Universal (iPhone / iPod / iPad)

The Name Game

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Kids can learn how to spell their name and discover fun facts about animals at the same time with The Name Game.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

“Kids who like animals and are building letter recognition skills will enjoy The Name Game. This unique app combines kids’ names with short rhymes related to animals. For every letter in a child’s name, the app provides a short description of an animal. Kids will enjoy seeing their name come to life in a special way.

Features include:

  • Information about animals
  • Letter recognition skills
  • Personalized story
  • Interactive components

Quality

On the main screen of the app, kids are prompted to enter their name. The box is a little small and parents may want to assist kids to make sure their name is spelled correctly. Theoretically, kids could enter any group of up to ten letters in the box to play the game. One kids enter their name the story starts. The app flows smoothly, offers clear audio narration, and includes buttons so kids can navigate backwards and forwards within the story.

Education

This app and the story within in it are unique because they focus on two area of learning: STEM concepts and letter/name recognition. While the two don’t quite seem to go together, kids can still benefit from the app. The animal rhymes included in the app are short and informative. Kids are not only limited to animals that start with the letters of their name either. Any animal name that contains the letter A could be used. For example, a child named Sam may learn about a giraffe for letter A and the story will point out that giraffe contains the letter A which is also in the child’s name.

Entertainment

As kids read through the story, they’ll experience colorful pictures, fun animal rhymes, and a few interactive components. Unfortunately, the app seems to give similar animals each time a child plays the game, so parents may want to enter other names into the story for kids to see a larger variety of animals.

Value

The app is priced comparably to other ebooks. However, it feels like it is priced a little high. An in-app purchase allows parents to buy the name game book.

Child Friendliness

Although the app asks for a child’s name, it does not store that information. On the main page, the app contains buttons to buy the book and access the protected parent area. Both are protected by a parental lock.

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

Word Magic: Educational Word Search Puzzles

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Learn new vocabulary words through themed word search puzzles in Word Magic: Educational Word Search Puzzles, a fun app for kids.
4.7

App Info

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

Overview

Build vocabulary by completing themed word search puzzles. From animals to sports and jobs to space, kids can learn words in a wide variety of categories. Unlike a traditional word search, whenever kids find a word they also get to read the definition of the word. This enhances the educational value of the game.

Features include:

  • Themed Word Searches
  • Word definitions
  • Background music and sound effects
  • Stars for solving puzzles

Quality

The app is divided into two main sections: Getting Started and More Words, More Fun. Tapping on the Getting Started section leads kids to five different categories of word search puzzles. As kids complete each puzzle their “best time” is displayed underneath the category name. The word searches themselves are each to play. Kids can easily read the words and highlight them in the puzzle. A settings section also allows kids to adjust the sound effects and background music and determine whether to show the word descriptions once a word has been highlighted.

Education

Through Word Magic, kids can learn words in a wide variety of categories. Not only do they discover how to spell the words through the word search puzzles, they also get to learn the meaning of those words. The one downside to the app is that everything is text-based. For kids learning new words or still learning to read English, it may be difficult to understand the descriptions. Adding an audio component would allow kids to hear the words and descriptions to improve their understanding.

Entertainment

Themed word search puzzles allow kids to discover words in categories that pique their interest. Kids can find words related to sports, space, animals, and more. The app also encourages kids to improve their time as they solve puzzles, giving them a reason to play puzzles again and again.

Value

Kids can play five levels for free. An additional levels can be unlocked through an in-app purchase. If kids like the first five levels, the in-app purchase is inexpensive and a worthwhile download.

Child Friendliness

The app does contain an in-app purchase, but access to the in-app purcahse is protected by a parental block. Aside from the in-app purchase, all of the content within the app is appropriate for children.

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

Sports Day Heroes

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Be an athlete during the Sports Day of Qatar in Sports Day Heroes, a fun, athletic app for kids.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

Designed to commemorate Sports Day of Qatar, Sports Day Heroes gives kids a chance to compete in their own Sports Day games. From kicking soccer balls and avoiding seagulls to jumping over hurdles, kids race to end up on top of the podium.

Features include:

  • Earn points
  • Choose a character
  • Avoid obstacles
  • Top the leaderboard

Quality

A large play button on the main screen invites kids to immediately get join the games. Before they start running, the app offers clear instructions on how to move and avoid the obstacles kids will encounter. The design of the app makes it easy for kids to interact with the app and play the game.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

Each time kids play the game, it’s a little bit different. The obstacles change and appear randomly throughout the game. There are also a lot of special power ups and other unique features designed to keep kids interested in the game. At the end of each game, kids are encouraged to improve their score. As they earn points, they can also unlock new heroes to make the game more entertaining.

Value

Sports Day Heroes is free to download. Through in-app purchases, kids can buy power ups for use within the game. However, these power ups are not necessary.

Child Friendliness

The app contains in-app purchases and shows ads between some of the races. Kids can also connect to Game Center and track their progress versus their friends. There are no parental blocks to keep kids from accessing in-app purchases.

  • NO rate us
  • NO more apps
  • YES 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchases (not protected)

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Bunny Mindfulness is an engaging and fun way to help young children learn to control their breathing and discover the benefits of meditation. It is likely to help children calm down when upset if they practice when they feel alright, and will also help children develop self-control and tension-relieving strategies.
5

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Bunny Mindfulness is a mindful breathing and meditation app designed to help adults and children alike discover the value and relaxation of controlled breathing. The app offers several levels of difficulty, control over the number of cycles/minutes of each exercise, and even has a rewards system for completing exercises.

Features include:

  • Control difficulty level and length of exercises
  • Cute, breathing bunny to help keep breaths on track
  • Rewards store to use points earned by completing exercises
  • Control sounds and volume

Quality

Bunny Mindfulness is a high quality app that performs like a dream. Developers allow a high degree of control over the app’s set up and use, which is very nice, and having different levels of difficulty as well as the ability to control the length of the exercises makes it nice for all ages.

Education

Children and adults alike can learn stress management and reduce anxiety by practicing breathing control with Bunny Mindfulness. This app would be particularly beneficial to students who experience test anxiety, as it helps promote relaxation. So while not really intended to be educational, the app does provide educational benefit.

Entertainment

While this app is not really intended to be entertaining as such, it actually is kind of fun to use. The main bunny character is cute, and most children will find the store points-purchasing system to be rewarding and motivating.  At present, points can be earned by completing breathing exercises, then used to purchase decorations for the sky or the perk of double points on the next round. Developers seem to have more store items in the works, and they suggest that users be sure to download the latest version of the app to access them when they become available.

Value

Bunny Mindfulness costs just ninety-nine cents in the App Store, which is an excellent value. There are no in-app purchases; store points are earned simply by using the app, and developers promise that that’s the way it will stay.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Code Adventures: Programming for Kids is a great app that will nudge users along the path to better understanding how computers work and how to be meticulous in giving step-by-step instructions. Even those who will never program a real computer will benefit from playing because the app nurtures logical thinking, sequencing, and more.
4.9

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Code Adventures provides young children with the perfect system to learn foundational ideas about computer programming. Each level presents an increasingly challenging task to for the small furry character to accomplish, and children will need to exercise logic, sequencing, and creativity skills to incorporate new commands and put everything in the right order to get the job done.

Features include:

  • 26 levels
  • Intuitive interface
  • Simple commands
  • Nurtures visual skills
  • Develops logic skills
  • Teaches foundational coding concepts

Quality

Code Adventures: Programming for Kids is a high quality app that will provide challenging puzzles for budding programmers. The app is very intuitive, allowing children to focus on solving the puzzles without getting bogged down in figuring out how to use the app. The main character is cute, and the puzzles begin simply enough, then become gradually more complex. New commands are introduced at a reasonable pace, and there are several tools, such as an overlay grid to help with placement and counting sections, that will really help users accomplish the goals.

Education

This app is highly educational. On the surface, computer coding may seem a bit unusual for young children to pursue, but this app gives a clear picture of how a computer follows step-by-step instructions. Children will need to put the commands into the right order, so they will practice sequencing.  They also will discover the need to repeat commands to move the character around the screen, since each move only takes it one unit in any direction.  Every few levels, a new command is introduced, increasing the complexity of the task and the number of steps necessary to accomplish it.

The app includes an optional grid overlay that will help children with a sense of distance, and it allows as many trials as needed to accomplish the task. It’s easy to erase incorrect code steps and try again, so the app will encourage experimentation and persistence.

Entertainment

Code Adventures is highly entertaining. The puzzles are engaging and each level is different. Some have a single goal while others have multiple goals. The app includes a nice selection of hints, which should prevent youngsters from becoming hopelessly stuck as they build the skills to complete all 26 levels. Along the way, they will learn relatively complex coding concepts including looping and functional overloading.

Value

Code Adventures: Programming for Kids costs $2.99 in the App Store, but it’s a worthwhile investment. The app just might help your child take off on a new hobby or even a career path, and everyone will benefit from the visual-spatial skills, logic, and sequencing skills that are nurtured.

Child Friendliness

Code Adventures is relatively child friendly. There is an unprotected ratings section, and children can change the language, but other than that, there are no potential issues with this app.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Missing Friend-Lite is a cute ebook that features the Icky Mr. Fox and his friends (who star in several other apps). The story is cute and engaging, the illustrations are fun, and the book has a nice level of interactivity.
4.3

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

This ebook tells an engaging story of the kidnapped Mr. Mole and Mr. Rabbit’s daring rescue from Icky Mr. Fox. It features interactive pages, vocabulary-building labels, and narration for all text.

Features include:

  • Quirky scenes and characters
  • Narration of all pages
  • Interactive pages activated with taps and swipes
  • Tap objects to get their names

Quality

Missing Friend – Lite is a high quality ebook app that is designed for the very young. The app tells a fun and engaging story, and the illustrations are delightful. Each page has at least an interactive labeling system which allows children to tap pictures and see/hear their names. Some pages have other interactions as well.

