There’s no doubt who is really in charge of the family smartphone or tablet PC – the kids. We’ve spoken to many a modern parent who tells the story of buying the device as a gift for their spouse only to have it quickly overtaken by their offspring. While many simply use the Top 25 lists provided by Apple to determine what paid or free apps to check out next, here’s a look at a few of our favorite applications for little ones. Among the best apps for kids and children of all interests, we’re confident that these are great choices for the preschool and elementary school set, and think that any kid playing with their family’s iPhone, iPad or Galaxy Tab will love these top picks.
The Moogies ($0.99)
The Moogies isn’t so much a game as it an interactive cartoon, and it’s perfect for preschoolers. The zany band of animals known as the Moogies each live in their own high-tech, contemporary barnyard scene, and tapping different parts of the picture will make various funny things happen. Tap on a painting, and watch a rainbow surf on a unicorn. Touch the bouncy ball in the gym, and watch it inflate and become so big that it explodes and the Horse Moogie gets splatted on the screen. Because there are no ways to fail like in many game-based apps, younger kids especially will love the feeling of controlling the world while being entertained by the funny animations. Sure, it can seem repetitive at times, but sometimes that’s exactly what makes an app fun for toddlers.
Awesome Eats (Free)
We love Awesome Eats because it’s fun-to-play, has great educational messages about healthy eatings, and it’s free. As long as you can handle some subtle Whole Foods branding, you’ll love seeing your kids enjoy sorting, stacking and packing creates of fresh fruits and vegetables. To sort fruit, simply swipe them across three conveyor belts to make sure they’re going to the correct packages. Between each level, readers will be treated to healthy eating facts and tips that are surprisingly interesting and impactful. Awesome Eats is great for young elementary schools who have quick reflexes and are able to read.
Where’s My Water ($0.99 – Free Version Also Available)
Where’s My Water is ultimately a challenge to best move a liquid from one point to another, clearing away the earth and letting gravity run its course. If you can move enough water to fill Swampy the Alligator’s shower, he’ll be happy and you can move on to the next level. The game – a puzzler for all ages – moves very quick but has great animations and is engaging fun. It’s replayable, let-me-just-play-one-more-level style entertainment that in a very subliminal way also teaches kids about treating water as a precious resource (although that may be a bit of a reach). There’s a ton of levels and even an introduction to a similar game starring Cranky the Alligator.
Fruit Ninja ($0.99)
Fruit Ninja is one of the most popular Apps available because it has such a broad appeal. The simple swipe-to-cut gameplay makes the game fun for 2-year-olds and 22-year-olds. As pieces of fruit fly across the scene, the goal is to cut it in half as quickly as possible by using a swiping motion. If possible, you can slash multiple pieces of fruit at the same time with one long swiping motion, but you need to be careful of bombs, which will explode and either deduct points or make you lose time. Fruit Ninja’s different game modes help it appeal to folks who want to compare and brag about high scores as well as those who don’t care about scores and are just looking for a fun diversion with no score pressure.
Stack the States ($0.99)
Stack the States is an educational game that combines geography and puzzles that’s great for older kids who are learning about the states. Reading is necessary in order to read the questions, which are geared towards kids who have been exposed to US geography. After answering questions about state capitals, abbreviations or bordering states, kids will then need to stack up the states in order to try and make a structure high enough to cross the finish line. There are so many interesting things about this game, including the fact that states being stacked keep the correct size relative to each other. Stack the States costs $.99 in the App store.