4.5 stars – excellent apps

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: 3.5
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

Care for Our World

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Inspire kids to cherish the world they live in by reading and interacting with Care for Our World, a beautiful narrated ebook for kids.
4.8
Artikel wurde nicht gefunden

App Info

Price: Product not found*
Download on the App Store

Overview

Care for Our World takes kids through a story about taking care of the environment. As kids read through the story, they’ll be introduced to different elements of nature and gain a better understanding of why it’s important to care for our world.

Features include:

  • Beautiful illustrations
  • Soft background music and sound effects
  • Read to Me or Read to Myself options
  • Games and coloring pages

Quality

Within the app, kids will find a well-organized main menu, quality animations and sounds, as well as fun activities that react well to kids’ touch. In the settings section, kids and parents have option to turn on/off the narration, music, sounds, and learn words feature. The app also has an autoplay feature.

Education

As kids read through the story, they’ll discover highlighted narration and interactive information. They’ll also learn a broader STEM lesson about the importance of caring for the environment. The story uses simple language and an engaging rhyme scheme.

Entertainment

After reading through the story, kids can opt to color background images. They can also interact with different habitat playsets which help them learn about features of the habitats and the animals and plants that live there. Kids can then take photos of their scenes which are stored within the app.

Value

The app is priced comparably to other interactive ebooks and offers additional coloring pages and learning activities. Parents will appreciate the quality of the app, as well as the added educational value.

Child Friendliness

Kids can view an info section which contains links to some of the developer’s websites, but those links are not active. Otherwise, the app is completely child-friendly and free from ads and in-app purchases.

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

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

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
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Fitness Race is a fun app that may motivate even reluctant users to exercise more. Users can collect steps on their phone’s step counter by exercising or even just during everyday activities, then use them to move forward in their race and beat opponents.
4.6
Artikel wurde nicht gefunden

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 4.5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Fitness Race- The Step Counter Game is a motivational app designed to encourage increased exercise among users. The app ties in to the Health app on your iPhone to monitor your steps. These are translated into steps in an interactive race. The more you move around in the real world, the better you perform in the virtual race.

Features include:

  • Choose from multiple races
  • Translate real exercise into game progress
  • Challenge friends or other online players
  • No other fitness app needed-uses Health data
  • Puts an element of fun into exercise

Quality

Fitness Race is a high-quality app for your iPhone (it does not work on your iPad). The app taps into data from the Health app to count your running/walking steps, and translates these into energy that you can use in your virtual race. The app could definitely use a more detailed set of instructions, though. There’s an FAQ that takes users out of the app and to the developer’s website, but it closes the app in the process, and does not give much information about how to manipulate the game.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

If there’s a way to make exercise fun, this just might be it.  Fitness Race translates users’ running or walking steps into energy that can be used in a virtual race through any one of a large number of cartoon versions of exotic places around the world. The app allows users to challenge friends or any other app users to competition, and includes power items and hazards to make the race more like a video game.

Value

Fitness Race is free on the App Store, and uses data that is already being collected by your phone’s step counter. This makes it an outstanding value. Plus, it’s fun!

Child Friendliness

This app includes rating pop ups, unprotected access to the internet, and it wants to collect various kinds of personal information about usage.

  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES unprotected ratings pop-ups
  • YES social media access
  • YES collects personal information

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: 3.5
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)

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
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

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: 4.5

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: $2.99
AppStore User Rating: 3.5
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
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

Showdown at the Oasis

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Defend your side of the screen by protecting it from scorpions, tumbleweeds, and other enemies in Showdown at the Oasis.
4.4

Overview

Showdown at the Oasis takes the idea of Plants vs. Zombies and turns it into a game involving cacti, scorpions, and other items found in the desert. Can you strategically place your defenses to knock out the enemies? It’s a bit tricky at first, but the game allows kids to experience success.

Features include:

  • Ability to knock out enemies
  • New features unlocked at every level
  • Fun sound effects
  • Easy-to-play format

Quality

There’s nothing fancy about this app. The game takes place on a large grid. Players must protect the left side of the screen by strategically placing defenses. Enemies, such as scorpions and tumbleweeds, come in from the right. Each defense and enemy has a life bar to let players know which way the battle is likely to go. A sun statue can be placed to produce stars to earn extra points. However, if that statue is destroyed, there’s no other way to earn additional points until the next round. The game moves a bit slowly in the initial rounds, but it’s still fun. In the settings section, users can control the level of the background music and sound effects.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

While the game is simple, it is still fun. After each level, new surprises are unlocked. These come in the form of either new enemies or new defenses. With each new level, players also start with more points. This makes it easier to use more of the features of the game.

Value

For those who like Plants vs. Zombies, Showdown at the Oasis offers a similar experience. It’s not as fancy, but it does have fewer ads and it’s just as fun to play.

Child Friendliness

While the app does have ads, they’re not very prevalent. In fact, players may get through multiple rounds of the game without seeing them. When ads do appear, they offer advantages in the game. The app does not have any in-app purchases or other negative features.

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

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

Dot vs. Squares

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Collect all the dots while avoiding the squares and share your high scores with friends in Dot vs. Square, a simple, but fun arcade-style game.
4.5
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App Info

Price: Product not found

Download on the App Store

Overview

If you’re looking for a simple, but slightly addicting game, you will want to check out Dot vs. Square. This arcade-style game has a simple objective: collect the dots and avoid the squares. At first, it’s not too difficult. However, as you collect each dot, more squares appear on the screen, making it trickier to get to the dots. The end result is a fun, but frustrating game that will challenge you to keep playing to see how many dots you can collect.

Features include:

  • Collect the dots
  • Avoid the squares
  • Increase your high score
  • Share your score via social media

Quality

Dot vs. Squares has a very simple design. On the main page, players see icons for Facebook, Twitter, app info, and rating the app. A large play button also appears at the bottom of the screen. Each screen within the app has a decent-sized home button which makes it easy for players to get back to the start. Players will notice that the game itself responds to their touch well and moves at a good speed.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

The goal of Dot vs. Squares is to collect dots and avoid the squares. Each time you collect a dot, more squares and more dots are added to the screen. The dots move in all different directions, so you have to be quick to avoid them. Hit a square and the game is over. The game is simple, but players will want to keep improving their high score.

Value

The app is free to download and play. It is free from in-app purchases and players can keep increasing their high score without limits. It’s a simple game, but it’s a bit addicting.

