Universal (iPhone / iPod / iPad)

multiplication
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Multiplication with Ibbleobble is an excellent educational app that offers children a fun way to practice their multiplication skills. Fun, save, and easy to use.
4.7

App Info

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

Overview

Multiplication with Ibbleobble is an educational app that provides a fun interface for children to practice their multiplication tables. With varying levels of difficulty, multiple characters to choose from and fun rewards to earn with each play, this app offers lots of entertainment in addition to the educational features.

Features include:

  • 7 Difficulty levels
  • Reward system
  • Easy to use

Quality

The first thing you notice in Multiplication with Ibbleobble are the exceptional graphics that accompany each page. The developers have done a great job creating an app that is brightly colored, easy to use, and has fun sound effects to help keep children engaged while they play. The user interface is also simple to use as it only requires children to choose the correct answer shown by simply tapping the number before moving onto the next problem. Overall, this app is very well done.

Education

While Multiplication with Ibbleobble isn’t meant to teach children their multiplication tables, it does give them a fun way to practice what they have learned. With seven different difficulty levels and the option to make each level easy, medium, or hard, this app offers a ton of practice for little ones who may need a bit more practice. Each character provides a different level so children can move up through the levels as they see fit. The medium and hard difficulties also offer a time limit for children to complete their problems creating more of a challenge which is great for more advanced users.

Entertainment

While there aren’t any specific entertainment only activities included, the developers have included some fun features that add to the overall experience for children. With each character profile comes a brief description of who they are and some of their favorite things. As children play under a specific profile, they also have the chance to earn rewards in the form of that character’s favorite things. With that said, adding one activity that has a bit more entertainment value would help to keep children a bit more engaged overall.

Value

Priced at just under two dollars this app is a steal! With so many different problems to solve and the varying difficulty levels, Multiplication with Ibblobble offers loads of practice for children who need it most. The fun characters and sound effects add to the overall appeal and makes this app a much more entertaining way of practicing your math skills than any other review method and is worth every penny.

Child Friendliness

In addition to all of the other wonderful features included, the developers have also done an excellent job making this app easy to use and safe too. With simple tap and touch functioning to move through each problem, children will have no trouble at all with this app. As a parent it is also nice to see that there are no advertisements or other distracting links to worry about.

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

icon-256b
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Time For Bed Little Ted is a soothing storybook app that is sure to help children wind down before bed. With a cute story and fun activities to enjoy, this app is perfect for children of all ages.
4.7

App Info

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

Overview

Time for Bed Little Ted is a soothing storybook app that is a perfect bedtime story for your little one. In the story, parents and children help Little Ted get ready for bed by going through his nightly routine. With music that creates a calming feel and simple to use interactive activities on each page, children are going to love reading this sweet tale before bedtime.

Features include:

  • Text highlighting
  • In-story activities
  • Voice Record
  • Read to me/Read to myself

Quality

Time For Bed Little Ted is a cute storybook app that is sure to help little ones begin to wind down for the night. In addition to the easy to use interface and brightly colored images and illustrations, the developers have included soothing music and narration to help create a calming feel for the app overall. The activities included within the story are simple and help readers move through a bedtime routine which may be especially helpful for parents who have bedtime struggles with their little one. Overall, the app is very well done.

Education

For many children getting into a bedtime routine can be difficult, but this storybook app walks children through the various tasks that need to be done before bed. As readers help Little Ted clean up his toys, put on his pajamas, wash his face, and brush his teeth, they too are learning the necessary steps they must complete before bed. The developers have also included text highlighting and a variety of narration options for children to follow along and practice their reading skills which is great.

Entertainment

In addition to the already entertaining story, readers will be happy to find short, interactive activities throughout the story. By helping Little Ted put his toys away, put his pajamas on, wash his face, brush his teeth, and read his own bedtime story, children are not only able to stay engaged in the story, but they are also learning their own bedtime routine. The developers have also included a coloring activity for little ones to enjoy in addition to the story.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars, this app is priced well for what you get. When you consider the narration options, voice record, in-story activities, and the coloring pages, this app is a steal. Both parents and children can agree that this is a great bedtime app that won’t break the bank.

Child Friendliness

In addition to having an excellent, soothing story with fun activities for children to enjoy, Time For Bed Little Ted is incredibly easy to use and safe too. With simple tap and drag functioning throughout and arrows at the bottom of each page to follow along with this is a great app for children of all ages. The developers have also done a great job making this app free of ads and other distractions.

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

musicwithgrandma

Music With Grandma

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Put on your dancing shoes and hone your musical knowledge as you boogie with Grandma.
4.7

App Info

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

Overview

Kids’ favorite digital grandma is ready to boogie and help them learn about music. She has the moves and the knowledge to teach kids all they need to know. Through the app’s activities, kids will learn about musical notes, patterns, and instruments. They’ll also get to have fun playing and listening to music with Grandma.

Features include:

  • Play different instruments
  • Learn musical notation
  • Discover different sounds
  • Have fun with music

Quality

Before kids jump into the app, parents and teachers should take a moment to check out the settings. There they can select which games appear in the app. For younger kids with little musical knowledge, parents will want to focus on games such as instrument sounds, musical sorting, and memory match. Older kids who are learning how to read and play music will be more prepared for activities such as the music stand match-up, musical sorting, and musical patterns. The games rotate as kids interact with the app. As kids play, they’ll experience crisp and clear sounds that help them learn what the instruments sound like. They’ll also get a chance to interact with a few instruments and play some tunes of their own.

Education

This app appeals to two different groups of kids. Younger kids who simply enjoy listening to and playing around with instruments will enjoy matching and sound games. They’ll also have fun playing the keyboard, timpani, and other percussion instruments in between games. Older kids who are beginning to think about playing instruments will benefit from the activities that teach them key musical terms and symbols. Parents and teachers can customize the activities in the settings section to ensure that the games kids see are appropriate for their level. However, the games are designed in such a way that even kids who do not know the terms can eventually get through them with trial and error.

Entertainment

Grandma is such a fun and encouraging character. When kids successfully complete a game, she breaks out in some smooth dance moves and offers positive reinforcement. Grandpa, who is less musically-inclined, pops up every so often to try his hand at playing different musical instruments. In between the games, the app also gives kids the chance to play different musical instruments. They’ll get to enjoy playing a timpani, testing out different percussion instruments, and even making silly sounds with a keyboard.

Value

There are multiple games and fun activities for kids to enjoy in this app. It’s priced comparably to other apps in the series and offers a focus on music that you won’t find in many apps. For kids who love music and want to learn more about it, it’s a great value.

Child Friendliness

A settings icon and more apps icon appear at the top of the main screen. The settings area is protected by a parental lock which asks for the year of birth. Kids can access the more apps section and see other apps in the series, but access to those apps is also protected by a parental block.

  • 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)

image (5)

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Drew Meets Boo is another installment in the story of Drew and his drum. In this story, Drew meets a friend he can truly admire. The book has a healthy, positive message for young children as they learn to get along with one another.

Features include:

  • Highly interactive pages
  • Three languages (English, Chinese, Spanish) available
  • Colorful, engaging illustrations
  • Optional narration
  • Rhyming text

Quality

Drew Meets Boo is an excellent quality ebook designed for young children. It is easy to navigate and highly interactive. The pages that have text are not read automatically, but can easily be activated by touching the words. The language can be changed between English, Spanish and Chinese. It would be nice if there was a way to “tone down” the background music, though. As it stands, the choices are only a toggle on or off. The music is very nice, but frequently overbalances the sound effects and the narration.

Education

Drew Meets Boo is the second book in a series about a young boy who enjoys his drum so much that he takes it everywhere. He sometimes struggles with teasing and bullying because of this. In this story, he meets Boo, a girl with such bright red hair that people tease her about it. She handles the teasing very well, and Drew is impressed. She sets quite a good example for not letting bullies upset her. She and Drew form a lasting friendship as they accept each other for who they are. The app also does not include any games or puzzles like many in this category, which could extend the educational value.


The storyline in this book is a little thin. It relies fairly heavily on knowing Drew’s history with his drum for meaning, and readers who did not read the first book may be just a little bit lost. The book also does not suggest possible strategies to handle the bullies and the teasing, as the first book did. Drew learns that Boo doesn’t let teasing or meanness get to her, and she even invites the bullies to her birthday party, where they all have a great time. If only things were that easy in real life!

Entertainment

Drew Meets Boo is very entertaining. The book is one of the most interactive e-books that I’ve seen, with nearly every object on each page activating a hidden animation or sound effect. Some touches trigger random effects that change each time you activate them. It can get quite frantic if readers touch rapidly and get many effects going all at once!


Though there is a lot of busy-ness, the interactions don’t support the story very well. In fact, the story manages to go from beach scenes to circus scenes to snow scenes to outdoor birthday party scenes in thirteen short pages. Developers may want to consider a few less interactions that are more related to the story, as the present array can get quite distracting.

Value

Drew Meets Boo is $1.99 in the App Store, which is a great value. The story is uplifting, the interactions are fun, and young children will be quite entertained. They are likely to use this ebook again and again, which always improves the value!

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. It does include an advertisement for another app by the same developer on the navigation page, but it is not a live link.

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

Springagain
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
It's Spring Again is an educational app that teaches children about how the seasons change using artistic images, narration, and interactive animation. Engaging, educational, and easy to use.
4.3

App Info

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

Overview

It’s Spring Again is an artistic, educational app that teaches children about how the seasons change. This interactive uses narration, coupled with gorgeous illustrations to teach young children about how the seasons change and what happens within each season.

Features include:

  • Artistic images
  • Narration
  • Easy to use

Quality

The first thing users will notice about It’s Spring Again are the lovely images and interactive illustrations that are quite artistic. The images are brightly colored, and engaging especially for younger audiences. The narration the developers have included share the information about the seasons in a way that makes it sound more like a story, without the words to follow along. The developers have also included an easy to use interface that only requires children to simply tap and touch their way through the app in order to play.

While the majority of the app is of excellent quality, there are some transitions that could get a bit frustrating for children as it isn’t quite clear what else needs to be done to move forward. For instance, when tapping the trees to allow fruit or flowers to pop up it would seem that everything has been tapped, yet there is more to be done. Making this a bit more evident for users in this section would be helpful.

Education

While this isn’t your traditional educational app, it does teach children about each of the seasons and how nature changes with each new season. Through interactive animations and narration, users learn a bit about each of the seasons while tapping the trees, ground, and sky to watch weather changes before their eyes. The app also sounds a bit like a story, making it both educational and entertaining.

Entertainment

While It’s Spring Again doesn’t include any specific games for children to play, it his highly interactive and requires users to tap and touch their way through the app to make it come to life. As they tap the trees they will find flowers, leaves, and fruit appear or fall to the ground. There are also a wide variety of other interactive animations that are entertaining and engaging for young children to enjoy.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars, this app is priced well for what it entails. When you consider the artistic illustrations, narration, educational value, and the easy to use interface, the value is clear. Parents will certainly appreciate all that this app has to offer for a price that won’t break the bank.

Child Friendliness

Parents will be happy to know that It’s Spring Again is completely safe for children to use. With no external links, social media or advertisements, this app is perfect for children of all ages. The developers have also included narration and a simple tap and touch functioning so it is quite intuitive for young children to enjoy.

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

gravity

You Know Gravity? It Attracts You

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
What holds humans onto the Earth? Gravity! Find out all about this powerful force in You Know Gravity? It Attracts You.
4.3

App Info

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

Overview

Understanding how gravity works can be difficult for kids. You Don’t Know Gravity? seeks to make learning about gravity a little easier. This interactive eBook combines animated illustrations and interactive games with passages full of information about how gravity works. Kids will get to explore the earth and the solar system to see gravity and action, making a difficult concept much easier to understand.

Features include:

  • Short gravity quiz
  • Interactive illustrations
  • Gravity games
  • Helpful tutorials

Quality

Despite being full of information about gravity, the app does suffer from a few quality issue. Positives include a settings screen and on-screen tutorials that guide kids throughout the app. These tutorials, as well as the starting quiz, can be turned off in the settings. The main negative is the busyness of the text-based portion of the app. Between the on-screen tutorials, the multiple arrows, the text, and the other buttons, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times. Kids must pay attention to when they’re looking at a tutorial screen and be sure to tap the OK button to get back to the interactive portion of the app, otherwise they’ll keep swiping at the app and wonder why nothing is happening. They must also be careful to make sure all buttons have appeared before moving forward. Sometimes they’ll tap the forward arrow too quickly and miss an entire portion of the text when waiting on a slightly delayed next button would’ve gotten them there.

