Best Kids Apps

Lists of Bests



Best Halloween Apps of 2012

Plenty of treats here and not a trick in the bunch

Halloween apps don’t have to be all blood and guts. They can be educational, cute, creative—and yes—even lead you to crafty non-digital fun, too. Here are our picks for the year’s best Halloweeny, pre-trick-or-treating fun. We’ve got playful, non-frightening apps for babies and toddlers, puzzle apps for preschoolers, totally silly monster apps the whole family can play, and the digital age’s take on an all-time Halloween classic. Download and have fun!

CRAFTGAWKER
Like Pinterest but only the yummy craft projects.

iPhone | Age: Parents | Price: Free

Feast your eyes on endless DIY crafts. Sorted by latest entries, most popular in the last week, month or of all time. Register and login for free to make a list of your own faves.

If you search “Halloween” you’ll find endless pages of crafts for kids of all ages like fuzzy monster bracelets, friendly jar lanterns  for decorating your sidewalk and porch, costumes and Halloween face paints, plus dozens of crafts kids can do themselves. Don’t wait until Halloween, get started on the fun today.


PEEKABOO TRICK OR TREAT
 An easy Halloween app for babies and toddlers

iPadiPhone | Age: 0-2 | Price: $1.99 

Touch the moving doors to find out which Halloween themed animal or character is inside. A word pops up to correspond with the image and a friendly child’s voice speaks the word aloud.

Small children can do word association with fun Halloween themes as they open the door to various characters including a friendly ghost, pirate, robot, gorilla, pirate, Frankenstein monster (not scary), witch and more. When you get to the end all the characters turn up and dance around. If your child already enjoys Peekaboo Barn, they’ll like this app too.

 

KIDS SHAPE PUZZLE HALLOWEEN
A Halloween-themed puzzle app for fun that’s good for you.

Android |  Age: 1-5 | Price: $1.99

A Halloween app that also helps children build their cognitive and fine motor skills. Kids drag multicolored shapes to the pattern board. Once all the shapes are completed, a Halloween-themed image appears. There are more than 30 friendly images including pumpkins, ghosts, witches and more.


TRICK OR TREAT: PICTURE ME
A fun photo book for parents to set up and play with their babies and toddlers.

iPadiPhone | Age: 0-4 | Price: $0.99 

Take new photos with your device’s camera or select photos from your camera roll and watch as the Halloween story book unfolds with your kids as the main characters in the story.

A female voice reads the story of costumed kiddos trick or treating in different Halloween costumes from puppies and pudgy pumpkins to mice and scarecrows. Note: Some preschoolers might have fun taking or loading the pics themselves but m0st of the costumes that the faces fill are baby or toddler sized outfits.

IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHARLIE BROWN
The timeless Halloween classic makes it to the digital screen.

iPadiPhone, Android| Age: 2+ | Price: $4.99 

Moms and Dads grew up watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” on TV, and now they can keep the story as a family tradition via their iPad. The app reads like a book or can be read to you narrated by the original voice of Charlie Brown.

The app is filled with interactions both within the story, as well as added activities (hence the hefty sticker price). Kids can create their own Peanuts-themed avatars, carve a pumpkin, learn to play the piano with Schroeder and more. There are also activities peppered throughout the story and when they are completed your child has a chance to win a prize…

 

SINGING CITY MONSTER EDITION
Simon Says meets the Addams family.

iPadiPhone | Age: 5-8 | Price: FREE 

And you thought your kids had outgrown annoying sound machine games. Nope. This Halloween house is filled with a noisy Witch, Frankenstein, Dracula and Werewolf.

They will sing a pattern of ghoulish laughs and howls – it’s your job to repeat the sound patten. Fun for the whole family to play together or if your lone child gets addicted you might want to send them to a remote part of the house to play. Or get ear plugs.

 

LEGO HALLOWEEN CREATIONARY
Lego pieces form to create Halloween characters, costumes and more

iPad, iPhone | Age: 5-8 | Price: FREE

Lego lovers unite! This fun and addictiveLego game is hard to put down. The clock is ticking as a Halloween-themed Lego creature , costumes, place or thing is built quickly before your very eyes.

The sooner you can guess what it is – the more points you score. Roll the dice after each play to see which category you’ll get next. We just wish there was a two, three or four player setting. If it’s there, I couldn’t find it.

 

DR. FRANKENSTEIN’S BODY LAB
Remember the game Operation? This is way better.

iPad | Age: 6+ | Price: $2.99

Quick! You’ve got less than 20 seconds to place 10 falling body parts to the skeleton. There are five different games. You’ll be shocked at how your kids can put together a brain, the digestive system, and more. Go on, help Dr. Frankenstein create the perfect monster.

