We at PadGadget are lucky, lucky people because so many wonderful apps cross our digital desktops that we can’t possibly review them all. In this month’s installment of the Kids’ App Roundup, we include 10 can’t miss apps that cover playtime, bedtime, and (of course) schooltime.
Did we miss anything? Please share the name of your favorite newly released edu-apps and games for kids.
1. Spirit of the Virginia: Prologue ($1.99) — Spirit of the Virginia: Prologue stands out among the many iOS apps currently available for kids because of its strong graphics, and its unique blend of story and gameplay elements. This app tells the story of Marshall Gillborne, an orphan who owes his life to a corporation with a secret, on whose ship he currently travels. Part steampunk, part dystopian adventure, Spirit of the Virginia: Prologue will appeal to middle grade readers with a sense of adventure. Watch a trailer for the app here.
2. Toca Tailor Fairy Tales (Free) — With this free, universal iOS app, which is a companion to the fun and fabulous Toca Tailor, Toca Boca offers children yet another playful and creative way iOS app. The Fairy Tale theme manifests with Toca Boca’s usual colorful sense of style. Kids can choose to dress the two included characters in a wolf mask, a toadstool cap, and a variety of woodsy fabrics. Just like its paid sister app, a kid can use the iPad camera to create her own fabric, then set up the perfect dream photo using her own surroundings.
3. Musical Adventure ($2.99) — Parents wishing to teach young children about musical instruments will love Musical Adventure. This iPad-only app blends high-quality photographs with simple controls to create an interactive “board book” for curious pre-schoolers. The app’s interconnected GUI means that there are no wrong moves for little hands. Musical Adventure includes sections that cover electronic, keyboard, percussion, string, and wind instruments. So yeah, you’re baby’s gonna know what a theremin is before she can say Shostakovich.
4. Suzy’s Zoo Storybook Collection ($0.99, plus in-app purchase) — Remember Suzy’s Zoo? Thanks to the recent release of Suzy’s Zoo Storybook Collection, kids can enjoy reading about the adorable yellow duck in Witzy’s Friends Forever. Each page includes animation, and lady bugs for kids to find. The app includes coloring pages, a jigsaw puzzle, and memory game. Two more Witzy tales are available for $1.99 each through in-app purchase.
5. The First Letter ($3.99) — The First Letter tells the story of how humans created written language. The book’s detailed illustrations add interest to the story, and when a child finishes the book she can also enjoy connect-the-dots, puzzles and memory cards. The app allows the reader to toggle to a full screen mode, so a child can enjoy the story without any distractions, yet buttons to turn off the narration, music, or to record your own narrative, remain easily accessible in standard mode. Kids will love the playful characters with memorable names like Tegumai Bopuslai, meaning “he who is in no hurry.” The First Letter offers a retelling of Kipling’s “Just So Stories” that preserves the past while remaining firmly grounded in the technological age.
6. Numerosity: Play with Math (Free – $5.99) — Designed as a math edu-app for 7 to 10-year-olds, Numerosity offers kids a new way to learn basic arithmetic. A child tries to beat the clock, earning points for every question she answers correctly, and is able to move through the levels, which grow increasingly complex as she progresses. During the game a player can earn a variety of power ups. It even includes Game Center integration. Parents can purchase all of the chapters for $5.99 or unlock a selection of chapters.
7. Slide Circus HD ($1.99) — This puzzle game, which features beautiful graphics, isn’t just for kids. Though it resembles a sliding tile puzzle, Slide Circus HD isn’t hemmed in by the same limitations as a physical puzzle. There is an art to solving the puzzles, since if you slide one piece, others in the row or column move as well. Even a an object as simple as a pair of glasses takes some concentration to solve. Each time she completes a puzzle, the player earns coins that she can use to unlock additional levels.
8. Mathtopia (Free — $0.99) — Mathtopia spices up drilling math facts by turning sums (and other mathematical operations) into a simple strategy game with a match-three component. The player matches three facts with the same answer to clear a row or column of bubbles. The app includes a tutorial, and a player can use tiles to shuffle the board or hammer at a pesky tile. Mathtopia strikes a good balance between drilling math facts and having fun.
9. Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold ($4.99) — The sequel to the popular Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island, Treasure Kai and the Seven Cities of Gold reprises the choose-your-own-adventure format as Kai tries to beat conquistador Francisco Coronado in a race to find the cities of gold. The app rewards careful readers, since the app tests a child’s memory. Kids have to remember in which order they visited the cities to get back home.
10. Rita the Lizard ($2.99) — Thanks to its beautiful, colorful illustrations, which are reminiscent of the work of kid-lit superstar Leo Leonni, visual learners will love Rita the Lizard. Though it tells a story, the images that comprise each page are the real star. Kids as young as two will enjoy hunting for items while they listen to the narration. There is a surprising amount of interactivity hidden in Rita’s pages, and kids are sure to laugh when they meet Rita, asleep in her stocking cap as she rides on the back of a zebra, or as they search for her atop a giraffe with a very, very long neck.