Child Friendliness

On the main screen, players are given the opportunity to access Facebook and Twitter through the app’s logos. They’re also shown a star which takes them to an unprotected rate us screen. Additionally, players can share their scores through social media at the end of each round. Ads also occasionally appear in the app.

  • YES unprotected rate us
  • YES third party ads
  • YES unprotected social media

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

App Info

Price: $7.99
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 

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

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
DEDOC Chat is a privacy and security app that allows users to send and receive coded messages with varying degrees of complexity and privacy. It’s perfect for users who wish to send any sort of private or sensitive information over chat and want to make sure the information does not go beyond the intended recipient.
4.4

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

DEDOC Chat: Text Encryptor & Encoded Communication is a security app that allows users to send and receive encoded text messages to ensure privacy. Messages can only be read by fellow users who have the encryption key, and then they self-destruct after a single reading.

Features include:

  • 7 free encryptions
  • More complex encryptions available
  • Messages disappear after being read
  • Syncs with your contacts list
  • Touch screen security image validation

Quality

DEDOC Chat is a highly-secure text messaging encoder and decoder. The app works as expected and is very high quality. Developers may wish to consider a more detailed help/tutorial section, however.  It’s always nice to have a demonstration or see details about how to use the app.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

While DEDOC Chat is not really intended to be entertaining, it could be very useful in social settings if the users do not wish their messages to be available to just anyone. This feature is helpful for sharing personal information, private things such as passwords or banking information, and for keeping information within a small circle, such as when planning a surprise party or when choosing gifts for others.

Value

This app is free on the App Store and includes 7 types of encryption for users.  There are also many other encryptions available for in-app purchase at prices starting at ninety-nine cents, as well as a full “code book” with even more complex codes available for $5.98.  If privacy is important to you, then this app will certainly help.

Child Friendliness

This app is not really intended to be child-friendly, and in fact, could be used by children or teens to keep unsavory secrets from their parents, which may not be something a parent would wish to encourage.  However, if you and your child use it correctly, it could be a lot of fun and add an air of mystery and importance to your personal communications.

  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES unprotected in-app purchase 
  • YES unprotected connection to social media 
  • YES many possible ways for kids to abuse the system

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Tic Tac Rings is an extraordinarily entertaining, deceptively simple game that will keep most users busy for hours as they try to find patterns and develop strategies to improve their scores.
4.5

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

Tic Tac Rings is an engaging app that challenges visual skills and logic. Players place sets of colored rings on a tic tac toe board to make three in a row of various patterns. The rings are in sets of three concentric circles, and are presented in an array of colors, such that one set presented might be a large green ring, and another set might be a small red ring together with a medium sized blue ring (the colors are random). Players must choose where to place the groups of rings for maximum scoring potential, since rings score points when there are three that match in color and size in a given row. The matching rings disappear, and you can add rings to fill in whatever is missing on the remaining rings, creating a challenging game that apparently is much easier to play than to explain!

Features include:

  • High score indicator
  • Connection to Game Center
  • Optional ad removal
  • Control of sound effects

Quality

Tic Tac Rings is a very high quality app in most respects. The game is relatively intuitive to play, at least at its more basic levels, but developers should consider a listing of scoring combinations. After playing, I discovered that three consecutive rings of matching color and size scored points and disappeared, but there are various types of combinations that I still haven’t figured out what to look for or why I’m getting points. There also appears to be a glitch of some sort in the optional system to remove ads. I tried several times to activate this to see the cost of ad removal for this review, and each time got a message that the service was “unavailable, check internet connection.” Other connected options, such as rating and social media were working as expected.

Education

Though this game is not really intended to be educational, it has a great deal of educational value. Best of all, kids won’t realize that they are practicing vital skills.  To play the game, users must pay close attention to visual patterns, plan ahead and use considerable strategy to improve their scores. Impulsive placement of the ring sets without a plan will quickly lead to the Game Over screen.

Entertainment

Tic Tac Rings is a highly entertaining and possibly addictive game. The concept of play is relatively simple, but the strategies involved will take much longer to develop and master. The high score feature allows players to compete with themselves or others who use the same device, and for many people, that alone is highly motivating.  The game also has optional connections to the Game Center and social media, where players can brag about high scores and compete with others.

Value

Tic Tac Rings is free on the App Store, making it an exceptional value. It will provide hours of play value for anyone who enjoys Match-Three type games and also will give your brain a workout. The app does run advertisements, both between sessions and as a banner running at all times. There is an option to pay a fee to remove ads, but it was not working at the time of this review, so I can’t say what the cost is.

Child Friendliness

This app is not particularly child friendly. There are many third-party advertisements, and unprotected access to Game Center, social media, email, and in-app purchases.

  • YES unprotected access to social media
  • YES many 3rd party advertisements
  • YES unprotected in-app purchase

KidsCast

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Kids will always have new content with a monthly subscription to KidsCast, an app full of games, books, and shows.
4.3

App Info

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

Overview

KidsCast is designed as an all-in-one entertainment center for kids. Within the app, kids can watch shows, read books and magazines, and play fun games. Parents can curate their own library of content to download for children so it’s accessible all the time.

Features include:

  • Monthly subscription service
  • Books for children to read
  • Issues of Imagine Magazine
  • Games and other activities

Quality

The app is laid out fairly clearly. Kids are first shown the Imaginarium, where they can access books and issues of Imagine Magazine. If they swipe the screen and follow the signs, they’ll find other categories too, such as games, shows, and content to download. Content kids cannot access is labeled with a lock. There is enough content available for free that kids can get a feel for the app before parents decide whether to purchase a subscription or sign up for a free trial. Much of the content, particularly the games and shows, must be downloaded before kids can play it. Therefore, it’s best to set up the app while connected to wifi.

Education

Within the app, kids will find a wide range of content. Some of it is more educational than others. While the goal of the app is for kids to have fun, they’ll get in some reading practice through the access to ebooks and magazines. They’ll also learn by watching the shows included in the apps and may gain some basic logic skills by playing the games.

Entertainment

Kids won’t be bored while interacting with KidsCast. In each category, there are plenty of activities for them to enjoy. The app also adds new content every month, ensuring that there’s always something new for kids to do. With a range of content, the app also appeals to a larger age range than many other apps for kids.