Education

This app seeks to teach kids about gravity in a unique way. It starts with a short quiz which requires kids to access their prior knowledge about earth science, and gravity in particular. Once kids finish the quiz, they board a bus and start to explore the concept of downward motion. The app mixes informative paragraphs with interactive illustrations and fun games. They can tilt their devices to make the bus move and orbit the earth to save aliens. There is definitely a lot of information in the app. Unfortunately, some of the text-based passages are worded awkwardly and may keep kids from getting more than a basic overview of they information they’re trying to convey.

Entertainment

While there are many interactive graphics built into the app, its main focus is teaching kids about gravity. As a result, kids may find that it is a bit dull and text-heavy at times. There are efforts to make the text light-hearted and fun, which kids will appreciate, but some of those moments are lost in the lengthy sentences and awkward wording. Still, it’s not an entirely dry presentation and kids will find that it’s a more exciting and visual way to learn about gravity than simply reading about it in a textbook.

Value

The app is priced similarly to other animated books for kids. The main difference is that this book was designed to be educational. Considering the amount of information about gravity it contains, as well as the interactive illustrations to help kids understand how gravity works, it proves to be a fairly good value.

Child Friendliness

The app contains a basic settings screen that allows kids to turn off the starting quiz and tutorials. What looks like a protected parent area is actually just a credits screen to highlight the developers who worked on the app. All of the other content is kid-friendly and focused on helping kids learn about gravity.

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

kprep
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Kindergarten Prep is a fun app that is designed to help preschool children practice some essential skills before entering kindergarten. With six sections having four activities each, there is some variety in the activities.
4.3

App Info

Price: $4.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Kindergarten Prep offers skill-building activities for young children in the areas of alphabet, fruit, colors, animals, counting, and shapes. Each section includes a learning activity, a writing/drawing exercise, a guessing game, and a related play activity.

Features include:

  • 6 skill areas with 4 types of activities each
  • Child-centered, friendly environment
  • Fun, low stress games
  • Quality narration and voiced directions
  • Intuitive and easy to use

Quality

Kindergarten Prep is a high quality app that will help young children practice some important skills. The developers did a good job of including scaffolded activities, i.e., activities that teach and gradually require more thought from players. Four of the skills addressed (colors, numbers, alphabet, shapes) are intricately wound into standards for kindergarten students and will directly help kids be more successful in school. The animals and fruits sections are also valuable in that they expand vocabulary and give kids a chance to use words.

One concern is that there are a number of obvious misspellings and grammar problems on the app, including the word puzzles spelled “puzzels” on the title of the game in the Animals section where kids can see it. The Alphabet game instructs, “Pop the balloon to know its alphabet” which is sort of an odd way to phrase the concept. Directions on the Fruits game say “Catch the fruits in basket” and the Counting game instructs “Catch the counting.” Errors such as these set a poor example for young children who are just beginning to sort out the finer points of grammar.

Education

This app does a good job of providing an array of skills practice for preschool children. Most of the sections offer valuable beginning practice with recognition and find motor skills such as writing letters and numbers. The Learn activities in each section introduce the various items within the group and give examples. The Draw activities provide a selection of virtual colored pencils and dotted lines to trace items such as letters and numbers. The section does not seem as related in the Colors area, as children are tracing various items of different colors, but the color names are not mentioned. It is also quite difficult in the Fruits and in the Animals areas, where the dotted figures are far too intricate for most preschoolers’ skills. The Guess section in each area provides children with an opportunity to check their skills, such as counting items 1-20 and selecting the matching numeral. The font used in this area, however, is a poor choice for young children, as the 6s and 9s in particular are very difficult to read. The Play area of each section is a simple game to apply the skills learned. Several sections use a “pop the balloons” type game where kids tap the balloons to hear what they represent. There is a simple jigsaw puzzle in the Animals section, a catching game in the Numbers section, and a drag and drop game in the Shapes section.

Entertainment

Young children will have fun playing Kindergarten Prep. The app provides a nice array of different tasks, so there is some good play value. The illustrations are generally clear, but many are designed to look like a child drew or colored them. For example, there are stray color marks outside of the shapes in the Shapes section, as though a child colored outside of the lines. It’s a matter of opinion, but I would prefer to see a bit more professionalism in the artwork.

I am concerned that children may tire of this app relatively quickly, after going through each of the sections one or two times. It would be nice to see a bit more variety in the games across the sections, or perhaps a randomly-selected game format so that users could not be certain what type of game will come up next.

Value

This app is $4.99 in the App Store, which seems a bit pricy. If the app will be used by multiple children, as in a family setting or a classroom setting, then the cost would be worthwhile. For one child, however, I don’t believe there’s enough play value to keep kids using it long enough to be worth the price.

Child Friendliness

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

image
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Elastic Alphabets for Kids is a remarkably entertaining app designed to review and reinforce letter recognition and beginning phonics with young children, ESL students, and students with special needs.
4.5

App Info

Price: $3.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Elastic Alphabets for Kids is a comprehensive look at the ABCs and their most common sounds using engaging animations and memorable sound effects. Each letter is presented by name and sound with a demonstration of how to write it, and then three key words beginning with the target letter. Each key word has cute animations that will keep children in stitches, activated by a simple tap to the screen.

Features include:

  • Choose letters or go in alphabetical order
  • Includes demonstration of writing
  • Vowels use short sounds
  • At least three engaging animations per keyword
  • Intriguing sound effects

Quality

Elastic Alphabets for Kids is a high quality app that children are sure to enjoy. It is intuitive to use. Young children simply tap the screen to initiate the animations. The navigation controls are in the form of clear icons, with arrows to move forward and back and a home button. There is also a way to choose letters instead of simply working through the alphabet in order.

One possible drawback is that the animations of the keywords are randomized, but there is no protection against seeing the same animation over and over again. There are at least three animations per word (sometimes four, but it’s difficult to tell with the randomization active), but because of the randomizing, the same animation may appear again and again. Some children may get a bit bored by this. In some cases, it took me fifteen to twenty taps to reveal all three animations, which is too many.

Also, developers should examine the grammar in the Parent’s Area and in the App Store description. There are missing words, missing affixes, and words used incorrectly. The text seems to have been translated, which makes the errors understandable, but they detract from the overall professional presentation of the app. In addition, there are some claims that are not very clear and may be misunderstood, such as the assertion that the app uses “short vowel phonics and words,” by which they mean that the key words for the vowels all begin with the short sounds. Other words in the app do not necessarily follow short vowel phonics patterns, such as “octopus” and “airplane.”

Education

Elastic Alphabets is a great way to introduce young children, students learning English as a second language, or special needs students to the 26 English alphabet letters and their sounds. The app presents the letters in order, though there is a mechanism to choose to view whichever letter is desired. For each, it shows the letter (choose capital or lower case in the parents’/settings section), repeats the name and gives the sound. If the user taps the letter, the app shows how to write it with an animated pencil. Tap the arrow on the lower right side of the screen, and the app begins a slide show of three words that begin with the letter. Each word is shown with a vivid illustration. When users tap the screen, they are shown an animation involving the focus word. For example, the app shows “egg” for the letter E. In one animation, the main character, Gigi, paints a funny face on the shell. In another, the egg cracks open and is fried. In a third, the egg is duplicated across the screen, then hatches out a row of chicks. Some letters have more than three sequences. The animations are engaging, quick and quirky, and they are sure to please the target audience. The sound effects are priceless! The animations are also randomized, so the user won’t know which is coming next.

A few of the letter sounds are not made correctly. For example, the short A sound is represented more as a schwa sound instead of the more typical /a/ as in cat. Some of the key words for A are not typical short a sounds, either, such as arrow and airplane. These words have an R-controlled long a sound instead of a short one. But on the whole, this app does an amazing job of representing the letters and the sounds they make.

Entertainment

Children will absolutely love this app! Many of the animations for each word are very funny and some are downright strange, such as the goat’s horns that turn to tree branches and sprout leaves. Giggling Gigi (the main character) is involved in many sequences, and it can be fun to try to guess where it will turn up next. Some of the animations even tell a little story across pictures, such as the frog that eats the fly for the letter F, then spits it back up again in a burping bubble in another sequence.

Value

This app may seem a bit pricy, but if you work with children who need to be motivated to go through the alphabet and learn the sounds, it will be worth the money. It costs $3.99 in the App Store. It would be particularly nice for students with special needs, or those who are having some difficulty mastering letter sounds, since it is highly motivational. Developers may want to consider a sample version with a few letters animated so that parents and teachers can see what fun the program can be, and so be encouraged to purchase.

Child Friendliness

Elastic Alphabets is child-friendly. The parents/settings area and a link to more apps by this developer are on the main page, but they are protected by an effective parent gate

  • Protected parent area (contains external links, ratings link & social media)
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)
  • Icon-1
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Peppa's Seasons: Autumn & Winter takes players on a journey through Peppa's world to explore the differences between the seasons using fun, interactive games. Great for families and children of all ages.
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Peppa’s Seasons: Autumn & Winter is an entertaining and educational app that takes children into Peppa’s world as they learn about the changes that occur during Autumn & Winter. With various activities and animations to explore, this app will keep children engaged as they learn a bit about the seasons.

    Features include:

    • 4 Activities
    • Multi-player option
    • Easy to use

    Quality

    With an interface that is similar to what you might see in the show, Peppa’s Seasons: Autumn & Winter is one app that is quite visually appealing. The user interface is also quite easy to use as it only requires children to tap, touch, and drag their way through each of the four activities. There is also a bit of a story feel to the app with a narrator and a bit of animation that helps tie the app together which is great for keeping children engaged.

    Education

    While this isn’t your traditional educational app, the developers have included a bit of experiential learning through some of the activities to teach children a bit about the differences between autumn and winter. For example, there is a temperature scale that children can explore that when moved, changes the main page setting to show snow or falling leaves. Players are also exposed to various hobbies and activities that you can enjoy within each season like fruit picking and tobogganing.

    Entertainment

    With four activities to enjoy, this app offers lots of engaging and entertaining material for children to explore. The four activities include fruit picking, snowman building, a toboggan race, and seasonal exploration. Once each activity is completed, players are rewarded with a sticker for their scrapbook. Overall, this app provides lots of entertainment for children and families to enjoy.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars, this app is a great deal. Parents will not only appreciate the four interactive activities and the professional illustrations, but also the fact that it allows families to have up to four separate player profiles. This is particularly helpful for families with multiple children. Peppa’s Seasons: Autumn & Winter offers great fun and a great value.

    Child Friendliness

    Overall the developers have done a nice job keeping the app safe and easy to use for children of all ages. With simple tap and drag functioning to move through the app, little ones will have no problem enjoying all that this app has to offer. The parent only gateways are also appropriately protected to keep children safe which is great.

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

    sagomini
    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Sago Mini Superhero is a cute, interactive app that takes children on a journey with Jack the rabbit as he does a variety of good deeds around the city. Fun, easy to use, and great for children of all ages!
    4.6

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Sago Mini Superhero is an easy to use interactive app that allows players to help Jack keep the city safe and sound. With tons of interactive bits to enjoy, children are going to love helping Jack as he saves his friends from falling shoes, teaches others to share, and rescues a beach ball from the tree along with many more helpful deeds. This interactive app is full of great illustrations and sound effects that children of all ages will enjoy.

    Features include:

    • Easy to use interface
    • 30+ Interactive illustrations
    • Cute concept

    Quality

    Like many of the other Sago Mini apps, Sago Mini Superhero is full of brightly colored and lively illustrations and characters that children will love. The interactive images are scattered throughout the city and children can easily follow the yellow markers that indicate an interactive activity/image to explore. The sound effects are also very well done and help to keep children engaged while they play. The developers have also done a great job keeping this app easy to use as children only need to drag their fingers across the screen to move through the app.

    Education

    Not rated for education.

    Entertainment

    There is no doubt children are going to love playing and exploring all of the interactive illustrations included in Sago Mini Superhero. The developers have done a great job creating an interactive app with lots of characters and friends for children to explore. Players will help Jack save friends from falling shoes, drive an underground subway, rescue cats stuck in a tree and so much more! Overall this free play app is highly interactive and fun for children to explore and enjoy.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars this app is a good value overall. The free play environment allows children to play in their own time and interact with the various characters as they choose and with over 30 interactive illustrations to explore, players are going to stay engaged and entertained.

    Child Friendliness

    Sago Mini Superhero makes it easy for children of all ages to interact with and explore the various illustrations and animations included. By simply dragging their finger across the screen and following the yellow markers scattered through, children will have no problem enjoying all that this app has to offer.

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

    hangman2
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Spelling Bug Hangman is a fun version of the classic game that comes with nearly 100 built-in word lists for early elementary students as well as the capability to add individualized practice word lists.
    4.8

    App Info

    Price: $2.99
    AppStore User Rating: 5

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Spelling Bug Hangman provides over 900 built-in spelling words and the capability to add your own words to a hangman game. Users can play alone or with a friend. Players also earn coins to use to purchase hints and other helps to improve their play.