Education

This ebook is great for prereaders-the story is entertaining and the interactions are not overwhelming. Developers did a good job of embedding items with unusual names that will be outside of most children’s working vocabulary, such as diamonds and shards buried in the ground. However, there are some things that seem to be somewhat gratuitous, such as aliens and spaceships that float through with no connection to the story.  These could be more of a distraction than a help.  It would also be nice if there was an option to turn the narration off for slightly older kids, or those attempting to read on their own.

Entertainment

This e-book is engaging and fun, and the illustrations are fabulous.  They are whimsical, yet clear and appropriate for the very young.  Though the story includes some misdeeds by the “Icky Mr. Fox,” there is no violence, just a healthy dose of humor and suspense.

Value

The Lite version of this app is free in the App Store, but parents should be aware that there are outside advertisements that show before the book starts.  There is another version of the app (available at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/missing-friend/id1236379583?mt=8) that costs $1.99 but is ad-free.  Parents may well feel that the paid version of the app is worth the cost to upgrade.

Child Friendliness

This app includes protected but visible links to other apps, social media, and an in-app purchase.  Ideally, these things should be behind a parent gate and not visible to the children.  Furthermore, the Lite version of the app displays third-party advertisements with unprotected links to the advertiser’s page in an open web browser. These aspects make it difficult to recommend this app for child friendliness, and parents will want to supervise its use closely. Concerned parents do have the option of purchasing the ad-free version for a small fee.

  • YES more apps (protected, but visible)
  • YES Social Media (protected, but visible)
  • YES in-app purchase (protected, but visible)
  • YES 3rd party advertisements, unprotected links to the web

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Incredibox is a music exploration program that allows users to create beatbox mixes based on one of four basic tunes. The app promotes creativity and experimentation, and users can share their creations with others on the developers’ website.
4.3

App Info

Price: $3.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Incredibox allows users to control a band of “beatboxers” who make a variety of sounds that can be put together to create short musical clips. Drag accessories to the characters, and they will begin to make a matching sound. Creations can be recorded and shared, and the app includes unlockable hints and tips to improve the mixes.

Features include:

  • Includes 7 beatboxers (7 part music)
  • Includes 15 sounds to have the beatboxers make
  • Includes 4 base songs to modify and mix
  • Record tracks
  • Share tracks on the website

Quality

Incredibox is a high quality app that works very well and is quite intuitive to use. There are several nuanced ways to use the singers, such as creating solos or pausing them. Users can save their creations on the developers’ website, as well as share the link to them through social media or email. There is a short tutorial that clarifies the niceties of the app.

Education

This app is not really intended to be educational, but some students may enjoy creating introductory or background music for class presentations.

Entertainment

Incredibox will be highly entertaining for aspiring DJs or beatboxers and for anyone who enjoys mixing music tracks. However, if a user is not inclined in that direction already, the app is likely to lose its interesting shine relatively quickly. It takes a person with inclination and talent to explore the possibilities and to discern one mix of beatboxing from another.  So if you (or your child) have an interest or inclination this direction, the app will be a worthwhile investment. Interested parents or users can try the app for free online on their computers at http://incredibox.com.

Value

This app sells for $3.99 in the App Store, which seems a little pricy compared to similar apps. I would recommend that new users try the online version for free to see if it will have lasting value, then consider purchasing for iPad if it meets your expectations.

Child Friendliness

Incredibox is not particularly child-friendly. There are unprotected links to the internet and to various social media sites, as well as public sharing of user name and digital creation

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

Shingu's journey
Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Shingu the Sheep- Fantasy Puzzle Adventure is an app with potential that seems as yet to be unrealized. The premise of the game is fun for toddlers and preschoolers, and the target skills will support development, but the free content is limited, and the in-app purchase to move on in the game seems pricy.
3.7

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Shingu the Sheep – Fantasy Puzzle Adventure follows the nighttime adventures of Shingu the Sheep who has fantastical dreams and wants to remember them long enough to share with his friends. Very young children can help build fantasy worlds for Shingu by dragging shapes to matching outlines to build other characters and decorate their worlds.

Features include:

  • 5 worlds (2 free)
  • 10 puzzles (4 free)
  • Puzzles become increasingly challenging
  • Eye-catching artwork

Quality

Shingu the Sheep is a good quality app that is intuitive to use and easy to play. The app is very simple and would be easy for the very young to play. Developers recommend ages 1 to 4.  The first two levels (4 puzzles) are available on the free version, then parents are presented with an in-app purchase to access the other six puzzles in three worlds.

After the first “world,” however, the app demands a parent’s participation by holding three shapes simultaneously. It asks for a parent’s email address at that point, saying that the parents’ “mission” is to help the main character to avoid forgetting his dreams. However, when I put in my email address, I did not receive any communication from the app, website, or company.  Developers also advertise coloring sheets and offline activities, but I did not see any way to access these either. Upon speaking to the developers after first publication, I was informed that the sign up process (and the access to the supplementary activities) typically takes 2-3 days.

The app could be improved by adding a bit more information for parents; while game play is very intuitive, it might help parents to interpret the story and help children get excited about it if there was a bit more information within the app itself. Most of the information that I was able to uncover came from the description in the App Store, and parents are not likely to want to work that hard.

Education

This app is educational for the very young. The first two levels focus on visual perceptual readiness skills such as figure-ground, matching complex shapes, and closure. Children need to drag the given shape to the highlighted outline on the screen, so they also will have opportunities to practice basic tablet usage skills such as drag and drop. The skills will seem very basic, however, to most preschoolers and definitely to children in kindergarten and beyond.  Also, at least based on the free sample that I was able to see, there is not a lot of content in general.

Entertainment

Shingu the Sheep has an interesting premise, which is helping the title character remember his dreams and then share about them with his friends.  However, there seems to be relatively little content or variation among the content items that I saw.  The youngest children will likely be intrigued by the process of moving the shapes to their outlines, but this is not likely to hold most children’s interest for any length of time, and kids are likely to outgrow the app quickly.

Value

A limited version of this app is available for free in the App Store, but the sample even feels quite limited. Children will be likely to play through the free content in a few moments, and the in-purchase seems to be a bit pricy if it is similar to the free content.  For $1.99, parents can get access to three more worlds, which, in the free version, have 2 puzzles each.  This is consistent with the developers’ promises of five worlds and ten puzzles, so it may not seem like a lot of content.

Child Friendliness

This app is child-friendly, with an effective parent gate protecting a parents’ section with ratings, privacy, and information about the developer.  This part is wonderful, and very child-friendly. However, when children complete the first level, there is a parent gate that stops their progress until a parent either puts in an email address for the “parent mission” or declines that option. After the two free levels are completed, there is another parent gate that leads to an in-app purchase of the additional three levels.

  • Protected parent area (contains rating system, feedback link, and privacy info)
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchase (protected, but a barrier to continued play)

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Early childhood is an ideal time to learn new languages, and Mandarin Chinese is a highly-sought-after skill. This app will help you and your child decide if learning the language is fun and give children an advantage if they are entering or currently enrolled in an immersion Mandarin Chinese educational program because of the extra practice it affords.
4.7

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 4.5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Miao Mi – Learn Mandarin Chinese for Kids & Junior is a language immersion app designed to help preschoolers and young children learn Mandarin Chinese. The app includes a classroom section, a games section, and hundreds of videos that function in episodic fashion much like television shows.

Features include:

  • 500+ videos
  • Interactive games and activities
  • 7 day free trial with all features and a limited selection of videos active
  • All videos in Mandarin Chinese and English
  • Supports cognitive and language development

Quality

Miao Mi is a high quality app with tons of content available by subscription. A nice selection of sample content is available during the 7-day free trial, then subscriptions automatically begin to bill. The videos are animated productions with English and Mandarin versions to help young language learners. There are two games, as well as a “classroom” where basic vocabulary is introduced by repetition. Developers included a protected parents’ area with an extensive FAQ explaining how to use the app and giving information about immersive language learning.

Education

Miao Mi is highly educational and engaging for young children. It is designed to supplement or help prepare children for an immersion program, where the new language is spoken and children learn by example. Please note, that it is not an immersion program in and above itself; it is intended to supplement such a program from your child’s school or to prepare a child to attend an immersion program. However, all children will benefit from using this app if they want to begin to learn Mandarin. The most logical way to tackle the task is to begin in the “classroom” section, where common words and phrases are introduced in both languages and repeated several times. Next, watch the video episodes of favorite shows. These are available in both languages as well, and by watching both versions again and again, children will soon pick up words and phrases in Mandarin.  Immersion is a proven technique for teaching new languages to young children, so this app is quite valuable.

Entertainment

This app includes over 500 videos, many of them episodic like television shows, where characters have adventures and solve problems. They are animated and very child-friendly. Youngsters will want to come back again and again, and will watch in both languages. As they repeat viewings, they will come to understand more and more Mandarin.

Value

This app begins with a 7-day free trial featuring limited amounts of the content. There is plenty to help families make a decision about if the app is right for their needs.  Be aware that a subscription begins automatically at the end of the 7-day trial unless manually cancelled.  If families decide to subscribe, they can choose a monthly subscription for $5.99 or a 12-month subscription for $39.99.  There is also a third option, listed on the App Store as 6 months for $12.99 and in the app as 3 months for $12.99.  It is a bit disconcerting to have such a dramatic price difference for the middle option, and I strongly suggest you clarify the terms of that subscription before selecting it.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. There are no advertisements, and the parents’ area and in-app purchases are protected by an effective parent gate.