Value

KidsCast operates based on a monthly subscription. For a monthly fee, your children get access to the latest child-friendly content curated by developers. If you’re looking for a safe, fun app for children and your children enjoy the content, it may be worth the fee. However, you should try the app to see what your children think before subscribing. A free 7-day trial is available.

Child Friendliness

In the settings area, kids will have access to information about the app, but none of the links, aside for the link to purchase a subscription are active. The in-app purchase is not protected by a parental block, so you want to be sure purchases through the App Store are password-protected before allowing your children to interact with the app.

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

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
NHL Figures League is a fun fantasy sports app focused on hockey. Fans of both the sport and fantasy sports action will enjoy the app, which has many levels of competition and capability to collect figures.
4.8

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 3.5

Download on the App Store

Overview

NHL Figures League is a fantasy sport app that allows players to “recruit” real players to create a dream team, then pit them against other teams in a practice or competitive mode. A combination of the players’ real life stats and random dice throws determine the players’ actions in each game.

Features include:

  • Play in three modes
  • Opportunity to play in competitive games
  • Opportunity to win real life prizes
  • Collect and trade figures
  • Earn achievements and challenge friends

Quality

NHL Figures League is a high quality app that will please players who enjoy fantasy sports, hockey, or competitive play.  Developers did a good job of including incentives such as earning awards that encourage developing skills as well as randomizing the game so that anything can happen, just like in a real game.  This app also includes an informative parents’ information section that explains the possibilities of the app, and even tells parents how to manage or protect in-app purchases if desired.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

NHL Figures League offers lots of ways to have fun. Players can compete with themselves, the computer, or others. The practice league mode allows people to learn the layout of the game and understand how it works.  It also will give players an opportunity to improve their skills.  The competitive modes allow play against real opponents in real time and offer real-life prizes such as autographed figurines.  It could become quite addicting!

Value

NHL Figures League is a great value because it’s completely free to play. App developers have started new players off with enough players for free to build a team, and allow choice about what positions users can put them into.  All modes of play are open in the free version of the app.  There are available in-app purchases, but new players can also be earned using points gained within the app.

Child Friendliness

This app connects to social media, Game Center and has in-app purchases. Connection is optional, and purchases can be regulated in the device’s settings, but this is not recommended for younger players.  Players can also connect with other players through challenges, trades, and so forth.  Developers have put limits on trades so that no one can take advantage, such as common figures cannot be traded for rare figures.

  • Parent area (contains external links & social media)
  • NO 3rd party ads
  • YES in-app purchases
  • YES connection to social media and Game Center

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Spell Bear is a simple and pleasant app that is designed to help very young students develop basic understandings about letter sounds and word order. The app provides practice with spelling three letter words, sounding words out, and more.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

Spell Bear offers young children an opportunity to spell simple words while learning about the sounds that letters make. Players choose a key letter, then drag letters to target boxes to spell the focus word while hearing the letter sounds. The narrator then sounds the word out while highlighting the letters one at a time.

Features include:

  • Includes 26 key words with focus beginning or medial sounds
  • Three levels of difficulty
  • Fun customization activity allowing kids to use earned points to dress their bear
  • Add your own words and pictures
  • Parent information available

Quality

Spell Bear is a high quality app that will help young children practice beginning phonics and spelling skills. Developers did a nice job of creating simple illustrations of familiar words to focus on the consonant and short vowel sounds. The system to add your own words is easy to use and works well, except for a known glitch that interferes with adding pictures directly from your device’s photo stream. The work around listed on the App Store page is to transfer your pictures to Dropbox or another supported service and import them from there. Developers did include a small information section for parents, but it would be nice to have a more thorough explanation about the three levels and how they help children learn.

Education

Spell Bear is intended for the very young. Preschoolers and kindergarteners will enjoy the app and are likely to learn a lot about spelling the 26 included words as well as the words that parents or teachers enter for them to work with. Children are presented with an alphabet at the bottom of the screen (users can scroll to see the rest of the letters). When a letter is tapped, the key word for that letter is presented with an illustration, the word spelled with hyphens between the letters, and a notation that says “The letter _ makes the /_/ sound.”  Touch the picture, and it is replaced with letter tiles in random order. At the bottom of the screen are tiles to use to spell the word. At the easiest level, the letters are printed on the target tiles. At the medium level, the first letter is printed and the rest are blank, and at the hardest level, all target tiles are blank. When users touch a letter tile, the narrator voices the letter sound, and when the tile is correctly placed, the narrator names the letter. After all tiles are in their correct spots, the narrator voices each phoneme (sounds out the word), then reads the word.

There are a few concerns with the presentation of the skills in this app. Some letter sounds are not 100% accurate, including the letter Y which is voiced as “YE” and the letter W which is voiced as “WWOO” which some children might find confusing. The letter tiles overlap when initially presented, and children can drag them to the targets in any order, instead of being forced to spell from left to right.

The user added words are limited to four, and these must have between three and five letters. The system does not recognize anything except the basic sound of each consonant and short vowel sounds, so words such as “HER” or “CHIP” will not be sounded out correctly. Developers do note that primary sounds only are used, but this should be clarified in the word-adding section, since many parents will not understand the difference.  If a user chooses to skip adding a picture to custom words, the app presents a generic “WORD” graphic which may be confusing to young users. It is also impossible to distinguish one custom word from another without a picture, and the app does not pronounce the whole word, or give users an option to record it.

Entertainment

When children spell words correctly, they earn “Paw Points” which can be exchanged for clothing items for the bear in the Clothing Store. Bears can wear various articles, including hats, glasses, and pants. There are also three options for the bear itself-brown, black, or panda coloring. Optional items cost from 3 to 10 paw prints.

Correct spellings are rewarded with a picture of the bear’s face, complete with the decorations that have been purchased. The narrator speaks a brief congratulatory message in a very mechanical and mostly expressionless voice. Children may quickly grow tired of that!

Value

Spell Bear costs ninety-nine cents on the App Store, which is an excellent value, especially if multiple children will use the app. The feature allowing users to add words makes it particularly valuable, because parents can customize and recustomize it as they wish.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child friendly.

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

Sight Words - Learning Games

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Help kids learn sight words through a series of six fun games with Sight Words - Learning Games.
4.3

App Info

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

Overview

Recognizing sight words is a key skill for students in early elementary school. Sight Words – Learning Games helps kids learn the most important sight words through a series of six learning games. Kids in pre-k through third grade will have a fun time while developing an important skill.

