4.5 stars – excellent apps

image (14)
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Inventioneers opens the door to creative and inventive play by challenging users to solve problems. Users can position objects and tiny helpers called Inventioneers to accomplish each goal while learning about physics concepts.
4.8

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Each chapter of Inventioneers presents a clear problem, such as moving a cat from the tree into its owner’s basket. The interface is intuitive, allowing nearly anyone the ability to experiment and create until the problem is solved. A resource bank of invention parts and small “helper” characters is provided at the bottom of the screen, and users must arrange them to accomplish the given goal.

Features include:

  • Realistic object movement
  • Creativity, persistence and problem-solving
  • Engaging format
  • Create and share inventions with friends
  • 14 inventions to create in free version of the app

Quality

Inventioneers works like a well-oiled machine, providing a nearly perfect environment to experiment. The app is fully responsive, using the drag function to allow users to set up their creations to solve the given problems. Some of the small characters need a bit of figuring to determine how to activate them, though. It would be nice if there were a more explicit set of instructions tucked away in the parents’ area to allow adults to help children when they get stuck without the adult having to learn the game completely. The full version of the app does include the option to “unlock” the solutions to all levels, but that seems a bit extreme. How about a hint system?

Education

It’s difficult to overestimate the value of problem-solving and creativity, and Inventioneers more than does justice to nurturing both skills. Players (young and old) will be challenged by the tasks set forth. How can you use a swinging boot, a funnel, an apple, and “Windy” (a small helper with a blow dryer) to move a cat out of a tree and into its distraught owner’s basket? This and fourteen other puzzles are offered in the free version of the app, and the full version opens up a whopping 98 more inventions. The action is reminiscent of “The Incredible Machine” that fascinated my children for years, and still does today, on a desktop computer.

Best of all, children will be learning about a lot of important physics concepts as they play. This app’s designers did an outstanding job on the physics engine that makes it work. Objects bounce realistically, they teeter precariously if not balanced correctly, and they fall just the way they are supposed to. In addition, players learn a lot about prediction, cause and effect, and many other fundamental skills that we usually take for granted.

One highly intriguing feature of this app is the capability (even in the free version) to design your own invention puzzles.  After viewing the tutorial and creating a user file, you can create new puzzles and share them. Imagine the possibilities! Are the given puzzles too tough for your child right now? Make some easier ones. Has your child completed all of the puzzles? Challenge him or her to make a new one and let you give it a try.

Entertainment

Inventioneers is highly entertaining. The small helpers that make each invention work are adorable, and the other graphics are captivatingly detailed. The sound effects are very realistic, as well. Balls rolling through pipes sound exactly like balls rolling through pipes, so even though the action is invisible, your mind fills in the gaps and there is no surprise when the ball pops out of the other end.

Value

The full version is well worth the price. It includes eight chapters, more than 100 levels, over 40 objects to use, 10 more characters to help with tasks, and 7 additional “inventioneers” that players can use to help the contraptions work. Characters such as “Blaze,” “Zappy” and “Freezie” add even more fun and flexibility to the app in the full version.

It’s always nice when developers provide a working, self-contained free version.  There are enough puzzles to find out if your youngster will enjoy the app before you plunk down the purchase price, and the capability to make your own puzzles is an unexpectedly nice feature.  Even the 14 free puzzles in the first chapter will keep most kids busy for quite a while.

Child Friendliness

Inventioneers is somewhat child friendly. The app is intended for elementary school children, most of whom can read well enough to bypass the parent gate, which calls for swiping two fingers in a random direction.  The Parents’ Area contains outside links, social media links, email newsletter sign up and the privacy policy.  There is also access to the “unlock” button that will reveal the answers to all of the puzzles. Developers should strengthen the parent gate.

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

moppa
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Who doesn't love a cool ice cream treat in the summer? Moppa Ice Cream is a fun app that allows players to get creative as they craft unique cool treats for their monster friends!
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

Moppa Ice Cream is the perfect app for kids to explore and enjoy during the summer months. With endless creative monster ice cream combinations to create and a cute back story to enjoy, this app is perfect to keep little ones engaged for hours. It’s ice cream fun, without the drippy mess!

Features include:

  • 18 Fun containers
  • In app story
  • 25 Ice cream toppings
  • Easy to use

Quality

Little ones are going to love Moppa Ice Cream not only for the brightly colored images and fun characters, but also for the never-ending ice cream creating they can do. The developers have done a very nice job incorporating fun graphics, music, and a theme all children can appreciate (ice cream) into a creative app that is easy to play. With no instructions at all, children can dive right in and satisfy the silly monster’s sweet tooth with their wacky ice cream creations.

Education

While this app isn’t specifically an educational app it does have some potential to incorporate a bit of reading and early learning skills with a few tweaks. The story that is included in the app currently does not offer any narration or text highlighting, but by adding these simple details it could certainly open the opportunity for children to practice their reading skills as they play.

As it is now, the app encourages children to get crafty and creative as they put together fun ice cream creations varying in color with lots of options for different decorations and sprinkles. While not exactly educational in nature, it does bring out the more creative side of young children.

Entertainment

There is a ton of fun to be had in this app especially for young children. To start, children can read the story that illustrates what the Moppa Ice Cream fun is all about and then the fun begins. Players are provided 18 fun containers to house their ice cream creations where they then get to select various ice cream colors and flavors. After they are satisfied with their chosen scoops, they get to decorate it to their hearts content. Every thing from works, hats, funny lips, spider sprinkles, and gumballs are included in the 25 topping options which provide lots of creative opportunities for players. Once their ice cream is complete they can then feed it to one of 6 hungry monsters.

The concept of this app is very creative and the never-ending playtime makes for a great experience for young children. This has quickly become my 5 year old’s favorite app and it will likely be your child’s favorite too.

Value

Priced at just under two dollars this app is priced well. With lots of great options and creative toppings for each creation and the story that is included, children will be getting lots of playing time out of this app which parents will certainly appreciate.

Child Friendliness

Moppa Ice Cream is not only safe for children to use, but it’s easy too. Without any instructions at all, children can jump right in and start creating their fun ice cream treats. The only thing that would make it a bit more user friendly is by incorporating a bit of narration and text highlighting for the story portion of the app. Other than that it’s great for children of all ages.