  • Protected parent area (contains external links & social media)
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchases, protected but visible
  • YES automatic subscription renewal from free trial

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Peppa Pig: Happy Mrs. Chicken is a delightful app that will make parents search for more in the series. Young children will adore it, it’s easy to use, and it’s very educational.
5

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Peppa Pig: Happy Mrs. Chicken is a game app for preschoolers that encourages fine motor skills, reasoning, and cause/effect skills as well as visual closure. Favorite character Peppa plays Happy Mrs. Chicken games with her brother. Games include a maze game, simple jigsaw puzzles, a counting game, and more.

Features include:

  • Five child-friendly games
  • 10 languages
  • Intuitive interface
  • Fun sticker pictures to reward effort
  • Great sound effects

Quality

Peppa Pig: Happy Mrs. Chicken is a high quality app that is very appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers. The game is simple to use, and even the youngest players will quickly catch on to the intuitive interface. Developers included a protected parents’ section that houses brief game instructions, contact information, and links.

Education

Happy Mrs. Chicken has a lot to teach young children while they are having fun. The simple jigsaw puzzle game, for example, offers three levels of difficulty, and gives verbal hints to the kids as they assemble the puzzles. They will need to recognize partial figures and place pieces in the correct spots to be successful. There is a maze game where children lay a seed trail to guide chicks through a maze. They will quickly discover that rounded corners and short cuts will not work, laying foundations for later neat writing. There is a simple sorting game where players put chicks into hen houses of matching colors (two colors only), and more.

Entertainment

Young children will be delighted with this app. One game challenges them to “hatch chicks,” and if they hold their finger on the screen for any length of time, the hen lays multiple eggs (accompanied by a “raspberries” noise that will have children in stitches) which hatch into a mass of peeping, whistling chicks.  Another game challenges children to make Peppa jump in mud more often than her friend-what child doesn’t dream of splashing in mud puddles to their heart’s content?

Value

This app is $1.99 on the App Store, which is a fine value. Children will have fun playing again and again, and they will be building important skills as they play.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child friendly.

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

Gruffalo: Puzzles

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Extend the classic story of The Gruffalo with Gruffalo: Puzzles, an app full of different puzzle games for kids.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

If your kids like the book The Gruffalo, they’ll enjoy Gruffalo: Puzzles. In this app, kids play six different puzzle games. Each game features some of their favorite Gruffalo characters.

Features include:

  • Six puzzle games
  • Multiple levels of difficulty
  • Fun sounds
  • Favorite characters

Quality

When kids first open the app, they see a picture of the Gruffalo. Then a screen with six icons appears. Each icon describes a different game and the game’s title is right next to it. Games are easy to access and play. Helpful descriptions get kids started. Parents will find more info about the app in the protected parent area.

Education

This app doesn’t have an incredibly educational feel. After all, it’s designed more to engage kids with characters from a popular story. However, many of the games do connect with early learning skills. For example, kids must match pairs, make their way through a maze, and choose the odd one out in a group of three. These simple activities help kids learn while interacting with characters from the book.

Entertainment

Kids will find six different games in the app. They can play Owl’s Odd One Out, Mouse Match, Gruffalo Marbles, Paint with Fox, Snake Maze, and Forest Race. Each game is simple to play and most come with multiple levels of difficulty, so they will continue to engage kids.

Value

The app is priced similarly to most animated ebooks. With this one, however, kids just get the games, not the story. For the price, kids get access to six different games featuring their favorite characters.

Child Friendliness

In the protected parent area, parents can access additional Gruffalo resources, such as the ability to download the video version of the story. On the main screen, kids will see an icon for another app. Kids can tap on the icon to read more about the app, but access to the App Store is protected by a parental block.

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

Grossery Game

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Head on down to the Yucky Mart and start collecting digital Grossery Gang characters in Grossery Game, a delightfully disgusting app for kids.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

The Grossery Gang and Yucky Mart have gone digital. In the Grossery Game app, kids can unlock and interact with some of their favorite Grossery Gang characters. The more kids play, the more characters they can unlock. For fans of the Grossery Gang, the Grossery Game is a delightfully disgusting app that they’re sure to love.

Features include:

  • Listen to sound effects
  • Unlock Grossery Gang characters
  • Play arcade-style games
  • Increase your Smelly Stash

Quality

When kids open the app, they’re taking into the world of The Grossery Gang. The first time kids use the app, one of the Grossery Gang characters takes kids on a tour of all of the options. This tutorial is a great way to introduce kids to the different components of the app. It may seem a little busy at first, particularly with the themed backgrounds, but kids will find that it’s fairly easy to navigate. All of the games are easy to play and the app features fun background music and gross sound effects, such as farting and buzzing flies, to keep kids entertained.

Education

This game is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

Fans of The Grossery Gang will be thoroughly entertained with the Grossery Game app. In this app, kids get the chance to collect digital versions of their favorite Grossery Gang characters. To earn more characters, kids can watch short videos or play fun arcade-style games. When each character is unlocked, it is added to the collection screen. There kids can view all of their characters, as well as see how rare the characters are and what series they come from.

Value

Kids can download and play the app for free. In-app purchases allow kids to purchase more items to use within the app. Some of the in-app purchases are fairly expensive, while others are priced extremely high. Parents should encourage kids to play the game without the extra options.

Child Friendliness

As kids play games and explore the app, they’re occasionally prompted to watch a video to earn extra items and other bonuses. In-app purchase also allow kids to get additional items for use within the app. While these purchases are protected by a parental block, it’s one that is particularly appealing to kids and fairly easy to get around.

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

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Blast! Photo Filters is a simple and easy app that will allow users to add various overlays with a space theme to their own photos or screenshots, and then send them to their friends. With 7 free filters and more available as in-app purchases, there are quite a few possibilities for photo fun.
4.5

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Blast! Photo Filters provides users with seven space-themed filters to liven up existing or new pictures from your iOS device. Turn selfies into posters, add space-aged weaponry, and more.

Features include:

  • 7 free filters
  • Add signs and characters to selfies or screenshots
  • Create new pictures to show off filters
  • Easy to use

Quality

Blast! Photo Filters is a high-quality app that is simple to use.  Simply select a picture (or take a new photo or screenshot), and then add one of the seven free filters. Take a screenshot of your creation, then send it off to friends or family.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

This app is fun if you enjoy putting filters on your photos to send to friends. The space-y theme is fairly unique. You can add blaster fire, monsters, and other props to your photos, or you can proudly declare yourself or a friend to be the “#1 Space Hero or make your photo into a trading card. There are 7 free filters, and more available as an in-app purchase for $1.99 for 3.

Value

This app is free on the App Store, so it’s a good value. The free version includes 7 filters. There are more available for purchase at $1.99 for a set of three.

Child Friendliness

This app is not recommended for young children. It accesses your device’s camera and photos, and includes unprotected access to email/texting systems.  There are also unprotected purchase links to complete the in-app purchases.

  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES unprotected in-app purchase
  • YES unprotected access to photos
  • YES unprotected access to email

The Sweet Little Monster

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Tilt your device to collect the colored monsters in The Sweet Little Monster, a simple game for kids.
4

App Info

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

Overview

Can you move the monster so that you only collect the falling monsters in the right color? That’s the premise of The Sweet Little Monster, a simple game that has kids tilt their devices to play.
Features include:

  • Tilt technology
  • Fun monster game
  • Connection to Game Center
  • High score tracking

Quality

There’s not a lot to the app. Unfortunately, it’s still a little confusing to figure out how to play it. To move the monster, kids have to tilt their devices. This may not be obvious at first and can lead to some frustration. Their overall goal is to collect the objects of the color designated at the top of the screen. At the end of each round, their score is shown and buttons make it easy for them to play again. The app does feature ads and asks kids to sign into Game Center when they start it.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

The Sweet Little Monster is a very simple game, but it will still be fun for kids once they figure out how to play. What’s most fun is that rather than tapping the screen, kids have to tilt the device to make the monster move.

Value

The app is free to download, but the free version comes with ads. Parents can make an in-app purchase to remove the ads for a small fee. If kids enjoy the game, parents may find the fee worth it to gain an ad-free game.

Child Friendliness

On the main screen of hte app, kids will see an icon to share the app via e-mail or any relevant social media apps the device has loaded on it. The app also contains ads which appear in between rounds and can be removed via an in-app purchase. A button to do this is found in the settings section and access is not protected. Kids can also log in to Game Center to compete against their friends.

  • NO rate us
  • NO external links
  • YES in-app purchase
  • YES Social Media
  • YES 3rd party ads

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Black Blue is a fun and unique puzzle app that challenges players to choose the best starting point for their color when tracing complex shapes so that they cover more of the shape than the opponent’s color.
4.6

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating: 3.5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Black Blue is an intriguing puzzle app that is simple to learn and challenging to play. The game has options for single players and two players. The object is to connect the dots to cover more of the given shape with blue than the computer’s (or the opponent’s) black tracing. A graph at the top of the screen keeps “score” with relative percentages that each color has covered, and starting your play at different dots changes which part of the shape is covered by your blue line.

Features include:

  • Simple game play
  • One or two player modes
  • 72 levels
  • Easy one-handed control
  • Game Center integration

Quality

Black Blue is a high quality app that will keep puzzle fans engaged for hours. Once players understand how the game works (which is easy to figure out by trial and error), the game play seems simple, but the strategies will keep players intrigued. Developers should consider more in-depth directions, though. The short demo videos may not be clear to all players, and simple things like the object of the game should be spelled out for all.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

Black Blue is highly entertaining. The puzzles get progressively harder through the levels, and players are challenged with increasingly complex shapes and strategies. There are 72 levels, which should keep even the most dedicated puzzler occupied for quite some time, and having the two-player option is a wonderful way to satisfy competitive itches. The game is also equipped to access the Game Center, where players can compare their scores and performances with players from around the world.

