5 learning apps you should download for your kids

Children’s learning apps with so much charm, you may find yourself launching that icon even when the kids aren’t looking.

Some of the best apps I own on my iPad are made for kids. That’s the thing with really good learning apps, they appeal to young and old. So while I’ve long mastered my ABCs I’m still picking up new facts that I didn’t know before. Your own iPad probably serves as a distraction for your child for those times you need a little parenting reprieve. Why not download  these fun learning apps that we’ve reviewed? They may serve your kid better than those avian catapults.

Barefoot Atlas

This interactive 3D globe bristles with life; animals, landmarks and people populate its surface inviting your child to learn more about the fascinating world they live in. With its beautiful and vibrant illustrations, this should be in the iPads of everyone young at heart. It’ll only set you back RM15 at the iTunes App Store.

 

Pros: Pinching, zooming, and scrolling is easy. The look and feel of the app is excellent. It’s easy to lose yourself in it for hours. Barefoot Atlas also has a very diverse selection of entries. Each entry comes with a concise explanation and an image of its real-life counterpart.

Cons: Touching anything on the globe brings it into focus but the explanation is still another tap away, which may take some getting used to for an impatient child. Only available on the iOS platform. Narrated by the book’s writer, Nick Crane, whose accent may take getting used to. But there’s always the text to guide you through.

Get Barefoot Atlas at $4.99 from the App store

Endless ABC

There’s so much to love about this app. For starters, it’s the best free app in its category, and possibly one of the best looking free apps in the App Store. It won’t only get your child familiar with the alphabet, but conceptualise the sound of each letter in a word and how to pronounce it. A must-have for children with reading difficulties! Don’t be surprised to find grown-ups playing it just to see the amusing cartoon at the end explaining each word.

Pros: It really is free— spend a few minutes in the app and you’ll realise they won’t try to ask you to pay for any ‘upgraded’ experience. In fact, Endless ABC gives you content via regularly updates to expand your child’s vocabulary. We also find the gender-neutral look of the game’s characters is a refreshing choice.

Cons: We honestly can’t think of any. We really tried.

Official website: http://www.callaway.com/endless-alphabet/

Get Endless ABC for free from the App store

Zoe’s Green Planet

Zoe’s beautiful world is all green— until little Maho and her family from Red Planet move to town. Although standing out is difficult at first for Maho, Zoe’s kindness and friendship goes a long way into making her feel welcome. This wonderful story is perfect for children who move around often. Even if your family can’t relate, Zoe’s Green Planet remains a beautiful little storybook app for kids aged 2 and up, with five built-in games that encourages patience in all children as well as the all-important value of embracing diversity.

Pros: Available in both Android and iPad. The main theme behind this story is accepting diversity and people who are different from us. Matt Roussel’s illustrations employ a unique and subtle 3D look so that the app looks visually interesting despite a heavy use of green. Its customisability includes toggling sound, text, and story reading on and off, so that you can adapt it suit your child.

Cons: Incompatible with iPhones and iPods. Also, a storytelling app may not seem as flexible as game apps considering its price tag of just under RM10, but it also comes with five interactive games that make the app easy to return to over and over again.

Official website: http://www.squareigloo.net/

Get Zoe’s Green Planet for $2.99 from the Apple App Store or Google Play

Jörgits and the End of Winter

Made possible through funding from Kickstarter, this interactive kid’s novel is well worth your money if your child’s just starting to move on to long-form reading. Jörgit, as it’s known on the App Store, is a quirky story about a group of aliens who stumble across Earth while looking to escape their planet’s rapidly cooling climate. To their delight, they find Earth is rapidly warming, which makes it a perfect option for their lifestyle. They crash in Helsinki and form a friendship which proves to be humorous and enlightening for everyone in the story (as well as everyone reading it). At its core, the story is an homage to traditional Scandinavian children’s literature you and I might recall from our childhoods (Pippi Longstocking, or the Moomin Trolls). It whole-heartedly embraces the iPad as a modern storytelling medium.

Jörgits and the End of Winter Trailer from Tank & Bear on Vimeo.

Pros: Its highly interactive elements and striking art and sound make it an exceptional introduction to environmental issues for kids and adults alike. It’ll compel you and your child to consider the impact our actions have on others, and also how eye-opening travelling can be to discover other cultures. There’s also a scavenger hunt within the game.

Cons: Although its ‘soundscapes’ are a brilliant idea, interacting with it takes some getting used to.

Official website: http://www.jorgits.com

Get Jörgits for $5.99 from the App Store

Party Face

Our fifth app recommendation may seem frivolous, but it’s big on creativity. Party Face brings a new dimension to the phrase “making faces”. Creating images with drag and drop gestures is pretty common in kids’ apps but you can’t resist the charm of this one. I regularly bring it out when I babysit. What’s endearing about it is that it lends itself to the imagination so well, that almost nobody designs the same face twice. Also helpful, of course, is the wide spread of eyebrows, eyes, noses, mouths, speech bubbles and accessories to choose from; it’ll take a while before you exhaust all possible combinations. And of course, you can save your creation immediately to your Camera Roll with a tap.

Party Face! iPad application from grivina on Vimeo.

Pros: You can upload your own images to play with. All the features, no matter how disparate, blend seamlessly with the preset backgrounds. Guaranteed to entertain all but the most cynical of adults. Refreshingly gender-neutral, not to mention no restrictions on where to put anything. Cheap at only $0.99.

Cons: You’ll almost always have to demonstrate to a newcomer where the scroll is for the first time. Also, the  tap to save to your Camera Roll is so subtle that it’s possible to end up with multiple copies of an image just because you weren’t sure that it saved at all.

Official website: http://thirdbirdparty.com/partyface/

Get Party Face for $0.99 from the App Store

The School at Jaya One