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

  • 15 Photo Missions
  • Field Journal
  • Photobombs

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

  • Interactive illustrations
  • Problem solving adventure
  • Unique user interface

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

moreorless
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendliness
Summary
Kids use virtual wooden beads to represent the numbers in addition and subtraction problems, helping them gain their own understanding of the concepts.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

More or Less helps kids build their basic addition and subtraction skills by using wooden beads to help them manipulate the numbers. The app comes with six levels of difficulty, three for addition and three for subtraction, that allow kids to learn the skills in different ways. Kids can make up their own addition and subtraction problems using the numbers 0-9, solve given problems, and even solve for missing numbers in problems. The high-quality but simple design allows kids to focus on the numbers and the process rather than the bells and whistles. While developers encourage the purchase of a wooden number toy to use with the app, it is a solid skill-building tool all on its own.

Features include:

  • Available in 11 different languages
  • Uses beads to represent numbers
  • Features silly characters and fun music
  • Allows parents and teachers to customize intervals for problems
  • Works with developer’s wooden number toy

Quality

On the middle of the app’s main screen kids see a plus sign and a minus. The plus sign leads to addition activities and the minus sign leads to subtraction activities. Once kids are in an activity, a set of three chickens in the right hand corner represents the level. The activities do not come with a lot of instructions, but are fairly intuitive. A child narrator reads out all of the numbers and problems for kids.

Education

The app focuses on teaching basic addition and subtraction skills. At the first level, kids get to create their own additional and subtraction problems by dragging numbers into the problem. Then next level has kids watch the beads move to create the answer to a given problem. The final level has kids manipulate the beads to find the missing number in a given problem. For example, in the problem 10+?=11 kids must drag 10 beads to figure out how many are left and find out that 10+1=11. Parents and teachers can adjust the intervals of results and operands to help make the activities easier or harder for kids. For example, preschoolers may enjoy the app with intervals from 1-4 to help them understand the concepts before trying more challenging problems.

Entertainment

Rather than simply answering each problem, kids get the chance to move the wooden beads to form the answer. This tactile component helps make the app a lot more entertaining. Small effects, such as the silly creatures on the main page, or the sound effects when kids place the numbers in a subtraction problem in the wrong order add to the app’s entertainment factor.

Value

The concept of More or Less is fun and designed to help kids learn. The app is also a high quality. However, the price of the app, particularly if parents opt to purchase the suggested wooden toy set, is a little high compared to similar apps available. It’s still a great app for teaching addition and subtraction, but parents should expect to pay a little more for some of its features.

Child Friendliness

Parents can access additional information about the app, the wooden toy that connects with it, and similar apps via the Parent Info icon on the main screen. This section is protected by a strong parental block. Kids do have access to the settings which allows them to adjust the intervals of the results and operands used in the activities.

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

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

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

Entertainment

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

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

  • Numbers/letter recognition
  • Colors
  • Shapes

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

image (12)

Imagistory

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Imagistory offers a healthy dose of creative thinking and storytelling opportunities to children by encouraging pretending. With two free wordless picture ebooks and four more available for purchase, children will love building story after story, recorded in their very own voices.
4.9

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Imagistory allows users to record narration for wordless picture books, encouraging creativity, story-telling, observation, sequencing, and descriptive language. Stories can be saved in video form and shared by adults over the internet.

Features include:

  • Two free stories to enjoy
  • Four additional stories available for purchase
  • Vivid, colorful illustrations with lots of detail
  • Recording feature
  • Detailed parents/teachers area full of usage ideas

Quality

Imagistory is a very high-quality app that performs exactly as advertised.  It is well-designed both for a child to use independently and for adult-child partnerships or group use. The recording starts automatically after the user gives permission to access microphone and camera (though the access request is not protected and a child could turn these on). Use of the microphone and camera are not mandatory for using the app, however, and each story includes a “quiet read” option that allows users to page through the story to see what happens and to familiarize themselves with the pictures.

Education

This app is an educator’s dream come true.  One of the foundations of reading is solid language skills including such things as retelling stories, describing scenes, naming characters, and sequencing events. This app supports development of these skills and many more.

The app is primarily intended for young children, who can easily be encouraged to tell the story they see in the pictures.  The stimulus pictures are rich in detail, and children can elaborate about many aspects of each.  Older students can work in groups to design a story to go with each set, can write out their stories, or even create a play based on the scenes.  The possibilities are nearly endless, and developers did an excellent job of including ideas for all age groups in the parent and teacher section of the app.

Kudos are due to the developers for the diversity of characters offered in these stories, as well. There are boys and girls of various races and ethnic groups, and the children are of indeterminate age.  Nice job of being inclusive!

Entertainment

Young children love to pretend and to tell stories, so this app fits with these desires perfectly. They also love to hear their own voices and the voices of important people in their lives recorded so they can play them back at will. The stories (both the free and the paid ones) are engaging and interesting.  The visual story lines will be familiar to young children, but the stories have imaginative twists, such as the one about going to the beach where the main character ends up swimming with sea turtles and whales.

Value

This is a free app with two free stories available.  The tips and hints in the parent/teacher section are also available for free. Four additional stories are inexpensive, priced at $2 each.  Alternatively, there is a school version available for $7.99 in the App Store. This version includes all six stories at a slight discount, and educators can download the free version to try out the two free stories in their classroom before making a decision.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. The parent/teacher area is protected by an effective gate that requires reading directions and pressing the correct colored shape for the required time. The one suggestion would be to put a master “switch” inside the protected area to turn the recording features on or off without giving children that option.

  • 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(36)
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
The Word Creativity Kit provides a unique system to explore the interplay between text and visual design that will stimulate creativity as well as creative writing.
4.7

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

The Word Creativity Kit offers users a playground to make creations with words, colors, designs and pictures. Limited only by their imaginations and vision, users make virtual books that can serve as journals, notebooks, or canvases to be shared with others.

Features include:

  • 7 categories of words or add your own
  • Manipulate fonts, colors, backgrounds, designs and pictures
  • Place words anywhere on the page, change the angle, or resize
  • Includes over 4500 words
  • Save as many books as you wish

Quality

The Word Creativity Kit is a phenomenal app that is very intuitive to use. Designers have incorporated clear directions about the app’s features, accessible from the home screen or the main book page by tapping the question mark. A menu of the app’s functions appears, and when each item is pressed, there is a graphic showing exactly how to use the feature. Users have a lot of control over the look and feel of each page, and can create very attractive composite pieces.