    Features include:

    • Over 900 words provided in three categories
    • Capability to add words with recorded voice clues
    • Choice of three levels of difficulty
    • Earn coins to purchase various hints
    • One or two players

    Quality

    Spelling Bug Hangman is a high quality app that is versatile and easy to use. The app includes options for several levels and over a hundred different word lists, as well as the capability to add words of your own choosing. Game play is rewarded with coins that can be used to purchase various types of hints to use as the game gets more difficult.

    Developers should consider improving navigation through the app. There should be a way to return to the main page and a way to exit games that are not yet completed. As it stands, there are several places where users cannot return to the starting point if they wish, and if a user accidentally begins a game with an incorrect level or word list, the round must be played through.

    There are some minor glitches in the program, as well. There are times when the animation of the hatching cocoon (the reward for correctly-chosen letters) shows two stages at the same time, which some children may find a bit confusing. The instructions about game play could be made much more clear; I had to do a lot of experimenting to discover just how to use each feature. And finally, developers should clean up the errors in the parents area and in the app’s description online. There are some grammar mistakes that a bit of proofreading would eliminate, and in the parents’ area, reference is made to the words being presented in phonetic families “such as ‘one, done, gone and none.’” These words are actually in two different phonetic families due to the differences in their pronunciation, though they do have similar spellings, and are definitely not the best example of the phonics principle.

    Education

    Spelling Bug Hangman is an outstanding app for basic spelling practice. The game is motivating, and it’s wonderful that parents or teachers have the capability of entering individualized spelling lists and recording the spoken cues as desired. This really extends the app’s usefulness. The included words are all from the early grades of elementary school, and with this feature, more challenging words could easily be added.

    The game is played like the traditional paper-and-pencil hangman game, but has a few unique twists of its own. The goal is to hatch a cocoon into a butterfly. Incorrect letter choices cause a hungry bug to munch on the leaf holding the cocoon, and correct letters help the caterpillar to grow until it finally hatches and flies away. The levels of difficulty seem to affect the number of incorrect letter guesses allowed. Correctly spelled words (or even attempts!) earn coins that can be exchanged for various types of hints including a spoken version of the target word, picture clues, additional guesses, and more.

    The game includes access to a “casual” list of easy words (14 levels with ten words each) and phonetically organized word lists from first or second grade curriculums (40 lists of ten words each at each grade level). When combined with the capability to add individualized word lists, the app is quite versatile. It also keeps minimal records for students, showing which word lists and which levels have been accessed and accomplished.

    Entertainment

    This app is quite entertaining, especially for the target age group of young elementary students. The use of purchased hints will be a great motivator for most students. It would be nice if additional hints, changes to the avatar bug, or other rewards could be unlocked after many points are accumulated; it is quite possible to build up lots of coins with nothing interesting to use them on.

    The leaf-munching bug that endangers the cocoon on each turn might get a bit mundane, as well. Developers may want to consider adding a few other scenarios where the main character is in jeopardy from incorrect letters and freed or empowered by correct letters just to liven things up a bit.

    Value

    Spelling Bug Hangman is an excellent value. It is $2.99 in the App Store, and will be very useful for general spelling practice, phonics review, and individualized spelling practice for young elementary students as well as those with special needs or students learning English as a second language.

    Child Friendliness

    This app is very child friendly. The parent area is protected by an effective parent gate.

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

    Kapu
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Kapu Planet is a highly interactive app that teaches children a bit about various animals and countries through experiential play. Creative, fun, and easy to play!
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Kapu Planet is an interactive app that takes children on a journey around the world. With lots of animals and foreign lands to explore, children will enjoy the fun sound effects and simple to use activities with each mini-game. This app is exciting, easy to use, and safe for little ones of all ages.

    Features include:

    • 8 Mini-games
    • Easy to use
    • Great graphics

    Quality

    Kapu Planet is full of brightly colored graphics and fun sound effects that really make this app come to life. The developers have done a great job creating an easy to use interface that is great for children of all ages. They have also included a free-play environment that allows players to explore and interact with the various mini-games in their own time. Overall, this app is very well done.

    Education

    While this isn’t your typical educational app, Kapu Planet does offer an interactive way of learning. As children play with the various mini-games around the world, they are exposed to lots of different environments and animals from that location which gives children a chance to learn about each place through experiential play. With kangaroos in Australia and anteaters in South America etc., players are going to love learning about each place with a fun activity. There are also some activities that are a bit more traditional like shape matching and a game that challenges players to use their logic to rescue baby kangaroos.

    Entertainment

    There is no doubt that children are going to be highly entertained with this app. With 8 mini-games, lots of great graphics and sound effects to bring the app to life, this app is one that children of all ages can enjoy. From feeding the anteater to helping the polar bear crack open a block of ice to get his fish, this interactive app offers a free play environment for children to explore and learn.

    Value

    Priced at just under one dollar this app is a great value. With 8 mini-games children can play over and over again, lots of great interactive illustrations and sound effects, this is one app both parents and children can appreciate.

    Child Friendliness

    Parents will be happy to know that this app is not only easy to use, but safe for young children too. The developers have done a great job overall making Kapu Planet intuitive an easy for little ones to move through as it only requires a bit of tapping and dragging to successfully play each mini-game. Perfect for all ages!

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

    artgurus

    Art Gurus

    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    From the teacher's hair to the artwork on the walls, kids get to decide what the classroom looks like in Art Gurus.
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Kids are encouraged to let their artistic skills shine as they create a truly crazy classroom. From their teacher’s hair to the cat poster on the wall, kids can draw and add stickers to multiple elements of the classroom. As they add those elements, the classroom scene changes to show off their artistic style. Kids can then take a picture of their artwork and reset the classroom to start creating again.

    Features include:

    • Create a personalized setting
    • Draw with multiple colors
    • Add fun stickers
    • Take a photo of your designs

    Quality

    Developers created this app to allow kids to show off their artistic skills by personalizing a classroom setting. It is a fairly well-organized app. Kids simply tap on the play button and open the classroom. There they can scroll from left to right and tap around to find different elements to customize. The artistic part of the app is similar to most other art apps for kids. It offers a series of crayons, a set of stickers, and a magic wand that creates a random design. The one thing it lacks is a clear undo button for kids to use when they make a mistake.

    Education

    This app is not being rated for education.

    Entertainment

    Kids have creative control in the app and their designs change the look of the app. For example, if they make the teacher’s hair green with fish in it, it will appear green with fish on it on the main screen. There are many different elements of the scene kids can customize, including a boy’s cast, a girl’s purse, an easel in the classroom, and a poster on the wall. While there are many options for kids to enjoy, there are plenty of other static options in the scene. The entertainment factor of the app could be improved if kids could interact with more objects in the classroom, particularly those just sitting on the shelves.

    Value

    The customization and creativity available in this app makes it a good value, particularly for kids who tend to be more artistic. While the app was designed for preschoolers, kids in early elementary school are likely to enjoy it as well.

    Child Friendliness

    Icons on the main screen direct kids to tap and discover more apps. The more apps screen contains icons for multiple developer apps, as well as a link to the developer’s website. Access to both, as well as the parent area, is protected by a simple parental lock. Kids can also take photographs which are added to the device’s camera roll.

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

    ride

    RIDE, Learn language, vocabulary puzzle

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Build children's vocabulary in 8 different languages as they match the animals up with their vehicles to create silly pictures in RIDE, Learn language, vocabulary puzzle.
    4.2

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Help kids learn the names of animals and vehicles with RIDE, Learn language, vocabulary puzzle. This simple and silly app gives kids phrases and asks them to find the pictures to match the phrases. Dolphins drive tractors, toucans drive bulldozers, and kids build their vocabularies as they put the pictures together.

    Features include:

    • Available in 8 Languages
    • Learn the names of animals
    • Learn the names of vehicles
    • Make silly pictures

    Quality

    When kids first open the app, they see a large question mark in the middle of the screen, a smaller question mark in the upper right hand corner, and a flag in the lower right hand corner. The quality of the game would be improved by offering kids a few basic instructions to get started. Instead, they must tap on and swipe the question marks to figure it out for themselves. The game could also be improved by enhancing the quality of the images. Some, such as the flamingo, sit tall in the vehicles, while others, such as the eagle can barely be seen. The eagle has other issues as well as many kid will not immediately recognize it as an eagle.

    Education

    The app is designed to help kids improve their vocabulary in eight different languages: American English, British English, French, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, and Russian. For each language, the game is essentially the same – kids hear a description and must find the pictures to match the description. For example, if the phrase is, “The toucan is driving the bulldozer,” kids will have to find the picture of the toucan and the bulldozer. Most of the images are fairly recognizable. If kids do not know the words, they can simply try arranging different pictures until they get the right combination. While this game is somewhat unique and does reinforce vocabulary skills, it would be much improved by adding the words to the screen along with the audio. This would help kids build multiple layers of vocabulary recognition.

    Entertainment

    For kids, the game is fairly entertaining. They hear a silly phrase and arrange the pictures to display that phrase. As they successfully complete phrases they earn more animals and vehicles so they can create even more silly pictures. Even if kids do not know what the words are saying, they can scroll through the pictures and come up with their own combinations of animals and vehicles to enjoy.

    Value

    Parents and teachers who want to encourage kids to learn animal and vehicle names or are just looking for a fun free app should give this one a try. It may not be the most educational, but kids will enjoy it.

    Child Friendliness

    Aside from the game screen, the app only contains one other screen. Kids can select from different languages. They’ll also see a button to view more apps from the developer, but it is protected by a parental lock.

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

    image

    Our phones and tablets play an important role in our lives. They help keep us on task, connect us with others, and give us a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. However, as electronic devices continue to become a bigger and bigger part of our daily lives, it can be a real struggle to limit the time we all spend on them. This is especially true in children, who can become cranky, impatient, and even aggressive after spending too much time glued to them. Here are some easy tips to limit screen time.

    CLEAN UP APPS
    Take some time to go through all of the apps you have downloaded on your devices. Delete the ones are no longer, or rarely used. You can even go a step further and delete those games that steal your children’s time the most and keep them glued to the screen. The less choices they have available, the less temptation there is to click on each app.

    ORGANIZE APPS
    Now that your apps are all cleaned up, organize them into groups. Group all of the games together, calendars together, social media apps together, etc. This will be very helpful for your children to use going forward. You can organize the apps on their iPods or iPads by “brain” games and “fun” games or something similar. If they want to play a “fun” game, have them play 2 “brain” games first. It’s kind of like dessert after eating all of your vegetables. You have to feed your brain the healthy stuff first, and then the junk.

    SET TIMERS
    Use a timer to limit the time spent on a device. You can use a traditional timer or stopwatch, or you can achieve it with the Clock app on an iDevice using these instructions:

    1. Launch the Clock app and select Timer.
    2. Set the timer to your chosen amount of time you would like your child (or self) to use the device. Be sure that Stop Playing is also selected (Sounds in iPad, When Timer Ends in iPhone and iPod).
    3. Press start and hand the device to your child.

    When the timer runs out, the lock screen will appear. If you have a Passcode Lock set, your child cannot enter unless they know the passcode. You can also incorporate some fun rules when your child wants screen time. For example, 10 minutes of iPad use can happen only after an hour of independent play. This way they have the opportunity to use their imagination and get exercise, along with having time to play on their devices too.

    SET AN EXAMPLE
    We can all be guilty of letting electronics rob us of our time. How many times have we sat down to use a device for a few minutes, to look up and see hours have actually passed by? Be sure to get your work done first yourself before logging into your iPhone. Set limits for yourself so children can imitate your healthy choices.

    PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS
    Dust off the board games, take a walk, and just spend quality time with your children. While they all love playing games electronically, they love the time spent with you even more. Show them that they are the most important thing in your life and will always come before any type of device. You may be surprised how good you actually feel after spending an hour running around with your kids rather than checking your social media page.

    BE AWARE
    Be mindful of your child’s behavior. If they are cranky or become aggressive it might be because of too much time spent on devices. Try having them step back from them for a while to see if it has an impact. If they are having problems falling or staying asleep try, try ending any screen time a little earlier to see if that is the issue. Encourage other activities such as reading a book instead.

    SET BOUNDARIES
    Designate places your child can or cannot use their iPads. You can make a rule of no electronics in the dining room, or in the car. By knowing where your child is using them, you can keep a close eye to what they are doing on them. It also makes you more aware of the time they are spending on them if they are only allowed certain places to use them.

    DON’T KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES
    There is no need to own every device out there. The more you have, the more time you spend on them. Every child is going to want the latest and greatest phone available. Or they are going to ask for the gaming system their best friend has. However if they have access to everything, they will most likely be spending time on all of them, increasing the amount of screen time they have. Sometimes we just have to remain strong and be happy with what we currently have.

    petshop
    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Follow Blythe on her first days in Downtown City as she shares her experiences and the fun friends she meets in the interactive storybook app Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Style. With lots of creative activities, animations, and an engaging story, this app is great for children of all ages!
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Style is an interactive storybook app that takes readers into the world of stylish pets of all shapes and sizes. As Blythe shares her experiences from her first days in Downtown City, readers learn about all the fun loving characters and fashionable animals that make up the Littlest Pet Shop. This app has something for everyone as it is a mix of storytelling, interactive games, and animation that kids are going to love.

