Picture It: Later this month. Your family is in the car or on the plane on your way to Grandma’s house when the first kids sighs “I’m bored” and it hits you…your bag of children’s entertainment is sitting on the kitchen counter at home and have nothing to occupy your kids for the next 4 hours (AHHH!). You begin to panic. You start to feel sweat stains on your sweater form. You don’t know whether to cry or run. All hope is lost until you remember this article and you breath a sigh of relief. In a few minutes, you have successfully downloaded a bunch of new apps to your phone that are both entertaining AND educational. You are now in the running for Mother of Year.
Tozzle & Tozzle Words: My kids have always enjoyed these puzzles. They help children identify shapes and matching. Now, with Tozzle Words, your kids are asked to spell words that coordinate to a particular scene. Very helpful with the beginning reader crowd. Tozzle – $1.99, Tozzle Words – $2.99
Monkey PreSchool Lunchbox, Explorers & Fix It: An Oldie but goody, Preschool Monkey apps teach kids everything from counting and numbers to colors, shapes and size. Plus, kids love that they earn stickers after each activity. My son is especially enamored with the Fix It app as it is overflowing with cars and tools. A word of caution: make sure your kids have the volume down on this one as the monkey noises could drive you and everyone else around you bananas. $4.99 for the bundle.
Peekaboo Barn : This app is popular with kids because the animals make sounds, but are not overly obnoxious for the parents to hear. They’ve recently added several new apps, and while we currently do not have them, they would be on our list to download next. Peekaboo Barn – $1.99
Endless Series: With some of the most adorable monsters on the planet, Endless offers apps that run the gamut of education…letters, numbers, reading and Spanish just to name a few. These guys know how to make education fun. Endless apps are free, but there are in-app purchases, although our kids have never needed any of those purchases. If you plan to purchase in-app, consider the school edition versions (Endless Learning Bundle) which would be cheaper in the long run.
Mickey Video: While not necessarily educational unless you go to Micky U, this series of new Mickey cartoons designed to look like the old Mickey cartoons is super cool. But…you have to have a wifi connection to use the app. The videos can’t be downloaded. App is free.
LetterSchool: LetterSchool is a cool app that helps kids learn how to correctly write their upper case & lowercase letters and numbers. Once the letter or number is formed correctly, a cool animation appears. $4.99 for the app.
Bugs & Bubbles: So much bubble popping in this app, kids have no idea they are learning patterns, colors, shapes and sizing. They also have a new app called Bugs and Buttons 2 which targets critical thinking for the over 5 crowd. Downloading it right now…. $2.99 each app, $9.99 for a 6 app bundle.
Toca Boca: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Toca Boca. With 29 apps, there’s something for everyone here. I would recommend the Toca Awesome Bundle, 10 apps for $16.99 and include the popular Toca Hair Salon (cutting virtual hair instead of real hair is a good thing), Toca Builders and Toca Lab.