Developers have added the capability to open, read and save creations in several different ereader apps, including Adobe Acrobat, iBooks, and more. Books can also be shared between devices via AirDrop or DropBox.  This is a nice feature for older users, but may present some security concerns for younger users. One improvement for developers to consider would be a system to make creations private to specific users. Since one use for the app would be to journal, the content could get quite personal and some may limit themselves if they feel others could view their work without permission.

Education

This app goes far beyond a simple creative writing system because it combines the visual appeal of an art program with the fun of finding just the right words for poetry, stories, or other text. The app “jumpstarts” the creative process by offering a selection of randomly-chosen words on the blank page. It’s possible to choose few, medium, or many random words.  It’s also possible to begin a page by inserting your own words. Users can add, remove, modify, or rearrange to their hearts’ content. Change the background, add pictures or stickers, change the tense or form of the words, and more to create just the right look and feel for the project. It’s a perfect opportunity for self-expression that will encourage and nurture literacy, writing skills, and vocabulary. The app’s designers say it is appropriate for children ages 8 and up, and it would likely be just as popular with middle and high schoolers as well as middle and upper elementary users. Even adults will enjoy letting their imaginations wander and seeing what they can create.

Teachers will think of many uses, but one big one would be experimenting with poetry. Many students find writing poetry to be one of the most intimidating activities in English class, and this app takes the pain and frustration out of the process, even for the most insecure writers. It eliminates the need to erase, crumple paper in frustration and start over and over again. The app also will lend itself to story-telling, with the included array of backgrounds and stickers, as well as access to your device’s camera roll.

The developers have included a short guide that lists a number of usage ideas for different situations.  This is accessible in the “Usage Ideas” section on the home screen, and the document can open in many different applications, such as iBooks, Acrobat, or various name-brand readers.  The file also can be sent to other devices via Dropbox or shared via AirDrop.

Entertainment

This app isn’t really designed for entertainment, but the sheer joy of creating will make it a favorite for many users. Stickers range from the cute to the sublime, concrete to symbolic. It would be very possible to create an entire story without words using the characters, props and backgrounds, but even the least verbal students are likely to be tempted to add a word or two to their creations as caption or description, since they can control font, angle, size, color, and placement.

Value

The Word Creativity Kit is an excellent value. With an extensive built-in vocabulary as well as the option to add words to any page, the app can grow with the user. The stickers and backgrounds offer a lot of options for visual creativity, and access to the camera roll means that users can take their own pictures, as well. Together, these features mean the app can be very personalized, which is very nice.

Child Friendliness

This app includes no outside advertisements or in-app purchases. A Parents’ Area that contains information about the developers, the rating pop-up, and the Air Drop system is protected by a parent gate that uses a simple multiplication fact with several given answer choices. This may not be very effective, because children in the target age group of 9-11 years typically are memorizing these answers.  In the parents’ area, parents and teachers can see other apps by the same developer in the App Store or open a web browser to interact with social media, view the privacy policy or visit the developers’ web site. The app allows access to a wide array of ebook applications, AirDrop, and DropBox via links protected by the same type of gate.  These functions should be made less accessible by using a more challenging gate that is less likely to be circumvented by the target age group.

  • Protected parent area (contains external links & social media)
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES parent area, air drop, and other links protected by a simple multiplication fact
  • YES ratings pop-up protected by a simple multiplication fact

 

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

  • 3 Famous operas included
  • Creative concept
  • Music

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

Not rated for education.

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

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

Education

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

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

shapekit1
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
ShapeKit is an entertaining and creative way to learn about shapes. It allows several levels of creativity, will encourage young users to explore, and offers an opportunity to save and share masterpieces both on the device and over the internet.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

ShapeKit is a fun introduction to basic shapes that will grow with your child to become an artistic creativity app. Users create pictures and scenes by combining shapes in different ways, then can save screenshots or animate the creations and make videos.

 

Features include:

  • Introduces squares, triangles, circles, and more
  • Joins shapes in creative ways
  • Allows users to add eyes, sparks, and other details
  • Provides eighteen shape colors and four background colors
  • Saves screenshots and makes animated videos

Quality

ShapeKit is a high-quality app that will occupy children for hours. It allows users to choose shapes and colors, then combine them in endless patterns to create designs, figures, characters, scenes and more. For example, kids could use the half-circle and a triangle to create an ice cream cone, or three circles to create a snowman. Shapes with flat sides can be joined and turned into one figure that can be manipulated, or users can “punch holes” in shapes and create moveable joints that function similarly to paper projects with brass fasteners. They can take screenshots of their masterpieces, or even animate them into short videos containing five steps. There is provision to share the creations on the developers’ website or through social media. The app includes several short tutorials, as well, that will help young users explore the full range of features.

On the whole, ShapeKit worked as expected, with quick response times and an intuitive interface. The one problem I had with the app was that it crashed on occasion. I could not see a pattern to the crashes, so I don’t know exactly what I did to trigger them. They were a bit frustrating, however, because I lost my “work” and had to start my project over again. On a more minor note, the app changes print colors and background colors for its introductory screens and occasionally the random combination is relatively low contrast, which may make it difficult for visually challenged individuals.

Education

Kids will learn a lot from working with ShapeKit. It provides a hands-on experience with shapes, colors and sizes, and helps children to see how nearly everything in the world is formed from basic shapes. They will see connections to geometry that perhaps weren’t apparent to them before using this app, which in turn will help them conceptualize the things they are learning at school. Each shape is defined in print and with an optional narration, which will help kids learn about them.

The app will help children develop visual skills as well as deeper understanding of relative sizes and position in space. Best of all, the app does an outstanding job of exercising creativity. There is an endless array of possibilities with the tools available, and the animation feature will help kids with cause and effect, planning, prediction, and more.  It’s very easy to use, and easy to amend if desired, so on the whole is very user-friendly.

I do wish the developers would add a few more shapes; currently the app includes squares, circles, right triangles, equilateral triangles, half circles and quarter circles. Kids will be able to figure out how to make a passable “line” by creating a skinny rectangle, but choices are somewhat limited for changing the circles and triangles. For example, one cannot create an oval shape by stretching the circle, nor is there an apparent way to create other types of triangles. Also, developers should consider adding a sound recording feature, since young children’s artwork is typically a story being told, and voice recording would encourage important language skills.

Entertainment

This app is highly entertaining for anyone with the slightest artistic bent. There’s something innately satisfying about building simple shapes into characters and scenes, then saving them or animating them into life on the screen. The possibilities are endless, since users can change the size and color of each shape, can combine them in different ways, and then move them around the screen to create movies as their imaginations dictate.  It’s a wonderful outlet for visual creativity that will keep young artists and animators busy for hours.

