4.5 stars – excellent apps

Running Noah

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Solve multiplication problems to build bridges and save animals with Running Noah.
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

If you’re looking for an app to help kids improve their multiplication skills, consider Running Noah. This simple multiplication app gives kids the chance to answer multiplication problems while helping Noah reach his ark. Every time he reaches the ark, he saves a stranded animal. The game moves quickly so kids must be prepared to answer questions quickly.

Features include:

  • Learn times tables in increments
  • Complete different levels
  • Catch lightning bolts
  • Save animals

Quality

There’s not much too this app. It features a simple arcade-style game. Noah runs across small islands at the bottom of the screen. A line of numbers appear on the right hand side. Kids must drag the numbers to make the desired product. Play moves quickly. Kids really need to be able to think on their feet in order to keep up. A tutorial mode gives them a chance to practice before they get into the actual game.

Education

In the free version, kids can practice their times tables from 1 to 4. In-app purchases give kids access to times tables from 5 to 8, 9 to 12, and 1 to 12. Each of the levels works largely the same way, they just feature different animals and landscapes. This app is not really designed for beginning multiplication learners. Kids need to be fairly confident in their skills to move at the speed of the app.

Entertainment

Simple arcade games have a way of entertaining kids. As kids solve problems in the game, they earn points. They can also jump to catch lightning bolts. These help boost their scores. There is a leaderboard within the app. To access the board, simply grant parental permission via a link generated by the app.

Value

Kids can try the first levels of the app for free. An in-app purchase allows them to get additional times tables. If kids do well on the free version, the additional sets come at a good value.

Child Friendliness

The app is free from ads and other inappropriate content. To get their names on the leaderboard, kids are prompted to visit a link, but it is not clickable within the app. There is an in-app purchase, so parents must make sure they have a password set up on their device to prevent unwanted purchases.

Learn Chinese with Lingokids

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Learn Chinese with Lingokids uses an immersive language experience, animated characters, and interactive activities to help kids learn to speak Chinese.
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

Whether children are 2 or 10 they can learn how to speak Chinese with Lingokids. This unique app uses an immersive language experience to help kids learn how to speak a new language. The app contains activities for true beginners, but it also appeals to kids who already know a bit of Chinese.

Features include:

  • Immersive language experience
  • Multiple levels of play
  • Monthly subscription available
  • Animated characters and interactive activities

Quality

From the animations and interactive activities to the educational components, developers have created a quality app. When kids first open the app, they’ll notice there are a lot of steps to take to set up the app. Adults will have to set up an account and choose the levels before kids can get started. Once kids get to the learning component, they may find that the screen gets a bit busy. That’s because there are a lot of options to choose from. However, once kids get started, they’ll find that the functionality is fairly intuitive and it’s easy to move from activity to activity.

Education

The app focuses on providing an immersive language learning experience for kids. When kids first start with the app, they may be a bit confused. However, as they begin to understand more of the language, they’ll enjoy interacting with the app more. Instruction is available for kids starting at age 2. There are also different levels of instructions, from kids who know no Chinese to those who are already familiar with the language. During the activities, kids will find nonverbal clues and images to help them know what to do.

Entertainment

Lingokids seeks to get kids’ attention by using a collection of animated characters who are engaged in entertaining scenarios. At first, kids may simply think it’s funny to hear the characters speaking Chinese. However, as kids begin to understand more of the language, they’ll also enjoy interacting with the characters. The app also has plenty of interactive elements for kids. As kids complete activities and learn words they’re rewarded with medals and given other positive reinforcement.

Value

Language-learning programs are expensive and Lingokids is no exception. However, the app is free to download and new users can try out limited features for free or sign up for a one-month free trial. Be sure to look at multiple age and skill levels during the trial to get a good feel for all that the app has to offer.

Child Friendliness

In order to use the app, adults must set up an account. This can be done either using Facebook (the app does not post to Facebook) or by providing an e-mail address. Within the app, adults will also find the option to purchase a subscription or set up a free trial. All of these features are protected by a parental lock.

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Learn Animals: Hide and Seek is a simple and fun hide and seek game that will also help young children learn to identify farm animals, match, follow oral directions, and develop visual closure skills.
4.8

App Info

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

Overview

Learn Animals: Hide and Seek plays the classic seek-and-find game with toddlers and preschoolers. The animals leave their corral to hide behind random items while the app screen goes dark and children see and hear counting one to ten. Then the app lights up again (“opens its eyes”), and children are invited to find the farm critters one at a time. Some are completely hidden and others have bits sticking out to give a few hints.

Features include:

  • Intuitive game play
  • Fun animations
  • Choice of three background songs
  • Verbal and visual directions
  • Game continues until the app is closed

Quality

Learn Animals: Hide and Seek is a wonderfully high quality app specially designed for toddlers and preschoolers. The drag and drop interface is easy for young hands to use, and the app is set up to be easy to play. Developers did a great job of putting together an app that is both entertaining and educational for the very young.

Education

This app is hugely fun for the peek-a-boo crowd; young children will truly enjoy it.  And while they are having fun finding animals and sending them back to their corral on a flying cloud, they will be learning important readiness lessons to help them prepare for later school experiences.

The app shows one of the farm animals’ faces at the top of the screen, and verbally prompts the child to “find the ___.”  The child can move any of the displayed pictures (of a tree, a corn patch, a hay stack, and similar farm items) to see if the animal they are looking for is back there.  Youngsters will quickly learn that some of the animals are better at hiding than others, and they sometimes leave some clues, such as an ear, sticking out from behind a tree. And as they have fun, kids will be developing the important skills of matching and visual closure, which is the ability to see part of a picture and mentally fill in the missing pieces.

