Best Kids Apps

2011 Readers’ Choice Awards Winners

Our readers weigh in on the best kids' apps of the year

After three weeks of voting, the polls are closed and the results are in.  While we like and recommend every one of these wonderful apps, only three could win.

If you’re both the lucky recipient of a new iPad this holiday season and a parent looking for good apps for kids, we encourage you to check out our Best Kids Apps of 2011 and this list of the Readers’ Choice Awards finalists.

And now, the winners:

1st Place…

Al Yankovic: When I Grow Up, a digital adaptation of a wacky book for the young and young at heart, handily hooked first place with an overwhelming 27% of the vote.

Tons of interactive touches — like shaving a tarantula and massaging a gorilla — made this a hit with our readers.  Don’t feel like reading aloud yourself?  Not a problem.  Weird Al will do it for you.

2nd Place…

Indie hit, My PlayHome, takes home the silver medal this year.  Haven’t tried it?  You should.  It’s a sweet and simple interactive playhouse that’s good for girls and boys.

Parents like the non-violent, open-ended style of play the app encourages.  Kids enjoy making discoveries in every room (the toilet really flushes!  you can pet the cat!  there’s cold pizza to eat in the fridge!).

3rd Place…

In late voting, Bugs and Buttons surged ahead to narrowly beat out its closest competitor (the very worthy Toca Doctor, which we also love) to capture third place.  Your kids will use fine motor skills while learning to count, sort, and recognize patterns.  They’ll never realize this, of course.  They’ll be too busy picking apples, flying butterflies, and catching fireflies.

Congratulations to all our winners and nominees, and thanks for all you do.  Here’s to another great year of fun, wholesome, and educational apps for kids!

Best 2011 Christmas Apps for your iPhone and iPad

Plenty of Christmas fun on your iPhone or iPad

It’s not too late to load up your iPhone or iPad with Christmas apps. We’ve been testing as many new Christmas apps as possible. At first I thought it was slim pickings, but then we found some gems.

Here are some party stoppers whether you want to track Santa and his reindeer throughout the day and night, want a piece of Christmas nostalgia, or simply want some silly Christmas fun. If you’re addicted to apps like we are – don’t miss last year’s list of Best Christmas & Holiday iPhone Apps for Kids.

Toca Hair Salon — Christmas Gift FREE, ages 1+
Hands down, our favorite Christmas App this season. Give Santa or a Christmas tree a hair cut with scissors, a buzzing razor, or simply dye it purple. This great app will have the kids (and adults) laughing with their wacky creations.

Totally silly, my 3-year-old loves the blow dryer the best. She blows his hair up in his face and thinks it’s hilarious. Note: This is one of the best free apps I’ve seen in a while, but there is an in-app purchase available for $1.99 if you’d like to have six more characters (kids and animals) to cut.


Best Halloween iPad Apps of 2011

Lots of Halloween fun on your iPhone or iPad

Last year we put together a list of our Best Halloween iPhone and iPad apps for kids. My (then toddler) daughter played with several of them well past Halloween, but now it’s time to freshen up our iPad with the newest Halloween story books, puzzles, games and not-so-spooky app treats for toddlers, preschoolers and grade school kids.

Here’s our list of our favorite Halloween apps that we’ve found since last year.

Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch

Age rating: 2+ | Price: $2.99

download on itunes

A sweet puppy dog tale that’s enchanting for the little ones regardless if they’ve read other Biscuit story books. See what else Biscuit finds at the pumpkin patch besides pumpkins. We love that this app also contains a coloring book and a sticker book feature too. It might distract the kids from reading if they’re in control of the iPad or iPhone, but it will keep them coming back to this app again and again.


The Berenstain Bears Go on a Ghost Walk

Age rating: 2+ | Price: $2.99

download on itunes

There’s nothing scary about this app! The littlest of Halloween trick-or-treaters can get the Berenstain Bear’s Halloween story read to them by their parents, or via Auto Play. Pre-schoolers can touch words and characters to see the word read aloud to them, and turn the pages them selves by touching the lower right corner. (more…)