I had promised several people our favorite apps for children. We, indeed, use many apps – try them, test them, and see what we can use for fun play as well as for constructive speech therapy and other pre-school, pre-kindergarten learning goals. I have avoided the popular ones like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope – because we all know the kids love it and they do help with strategy management and logic but I have tried to pull out ones that are off the beaten track and have managed to strike a chord repeatedly rather than just be popular selection or a one-off novelty item.
These are our 10 picks – dating April 2013:
Name: Little Things
Creators: Klick Tock
Little Things is a game in which you find small objects within a shape, you get a list, sometimes it is timed, we take turns to find things, sometimes we discuss the meaning of the words, or what that object is used for, at other times we assign objects to each other – to find. The game is well-made and has pleasing graphics. Initially you might find it tough but once you have solved 3 puzzles you will love it. We like it so much that we have it on all our devices and use it as a family game.
Name: Toca Kitchen, Toca Doctor, Birthday
Creators: Toca Boca
Toca Boca has many useful games – you should see the entire array so that you can make the correct choice for your needs. All of them have pleasing visuals, bright colors, and fun sounds; of the entire lot these three get our vote. The kitchen lets you cook food in different styles. We like chopping, boiling and then feeding it to our guest; again the aspect of teaming-up is great. Toca Doctor – makes going to the doctor an understandable experience and tackles fear factor. Birthday makes role play fun, and you can even blow out your own candles. If you are using an iPad you can take turns with the birthday mode, it lets you serve a cake, drink, clean-up, open your present. Super! They have a Toca Store game and a Hair Salon, or a Tailor – depending on the child’s interest you can build an impressive gaming experience.
Name: Dentist Office
Creators: Ninjafish Studios
The idea is that you are the dentist who needs to clean, polish and fix teeth of various patients. It works well to show a child the importance of hygiene; it is a good conversation starter. It puts the child in control and they are able to see exactly what the dentist does. The graphics can put you off, you are cleaning teeth and they do need to be filthy however the app gives you wonderful opportunity to introduce the dentist as a friend.
This is a good app if you want to have the child play on their own with the tablet or phone, it is basically alphabet practice with phonetics that are used by International Schools. It teaches you elementary words – A for Apple, B for Beach and C for Cake. It is easy to navigate and easy on the eyes as well.
Name: Little Fox Music Box – Kids songs – Sing along
Creators: Shape Minds and Moving Images
The visuals in this app are just stunning (they have been made by an Oscar nominated artist Heidi Wittlinger), sing along to London Bridge, Evening Song or Old Mac Donald, you can use the karaoke function to learn words and you can also record your own song. I like that it’s not cluttered with too much and it gives you just the right amount of choice for a kid to play with you.
Creators: School Sunshine
This game teaches sequencing, patterns, counting, adding and subtracting, with every level that you complete you get an animated celebration and at the end a prize to decorate your own aquarium. The sound of the monkey can be annoying to adults but the kids love it. This, too, is a good game for solitary play time.
Name: Lego App 4+ for Young Builders – Easy to build
The app allows you to build your own vehicle with a choice of parts and tools, you ride it effectively, collect coins and are able to make more part purchases. It combines creativity with fun and also helps children explore wild combinations – what if cars could fly? A great game to leave your kid with.
Creator: Disney Mobile
Another strategy game but this time with a grumpy crocodile, he’s very cute and needs the water to be navigated into his shower, super effective for logical and rational thought development as well as problem shooting. I personally prefer this to Cut the Rope (a similar app) however they can be used interchangeably.
Name: Tap the Frog
This is a frog on a mission, he has to become a frog prince and it is your job to help the frog jump, paint and spacewalk the way to his sweetheart? You do need speed for some of the tasks so be careful if you have a child who gets easily over excited.
Name: Stars – Peppa the Pig (this is a book app)
There are many creative book apps out there but the Peppa the Pig series has our vote. In this one you have two choices – to read the story yourself, which is excellent if you have an early reader or the book can be read to you – this works well for pronunciation and word recognition. The pigs when touched snort in such an adorable manner. Within the same series another good book is – Fun at the Fair.
Word of caution: All apps have been tested with Apple devices. We are not paid or bribed in any which way for the above list. The games are tested by adults as well as kids however we do not guarantee whether your kid/client enjoys it as much as we did, this is a personal list and indicates our personal choices. You are advised to exercise your own discretion while making your final decision. Some images in these apps might be harmful for children with ADHD, if you have a child with special needs please check with a medical professional before you use any of these apps.
- Little Things Forever – KLICKTOCK (itunes.apple.com)
- What You Need to Know About Apps for Autistic Kids (squidalicious.com)
- 5 Apps for Kids 5 years and older! #VZWBuzz (mommyniri.com)