Value

This app is ninety-nine cents on the App Store, which is a great value if you are looking for a puzzle app that is simple to learn yet with enough challenge to provide hours of gaming fun.

Child Friendliness

This app accesses the Game Center, has a ratings section, and allows access the internet, social media and email.

  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES more apps (unprotected)
  • YES social media (unprotected)
  • YES outside links (unprotected)
  • YES ratings section (unprotected)
  • YES email link (unprotected)

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Croc’s World Construction Kit allows users not only to play an almost infinite number and variety of levels in this game, but it also offers the tools for ambitious players to create and share their own creative level designs.
4.5

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Croc’s World Construction Kit is an arcade style game that features the Croc navigating various worlds by running and jumping over obstacles and finding rewards, extra lives, and various other treasures.  Users can create their own unique levels with the construction kit portion of the app, then share them with others by making them public.

Features include:

  • Create new levels for Croc’s World games
  • Choose one of five worlds
  • Add tiles for obstacles and treasures
  • Share levels on the internet
  • Play levels created by others

Quality

Croc’s World Construction Kit is a high quality app that puts the user in the driver’s seat, so to speak. The app operates smoothly and as expected.  The graphics are appropriate for slightly low-resolution retro video game along the lines of older Mario, Sonic, or similar games. Developers may want to consider adding a tutorial for new users who are not yet familiar with the various symbols and options normally available in the game.

Education

While this app is not intended to be educational, there is a lot of value here. Students who build worlds in Croc’s World Construction Kit will be exercising planning, prediction, and spatial skills. Those who play will be nurturing memory, logic, and reasoning skills. While none of these things will automatically help improve grades, they all work together to improve studies in academic areas as well as in writing, since writing requires the same kind of organization and planning as creating a new world in a video game.

Entertainment

Croc’s World Construction Kit is highly entertaining. It’s a great way to take control of the world and offers many options for creating new levels in a popular game. Kids and adults alike will have fun thinking up new challenges and designing new puzzles for themselves, friends, and other users.

Value

This app is free on the App Store, making it an outstanding value. Whether you enjoy playing new levels (almost an infinite number) or want to design your own, there’s a lot of content here to explore. The app does include 3rd party advertisements, though, which might not be desirable for younger players.

Child Friendliness

This app is not child-friendly. There are 3rd party advertisements, unprotected links to more apps, the internet, and social media.

  • YES more apps
  • YES 3rd party ads
  • YES unprotected links
  • YES unprotected social media

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child-Friendly
Summary
Picstagrab – Repost Photos & Videos for Instagram is a handy utility that will simplify and automate the process of grabbing, captioning, and posting photos on your Instagram Account.
4.4

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Picstagrab is a handy utility that allows users to grab, post and repost pictures from Instagram with or without captions or optional watermarks. The app does a quick search to see if the picture has already been used multiple times, and reminds you to make sure you have permission to use photos owned by others.

Features include:

  • Store list of favorite users and hashtags
  • Share captions, watermarks and more between iOS devices
  • Create and upload captions from your PC through Itunes
  • Easy access to favorites via “recently-viewed” section
  • Easy upload and management

Quality

Picstagrab is a high quality app that will be quite useful to users of Instagram. The app allows users to snag pictures off of the Instagram feed, caption and/or place a watermark, and post. Pull pictures from your camera roll, your feed, and more.  The app reminds users to be sure they have the right to use the photo before posting, and will check and notify users if a photo has been used before.  The one thing it could use is a more detailed tutorial…it can seem pretty bewildering for anyone who is not already an Instagram user.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

Instagram users will be thrilled with this app since it simplifies and automates the process of putting up pictures with optional captions and/or watermarks.  The app is easy to use and offers a wealth of creative options.  It definitely would make the job of putting content onto Instagram easier and less time-consuming, making it ideal for both business and personal use.

Value

Picstagrab is free on the App Store, making it a great value.  If you’re not sure if the app is what you need, you can easily try it out for a while with absolutely no risk.  There are optional in-app purchases to remove the various kinds of advertisements, ranging from ninety-nine cents to three dollars and ninety-nine cents.

Child Friendliness

This app is not really intended for children’s use. It has third-party advertisements and at least two unprotected in-app purchases (to remove ads), as well as unprotected ratings pop-ups.

  • YES 3rd party advertisements
  • YES unprotected in-app purchases
  • YES unprotected social media
  • YES unprotected ratings pop-ups
  • YES unprotected links and email

Pili Pop Francais

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Kids can learn French through fun games and an immersive language approach with Pili Pop Francais.
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

Give kids a chance to learn French by immersing themselves in the language with Pili Pop Francais. This unique app allows kids to learn French words and practice their pronunciation skills through a series of fun games. As they play, they’ll advance in level and take on more different tasks. Before long, kids may be begging for you to take them to Paris so they can practice their new skills.

Features include:

  • Immersive language experience
  • Three levels of difficulty
  • Multiple categories of words
  • Voice recongition and recording options

Quality

Pili Pop Francais is definitely a high-quality app. Parents must input an e-mail address or sign into an account before kids can start learning. Once they do, kids get to type in their name, select their age, and choose an avatar. All of the categories are organized by pictures and by numbered levels. Kids can easily navigate from one level to the next. In the protected parent area, parents will find plenty of information about how the app works so they can help kids as they play and learn.

Education

Developers have created an app that takes an immersive approach to language instruction. Kids will find that all directions and other information within the app are written in French. For beginning learners, this may prove to be a bit frustrating. However, it’s also a good way for kids to begin to make crucial connections related to language. Within the app are multiple levels of learning, as well as activities organized by category. For example, kids can practice numbers or clothing words. The app also contains a dictionary. In the dictionary, kids can tap on a picture and hear each word pronounced. They can also record themselves saying the words. As the app progresses, the app uses voice recognition techniques to help improve kids’ oral language skills.

Entertainment

Many of the activities within the app are in the form of simple games. Kids might find themselves getting frustrated by the immersive approach to language because sometimes it’s hard to understand what to do. However, th games are fun for kids and they get to interact with different characters. They can also earn stars, unlock puzzle pieces, and record themselves saying French words in the dictionary.

Value

Parents can download the app and let kids try it for free simply by providing an e-mail address. With the free version, kids can learn numbers and some other basic words, such as articles of clothing. It’s a good overview of the app’s educational approach and features. If kids do well, parents may want to consider a subscription. However, the subscriptions are pricey, so parents will want to be sure kids are serious about learning French.

Child Friendliness

On the main screen, kids can see a more apps icon, which leads them to brief descriptions of two additional apps. However, access to the apps is protected by a parental block. Access to the protected parent area, in-app purchases, and the support section is also protected by a parental block. In the protected parent area, parents can purchase a subscription to the app, as well as learn more about its features and the educational approach the app takes.

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

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child-Friendly
Summary
Jumping Miner is a cute arcade-style app that is simple to learn and takes quite a bit of skill to master. Developers have included over 1000 levels, so there is a huge amount of content here for dedicated players.
4.3

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Jumping Miner is a simple arcade game with over 1000 levels to keep players challenged and interested. The basic premise is for players to control the miner’s jumps and runs to collect moons around a spinning planet and avoid hitting dangerous items such as black holes.

Features include:

  • Cute miner figure
  • Funny animations
  • Peppy background music
  • Challenging, varied levels
  • Simple controls

Quality

Jumping Miner is a high quality app, despite its simplicity of use. Developers did a good job of embedding unique challenges within each level, and so keeping players’ interest on a simple game. A word of caution to persons who have trouble with dizziness, though-the world is constantly spinning, and it can change speeds and direction of spin abruptly, which could trigger vertigo in susceptible individuals.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

Jumping Miner is an entertaining game.  The set up presents some interesting challenges of timing and directionality (it’s possible for the miner to change directions mid-jump, sending him into a black hole or other obstacle). Each level presents a new challenge, and the world spins at different rates and in different directions, seemingly at random.  I did get a little bit dizzy after a few levels looking at the spinning in different directions. Though I doubt this would be a problem for most people, if a user is prone to that sort of issue, motion sickness, or vertigo, they might want to try the game with care in that regard.  The game did seem to get a little repetitious, though new challenges were presented on each level, all so far involved running and jumping to avoid or hit targets.  I played through level 12, though, so admittedly there might well be other variations in the 1000 or more levels that I did not see.

Value

Jumping Miner is free on the App Store, making it a great value. Users who enjoy arcade-style games that require timing and coordination will definitely enjoy it. Developers also have been quite generous with available levels, so players who enjoy themselves will find a lot of material and content to enjoy for a long time.

Child Friendliness

This app is not child-friendly. There are numerous third-party advertisements, connections to social media and unprotected links to the open internet.

  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES more apps (visible and unprotected)
  • YES numerous third-party advertisements
  • YES unprotected social media
  • YES unprotected outside links

Quality
Education
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Story Starters Pro offers a nearly limitless supply of stimulating prompts to set writing off on the right foot. Everyone from students of all ages to professional writers will benefit from the material that this app has to offer.
5

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Story Starters Pro provides writers with stimulating fodder to get the creative juices flowing. It offers selections of words, phrases, sentences, pictures, sounds, or even video clips and clips of famous speeches to provide a jumping-off point for many types of writing.

Features include:

  • Hundreds of stimulating beginnings for stories
  • Encourages story-telling, oral language, and writing
  • HD video
  • Builds vocabulary and word choice options
  • Nurture inference and prediction skills

Quality

Story Starters Pro is a very high quality app that works exactly as developers intended. The app is highly intuitive, and provides exciting and interesting prompts in multiple media formats to help writers (young or old) overcome writer’s block and put pencil to paper. Users simply tap one of the eight opening choices to access specific categories of starters, then choose the one that seems most intriguing.  In addition, the app is easy to navigate and move around in.

