Best Kids Apps


A vocabulary-building word search game
  • * * * * *
  • Age: 5+ |

  • $2.99

bookwormBookworm is an intuitive, educational word search game for new readers, rabid wordsmiths, and everyone in between.

Link letters left, right, up, and down on your iPhone screen to build words and earn points with this fun app.  Make too many short words and you get burning tiles, which can literally blow up in your face.

Why we like it:
The eponymous and chatty bookworm at the top of the screen cheers you on when you find a really good word, saying, “outstanding!” or “awesome” depending on the word length.  Hints are nice (but can be disabled), as are bonus words, definitions, and bonus book lists (find all the words on the “pets” list for example for big bonus points).

If those burning tiles reach the bookshelf across the bottom of the screen, it’s game over.  It would be nice to have a mulligan or two in order to be able to keep playing.  Timed games are just too hard for most kids, and most adults too.

We tested version 1.0.2, which is compatible with the iPhone (OS 2.2.1 or later) and the iPod touch. Developer Pop Cap Games. Read our disclosure policy.

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

A fun, educational app for the littlest gamers
  • Age: 4.5+ |

  • $.99/$0.99/$1.99

MonkeyPreschoolLunchbox app image

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox lets you introduce your toddlers to colors and letters from home well before preschool. Young children will think this is a game – but moms and dads will feel good in knowing it’s completely educational too. Tricky, eh?

In each individual game a monkey asks you to complete short tasks like counting fruit, touching the corresponding word that the monkey asks for and matching cards with fruit on them. The goal is to finish these and fill the monkey’s lunch box. When you complete a game the monkey flips and squeals, then sends you on to the next game.

Why we like it:

The sounds and music on Monkey Preschool Lunchbox are terrific. My 11-month old came crawling across the room to see what it was when I turned it on. Although she was too young to actually play with it, she was fine to hold it, listen to the sounds, touch the colors and loved it when the monkey did back flips.

The game is very interactive, but you are asked to do enough different tasks that it doesn’t seem as repetitive as other apps. Making the monkey happy is the best part of this app but if you make a mistake the monkey will say “oooh, oooh, oooh.” Don’t worry moms, it’s not so harsh that a kid would feel bad, it’s more of a note to keep trying. As far as I know you get endless attempts to finish a game.

This is one of the first apps I’d get for a toddler. It teaches them counting, colors and works with a few letters too. The way the monkey flips and squeals “eee, eee, eee!”,  tells the user “great job,” and gives them a sticker after completing a game will keep the kids engaged.

Like this?  Get our App of the Week newsletter.

Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later. We tested version 1.0, which is compatible with the iPhone (OS 2.2.1 or later) and the iPod touch.  Developer Thup Games.  Read our disclosure policy.