Value

ShapeKit is a great value no matter what your purpose may be in using it. Use it to help teach about shapes by providing constant access to the definitions and hands-on experiences with the shapes by having them duplicate shape combinations you have made, or turn them loose and let their creative juices reign as they play in whatever manner appeals to them. You could even set a challenge for video creation, such as “Can you find a way to roll a ball down a hill?”  The possibilities are virtually endless.

Child Friendliness

This app is fairly child-friendly. However, the gate that allows access to your web browser, email and social media is too simple for the intended age group to circumvent. It simply instructs parents to swipe two fingers to the left or right, and many early elementary children can read at this level. Since the app is designed for social sharing of finished products, it should have a more effective parent gate so that adult users can make the decision about utilizing this feature.

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

pinkie

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

ready

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

math

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

screen520x924

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

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

Features include:

  • 3 Activities
  • Matching
  • Music
  • Math

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

miniu

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Mini-U: OverColor is a fun puzzle app that challenge children in the most delightful way. With various geometric shapes of varying colors, players must replicate the image provided by layering each shape accordingly. This easy to use app is a great way for children to work on their problem solving skills in a fun and safe environment.

Features include:

  • 3 Difficulty levels
  • Animals
  • Easy to use

Quality

The developers have done a great job creating an app that is easy to use and engaging too. With lots of fun colors, geometric shapes, and a fun concept, this app provides players with a fun challenge as they complete each puzzle. The background music is pleasant and allows children to focus on each puzzle without being distracted. The user interface is also very easy to use as it provides a simple drag and drop feature to move the various pieces into place.

Education

Mini-U: OverColor is a puzzle app that really challenges players to use their imagination and problem solving skills to complete each puzzle. Each puzzle consists of an animal made of various geometric pieces that children must correctly layer in order to replicate the given image. There are 3 difficulty levels that provide lots of great practice. While this isn’t a traditional educational app, it does provide a great challenge for children as they play.

Entertainment

With 60 puzzles in total varying over 3 difficulty levels, children who love puzzles are really going to enjoy this app. Each image provides a unique challenge and the open ended set-up allows players to select a puzzle within any difficulty level to try. While it doesn’t have any additional activities, the number of puzzles will definitely provide lots of entertainment for children.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars, this app is a great value for parents. With 60 puzzles, 3 difficulty levels, and the open playing structure, this app is priced very well.

Child Friendliness

The developers have done a great job creating an environment that is great for kids. The drag and drop functioning is easy to use and great for young children. One thing that would be beneficial for this app is to add a ‘hint’ pop up or button for children who might get stuck with some of the more difficult puzzles.

  • Protected parent area (can contain external links & social media)
  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES “rate this app” (unprotected)

cover

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Why Bath Time is a cute storybook app that helps to explain why we need to take baths and teaches children about germs in a fun way. With a simple explanation that is easy to understand, great illustrations, and narration throughout, this app is great to share with children especially if they are not a fan of bath time.

Features include:

  • Narration
  • Great illustrations
  • English & French options

Quality

Why Bath Time is a cute storybook app that is full of fun images, interactive illustrations, and sound effects that will keep children engaged as they read. The narration option allows children to tap each dialogue bubble in order to activate the narration feature which is a bit different than some of the other storybook apps on the market. The simple interactive pieces are indicated with red arrows so children know what to do to bring the image to life. Overall the quality is very good and provides fun features to keep children engaged.

Education

Some of my favorite storybook apps are those that help children better understand a specific concept and this app does just that. For children that may wonder why they need to take a bath everyday and simply don’t understand the reasoning behind it, this storybook app easily explains not only why we need to take a bath, but the various ways people and animals do just that. It also explains that even when you don’t look dirty or smell, there are germs that need to be washed off in order to keep us healthy. The explanation is easy to understand and put in a fun context which is great for young readers.

One thing that I would like to see is an option for text highlighting and a way for the narration to run smoothly without the reading having to tap each dialogue bubble in order to hear the story in narration mode. Doing so would help with the flow of the app and allow children to easily follow along and work on their reading skills.

Entertainment

While there aren’t any additional activities within the story, it does include some simple interactive pieces within each page that help bring the story to life to keep children engaged. There is also a little green frog that seems to appear quite a bit throughout the story and creating a sort of search and find with this could add a bit more entertainment value to the story and create an additional activity within the story. Adding a little quiz or game to test what children have learned might also be an option to enhance the entertainment value a bit.

Value

Priced at just under one dollar, this app is a great value. Parents will appreciate the price and the educational value that this story provides without breaking the bank. Even without the text highlighting feature and additional activities, this story is still a good value.

Child Friendliness

Because this app is a little different in how it is set up with the narration option, it can be a little challenging to use for some children. There is a indicator that pops up on the dialogue bubble that should be read next, however young children may find it challenging to tap them in the appropriate order. The developers have also included arrows through out to indicate interactive pieces of the images which is very helpful and easy to use. The arrows at the bottom of each page are a little transparent and can be hard to see to move to the next page. Adding another option of swiping to the next page might help as children tend to get used to that function with many other apps.

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

holidays2

App Info

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

Overview

Whether you’re looking for games for Easter or simply want some fun arcade-style games for kids, Holidays 2 – 4 great Easter games for smart kids is a good choice. As the subtitle suggests, the app offers four different Easter games designed to challenge kids and build their logic and reasoning skills. While designed for kids ages 4-7, older kids and even adults will find themselves entertained by the challenging games.

Features include:

  • Four arcade-style games
  • Easter-themed images
  • Time to control play time
  • Safe play environment for kids

Quality

The app gets kids’ attention with its colorful Easter-themed graphics. Each of the four games is represented by an Easter egg sitting in a field of grass. Tapping on an egg, gives kids access to the particular game. Since all of the games are modeled on common arcade games, they are pretty easy to learn how to play. The app assumes this by hiding instructions in an info button rather than displaying them when kids first open the game. For most of the games the instructions are not needed, but they would be helpful to review before playing the code game.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

All of the games have that slightly addicting quality you expect from traditional arcade-style games. Each game also offers enough of a challenge to keep kids wanting to play more. For example, during the Connect 4 game, the bunny proves to be a formidable opponent, keeping kids on their toes. The code game is also incredibly challenging, especially when played without the numbers. All of the games help kids keep their logic and spatial reasoning skills sharp.