Features include:

  • Learn sight words
  • Play fun games
  • Choose from 5 different levels
  • Hear positive reinforcement

Quality

Overall, the app runs well. On the main screen, the different games are organized in a table with a photo to represent each game. While kids will enjoy the games, the graphics and game actions have a lower quality feel than many early learning apps. Occasionally, after kids have played multiple rounds of a game, the sound may also go out. Restarting the app will fix the problem. The games do move at a good pace for kids and are game play is fairly intuitive.

Education

Sight words practice is available at three different levels: PrePrimer, Primer, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and Third Grade. Kids just learning the words will do best with the word search and puzzle games. These will help them learn the words. In the other games, kids are asked to tap on a particular word as it falls. The game offers positive reinforcement as kids play and nicely encourages them to try again if they get a word wrong.

Entertainment

Kids can play six different games. The first game is a basic word search game where kids find sight words. As they go through the word search, the words increase in difficulty. There’s also a game where kids pop sight words to build an ice cream cone, a race with tortoises and hares, a pelican who eats fish sight words, puzzles, and a space cat and mouse game. The variety is fun for kids and the games are designed with kids’ interest levels in mind.

Value

Within the app, parents and teachers will find six different games, as well as five different levels of sight words. Despite some quality issues, the app offers many opportunities for kids to practice the words.

Child Friendliness

At the bottom of the main screen, the info button leads to a page that contains two external links. One goes to the developer’s website. The other goes to a list of sight words. Otherwise, all of the content within the app is child-friendly and designed at their speed.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Good Dog Tobi is a fun app that will help young children learn readiness skills with a collection of over sixty mini-games that are entertaining and fun to play.
4.5

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Good Dog Tobi is an app designed for toddlers and preschoolers that features invitations to children to follow directions and complete tasks as “Tobi.” Mini-games include matching exercises, fine motor tasks, and more, and Tobi is rewarded for successful completion of five games with exciting snacks.

Features include:

  • Over 60 mini-games
  • Play without using data
  • Colorful graphics
  • Silly sound effects
  • Intuitive interface

Quality

Good Dog Tobi is a high quality app that will entice young children to practice important skills. Developers did a fine job of designing Tobi and his friends to be engaging and friendly. The app would benefit from a parents’ area that explains the importance of the tasks and their relation to academic skills, as well as a quick tutorial to help parents understand (and be able to explain) the various games to the kids, because some are not as intuitive as they might be. This app did “hang up” a few times as I was playing, and I had to let the timer run out for the task before it regained control. This might get frustrating if it happens too often for children, because running out of time leads to a “fail” message that could make some kids feel a bit bad.

Education

Good Dog Tobi offers a fair selection of readiness tasks that will help toddlers and preschoolers gain vital skills as they get ready for more challenging tasks in the future.  There are over sixty different games that seem to present in random order, so children will be able to play for quite a while before seeing much repetition.

Some of the mini games that I saw included dot-to-dot activities, matching exercises, and pop-the-balloon games. There were also hide and seek games where a target was hidden under a cup, then the cups were mixed up, and “sweeping” and “mowing” exercises where kids needed to drag a device to all parts of the screen. In other words, there’s a good variety of games and enough of them so it does not seem repetitious.  One downside is that the activities are timed, and failing to meet the time constraint results in a “FAIL” message. It would probably be enough to simply not collect the token for the exercise; some kids might feel quite discouraged if they see that message very often.

Every five games, Tobi the dog collects a snack for his “good work.”  This is a cute reward system, but some parents may be a bit concerned that Tobi is being rewarded with food for his performance, and particularly that much of the food he receives is “junk food” like cookies, pies, ice cream and cakes.  He does have some cute reactions to his snacks, such as turning red when he eats hot peppers and shivering when he eats ice cream.  He does occasionally burp and even fart, then look cutely guilty, which also may put some parents off.

Entertainment

Good Dog Tobi is a fun app that young children are likely to enjoy. With over 60 minigames, children can play for quite a while without seeing much repetition, and even though I played for nearly half an hour, I saw very few repeats.  Kids will also be fascinated with Tobi’s snacks and his reactions to them; he shivers and gets covered in ice when he eats cold snacks, for example, and his eyes turn into hearts when he eats something he really likes.

Value

Good Dog Tobi costs ninety-nine cents on the App Store, and it is quite likely to occupy your toddlers and preschoolers with constructive learning activities for many hours.  The app teaches many valuable skills and it’s fun to play.

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
Math Bakery 2 – Continue Counting is a fun app that does a fine job of introducing and providing practice with larger addition and subtraction problems that require regrouping.
4.9

App Info

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

Overview

Math Bakery 2-Continue Counting presents easy-to-understand lessons about addition and subtraction with regrouping. It’s designed for children from ages 7-12, but suitable for an even wider range. The app features formatting choices (regrouping numbers at the tops or bottoms of the columns), single player or a challenge mode that pits one live player against another, and manipulative items and hints that demonstrate grouping by 10s.

Features include:

  • 14 games for a varied experience
  • Built-in rewards system for successful responses
  • Step-by-step help system that prevents failure
  • Control of speed and difficulty level
  • Numbers up to 999

Quality

Math Bakery 2 is a high quality app that is remarkably intuitive to use. Developers included a good combination of hints and helps that will make even the most lost student successful. The app will build confidence with math and help kids develop the skills they need to understand place value and regrouping, which are critical to math success.

Education

Math Bakery 2 has all of the niceties and perks that an addition/subtraction teaching system should have. Users can control most aspects of the games, including difficulty level and time allotted. Help screens are offered at the first error, and correction suggestions do not give away answers, but rather guide students into correct process to find answers on their own.

This app is loaded with visual cues and reminders to regroup as well as other hints and tricks to make math easier. For example, problems are written on graph paper, making it easy for the eye to follow the columns downward. Manipulative cookies are placed in rows of ten for smaller problems, and a tap to the screen will allow users to drag the extra cookies around to add or subtract by forming groups of tens and ones.

Entertainment

While this app is highly educational, it’s also quite entertaining. It manages “fun with a purpose” quite nicely. Successful completion of the addition and subtraction tasks yields instant rewards, and completion of sets of tasks gives players the materials to build a gingerbread house.  It’s also fun to play in the two-player, competitive mode.

Value

Math Bakery 2 costs $2.99 in the App Store.  This is a really good value, but I do wish it packed a little more range for that kind of price.  Combining with Math Bakery 1 (which introduces addition and subtraction concepts), or perhaps adding beginning multiplication and division activities, which are often taught around this same time, would be really nice options.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly.