    Features include:

    • Sketchbook puzzle
    • Room decoration activity
    • Read to me/Read to myself options

    Quality

    The developers have done an outstanding job of making this app visually appealing and interactive. The interactive images and animation used throughout the story add a ton of interest to keep children engaged as they read or follow along with the story. With animation that is similar to what you might see while watching the television show the developers have created an interesting mix of storytelling and interactive activities that is sure to keep kids of all ages engaged. The audio and sound effects are also great.

    While the majority of the app is very well done, there seems to be a bit of a glitch with the dress up and room decorating activities. The touch response needs a bit of polishing as some of the accessories etc. don’t respond or have a delayed response during play time. Aside from those bits, the rest of the app is quite easy to use and intuitive for even young children to play.

    Education

    Not rated for education.

    Entertainment

    Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Style offers lots of great activities for children to enjoy in addition to the story. Within the story there is a search and find game that allows readers to find fun accessories they can use to decorate their fashionable pet’s pictures at the end of the app. There is also a sketchbook puzzle and room decorating activity that is incorporated into the story that children will love.

    One of my favorites is the dress up activity that allows kids to dress up various animals using a wide variety of clothes and accessories so they can walk the run way in style! For children who don’t know much about the Littlest Pet Shop, there are also a variety of journal pages scattered throughout the story that give readers a bit more information about each character from the standpoint of Blythe, the main character. With so much to enjoy, this is one app children are going to come back to over and over again.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars this app is a great value. It offers not only an interactive story that children will love, but also lots of fun activities to keep children engaged and coming back for more. The overall quality is also quite good with great graphics and animation for children to enjoy.

    Child Friendliness

    With narration options and an intuitive user interface, this app is great for children of all ages. The developers have also done a nice job of keeping the parents only sections of the app appropriately protected so children don’t get into areas they shouldn’t be while using the app. Aside from adding text highlighting and polishing the touch response in the dress up and room decorating activities, this app is very well done.

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

    image (6)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Kids Sound Lab Pro is a great app for providing practice with English consonant sounds. It provides a lot of visual and auditory cues to help students master the material.
    4.9

    App Info

    Price: $5.99

    AppStore User Rating: 5

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Kids Sound Lab Pro is designed for parents, teachers, or other adults to provide letter sound and articulation practice to young learners or ESL students. The app presents consonant sounds in the usual order of acquisition, with options to hear and produce the sound in isolation, in syllables, and in words. Vowel sounds are presented separately, and the app provides practice games for all letters.

    Features include:

    • Recording and playback feature included
    • Interactive games included
    • Description of how to produce each sound
    • Sounds introduced in order of typical acquisition
    • Intuitive and easy-to-use

    Quality

    Kids Sound Lab Pro is a very high quality app that will help parents, teachers and care givers provide sequential and effective articulation practice activities to students. The app is easy to use and easy to customize to the needs of the learner. It includes the capability of setting up individual user accounts to keep track of multiple students. All of the phonemes are represented on the home screen, so it is easy to choose (or allow the student to choose) which ones to practice. Developers have obviously done extensive research before designing, and have collected data from users of the app to document its effectiveness.

    Education

    This app is an outstanding example of an articulation practice app. One caution is to not confuse it with a phonics program-the app deals primarily with letter sounds and how to say them, not how they are likely to be spelled in key words. For example, the sound /m/ is paired with a picture of an ice cream cone, because the character is making the “Mmmmmm mmmm” sound to indicate pleasure in the taste. The sound /b/ is paired with a drum because the phoneme sounds much like the sound of a drum beat.

    Each of the 24 consonant sounds is presented by showing the capital, lower case, and finger spelling form of the letter with a related animation and a short narration. Users can tap an icon to hear a description of how to make the sound with lips, tongue, mouth and voice. Some of these descriptions are quite clear, such as “put your lips together and make your nose and throat vibrate” to make the sound of M. Other descriptions, however, leave just a little bit to be desired, such as the explanation for the sound of W, which is described as “hooting like an owl.” On the whole, the feature is helpful, but adults should prescreen each one to make sure the explanation makes sense to them.

    After the introductory sequence, users can pop balloons that voice the consonant with each of the five long vowels, then can see and hear a collection of illustrated key words beginning with the target sound. Finally, there are three interactive games to reinforce each sound.

    The section dealing with the vowel sounds explains the long and short sounds of each of the five vowels, and then provides similar interactive games to reinforce the learning. Both the consonant and the vowel sections have a feature that will allow students to record and play back their attempts to make the sounds. This will be very helpful for teachers or adults working with multiple students, to help monitor progress.

    Entertainment

    While this app really isn’t intended to be entertaining, children are likely to find it engaging. And while the app is intended for younger learners, it is not babyish, and could be useful for older ESL students, as well. Each picture is animated, and there is a nice narration for each sound. The pictures are clear and colorful, and each depicts familiar items or scenes. The interactive games are easy to use. They include activities such as sorting words by initial sound, playing a matching game, and popping balloons on the screen. There is a nice variety of types of responses that will keep the app interesting.

    Value

    This app costs $5.99 in the App Store, but it is worth the investment if you are working with students who need articulation practice or students who are learning English sounds. It is a professional tool that is easy enough for parents to use, and robust enough that therapists and teachers will appreciate its capabilities.

    Child Friendliness

    Kids Sound Lab Pro is very child-friendly. There are sections designed for adults, such as student records, links to ratings and websites, social media, email contact information, and so forth that are all protected by an effective parent gate (solving a multiplication fact with some text-dense directions). The only possible trouble spot is that the settings area which contains percent settings for passing and other options, is unprotected.

    • Parent area (contains protected external links, social media, and app rating)
    • NO in-app purchase
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • NO in-app purchase

    2015-12-18 (1)

    The Witch and the Christmas Spirit

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    When Santa Claus and the elves get sick, will the witch be able to step in and save Christmas? Find out in this fun animated story.
    4.7

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Something terrible has happened to Peepo and the elves in Christmasland. Instead of preparing for Halloween, the witch has to head to Christmasland to save Christmas. This delightful animated story combines fun characters, music, and games to create a magical holiday learning experience for kids.

    Features include:

    • Interactive story
    • Educational games
    • Fun characters
    • Three languages: English, French, German
    • Feature 4

    Quality

    Kids will find that the app is well-organized and easy to navigate. Once in the story, they’ll find a page navigation bar on the side, as well as arrows to allow them to turn the individual pages. As kids are reading through and interacting with the story, dots appear to tell them where to tap, making it easy to figure out what is going on. The story itself features clear narration and different voices for each character. Those voices, along with the sound effects and animations, help make the story enjoyable.

    Education

    While the story does not feature text highlighting, it does offer other elements to help kids understand the text. Each character’s dialogue is displayed in a different color. Dialogue is also set off from the regular text with a small icon. Throughout the app, kids also get to participate in different learning activities. For example, in one of the first scenes, they must use their number recognition skills to build a snowman. The story also includes an alphabet game and multiple activities designed to help kids use their fine and gross motor skills.

    Entertainment

    The premise of the story – a witch who has to leave her Halloween preparations to save Christmas – is an amusing one. While kids will enjoy all of the games and other interactive elements of the story, they’ll also find that the story itself is very entertaining. The entertainment factor is increased by the fun character voices and sound effects within the app. As kids read through the story and complete activities, they also get the chance to unlock a few surprises.

    Value

    Kids can download the app and read the first part of the story for free, but access to the entire story must be purchased within the app. The price of the entire story is comparable to other animated ebooks and includes a set of educational games and other fun surprises for kids. If kids are interested in the first part of the story, it’s worth a download to keep reading on.

    Child Friendliness

    The app does contain an in-app purchase. It also displays a “More Apps” button on the main screen and a “Rate Us” button in the credits. However, all of this content is protected by parental locks.

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

    familytime

    FamilyTime

    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Keep children and teens safe by tracking their location and cell phone use with FamilyTime.
    4.4

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Parents who want to keep tabs on their children and teens have an ally in FamilyTime. This parental control app allows parents to track their child’s location and monitor cell phone activities. Unlike some other parental control apps, FamilyTime doesn’t do its tracking in secret. Children and teens know the app is downloaded on their phones and can even use the app to send pick up alerts and SOS messages to their parents. Parents use their own app or the online dashboard to monitor a child’s activity and make sure the child stays safe. It’s a simple app that allows parents to quickly check up on their children and teens and help make sure they’re safe.

    Features include:

    • Location Tracking
    • Check In/Check Out Alerts
    • Pick Up Alerts
    • SOS Alerts
    • Multiple Child Accounts

    Quality

    To download the app onto a child’s phone, parents must first set up a FamilyTime account. They are then given a link to download the app onto the child’s phone, along with an activation code that must be entered once the app is downloaded. Parents may have trouble getting the link on the child’s profile to work, but they can also find the child’s version of the app in the App Store and download it from there.

    In the iOS version , parents can set places and opt to receive check in/check out alerts. They can also see reports of locations the child has visited. The Android version gives parents even more access, allowing them to block apps, review messaging, phone, and browsing history, and even target suspicious people or locations. When it comes to monitoring children and teens, the app has very accurate location sensors and gives parents valuable information about what their children are doing while on their phones.

    Education

    This app is not being rated for education.

    Entertainment

    The app is not designed to be entertaining for children and teens, it is designed to protect them. In the child-facing version of the app, children and teens will appreciate the ability to quickly send pick up alerts and SOS messages to parents. These can be sent more discreetly than a phone call or text message and also provide parents with the child’s exact location. While these features will not necessarily entertain teens, they will help provide them with peace of mind.

    Value

    To access the features of the app beyond the free 3-day trial, parents must sign up for an account. When paying monthly, the service can be a bit pricey, but developers offer significant discounts to those willing to pay quarterly or even purchase an entire year of tracking upfront.

    Child Friendliness

    The child-facing app is child-friendly, with four main icons: PickMeUp, SOS, Help, and Profile. The Help button does open up the FamilyTime support website, but children can only opt to initiate a live chat or navigate within the FamilyTime website.

    • Protected parent area
    • NO external links
    • NO social media
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • NO in-app purchase
    • YES location tracking
    • YES tracks device usage

    screen1136x1136
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    A Forest of Families is a cute storybook app with fun sound effects and hand-drawn illustrations that teach readers about the many animals that can be found in the forest.
    4.2

    App Info

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

    Overview

    A Forest of Families is a hand-drawn storybook app that takes readers on a journey through a forest full of various animals and fun sounds for children to enjoy. This rhyming tale offers simple, hand-drawn illustrations that add a bit of character to this sweet app making it quite unique and beautiful.

    Features include:

    • Rhyming story
    • Hand-drawn illustrations
    • Read to me/Read to myself options

    Quality

    The first thing you notice about this storybook app is the simple hand-drawn technique used for the illustrations throughout the story that adds a bit of character to the story. The developers have done a nice job creating a simple to use interface as readers only need to swipe through the pages as they read on their own or with the narrator. While the images add a nice touch to the story, the overall quality of the app could us a bit of polishing with re-positioning the text (currently the text overshadows some of the illustrations) and adding text highlighting to help a bit with the readability of the text.

    Education

    It’s always nice to find a story book app that provides a bit of educational material for children to learn and A Forest of Families does just that. Not only will readers learn what kinds of animals live in the forest, but they also get to learn a few fun facts about the animals as well. For instance, the life cycle of a frog and the fact that a baby deer is called a fawn and the mother is called a doe are all facts that are included within the story. This is a great way for children to learn while they practice their reading skills.

    The developers have included narration options within the app that allows early readers to practice their reading skills, however text-highlighting is not included. Adding this feature would allow early readers to follow along and learn new vocabulary words and strengthen their reading skills as they enjoy the story.

    Entertainment

    As mentioned before, this storybook app includes lots of great sound effects that accompany the story. Children are going to love reading and re-reading the story to see which animals live in the forest. In addition to the story, there is also a coloring activity that allows readers to draw and color their own pictures which is a fun added activity. Unfortunately there seems to be an issue saving and printing the pictures once they are drawn as it kicks the user out of the app when using those options.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars this app is in line with most of the other storybook apps available. With the read to me and read to myself narration options, the educational story, and the additional coloring activity included this app is a good value overall.

    Child Friendliness

    The developers have done an excellent job making sure this app is easy to use for children as it includes narration options and simple swipe technology to move throughout the story. It also includes protected parent-only gateways that are great for younger users to ensure this app is completely safe to use for children of all ages.