Value

Many of the games available in the app can be played online for free. The only difference is they don’t come with fun Easter images. They’re also not usually found in a protected environment. The app provides both, making it a better option than some of the free versions out there.

Child Friendliness

Developers have taken care to make sure the app is suitable for kids. The details are included in a protected parent section. There parents can also set a timer to control how long kids can play the app. The timer can be set in five minute intervals.

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

abc

App Info

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

Overview

Tap and Learn ABC helps young children learn to match alphabet letters with their pictures to reinforce sound-symbol correspondence. There is a teaching mode that shows children letters, keywords and sounds, three levels of matching activities, and a game that mimics the popular ninja format.

Features include:

  • Visual and auditory cues for each letter, its keyword and its sound
  • Bright, colorful design
  • Clear human voice for letter sounds and keywords
  • Support for English, Spanish and French
  • Free sample letters A-H (in a separate free version of this app)

Quality

This app is very high quality. The illustrations and letters are clear and bold, the narration is well-spoken, and the app’s design is simple enough for even toddlers to enjoy independently. One concern is that the parents’ section seems to be missing a lot of captioning. The symbols for social media, the internet, email and ratings are clear enough, but there is apparently a leveling system, and something that has green checkmarks on each level, but there are no captions showing to help an adult figure out what’s going on.

Education

Tap and Learn ABC uses proven techniques to help young learners master the relationship between letters, keywords and letter sounds. The Alphabets level allows them to see and hear the letter and the keyword. The Puzzle level offers three levels of difficulty for matching exercises, and the Ninja level adds some visual-motor challenges as players tap pictures falling that begin with the proper letter or have the proper name.

The app is well-designed for the very young. There are no confusing menus, and developers have included clear oral directions for many things, as well. It’s also an interesting option to have a choice of three languages. It’s a well-known fact that children in this age group have a strong ability to learn different languages if they are introduced to them. This would be a good tool to do just that.

Entertainment

This is a very simple app, designed for very young children. That makes it perfect for inexperienced players and even for special needs students. With few bells and whistles, older or more able children may quickly become bored with the format. The entertainment value lies mostly in the ninja game, and perhaps in the animations that are designed to make letters more memorable. If your child needs a more low-key approach to practice, it’s absolutely perfect.

Value

It’s great that developers offer a free “trial” version of Tap and Learn ABC (in a separate free version of this app). Users can try out letters A-H to get a feel for the activities, then can purchase the rest of the alphabet when they find how much kids benefit from the practice.

Child Friendliness

Tap and Learn ABC is very child-friendly. In addition to the well-protected parents’ area, developers have gone out of their way to make the app simple to use. It’s perfect for the very young, with very intuitive design for choosing activities and levels, as well as for learning how to play.

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

bunnybakeoff

App Info

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

Overview

No, Max! Rocks don’t go in the scones! In Max & Ruby’s Bunny Bakeoff kids head to the kitchen with Max, Ruby, and their grandma to bake up some delicious goodies. From making scones to churning their own ice cream, kids will get the chance to put their cooking skills to the test. Of course, when Max is involved, there are guaranteed to be a few surprises along the way. Whether it’s suggesting kids add rocks to the scones or offering up a delicious mud pie, Max has plenty of silliness to contribute to the process.

Features include:

  • A book of recipes
  • Real and disgusting foods
  • Bake or paint options
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Character coloring pages

Quality

The app opens with a developer video that kids can skip by simply tapping the screen. From there, they can decide whether to start baking or get painting. Kids will find both sections easy to navigate. Clear instructions will guide kids through the recipes in the cooking section and reward them with positive praise for a job well done. In the painting section, kids will find a series of Max & Ruby-themed coloring pages and easy-to-use tools. The colors stay in the lines within the picture too, making it easy for little fingers to color the picture exactly the way they want.

Education

While not extremely advanced, the baking section of the app helps teach kids about following a recipe. When kids decide what to make, they follow a series of steps to help them add all of the ingredients and properly prepare the food. While none of the measurements are exact (when told to add a little bit of milk to make ice cream, for example, the game adds more than “a little”), the game still introduces kids to cooking terminology, such as a cup, a pinch, mix, and stir. Kids get to use different kitchen tools too, such as a cheese grater when making pizza and an ice cream churn while making fresh ice cream for Max.

Entertainment

Kids will have fun following the recipes to make scones, pizza, fruit tarts, ice cream cones, and a whole host of other foods. They’ll also love Max’s antics throughout the process. For example, Max frequently suggests they add rocks to the food. He also regularly appears with mud pies and suggests kids make disgusting treats of their own. While fairly standard, the coloring pages are also fun for kids. They’ll particularly enjoy the ability to add fun stickers to each of the pages.

Value

From the different color pages to the wealth of recipes kids can make with Max and Ruby, the app is a good value. Kids will come back to it again and again to see what else they can make.

Child Friendliness

On the main screen, kids can tap on the More Apps button to see all of the other apps Cupcake Digital offers. Access to the apps is protected by a parental lock, but it won’t stop kids from begging for new apps. Beyond that, the app is very child friendly. It’s easy for kids to get into the games and to start enjoying baking or painting with Max and Ruby.

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

IMG_0912

App Info

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

Overview

“Old Macdonald Has a Farm” just became a lot more fun for kids to sing. As the title of the app suggests, kids can sing-along with one of their favorite songs while they play around on the farm too. Whether it’s tipping a cow, watching a cat drink milk, or causing bees to buzz around their hive, there’s plenty to discover within this app. Kids will get to interact with a pig, a horse, a cow, a duck, and a cat, along with all of the other objects and animals found within their individual scenes.

Features include:

  • Five different animals
  • Seek ‘n Find format
  • Praise for kids
  • Peppy background music

Quality

On the main screen of the app, kids have the option to play or tap on options to control the level of the music and sound effects in the game. In the free version, a large button encouraging kids to purchase the full version of the app also appears at the bottom of the screen, but it is protected with a parental lock. Once kids get past those minor distractions and tap the play button, they’re instructed to pick an animal and five different animal heads peer out at them. Some kids may pick their favorite of the five, while others will go straight for the pig because it’s first in the row. Whatever they choose, they won’t be disappointed. Each animal comes complete with an interactive scene full of lots of animations to find. At times the sound effects overpower the background music, which is a little disappointing considering each verse is only sung once, but kids will be so focused on the animations, they won’t really care.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

Each of the five animals comes with its own fun scene with a host of hidden animations. The game encourages kids to find them all by displaying the number of animations they found when they tap the back arrow to select another animation. While all of the scenes are entertaining, the highlight is the pig. Kids will have fun watching the pig slide through the mud over and over again. When they take a break and move to the other scenes, they’ll get to enjoy the horse, cow, duck, and cat too.

