It has been 6 months since I last brought you our favourite app recommendations, and in that time we have been busy discovering lots more so I thought it was about time that I brought you our new recommendations of 10 great kids apps! Many of the apps in the previous post we are still using and enjoying, so do check out that list too if you missed it the first time around. This time I have split the apps into literacy, numeracy, and play and imagination categories.
This is an app I’ve been really excited to start trying out with the boys. It has so many books inside it, and they are presented in such a fun way within different worlds. The app is free to download and allows you one free story per day within that, but with a subscription you can have unlimited access. We have been given a 3 month subscription in order to try this app, and so far I think it’s great! There will also be a giveaway coming up for one of you to win a subscription so keep a look out for that.
From the stories we have tried so far, I was really impressed with the amount of variety. There is a preschool playground with many books for very young toddlers to help build vocabulary and there are also books for much more advanced readers. I really like that there are stories from different cultures too.
This is a charming story app for young children, with plenty of interactivity, soothing music and beautiful illustrations. We really enjoyed this and you can read our full review here.
Kindle App – Hugo the star fish E-book
The Kindle App shouldn’t be overlooked as a usual app for children. There is a wealth of children’s e-books available. Recently we tried out a book from the Hugo the Happy Starfish series: Good Friends – The Island of Tolerance
This is a simple and sweet story for young children and what I really like about it the most is the strong and clear message, all about tolerance and acceptance of differences in others. This is something I am always keen to emphasise to them. I would never like to see any of them excluding others because of their looks or because of any differences, just as I would hate to see any of my boys being shunned by children because of their differences. As a mixed race family, with a different religion to the majority, the children having unusual Arabic names and Mr T having special needs, it is something we may encounter at some point. I hope not though, and this is the type of book which helps to weed out these negative attitudes from an early age.
Hugo is a little starfish who is hoping to find some new friends, but when anyone comes along who does not look the same as him he quickly rejects them! Towards the end of the story, he learns that this is not the right attitude. There are 10 Hugo the starfish books within the series and you can find out more at mystarfish.org
The Twinkl Phonics suite was mentioned within my resources to help your child with reading but it deserves another mention here as a very comprehensive phonics app. It is a fun and effective way to support your child’s literacy and is suitable for pre-readers of about 3 years old up to early readers of around 6 years old. Look out for a giveaway of this app soon over on my Facebook page. Find out more on the Twinkl website.
Eggy Numbers 1-100 from Reading Eggs Apps.
We recently tried out the Mathseeds programme from Reading Eggs, which is great for children of age 6 and under. If you have are interested in giving that a go, click the link for our full review and promotional code to give you free access to an extended trial.
As Mr Z is very good at maths, he didn’t find Mathseeds quite challenging enough for him so I have been looking for some more maths apps to keep him occupied. Eggy Numbers 1-100 is aimed at age 5-8 years and is a new app in the Reading Eggs range. I was not sure whether this would be challenging enough for him, but actually it is quite challenging as there is a lot of speed involved in the games so it encourages children to develop their quick thinking. There are 6 games included, each with different difficulty levels. The games are:
- Dot 2 Dot
- Space Bugs
- Fishy Fishy
The concepts involved are quite simple, such as multiples and differences but because you have to think and answer fast, it keeps you on your toes. See the video below for more.
Splash Math is a set of apps that I came across when looking for something more challenging for Mr Z. There are 6 apps, aimed at different levels from grade 1-5, plus “kindergarten.” These are based on the American school system, so UK readers should be aware that it may differ from our school curriculum. Personally, that’s not a huge issue and so far I have been really impressed with Splash Math. We currently have the free versions and Mr Z is mainly using grade 3 and 4. This free version will allow the child to preview maths topics and complete a certain amount of questions before it cuts you off for the day, but I am thinking of buying the complete version at some point as it offers so much learning in a fun way. Mr Z often asks me if he can play this, which has to be a good thing! You can find out more at Splashmath.com
Character, Imagination & Play
This is a great new app which includes cutting edge augmented reality features, something which is new in children’s iPad apps and definitely has a wow factor to it. It also has 3 games for children to enjoy. Well made apps featuring children’s favourite characters are almost guaranteed to be a hit and this definitely didn’t disappoint. You can read our full review here.
I – imagine
I recently reviewed this for Babyworld and was quite impressed with it. This is a free app, and the quality of the graphics and interactivity is amazing. The app enables you to design characters to resemble your child and family members, and to record your voice so that it will be played at appropriate times during the story.
Toca Pet Doctor
We have a few Toca Apps and they are great for Mr R (age 2). This one involves caring for a variety of sick animals and is pretty easy and intuitive for even a young child to use. In this app there are 15 animals in need of some TLC from their pet doctor, each one is treated in a different way – for example untying a knot in a poor worm who has got tangled, or soothing a bird who has bumped his head. You also get to feed the animals food, and once they have been treated they go to sleep.
Like all of the apps we have tried from Toca Boca, it is a pretty simple concept but very well made and engaging for little ones. You can download the game here from the app store.
Turbo Fast & Sonic Racing
Mr Z would not be impressed if I did not include these two apps in the fun section. They may not be as educational as some, but these are his two favourite games for the iPad and he really enjoys playing these as a treat. The graphics on both are great, and they really do grip and entertain him. He would recommend them to any other children around his age (5 years old)
Turbo Fast is a free game on the app store. Be aware that there are in app purchases of tomatoes which your child can buy to customise their snail which helps them to progress through the stages quicker. Mr Z is extremely keen on getting extra tomatoes so we have turned the in-app purchases off, otherwise he would happily spend all his money on this! If your child is a Turbo fan who enjoys gaming, you may also be interested in our review of Turbo Super Stunt Squad for Xbox 360.
Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing is a paid app but at £2.49 there is a lot in it to keep children entertained, with 25 missions and 3 grand prix cups. It’s good to see classic characters like Sonic remaining popular with the next generation!
Which apps would you recommend for children? Are there any here which have caught your eye? Let me know in the comments!
Disclaimer: Some (not all) of the paid apps included were given to us free so that we could review. However, I retain full editorial control over which apps to include in our top 10s. I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.