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

    movingbooks

    MOVING BOOKS! Jajajajan

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendliness
    Summary
    Introduce kids to fun animated versions of classic stories and silly songs with MOVING BOOKS! Jajajajan.
    4.6

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Moving Books is a quality addition to the animated storybooks app field. This app lends its own unique style of animation to classic songs and stories. Seven free songs and stories are included with the app and parents can opt to purchase and download additional titles. Chances are kids will love the animations and beg their parents to download more for them to enjoy.

    Features include:

    • 4 free stories
    • 3 free songs
    • Cute animations
    • Fun sound effects 4

    Quality

    When kids first open the app, they’ll find that it takes a bit of time to load. When parents open the store, they will also find that it takes a bit of time to load and they cannot leave the store until the download is complete. Aside from this, Moving Books is a quality app. It features fun background music and really cute animated characters that have a style all of their own. Each of the songs and stories is well-animated and plays clearly so kids can enjoy without any frustration.

    Education

    The stories and songs contained within the app include the text displayed at the bottom of the screen. The app lacks text highlighting, but the text is presented in simple sentences displayed in a large white font, so it easy for kids to follow along. The words are accompanied by fun animations that help kids connect with the text. These features make this a good app to get toddlers, preschoolers, and other beginning readers interested in reading.

    Entertainment

    All of the stories and songs are accompanied by fun sound effects and animations. The animations have their own distinct style and are really enjoyable to watch. Listening to the stories is also entertaining, as the different characters all have their own voices. The songs contained within the app are catchy too.

    Value

    Just for downloading the app, kids get access to four animated stories and three songs. These include classic stories such as “The Three Little Pigs” and songs such as “The Other Day I Met a Bear.” This content alone makes the app worth a download. Parents can also select and purchase additional songs and apps. These selections are reasonably priced.

    Child Friendliness

    Both the store and menu are protected by a parental block. In the settings area, parents can opt to turn specific stories on or off, allowing them to choose the content they want their children to see.

    • 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)

    image (22)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friently
    Summary
    Zap Zap Math is an outstanding and versatile math practice app providing Common Core exercises for children in kindergarten through grade six that is both entertaining and educational.
    4.8

    App Info

    Price: Free
    AppStore User Rating: 1

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Zap Zap Math offers intergalactic practice with a wide array of math skills from kindergarten through grade six. With 19 games in 9 topics, the app covers several dozen Common Core Math Standards for elementary school.

    Features include:

    • List of Common Core Standards covered
    • Fast paced and interactive
    • Organized by topic
    • Topics and games arranged in order of difficulty
    • Motivational tools, such as earned points and stars

    Quality

    Zap Zap Math is a high-quality app. Developers put a lot of effort into the system, and it shows. The interface to choose topics and then games is a vertical carousel, which can be fun to use.  There are several formats to the games, but some games reuse the same format with more advanced content.  This is a good thing because it reduces the learning curve for many students.  Each game includes a short tutorial that outlines how to play, and each has a space theme. The graphics, animations, and background music are all at a good level to intrigue but not to overshadow the content.  Well done!  The one suggestion I would make is to have an obvious “back” button visible at all times.  There were a few times when I accidentally started a game that I did not want to play right then, and had to start play before being able to return to the selection area.

     

    Education

    This app is an outstanding example of a math practice app.  It offers an array of nine topics (addition/subtraction, multiplication, geometry, measurements, angles, ratio, fractions, expressions and coordinates. The addition/subtraction area boasts nine different games, focusing on basic facts, place value, and more. The other topics currently have one to three games, but developers indicate that they are adding more games every two weeks.  Each topic is matched to an array of Common Core standards, so it would be easy for a teacher to match games with areas needing practice.

    I actually like having the addition/subtraction area heavy in content; it is crucial that kids master these skills, and success in a number of other areas depends on them. It’s also very nice that the app covers such a wide array of topics; it would be very helpful when individualizing programs for various students.

    Entertainment

    Zap Zap Math is loads of fun. The games are themed around aliens and a fanciful intergalactic world, and they are very enjoyable. They are sure to grab and keep kids’ attention, and they may not even notice that they are studying math.  The developers did a nice job of incorporating many different response types-students can drag and drop, slide around the screen, and tap to accomplish goals and solve problems.  This adds a lot of interest.

    The games provided are short and sweet, usually demanding no more than completion of five problems before bragging about points and awarding level stars.  This keeps the play moving along at a fast pace, and will keep students playing longer.

    Value

    Zap Zap Math is an outstanding value. Not only is this high-quality math practice app available for free in the App Store, developers indicate that they are regularly adding new games and activities.  If I were you, I’d grab it quick before they change their minds!

    Child Friendliness

    This app is very child-friendly. There is a “Feedback” button that is visible, but the links in that section are protected by a parent gate that will be effective for most elementary students.  It involves solving a complex math problem that can include several steps. It might be better if the entire section were protected in this way, instead of just the links within the section.

    • Parent area (contains protected external link and app rating)
    • NO social media
    • NO in-app purchase
    • NO 3rd party ads

    SAT-App
    Quality
    Education
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Zinkerz Prep For SAT Test is an all inclusive app for students who want to get prepped and ready for the big test! With practice tests, flashcards, and loads of tips and tricks, this app is great for practice at school or at home.
    4.9

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Zinkerz Prep For SAT Test is the perfect app to help students get prepped and ready for the big test. With seemingly endless tips, tricks, and exercises, this app offers hours of pre-test practice for students to ensure they have all they need to get ready for their SAT test. Perfect for practice at home or in the classroom.

    Features include:

    • 37 Academic workouts
    • Vocabulary Flashcards
    • 4 Full length practice exams

    Quality

    The developers have done an excellent job creating a high quality and easy to use app for students to use as they practice for their SAT test. Zinkerz Prep For SAT offers a large variety of practice questions and drills in an organized manner that makes the app easy to follow. While there aren’t many illustrations or pictures needed, there are some additional resources that students can use while completing various problems including a calculator and virtual pencil and paper which is a nice addition. This all-inclusive study app is very well done!

    Education

    To begin Zinkerz Prep For SAT Test offers a diagnostic test to provide students with a baseline comparison score that they can use as they proceed through the various ‘workouts’. Each workout is comprised of a mini challenge, drill, flashcards, and tips and tricks for test taking. The mini challenge offers five timed questions to help students practice a certain skill they need for the test such as reading comprehension. Each drill includes ten questions for students to complete that will enhance their skill set and give them an idea of what they need a bit more practice on. The flashcards section offers fifteen vocabulary words and definitions that students can practice over and over again as needed.

    As if all of that weren’t enough, the developers have included 37 workouts (so far), plus four full length SAT practice tests for students to take to see how their scores have improved. Simply put, this app has everything a student needs to do well on their SAT test.

    Entertainment

    Not rated for entertainment.

    Value

    Parents are going to love that they can preview this app for free. The free version includes the diagnostic test as well as two workouts for students to try. There are also 35 additional workouts that are available on a membership basis for 1, 3, or 12 months. The membership prices vary between ($9.99-$59.99). When you consider the amount of practice that is included and all of the wonderful material that is covered that will assist students in improving their SAT scores, this app is a great value!

    Child Friendliness

    Zinkerz Prep For SAT Test is designed for students who are in high school and is extremely easy to use. As students complete one workout, they can then easily move onto the next one while still being able to go back and review their past workouts. They can also choose when to take their practice tests to see how they have improved making this a highly valuable app.

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

    Thomas-Edisons-Secret-Lab
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Thomas Edison's Secret Lab is an exciting app full of great educational material shared through fun music videos, interactive games, and entertaining lab experiments that kids will love.
    4.7

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab is a cute educational app full of great information, experiments, games, and other fun activities for children to enjoy. Not only do players have the chance to learn about various inventors and scientists, but they can also enjoy scientific music videos and meet some of Edison’s virtual team. Interactive and lots of fun.

    Features include:

    • Fun experiments
    • Educational music videos
    • Games

    Quality

    There is no doubt that the developers have done an excellent job creating fun images and illustrations for children to enjoy in this app. Each section has it’s own bit of high quality magic that offers interactive and entertaining images and activities. The user interface is easy to use and allows players to move through at their own pace. The developers have also included a bit of an introduction to give players some insight into how the app works and what they can expect. Overall, it’s very well done.

    Education

    When it comes to educational value, this app is great! Not only will children have the chance to learn about Thomas Edison and his contributions to science, but they also get to learn about other scientists including Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie, Sir Isaac Newton and many more. For each scientist players will learn about inventions and discoveries, their biography, a fun fact, and a famous quote. There is also a videos section of the app that allows children to learn fun science concepts through entertaining music videos. And if that isn’t enough, the experiments section provides four experiments that users can try at home (with parental supervision) for a little hands on learning.

    Entertainment

    In addition to all of the educational material that is included in the app, players are going to have a ton of fun as they learn about the other characters within the lab in the hologram section of the app. There is also a games section that allows children to play fun, science related games. (Note: In order to access these games, players are taken out of the app to the secret lab website to play through an unprotected button. This is addressed in the child-friendly section below.)

    Value

    Priced at just under a dollar this app is a steal! When you consider all of the educational and engaging material that is included, this app offers a ton of value. Parents will certainly be happy with the price and all that this app entails.

    Child Friendliness

    The developers have done an excellent job with the visuals, activities, educational material and games presented in this app. One thing parents will want to be aware of if they are using an iPad 2 device is that in order to access the games section players are taken through an (unprotected) external link to the website where the games are located. All other devices include the games within the device which is perfect. It would be nice to have a simple gateway to protect users who might be using an iPad 2, however for users using newer models this is not an issue.

    • NO social media
    • NO in-app purchase
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • YES “external links” (unprotected on iPad 2 devices only)

    IMG_0770

    Arithmetic Practice with WizEarn

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Encourage kids to solve basic math problems by rewarding them with apps. The more problems answered, the more apps they earn.
    3.8

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Arithmetic Practice by WizEarn seeks to encourage kids to practice solving math problems by rewarding them with apps. The app lets parents choose how many problems kids must answer and the level of difficulty for those problems. While good in theory, the app requires a lot of parental supervision. Without it, kids can access the App Store and adjust the settings to help them game the system and download whatever apps they want.

    Features include:

    • Earn apps
    • Solve math problems
    • Track progress
    • Motivate kids

    Quality

    Before kids can practice solving problems, they must choose an app to download. A simple instructions screen shows them how to choose an app. Once a single app or group of apps kids would like to download are added, they can start answering questions to earn prizes. On the app’s home screen, kids and parents can see how many questions have been answered at each level and how long it took to answer each question. They can also access the settings screen to control the difficulty of the questions and how many questions it takes to earn an app in each of three price levels (Free, $0.99-$2.99, and $3.00+). Parents should note that there are no parental blocks to keep kids from accessing the settings. Kids can tap on the Home button at any time and adjust the settings, so if a parent has decided that kids must answer 150 questions to earn a $3.00+ app, kids can reset it to the minimum of 10 problems. They can also adjust the difficulty of the questions.

    Education

    The goal of the app is to simply motivate kids to practice math facts. There are seven levels of difficulty. They include problems that use addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square roots. Parents can select any number of these levels based on the type of problems they want their children to solve. The app does seem to favor the easier addition questions at the beginning stages when all levels are selected.

    Entertainment

    Aside from the motivational element, the app is not extremely entertaining. It simply presents problems one after another, offering a chime each time kids solve a problem correctly. Some kids will appreciate that the app times them as they answer questions and will work hard to improve their efficiency and accuracy as they solve problems.

    Value

    The app is free to download and use. For parents looking to motivate their kids, it may be worth a download, as long as they are willing to supervise its use.

    Child Friendliness

    To access the app store and choose an app, kids must get through a parental gate. For younger kids, this gate is effective because it contains difficult multiplication problems. For older kids, who can answer that level of problems, it’s less effective and there’s nothing to keep them from selecting apps on their own. At both ages, parents should monitor app use to ensure children are picking approved apps to download as rewards. Also, once kids complete the problems required to earn an app, they’re taken directly to the App Store. There they can bypass the chosen app and choose to download any app they want. Parents should be sure to require a password for downloads from the App Store to prevent unwanted purchases.

    lipa

    Lipa Theater: Story Maker

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Kids become directors as they create and narrate their own animated stories.
    4.2

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Kids become authors and directors in Lipa Theater: Story Maker. This creative app gives kids the chance to play around with characters and record their own short stories using those characters. Along with a host of characters, they’re given backgrounds, props, and other tools to enhance their stories. They can then go to town to make everything come to life. While the app has a few flaws, most kids will find that they really enjoy creating their stories and narrating animated movies of their own.

    Features include:

    • Available in eight languages
    • Theater School and My Story Mode
    • Play with Characters or Record Stories
    • Multiple props, characters, and settings available.