Value

The app is free to download and comes with the pig scene unlocked. The other four animals come with the full version which is available through an in-app purchase. The app contains a lot of fun animations and kids will return to it, even though the animations in each scene stay the same. That alone may make it worth the price for toddlers and preschoolers.

Child Friendliness

Aside from the strong encouragement to buy the full version, kids will find themselves fully entertained by this app and not distracted by other features. It’s easy enough for toddlers to play and enjoy, but preschoolers will enjoy it too.

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

easter

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Easter Bunny Games for Kids is a cute puzzle app that provides children with a number of puzzles to explore and enjoy. With cute illustrations and celebratory animations, and a fun egg hunt activity once the puzzle is complete, this simple app is a fun way for children to practice their problem solving skills.

Features include:

  • 12 Puzzles
  • 3 Difficulty levels
  • Easy to use

Quality

Easter Bunny Games for Kids is an app full of cute, whimsical illustrations that children are going to love. With a variety of bunnies, chicks, spring flowers, and lots of great colors, the images are very professional and engaging. The simple animations included after each puzzle is completed are also well done and they add a bit of interest to this easy to use puzzle app.

Education

With 12 different puzzles and 3 difficulty levels, children are going to get a ton of practice using their problem solving skills as they piece each picture together. While it would be nice to include a few other educational games, the puzzle set up allows children to use their logic in the higher difficulty levels to test their skills which is great.

Entertainment

For children who love a good challenge and are particularly fond of puzzles, this app is a dream. With 12 different pictures and 3 difficulty levels players can work their way up through each level as they get better and better. The 3 consist of a full-color template, a faded template, and no template which allows children to challenge themselves as they move through each puzzle. The developers have also included a fun egg hunt to play once each puzzle is complete. This fun game is a wonderful addition and helps to keep children engaged.

Value

Priced at just under two dollars this app is priced well. With 12 puzzles and 3 difficulty levels to enjoy, and the egg hunt activity, children will get a lot of playing time out of this app. While it would be nice to have additional activities, this isn’t an app that will break the bank.

Child Friendliness

With simple drag and drop functioning, this app is easy for children of all ages to use. The 3 difficulty levels also make it easy for children new to puzzles to get the hang of it while using the templates. The developers have also done a nice job of creating an app that doesn’t require a lot of direction or assistance from parents.

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

jfk

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 4.5

Download on the App Store

Overview

JFK Challenge makes history come alive with immersive lessons about John F. Kennedy and some of his accomplishments. Users can experience a taste of two of his signature programs, the Peace Corps and the Space Program, as they learn about these pieces of our country’s history.

Features include:

  • Over ten unique activities
  • Information from primary sources
  • Multi-sensory experience featuring video and audio clips
  • Realistic related activities for both programs
  • Engaging to all the senses

Quality

JFK Challenge is a wonderfully creative app that truly takes full advantage of the iPad’s power and unique capabilities. Activities incorporate the device’s motion sensitivity and touch screen, among other features. The app is easy to navigate, but needs a button to return to the home screen from various points within the games. Right now, the back button takes users to the previous decision point, but it takes a lot of button pushes to get clear back to the beginning when you wish. Also, the time limit is quite quick on some of the games, such as the building activity in the Peace Corps section. Young children may have difficulty being successful, so this should perhaps be adjustable or capable of being turned off all together.

Education

Multi-sensory and interactive learning is generally the best possible combination, and this app’s developers have done an outstanding job of incorporating many types of meaningful activities into the context of learning about two of JFK’s most important programs, the Peace Corps and the Space Program. The activities provide a nice mixture of academic, logical, and coordination challenges. For example, the Peace Corps section has students start by learning some basic words in Spanish, then has them solve a logic puzzle to lay out a pathway for a canal and then use speed and coordination to mix cement and build a school. It was very refreshing to see such close connection between the activities set up for users and the context and meaning of the program. The Space Program’s training includes learning to “fly” the space craft and “land” it by tilting the device to direct it, and learning to “put together a space suit” using logic and reasoning. After the training in each area, learners complete “missions” related to the actual history of each program, utilizing the skills practiced in the training exercises.

Throughout the entirety of the app, developers have done an outstanding job of incorporating video and audio clips as well as narrators reading from primary sources, actual footage and articles created during Kennedy’s presidency. This sort of immersion, combined with the engaging activities, will make history come alive for young users.

Entertainment

There are ten different activities included in this app, which lend a great deal of variety to the challenges. From simple matching tasks to logic puzzles and coordination/speed based exercises, there’s something here for everyone. It’s nice to have the ‘training exercises’ for each area that teach users how to complete activities. Many are timed, though, and somewhat short times at that. It’s quite challenging to finish before the time runs out! It would be a good idea to incorporate more control for adult mentors in that regard. Some children, particularly those with special needs or with coordination problems, are likely to become frustrated because you cannot skip activities or move past them without successfully completing them. Adding the capability to modify or turn off the timer in the settings would go a long way toward making this app more accessible for children who could benefit but cannot master a particular game.

Value

JFK Challenge is free in the App Store. It is a product designed to encourage youngsters to learn about John F. Kennedy and to remind the public about the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The app will truly help youngsters get interested in this part of our country’s history. The use of actual video and audio clips is a real plus, too, because they make the information come to life.

Child Friendliness

JFK Challenge is child friendly. The app does not include any outside advertising or in-app purchases. There is a pop-up ratings invitation that appears occasionally, and there is no protected parents’ area, but also no live links or other content that should be protected. Children can, however, access the account creation and deletion system as well as the app’s settings to turn sound effects and background music on or off.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES “rate app” pop-up (unprotected)

kido

App Info

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

Overview

Kids’ fingerprints turn into animals and a silly-looking hedgehog named Kido eats letters in this exciting learning app. Kido Magic Finger is so named because when kids touch the screen in five different scenes, their fingerprints turn into cute animals and color in outlines. By incorporating both single-touch and multi-touch technology, kids can see results whether they’re playing with one finger or two fingers, making the game that much more entertaining. Along with creating animals, kids also get to learn how to spell new words, making this app a great way to encourage kids to be creative and to build their basic vocabularies.