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

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
My4Faces Dreamland offers a few unique and entertaining twists on the popular match-three style game for your smart phone or tablet. It’s colorful, challenging, and fun to play.
4.8

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store

Overview

My4Faces-Dreamland is a match-three type game that features colored, crazy faces in the blocks. There’s a lot of variety in this version of the game, and each level adds a new twist.

Features include:

  • 50 levels
  • Tracks number of moves as well as time to complete levels
  • Additional bonuses available to help pass levels
  • Varied game board shape at each level
  • Varied obstacles at each level

Quality

My4Faces Dreamland is a high quality app that creates a match-three type game with several twists on competitors. The app is easy to use if you are already familiar with this type of game. Developers should strongly consider including more information about the various bonus and penalty squares, and how they are to be activated. This would really help parents/mentors who are teaching the game to children.  It would be helpful to see a summary of the various squares and their meanings, as well as how to activate the promised bonuses.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

My4Faces Dreamland is quite entertaining, especially if you like match-three type games. Developers have set it up so that the board is not in the traditional rectangular shape all of the time. With nooks and crannies along the sides, combined with obstacles that are placed in different spots in the different levels, each section is a unique challenge. The app also keeps track of the number of moves needed to complete the level and how many were made by the player. This means that in addition to trying to beat time records, players can work on their strategies as well.

Value

This game is free on the App Store, making it an exceptional value. And unlike many of its competitors, there are few if any outside advertisements or tempting and obvious in-app purchases. Nice job!

Child Friendliness

This app is child friendly.

  • NO external links
  • NO social media
  • NO 3rd party ads

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Poppetto Costumes is a challenging and entertaining collect and match game that will sharpen players’ grasp of strategy, their observation skills, their memory, and their logic. It’s fun for nearly any age group.
4.9

App Info

Price: $0.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Poppetto Costumes is a matching, memory and logic game for young children. It can be set up to compete against the computer or against real opponents. Players must find and collect all of the pieces of the puppet’s costume to win each round.

Features include:

  • Three levels of difficulty
  • Play with real or virtual opponents
  • Builds strategic thinking
  • Builds memory skills
  • Builds logic skills

Quality

Poppetto Costumes is a high quality app. It works smoothly and without errors. There is a parents section that outlines the basic pattern of game play, but it could be a bit more detailed and clear. As it stands, it takes a few trials to figure out exactly how the game is to be played. It would be a very good idea to try the game out before trying to teach it to a younger, less experienced player.  Parents and mentors should be aware that a light bulb icon will take players to the previous screen-it’s not particularly intuitive, but it is consistent.

Education

This app will help children develop strategy, memory, and logic skills. Players raid other closets to find four matching pieces of their poppet’s regional outfit. Discarded clothing items go in the laundry basket, where they cannot be retrieved. While you are trying to outfit your character, other players can steal clothing articles from you. It’s up to you to realize when a combination of clothing articles is no longer available because one or more of the items have been discarded. Also, other closets are at different orientations, so some children may have some trouble reorienting and finding what they need when the target item is upside down or sideways.

Entertainment

This game could be a lot of fun for children who enjoy collecting items to succeed. Players need to choose a costume for their puppet, and try to collect all of the pieces (these can be seen at any time by tapping an icon on the game screen). They need to be prepared to change their plan (flexibility), since other players, real or virtual, can steal pieces they already have acquired. The game challenges planning, memory, and strategic skills, and will provide a lot of fun. The capability to play with one or more computerized opponents, live friends, or a combination is a real plus.

Value

Poppetto Costumes costs ninety-nine cents on the App Store, making it a great value. The game has nearly endless variation. It’s fun and entertaining, as well as educational. It’s suitable for a wide age range, and players of different ages could easily play together, making it perfect for families or classroom settings where students have varying abilities.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly.

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

Ole Lion

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Travel through the African landscape and take out alien spaceships in Ole Lion, a simple, but fun arcade game for kids.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Ole Lion takes you on the quest of an African warrior. In this app, you must fight aliens to protect your home. Wait, aliens? In Africa? Yep. The terrain of deserts and grasslands may look familiar, but the creatures in this app are anything but. Can you use some old-fashioned technology to take out futuristic foes?

Features include:

  • Multiple levels
  • Themed music and sound effects
  • High score tracking
  • Easy game play

Quality

It’s not very hard to figure out what to do in the game. There are two main buttons – the circle shoots and the triangle jumps. You must run and shoot the aliens while jumping over obstacles such as ditches and trash cans. The game includes a few directions, such as “jump over the trash cans” when new obstacles appear. One negative is that sometimes you may think you’ve hit jump quickly enough to jump over an obstacle, but it still ends up taking you out.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

While the game is fairly simple, it’s also fairly entertaining. You must try to take out the aliens while avoiding obstacles. As you play, your score is tracked and you’re encouraged to beat your high score. If you successfully complete a level, you’re rewarded with an African proverb from Oloiboni.

Value

The app is free to download and does not have any in-app purchases. It’s simply a fun game for kids.

Child Friendliness

The main screen of the app features a small icon that leads to the developer’s website. This access is not protected. At the end of each round, kids see an icon to share their score via e-mail, text, or social media.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
ExplorArt Klee – the Art of Paul Klee, for Kids is a beautifully designed and illustrated ebook that invites users to explore many artistic styles and concepts through play. Let your imagination fly with this ebook!
4.9

App Info

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

Overview

ExplorArt Klee – The Art of Paul Klee, for Kids is an animated, interactive ebook that introduces the creations of artist Paul Klee to children with a fanciful trip to planet PK which showcases Klee’s unique style.

Features include:

  • Six interactive versions of Klee’s paintings
  • Guides Cice and Ku lead the tour
  • Original acoustic music
  • English, Spanish, French, German or Italian narration
  • Free exploration with no competition

Quality

ExplorArt Klee is a very high quality app that is responsive and intuitive to use. It’s suitable for all age levels, with optional historical and background information that can be accessed by older users. The app is easy to use and features a wide array of interactivity on nearly every page. Developers did a good job of providing access to customization tools, including additional conceptual information, voice-over and music controls, and navigation.

