While experts are busy debating whether toddlers should use apps at all, toddlers are busy taking matters (not to mention phones and tablets) into their own sticky hands.
The best apps for toddlers entertain while encouraging creativity. Unsurprisingly most feature plenty of colors, shapes, numbers and letters too.
When it comes to staying home from school sick, my kids are absolute maestros. They know instinctively which symptoms can’t be empirically authenticated and which days are least convenient for me. Looking for the best apps for kids on a sick day? Here are a few they can mess around with while coughing on the couch.
An animated working model of home sweet home.
iPhone, iPad | Age: 4+ | Price: $2.99
The Human Body takes a very fun and basic look at the working parts of the human body. It’s a colorful, interesting, and fun introduction to physiology. Kids can send food through the digestive system, tickle the human with a feather to see the nervous system in action, and browse through a brain.
It’s animated, so don’t worry about graphic photos — there aren’t any. Also, the urogenital system is available as an in-app purchase (which you can obviously skip if you’d rather not have your children poring over that particular bit of the body).
Cure toys of funny, made-up maladies.
iPhone, iPad | Age: 3+ | Price: $3.99
Going to the doctor can be scary for little people. Yes, it’s fun to have your reflexes tested with a rubber hammer, but there’s always the threat of a shot. Kids can role play doctor visits with this sweet app. Dolls and toys come down with such maladies as “mixupitis” and “driedout-a-tosis” and it’s up to your kids to cure them.
Smash burgers, sodas, and pizza and find what kind of nutrition lurks inside.
iPad | Age: 3+ | Price: $1.99
Ah, the lifelong challenge of teaching kids to make better food choices (especially when parents aren’t always taking their own advice). Still, good nutrition is foundational to good health, so we have to keep trying.
This fun app has kids set up a profile based on gender, age, and activity level. Then they analyze foods (using nutrition labels) and smash them in a crazy machine to see if the amount of sugar, salt, and oil is more or less than what they should be getting. A perfect mix of health, math, and fun!
iPhone, iPad | Age: 3+ | Price: $2.99
Avoiding germs to stay healthy is one of those things that’s easier said than done — especially for children who play together all day. This interactive story book reinforces the message while gently moving kids forward in early literacy. Will the little bears apply what they learn and avoid getting sick at school? I won’t ruin the ending for you.
Did we miss any best apps for kids that teach about health, nutrition, germs, and hygiene? Tell us about your favorites in the comments below.
If you love celebrating the holidays with new apps like we do, these fun Halloween apps for your iPhone, iPad and Android are big hits. Some of them are good for your kids to play on their own, and others are fun for the whole family to read or play together.
1. Haunted House – 3D Pop Up Activity Book
3D Halloween fun with lots of games and activities.
iPhone, iPad, iPod| Age: 5+ | Price: $1.99
The 3D is terrific in this book and I was surprised at how much there was to do. Search a Haunted House for hidden pumpkins and let friendly Halloween monsters cheer you on. Help a witch make a magic potion with creepy ingredients from bugs and garlic to burps and monster feet. Tickle Frankenstein and watch his parts fall off, then put him back together again. That’s just a few of the many games and puzzles in this well-crafted book of Halloween fun.
2. Hello Kitty Edition. Halloween Dress Up
A sweet dress up app for Hello Kitty fans.
iPhone, iPad, Android| Age: 4+ | Price: Free
Whether your child is a long time Hello Kitty fan, or brand new to the classic icon, this is a fun costume app to play with. Help Hello Kitty get dressed up for Halloween. You can give her a pre-made bee, bunny, and skeleton costume or pick and choose your own outfit for her from an assortment of Halloween themed dresses and accessories. And of course she needs a pet. Give her a kitten or teddy bear. When you’re done, click on the camera to send your Hello Kitty as a postcard to a friend via email, Twitter or Facebook.
3. The Little Witch at School
A cute Halloween story with educational activities
iPhone, iPad, Android| Age: 4-10 | Price: $3.49 (Android) -$3.99
A delightful animated storybook where a little witch and her friend take their first witch and wizardry examination. Help the witch find letters to form magic words, fill in a coloring canvas by doing math (easy, medium and hard levels) and even play with a magic crystal ball. The book runs 25 pages deep and can either be read to you or allow you to read by yourself. The illustrations are top notch and charming. Read this one to your younger kids or let older ones play by themselves. There is also a “Lite” version if you want to test the first six pages.
4. Make a Zombie
Wicked fun for older kids.
iPhone, iPad, Android| Age: 7+| Price: Free
If your kids love talking about the zombie apocalypse, here’s a less “real” app to let them turn cartoon creeps into the messiest of zombies. Simple ghoulish fun that will have them laughing for hours. This app actually came out last year, but since it missed our list we wanted to make sure we had a fun app for the older kids on this year’s list. Watch out for in-app purchases though. You can even print out your zombie and order clothes with your custom zombie design too.
