Best Kids Apps

Here a puzzle, there a puzzle…

 

By definition, a puzzle is a problem that tests the ingenuity of the solver.  We’ve got jigsaw puzzles, hidden picture puzzles, match-three puzzles and more.

 

Kids of all ages can get a mental workout and you may find yourself picking up these fun apps after they’ve gone to bed.



Fun Apps for Summer Travel

Backseat and airplane entertainment for family vacations? Check

Ah, summer.  The beach, the mountains, the lake, the… long hours in a car or airplane with impatient children.  If you’ll be flying or road tripping this summer, download a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles go by a lot quicker.

1.  Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Episode 1
Ages: 6 and up | $0.99

Jacob Jones is off to summer camp, where everything isn’t exactly as it seems.  Along with his hairy new sidekick, he has to figure out what is going on at Camp Eaglefeather by solving a series of narrative-style puzzles that are just right for young kids.

2.  State Plate Bingo!
Ages: 4 and up | $0.99

This app really won’t keep kids occupied for hours, but it’s fun as an ongoing quest on road trips.  Can you find all 50 states in a single journey?  There’s only one way to find out.  The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.

3.  Sago Mini Sound Box
Ages: 2 and up | free

Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers (and maybe even some older kids) will love this cute, simple music discovery app.   Kids choose an “instrument” (though it could be a puppy barking or a noisy barn).  They tap the screen to add the sounds, then grab, fling, bounce and play with them.

4.  Road Trip Bingo
Ages: 4 and up | $0.99/1.99

Got exactly two kids?  Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets both of them compete head to head.  Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from road signs and blue cars to snow-topped mountains and dogs.

5.  StoryLines
Ages: 8 and up | free

Got three or more kids?  Check out this hilarious app that’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were younger!  Player one types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.”  Player two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing.  Player three captions Player two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase.  And so on.

Don’t think it’s only for travel either.  My kids beg me to play every night.  Can’t think of a good phrase?  The developers have thought of that — just tap the suggestions button.



Toca Doctor HD

A stylish puzzle app that lets kids play doctor
  • * * * * *
  • Age: 2+ |

  • $1.99


Toca Doctor HD is more of a puzzle app than a medical reference, though the patient is (mostly) anatomically correct.

Kids will straighten out the circulatory system, knock out germs, give shots, remove splinters, and feed the patient healthy foods as they navigate the mini-games in the different parts of the body.

Why we like it:

As usual, this Toca app is intuitive, positive, and really easy on the eyes.  There are funny touches too (such as the sound effect when you remove the toy car from the large intestine, ahem).  This is a very polished and fun game.

Watch out for:

Somewhat limited replay value.  With just 21 mini medical challenges to solve, this app will probably bore older children pretty quickly.  Its sweet spot is probably the 2-4 set.

Our only other quibble is that kids cure the runny nose by stuffing it with tissues (or maybe cotton balls).  Probably not a good precedent to set if you want to avoid visiting the real doctor.

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Doodle Fit

Like Blokus? Have we ever got an app for you
  • * * * * *
  • Age: 5+ |

  • free/$0.99/$1.41


Doodle Fit is a polished puzzle app that challenges kids to fit a set of colored blocks into a given shape.   It gets harder s-l-o-w-l-y, which is good for kids.  We dig the cheerful soundtrack too!

Why we like it:
Many puzzle apps count how many turns it takes you to solve a level, but not this one.  Kids can just keep experimenting and rearranging until they nail it.

One very nice feature of this app takes some getting used to.   When you “grab” a piece, it sort of zips away from your finger and hovers about half an inch from your fingertip.  This is so you can see what you’re doing puzzle-wise.

One of my favorite Android apps so far!

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We tested the Android version of Doodle Fit on the Kindle Fire.  It’s also available for the iPhone and iPad.  Developer: Gamelion Studios.  Read our disclosure policy.