Anna's Top 10 Applications for Kids on iOS and AndroidAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Growing up, I bet many of you were like me in the sense that you wanted to be doing whatever it was that your parents were doing. If dad carried a suitcase, you wanted to carry a suitcase; when mom carried a purse, you wanted to carry a purse; when dad shaves, you wanted to shave; when your parents used the phone, you pretended to be using the phone too. In modern times, almost every parent has a cell phone of some sort, and more than likely it's going to be a smartphone. Kids are quick to pick up on how to do something effectively, so it would come as no surprise when it takes them all of five minutes to figure out how to lock, unlock and use your tablet for at least its most basic of abilities. My three-year-old, for instance, seems like he knows how to do just about everything except for putting in passwords. It's insane how smart kids can be, but what's cool is that tablets and phones can be useful educational tools for them, as well as wholesome entertainment.
My son likes to ask me to get him a "new game" on the tablet that I let him play with every once in a while. I usually oblige, as long as it hasn't been too recent since I've downloaded a new game, and because of this I've been able to find some of the best (and the worst) applications for kids on iOS and Android. With that being said, let's jump in to our top ten list for kids' applications and find out which ones made the list!
10. Nighty Night! - Bedtime Story (Free on Android, $0.99-$2.99 on iOS)
Me and my son absolutely adore the Nighty Night! application. It's an interactive bedtime story where you turn out the lights for farm animals so that they can all go to sleep. I'm a pretty big fan of interactive stories in general, but Nighty Night! is perfect for getting the little one settled down and ready for bed at night, but still putting a twist on "bedtime story" by letting them participate. My son also likes to play this on its own, even if he's not getting ready for bed.
9. Phone4Kids (Free on Android and iOS, with paid versions available)
Phone4Kids (or Phone For Kids) is an application that has kept my son entertained since he was two. As a 3-year-old, he's still very much entertained by the application. It might be a little annoying when it comes to sounds, but you have to give a little bit to get something in return. In this case, you have to give a little of your sanity in order to keep your child entertained enough to leave your part of the phone or tablet alone (e-mails, messages, phone calls) in order for them to pretend like they're able to use a phone too. There's a dialer pad, an SMS-like application, a weather app, a compass and a couple of other learning tools as well. My son used the application so much that I went ahead and purchased the paid version, but it serves well as a free version as well.
8. Fruit Ninja (Free on Android and iOS, with paid versions available)
If your kid likes violence but you don't, you might want to consider Fruit Ninja. It lets your child experience that natural hunter-gatherer instinct without having to harm any people - just fruit! Honestly, Fruit Ninja is a really neat game that's pretty entertaining and good for improving rection times. I myself enjoy playing Fruit Ninja every once in a blue moon. I think it's because they really hit the nail on the head with that slicing sound.
7. Little Learners (Free for iOS and Android)
Little Learners is another interactive application for helping babies and toddlers engage in learning some early developmental skills. Children will learn about certain foods that different animals like, and how certain toys, such as a jack-in-the-box or a rocking horse, work. It's a quiet application that will keep kids busy and engaged.
6. Happy Jump (Free for iOS and Android)
Happy Jump is probably the most adorable game that I got for Riley, and admittedly is something that I sometimes play too. The point of the game is to make the happy jelly character jump as high as he can by using platforms and speed boosts, all while avoiding obstacles along the way. I think the game is pretty awesome, because you move the jelly by tilting the device left and right. It's simple, cute, entertaining, and best of all, free!
5. Gummies Playground (Free for iOS and Android)
Gummies Playground is a fairly new application, but my son loves it. They're little short educational skits that engage and really help your child learn. What's best is that the application grows with your child, so as they progress through the little skits, they'll get harder the more they pass so that the game stays a challenge. It may be new-ish, but so far it seems pretty great.
4. Peek-a-Boo Barn ($1.99 for Android and iOS)
Peek-a-Boo Barn was one of the first applications that my son was able to use, and although he doesn't use it as much now that he has a lot more options to choose from, he still refers back to the application every once in a while. A bouncing barn will spark your child's curiosity, and upon tapping the barn doors they will open to reveal a farm animal and what noise they make. It's a great early learning tool for infants, and will keep toddlers busy.
3. Temple Run (Free for Android and iOS)
Temple Run is a good game for kids and adults alike, but not so great for babies and toddlers. Nonetheless, Temple Run is still a great game for kids to keep them entertained for a while. You are being chased by 3 monkey-like creatures in temple ruins, and the goal is to A.) not hit anything and B.) collect as many tokens as you can. I don't know if there's really a goal to the game, or if it ever even ends. I've gotten into the millions of points, which can take quite a while, and I've never heard of the game actually ending. It seems like the main goal is to get the highest score. Either way, it's a great time waster and a safe, nearly non-violent game for kids to play.
2. Angry Birds (Free for Android and iOS)
If you own a smartphone and have never heard of Angry Birds, I hate to break it to you, but you've probably been living under a rock. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with that. Angry Birds, aside from being a highly addictive game for adults with time to waste, can also be a great time waster for kids as well. Even my son likes to play Angry Birds, and he doesn't even really know what he's doing. He just knows you launch a bird, and that's good enough on its own to him. He doesn't care if he hits the pigs or not. He just likes flinging birds in the air.
1. Toca Boca Hair Salon 2 ($0.99 for Android and iOS)
Toca Boca Hair Salon has been a favorite of ours for a while now. I discovered Toca Boca Hair Salon on my iPhone at first, and was dismayed that the application wasn't available on my Android tablet at first. Fortunately, the makers of the game came out with Hair Salon 2, which is available for both Android and iOS. It's a game that we both enjoy playing, where unique characters come in for a new 'do. You can be as crazy or as tame as you want to be, and the characters generally react accordingly. You shave off all of their hair? They will probably get upset. You cut their hair just the way they like it? They've got the biggest smile on their face. It's just a really fun game that never gets old.
So, there you have it. My top 10 applications for kids on iOS and Android. I tend to lean more towards free applications for my child, especially to test them out. I know there are some good ones out there, but if an application that I use is good enough i will definitely support the developer by purchasing the paid version. Plus, it gets rid of those pesky ads. Any application that requires payment is definitely worth the amount of money I spent in the end - and none of them cost more than $3.
Readers with kids (or readers that have used applications that would be suitable for kids) what are some appliations for kids that you would recommend? Have you or your kids played any of the games above? Let us know your opinions in the comments below!
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