Best Kids Apps

Read me a story…pleeeeeease?

 

Good children’s story apps are irresistible.  Reading Sandra Boynton’s Going to Bed Book is wonderful, but watching the mirror fog up when the characters run their evening bath is magical.

 

Interactive touches make books and stories come to life.

 

Turn the page!



The Legacy of the Berenstain Bears

Thank you Jan Berenstain for a lifetime of wonderful stories

We found out today that  Jan Berenstain, co-creator of the Berenstain Bears, died this past week. She was 88, but there is no doubt that the legacy of children’s stories she and her husband Stan have left behind will continue on for more generations.

When I read the article, I felt less sadness, and more inspiration that one couple could leave such an impression on so many children and families across so many different types of mediums. Books, television, and in case you haven’t noticed, the Berenstain Bears are all over the App Store, Android Market, Amazon Apps, and Nook Color.

There are 18 Berenstain Bears books for the iPad in the app store. But we hope that there will be more since the book series spans 300 titles over fifty years.

For those of you who are new to Berenstain Bears books, the stories teach children positive life lessons through a family of bears Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear, Sister Bear and Honey Bear. We especially appreciate that they seem to have an app for all the big holidays.

Thank you Jan and Stan. Your work is much appreciated.

 



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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The Queen Bee StoryChimes

An interactive audio fairy tale for the iPad, iPhone and Android
  • * * * * *
  • Age: 4+ |

  • $0.99/$0.99/free


queen-beeThe Queen Bee StoryChimes is an interactive children’s audiobook app for the iPhone and iPod touch that invites kids to turn the pages when they hear the chime.

The story is about ten minutes long, and even my 10-year-old enjoyed it.  Younger children will probably be happy to listen to it more than once.


Why we like it:

This classic story by the Brothers Grimm hasn’t lost its appeal, despite being almost 300 years old.  Three brothers go adventuring together.  The youngest (and kindest) of the three saves various insects and animals from his careless, unfeeling siblings, and reaps his just reward because of it.

In “Play With Text” mode the illustrations are crammed into the top half of the iPhone’s screen so that the text can appear at the bottom.  Since the story’s vocabulary is a little hard going anyway, have your kids play the story without text so they can see the books pages in more detail.

A nice story at a nice price.  StoryChimes has ten other titles too, so stock up before your next plane trip.

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We tested version 1.1, which is compatible with the iPhone (OS 2.2 or later) and the second generation iPod touch. Developer Siena Entertainment LLC. Read our disclosure policy.