Note: All of the apps above were either released in 2012, or in cases where they were launched in 2011, have been recently updated in 2012. If you’d like more great Halloween apps, don’t miss our list from last year, Best Halloween IPad Apps of 2011.

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Best Valentine’s Day Apps for 2012

Sugar-free Valentine's Day treats for little kids

There are two good reasons for treating your kids to some Valentine’s Day apps:  1) You’d want to give them a non-candy treat to show them you care. Or quite possibly a more realistic reason—2) Your kids are in the throes of a Valentine’s Day sugar rush and you need to bribe them into calming down.

Download these cute apps and storybooks and try out the magic words, “I bought a new app for you!” It works for me every time.

1. COOPER’S BIG BEAR HUG
A sweet teddy bear finds a way to tell his mom he loves her

iPad, iPhone | Age: 2+ | Price: Free

Did you know that Hallmark had a line of interactive storybooks? They do! This is the latest edition to their line of stuffed animals + apps. The app is totally free but the stuffed teddy bear that reacts to your voice and the story is sold for $29.95 in stores. We enjoyed the app without the bear. You can read or have the storybook read to you, then play games like Cooper-themed jigsaw puzzles. The puzzle pieces don’t lock into place as nicely as the ones you might’ve seen on apps like Miss Spider’s Tea Party, but there are lots of puzzles to choose from.

 

2. BISCUIT’S VALENTINE’S DAY
Deliver valentines and play games with Biscuit the cute puppy 

iPadiPhone, Android | Age: 2+ | Price: $2.99

Leave it to Biscuit to celebrate another holiday with a storybook.  Follow Biscuit and the girl as they deliver the Valentine’s (but make sure to find the hidden bone for Biscuit on each page!) Much more than just a book—you can read the story or have it read to you. There are also memory games, a coloring book,  sticker activities and more.

 

3. DRAW WITH HEARTS – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
A creative design and musical app with glittering hearts 

iPadiPhone | Age: 1+ | Price: free

Touch your screen and watch dazzling hearts dance across the sky. Drag your finger in swirls and the hearts appear and follow your path on the iPhone or iPad’s screen. Make shapes and letters with the hearts too. Good for the littlest of app users who are happy with colors and music, or for kids who like to let their imaginations run wild. If your child likes Smule Magic Piano HD, they’ll probably want to play with this hearty app for Valentine’s Day too. Bonus: If you like your child’s creation, you can share their work via email, Twitter and Facebook.

4. CAKE POP PARTY
Little bakers unite! Make some yummy baked treats for your valentine

iPadiPhone | Age: 3+ | Price: free – $0.99

Everyone loves cake pops! Well these virtual treats are just as fun as eating the real one. The app is free to start, but then you can add on decorations and the “Valentine’s Day Kit”. It lets you play with a few free features, but it’d be nicer to have an app where you only have to pay once – but if you love Cake Pops, you’re sure to have fun decorating these stick desserts.


 5. ISNUGGLE VALENTINE
This is the cutest little Valentine’s maker around

iPhone | Age: 4+ | Price: free – $0.99

Create your own Valentine e-cards by combining baby animal characters (kitty, puppy, sheep, unicorn, chicks, lions, rainbows and more), kid-safe love messages (in the free version, full version untested), and little cheery animal sounds. There are a variety of backgrounds including three heart types for Valentine’s Day or create backgrounds from your photo album. You can send your card creations via SMS, email, Twitter, and Facebook when you’re done. School aged kids will love them.

NOTE: As always – read the iTunes descriptions and age restrictions for each app before you buy. On the left sidebar of the app description you’ll find details as to whether or not the app contains mature/suggestive themes; alcohol,tobacco,drug use references; frequent/intense profanity, crude humor. Several of the apps found in a “Valentine’s Day” search contain material you’d only want your older children to see.

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Best Android Apps for Kids

Looking for Android apps? Look no further

Those of you who didn’t jump on the iPhone and iPad bandwagons are finally being rewarded for your patience.  The Android Market has finally gone online. Internet heavyweight Amazon.com has gotten in on the action too with their own Appstore for Android, which offers a free app of the day every single day.

Looking for the best free, fun, and educational Android apps and games for kids, toddlers and preschoolers?  Here you go.