While the animals are hiding, the app mimics closing eyes and counts out loud from one to ten, just like in the real game. Each number is displayed in bright colors with a “fireworks” background on the display that is truly eye-catching.  One big suggestion, however, would be to strengthen the contrast on the yellowish numbers-they blend into the background and might not stand out as well to the children.  But seeing and hearing the numbers as they are counted will really help most kids improve this skill as well.

Entertainment

Nearly all toddlers and many preschoolers are completely in love with various forms of peek-a-boo and hide and seek, so this app is sure to be a kid-pleaser. Children will take delight in finding the animals, and are quite likely to feel superior to the animals that don’t hide themselves completely. After all, everyone knows you shouldn’t let your ears stick out when you hide behind a tree!  There is likely to be quite a bit of giggling as kids play Learn Animals: Hide and Seek.

Value

Learn Animals: Hide and Seek is free on the App Store. It’s cute and entertaining, and definitely worth a download.  The app does offer an in-app purchase (nicely protected from young users). The purchase is another scene with different animals for ninety-nine cents.

Child Friendliness

This app does offer an in-app purchase of an additional scene for the game.  The link is on the front screen, and visible to children. It is adequately protected, but would be better if it were not so obvious to young users.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
FishyPaint allows users to view and interact with a virtual aquarium as they touch the responsive fish, and use their own real-world artwork and pictures to create their own unique and colorful finned friends.
4.6

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

FishyPaint is a virtual aquarium with a creative twist: users can add their own fish. The main screen shows fish swimming around and offers limited interaction by touching the images. Users can use the device’s camera or existing photographs to add new fish to the scene.

Features include:

  • Includes colorful, animated fish
  • Allows users to add their own unique fish
  • New fish can be created with drawings or other designs
  • Fish respond to screen touches
  • Simple and intuitive game play

Quality

FishyPaint is a high quality app that is very intuitive to use. Developers did include help screens for the main sections, which is very nice. If users allow access to camera and photo stream, they can create their own fish, and even decorate them. However, the custom fish do not transfer to the next play session, and photos taken from within the app do not get added to the iPad’s photo stream, so new creations are quite temporary. Developers should make this clear on the help screen so that children (and their parents) are not disappointed.

Education

This app isn’t really intended to be educational, but there are some ways to incorporate early learning tasks. Simply coordinating movements to tap the fish as they swim is good practice for the very young or players with special needs. Since it is so easy to create custom fish, adults could make fish in specific colors, with patterns, or even add letters or numbers by drawing them on the fish, then having players find and tap the requested fish. Just remember that custom fish will not be saved when you exit the app, and you will need to create new ones for each session.

Entertainment

This app is quite soothing, as it not only provides the visual effects of fish swimming, it also includes the bubbly white noise that accompanies a real aquarium. Children will have a lot of fun creating custom fish and photographing them to get them into the scene. Photos of any sort can be used to make a fish, so a creative child could have a lot of fun making silly creations from pictures of people, pets, and other items. It’s also easy to draw a fish and photograph it, so the sky’s the limit for creativity. Once uploaded, an outline of a fish is superimposed on the picture, showing what design will be on the final creation. There is a paintbrush tool that can be used to “cancel out” portions of the drawing and make it transparent. The width of the tool can be increased or decreased using a slider, but even the smallest size is still fairly wide and would make it tough to create detailed designs. It will also be important to stress to young users that their creations are temporary, and won’t last beyond the current session in the app.  If they want to be able to recreate a fish that they like, make sure to snap the photo outside of the app, because pictures taken within the app are not saved to the main photo stream.

Value

FishyPaint is free to download from the App Store, making it a great value. Young children will enjoy the low-key, stress-free creative activity, and it could be quite interesting and motivational for many individuals with special needs, as well.

Child Friendliness

FishyPaint is mostly child friendly, but the main screen’s help section does include an unprotected link to the developers’ website on the open internet. Developers should consider protecting this link behind an effective parent gate.

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

Wonster Words

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

Sun to Moon Sleep Clock

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

Bogga Jewel

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

Entertainment

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

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

Safari School

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly.

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

MotionBody

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

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

Education

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

This app is very child friendly.

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

MyTeeth All Inclusive

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

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

Entertainment

This app is not intended for entertainment.

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Bloom by Megalearn is a fun and entertaining way to learn about some important aspects of biology and plant life cycles, and activates some important higher-learning skills such as generalization and finding similarities and differences.
4.8

App Info

Price: $4.99
AppStore User Rating: 2
Download on the App Store

Overview

Bloom by Megalearn offers young children an interactive, animated look at how three types of plants reproduce and live their life cycles. Players choose the type of plant to explore, see how it grows and blooms, how the seeds form, how they spread from one area to another, and how new plants begin the cycle once more.

Features include:

  • Three types of plants to explore
  • Simple quizzes to test knowledge
  • Gorgeous artwork
  • Several types of interactive animations
  • Soothing background music

Quality

Bloom by Megalearn is a very high quality app. Developers did a great job of creating an engaging look at some basic facts of biology suitable for younger elementary children. The interface is simple and intuitive on each interaction, and the quizzes are self-correcting so there is no frustration. Every aspect of this app is perfect for the target age group.

Education

This app will truly speak to young elementary students by satisfying their curiosity at the same time as it engages them through varied by appropriate interactions on the screens. The focus of the app is on how plants spread their seeds. It uses three example plants: coconuts, dandelions, and raspberries to show how water, wind, and animals can help seeds to travel. Along the way, players get to help the process of growth and dispersion along by making the wind blow, the sun shine, and rain to fall from the clouds. At one point, they even control the movements of animals. The interactions are different, ranging from jiggling items to tap, horizontal sliders to move, and vertical sliders to manipulate. Some items are draggable, and others move by themselves. Each scene has something to explore, and most have multiple interactions.