Features include:

  • Single-touch and multi-touch technology
  • Two modes of play
  • Five scenes
  • Images from fingerprints
  • Fun sound effects

Quality

On the initial screen, kids see a large play button in the middle of the screen and a smaller info button in the top left corner. From there they’ll be directed to a TV screen featuring five different screens that they can scroll through and select. Once kids enter each scene, tapping their fingers on the scene will produce adorable fingerprint animals. Kids may not realize it at first, but if they tap with one finger, they’ll see a different animal than if they tap with two fingers.

Education

By feeding letters to a hungry hedgehog, Kido, kids learn to spell words like sun, cloud, and moon. Once they successfully feed the monster all of the letters in the word they’re treated to a fun animation featuring the word. These animations help kids learn what the words mean rather than just showing them the spelling of the words. While the vocabulary in the app is somewhat limited and related to the scenes, kids can still learn a lot of words as they play.

Entertainment

In the parent section, developer’s note that the goal of the app isn’t to have kids sitting around playing it all day. While kids will enjoy making fingerprint animals and spelling words, the developers also encourage parents to interact with kids outside of the app by making fingerprint creations of their own. Still, while kids are playing in the app they’ll be entertained with the animated fingerprint animals, crazy hedgehog, and other fun sound effects and animations.

Value

Kido Magic Finger has a lot similarities to other popular ABC and spelling apps on the market. The difference lies in its use of fingerprints and multi-touch technology. This alone makes it unique enough to be worth a buy, although the price may be a tad high for what it offers.

Child Friendliness

Kids will find themselves focused more on the app and less on accessing the parent info section. A basic parental block keeps little fingers from accessing the app’s description and links to social media.

  • Protected parental area
  • NO in-app purchases
  • NO third-party ads
  • YES links to social media (protected)

abcguru

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 2
Download on the App Store

Overview

ABC Gurus provides endless creative fun with the letters of the alphabet as kids color, decorate and accessorize each letter. They listen to the letter names and sounds as they play, then can save their creation as a photo on the device.

Features include:

  • Animated key words to help reinforce the letter sounds
  • Easy, intuitive controls
  • Endless color, design and style options
  • Professional narration of letter names, sounds and key words
  • Save photos of each letter to create an ABC book

Quality

ABC Gurus is a high quality app that will provide many happy, creative sessions with letters for young children. The app works well and is very intuitive to use, making it ideal for the very young and for special needs students. The controls are all based on very clear icons; the crayons select colors, and the crown opens a selection of hats and headwear. One seeming oversight on the part of developers, though, is the lack of a way to go back to the home screen where letters are chosen without finishing the letter and taking its picture. It’s fairly easy to choose a different letter than what you intend; my inclination was to rotate the planet with the letter choices by touching the letters, which caused the app to accidentally select when I did not intend it to. It would be nice to have a button on each letter page that allows users to return to the selection page without finishing the activity if they wish.

Education

This app does an outstanding job of merging play with learning. Most preschool children love to color and decorate things, and they can do just that to the letters they choose. While they play, the app feeds them a steady stream of the letter’s name, its sound, and then rewards the completed project with an animated video of the keyword and allows users to snap a photo of the finished letter. The longer that the kids play, the more they hear the letter’s name, sound and keyword, which is wonderful!

Parents and teachers should be aware, however, that this app was designed for the British market, and there are some differences in pronunciation, letter names, and key words. For example, users are told that the “Z” is “zed” instead of the American name of “zee.” The key word for the letter L is a ladybug in America, but the narration calls it a “ladybird.” Developers should consider an option for parents and teachers to select British or American English.

Entertainment

ABC Gurus is highly entertaining for the target age group. What child doesn’t love creating with colors, stickers and stamps? Best of all, the letters can be played again and again. It doesn’t matter if your child chooses a favorite to decorate over and over, or tries to create alphabet books with different themes. Each time he or she works with a letter, the child will get a healthy dose of letter and phonics instruction and probably won’t even notice it.

Value

ABC Gurus is a great value, since it has tons of replay value and staying power. It should appeal to most young children who are learning their letters, and it’s simple enough to use that the youngest preschoolers will be able to create to their hearts’ content. You will have to look a long time to find another app that offers such consistent, low-key learning opportunities.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. A well-protected parents’ section houses information about the app, other apps from the developer, a sign up for an email newsletter, social media links and privacy policy. It’s also very nice that parents can choose to hide the parents’ section, the privacy policy and more apps as well as turn off photos going to the gallery or disallow access to the camera all together. Kudos to the developers for giving parents the kind of privacy/usage control that they need!

  • Protected parent area (contains external links, social media, app rating request and email links)
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • Ability to turn off parents’ area, more apps, and photos if desired
  • YES “more apps” (protected, but visible)

tinyfarm

App Info

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

Overview

What will kids find when they head down to the farm today? Tiny Farm – Animals, Tractors and Adventures! introduces kids to life on the farm through a fun seek and find format. From planting a garden and scaring away the crows to repairing a broken down tractor, kids will get to experience many different aspects of farm life. Best of all – they get to do it on their terms, playing around with whatever appeals to them in the moment.

Features include:

  • Three main scenes
  • Sound controls
  • A key with items to discover
  • Interactive graphics
  • Hidden surprises

Quality

The app is comprised of three main scene. Each scene has different secrets for kids to discover. As kids tap around, the app’s music and sound effects can get a little loud, but the settings screen allows them to turn off the music and the sound. For those that want to hear the sounds, but don’t want to be overwhelmed, there’s also a volume limit setting that can be turned on and off. As kids explore the scenes, the size of the images may seem a bit small for adult fingers, but it’s the perfect size for toddler and preschooler fingers as they tap around to see what they can discover.

Education

While there’s nothing inherently educational about the app, developers encourage parents to get involved and ask questions about what’s going on in the scenes. For example, why is a boy hiding in the hay? What makes the hen’s eggs change color when they go through the tube? What happens on the farm at night? With so much going on in the app, there are plenty of stories that parents can make up. They can encourage kids to make up their own stories too. You’d be surprised what silly stories young kids can come up with about life on the farm!