Android Apps for Kids1. ABDUCTION!
Grade: B+ | Age rating: 2+

Buy on the Android Market

Imagine for a moment that you are a cow and your cow friends have been abducted by aliens.  Now it’s up to you to save them! Follow the platform trail as you hop ever higher upwards into space, grabbing power-ups and rescuing friends as you go. Watch out for parachute bombs and other hazards.  Destroy the mothership if you can, and make sure you don’t fall.

Best part of Abduction?  You can set it to kids mode which prevents the cow from ever falling.  Why don’t more platform games do this?  It’s great for frustration-free learning.

 

Android Apps for Kids2. FRUIT NINJA
Grade: A+ | Age rating: 3+

Buy on the Android Market

Use your finger as a blade to swipe and slice various pieces of fruit that fly up in the air in this juicy action game.   In classic mode, you also have to avoid the bombs.  It’s very simple, but the best things often are — also no gore and questionable ethics!

At the end of every round, you are served a Sensei’s Fruit Fact such as “In some parts of the world, trained monkeys are used to harvest coconuts!”  Sweet.

Android Apps for Kids3. JEWELLUST
Grade: A- | Age rating: 4+

Buy on the Android Market

A connect-three puzzle game with an ancient Egyptian flavor.   Swap and line up matching jewels to burst them and collect tiles before time runs out.  Advance through 30 levels in 7 pyramids and choose from survival and story mode.

Compete on leaderboards, if that’s your thing, or just entertain yourself and your kids when you have a spare moment.

Android Apps for Kids4. DOODLE JUMP
Grade: A | Age rating: 4+

Buy on the Android Market

The insanely addictive platform jumping game is now available on Android.  Tilt your device left and right to make the Doodler jump from platform to platform, avoiding the brittle brown logs that break and make you plummet earthward.  You can even exit the right side of the screen and come in on the left.

Jump, jump, jump your way to the top and try not to think about the many hours you’re spending doing it.  This too shall pass.

 

 

Android Apps for Kids5. GEOCACHING
Grade: A | Age rating: 4+

Buy on the Android Market

Geocaching is hands down the most fun you can have with a smartphone.   People hide small trinket-filled boxes all over the world, and upload the coordinates to a website.  You use your phone to navigate to the hidden boxes (called caches).  When you find one, take a trinket and leave a trinket and sign the log.

Sound easy?  Sometimes it is.  Other times not so much.  It’s not a cheap app, but it’s the most fun you can have for $10 and you’ll use it over and over again.  What kid (or adult, for that matter) doesn’t love a treasure hunt?  Try it.

Android Apps for Kids6. LABYRINTH
Grade: A- | Age rating: 5+

Buy on the Android Market

The classic maze-navigation game of your youth has come to the Android.  Control a steel ball by tilting a wooden labyrinth, but don’t fall in the holes along the way.  It has over 1,000 levels, so you won’t run out of gameplay options anytime soon.

Try the free lite version first, to see if your kids warm to it.  If they do, download the paid version.

 

Android Apps for Kids7. MONKEY PRESCHOOL LUNCHBOX
Grade: A- | Age rating: 1+

Buy on the Android Market

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.

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.

Android Apps for Kids8. ONE FISH TWO FISH RED FISH BLUE FISH – DR. SEUSS
Grade: A- | Age rating: 1+

Buy on the Android Market

This delightful and much beloved classic comes to life with a few choice interactive touches.  Dr. Seuss still poses such ridiculous and enchanting questions as:  “Did you ever fly a kite in bed? Did you ever walk with ten cats on your head?” and kids still love it.

They’ll have so much fun, in fact, that they probably won’t even notice they’re learning to read.

Android Apps for Kids9. ANGRY BIRDS
Grade: A | Age rating: 4+

Buy on the Android Market

Did you think we were going to skip Angry Birds?  No such luck.  This hugely popular app has become part of the collective consciousness and with good reason.

First of all, we love the silly story line.  Evil green pigs have stolen the birds’ eggs and are now hiding out in their castles.  It’s up to your kids to wreak revenge on them using (of course!) little red and blue birds and a giant sling shot.  Huh?

There are almost 200 levels of gameplay, so it’s unlikely your kids will ever run out of fortresses to assault.  Once they conquer a level, they can re-play it to improve their score.  In the (very likely) event they don’t conquer a level on their first try, they can just try again!

Android Apps for Kids10. WORD MIX
Grade: A | Age rating: 5+

Buy on the Android Market

Remember the anagram-style word games we all used to play as kids before school vacations?  Teachers would hand around dittos that challenged us to make as many words as we could out of a phrase like “Happy Holidays”.

This app does the same.  You get a random set of letters and a set amount of time to form as many words out of them as you can.  Not only is it fun, it builds vocabulary too.

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