Education

This app is very educational, and has achieved that rare state of being very engaging as well. It’s a great way to introduce the world of Paul Klee’s art to children (and adults) of all ages, and will keep readers engaged with puzzles such as a jigsaw-like activity and interactions such as musical whimsy that can be “played” in many different ways. Cice, the guide, and Ku, the cat, will lead users on a pleasant and engaging adventure through six scenes on the planet PK that are really paintings by Paul Klee. Developers did a good job of embedding a nice range of educational activities within the pages of this beautiful ebook.

In addition to helping users learn about Klee’s art, there are also several activities to help them better understand artistic concepts such as themes of nature, spirals, and the interconnection between music, art, and creativity.

Entertainment

ExplorArt Klee is highly entertaining. The graphics are stupendous and the animations and interactions make good use of the iPad’s capabilities. It’s not often you get to reassemble a masterpiece after watching it fall apart before your eyes!  Each interaction is unique and fun, so readers will be inclined to find out what will be on the next page.

Value

This app may seem to be a bit on the pricy side, at $4.99 in the App Store. It’s a good value, but perhaps developers should do a little more tooting of their own horn. Building appreciation for many styles of art is crucial to a well-rounded education, and it takes some habit-forming activities such as this one to whet children’s appetites for more. Exposure will broaden users’ horizons and enrich their lives.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly.

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

Retro Shooting

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Experience the feel of a classic arcade game as you try to take down missiles in Retro Shooting.
4.3

App Info

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

Overview

Retro Shooting is exactly what it sounds like it is – a retro shooting game. This game has the same feel of classic arcade games, but you don’t have to put in a quarter or even go to an arcade to enjoy it.

Features include:

  • Shoot down missiles
  • Enhance your plane
  • Earn medals and stars
  • Level up

Quality

When players first open the app, they’re taken through a tutorial. The tutorial does a good job of laying out the game and its various features. Once players go through the tutorial, they can visit the enhancements screen. There they can customize their experience, changing the main weapon ATK, the missile ATK, the magnetic field power, and skill cooldown time. Users need coins for many of the enhancements which they can earn by playing the game.

The game itself is fairly easy to play. Through the tutorial, players will learn how to use boosts and other features by holding down two fingers during game play. It can take a few minutes to get the hang of these special features, but after some practice, they’ll come more naturally.

Education

This game is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

Like many arcade games, Retro Shooting is somewhat addicting. Players will enjoy guiding the plane around the screen and trying to take out the missiles as they approach. The game rewards players with medals and coins for their achievements. There are multiple levels of play, so players are motivated to keep trying to advance.

Value

The app is free to download and offers a quality arcade-style shooting game. If kids enjoy retro arcade games, they’ll enjoy this app. However, parents should be sure to set up password protection so kids don’t try to purchase enhancements from the App Store.

Child Friendliness

Most of the app is child-friendly. In a few instances, such as on the enhancements screen, ads appear at the bottom of the screen. Users can also make in-app purchases to get specialized enhancements.

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

COOSHACalendar

Quality
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Keep track of all of your calendars in one place and share them with others with COOSHA Calendar.
4.5

App Info

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

Overview

COOSHA is a social calendar app that’s designed to help people stay organized. With the app, users can create and share calendars, categorize events, and keep better track of everything going on in their busy lives.

Features include:

  • Create calendars
  • Categorize events
  • Create lists
  • Share calendars with others

Quality

Setting up COOSHA requires creating an account. Doing so requires an e-mail address. Once users set up an account, they can login using a username or e-mail address. Users are given the option to import existing calendars from iOS, Google, and Microsoft. They can also set up new calendars or add events to the default Home calendar.

One of the benefits of COOSHA is that it allows users to invite others to the app and share calendars with them. Users can create a network of family members, friends, team members, and others they may need to share important dates with. The calendar works well for youth sports teams and clubs, as well as classroom teachers. Events can be categorized and color-coded to help users keep track of them more easily.

Education

This app is not being rated for education.

Entertainment

This app is not being rated for entertainment.

Value

The app is free to download and use. Many of the features it offers are also offered through other free calendars, such as Google Calendar. However, users may appreciate being able to import multiple calendars into one app.

Child Friendliness

This app is designed for teens and adults, although upper elementary and middle school students with busy schedules may benefit from it as well. Users must create an account which requires inputting an e-mail address. The app also asks for permission to send notifications.

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

Super Spelling

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Help kids learn to spell 400 new words with Super Spelling, a fun spelling game for kids.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Super Spelling helps kids learn how to spell over 400 new words. It does that by showing kids a series of pictures and having them drag the letters to create the word that each picture represents. Kids aren’t left alone to figure it out on their own. The app has plenty of features designed to help them.

Features include:

  • Available in English and Dutch
  • Multiple levels of play
  • Stars and ribbons as rewards
  • Hints and other helpful features

Quality

On the main screen of the app, kids can see the start button front and center. The main screen includes an icon with access to the settings screen. There parents and teachers can customize some of the features, such as determining whether to lock unplayed levels and whether to include the help option. A smaller button on the main screen allows kids to see their achievements.

When kids tap on the start button, they’re shown the different levels of the app. Depending on the settings, unplayed levels may be locked or unlocked. One kids choose a level, the game starts. This is where the quality of the app suffers a little. The images are clear and the letters stand out, but dragging and dropping the correct letters into their spaces is a bit frustrating. Kids may have to move the letters around a few times to get them to fit.

Education

Through a series of levels, kids have the chance to learn how to spell around 400 new words. Each word is represented by a picture with a set of blank boxes below it. Once kids figure out what word the picture represents, they can drag and drop the correct letters into the boxes. A letter turns red and moves from the spot if it is incorrect. A help button allows kids to see the correct word if they can’t figure it out.

Entertainment

Learning to spell new words is something that kids enjoy. In this game, they’re encouraged to spell more new words by the opportunity to earn stars. As kids play, they’ll see quality images and also get to listen to relaxing background music. These features help make the game more entertaining.

Value

Given the fact that Super Spelling is free to download and that it helps kids learn to spell hundreds of word, it offers a great value.

Child Friendliness

The app is free from advertisements, in-app purchases, and other content designed to take kids away from the app. Kids can access the settings section, but the icons are small and not likely to attract attention.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
993 Mine Escape is a fun escape-the-room puzzle app that offers hours of gaming time complete with challenging puzzles that will put your mental capabilities to the test. Be observant, and you just might be able to solve the puzzles and escape from the mine.
4.6

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

993 Mine Escape is an escape-the-room puzzle game with numerous puzzles and brain teasers that puzzle addicts will adore. Pick up the clues, open the secret doors, and find your way out of each room by solving increasingly difficult puzzles.