    Quality

    At first glance, Lipa Theater: Story Maker feels a bit overwhelming. The main screen contains a parent section, a Lipa Theater account icon, a settings icon, and a more apps icon. Once kids press the play button, Casper pops up and gives them an introduction. From there, they can choose whether to enter the Theater School or My Story sections. In the My Story section kids can explore the features of the app on their own, but the Theater School section gives them a very thorough, and at times frustrating, overview of all of the features of the app and story making in general. When it comes to creating stories, the app is laid out fairly well with clear icons that organize the different props and functions. The characters are a bit funky and with wobbly limbs that are hard to control, but most kids will not mind.

    Education

    The app promotes creative thinking and storytelling. In the Theater School section, kids are given a good overview of how to use the app and what to think about when telling a story. Casper, the narrator, encourages them to think about how the characters might interact on a deeper level, including talking about the characters’ feelings. Unfortunately, this section is very long and somewhat boring for kids who simply want to start creating their own stories. Fortunately, kids don’t have to sit through the Theater School (although they really should) to get to the story making. They can jump right in, choose their characters, and create some really creative stories.

    Entertainment

    Kids will have a lot of fun choosing characters, moving them around the screen, and adding props to make their scenes more entertaining. What they’ll like most is being able to record their stories, including using the microphone to provide their own voices or narration. The characters move somewhat like marionettes and it may take kids a bit of time to get used to maneuvering them the way they want. However, with practice, they’ll be able to put the characters in many fun positions. For those who don’t want to put in the practice, the app is still a lot of fun.

    Value

    This app contains a host of characters, props, and settings for kids. It also allows them to record their videos utilizing those items. The app is priced comparably to similar apps. Unlike some similar apps, the characters seem a bit lackluster, but kids will still have fun. The theater school section adds a bit of value to the app because it encourages kids to think deeper about the type of stories they can create.

    Child Friendliness

    The app opens with a few screens designed to be read by parents. While these screens are helpful, they would work better if they were contained in the parent area for parents to access as they don’t provide much information to really help children interact with the app. On these screens and the main screen, children will see more apps areas. Access to the app store is protected by a parental block, but it’s a fairly simple block that many children may accidentally find their way around. The same is true of the ability to post videos to Facebook or share them by e-mail. These methods are protected by a parental block, but children, particularly those who can read, will easily find their way around it. The app also encourages parents to set up a Lipa account.

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

    lulu
    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Painting Lulu Coloring Books For Kids is a little artist's dream app! With lots of fun coloring pages to enjoy and the option to create your own coloring pages, this app has it all.
    4.8

    App Info

    Price: Free
    AppStore User Rating: 1.5
    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Painting Lulu Coloring Books For Kids is a cute coloring book app that allows children to color and create to their heart’s content. With lots of fun coloring pages to enjoy and other pages you can create and add on your own, this app offers endless opportunities for the little artist in your home.

    Features include:

    • Pre-loaded Lulu & Friends Coloring Books
    • Page scanner
    • Photo booth

    Quality

    Painting Lulu Coloring Books For Kids is a creative and easy to use app for kids that will inspire little artists to color and create gorgeous masterpieces. The developers have done a nice job of including features that children can easily use including the photo booth function that allows children to take their own photos and turn them into coloring pages. The coloring functions also provide a wide variety of pencils, crayons, markers, paint, and colors to choose from that children will love. Overall, this app is very well done.

    Education

    Not rated for education.

    Entertainment

    Children are going to fall in love with this app especially if they love to create their own masterpieces at home. Not only can little ones color the pre-loaded coloring books that are included, but they can also create their own using the photo booth function or scan new pages from the official paper to digital coloring packs and pages available in stores. There are also options to purchase additional coloring books including Hot Wheels, Barbie and many more. This app is also perfect for children who may already have some of the Painting LuLu coloring books at home because they can use a special code to unlock some of the additional coloring books within the app.

    Value

    As a parent it is always great to find apps that are free and full of value and this is one of those apps. Painting LuLu Coloring Book comes with a pre-loaded with Lulu & Friends Coloring books with the option to purchase or unlock some of the others for an additional fee through an in-app purchase. As it is now, the app still offers great value allowing children to create their own coloring pages and books.

    Child Friendliness

    Overall the developers have done a nice job of making this app easy to use for children of all ages. With simple tap and drag functioning, children can paint, color, draw, and create their own masterpieces with ease. The additional photo booth option is also easy to use as it allows children to take their own pictures and create fun coloring pages and books all their own.

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

    image (4)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Times Table Galaxy is a fun and effective system for practicing multiplication facts in timed and competitive settings. The app supports both development of skill at skip counting and improvement in speed and memorization of multiplication combinations 2 x 2 to 12 x 12.
    4.7

    App Info

    Price: Free
    AppStore User Rating: 4.5

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Times Table Galaxy offers timed practice on math fact families from x 2 to x 12 as well as a mixed practice option. Facts are presented in order, with multiple choice options for the answers. Extra time can be earned by answering random questions related to math facts, such as which number is a multiple of the target or which math fact has the larger answer.

    Features include:

    • Optional timed practice on fact families from x2 to x12
    • Connection through Game Center to challenge and compete with friends
    • Facts presented in order to reinforce skip counting for inexperienced students
    • Challenge level available for students once they’ve mastered each level
    • Application questions provide additional time to play and practice

    Quality

    Times Table Galaxy is a high quality app that performs very well.  It is intuitive to use. The app’s sound effects, background music, and visual displays for each problem are intriguing and different, yet non-distracting. The level selection mechanism (a carousel display of fact families) is easy to use and effective.

    Education

    Times Table Galaxy provides effective practice with multiplication facts from 2 x 2 through 12 x 12, as well as a wide array of application problems.  The facts at each level are presented in order with a selection of multiple choice responses that include the correct answer. Unless users turn it off in the settings section, each section is timed. The available time can be extended by clicking on the floating “atoms” that move across the screen, which open various types of application questions, such as which fact has the smaller answer or solving related division facts. Together, the activities provide an excellent mental workout, as well as honing observation and scanning skills.

    There is also a “challenge” level that runs through all levels in order. The game invites users to challenge friends on Game Center to beat times and scores at any level. The sense of competition and urgency conveyed by the background music combine to encourage students to build speed and accuracy at the multiplication facts.

    The downside to this app is the emphasis placed on answering problems in order, and on the ability to use visual scanning. By keeping problems in order, some students may well be able to memorize the sequence of answers, then become flummoxed when presented with items in a different arrangement.  Each problem also presents from 4 to 8 answer choices which must be scanned to locate and tap the correct answer.  While many students will do just fine with this presentation, there are children who will have a great deal of difficulty with this sort of presentation. Finding and quickly tapping the floating “atoms” to answer questions to gain extra time may also be too challenging for some students, as it requires split attention between the problems on the screen and movements in the background.

    Entertainment

    Times Table Galaxy is very entertaining and quite addictive. Most students will be motivated by the game’s combination of self-improvement and competition with friends on the Game Center. The backgrounds, sound effects, and music are all pleasant and entertaining. Allowing users to earn extra time by answering application questions is genius; it is quite possible for people who are proficient in their math facts to run through the entire game without “running out of lives.”

    Value

    Times Table Galaxy is free to download with an optional in-app purchase.  The free version of the app allows users to play until they lose a few lives, then it shuts the app down for a bit while it regenerates.  Users can unlock an unlimited version via the in-app purchase of $2.99. This will eliminate the need to “regenerate” after several rounds.  There is also a version designed specifically for schools (“Times Table Galaxy for Schools”) that costs $2.99 in the App Store and includes unlimited lives and no in-app purchase option.

    Child Friendliness

    Times Table Galaxy is mostly child-friendly, but parents and teachers should be cautious about use of the Game Center and should be aware that the in-app purchase is not particularly well-protected.  There is a parent gate on the purchase and other links in the parent section, but each is clearly labeled “tap and hold” to access, which means that children in the target audience will easily understand how to access these things as well.

    • Parent area (contains external links and in-app purchase)
    • NO social media
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • YES external links (protected, but visible)
    • YES access to the Game Center

    loopskool

    LoopSkool Chinese

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Learn Chinese phrase by phrase in just 10 minutes a day.
    4.7

    App Info

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

    Overview

    If you or your children want to learn Mandarin Chinese, LoopSkool Chinese is a great place to start. This interactive language learning app focuses on helping users learn Chinese a few phrases at a time. The app reads each phrase, explains its meaning, and highlights the word inflections. Kids then practice using each phrase in multiple ways. Designed to be used only 10 minutes a day, the organization and activities in this app provide a solid beginner’s knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.

    Features include:

    • Overview of Mandarin Chinese
    • 50 lessons
    • Repetitive lessons
    • Chants to help kids learn

    Quality

    The app is organized into three main sections: lessons, activities, and tests. Kids can easily move from one to another. There is also a settings section that gives users the option to display the Chinese characters alongside the phrases and whether to use adult voices. The app only supports one user at a time, but the test scores can be reset for new users.

    Education

    Developers have thought carefully about the process. Each lesson features a few related phrases. Kids listen to the phrases set to a basic chant, and then go through a basic explanation of each phrase. After completing each lesson, they can go through an activity that focuses on the meaning and order of the words, as well as the tone marks. The same questions from the activities are repeated in the test mode. Kids must successfully complete both a lesson and activity before unlocking the test.

    In addition to the 50 lessons, the developers have also included a handy introduction section. This section highlights the main tones and sounds in Mandarin Chinese. For those completely new to the language, it will be helpful to review this content before beginning.

    Entertainment

    Repetition is the name of the game. There are not any fun games or exciting graphics within the app, but kids will likely find the repetitive nature of the activities enjoyable. As kids go through the practice activities and tests they are encouraged to increase their time and accuracy. In order to unlock each new level, kids must successfully complete the previous level, so they have extra motivation to take the game seriously and get the answers correct.

    Value

    The app contains 50 different lessons designed to help kids speak Mandarin Chinese and three different activities to help kids practice the content in those lessons. Given the volume of content and the price of similar apps, those looking to learn Chinese will find that this app offers a good value.

    Child Friendliness

    Children are able to safely navigate the app. Within the settings, parents can read about the app and its developers, but they will not find any social media, additional apps, or other inappropriate content.

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

    potateo
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    I Love Potatoes is an adventure based app that teaches children a very valuable lesson in social change, recycling, and sustainability with an interesting potato metaphor. Unique, educational, and fun to play.
    4.1

    App Info

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

    Overview

    I Love Potatoes is an adventure game that takes problem solving to the next level. This interesting app does more than just teach children to use their logical skills, but it also aims to teach players about social change and sustainability. This potato loving community needs help and players must help Chips (the main character) save his village from it’s fateful demise.

    Features include:

    • Problem solving adventure game
    • Unique concept
    • Multiple languages

    Quality

    I Love Potatoes is an interesting app with a unique set-up that children will enjoy. The developers have done a nice job creating interesting graphics and characters that keep children engaged as they play. The user interface takes a little getting used to as children must follow the written clues and dialogue in order to move through the app successfully. While there are sound effects and other background noises, the dialogue is not exactly narrated in the language provided. It seems the characters have a language all their own which makes this app best used by children who can already read.

    Education

    This app isn’t your typical educational app, instead it tests player’s logic and problem solving skills as they help Chips and his friends save their village. With clues to follow and various tasks to complete, children must stay focused and engaged in order to complete each task successfully. This app also offers a chance for children to learn life-lessons about sustainability and social change by simply playing the game.

    While the concept of this app is a great idea to teach children, I’m not sure if the idea translates for children to truly understand the meaning behind it. Making it a bit clearer or more realistic might help kids understand it a bit more.

    Entertainment

    I Love Potatoes is an adventure game that is sure to keep children engaged the entire way through. Players must think strategically and use their logic to follow the clues as they help Chips save the village. While there are markers throughout to help players at some points in the game, this is one app that challenges children to use their imaginations to help get the job done.

    Value

    Parents will definitely appreciate the value that is provided in this app because it is absolutely free. With a great educational concept to inspire children to think about social change and a challenging set up, this app is one parents can appreciate for the content and the price.

    Child Friendliness

    This app is aimed at children 7 and up and the user interface is fairly easy to use. There are some parts of the app that could use a bit more guidance for children with arrows or other indicators to help players through and make the app easier to play. Parents will also want to know that some of the language used may not be language that they deem appropriate. With phrases like ‘move your butt’ and other not very nice words that are used, some parents might be concerned allowing younger children to use the app.

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

    image (3)
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Planet Lettra is an outstanding app that will help young readers develop an intuitive understanding of phonics and word analysis skills in a playful, encouraging environment.
    5

    App Info

    Price: $1.99
    AppStore User Rating: 3.5

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Planet Lettra is a playground for word-building. Users are magically transported to the mythical Planet Lettra where letters float in bubbles in the sky. When the bubbles bump, the letters combine, and sooner or later, make words. The beings on the planet eat letter groups of various types. Together, the activities set the stage for productive letter play for prereaders, emergent readers, and experienced readers alike.

