bird, an extinct bird species that once roamed the forests of New Zealand. Through the story, which combines fact with fiction, kids learn how Huia Birds became extinct. They also learn an important lesson about protecting existing wild bird species.

    Features include:

    • Facts about Huia Birds
    • Available in English and Maori
    • Audio Narration
    • Animated Illustrations

    Quality

    The app has the marks of a quality app. The illustrations are crisp and clean and the text and narration are easy to read and follow. Most of the navigation is done through the cover of the story, the Discover & Collect screen, or the more options ribbon which gives parents access to the protected parent area, the help screen, and the ability to change the language. On a few pages of the story, it is difficult to figure out how to advance to the next page and a couple of games lack a clear navigation path back to the cover of the book.

    Education

    As kids read through the story, they’ll learn about the Huia bird. However, that’s not the only part of the app designed to promote learning. In the Discover & Collect section, kids will learn even more about the Huia bird. There they can get an up close look at the birds, explore a field guide, and even discover 12 easy ways to protect existing wild bird species. It’s clear that the developers are serious about using the story of the Huia bird to teach kids a valuable lesson and that lesson comes through clearly. Parents can access more resources through the developer’s website. The site promises that worksheets and other resources to extend the learning are coming soon.

    Entertainment

    Throughout the app, kids will find many features designed to entertain them. Many of the pages of the story are interactive and kids must tap and drag illustrations before they can move to the next page. The app also contains a game section where kids can play three different matching games. Kids can also get have fun exploring the Up Close section where they get to listen to the sound of Huia birds and tap around the forest to learn more about these fascinating birds.

    Value

    This app offers a wealth of information about the Huia bird and teaches kids an invaluable lesson about protecting animals on Earth. The lesson alone gives it tremendous value.

    Child Friendliness

    Access to the parent area, developer’s website, and more apps button is protected by a parental lock. However, once parents enter the code, the areas remain unlocked until the app is restarted. Therefore, parents who want to access these areas should be sure to restart the app before they allow kids to enjoy it.

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

    cursiveletterschool

    LetterSchool Cursive Writing

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    LetterSchool Cursive Writing teaches kids to write in cursive through fun animations and repeated practice opportunities.
    4.6

    App Info

    Price: $4.99
    AppStore User Rating: 3
    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Teaching kids to write in cursive may seem like a lost art, but it’s alive and well in LetterSchool Cursive Writing. This interactive app is designed to teach kids to write their uppercase and lowercase letters in cursive. Through the app, kids can practice writing each letter individually until they get it right. With two levels of play and multiple activities designed to have kids write their letters (and numbers) over and over again, there’s no doubt kids will have their cursive letters down pat after they make their way through this app.

    Features include:

    • Two levels of play
    • Practice writing uppercase and lowercase letters
    • Practice writing numbers
    • Two cursive fonts

    Quality

    This app is well-organized. On the main screen, kids see a list of letters in either uppercase or lowercase. They can also opt to practice numbers. A small settings icon allows kids to change the user (the app supports up to three different users) and select the type of font they want to use. An information button directs parents to LetterSchool’s website where they can find answers to frequently asked questions about the app. When it comes to writing in cursive, the app is responsive as kids go through a series of progressive tracing activities for each letter. Rather than providing direct instruction, the app uses small arrows and other subtle clues to help kids figure out what they need to do. It is a bit of a stickler for accuracy, but it will serve kids well in the long run.

    Education

    In the parent info section, developers give some insight into why they developed the app to focus on individual letters. Rather than overwhelming kids with lots of games and words, developers desired to keep the app simple. At each level, kids are given three different opportunities to trace each letter and number. Uppercase and lowercase letters are covered separately. Both of the levels are fairly similar. This helps ensure that kids truly do master the shape of each letter before they move on to stringing letters together to write words in cursive.

    Entertainment

    The entertainment factor of the game is enhanced by the cute animations that appear as kids write the letters. Sometimes a letter is covered in grass and a little lawnmower follows the lines of the letter as it mows the grass down. Other times a track is formed as kids trace a letter, and a train chugs along the track once the letter has been correctly formed. There are a host of other little animations that help keep the tracing activities interesting for kids.

    Value

    Given that the app is limited to writing individual letters and numbers and that many of the activities involve the same repetitive tracing, it is a bit overpriced. While it makes sense that developers want kids to focus on individual letters, the app would have more value if it included a third level that allowed kids to write basic words in cursive.

    Child Friendliness

    A parental lock keeps kids from accessing the LetterSchool website, as well well as social media links and information about additional apps. Kids can access the settings screen which allows them to switch users and reset scores, which is only problematic if you have multiple kids using the app on the same device.

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