Features include:

  • Over 100 puzzles to solve
  • Over 150 doors to open
  • 25 hours of game play
  • Nonviolent game play
  • Build observation, reasoning, and creativity skills

Quality

993 Mine Escape is a high quality app that will occupy puzzle fans for hours. Developers have created a wealth of innovative puzzles to stump players as they try to find their way out of each room. They also have linked to a helpful walk-through that is great for novice players, since it demonstrates how to solve the first puzzle (though things move very fast, and it will take you several views to understand everything).

Education

Puzzles that exercise observation and reasoning skills are always education, even if they don’t really “intend” to be. This app is no exception. Kids have no alternative but to be observant, to apply their reasoning skills, to be curious and to be persistent if they want to win at this activity, and these are precisely the same skills that they will need for success in educational pursuits.

Entertainment

993 Mine Escape is a lot of fun to play. Though the game is timed, there doesn’t seem to be any “time limit,” so it’s ok if a player takes a while to solve the given puzzles. The graphics are enticing, and many of the items in the room can be manipulated. The challenge is figuring out exactly what actions are needed and in what sequence.

Value

This app is free on the App Store, making it a great value. If you (or your older children) enjoy escape-the-room puzzles, this would be a fun addition to your collection. It features dozens of hours of game play, so it’s tough to beat the price.

Child Friendliness

This app contains outside 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.

  • NO social media
  • YES in-app purchase to remove ads 
  • YES unprotected outside links
  • YES outside advertisement on banners
  • YES outside advertising videos that pause the game to run

Buzkids

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Buzkids is a personalized app that helps little kids learn their letters, numbers, animal sounds, and fruit and vegetable names.
4.6

App Info

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

Overview

Buzkids is an early learning app for babies and toddlers. This flashcard based app helps little kids learn their letters, numbers, animal sounds, and fruit and vegetable names. Not only can kids tap through the flash cards to learn, but the app is also personalized, so they hear their name attached to each one. The end result is a unique and fun app for little kids.

Features include:

  • Personalize with your child’s name
  • Learn letters and numbers
  • Hear animal sounds
  • Discover new words

Quality

On the main screen of the app, you’ll see a list of all of the categories. If you click on the settings icon, you can enter a child’s name. This will help personalize the experience of the app. From there, kids can tap away, moving from category to category, and also bringing up fun features, such as fireworks and balloons. One negative is that the app does not limit how fast a child can swipe from card to card, so little kids may swipe very quickly and not get as much from the app. It would also be nice if the app had a human voice instead of a computerized one.

Education

Developers have created an app that utilizes simple flash cards and the repetition of the child’s name to promote learning. For example, the child will hear, “Hey (insert child’s name), Look. A for Apple” when the A card is shown. This gets the child’s attention. Then the child will hear what the object is and see a picture of it. There are five different categories, including Animals, which features pictures and sounds of each animal.

Entertainment

As kids swipe through the cards, they’ll find a lot of pictures to look at. They’ll also enjoy hearing their name. On the bottom of the main screen, kids will also see icons for stars, fireworks, and balloons. Tapping on these icons brings up fun surprises. A color wheel also allows kids to change the color of the menu buttons.

Value

The app is free to download. While there are many flash card style apps out there, the ability to personalize this app makes it nice.

Child Friendliness

Kids can freely play within the app. Parents do not have to worry about settings screens or unprotected links. Everything in the app is safe for kids.

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

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
STEM Storiez-Wootzy Colors is a pleasant e-book designed to introduce the very young to the names of the basic colors. It features cute space creatures that visit their colorful home planets and offers surprise animated interactions on each page.
4.4

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

STEM Storiez – Wootzy Colors is an app designed to help very young children learn about colors in an interactive, colorful e-book. It includes animations and sound effects as well as optional narration and control of the appearance of the text. Wootzy Colors is designed to be used on its own or with a turtle-like plush smart toy called Zumo.

Features include:

  • Control of audio and text features
  • Colorful, interactive animations
  • Multi-sensory experience
  • Control amount and relative volume of audio

Quality

Wootzy Colors is a high-quality app that will engage young learners as they explore colors in the interactive story. The ebook features surprise animations on each page that children will discover as they tap on various parts of the screen. Developers did a great job of making the app customizable for children of all levels and abilities, particularly those who have sensory issues. It would be nice if they included a more comprehensive outline of the features for parents; the app has a lot to offer, but some parents may not understand well enough to appreciate the finer points. Also, the app optionally connects with a smart toy called Zumo, and the link for more information about the toy is incorrect. The correct link is http://zyrobotics.com/our-products/ for interested users.

Education

Stem Storiez-Wootzy Colors is an interactive ebook designed to help the very young learn to recognize and name colors. The story is appealing, and the colorful space creatures (the “Wootzies”) are adorable!  Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy following the story as they see each Wootzy’s home planet. The narrator encourages participation in the story as she invites children to say the names of each color again and again.

I do wish this app included a section for some free play with the colors after the story ends. This would extend its educational value and also make it fun for the youngsters.

Entertainment

Wootzy Colors is a cute e-book that will engage toddlers and preschoolers with bright, interactive animations. Developers did a fine job of creating engaging characters that are just naturally lovable. The book would be more entertaining, however, if there were a bit more of a storyline, and/or some interactive activities based on colors, such as sticker play, coloring, or some game-like activities like “pop the color” where kids could match and tap the target color.

 

Value

This app is $2.99 on the App Store. That seems a bit pricey, considering the simple nature of the interactions and the fact that the ebook does not include any breakout activities.  There is a lot more value to the special needs population, though, since users have such complete control over the presentation of the text and sound effects. This e-book could well be ideal for children with sensory issues or other special needs.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly.

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

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Skiplit is a highly-entertaining and possibly addictive “bounce the ball into the goal” app. The extra twists and challenges, such as moving barriers and multiple balls in play, will keep even experienced players intrigued.
4.5

App Info

Price: Free
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Skiplit is a deceptively simple game: All you need to do is get the ball to hit the goal. However, each level becomes increasingly complicated as simple barriers, multiple color-coordinated balls and goals, and even barriers that move around are added. You need to quickly calculate angles and momentum to control the ball. Players have a limited number of bounces (or “skips”) allowed before the level ends, making play even more challenging.