    Features include:

    • Support for English, French and Spanish play
    • Over 100,000 possible words in each language
    • Emphasis on 1,000 high frequency words
    • Stress-free play environment with soothing sounds
    • Simple play designed for young children

    Quality

    Planet Lettra is a very high quality app that performs exactly as expected.  Developers put a lot of thought into the mechanics of the game, making it easy enough for young children to use and intriguing enough to interest older players. There is a tour of the app included that is suitable for parents and children alike, narrated in rhyming verse that sounds like it was written by Dr. Seuss.

    Education

    This delightful app encourages exactly the type of letter play that young children need to develop a firm grasp of phonics and word analysis skills as they grow into readers. Users have a screen full of floating bubbles that show one or more letters. When the bubbles bump, they can combine in various ways and with varying degrees of ease. It’s even possible to change the settings of the bubbles’ borders to control how they interact. The bubbles change color, depending on what is inside. Single letter bubbles are white, multiple letter bubbles (which usually make real letter clusters) are yellow, real words are orange (the app recognizes over 100,000 English words), combinations that do not lead to real words turn blue. Players can have hours of fun simply bumping bubbles into each other to see what will happen.

    The planet also has creatures living on the surface that like to eat bubbles. Spin the planet to find more residents, each unique in its own way. Some seem to eat nearly any bubble while others only want to eat orange bubbles that contain real words. It takes the game to a whole new level to try to figure out which types of bubbles each creature prefers.  There are some creatures that “get dressed up” when they eat their favorite bubbles by sprouting clothing, beards, antennae, and other details.  At least one will actually eat non-word letter groups, then spit the letters back out one at a time as if they tasted bad!

    Planet Lettra also supports learning with a variety of auditory cues as well.  Letters can be named, letter combinations can be pronounced, and words can be read out loud.  A few of the letter combinations are not pronounced correctly, though, such as “im” being pronounced “I am” and “un” being spoken with a long u sound instead of a short one.  However, most of the bubbles seem to have correct and predictable pronunciations, so these small lapses are quite forgivable in such a complex system.

    The app supports play in three languages (English, French and Spanish), and even incorporates a few regional accents that can be changed by the user.  So if an English-speaking player wishes, the app can speak American English, Australian English, Irish English, or in the tones of Great Britain.

    Entertainment

    This app is as entertaining as it is educational. It’s perfect for young users, encouraging play in a non-competitive and relaxing manner.  It’s also intriguing for more mature readers, since there are several levels of complexity to explore.  The animations and sound effects are loads of fun, and the game play is outstanding.

    Value

    It’s tough to beat the value of this app, especially for beginning and emergent readers. It’s suitable for all ages, and adaptable enough to meet the educational needs for a wide array of students. The app is priced at $1.99 in the App Store, and it will provide hours of fun for preschoolers, young readers, special education students, and more.

    Child Friendliness

    This app is very child-friendly.

    • Parent area (contains no external links and is suitable for children or adults)
    • NO social media
    • NO in-app purchase
    • NO 3rd party ads

    Zoop-Apple-icon-1
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Zooper ABC Animals is the perfect all inclusive alphabet app that allows players to learn and write the alphabet, while adding fun words to their vocabulary.
    4.6

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Zooper ABC Animals is a cute early learning app that helps little ones practice reading and writing the alphabet while learning new words they can add to their vocabulary. With great pictures and interactive illustrations, this app offers a fun environment for children to learn and play.

    Features include:

    • 3 Educational activities
    • Great interactive images
    • Easy to use

    Quality

    Zooper ABC Animals is full of great interactive images that are brightly colored and visually appealing. The added sound effects and narration that are included help to bring the app to life in a way children will really enjoy. The user interface is very easy to use and only requires simple tapping and dragging motions to move through each of the educational activities which is perfect for young children. Overall, this app is very well done.

    Education

    In addition to practicing the alphabet, players have the opportunity to practice writing each letter in both upper and lower cases. The tracing exercise is very easy to use and guides children through the strokes (if necessary) using numbers. Players also have the opportunity to learn new words that begin with each letter. This activity shows a variety of shadowed pictures that when tapped show up in full color with the word listed above (and read aloud if narration is on). Overall the developers have done a great job making this app easy to use and educational without making it confusing or hard to follow.

    Entertainment

    While this app doesn’t really focus on the entertainment value, it is one that children will enjoy playing. With the narration on, children have the chance to read and hear fun rhymes with each letter and interact with various images associated with each letter. The sound effects and simple, yet entertaining interactive images create a bit of fun while children learn. While it would be nice to add another game or activity for entertainment value, this app is really more about the educational features.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars, this app is a great deal. With three educational activities to enjoy, great images and sound effects, and narration options included, children are going to get a ton of value out of this app.

    Child Friendliness

    The developers have done a nice job of creating an app that is educational and easy to use for kids. The tap and drag model used to move throughout the app is great for younger users, however moving between the activities with each letter may not be as apparent for younger users. With that said, the developers have done a great job overall making this app safe for children of all ages to use.

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

    dragonbox

    DragonBox Numbers

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Help kids build number recognition and logic skills in a fun and creative way.
    4.7

    App Info

    Price: $7.99
    AppStore User Rating:
    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    An app with the name DragonBox Numbers may seem like a simple counting app for kids, but this app is anything but. In fact, while the app focuses on basic counting, addition, and subtraction skills, it is very appropriate for a wide group of ages. To play the app, kids solve puzzles to earn coins. They must correctly place the nooms in the empty spaces in the puzzles, subtly learning facts about addition, subtraction, and geometry at the same time.

    Features include:

    • Count the Nooms
    • Add and subtract
    • Learn place value
    • Earn and spend coins

    Quality

    Developers have created a fun and educational app for kids. They have also created a high-quality app for kids. The peppy background music and silly Nooms give the app a highly energetic and exciting tone. The extensive selection of puzzles and multiple ways to solve them add another dimension of quality to the app. After setting up an account, parents will find that kids can easily navigate through the puzzles. To complete a puzzle, they must spend their coins, which are displayed in neat place value piles at the bottom of the screen. The place value piles and other small details are what really make the app stand out for its quality.

    Education

    While the math lessons contained within this app may be subtle, they are done well. To kids, the focus of the app is on learning puzzles, although learning how to count, add, and subtract is clearly the main goal. To complete puzzles, kids must create groups of Nooms to correctly fit the empty spaces. For example, they may have to stack three Nooms to fit a spot or cut a Noom by one to get it to the right size. After kids successfully complete a puzzle, they earn coins. These coins add another dimension to the educational value of the app. Their coin total is displayed according to place value on the bottom of the screen. As kids purchase new puzzles, they must drag their coins to purchase the puzzle. The coins are counted out as they go.

    Entertainment

    At first, the app seems a bit frustrating since kids can only complete three puzzles before earning more coins. Thankfully, kids amass coins quickly and will soon be completing the puzzles they want. The more difficult the puzzle, the more coins it costs and the more coins it awards. Kids can opt to spend all of their coins on harder puzzles or complete easier puzzles to build up enough coins to play the most expensive puzzles.

    All of the puzzles are entertaining and feature the silly Nooms. Kids can bounce them, throw them, build them up, and cut them down. They make fun sounds and move so quickly that they prove to be a delight to kids.

    Value

    One of the only negatives of DragonBox Numbers is the price. This app contains a lot of puzzles and is a great way to help kids build both basic math and logic skills. However, there many other awesome math and logic apps available at lower prices, making it difficult for parents to decide to purchase this one at its current price.

    Child Friendliness

    In order to access the app for the first time, parents must set up a child’s profile. The app requests an e-mail address so parents can track a child’s progress, but the step can be skipped (although not without some pushy requests to set up an account afterwards). However, once kids are logged in to their profiles, the app is completely safe and free from unwanted content.

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

    tocaschool

    Toca Life: School

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Kids rule the school in this educational addition to the Toca Life series.
    4.7

    App Info

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

    Overview

    It’s time to head to school with Toca Boca. However, this school is a lot different than the schools your children may be familiar with. In this school, they have free reign. They can walk from building to building, go out to recess whenever they want, and even start a food fight in the cafeteria. The latest app in the Toca Life series is truly the school of kids’ dreams.

    Features include:

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

    Quality

    Developers have created a welcoming environment full of the Toca Boca characters kids love. The app contains a lot of fun music and sound effects, which parents can turn off in the settings section of their devices. That detail and other instructions parents might need are found in the protected parent area. From the instruments in the Youth Club to the warming trays in the cafeteria, kids will also find lots of fun details throughout the app.

    Education

    Like the other apps in the Toca Life series, Toca School does not focus on specific skills as much as it focuses on child-directed play and storytelling. As kids interact with the characters in the app, they will naturally come up with their own storylines. The recording feature allows kids to narrate and play back the stories they create. Parents should take some time to watch those stories and talk with kids as they play with the app. Since kids have free reign, there are plenty of opportunities for parents to talk to kids about positive behaviors, such as cleaning up after you make a mess.

    Entertainment

    Kids love being in control and, in this app, there is plenty for them to control. In the main school building, kids can open their lockers, talk to the secretary, use the bathroom, play around in a chemistry lab, or even draw on the whiteboard. On the playground, they can shoot hoops, play a game of hopscotch, or run around with friends. There’s also a youth club with a ping pong table, pool table, complete rock band, and other fun elements, and a cafeteria full of food and drinks.

    Value

    The app is priced the same as other Toca apps. Given the quality and amount of activities kids can enjoy, it is worth a download at that price.

    Child Friendliness

    This app is designed to give children free reign in a controlled community. All of the content is child-friendly, although some of it (ie; food fights) may not be parent approved. However, there is a more apps icon in the bottom right hand corner of the main screen and a protected parent area. The app also requests access to the microphone and photos so kids can record videos of their characters’ actions in the app.

    • 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)

    Beach_Preview_01
    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    My Town: Beach Picnic is an easy to use, interactive app that takes players on a journey to the beach to explore underwater creatures, the beach shop and so much more. Interactive, engaging, and great for children of all ages.
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    My Town: Beach Picnic is a cute, easy to use app that allows little ones to explore fun activities, animals, and things to do at the beach. With an entire beach and ocean to engage in and explore, children are going to love discovering the treasure under the sea, having a picnic on the beach, and so much more.

    Features include:

    • Free play environment
    • Easy to use
    • Great interactive images

    Quality

    My Town: Beach Picnic offers a fun, free play environment for young children to explore all there is to do at the beach. The developers have made this app very easy to use as children need only to tap and touch their way through the app to explore each area with ease. They can also tap and drag various items and characters to move them around and set up their own scenes while interacting with a variety of images included.

    Education

    Not rated for education.

    Entertainment

    Young children are going to love this app for all of the fun images and interactive illustrations to explore. The developers have included an underwater world for players to explore as well as a fishing dock, a sandy beach with a picnic set up as well as a beach store. As players move throughout the app, there are also hidden hearts for children to locate and when all seven hearts are found, players are rewarded with a fish to add to their underwater seascape. Overall this app is great at keeping children engaged and entertained.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars this app is a good value. The free play environment allows kids to explore on their own with ease and interact with all of the images and illustrations in their own time. And when you add to that the additional in app game, this is one app parents can appreciate as well.

    Child Friendliness

    The developers have done a nice job of making My Town: Beach Picnic easy to use for children of all ages as it only requires a bit of tapping and dragging to move through the app successfully. The user interface is quite intuitive making it great for little ones to explore. The parent gateways and ‘other apps’ buttons are also protected so children don’t end up in places they shouldn’t be which is also great.

    • 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)

    image
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child-Friendly
    Summary
    MUBApp is a great first attempt at capturing some of the experiential learning opportunities that are possible at children’s museums around the world as well as a playful introduction to eight other cultures.
    4.5

    App Info

    Price: Free
    AppStore User Rating:

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    MUBApp is the first in a series of planned offerings from the Children’s Museum of Milan that invite users to play and learn experientially in much the same manner as they are encouraged to in the Museum’s on-site exhibits. It includes a section about foods around the world and one on the history of the building that houses the Museum.

    Features include:

    • Includes cuisine and table service from 8 countries
    • Includes a “create your own” meal option
    • Includes three time periods from the Rotunda’s history
    • Engaging animations and sound effects
    • Opportunities for creative and imaginative play

    Quality

    MUBApp is a high-quality app that is easy to use and intuitive. It is designed for free play and exploration in an effort to mimic exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Milan. The app is responsive and easy to explore.  It is also very open-ended, providing endless opportunities for play and story-telling.

