Carissa's App Picks for Kids

Carissa's App Picks for Kids

Sago Mini Planes
Reviewed on 11/08/16
Paid

It’s time to take a trip and you’re the pilot!  Choose your plane (standard or silly like a corn-on-the-cob plane?), choose your travel companions, then take off and explore the skies!  You’ll encounter all sorts of giggle-inducing surprises and you can fly for as long as you like.  Do you want to fly really high among the stars or closer to earth under friendly blue skies?  When you’re done (or want to try out another plane), simply fly down close to the earth and a runway will magically appear wherever you are.  After your flight, be sure to check out the souvenir photos of your trip which will include the surprises that you actually encountered on this particular flight and the traveling companions that were with you--a subtle but really nice touch by the app makers. As with all Sago Mini apps, this one is easy and fun for young toddlers but older kids will also gravitate towards it to discover all of the fun details. Try this one the next time you travel or for kiddos who love vehicles!

See all apps for age group: Baby/toddler, Preschool
For platform: Android, iOS
The Complete Fairytale Play Theatre
Reviewed on 11/02/16
Paid

Retell your favorite fairytale or mix them all together to make completely new stories. Nosy Crow, creator of the best fairytale apps, has now combined all of them into one incredible, creativity-sparking app.  You are provided with a blank, empty stage, then you have the option of adding any background, character, object or soundtrack from any of their popular fairytale apps.  Once you've chosen all of the elements of your story, record your voice while you move the virtual "puppets" around on the stage.  Create multiple recorded scenes and then combine them together to make one long story.  This would be a great app for families to use together.  Pass it around the table while waiting for your meal at a restaurant and challenge each person to come up with a new scene to add to the story, then watch the whole thing together when it's done! Add an extra layer of silliness by not allowing anyone to watch the previous scenes before adding their own scene!  A fun way to practice the early literacy skills of sequencing and storytelling.  This app is packed with content and the creative possibilties are endless. You can also download a free version here that allows you to choose and play with only one fairytale and then buy the rest as in-app purchases (or just download the full version if you think you'll want all of the content).  Nice for a try-before-you-buy option!

See all apps for age group: Grades K-2, Grades 3-5
For platform: iOS
ChatterPix Kids
Reviewed on 09/26/16
Free

Take a photo, add a mouth, then record your voice to make your picture talk!  There are a number of apps available that have this function, but this free app by Duck Duck Moose is the most kid-friendly and appropriate version so far. After you’ve made your talking picture, you can apply one of the funky filters, add stickers (like glasses, hats, crazy hair, eyeballs and, oddly, a fairly large selection of Christmas related images), a fancy frame or write your own words onto the photo.  Once your masterpiece is complete, save it to your camera roll, then share it with friends and family.  Challenge them to craft their reply in the same app and send YOU a silly talking picture.  What will you create?  A chatty cat? A silly sandwich? A talking toilet?  The possibilities are endless!

See all apps for age group: Baby/toddler, Preschool, Grades K-2
For platform: iOS
Peek-a-Zoo HD
Reviewed on 09/17/16
Free

A line-up of animals invites you to pick which animal matches the verbal clue given.  Which one is yawning?  Which one is hiding?  Whose birthday is it today?  A wide varieties of types of clues keep this game interesting for little ones and friendly responses to incorrect guesses make for low-stress play. This app would be a great one to play together with your young child to encourage conversation.  The app may ask, “who is yawning?” and you can also ask, “What does a yawn look like? Can you show me a yawn? How do you think the yawning animal feels?” – all excellent examples of the early literacy practice of talking together! The musical soundtrack can be easily turned off on the first page of the app where the animals each introduce themselves.  This app would pair perfectly with a reading of the picture book “Who’s Hiding?” by Satoru Onishi or “Who done it?” by Olivier Tallec.  Note: as of Fall 2016, the developer Duck Duck Moose has joined forces with Khan Academy and their entire catalog of apps is now free!

See all apps for age group: Baby/toddler, Preschool
For platform: iOS
Bedtime Math
Reviewed on 08/25/16
Free

Add this app to your bedtime story routine for an easy way to let kids know that math is part of everyday life.  Every day (I mean, night) features a new topic with three related math challenges at different skill levels (wee ones, little kids, big kids).  There's also a really tricky challenge question under a cloud labelled "The Sky's the Limit" if all of the other questions feel too easy. The app does NOT include a "read-to-me" option which gives great incentive for parents and children to use this app together.  Parents read the introductory information to learn about a new topic, then kids can choose which level of question they'd like to answer.  The questions are never simple flashcards, but instead do a nice job of working a math question into a story-like scenario.  Click on the "Get the Answer" star to see the answer when you think you know what it is.  If you don't like the math challenge of the day, feel free to search for a different one--they are searchable by subject. Answering the questions doesn't take a lot of time, but if done daily, it builds those math skills and is a healthy habit to get into! Note: the app now includes both English AND Spanish language options!

See all apps for age group: Preschool, Grades K-2, Grades 3-5
For platform: Android, iOS