5. Mr. Shingu’s Paper Halloween
A creative digital art project that turns into a game too!
iPhone, iPad, Android| Age: 5+| Price: Free
Watch out moms, you might be fighting your kids to play with this app. Mr. Shingu teaches you how to fold six origami Halloween characters with simple folds. After you make your Jack-o-lantern, Dracula, Frankenstein, Ghost, Skull or Witch— color it the way you want it before it turns into a game where the child collects candy before the monster gets them. Fun!
6. Room on the Broom Games
A creative digital art project that turns into a game too!
iPhone, iPad, Android| Age: 3-7| Price: $4.99 (Android)
We couldn’t resist this app because we adore the Halloween book with the same name. It’s great to see the characters from the book animated on the digital screen but some of the games took a little figuring out for my iPad savvy Pre-K daughter. If you are giving to younger kids, play it first or with them. Hopefully they’ll add a some tutorials for a future release, but in the meantime have fun creating star maps for the witch to ride or help the frog, bird and dog find hidden objects the witch has dropped.
7. Spider Way
An addicting spider game that makes you think on your feet!
iPhone, iPad, Android| Age: 4+| Price: Free (Android)
Lead red, blue and yellow spiders to their homes. Draw web bridges to help them find their way and tap them to make them crawl faster. It starts off easy enough for preschoolers to play…and slowly progresses to harder levels. The app is free but if I like an app, like this one, I pay to remove the ads ($0.99). Especially if I intend to let kids play the app on their own. This is a fun and addicting game that makes you think.
8. Stella and Sam Halloween Band
>A sweet musical app for little kids.
iPhone, iPad| Age: Toddlers+| Price: $1.99
If your little ones love touching, poking and clicking on dots, circles and xylophones to make musical sounds—this app will be a treat. If you’re familiar with the terrific story and activity book app Stella and Sam, you’ll recognize the characters dressed up in their Halloween costumes and playing music for you. Enjoy some easy, simple fun for little kids.
It’s no secret that there’s a wide chasm between what kids think is funny and what adults think is funny. While you obviously can’t measure silly, these 5 fun apps will make you wish you could – you’ll be rolling your eyes, while your kids are rolling on the floor.
1. FACE MELTER
An absolutely hysterical photo deforming app.
iPhone, iPad | Age: 3+ | Price: $1.99
All these years later, this is still one of the funniest games in the iTunes Store. I’ve shown this app to dozens of people (kids included), and every one of them laughed out loud.
You take a picture of your face or your friend’s face with your iPhone (or import one from your photo library), and then deform your features by dragging your fingers across the screen. Once you’ve finished stretching your nose halfway across the screen or giving yourself basset hound eyes, you can animate your new self portrait by touching the movie reel icon (this is when first-timers usually scream with laughter and/or wet themselves).
2. TALKING CARL
Talk, sing, and play with a little red creature.
iPhone, iPad | Age: 2+ | Price: $0.99
The App Store is bursting to the seams with fun apps with interactive characters these days: talking cats, talking birds, and even a talking bacteria (bacterium?). Red, squarish Carl is the original, though, and still the funniest. Tickle him, and he’ll giggle. Pinch him, and he’ll growl. Strike him with lightning, and… well, you’ll see.
Parents will appreciate baby mode, which when activated will make all the buttons disappear so very young children can’t accidentally exasperate themselves by navigating away from Carl.
No list of fun apps could be complete without this version of the hilarious, seasonal website by Office Max that we all know and love. Snap or upload photos of yourself and your family or friends, spend waaaaaay too much time adjusting their faces so they fit just right under the pointy green and red hats, and laugh yourself silly when you finally premiere the video.
While the app itself is free, additional dances are available as $0.99 in-app purchases. If that bothers you, be sure to go into your phone or tablets settings and disable them.
4. MY TALKING PET
Make a video of your cat talking.
iPhone, iPad | Age: 3+ | Price: $0.99
This is a perfect, perfect example of an app that my kids love and I just don’t get. You take or import a photo of your dog, cat, or hamster (or just use a picture of any animal if your own pets aren’t cooperating), identify the eyes, mouth, and chin, and then record a voiceover. Once that’s all done, you press play and watch your pets “talk”.
Maybe it’s because this app lends itself to scatalogical humor that I haven’t warmed to it. Who knows? It’s really mostly funny for older kids who can email the results to someone or post them on Facebook. In any event, it won’t take long for them to figure out they can dub funny sayings onto photos of their siblings, and from here it’s a short journey to total chaos.
5. CLONE BOOTH
Put your face on every face in a group picture.
iPhone, iPad | Age: 3+ | Price: $0.99
From the makers of the iconic You Don’t Know Jack franchise comes this opportunity to take your face, and put it on every face in a funny group picture. It’s sort of hard to explain why this made our list of fun apps, but it totally did. Have you ever wondered what you would look like as a baby in the 1800s? Or a 60s prom attendee? Me neither.
Kids can choose from couples or group shots, take a quick self-portrait, and mash the two up. It’s not good for endless entertainment, but it will keep them laughing for awhile.
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