The science being presented is perfect for the age group, as well. Young elementary students enjoy science that satisfies their hunger for learning with practical information about the world around them. The hands-on and interactive nature of this app are really good vehicles for this type of learning.

Entertainment

Bloom is an entertaining app. It almost grabs participants and drags them along on the journeys that the plants and seeds take because of its interactive nature. Each of the three plant sequences is different enough that they will hold children’s interest, yet similar enough that they will be able to see important commonalities and make generalizations.

Value

At $4.99, this app is somewhat pricy, though. Most children will not return to it again and again as a favorite, because there will be no new surprises or information waiting for them. It takes about five or ten minutes to go all the way through the app’s content, and the interactions, while engaging, are not fun enough to bring children back again and again on their own. In other words, it’s a very high-quality app, but is likely to have little staying power in a child’s collection. Teachers of young children, however, that could use it with a steady supply of new players are going to love it.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child friendly, with no possible way to connect to the internet and no other hidden hazards for little fingers to find.

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

Spooky Hollow - Interactive Children's Book

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

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

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

Entertainment

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

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

App Info

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

Overview

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

Features include:

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

Quality

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

Education

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

Entertainment

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

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

Value

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

Child Friendliness

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

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

  • NO social media
  • NO in-app purchases
  • YES third-party ads
  • YES external links
  • Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child-Friendly
    Summary
    The free version of Highlights Shapes-Preschool Learning Puzzles does a good job of offering practice for toddlers and preschoolers to match, sort, and categorize 4 types of shapes and colors as they solve puzzles by sliding the correct shapes into the matching areas on the screen.
    4.8

    App Info

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

    Overview

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

    Features include:

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

    Quality

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

    Education

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

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

    Entertainment

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

    Value

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

    Child Friendliness

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

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

    Artie's Magic Pencil

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

    App Info

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

    Overview

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

    Features include:

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

    Quality

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

    Education

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

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

    Entertainment

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

    Value

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

    Child Friendliness

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

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

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

    App Info

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

    Overview

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

    Features include:

    • Customized restriction settings
    • Bedtime
    • Time out

    Quality

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

    Education

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

    Entertainment

    Not rated for Entertainment.

    Value

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

    Child Friendliness

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

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

    App Info

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

    Overview

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

    Features include:

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

    Quality

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

    Education

    This app is not really intended to be educational.

    Entertainment

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

    Value

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

    Child Friendliness

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

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

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

    App Info

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

    Overview

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

    Features include:

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

    Quality

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

    Education

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

    Entertainment

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

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

    Value

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

    Child Friendliness

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

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

    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Super Yoga Bedtime is the perfect app to help children wind down from the day and get relaxed and ready for bed. With a superhero theme, yoga practices, and calming guided visualizations, this app is great for children of all ages.
    4.8

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Yoga and meditation are great for helping people wind down from a long day and Super Yoga Bedtime makes this practice easy for kids to follow and enjoy. This app is full of simple exercises that children can easily follow along with to calm their mind and bodies as they get ready for sweet slumber. The superhero theme also creates a playful feel for children and keeps them engaged enough to make this a nightly ritual so they gain the maximum results.

    Features include:

    • 3 Yoga practices
    • 5 Guided visualizations
    • 2 Breathing practices

    Quality

    Super Yoga Bedtime is an exceptionally well-done app with beautifully calming background music and professional narration throughout. The images are high quality and they create a playful feel with the superhero theme that children will love. The developers have also done a nice job with the user interface making it easy for children to move through the app with ease and without a ton of parent help.

    Education

    Not rated for education.

    Entertainment

    While this isn’t your typical entertainment app with games etc., it is one that children will begin looking forward to overtime. For some children winding down after a day full of activities can be difficult to do and this app is designed specifically in a way to keep children engaged as they relax for bedtime. The superhero theme is great for kids and allows them to earn specific badges the more they do their nightly practice. They can select from fun yoga sequences, relaxing guided visualizations, and calming breathing exercises to wind down each day. The more time they put in the more likely they will receive their specialized superhero badges.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars this app is a steal! With the gorgeous illustrations, calming music, and the relaxing exercises to use at bedtime, this app is one that parents and children alike are going to love. Bedtime can be a stressful time for parents and kids, but with this app it can evolve into a relaxing time of day and that makes it worth every penny and more!

    Child Friendliness

    As if Super Yoga Bedtime wasn’t good enough, the developers have made a commitment to keeping the app safe and easy to use for children of all ages. In addition to the simple to use interface, they have incorporated information buttons for each exercise so parents and children know what to expect. There is also a parent’s area that provides more information, however it is completely safe with no external links. One thing parents will want to know is that there is an option to sign up as a user for the app and to track your child’s progress. You don’t have to use that option as there is a guest button available, however it will not keep track of your child’s progress.

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

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Planet Earth HD is an incredible educational app that has everything you would want to know about our fabulous planet. Educational, interactive, and great for children of all ages.
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Planet Earth HD is a comprehensive, interactive ebook that provides kids with tons of great information about planet Earth. With information on the continents, weather cycles, the solar system, and so much more, this ebook is incredibly well-rounded and allows children to learn and explore all there is to know about our wonderful planet.

    Features include:

    • Narration options (Read to me/Read to myself)
    • 20 Full-page illustrations
    • 200+ Interactive images

    Quality

    Planet Earth HD is full of incredible interactive images with crystal clear clarity that children are going to love as they follow along with the story. The developers have made it easy for children to move through the app with narration options and arrows at the bottom of each page to indicate how to move on. With simple tap and touch functioning, even young children can enjoy listening to the information as they explore the interactive images through out. Overall, this app is very well done.

