Here is a list of best baby and toddler apps we put together for SkinnyScoop.com.
(Some of our little one’s favorites!)
(Some of our little one’s favorites!)
Fortunately (and unfortunately), the App Store is flooded with a huge selection of apps for families and children. There is a large selection of quality apps available, but wading through the mountain of apps on the App Store can seem daunting. As a mom and as a new app developer, I am familiar with this problem from both sides. Here are a few suggestions to guide you in your selection.
Things to consider when selecting apps for children:
What kind of app am I looking for?
I like to include a variety of quality apps on my iPad® for my children to discover. I try to offer a selection from different kinds of apps, including educational, story book apps, games, creative and imaginative apps. Consider taking a quick inventory of your current apps, and search for apps that will offer some variety to your child. Think about the kind of app you are looking for, as well as your child’s age and interests when selecting search terms to use in iTunes®. For example, instead of just searching for “baby app” try “cause and effect” or “toddler alphabet game”. Instead of using the vague term “educational app”, use more specific search terms like “phonics games” or “middle school math”. Don’t forget to include apps that speak to your child’s talents and interests. I have a seven-year-old bug hunter at my house who loves to draw. I periodically search for bug related apps and artistic apps that I know he will get excited about. The more information you key into your search, the more likely the results will be tailored to your needs. You can always widen the search if you don’t get the results you are looking for the first time.
Is it age appropriate?
One of the most important considerations when looking for an app for your child is age. You don’t want an app that will frustrate your young child, or one that will seem too easy or boing to your older child. Often apps will list an age range that is rather broad, so it is important to gather as much information as you can about the app before you buy to make sure it is age appropriate for your child. Be sure to read the app description carefully, as well as reviews from other parents to get a feel for how well a particular app fits children of various ages. Visit the developer’s website for background information and to look for video demonstrations of the app so that you can see the app in action before you buy.
Is it designed for children?
As a parent, it is very important to me that any app I purchase for my children is truly designed with children in mind. When shopping for an app for my younger children, I would much rather pay for a well designed child friendly app, than download a free app that includes ads, in-app purchases, or other features that are more targeted to the needs of adults. As a developer, specific choices were made in designing our first app, iBaby Buttons, to ensure that the design is tailored to the needs of young children. Our youngest daughter (and chief beta tester) helped along the way to ensure that our goals for developing a baby-friendly app were met. Decisions were made to ensure that little ones are able to navigate the app as independently as possible without accidentally entering the custom settings designed for parents to use.
Does this app add value?
Just as we all must make decisions about the amount of time we allow our children to spend using
technology, we must also decide what kind of experiences we want our children to have while using the iPhone® and iPad®. Some parents prefer to limit their children’s choices to educational apps designed to teach specific skills. Others might appreciate apps that encourage creativity, imagination and play. Regardless of the kind of app chosen, each parent must decide whether the app is likely to offer the right kind of experience for the child. If I want my children to use the carefully selected, age-appropriate content I have chosen for them, I need to eliminate the distractions. For example, I have discovered that as long as Netflix and videos are available on my iPad®, my youngest will sometimes use the iPad® as a portable television, which is the exact opposite of how I want her to experience this wonderful device. I have chosen to remove these items from the iPad in order to encourage a more positive use of the technology. Now when making decisions about purchasing a new app, I ask myself whether or not the app adds value or detracts from the other positive choices I have already made available on the iPad®.
Excellent Resources for Parents Looking for Quality Apps for Children:
Moms With Apps is a collaborative group of parent developers who seek to promote quality, family friendly apps. Moms With Apps offers useful information to parents and developers, as well as weekly App Friday specials for free and reduced price apps.
Each week on App Friday a developer hosts a download party that highlights several family friendly apps that are free and reduced. The US App Friday party is usually 1pm Eastern time.
App Review Blogs & Websites
There are many wonderful websites dedicated to providing thorough reviews of children’s and educational apps. Many of these reviewers are parents who recognize the need for quality apps for children and take the time to share their knowledge and insight as a service to other parents. Many of them offer promotional code giveaways, too. I have included a short list of websites that offer a large variety of detailed app reviews, but this list is by no means complete. Please feel free to search for more and let us know which ones you find helpful.
AppAdvice – A large app review website that offers reviews, lists and guides to aid in app selection.
Digital Storytime – Husband and wife Android app developers who also write detailed reviews of iPad® story book apps.
Giggle Apps – Reviews written by an iPhone® loving mom who seeks to find great apps for kids from toddlers to teens.
My Appinions – A stay at home mom and educator who reviews iOS apps and accessories.
Teachers With Apps – Teachers dedicated to reviewing quality educational apps for children.
The iPhone Mom – A stay at home mom who writes app reviews for other moms.
iPadApps4Kids – a mom who reviews iPad® apps for children arranged by age, kind, and language.
iHeartThisApp – An app review site that lists apps by most recommended and most commented.
Apps4Moms – “Sharing with moms what apps are worthwhile to help make their busy lives a little more sane”
The iMums – “Reviews by mothers of little gadget lovers”
Smart Apps For Kids – Great reviews and a “good free app of the day” category
Applicable 2 U – App reviews from an educator’s perspective
Four Monkeys 4 Me Reviews – App reviews by a mom of children with special needs.
If you enjoy catapult style games and appreciate all things cute, then Cataline is certainly the app for you. Beautifully designed with colorful scenery, fabulous textures, and an adorable bouncing cat, Cataline really catches the eye. I knew instantly my daughters would go nuts for it, and I was right.
The game is brand new and is available for the Mac and the iPad. The goal is simple, to help catapult Cataline over the castle and into a fish bowl. Sounds easy, right? It is at first, but gets progressively harder with each of its 60 levels. I made it to level 3 before my teenage daughter kidnapped my iPad.
“It’s adorable! OMG!
I love it. It’s so cute!”
Eventually, Cataline made its rounds and was enjoyed by other children in our family. My ten-year-old daughter really loves the textured appearance, which looks like layers of fabric and paper. She thinks it’s cute the way Cataline hides in the basket and peeks out over the top before you launch her into the air. She likes playing the game, but admits that by level four the game gets a bit difficult for her.
While not as interested in it’s “cuteness” or design, my seven-year-old son equally enjoys the game for its catapult action. He has completed level 9, although he skipped ahead to some of the harder levels just to see what would happen. He’s a bit more competitive than his sisters and welcomes a challenge.
Cataline balances cute and imaginative design elements that are so appealing to my girls, with an addictive catapult style gameplay that my youngest son loves. The result is an enjoyable app that has something to offer us all.
Please show Cataline some love by liking her on Facebook. Hurry! If you “like” Cataline soon, you may even win a promo code!
A promo code was received for review purposes.