This week’s reviews include apps focused on art, problem-solving, play, and language.
Being Global presents a wonderful story for learning about what it means to be part of this big planet. Together your family will travel, explore and think about what kids experience all over the world. Use the app in either Spanish or English while learning “hello” in many other languages. Interactive pages define and expand on the vocabulary used. An in-app journal encourages kids to extend and reflect on what they have read (or listened to). Other features include a quiz, three project lesson plans and a theme song thoughtfully presented on its own screen. An app with a universal appeal.
Nick Jr. Draw and Play puts the tools of creation in the hands of your child. Good for all ages, this app goes beyond other drawing apps with the inclusion of interactive and animated objects that can be included in your child’s artwork. Some unique tools include: splatter tops that create splatter paint on the screen, collage art that is added in abundance with a nice variety as you drag your finger across the screen, and bouncing balls that bounce in 3 dimensions. There are just too many features to list in this review! Our parent review team raved about this app and we are glad to see an experience that empowers kids to create and design with touch screens.
Pettson’s Inventions guides young children through physics challenges. Eighteen mini-challenges are presented with a real life problems like mowing the lawn, in order to learn the skills necessary to help the character Findus be able to fly. The app is quite short but still a delightful experience for exposing young children to problem solving and basic contraption play. There is an option to download the lite version that has the first 7 mini-challenges for free. If the app is too hard for your child at the beginning, go to the settings page and turn off the “fake” objects which add more challenge. We would like to see this app integrate all the tools to allow kids to explore what happens when objects are set in different places.
PlayART is a wonderful way for kids to begin exploring famous art. An excellent addition for an art teacher’s classroom, the family who frequents art museums or has a budding artist. The app contains many of the works from five famous painters. View and learn about their work through embedded videos and pictures. Create and adapt famous works with a drawing feature that lets kids scroll through canvas, images and objects used in each artist’s work. A splendid app that is filled with tidbits of learning and lots of room for creating.
MindSnacks has several challenging and engaging language learning apps where you can learn Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, or Spanish. The apps are not built specifically for children; be prepared to see adult app features of social media and more aggressive in-app purchases. MindSnacks is selected for KinderTown because we have yet to find many language learning apps that present a quality gamified learning experience. Vocabulary is presented in mini-games that encourage reading, spelling and oral language development. Not for the young child who does not have a grasp at reading and spelling, but a nice option for older kids who are learning 2 or more languages at home and at school. We highly recommend you try an app first to make sure it is a good fit for your child.
ABC ZooBorns is one more excellent app in the Peapod Labs ABC series that combines safe searching with topics that kids are interested in. Kids research and discover based on their interests. Letters and sounds are reinforced as kids search. Videos, interactivity and facts that are read aloud in the app keep both kids, parents and teachers coming back to the ABC apps.