    Education

    There is no doubt that Planet Earth HD is loaded with awesome information for children to learn. Perfect for use in the classroom, this app teaches children information about the continents, solar system, weather cycles, the ocean and so much more! Each page offers lots of great information to go along with the fabulous interactive images that add to the overall learning experience.

    While it does offer great info and images, the developers have not included text highlighting as part of the features which may make it difficult for young children to follow along. The other downside is that each page has so much text and information that it can be easy for little ones to get lost or overwhelmed. Separating the text a bit and adding text-highlighting would definitely help children move through the app with more ease so they can process the wonderful information.

    Entertainment

    Planet Earth HD comes equipped with over 200 interactive images that help bring the story to life. The sound effects also add to the overall experience which adds a bit of interest to the story. While the images are great, they aren’t all that engaging for little ones who may easily get bored. One thing that would definitely increase the entertainment value of the app is adding a few games or quizzes.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars this app is a steal! With all of the information included, parents and children are getting lots of great educational information along with fantastic interactive images for a price that won’t break the bank. Even without some of the extra bells and whistles, this app is a great value.

    Child Friendliness

    The developers have done a nice job overall keeping this app easy to use and safe too. With narration options and arrows at the bottom of each page to help children move through the story, kids will have no trouble playing with this app. The developers have also done a nice job making sure there are no external links, in-app purchases, or advertisements that might distract readers from the story.

    The only things that would make this app more child friendly and easier to use would be adding text-highlighting and spreading out the text on each page a bit more. Other than that, parents will be happy with what this app has to offer.

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

    Here’s our list of reviewed and recommended apps for 8th graders. Check out the math, science, and even personal health concepts! Challenge your upper middle school student with these great apps.

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    I’ve Got This-An Interactive Story

    I Got This: An Interactive Story walks users through a first-person account of a teen who developed type 2 diabetes in an interactive e-book format. The story is told graphic-novel style, with lots of opportunities for interaction. It provides a first-hand look at the illness, its causes and its management.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Khan Academy

    Khan Academy’s app opens the door to the Khan Academy library of instructional videos and practice activities for thousands of skills from early childhood through collegiate level. The activities are organized by grade and subject matter, and the search function will pull up specific skills based on keywords you type in.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    World of the Wild

    World of the Wild is a simulation game that allows players to participate in various ecology-based activities, including cleaning up oil spills, planting grass, trees and bushes, and rescuing endangered animals from various sorts of calamities. Each activity is interconnected, and earns points that can be used to complete other activities. Extra points can be purchased or earned by taking quizzes about conservation and the environment.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Space Agent

    Space Agent is a unique and challenging hands-on role playing game that deeply engages players in both mind and body. Players become space agents tasked with the challenge of hunting and capturing invading aliens bent on Earth’s destruction. The problem? The aliens are invisible and must be tracked by sound alone. Capturing aliens requires great hearing and outstanding coordination, not to mention stamina-the game will give players a great workout in many ways. The game does require headphones.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Action Graphing

    Action Graphing is a hands-on, kinesthetic way to explore concepts related to graphs of velocity. Students studying algebra, physics, and related high school topics can play games and work through several series of lessons about graphing.

    <Check it out on the App Store.

    Zcooly Time Ranch

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Set the clock correctly to earn coins to purchase new animals with Zcooly Time Ranch.
    4.3

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Down on the ranch, the farmer needs a helping hand. While he’s busy planting, there are still animals that need to be fed. Kids are invited to come help him out. To feed the animals, kids must set the correct time on the clock. The more clocks they set correctly, the more food and coins they earn. The end result is a fun game for kids that also helps them build their time-telling skills.

    Features include:

    • Digital and analog clocks
    • Fun farm theme
    • 10 different levels
    • Ability to earn coins to buy animals

    Quality

    When kids first open the app, they’re taken through a tutorial that introduces them to the different components of the app. Kids can also return to the tutorial at any time by tapping on the rancher’s icon. A settings section outlines what the various icons within the app mean and also helps kids navigate through the app if they feel confused, but they probably won’t. The app itself is fairly easy to navigate and, once kids start, they’ll be able to work their way through all ten levels without much of a problem. The one area where the app lacks in quality is the graphics. While generally clear, they move a bit slowly and lack a bit of the same polish that you’ll find from larger developers. This won’t prevent kids from playing the game though.

    Education

    Zcooly Time Ranch is, not surprisingly, an app designed to help kids learn to tell time. Kids can play the game using digital clocks, analog clocks, or a combination of both. Before kids start to play, they can practice setting the clock in the Practice section. There, they’re shown a clock and guided through the process of setting it to the correct time. When kids get into the actual game, they’re shown a clock and expected to set it themselves. As kids advance through the levels, the difficulty increases. For example, during the first few days, kids simply set the clock to a given time, but they’re quickly asked to set the clock to half past a specific time or two hours ahead of a particular time. Each individual sub-level tends to focus on one or two ways to set the clock. The app also uses slightly more advanced clock-setting language. For example, instead of saying it’s 12:45, the app will ask kids to set the clock so it is at a quarter to one.

    Entertainment

    While this app teaches kids how to tell time, it also gives them the chance to have a little fun. Every time kids set the clock correctly, they earn coins. They also earn food to feed the animals that can lead to more coins. If kids earn enough coins, they can purchase new animals for the farm. These animals range from typical farm animals to more unusual animals, such as a dinosaur. The more animals kids have, the more quickly coins add up. Some kids may want to save up their coins to purchase a bigger animal right away, but they may do better to buy a few smaller animals first.

    Value

    The app is priced higher than many of its counterparts. It does offer 10 levels with 7 sub-levels within each level and the ability to earn coins to purchase animals for the farm. For teachers or parents looking for a new way to teach kids how to tell time, the price may be justified.