Entertainment

Older kids may find this app a bit frustrating because there’s not a defined path to follow. However, for toddlers and preschoolers, the app will be a lot of fun. There’s something going on with nearly every image in the app, so almost every tap will be rewarded. For kids who need some guidance, a key directs them to find some of the fun actions in each scene. It’s noisy, it’s busy, and it’ll probably drive parents crazy, which means little kids will love it.

Value

Tiny Farm – Animals, Tractors and Adventures! comes at a standard price point for children’s apps. Without a defined game or focus, parents of older children may opt for a different app, but those looking for a fun and quality app for younger children should give it a try.

Child Friendliness

It’s easy for kids to navigate the app and discover new adventures. On the main screen, there are a few distractions through links to social media and pictures of the developer’s other apps. However, they’re all protected by a parental lock and are quickly forgotten once kids step onto the farm.

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

parcel

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

A Parcel of Courage is a highly interactive app that includes a fun story, fun games, and educational activities that children will enjoy. With beautiful illustrations, interactive images, lively narration, and fun activities to keep children engaged, this storybook app has a lot to offer children as they play.

Features include:

  • Counting
  • Puzzles
  • Memory activities

Quality

A Parcel of Courage is a creative app with lots of things for children to do. The professional illustrations and interactive images are well done and add a ton of value to the story not to mention the sound effects and narration that is included. While the set up of the app is quite creative and the developers have included simple prompts to help children move through the activities, it isn’t the most intuitive app that I have seen. It could also use some work on the response to user touch and creating a few additional prompts for children as they play.

Education

There are so many activities included in this app and many of them are very educational. With a variety of puzzles, memory activities, counting, and sequencing, children will have lots of opportunities to practice their logic and problem solving skills. With activities that include packing oddly shaped items into a suitcase, replicating a sequence of stamps, replicating color schemes on mandalas etc. children have plenty of educational games to enjoy.

While there are many activities within and accessible outside of the story, the instructions aren’t always clear which can be frustrating for children. The story also doesn’t include a text-highlighting option that would allow readers to follow along and practice their reading skills. Adding a few more instructional prompts and the text-highlighting would greatly increase the educational value of the app.

Entertainment

There is no doubt that this app has a ton of activities for children to enjoy in addition to the story. With in story puzzles and activities and others that can be accessed outside of the story, this app offers children many opportunities to explore, learn and play. And one thing is for sure, they won’t likely get bored using this app because there is so much to offer.

Value

Priced at just under three dollars this app is a great value. With so many activities within and outside the story not to mention the story itself, this is an app that children are going to be able to enjoy for months to come.

Child Friendliness

The developer has done a great job of creating an app that children will really enjoy with loads of activities and a cute story too. The usability however could leave some children frustrated. Adding a few more verbal cues to help players identify what needs to be done would help create more ease in using the app for younger children.

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

Chuggington

App Info

Price: $4.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Chuggington-We are Chuggineers is a great storybook app with fun activities and videos sprinkled throughout that children will love. Players will help the Chuggineers complete various tasks to help them build a bridge to help get them to Tootington. This highly engaging adventure is one that every train lover will be able to enjoy several times over.

Features include:

  • Narration options (Read to me/Read to myself)
  • Text highlighting
  • Games
  • Videos

Quality

The developers have done a great job of creating an app that is easy to use as the user interface is highly intuitive. The illustrations and videos that are included are also very well done and are what you might expect from the television show. With fun music, narration, and sound effects this app is a high quality storybook adventure that children are really going to enjoy.

Education

With narration options and text highlighting, this app allows children the opportunity to practice their reading skills as they follow along with the story. There are also fun games and activities scattered throughout the app that challenge children to use their logic and problem solving skills as they help the Chuggineers fix railways and avoid various obstacles.

Entertainment

The developers have not only done a great job with the entertaining story, but they have also included fun videos and animations through the story to help keep readers engaged. The challenging activities and games are also sprinkled throughout so children certainly will not get bored. Another great thing about the app is how the developers have made it easy for children to access the videos and games outside of reading the full story. By tapping the “contents” tab, children can scroll through the various frames to select the game or video they would like to explore.

Value

Priced at just under five dollars, this app might be a bit more than parents are used to paying for an app like this, but when you consider the high quality images, videos, and games that are included in addition to the story, it’s a fair deal. Train lovers are definitely going to get a lot of playing time out of this app and all that it has to offer.

Child Friendliness

Chuggington-We are Chuggineers is not only a fun app, but it is also very easy to use. With the various narration options and text highlighting early readers will have no problem moving through the app on their own. The set up is also very easy to use with arrows at the bottom of each page and visual prompts to help children as they play each game.

  • 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)

PaccaAlpaca

App Info

Price: $3.99
AppStore User Rating: 4.5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Pacca Alpaca-Austratlia is a great app with lots of great illustrations, animations, and educational activities that children will love. While learning things like their colors, shapes, and numbers, players get to follow a fun Alpaca around Australia for various educational adventures. Highly engaging and fun, this app is one that will likely become a family favorite.

Features include:

  • Shapes
  • Colors
  • Great illustrations

Quality

There is no doubt, Pacca Alpaca-Australia is very well done with professional images and interactive illustrations that will keep children engaged, learning, and having fun. There are fabulous sound effects and music that add more interest to an already great app. While the illustrations and sound effects are quite professional and very well done, it would help to provide more clear directions for children so they know how to proceed with each activity as it isn’t always entirely clear.

Education

There are a variety of educational activities included in this app that will help children learn and practice their counting, shapes, and colors. The developers have also done a great job incorporating the educational bits in a very natural way to keep children engaged in the app. Players also get ample practice in each educational area since there are several activities for each skill that help children learn through repetition. Overall this is a great educational app.

Entertainment

The developers have done a nice job of incorporating the educational activities in a fun and entertaining way. The app seems to share a bit of a story of one Alpaca who is traveling around various places in Australia and on each stop is a new activity to explore. The fun animations like the Alpaca riding in a boat or enjoying a barbecue on the beach keeps children engaged as they move between the educational activities.

Value

Priced at just under four dollars this app is a good deal. The illustrations and educational activities included within the app are of high quality and with the ability to reset the activities, this app is one that children will enjoy several times over. While it might cost a bit more than other similar apps, it is one that will quickly become a family favorite.

Child Friendliness

While each educational activity is fairly easy to use it isn’t always completely clear what needs to be done in order to complete some of the activities. The developers have included various sparkles and arrows to help guide children as they play, but providing a bit more direction would be helpful. Other than that, this app is great for children of all ages.

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