Features include:

  • 72 levels
  • Increasing difficulty on each level
  • Varied types of balls, goals, and challenges
  • Moving barriers

Quality

Skiplit is a simple, yet high quality app. Everything works as expected, and the game’s physics engine is consistent. The developers were creative with their twists on this common form of game (bouncing a ball into a goal), including moving barriers, multiple balls and goals, and much more. Players can take a break from playing, and restart the level where they left off, which is a very positive feature with so many levels. Levels are grouped, and once a group is unlocked, all of the five to ten levels contained in the group are available to play.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

Skiplit is highly entertaining, and many will find it addictive. It’s completely nonverbal, relying solely on visual and timing skills to launch the ball at the correct angle to put it into the goal. With 72 levels combined with the developers’ creativity in coming up with unique challenges, the game has outstanding play value. It definitely will cause players to say, “Just one more level…”

Value

Skiplit is free on the App Store, making it a great value. The game is simple, yet fun, and has a wealth of content to explore. There is a paid option available for 99 cents to remove the ads if you wish.

Child Friendliness

This app contains outside advertisements in the free version, unprotected links to email and the internet, and access to Ipad’s “share” system.

  • YES unprotected in-app purchase
  • YES unprotected link to developers’ website
  • YES outside advertisements
  • YES unprotected email link

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Catch the Shapeshifter is a unique and challenging visual perception, attention, and focus puzzle that could quickly become addicting. Spot the Shapeshifter and other creatures that change their shapes as they drift across amazing and fantastic 3-D backdrops.
4.9

App Info

Price: $2.99
AppStore User Rating:

Download on the App Store

Overview

Catch the Shapeshifter is a unique and challenging visual puzzle game that will mesmerize players with unique, 3-D modern art backgrounds and constantly shifting, changing and drifting shapes.  The object of the game is to spot the shapes that morph into other shapes and tap them to earn points, but it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds.

Features include:

  • 50 levels of difficulty
  • Creative, unique game play
  • Gorgeous 3-D modern art backgrounds
  • Hypnotic background music
  • Challenging visual-perceptual and attention task

Quality

Catch the Shapeshifter is a high quality app that will not disappoint.  The art and music alone make it hypnotic and relaxing (though I found a few of the 3-D background designs to be downright dizzying!).  There is not a clear and obvious tutorial, but I believe developers introduce the game with nonverbal hints (arrows about which shape to tap) to help novice players get the hang of the game play.  Some of us are just visually dense, however, and a separate tutorial that explains the objective of the game would be really nice.  It took me nearly 30 minutes to figure out what I was trying to do, and a lot longer to do it well enough to pass the first level of the app.  I found that aspect to be a bit frustrating.

Education

While I don’t think this app is intended to be specifically “educational,” it has a wealth of skill-building to offer players.  The task is to spot the shapes that morph into other shapes.  Many of the shapes (colorful, abstract animals) fade in and out of view, and some of them change to completely different shapes when they return to visibility. Tapping those shapes gives points to the player. Tapping the static characters deducts points and can end the round early. There are “boosters” that can help players increase their scores, as well.

The task is actually quite challenging. The 3-D, modern art background is moving, as are the creatures. The creatures spin and move at different speeds. It takes a great deal of concentration and attention, as well as a good visual memory and quick reflexes to find and tap the ones that are changing shapes. This game will certainly give attention, focus, and visual perception a healthy workout.

Entertainment

Catch the Shapeshifter is very entertaining and probably highly-addictive. With fifty levels and a few options for degree of difficulty, players can enjoy it to their hearts’ content for quite some time. The artist who created the backgrounds did an outstanding job of creating and animating a wide array of visions. The background music also is very high quality and enjoyable. Both are in such constant motion that if there is any repetition, it’s next to impossible to notice.

Value

This app is $2.99 on the App Store, and it’s a wonderful value for anyone who enjoys unique puzzles and games. It’s quite challenging, and offers 50 levels at two levels of difficulty, so there’s a ton of play value here.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly, but the game is difficult, so young children likely would not be successful. On the other hand, it’s so visually and auditorily hypnotic that they may not care!

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

Quality
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Journey of Haha is a fun puzzle/adventure app that challenges players to collect items, solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and unlock doors to move to the next level. Players need to use their wits and their common sense to meet the challenges as they help Haha find the ancient artifact that she seeks in the castle.
4.9

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating: 4

Download on the App Store

Overview

Journey of Haha is a puzzle/adventure game that allows players to control movements of the title character as she searches the Tower of Cerebrus searching for an artifact. Along the way, Haha must collect keys, unlock treasure chests, and battle a wide array of enemies as she solves puzzles that threaten to block her path on each level.

Features include:

  • Over 50 challenging rooms to pass
  • Fun puzzles to solve
  • Puzzles that become gradually more difficult

     

  • Save game progress and replay the level if needed
  • Top-down view graphics

Quality

Journey of Haha is a retro-style puzzle/adventure game that challenges players to guide the title character past enemies and around obstacles to collect items and unlock the door to the next level. It’s a high-quality app with “retro-style” graphics: colorful but somewhat low-resolution and pixelated, reminiscent of computer games of yesteryear. Players have a choice of a virtual joystick or virtual arrow keys to control the character’s movement. Developers have provided a clear set of instructions and explanations in the “Help” section, and there are options to control background sounds.  One feature that might be nice (but I couldn’t find if it’s there) would be to have an option to completely reset the app back to the beginning, so that others in the family could play later.

Education

This app is not intended to be educational.

Entertainment

This app is a lot of fun to play if puzzle/adventure games are your thing. The levels add challenges very gradually, so players can learn as they go.  It’s also very nice to be able to restart a level instead of losing all of your progress if you get stuck.  The “enemies” are creative and varied, ranging from benign eyeballs that simply watch you and block your path from time to time, to creatures like the Fire Oclie that shoots fireballs. Players can also gain assorted powers as they travel through the game which will help them defeat or avoid enemies and make more progress.  The one addition I would suggest to developers is some sort of hint system to rescue players who become hopelessly stuck on a level-it could get quite frustrating if you were to get stuck on one level and never did figure out a way to move on.

Value

This app costs $1.99 on the App Store, and it’s a really good value. With 50 levels, there’s a lot of play value, and a wide array of puzzles and enemies. The app will certainly challenge most players and give them hours of playtime fun.

Child Friendliness

This app is very child-friendly.

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

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