    Child Friendliness

    When kids first open the app, they’re asked whether they want to allow the app to send them notifications. On the main screen, kids will also see an icon for another app and can tap to open a general info screen. This section encourages users to rate the app, but access to the links on the screen is protected, so kids will stay within the app.

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

    Quality
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Sofus and the Moonmachine is an adventurous storybook app that takes readers through a magnificent and interactive journey through space. Fun to read and highly interactive, this app is great for children of all ages.
    4.8

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Sofus and the Moonmachine is an adventure-filled storybook app that takes readers through three chapters of exploring space and helping Sofus on his journey. This interactive storybook app is full of beautiful illustrations, fun sound effects, and interactive activities that children will love as they read through this fun adventure.

    Features include:

    • Narration options
    • Interactive images
    • Gorgeous illustrations
    • Rhyming story

    Quality

    Sofus and the Moonmachine is one app that is full of unique and intricate illustrations that make this storybook app engaging and fun for children to read. The developers have also done an excellent job with the interactive bits throughout that allow readers to tap and touch the images to bring them to life. Overall this app is of very high quality and one that children of all ages will love.

    Education

    Not rated for education.

    Entertainment

    This app offers so much more than just a story for children to enjoy. In addition to enjoying three chapters of the adventurous space story written in rhyming prose, readers will also love the fun, interactive illustrations that help to bring the story to life. With animations, narration options, and a few fun space games throughout the story, this app offers loads of entertainment and adventure that children of all ages will love.

    Value

    Priced at just under four dollars, this app is a good deal. While it may be a little more than parents are used to paying for a storybook app, it is worth every penny. The developers have put a lot of time and effort into the presentation of the story including interactive illustrations and narration options that add a ton of value to this digital story. Overall it’s a great value.

    Child Friendliness

    Parents will be happy to know that the developers have done an excellent job of keeping this app easy to use and safe for children of all ages. It includes narration options so children can read on their own or with the narrator as well as move through the fun interactive bits that are included in the images and illustrations. There are arrows at the bottom of each page that also help little ones move through the story from page-to-page as well. While adding the text-highlighting feature would add a bit more of an educational component to the app, it is very well done as it is and parents will certainly appreciate the fact that there are no external links or advertisements to distract children from the app.

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

    Here are some of the best of the best apps for fifth graders as they head back to school. This list includes reviewed and recommended apps to help practice fractions, basic math, and grammar. There are also some apps that will open doors of programming and science. Enjoy!

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    The Everything Machine

    The Everything Machine gives players the tools to tap into the iPad/iPhone/iPod’s power and versatility by setting up an intuitive programming language. Users can experiment with turning the device’s built in sensors, hardware and features on and off on command to accomplish a wide array of tasks.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Namoo-Wonders of Plant Life

    “You can find joy everywhere if you only look close enough” is the quote that opens NAMOO – Wonders of Plant Life. Developers of the app have worked hard to make that quote a reality for kids. This beautiful app combines calming background music with detailed illustrations and informative texts to help kids learn all about plant life. Kids will explore different aspects of plant life, from the composition of plant cells to the types of roots plants have. Throughout the app, kids will discover interactive diagrams, animated illustrations, and other engaging contnet designed to help them understand the content. At the end of the day, developers have created a quality app that can enhance science instruction and help kids enjoy learning about plant life.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Crazy Times Tables-Multiplication Photo Fun

    Crazy Times Tables incentivizes multiplication facts practice with games and visual effects. The app provides several levels of difficulty with twelve games and users can isolate specific fact families (x 1 through x 12) or set up for mixed practice. It also isolates math facts that were incorrectly answered and allows practice just on that list.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Slice Fractions

    Slice Fractions offers a wordless, hands-on walk through basic fraction concepts such as the meaning of the numerator and denominator, equivalent fractions, and fraction ordering. Players have to solve physics problems by slicing objects and removing barriers to movement at the correct times and places to progress through the game.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Grammaropolis

    Grammaropolis (full version) is a teaching and practice tool to help students learn the parts of speech. The Nouns section is free, and the other seven parts of speech are available as separate in-app purchases of $1.99 each or $12.99 for the entire set. Each section includes explanatory videos and interactive books as well as brief multiple choice activities and two quizzes.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Get your fourth graders learning and playing with these recommended and reviewed Best Apps for Kids. You’ll find math practice, story telling, and even coding!

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    Sparky’s Brain Busters

    Sparky’s Brain Busters is a fast-paced trivia game for elementary student (grades 3-5) that drills players in Common Core concepts in math, science, social studies, and literature as well as miscellaneous questions and fire safety tips.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Times Table Galaxy

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

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Mr. Glue Stories

    Mr Glue Stories is a unique storybook app full of imagination, character, and loads of creativity. With four stories to personalize, record, add sound effects, and illustrate, this storybook app provides readers with a ton of creative freedom to build, change, and create fun stories at will. The amazing narration and sound effects throughout are highly engaging and the freedom to add your own flair makes this app one of a kind.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Hopscotch: Coding for Kids, a visual programming language

    Hopscotch: Coding for Kids is a great tool for teaching coding not only to kids but adults, too. The design makes it suitable for both and is flexible for a wide range of user experience.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Robot School-Programming for Kids”

    Robot School: Programming for Kids teaches the steps to creating simple computer programs using icons that control a robot. Players are given progressively more difficult challenges and more sophisticated tools to solve them, and are guided into developing sequences of code to accomplish each mission.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Reviewed and recommended apps for third graders will make finding just the right one for your child a piece of cake! Here are some great ones to help with cursive writing, math skills, composition and creativity, and more.