Education

Story Starters Pro is a dream resource for classroom use and for personal use by students and writers. The app provides numerous ways to begin a story. Users can choose if they want to base their writing off of random groups of words, interesting sounds, pictures that set up a setting, opening sentences, interesting phrases, videos, and more.

The many choices provide a foothold on writing or storytelling that is likely to get even the most unimaginative or blocked writer out of the starting gate.  In addition, the app can be used to build oral language skills and conversation skills, as well. Each stimulus is carefully chosen to be open-ended and interesting.

Entertainment

This app is not intended to be entertaining.

Value

Story Starters Pro costs just ninety-nine cents on the App Store, and will provide lots of exciting starts to writing and speaking. Teachers, parents, and even writers would have to work long and hard to put together such a collection of interesting ways to start talking or writing.

Child Friendliness

Story Starters Pro is very child-friendly. It can be safely used by even the youngest of children.

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

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
MessagePet is a cute app that will entertain and amuse pet lovers by allowing owners to send and receive messages as their pet. Imagine putting your pet’s words, wants and wishes out for the entire world to see (or at least your connections through the app). It’s social media for pets!
4.4

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

MessagePet is a self-contained messenger app that allows users to communicate with connections via text messages without incurring data usage or message costs. Users can also set up subaccounts for their pets (2 on the free version and 15 on the paid version) that will allow the pet to send and receive “messages.”

Features include:

  • Free on the App Store
  • Easy to set upEasy to use
  • Send messages from your pets and receive from others’ pets
  • Connect with other pet owners on the app’s sharing system

Quality

MessagePet is easy to use and could be a lot of fun. Let personalities shine using multiple pet profiles as well as your own. Pets can “chat,” take selfies, and more. The app includes a brief tutorial that is helpful in set up and getting started.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

Nearly every pet owner enjoys imagining what their pet would say or making comments on their behalf. Now you can take the game a step higher by letting your pet send texts to your contacts within the app. Pets can talk about their current situation, their thoughts on life, or anything else you can dream up.  You can attach photos to the messages, so your pet can “send a selfie.” The game could be quite entertaining, especially for friends and family members who are distant and miss a favorite animal, such as a child away at college.

The app also offers connections with other app users via a posting board where you can “like” and “follow” others. Users may find some like-minded pet owners there and make friends in the real world.

Value

This app is free on the App Store. The free version allows you to set up two pet profiles in addition to your own, which will be plenty for most people.  In order to message others, though, both parties need to have the app installed on their devices. Once that’s set up, you can message as much as you want.

Child Friendliness

This app has unprotected in-app purchases, as well as third party advertising and the capability to encounter other users of the app.

  • YES unprotected in-app purchases
  • YES 3rd party advertisements
  • YES unprotected social media system

Pepi Super Stores

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Let kids explore the mall on their own along with a host of different characters in Pepi Super Stores.
4.4

App Info

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

Overview

Similar to the Toca Life apps, Pepi Super Stores allows kids to play freely within a mall-like atmosphere. Whether it’s trying on clothes, shopping for groceries, or serving Asian food, kids can have a lot of fun in the mall.

Features include:

  • Choose from multiple characters
  • Visit multiple stores
  • Enjoy free play
  • Create unique scenarios

Quality

Pepi Super Stores offers a high-quality app for kids. It’s on par with similar apps. Kids can interact with the majority of the items in a store with ease. They can also choose from a host of characters. Occasionally, the app will offer some help. For example, at the beginning a hand points to the button to pull up the list of characters. There are tons of fun sound effects and animations to help keep kids engaged. In general, everything runs smoothly. Kids will only find a few kinks as they play. For example, the clothing store doesn’t offer a lot of pants and when a character puts on the lone skirt, the character’s underwear shows through.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

In this app, kids get to roam freely. If they want to make burgers one minute and play the saxophone the next, they can do that. If they want to play as an alien or a unicorn, they can do that too. The mall offers four levels and eleven different areas for kids to enjoy.

Value

The app is priced comparably to similar apps. For the price, kids get to enjoy free play in multiple environments. They also get to interact with a large number of characters.

Child Friendliness

A more apps icon on the main screen leads kids to a list of additional apps, as well as a box to subscribe to the developer’s newsletter. However, access beyond this screen is protected by a kid lock. Additionally, a rate us button occasionally pops up while kids are playing. In the protected parent area, parents can also sign up for the newsletter and view additional information about the app.

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

Monkey Stick Crossing

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Can you get the monkeys from tree to tree? Grow your sticks to the right length and see if you can make it in Monkey Stick Crossing.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

Can you grow the sticks to the correct length and get from tree to tree? It’s not as easy as it sounds. In this free game, kids can guide Charlie the Chimp and a host of other primates across the trees. They have to be careful though. A stick that’s too short or too long will cause the primates to fall.

Features include:

  • Improve your high score
  • Collect bananas
  • Purchase upgrades
  • Unlock new monkeys

Quality

On the main screen of the app, kids see a large number of buttons. On the top of the screen, they can purchase an ad-free version of the app, restore any IAPs, and view the leaderboard. On the bottom of the screen, they can access a tutorial, control the sound, and select a monkey. Somewhat ironically, the main monkey is named Charlie Chimp, but he has a tail. Don’t think kids will let that fact slip by! Tapping in the middle of the screen takes kids to the game. Playing the game is fairly simple and the tutorial does a good job of showing kids how it’s done.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

To play the game, kids must grow the stick, and then use it to cross from tree to tree. If the stick is too long or too short, the monkey falls. Then the game ends. Kids will find that the game is fairly easy to learn how to play. However, getting the sticks the right length is a bit trickier. This happens particularly because the width of trees and length between them continually changes. Still, kids will enjoy trying to improve their high score.

Value

An in-app purchase allows kids to play without ads. However, the ads are not very prevalent. In general, the app offers a fun free game for kids. Just make sure purchases from the App Store is password protected.

Child Friendliness

Monkey Stick Crossing features a ton of unprotected in-app purchases. Kids can purchase a version of the app without ads. They can also purchase items to use in the game, such as additional watermelon slices and a chef’s hat. Ads appear at the bottom of the screen while kids play. They also occasionally appear as videos between rounds. However, they are not highly noticeable. An option to invite friends or share your high score via social media appears after each round.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
TSC Music is a utility app that will enhance your music listening experience, check and monitor your hearing levels, and perhaps even improve your ability to hear sounds in certain frequencies.
4.8

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 4

Download on the App Store

Overview

TSC Music: Equalizer Balance is a utility designed to work with your favorite music platform that will enhance your listening experience and protect your hearing from damage caused by using earphones incorrectly. In addition, the developers say their auditory training program will actually help most people improve their hearing.

Features include:

  • Test current hearing capacity
  • Listen to music at optimum levels
  • Monitor hearing capacity
  • Exercise auditory skills to improve hearing
  • Adjust sound levels for each ear

Quality

TSC Music is a very high quality app that has both aesthetic and practical applications. The app improves sound quality on your favorite music platform by fine tuning the audio to suit your individualized needs in each ear. It also helps protect your hearing from damage through incorrect use of headphones.  Finally, the app uses a training system that has proven successful in a study published in The American Academy of Neurology’s journal,  Neurology (April 22, 2015). It purports to actually improve some types of existing hearing loss and will help users monitor their hearing over time.

Education

While this app is not intended to help with school skills, it is highly educational, offering a sound way to improve overall health and well-being. Users can take a simple hearing test that the developers believe is indicative of hearing health, then use the provided graphs and charts to monitor improvement while using the app. There is even an automatic sleep mode that allows stimulation of the auditory system while you sleep if you wish.

Entertainment

Any music lover should check this app out. Even if you are not concerned about the state of your hearing, the app fine tunes your device’s audio output to make it sound the best it can be for you. You will notice an immediate difference in your music, and you can also be sure that you are using your headphones at a safe level as well as a comfortable one.

Value

This app is free on the App Store, making it an outstanding value. Whether you want to check on the state of your hearing, improve your hearing, or simply get the most out of your digital music collection, this app will meet your need. Check it out!

Child Friendliness

This app does require registration with a user name, email address and a phone number. Its terms state that they do not recommend for children under 13, and are primarily thinking adults only should use the app.  There are unprotected links to social media, email, and the internet.

  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES unprotected access to email and links
  • YES unprotected access to social media
  • YES requires registration with phone and email

Little Tiger: Fire Truck, Submarine, Spaceship

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Encourage kids to use their imaginations and go on journeys with Little Tiger and his friends in Little Tiger: Fire Truck, Submarine, Spaceship.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Little Tiger and his friends panda, elephant, and unicorn are ready for an adventure. Will they drive a fire truck, pilot a spaceship, or navigate a submarine? Kids get to choose in this simple, but very cute and entertaining app.

Features include:

  • Four adorable characters
  • Three fun adventures
  • Engaging interactions
  • Fun background music and sound effects

Quality

Little Tiger offers an engaging, quality app for kids. First, the app prompts kids to choose two of four characters. Then they must choose a vehicle. From there, kids get the chance to power the vehicle and complete the adventure. Everything in the app moves smoothly and there are plenty of non-verbal cues to make it easy for kids to know what to do.

Education

Developers note that this app is designed to help with motor skills and promote logical thinking skills. Throughout the app, kids are given non-verbal cues to help them understand what to do. Using these cues, kids must figure out how to make their vehicles move and what tasks they need to complete.

Entertainment

Within the app, kids can choose from three different adventures. They can rescue cats from trees and put out fires with the fire truck. They can blast off into space and pick up moon rocks with the spaceship. They can also hop aboard a boat and jump off ramps or turn into a submarine and dive deep into the water. Kids get to do all of these with the help of four fun characters. There are lots of fun sound effects, animations, and other interactive components to keep them engaged as they play.