    Education

    MUBApp has two distinct sections. The first shows users the history of the site of the Children’s Museum of Milan. Each scene represents one of three time periods and has illustrations, animations and sound effects to match.  During one period, the area was a cemetery and in another, a stable.  Users will enjoy the interactions hidden around the scenes.

    The second section is much larger and is designed to help users learn about foods from around the world.  Eight different countries are represented.  Play begins by having the user drag a picture of a typical food to the correct country and flag. Incorrect matches snap back into the menu of choices.  Once a correct match is made, the screen opens to a table from that culture.  An array of foods from many countries is displayed at the bottom of the screen and users are challenged to choose the foods from the country and “set the table” with the proper utensils.  The app includes a recipe or two from each cuisine, though these are in metric units and might prove a bit challenging for American families.

    The foods section of the app also includes a “my table” selection, where players can mix and match foods from many countries.  The activities included are great opportunities to elicit language and story-telling.  There is a bit of a missed opportunity when the developers did not include an audio version of each food’s name, however.  As it stands, children are likely to place foods randomly until one “sticks,” but they will not have a chance to learn about many of the dishes’ names.

    Entertainment

    MUBApp encourages young children to learn through exploration.  Simply experimenting with the various illustrations will allow users to find new and intriguing animations and sound effects, and there are a LOT of things to find, especially in the Rotunda section of the app.

    The Foods section might get a bit frustrating if children are not already familiar with at least some foreign dishes.  There are a lot of foods to try placing on the table at random before finding the ones that match with the chosen country.  The activity is also a bit repetitive for sheer fun.  I believe many children will tire of the process long before they’ve tried to set the table for all eight countries.

    Value

    MUBApp is a good value for the money.  It costs $2.99 in the App Store, and could be a great introduction to some aspects of other cultures.  It would make a nice supplement to a geography or social studies unit about people in other countries, and also would be a good resource for children researching about far-away places.

    Child Friendliness

    This app is extremely child-friendly.  It contains no outside links or other connections to the internet.

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

    poof
    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Join Ange-Marie and her Magic Poof as they decide how to pose for school pictures. This magical tale is fun to read and highly entertaining. Perfect for children of all ages.
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Magic Poof is a cute storybook app with a magical concept that children are going to love. Ange-Marie is no ordinary girl. In fact, she’s got a magic hair poof with lots of personality that changes shape and size depending on its mood. In addition to the creative story that is a ton fun to explore, readers are going to enjoy the additional activity that is included which allows players to try on their own poof using the camera function.

    Features include:

    • Read to me/Read to myself
    • Magic poof activity
    • Text highlighting

    Quality

    Magic Poof is a storybook app full of fun interactive images and great sound effects that help to bring the story to life and keep kids engaged as they read. The developers have also done a nice job of making this app easy to use for children of all ages with a brief instruction page that highlights all of the features throughout the app including, text highlighting, interactive images, and buttons to help readers move through the story with ease. Children are going to love the interactive surprises hidden throughout the story as they enjoy this creative story. Overall, this app is very well done.

    Education

    It’s always nice to find storybook apps with both the narration options and text highlighting for children to follow along with. It helps pre-readers get exposed to new words and begin to learn to read while early readers can practice their skills and add to their vocabulary as they follow along. Parents will also be happy to see that along with text highlighting, children can tap each word to hear it aloud which allows readers to add even more words to their growing vocabulary.

    Entertainment

    There is no doubt children are going to love this app. The story takes readers on a magical adventure into their imaginations as they see the Magic Poof come to life right on Ange-Marie’s head. This imaginative story is sure to inspire little ones to tap into their own creativity and explore their imaginations as they read. The developers have also included an additional activity that allows players to shape their own Poof by using the camera function on their device which also helps to keep kids engaged.

    Value

    What’s even better than having a fun and creative app like Magic Poof, is that it’s also completely free. With the narration options, text highlighting, and additional activity to enjoy, this app is such a great value. It’s a win/win for parents and kids!

    Child Friendliness

    Easy to use and fun to read, Magic Poof is great for children of all ages. The text highlighting and narration options allow young children to follow along and enjoy all this app has to offer. Parents will also be happy to know that the parent gateways and the in-app purchase included are both protected so kids won’t be getting into any areas they aren’t supposed to.

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

    crazycursive

    Crazy Cursive Letters

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Introduce kids to cursive writing through three different activities, and reinforce phonics and spelling skills at the same time.
    4.2

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Some people think that cursive writing is a lost art, but Crazy Cursive Letters doesn’t think so. This app, available in six different languages, gives kids a chance to practice their cursive writing skills. It does this through three modes of play, having kids write individual letters, short words, and words that they choose on their own. All kids have to do is follow the arrows and they’ll soon be on their way to writing cursive perfectly.

    Features include:

    • Three modes of play
    • Top 100 vocabulary words
    • Two styles of cursive
    • Add up to 10 users
    • Select from 6 languages

    Quality

    The settings section of the app contains many features designed to enhance its quality. Kids can select from two different styles of cursive, opt to practice one letter or multiple letters at a time, and even adjust the settings based on whether they are right handed or left handed. Additionally, the app allows up to 10 user accounts and each user can save his/her own settings.

    Education

    Once kids set up their profile, they can begin practicing their cursive writing. The app offers two different styles of cursive, so parents and teachers should make sure kids practice the style they are expected to know. The app gives kids three different ways to practice their cursive – by the top 100 words, individual letters, and free writing. With each option the letter or letters appear on the screen along with a series of arrows. Kids move the pen based on the direction of the arrows to write in cursive. In general, this is a great concept and one that should benefit kids. However, the arrows are fairly small and occasionally the pen gets in the way. If the arrows were bigger, the app would be more effective. As it stands, it may be frustrating for kids who are new to cursive writing. In addition to the letters being small, the app only lets kids writer shorter words in cursive. In the free writing section, kids can type in their own words to write in cursive, but the word box only allows 9 letters and the letters are squeezed so tightly you cannot see the individual arrows. Words with 1-4 letters work best in that section.

    In addition to teaching kids to write in cursive, the app also includes a phonics option. While the idea is good in theory, the phonics option does not do a great job of sounding out the words, focusing instead on individual letter sounds. This also seems to be a bit low level for the age of kids who are likely to be interested in writing cursive.

    Entertainment

    For kids, the highlight of the app is likely to be the free writing section. They can type in any word or combination of letters (although not more than 9 letters at once) and it will appear on the screen for them to write in cursive. Of course, this will likely lead to kids typing a bunch of nonsense or silly words, but they’ll still learn to write in cursive, so that’s okay. To boost the entertainment factor, the app also rewards kids with new sounds and fun sound effects as they successfully write letters and words in cursive.

    Value

    This app is priced comparably to similar apps, but aspects of the app, such as the focus on only short words, cause it to lose a bit of value. What does give it additional value is that it is available in six different languages and the top 100 words change for each language.

    Child Friendliness

    Once kids have created a profile, which simply involves entering a name, they can start interacting with the app. The main screen displays a more apps button, although it is locked. Kids can also access the settings screen where they can turn the sounds, phonics, pen, and multiple letters options on and off. There is also a reset progress option, but it is also locked so only parents can access it.

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

    image (16)
    Quality
    Education
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Smart Spark-Ignite Your Child’s Learning Potential will help most families and even some teachers to analyze their child’s and their own learning style and to better understand how to best take advantage of everyone’s strengths to achieve more academic success.
    5

    App Info

    Price: Free
    AppStore User Rating: 5

    Download on the App Store

    Overview

    Smart Spark walks parents or teachers through a survey designed to pinpoint students’ learning styles, then provides an easy-to-understand report showing the child’s learning strengths, communication style and possible challenges.  It also analyzes YOUR learning strengths, communication style and possible challenges, so you can get information about interacting with the student.

    Features include:

    • Engaging and easy to use survey
    • Clear, concise learning profile
    • Easy to share with teachers and other adults
    • Steady supply of tips relevant to working with your child
    • Update and make notes on the learning profile

    Quality

    Smart Spark is a high quality app that works as the developers intended it to. The app requires that adults set up a profile for themselves and one for each student. It presents a set of survey questions and then offers a summary of both the adult’s and the student’s learning style with strengths and challenges.  It also offers suggestions for how the adult should consider interacting with the student based on the combination of the two profiles. In addition, the app provides weekly suggestions and additional tips relevant to helping the student.  It does require an internet connection to see the report of strengths and challenges and to receive the new tips. Tips can be archived and viewed off line if desired.

    Education

    Teachers are usually quite familiar with the concept of learning styles and strengths of learning modalities, but this information is often not available to parents. Smart Spark does a good job of bridging this gap. The short version is that everyone has a preferred, or strongest, way of learning. For some it is through the visual channel, for others it is through listening and speaking, and still others learn best by participating in hands-on activities. Teachers (and parents) also have styles in the way they present information. If the student’s preferred learning style does not match well with the teacher’s preferred teaching style, it can be difficult for the two to truly connect.

    This app is great for analyzing and explaining students’ learning styles in positive, helpful language, but its true genius lies in showing how the parent’s (or other adult’s) style interacts with the student’s. It provides relevant reminders to keep the student’s style firmly in mind and tips to teach to the student’s strengths. Best of all, the information is presented in a decidedly positive framework no matter what learning style is involved. The “Smart Passport” shows a summary of the information gleaned from the survey in terms of preferred learning modality, suggestions for learning activities likely to be most successful, communication tips, and a summary of the student’s most likely challenges. Adult users can add their own insights to this document and share it with teachers or other adults as desired.

    Once the initial evaluation is completed, the app provides a steady stream of suggestions and tips related to helping the profiled adult interact most successfully with the profiled student. This information will really help parents understand how to best assist their students with homework and other learning tasks.

    The app is intended for use with children from ages 7-13, but can be extended for use with younger or older students with only slight modifications to the suggestions.

    Entertainment

    This app is not intended to be entertaining.

    Value

    Smart Spark is a huge value! This app is free of charge in the App Store, and will be invaluable to parents and to teachers as they work to assist students with learning tasks, especially in cases where the adult’s style does not match with the student’s style.  It’s particularly nice to have guidance, suggestions and reminders about the student’s strengths and how to incorporate them into the process.

    Child Friendliness

    This app is intended for use by adults.  The precautions below are included simply for your information in case a child were to access the app.  It does require users to create an account either using an email address or a social media account.  Users must be online to access the Smart Passports and to receive the tips.

    • NO in-app purchase
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • YES Unprotected link to developers’ website
    • YES Unprotected links to social media

    BestAppsForKids_Image
    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Help Nelly the fairy find all the pieces to reconstruct her castle. This app allows children to explore four magical lands filled with lots of animals in order to complete the puzzle.
    3.6

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Nelly Fairy: Castle is an app that takes children on a journey through a mystical land with hidden pieces to the castle that Nelly the fairy is trying to rebuild. This puzzle app allows children to explore the desert, forest, mountains, and meadow to interact with local animals and find the missing pieces to rebuild the castle. Also included are three difficulty levels to build the castle ranging in the number of pieces.

    Features include:

    • 4 Areas to explore
    • Puzzles
    • 3 Difficulty levels

    Quality

    Nelly Fairy: Castle uses a simple search-and-find and puzzle concept for young children. The concept allows children to explore various magical lands to find the missing pieces that are needed to rebuild the castle. While the concept is quite simple, the quality of the images and user interface could both use some work. Nelly the fairy looks to be a 3-D character while the rest of the images included are not. It makes the fairy look a bit out of place. There are also lots of animals within each area for children to explore, but there isn’t a whole lot in terms of interaction. When tapped, the animal might make a little noise and move a bit, but it’s a bit lackluster and not very engaging. For younger children getting started in the app could be a challenge. It isn’t entirely clear what the goal is when you enter the app and takes a bit of exploring to figure it out. Including a brief introduction or arrows to guide players would definitely be helpful.

    Education

    Not rated for education.

    Entertainment

    This app uses a search-and-find concept and puzzle activity as the main entertainment for children. While there are other animals within each magical land to explore, the interaction and animation could use some work. The puzzle provides three difficulty levels varying in the number of pieces used and does provide a challenge to put together, however it feels like something is missing in terms of entertainment. Adding a few other activities within each magical land would be a great way to increase the entertainment value for children.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars, this app seems a bit overpriced for the quality and the activities you get. Adding a few more activities and more functionality and interaction with the animals would be a great way to increase the overall value.

    Child Friendliness

    As mentioned before, the overall concept in Nelly Fairy: Castle is quite simple, however it could take a few times of playing it for children to truly understand how to move through the app with ease. Creating an introduction with arrows or indicators upon entry into the app would be helpful for younger users.

    The developers have done a good job of keeping the in-app purchase link protected so children don’t get into areas they aren’t supposed to get into, however it isn’t entirely clear how much the in-app purchase is if parents wanted to make the purchase. Making this a bit more apparent would help a lot as a parent exploring the app.

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