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    Letter School Cursive Writing

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

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Little Big Car Factory Spelling Game

    Young spellers participate in leveled practice with any of the built-in lists or groups of words entered by teacher or parent. The app automatically makes the tasks more challenging until children are spelling the word independently with no hints.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Math Galaxy Whole Number Riddles

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

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Smart Spark: Ignite Your Child’s Learning Potential

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

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Write About This

    Write About This offers hundreds of motivating and interesting writing prompts as well as systems to create new prompts, add other content, write and share writing, record and work collaboratively. It is a highly useful and flexible tool for home or classroom to encourage children to write.

    Check it out on the App Store

    Here are some great reviewed apps for spelling, phonics skills, listening skills, and more! These apps are perfect for second grade students.

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    Planet Lettra

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

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Sound Salad

    Sound Salad-Help Mr. Ear by Sorting Sounds is a sound sorting and memory game for young children. Players are challenged to match short sound effects to pictures, using discrimination, memory, and attention skills.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Attributes by Math Doodles

    Attributes by Math Doodles will challenge users’ ability to find patterns and commonalities, to notice and distinguish among fine details, and to sort and categorize finely detailed drawings. Students who play will be amazed to find that math includes such a wide array of skills, and also to find that it can be so much FUN!

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Highlights: All About

    Highlights: All About allows young children to explore child-friendly topics in typical Highlights magazine style. Each section includes stories, puzzles and activity ideas that will help children take their understanding to the next level.

    Check it out on the App Store

    Spelling Bug Hangman

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

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Copy of bestappsforkids - design 2(17)A little bit of science, a little bit of social studies, some reading and some math round out the suggestions for first graders this year.

    Take a look at these apps.

    Malama Honua My Voyage

    The My Voyage app will take users on an elaborate adventure through documentary-like videos, games, and more as the main characters explore Hawaiian and Polynesian history and culture. The main characters learn history and ancient skills like weaving and boat-making of the Polynesian people who later settled in Hawaii. In the process, they also discover solid traditional values like caring for the earth and respecting elders.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    PatchMania-Kids

    Calvin the Bunny and his furry friends are minding their own business when Farmer Lester destroys their forest home to create his farm fields. The little animals eat their way through the farmer’s crops by munching mazes of carrots, lettuce, mushrooms and more. Each puzzle presents a maze for players to solve to move the animals to their burrows by eating the vegetables in their proper order.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Read-Kids Learn to Read and Write in 20 Easy Lessons

    Read- Kids Learn to Read and Write in 20 Lessons is a comprehensive phonics and sight words activity suitable for young children. It pairs letters and letter pairs with the phonemes (sounds) of the English language, and has users practice by identifying letters that make the sounds, spelling simple words, tracing and writing the letters, and reading simple controlled-vocabulary stories.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Ready, Jet, Go! Space Explorer

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

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Up to 100

    Up To 100 helps children learn to recognize and form numbers between 1 and 99. It also helps children understand ones and tens place value and the relationship of digits to the number. It’s very hands-on and offers a lot of different concrete experiences with numbers.

    Check it out on the App Store.

    Summary
    Wuwu & Co. is a storybook app that takes children on a 3D adventure full of magic and wonder. Exciting, entertaining and great for children of all ages!

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Wuwu & Co. is an app unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. This storybook app takes children on an amazing adventure beyond just the story with unique 3D effects. By holding their device upright they can move around to explore a virtual world of wonder all the while uncovering new stories and characters along the way. Interactive, engaging, and very well done, this is one app children of all ages are going to love!

    Features include:

    • 3D features
    • Multiple stories
    • Unique concept
    • Narration options

    Quality

    Wuwu & Co. is a high quality and incredibly creative app that is full of fabulous 3D effects that allow readers to pick up their device and explore an entirely new world. The developers have done an excellent job of creating very intricate and unique illustrations and images that children will love to explore as they follow along with the story. While the concept is quite unique, it might take little ones a bit to get the hang of how to use the app, however once they do, they are going to love it! Very well done!

    Education

    Not rated for education.

    Entertainment

    Wuwu & Co. is an incredibly engaging and highly entertaining app. Not only does it offer several fun stories for children to explore, it also allows children to enter this wonderful winter wonderland with 3D effects by simply picking up their device and moving it around. This apps takes the storybook app to an entirely new level. While it doesn’t include any additional games for children to enjoy, the storybook app is a bit of a game in and of itself. One thing is for sure, children are going to love playing with this app!

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars this app is a great value. When you consider the narration options, the incredible 3D effects, high quality graphics and the wide variety of stories included, this app is one children will enjoy for hours.

    Child Friendliness

    The developers have done an excellent job making Wuwu & Co. an app that is safe and easy to use for children of all ages. While it may take a bit to get used to how the 3D effects work, children are able to enjoy the variety of stories following along with the narrator or on their own. Parents will also be happy to know that this app is free of advertisements and in-app purchases that might otherwise distract children from the app.

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

    Aiko & Egor: Animation 4 Autism

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Get to know Aiko & Egor, two friendly animated fish who want to help kids with autism develop key skills.
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Parents, teachers, and others who work with kids with autism have a new resource designed to help autistic kids learn and practice key developmental skills. The app centers around a video series starring two fish – Aiko & Egor. In each episode, the characters interact with one another. After watching the video, kids can then practice engaging in similar conversations and activities. While kids start on the app, they finish away from the app, building skills in real life.

    Features include:

    • Animated videos
    • Learning activities
    • Engaging characters
    • Skill-building opportunities

    Quality

    To interact with the app, parents must login using Facebook, e-mail, or Google. Once logged in, parents have access to the first episode of the app. The episodes are the main component of the app. In the settings section, parents can opt to download the videos locally or stream them. Each episode is nearly 10 minutes long, so parents who opt to stream the videos should have access to a strong internet connection. Once parents have the app set up, kids can begin watching the videos. Each episode can be viewed in its entirety or broken down into smaller components in the “Learn Together” section. Clear icons help parents and kids easily find what they’re looking for in the app, but many of the components are protected by parental blocks because the app is designed to be used by parents and children together.