Value

While Little Tiger is a cute app and offers quality animation, it is priced higher than many apps of a similar quality. Still, parents looking for a cute app for kids, particularly toddlers and younger preschoolers may find it worthwhile.

Child Friendliness

A flag on the main screen leads to “new and awesome” apps. However, access to these apps is protected by a parental block. Otherwise, all of the content within the app is entirely appropriate for kids.

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

Quality
Education
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Taskmenizer is a stream-lined task management app that is attractive because of its simplicity. It covers the basics of setting up, assigning, and reminding about tasks, and it can attach files to those tasks for sharing.
4.1

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Taskmenizer is a simple-to-use task list and reminder system that will help individuals or teams of any size to get things done on time. Add contacts from your device’s contact list, assign tasks, attach files to tasks, and more.

Features include:

  • Notifications and reminders
  • Individual or group tasks
  • Comment on tasks
  • Share files related to tasks
  • Keep track of your own or the group’s progress

Quality

Taskmenizer is a good app, but it does have a few quirks and drawbacks that might make it less than perfect. Users can set up a group or team using contacts from their phone list, and share tasks with one or many. One very nice feature is the ability to attach a file that is related to the task, such as presentation that needs updated. However, the file size is somewhat limited, so larger presentations/videos/other large files may not work so well. It would be great for documents, though. The app could use a more detailed tutorial to explore all the features and how to use them for those of us who are not inclined to use the “try it and see” method which often takes too much time. I did not see a way to prioritize tasks or to reorder them in the dashboard so that the important ones could be highlighted, and I’m not sure you can easily set up subgroups.  In addition, each team member must put the app on their device and be added to your contact list, which may not be feasible for everyone. One possible glitch that surfaced as I was testing the app is that the task times seem to automatically reset themselves an hour earlier than what I set them to. This happened repeatedly, on both start and ending times.

Education

While this app is not really intended to be educational, it could be useful to students as an organizational tool.  It is very easy to use and very streamlined.  For students who have limited inclination or ability to learn complex systems, it would be a great way to keep track of school assignments and their due dates.

Entertainment

This app is not intended to be entertaining.

Value

This app is free on the App Store, so it’s worth a look to see if it meets your needs. On the plus side, it is very simple to use. On the downside, competing apps may have more flexibility and features.  It will depend on your needs and preferences, so take a look and check it out for yourself.

Child Friendliness

This app is relatively child friendly. It does have connection to email and to a third-party app for communication that are unprotected. It may well be a good choice for younger students who need a personal to-do list that is easy to use and streamlined.

  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES unprotected connection to email and internet

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Fruit Heroes Tale is an entertaining and unique marriage of match-three board games and battle-based games. Players have the challenge of numerous leveled match-three boards, and success on the boards increases the player’s battle capabilities.
4.5

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Fruit Heroes Tale is a match and link game that pairs success on the matching game board with success in the battles going on above the board. The fruit heroes prefer their ammunition to come from their favorite fruits, displayed on the game board. Players slide their finger across rows and columns of matching fruits to provide fire power for the game above. There are also various game board-based incentives and puzzles to add interest.

Features include:

  • Collect gems for game rewards
  • Unlock additional heroes and pets

     

  • Earn booster wheel spins to add to rewards after each level
  • Multiple play modes
  • Compete against yourself to achieve high score and other benefits

Quality

This is a high quality app, and will please fans of both adventure/battle games and match-three games. If players are already familiar with the game format, the game is intuitive. However, developers should consider a succinct tutorial to help new players.  Also, I had a lot of trouble paying attention to the battle scene at the top of the screen, since my focus was on the game board trying to find matches.  It might be better to separate these two modes, possibly by having players earn battles with performance on the game board.  Finally, the font used for printed notices in the game is somewhat difficult to read.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

Fruit Heroes Tale has a lot to offer fans of match-three and battle format games. Each round is timed, and becomes more difficult. As players progress, they are presented with new challenges or goals for each level. Some challenges include blacked-out spaces on the game board that make matches more difficult, floating keys that unlock cages with pets when the key reaches the cage, bombs and other tools to use in the battle, and more. The game has over fifty levels, with helps such as extra time available in trade for accumulated gems, so this minimizes the “getting stuck” syndrome that drives people away from the game after playing for a while.

Value

Fruit Heroes Tale is an outstanding value on the App Store. It is completely free, and is more child-friendly than most free game apps. There are some available in-app purchases to get extra time or other game perks available for ninety-nine cents per purchase.

Child Friendliness

This app, while somewhat more child friendly than many of its brethren, does contain tempting unprotected in-app purchases. However, there are no outside advertisements or unprotected links to the internet.

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

Handybot

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Use your logic and creative thinking skills to get the robot down the hole in Handybot, a fun logic-based game.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

If you’re looking for a challenging logic game, consider checking out Handybot. In this engaging game, your job is to help the Handybot get to the hole. At first, it’s easy. However, as you advance through the levels, you’ll find that your logical thinking skills are put to the test.

Features include:

  • Multiple levels
  • Helpful tutorials
  • Sound effects and background music
  • Engaging logic game

Quality

Handybot is a well-organized app that features an engaging logic game. On the main screen, players will see icons that bring up ads and allow them to complete an in-app purchase to remove the ads. There’s also a drop down bar with some settings options. This bar can be collapsed to reveal the full screen. Once players get into the game, they’ll start each level with a tutorial. It’s easy to follow the tutorials and figure out how to make the Handybot move. However, getting the Handybot to the hole isn’t always easy.

Education

This app is not overtly educational. However, it does require players to use their knowledge of lines and angles to figure out how to move the Handybot to the hole. At the beginning of each level, players can view a tutorial to help them. Tapping on the question mark during the level brings up the tutorial again. Each level adds additional movement options, so the game slowly increases in difficulty and complexity.

Entertainment

Players work through multiple levels. In each level, they face new challenges involved in getting the Handybot down the hole. While the first few levels are fairly easy, the later levels present enough difficulty to keep players on their toes and encourage them to keep trying to get it right.

Value

In the free version of the app, players get to move through multiple levels of the game. Ads do exist in the free version, but they are not prevalent enough to decrease its value.

Child Friendliness

The app does contain third party ads, but they are not very prevalent. Occasionally they will appear between levels. Players can purchase an in-app purchase to remove the ads completely from the app.

  • NO rate us
  • YES 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchase

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Divi. is a surprisingly addictive and fun app that will help students gain speed and fluency at factors, multiples, and divisibility rules to help them improve their skills with equivalent fractions, simplifying fractions, and finding common denominators.
4.6

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Divi. is a math practice app that will help students learn to recognize factors and multiples. The game presents a number and offers two possible factors as well as a “both” or “neither” button. Play is timed, so players must quickly decide if the target number is divisible by none, one, or both factors, then hit the correct response button.

Features include:

  • Simple play
  • Three play modes
  • Encourages fast thinking

     

  • Format encourages improvement
  • Large print/minimalist mode

Quality

Divi. is a high quality app that will keep young math students on their toes as they learn to spot multiples and factors as well as quickly apply divisibility rules. There is a provided tutorial and clear directions. The one drawback was not likely the developers’ fault, but it does detract from the game on occasion. The app plays third-party advertisements between each round of game play, and for much of my trial, an ad was malfunctioning, hanging up the app entirely. Again, this is not likely something the developer has control of, but it does detract from game play when it happens.

Education

Divi. is a wonderful tool to help middle elementary students and older gain fluency and speed with factors, multiples, and divisibility rules. The game play is simple, and having only two possible factors from which to choose will really help some students get the hang of how to perform this task.

Divisibility, factors and multiples are important concepts, particularly in relation to working with fractions. Solid understanding of these concepts is critical for students’ ability to work with equivalent fractions, simplifying fractions, and adding or subtracting fractions.

Entertainment

This app is not really intended to be entertaining, but developers did a good job of making it fun anyway.  They’ve included snappy music (with the option to turn it on and off), as well as a colorful interface. The game’s competitive nature, challenging players to continually beat high scores in the various modes, is highly addictive, and many students will be attracted to it.

Value

This app is free on the App Store, making it an outstanding value. It’s not often that free apps provide such fun while developing crucial math skills.

Child Friendliness

This app is not particularly child-friendly.  There are 3rd party advertisements shown between each round of the game, and an unprotected link to the internet that shows the game tutorial information.

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

Let's Go Lex!

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Travel down the river with Lex the hippo and her froggy friends in Let's Go Lex!, an animated story app for kids.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Let’s Go Lex tells the story of Lex the hippo and her froggy friends. As she floats down the river, Lex enjoys many different activities. Kids can join in by tapping on the flies and viewing fun animations as they read through the story. At the end, kids can put together a puzzle.

Features include:

  • Animated illustrations
  • Highlighted text
  • English, Spanish, or Italian text
  • Puzzle to solve

Quality

In general, Let’s Go Lex is a quality app. The narration does feel like it could be a bit better and sometimes the animations are slow. However, everything generally moves well and the app is full of quality features, such as animated illustrations and highlighted text. A crab occasionally appears to offer help. The app menu offers access to page-by-page navigation, sound control, and the ability to select a language. Kids can listen to or read the story in English, Spanish, or Italian.

Education

One of the best features of the story is the highlighted narration. This feature will help kids begin to develop word-to-sound recognition and improve their reading skills. The text is a bit small, but it does not really hurt the story. As kids read, they’ll find the story to be engaging and will enjoy the animated illustrations as well.

Entertainment

In addition to a quality text, the app offers animated illustrations. Kids can typically engage the illustrations by tapping on the flies. Along with a fun story, the app also offers a puzzle for kids to put together at the end.

Value

This app is priced lower than many narrated ebooks. While it lacks some of the interactivity found in higher-priced ebooks, it does offer quality narration and highlighted text.

