Fox Segment June 22
A couple of months ago we did the best apps for moms, so we decided to flip things a bit and find the best apps for kids. Whether we like it or not, our smart phones not only serve as a phone and internet connection for us, but also for entertaining, education and endless fun for our children. I researched Parenting magazine, NY Times and other blogs to get their recommendations for the best apps for kids.
1. Educational – essentially any games or educational tool you buy for your children is now available in an app version. Your kids can now learn the alphabet, shapes and words on your phone. They can also begin to learn how to read using phonics and other tools.
Alphabet Animals -Perfect for your talented toddler, this game is packed with colorful animations, animal sounds, and tons of tips for learning their letters. The digital flash cards are interactive, with animals that talk them through every letter of the alphabet. $.99, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Ages 4 & up
Super Why: Already a super-fabulous PBS show for the preschool set, Super Why! takes your child's fave characters and delivers a bunch of games where the alphabet, rhyming, spelling, writing and reading are all rolled out in fun ways. The catchy theme song will surely be playing in your head at 2am. $2.99, iPad, iPhone, Ages 3-6
iTot Toddler Flashcards - Just like traditional flashcards, iTot Toddler Flashcards teach the names of animals, foods, and other objects, as well as the alphabet and numbers. You'll get hundreds of beautiful cards in this simple application. And with language support, iTot Cards can teach these words in French and Spanish, too! $.99, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Ages 1-4
Toddler Teasers: Shapes - Created by a real mom and dad searching for ways to occupy their own 2 year old, Toddler Teasers Shapes quizzes tots on the basics. Kids are told which shape to touch, and after four correct answers, they're rewarded with a virtual sticker. And if they push the square instead of the circle? They'll still learn as they go by hearing the name of the wrong shape and guessing again. Free, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Ages 2-4
ABC Phonics Animals Free Lite- Parents are always right and ABC Phonics Animals Lite is another piece of evidence of this claim. This application was developed by parents who focused on ABC phonetics, spelling, reading and sounds with their own children. ABC Phonics Animals enables parents to interact with their children through flash cards to enhance quick learning
2. Musical and Artistic – If your child is more right brained and has the creative juices flowing, try these great apps that teach beginner piano and let’s your kids record their own pieces. Or scribble light which is the modern etch-a-sketch and finally Kid Song Machine Lite which teaches them songs to sing a long too.
The Pianist -Transform your iPhone into an 88-key piano for your little Mozart. Realistic graphics feature 3D keys that depress as you touch them. And when the magnum opus is ready, your kids can record it, overdub it as many times as they want, and play it back for adoring fans. $3.99, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Ages 4 & up
Scribble Lite -Turn your iPhone into a miniature sketch pad. Draw your masterpiece, then shake to erase. With tons of colors, pen sizes, and draw-on photo options, the possibilities are endless. Equally appealing: the excuse to shake an iPhone violently. Free, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Ages 4 & up
Kids Song Machine Lite - Kids Song Machine Lite can keep your children entertained for the duration of a long road trip. This is a fun musical educational application for your children that allows them to learn and sing songs that will create memories for many years to come. The full version of Kids Song Machine has an additional 10 songs. Kids Song Machine has been voted in the top ranks in more than 65 countries to include the United States, England, and Spain
3. For the Writers – If your child loves to read and write these are the apps for you. MadLibs let’s them pull together stories of their own, while Playtime Theatre goes one step further an allows them to bring storytelling to life via a play of their own.
Mad Libs : Just as goofy and fun as your remember. Create silly stories by filling in the blanks with this addictive story creator. Great for your budding grammar-whiz, there are tons of stories to choose from, and there will be tons of giggling after. Free, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Ages 6 & up
PLAYTIME THEATER -PlayTime Theater is a customizable, interactive castle play set that gives kids characters, props, and sound effects and invites them to create and record short shows. This truly innovative app delivers what so many others promise (but don’t quite deliver): free play. In a crowded field, this app stands out as the single best use of touch-screen technology that we’ve ever seen for kids.
4. Games that teach something – there are so many gaming apps online that can occupy children for hours…or adults, can you say Angry Birds. I wanted to find games that also help with your child’s development. These simple games are fun, yet still help to teach your children invaluable tools.
Memory Match: Child Development Edition - In this flash memory game there is no luck, just pure memorization. Kids get points for remembering where they last saw matching pictures or numbers, and can spend days practicing. $2.99, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Ages 4 & up
Spot the Dot is a perfectly executed and very visually appealing app that teaches toddlers colors and fine motor skills. It was designed by children’s author David A. Carter (who wrote the best-selling pop-up book How Many Bugs in a Box) and it shows. One by one, kids will have to find a colored dot that is hiding in plain sight, in the dark, among other shapes, or behind tiles that must be flipped. And so on. Each activity is different, but clearly explained which means kids won’t need to be able to read to play. They may need an adult helping however, because there are no prompts if they forget what they’re looking for or don’t quite understand the challenge.
CUT THE ROPE Oh, what a cute story this game presents! An adorable green monster arrives by mail and it’s up to your kids to cut a series of ropes (negotiating the laws of physics and gravity) to feed it candy. The graphics are perfect, the music and sound effects are appealing, and the game play is very challenging. .