    Education

    Each episode in the app features a common theme. For example, Episode 1 is “Shapes” and Episode 2 is “Animals”. Each episode is loosely based on the theme, but features other activities not related to the theme. When kids choose an episode, they’ll discover four main options: Full Episode, Learn Together, Materials Needed, and Skill Building (coming soon at time of publication). The Full Episode allows kids to watch the entire episode at once. The episode is also broken down into smaller chunks in the Learn Together section. There, parents can watch the episode with their children and complete the prompts that appear on the screen during the episode. In the Materials Needed section, parents will find the materials that connect with the Learn Together activities. These activities are designed to help kids develop key social and emotional skills, with a few basic skills, such as shape and color recognition thrown in.

    While interacting with the app, parents are frequently presented with survey questions. These questions are designed to help the app’s developers conduct research and to help parents track their children’s progress. However, it’s not clear how or if parents can currently access reports related to their child’s progress.

    Entertainment

    As kids watch the videos, they’ll learn more about Aiko and Egor. The characters engage in everyday conversations and activities, so kids will feel like they get a glimpse of their daily life. They also try to make the situations entertaining by throwing in fun games and animations. For example, kids get to search in a treasure chest with the fish. Through the learning activities, kids are able to further connect with the animated characters by engaging in similar activities on their own or with the support of an adult.

    Value

    The app is free to download. With a free download, users have access to the first episode. Additional episodes are available through an in-app purchase. The price of each episode is similar to the cost of purchasing an episode of a TV show on iTunes. Parents should try the first episode with their children before deciding whether to download more.

    Child Friendliness

    The app is designed for parents and other adults to use alongside children. Many of its components, such as access to the learn together section, access to in-app purchases, and access to social media, are protected by a parental block. Parents must also login to the app using their Facebook, Google, or e-mail account.

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

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Chortopia makes chore time fun with stories, games, and lots of adventures. Perfect for families with multiple children and parents who want to teach a bit of responsibility.
    4.7

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Chortopia isn’t your typical chore tracking app for kids. This app makes chore time much more entertaining and engaging by turning it into a fun adventure. Chortopia uses a combination of narrated story-telling, games, and adventure to create a chore app that makes doing chores fun for kids! Simply put, it’s every parent’s dream!
    Features include:

    • 4 Child profiles
    • Hundreds of interactive illustrations
    • 11 Playing cards to collect

    Quality

    The developers have done an excellent job making Chortopia engaging, entertaining, and practical to use. They have taken an easy to use chore tracking app and turned it into a full-blown adventure with rewards, games, and narrated story lines. This creative app also has the ability for parents to set up, up to 4 child profiles and select up to 3 chores to complete for each advenchore. The developers have also used high quality graphics and narration throughout making this app even more appealing for both parents and children.

    Education

    The main concept behind this app is to teach children responsibility and helping in a fun way. While parents can set up specific tasks for children to complete, the players are responsible for completing each task and checking it off on their list for their parent to confirm. The idea is for children to complete their chores in order to move forward on their advenchores and to move forward with the story. With a bit of practice, this app has the ability to get kids excited about helping out and doing their part at home by watering plants, taking out the garbage, using their manners etc.

    Entertainment

    The entertainment value in this app is unlike anything I have seen in a chore app. The developers have created an engaging and exciting concept that makes each chore an adventure for kids. Each chore is weaved into a fun story for kids to follow along with as they complete more tasks. They also have the opportunity to earn and collect playing cards that they can use to play the card game that is also included in the app. Games, adventure and stories too, this app is highly entertaining.

    Value

    Priced at just under four dollars this app might be a bit more than parents are used to paying, but the value you receive is incredible. The concept itself is highly creative, engaging, and educational for kids. As a parent, this app is totally worth the cost if it gets kids excited about helping around the house.

    Child Friendliness

    In addition to being easy to use for both parents and children it is completely safe too! With no advertisements, in-app purchases, or social media links, this app is great for children of all ages to play and use. This app is especially useful for families with multiple children as it offers up to four profiles.

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

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Malama Honua My Voyage is an outstanding app that will fascinate kids and adults alike with a detailed and engaging description of Polynesian and Hawaiian history and culture, interspersed with interesting and varied interactive activities and laced with positive core values.
    4.8
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    App Info

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

    Overview

    The My Voyage app will take users on an elaborate adventure through documentary-like videos, games, and more as the main characters explore Hawaiian and Polynesian history and culture. The main characters learn history and ancient skills like weaving and boat-making of the Polynesian people who later settled in Hawaii. In the process, they also discover solid traditional values like caring for the earth and respecting elders.

    Features include:

    • Over 30 minutes of live-action video
    • Video encounters with Hawaiian cultural experts
    • A variety of interactive activities
    • Visual and auditory instruction in Hawaiian words
    • Parent and teacher guides with supplemental curriculum

    Quality

    My Voyage is a very high quality app. It’s well designed for the target age group of young elementary-aged students, but the rich and varied content will make it appeal to older children and even adults. Developers are right when they advertise that it makes a great family activity!

    Education

    My Voyage is very educational. It makes social studies come alive through accessible and age-appropriate video that does not talk down to children, and interactive activities. The information conveyed is unusual, and not a topic that most people will be very familiar with, no matter what their age.

    Each section begins with a high-quality video that follows the main characters on their journey to learn more about their culture and history. The children encounter a host of helpful people who make the lessons come alive. Then users are invited to play an interactive game related to the topic of the segment. The games are varied, and sometimes demand dexterity and coordination and other times tap into mental agility. There is a very nice variety!

    Best of all, the app makes seamless transitions from the real-life video segments to the animated and interactive sections. Viewers get so caught up in the experience that they hardly notice moving from one to the other.