Child Friendliness

On the first page of the app, kids will see the developer’s website address and a Facebook icon. However, these objects are not active links. All of the content within the story is appropriate for kids.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
PepeLine is a fun tile-slide puzzle that offers hundreds of individual puzzles with a range of difficulty and special effects. There are hints available (for purchase or in exchange for watching advertisements), so players don’t have to give up when they get stuck on a particular level.
4.4

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

PepeLine is a sliding tiles puzzle game suitable for all ages. The app includes 28 levels with sixteen puzzles each. Players must slide tiles to complete a path so that the main characters, Pepe and Line, can happily meet up in the middle.

Features include:

  • Easy game play
  • Lots of levels
  • Puzzle and obstacle variation
  • Variety of board types
  • Special tiles with helpful properties

Quality

PepeLine is a quality app that is fun and easy to play. The app would benefit, though, from a slightly more extensive tutorial video to help those who are unfamiliar with tile slide games. There are also some sound quality issues that could get a bit annoying, most notably static that interferes with the sound effects that play when the unused tiles fall away from the completed path.

Education

This app is not really intended to be educational, but tile slide games, by their very nature, offer a number of skill-strengthening aspects. Tile slide games require quite a bit of logic, planning and prediction. They also nurture visual skills and pattern recognition.  All of these things will strengthen the many foundational skills needed for school success.

Entertainment

PepeLine is loads of fun to play. Developers did a good job of adding twists and challenges at the various levels to keep things interesting, so the game will provide hours and hours of enjoyable recreation.

Value

This app is free on the App Store, making it a great value.  If parents find the advertisements objectionable, there are in-app purchases to minimize or eliminate them.

Child Friendliness

This app is not particularly child-friendly. There are numerous advertisements ranging from ad banners that are constantly visible to a system where users can access hints to solve levels by watching advertisements.  The app also has unprotected links to more apps, in-app purchases, social media, the Game Center, and more.

  • YES “more apps” unprotected
  • YES unprotected in-app purchases
  • YES unprotected third-party ads
  • YES unprotected access to social media

998 Escape Games - Love of Wizards

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Find clues and solve puzzles in 998 Escape Games - Love of Wizards, a traditional escape game with a mystical theme.
4

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

If you enjoy escape games, you’ll enjoy 998 Escape Games – Love of Wizards. This escape game takes you from room to room and has you search for clues to help you get out. While the style is similar to other escape game apps, this one has a wizard theme, so you’ll find spell books and other elements of wizardry as you try to escape.

Features include:

  • Clues to find
  • Puzzles to solve
  • Logic and creative reasoning skills
  • Suspenseful environment

Quality

998 Escape Games – Love of Wizards is a fun game. However, it does have a few quality issues. First, ads display at the top of the screen throughout the app. These ads are not fully visible because the ad bar is too small for them. This gives the game a messier look. There are also some errors in words in the game. For example, the button on the main page say Ads Free instead of Ad Free and ReStore instead of restore. Additionally, there are icons on the bottom of the screen to help players access a video walk-through, turn off the sound, or pause the game, but these icons are small and may easily be missed.

Education

Escape games like 998 Escape Games – Love of Wizards encourage logical thinking and reasoning skills. As players play the game, they’re expected to make inferences and draw conclusions, as well as put all of the clues together to figure out how to escape the rooms. These actions help build key thinking skills.

Entertainment

As you go from room to room, you’ll uncover many clues. This game has a wizard theme, so you’ll find lots of magic books and other objects related to wizardry. You’ll also get the chance to solve a lot of puzzles and figure out tricky codes. The game times your progress, so you can play through it multiple times and try to improve your time.

Value

The app is free to download. Ads are prevalent in the free version. However, they can be removed through an in-app purchase.

Child Friendliness

An ad appears when the app is first opened. Ads also appear on the top of the screen during the game. The in-app purchase to remove the apps is unprotected. Players can also access the video walk-through by tapping on the video icon which gives them unprotected access to an external website.

  • YES 3rd party ads
  • YES unprotected external links
  • YES unprotected in-app purchase

996 Escape Games - Free the Love Birds

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Can you find the clues and escape the room to free the love birds in 996 Escape Games - Free the Love Birds, a fun puzzle app for teens?
4

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 1

Download on the App Store

Overview

If you enjoy escape games, you’ll enjoy 996 Escape Games – Free the Love Birds. The premise of the game is that two love birds have been kidnapped. It’s your job to find and put together the clues to set them free. As you walk throughout the rooms, you’ll have to solve a variety of puzzles, gather pieces of codes, and figure out how it all goes together.

Features include:

  • Clues to find
  • Puzzles to solve
  • Logic and creative reasoning skills
  • Suspenseful environment

Quality

996 Escape Games – Free the Love Birds and its counterparts are fun games. However, they would be much more appealing if the quality was improved. In general, the game responds well to player interactions and players can fairly easily tap on objects to reveal clues or add them to their collection. Other aspects of the game, lack quality. For example, the introduction is written using fragments, run-on sentences and other errors in grammar and punctuation. The game also features ads at the top of the screen that are partly cut off given the size of the ad bar, making the game look like it is of less quality than it is. During the game, on the bottom of the screen, players will see icons for more information and video. These icons are small and easy to miss. The video icon also takes players out of the app to watch a walk-through of the game which is not set up to be easily viewed on mobile devices.

Education

While not inherently educational, escape games like 996 Escape Games – Free the Love Birds encourage logical thinking and reasoning skills. Players must be able to put together all of the information they find in a way that helps them solve the mystery. They must make connections and inferences and draw conclusions. These are all essential skills that students need to develop.

Entertainment

If you enjoy escape games, chances are you’ll like this one. The rooms are full of plenty of clues to uncover and a clock tracks how long it is taking to escape the rooms. The premise of rescuing kidnapped love birds also makes the game a little more engaging.

Value

Players can download the app for free. The free version comes with a lot of ads. However, the ads can be removed through an inexpensive in-app purchase. How much you enjoy escape games and mind the ads will determine whether the price is worth it.

Child Friendliness

An ad appears when the app is first open and additional ads appear on the top of the screen during the game. Occasionally, ads will also pop up during game play. Users can remove apps through an in-app purchase and access to that purchase is unprotected. Additionally, the app contains unprotected external links which take players to the video walk-through.

  • YES 3rd party ads
  • YES unprotected external links
  • YES unprotected in-app purchase

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
997 Escape Games-Jealous of Love is an enjoyable escape-the-room type puzzle that will give players hours of enjoyment. There are many novel puzzles, and players will need to be on their toes to solve them all.
4.6

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

993 Escape Games-Jealous of Love is an escape-the-room puzzle game themed around romance. Grab clues, unlock secret doors, solve puzzles and unravel the secrets of each level as you solve increasingly difficult puzzles.

Features include:

  • Dozens of puzzles to solve
  • Countless doors to open
  • Hours of game play
  • Nonviolent game play
  • Build observation, reasoning, and creativity skills

Quality

997 Escape Games-Jealous of Love is a high quality app. Folks who enjoy “escape the room” type puzzles will have fun solving these novel click-and-find clues that lead to unlocking secret doors and more. There is a helpful walk-through that is great for beginners because it shows exactly how to solve the first level of puzzles.  It does move fast, though, so be prepared to watch it several times, or plan to stop and start the video repeatedly.

Education

Escape puzzles such as this one are quite educational, even if the primary goal is entertainment. Players must be observant, use logic and memory skills, and above all, be curious and persistent to solve even the first level. It’s no coincidence that these are exactly the same skills needed for success in school at all levels.

Entertainment

997 Escape Games-Jealous of Love is quite entertaining and challenging. The game is timed, but that seems mostly for a self-competitive aspect. There doesn’t seem to be a “time limit” per se, and you could well enjoy just replaying to beat your timed score on the level.  Each level has several rooms to explore, with a multitude of items to collect, objects to manipulate, and secret doors to open with codes or keys. Players must reason out what actions are needed and in what order to move to the next level.

Value

This escape app is free on the App Store, making it a great value for anyone who enjoys escape-the-room puzzles. Players will enjoy dozens of hours of game play, so it’s a real bargain.

Child Friendliness

The app displays an advertisement when you first open it, and also contains advertisements running as banners, and will pause the game to show advertisements. There is an in-app purchase to remove the ads if you wish, for ninety-nine cents.

  • YES unprotected social media
  • YES 3rd party ads
  • YES unprotected connections to the internet
  • YES unprotected in-app purchase

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
This free app offers a few simple games for your young preschool children, but it isn’t likely to have much staying power without subscribing to the higher level monthly program.
3.6

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Smarter Kids offers a selection of letter and number games for young children. Options include counting, number recognition, number concepts, letter recognition, simple spelling, and same/different.

Features include:

  • Several types of games
  • 5 games available for free, additional three with subscription
  • Multiple narration languages available
  • Colorful graphics
  • Intuitive game play

Quality

This app performs as expected and responds quickly to touches and drag motions. There is a “help” section that offers some explanation of the games and of the subscription plans. However, the narrator’s voice is quite robotic and expressionless, which while may be a novelty to the kids for short while, could be an overall detraction from the app’s enjoyability.

Education

This app is designed for the very young. Though developers list it as being appropriate for children from 18 months through 14 years, this is a gross misstatement. The app actually covers counting, number recognition, letter recognition, initial sounds, and some beginning spelling. It actually is educationally appropriate for children from early preschool through possibly late preschool or kindergarten in the free version, and possibly grade 2 in the paid subscription, but there is not much content here for older children.

The games are quite repetitive, but some do allow a fair amount of free choice. For example, choosing a letter to see a word that begins with the letter, or choosing a number to see that number of items. Some games offer a choice of items/animals to see or count in the free version. The subscription versions do offer a few more options, but still seems pretty limited.