    A host of positive values are stressed throughout the app, as well. Respect for diversity, care for the environment, learning lessons from history, and listening to elders are just a few of the values stressed in subtle ways by every aspect of the app.

    Entertainment

    This app is highly engaging and entertaining, and it’s quite likely that kids will not want to put it down until going all the way through it, then they will come back to it again and again. There are over 30 minutes of video interspersed with at least eight interactive activities. Best of all, the developers indicate that this is the first in a planned series. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

    Value

    This app costs 99 cents on the App Store, and that’s a great value. It will take approximately 45 minutes to go through the activities one time, and many are made to randomize on each play through, so they will be different when your child comes back to them. The app is extremely high-quality and well-made, and so is well-worth the minimal investment.

    Child Friendliness

    My only complaint about this app is that there is an open and unprotected link to your web browser on the front page, right where young children would be likely to find it easily. The link opens a page that tells how to access the teacher and parent guides as well as supplemental lesson plans, but it would be easy for a youngster to get out onto the open internet with no protections. This link should be behind a parent gate!

    • Parent area
    • NO social media
    • NO 3rd party ads
    • NO in-app purchase
    • YES unprotected link to open internet that contains parent/teacher information

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Cosmic Paul is an early learning app that helps children practice their alphabet and spelling skills using a unique and very entertaining search and find concept. Interactive, educational, and tons of fun, this app is great for children of all ages!
    4.8

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Cosmic Paul is an interactive learning app that helps children practice recognizing the alphabet through a fun, seek and find concept. With loads of exciting interactive images, five environments, and endless hours of play, this app is great for young children.

    Features include:

    • 5 Environments to explore
    • Hundreds of interactive illustrations
    • Spelling practice

    Quality

    It’s clear that the developers have put a great deal of effort into the interactive images and illustrations included in Cosmic Paul. In addition to the easy to use interface, each of the interactive bits are quite intricate with fun sound effects and surprises that help bring the app to life as children tap and touch their way through the app. Cosmic Paul has an incredibly intuitive interface that allows even the youngest of players an opportunity to enjoy hours of play.

    Education

    With a focus on learning the alphabet and recognizing various letters, this app offers young players a fun environment to learn. The concept is fairly simple as it provides children with a word for each activity in which they need to find the corresponding letters for. By tapping and touching their way through the various interactive images, they locate each letter. While the main idea is to teach letter recognition and alphabet practice, children also have a chance to practice their spelling as well.

    Entertainment

    In addition to the educational value that players will receive from this app, there are a lot of entertainment components as well. Cosmic Paul is full of interactive images that make this app tons of fun for children to play. The seek and find concept is also a lot of fun as children get to explore the variety of images and interactive bits throughout the app. With 5 various environments and lots of different letters to find to spell each word, this app offers hours of entertainment.

    Value

    Priced at just under two dollars this app is a great value. With five environments to explore, loads of words to spell and hundreds of interactive illustrations to explore, this app is one that offers hours of fun at a price that won’t break the bank.

    Child Friendliness

    In addition to being incredibly easy to use for children of all ages, Cosmic Paul is completely safe too. With no external links, advertisements or social media links to worry about, this app is great for children of all ages. With an interface that requires children to use their natural curiosity to tap and touch their way through the app, Cosmic Paul is perfect for children of all ages.

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

    Quality
    Education
    Entertainment
    Value
    Child Friendly
    Summary
    Snot & Fluff is an entertaining cosmic tale that takes readers on a 3D adventure through space. With great interactive graphics, a fun story, and so much more this is one app you don't want to miss!
    4.5

    App Info

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

    Overview

    Snot & Fluff is an entertaining cosmic story with 3D effects, tons of interactive graphics, and the appeal of an adventure game that children are going to love. With high quality graphics, professional narration and a wide variety of illustrations to explore, this app offers hours of play for kids ages 4-10. Very well done!

    Features include:

    • 3D effects
    • In story game that unlocks secret area
    • Exciting interactive graphics and sounds
    • Professional illustrations

    Quality

    There is no doubt that the developers spent a lot of time and effort on this app as it is full of fabulous, interactive illustrations, sound effects, and a platform with 3D effects that react as players tilt their device. The illustrations are especially impressive not only for the fun sound effects they make, but also for the intricate design and interactivity that will keep children engaged as they follow along with the story. With clear sound effects and professional narration this app is one that children are going to love.

    Education

    While this isn’t your typical educational app, it is a storybook app that allows children to practice their reading skills as they follow along with the narrator. The narration options allow players to read with the narrator or without, however this app does not include text highlighting. Adding that option would certainly increase the educational value as it allows early readers to follow along and work on their reading skills. With that said, this app does seem to be a bit more focused on entertainment value so I wouldn’t expect a ton of educational activities anyway.

    Entertainment

    There is so much more to this app than just the story, though the story is very entertaining. The developers have included a myriad of interactive illustrations with fun sound effects and an in story game that children will enjoy as they read. The in story game includes 88 hidden stars within the pages that once they are all found, unlock a secret area for additional play. Overall this app includes over 35 minutes of narration, a fun story, and lots of interactive images to explore creating a very entertaining app for kids.

    Value

    Priced at just under three dollars, this app is a great value. The high quality images, interactive illustrations, professional narration, story, and in story game make this app one that children will love at a price that won’t break the bank for parents. This is one app that children will be enjoying over and over again.

    Child Friendliness

    Snot & Fluff is a not only fun to play, but it’s also easy to use for children of all ages. With simple arrows to guide children to the next page and the narration options for early readers, the developers have created a very intuitive and easy to use app. Parents will also be happy to know that while the main page does offer ‘other apps’ and an area that provides buttons to social media outlets, these areas are protected so children aren’t likely to be distracted.

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

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