Entertainment

Aside from the robotic, expressionless voice, this app offers little in the way of entertainment in the free version. Successful responses receive a mechanical praise word or phrase that is repeated in print at the top of the page. Level completion is acknowledged verbally, but not congratulated. And many of the games stay on level one unless the subscriptions are activated.

Value

Though this app is free on the App Store, it does not have much to offer most children. Young children are likely to tire of it quickly, and older children won’t find any helpful activities at all in the free version. Subscriptions can be purchased for monthly fees of ninety-nine cents or $5.99. The Basic Subscription offers additional levels of most games and additional animal characters. The Elite Subscription offers multiplication and the capability to add or change hats, glasses and other accessories on the characters.

Child Friendliness

This app is not particularly child-friendly, especially considering the target age group. There are unprotected links to the App Store, social media, and other online services.

  • Parent area 
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES unprotected links 
  • YES unprotected in-app purchases 
  • YES unprotected social media
  • YES unprotected email links

App Info

Price: $5.99
AppStore User Rating: 4.5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Document Writer for Microsoft Office is a utility that will allow Ipad users to seamlessly create and modify documents on their devices, then transfer them over to their PCs as rich text, PDF or HTML documents.

Features include:

  • Open and edit nearly any type of document
  • Fax from your device (requires outside subscription)
  • Transfer documents between devices via email attachment or outside service
  • Create and edit spreadsheets
  • Create rich text documents (RTF) that can be opened in Word

Quality

Document Writer for Microsoft Office: Word and PDF is a high quality app with lots of practical features that will please users who need to move documents between PC and Ipad. The app is complex, yet easy to learn. Developers included a tutorial to make starting up a breeze.

Education

While this app is not “educational” in and of itself, it’s very utilitarian for students. Writing projects could be completed and moved between devices. The app also offers the capability to open and manipulate PDF documents, including the capability to annotate and add comments. It can format its output in a variety of ways, including rich text, which can be transferred to MS Word with relative ease. It also can serve as an HTML editor, which is a nice plus for anyone who works on webpage design.

Entertainment

This app is not intended to be entertaining.

Value

This app costs $5.99 on the App Store, which may seem pricy at first, but compared to its competitors, is a good value because it actually works as advertised.  One aspect to be aware of, however, is that its advertised faxing capability requires users to be subscribed to a separate service that does have additional fees.

Child Friendliness

This app is not intended for use by young children. It does offer connection to the internet, access to various file-sharing services, and other useful features that are not particularly child-friendly.  These features, however, are necessary to the app’s functionality.

  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES connection to various file sharing services 
  • YES connection to email 

Little Doggy Run

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Run around the world, get points, and earn items with Little Doggy Run, a fun racing game for kids.
4

App Info

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

Overview

Little Doggy Run gives kids the chance to let their dog run around town. As the dog runs, kids must make him jump, crouch down, or move to the left and right to avoid obstacles. They also have to collect different colored bones. The more bones they collect and the more obstacles they avoid, the more points they earn.

Features include:

  • Race different dogs
  • Avoid obstacles
  • Collect bones
  • Purchase items for your dog

Quality

When kids first open the app, they’re prompted to give their dog a name. The app warns them that they will not be able to change the name, so they should choose one that sticks. The opening of the app also lays out the general structure of the app: go around the world, collect bones, get items. As kids run with their dog, they’ll find that the app responds pretty well. However, it is not the best at quick movements, so kids should make sure they’re prepared to jump, move over, or crouch down. In the settings section, kids can adjust the sound and extra skill level. There are also links to the privacy policy and a few typos.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

Little Doggy Run uses two main strategies to entertain kids. First, they can race the dog around the world and earn points. Second, they can use those points to buy items. The items include things like different leashes and even different types of dogs. Once kids get the hang of the game, they’ll have fun seeing how far they can get and how many bones they can collect to help them buy new items.

Value

As a free game, this app has the potential to be fun for kids. Unfortunately, its value is hampered a bit by the large number of ads kids are asked to watch. Kids will also want to buy more coins, but they don’t add a lot of value to the app.

Child Friendliness

When kids are racing, if they hit an obstacle, they’re asked if they want to watch a video to continue. The videos contain third party ads. Kids can also watch videos to earn additional items. In addition to the ads, kids can also purchase additional coin packages through a series of in-app purchase. Access to these purchases is not protected.

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

Mimics

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Gather your friends and make crazy faces while playing a game of Mimics.
4

App Info

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

Overview

Mimics offers a fun online or in-person party game where players get to make crazy faces. The goal of the game is to mimic a crazy picture and get others to guess which face you made. The result is a hilarious game that involves making a lot of funny faces. You might make a fool out of yourself, but you’ll have fun while doing it.

Features include:

  • Play against others online
  • Play against friends in person
  • Make funny faces
  • Connect on social media

Quality

There are two main modes to the game: online and party. In online mode, players can connect with Facebook and sign up for an account. Unfortunately, this part of the app is a bit glitchy and does not always work. However, the party mode works well and considering that it does not involve creating an account, it is the best option for play. In party mode, you can play as part of a 2 player coop or in teams. Player 1 looks away from the screen while Player 2 makes a face, and then Player 2 guesses, and vice versa. The game offers instructions throughout.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

What players will enjoy about this game is the ability to make silly faces. In each round, an animated face is shown and a player must imitate that face. The other player is then shown a selection of animated faces and choose which one the player made. At first, it’s pretty easy, but the faces get trickier as they play. Even if you play alone, you’ll enjoy making all of the crazy faces.

Value

Players can download and play the app for free. You can download a premium version of the app through an in-app purchase. However, for most users, the free version will be enough.

Child Friendliness

On the main screen, players will see icons that allow them to share on different social media accounts. In the setting sections, players can also make an in-app purchase (unprotected) and click on a link to view the developer’s privacy policy. The app also requests access to the camera for taking photos and it stores the photos in an in-game gallery. Players can transfer photos to their device’s photo album or opt to not save photos at all.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Juana la Iguana Goes to the Beach is a fun app that plunges preschoolers into the Spanish language. The beach theme is fun and attractive to young children, and the immersive style of instruction is a proven method of teaching language to young children.
4.7

App Info

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

Overview

Juana la Iguana Goes to the Beach is a language-learning app for preschoolers. The title character guides young children through six different types of activities that teach naming ocean life, identifying beach-themed items, learning about tropical fruits, and more in Spanish.

Features include:

  • Intuitive navigation
  • Optional English or Spanish printed words for navigation
  • Additional activities available for parents
  • Six types of activities
  • Seamless transition between activities

Quality

Juana la Iguana Goes to the Beach is a high quality app that will help young children become familiar with various Spanish words in context. The app is easy to use and features automatic transitions between activities. Developers included a protected parents’ area that houses links to more apps, social media, and email. It also includes a selection of supplemental activities that can be used off-line.

Education

This app is highly educational. Young children’s minds are already open to learning languages in this immersive fashion, and Juana la Iguana does a good job of providing necessary visual context to learn and understand the focus vocabulary. Children will learn Spanish names for ocean animals, how to count and compare numbers, and more. The activities will also promote matching skills, memory, comparison, attention to detail, and several other important skills. Even if your child is not interested in language learning (or if you don’t feel it’s a priority), this app will also help your child improve many other important skills.

Entertainment

Juana la Iguana Goes to the Beach is an entertaining app that will please most preschoolers. There are six different games that build or provide practice for the focus skills, including several drag and drop exercises, sorting activities, and a memory game. After completing a few activities successfully, children are rewarded with a visually attractive “music video” featuring a common children’s tune sung in Spanish.

Value

This app costs $1.99 on the App Store, and that’s a great value. It’s full of educational value for preschool users, and kids will enjoy playing with it. The six games are so quick, however, that they may begin to seem a bit repetitious after a relatively short play period.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly. When the app is first opened, however, it brings up an unprotected email mailing list sign up screen.  There is a “skip” button on the upper right corner of the screen, but this screen should only be available to adults. I hope developers will move it to the protected parents’ area, because it detracts from the overall child-friendliness of the app.

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

Ladybug Band

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Play along with the Ladybug Band in this fun animated ebook that will have you tapping your feet in tune with the music.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

Have you ever heard of the Ladybug Band? Read through this cute animated ebook for kids and dance along as the band plays its signature tunes. Kids can learn all about the band through the story, enjoy the animated illustrations, and even play along with the band at the end.

Features include:

  • Animated illustrations
  • Read to Me and Read to Myself options
  • Ability to record sounds
  • Cute rhyming story

Quality

Overall, developers have created a quality app. A few minor issues appear in the story. For example, the size of the font changes and, on some pages, is fairly small. In a couple instances, such as when the campfire appears, the animations do not work. In general, however, the story features clear narration, good sounds, and simple, but quality animations.

Education

The story offers read along and read to myself options. The read along option features a quality narrator whose voice fits the story well. He reads at a steady pace that is good for readers of all ages. Animations are also included to enhance the story. One thing the story lacks is highlighted text to help make it more beneficial for younger readers. It does, however, offer some nice rhymes for kids.

Entertainment

As kids read through the story, they will be introduced to the Ladybug Band. There are four members of the band and each one has a special skill. Not only can kids read through the cute rhyming story, but they can become a part of the band. At the end of the story, they are given the option to play the role of each of the members of the band. As the song plays, they can sing or play the instrument and record themselves as they go. Kids have the option to save their recordings so they can listen to them again and again.

Value

Ladybug Band is priced comparably to other interactive ebooks. Kids will enjoy the ability to join the band and record their own sounds at the end of it.

Child Friendliness

Kids will find little to take them away from the content of the app. As they read through the story, they will not encounter any ads, social media, or additional distractions. There is a small link to the developer’s website on one of the final pages of the story and access is not protected. The app also requests access to the microphone so kids can join the band at the end of the story.

  • NO rate us
  • NO in-app purchase
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES external links