1. State Bingo and Road Trip US, by Niyaa Apps just hit the app store last week! It is totally educational, exceptionally engaging and aesthetically pleasing. It also completely encompasses Common Core Standards and differentiated modes of play. This app has so much to offer, learning-wise, and is so much FUN! The zoom in- zoom out map is an exciting way to learn all types of map skills and the act of immediately applying that knowledge to a given question brings this app into the category of deeper learning. (Read TWA full review)
2. Spinlight Studio released their newest app, Geography Drive USA, and we love it!! No more boring maps and memorizing facts. Students will be delighted to learn about geography in a whole new, fun, exciting way. The visitor’s center has each of the individual states and facts galore. Each state has three different questions to answer. To gain more fuel and money, visit the all-state pass for more questions that are read to the player. There is more than one chance to try a state, with a wonderful variety of harder and easier questions. Questions cover current as well as historical events. (Read TWA full review)
3. Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride, by Cognitive Kid, was recently released too and we had the pleasure of beta testing this incredibly elaborate app over several months. Cognitive Kid is one of those companies that will go down in history as being one of the first to develop outstanding learning content, where discovery is the model & play is the focus, where students love it as much as the teachers and every school considers it a must have! Let us share some feedback from the students during round one. When kids were asked to respond why they thought it was a good way to learn, the responses were plain and simple. “Because it teaches important history stuff in a fun to play way.” Or, the let me get right to the point comment, “Made boring history fun.” Kids approached this app eagerly and surprised us by the amount of time spent exploring and discovering each individual scene with complete focus. (Read TWA full review)
4. Eye Paint Animals, by Curious Hat, is one of the most innovative and invigorating apps we’ve seen to date. TWA had the pleasure of speaking with Luca Prasso, one of the co-founders of Curious Hat, and got a better understanding of where this state of the art company has been and where they hope to go. They strive to design tools for children that encourage discovery play and foster creativity, they succeed spectacularly. Curious Hat has taken the iOS user experience to a whole n’other level. Luca states, “Our apps are not games, they are discovery tools aimed at energizing kids to play, create, invent, explore and learn in enjoyable ways without the limitations of set parameters.” (Read TWA full review)
5. Native Numbers, by Native Brain, is a wonderful addition to the already saturated math app market! This game is on the money when it comes to providing a deeper understanding of number concepts and imperative math vocabulary, which is needed to build a strong foundation for all mathematics to follow. As Native Brain mentions on their website, kids are capable of so much more if we give them the chance. We need to embrace this philosophy and raise the bar. Starting early is by far the best way to achieve this. Research has shown over and over that children that have a solid and deep exposure to basic number concepts have the ability to learn and understand math skills later. (Read TWA full review)
6. Numerosity: Play with Math!, by ThoughtBox, is based on a cutting edge approach to learning math and TWA found while field-testing, the kids kept wanting to come back for more and more play time. We love their statement, “Let’s show our children that Math and Science can be loved.” Numerosity may not have coined the term Gameful Learning, but they refer to it often and explain it as a way to engage and empower learners by placing them in the driver seat. TWA couldn’t agree more! The games are a brilliant way for students to learn and Numerosity has done a smashing job of coming up with an app that has the ability to put the child back in the drivers seat. (Read TWA full review)
7. Social Quest, by Smarty Ears, is a keeper! Speech therapists and teachers will have no problem engaging students with this superb app. Students will love their picture being in the House of Heroes. Various items will be earned as the student successfully answers either receptive or expressive questions. This app is very clever in creating a game around a castle. Pick a room in a house by pulling the students picture or avatar to the room, then student will transport to that specific room. The bathroom, for example, covers sharing items in the bathroom, how to explain to parents you want a haircut and what not to touch. Actual photographs make the experience more real and reinforce concepts. Other locations are available such as the movies, a restaurant, in the neighborhood, at the doctor’s office, in the supermarket and at the mall… and up to 4 students can play in different locations at one time. Different situations create great, true to life learning opportunities for all students. (Read TWA full review)
8. iTooch Junior High School, by edupad Inc., is not only a state of the art and completely comprehensive educational app, it is exciting, effective and enormously fun! iTooch Junior High School has more than 10,000 exercises in ELA (reading, writing vocabulary, grammar) and Math (properties and operations, graphs, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability, and data analysis) and Health – Grade Six. iTooch comes equipped with an easily accessible built in blackboard for a workspace and students are provided with clear, concise lessons at any point, by just tapping on the iTooch mascot. The app is free to download and titles can be tried out before buying any in-app purchases, which are available for each topic. (Read TWA full review)
9. Tense Builder, by Mobile Education Store and renowned developer, Kyle Tomson, released this long awaited app and it does not disappoint in any way shape or form! Teaching the tenses is one of the hardest concepts to explain, as it is a very abstract concept. Then there are the English words that do not follow the rule, otherwise known as irregular verbs. It isn’t difficult to comprehend this concept with words like: walk, walking, walked. Now try come, coming, comed… opps, doesn’t quite work. Along comes the terrific Tense Builder and what used to be a tedious task for the teacher is now an app away! (Read TWA full review)
10. Reading Raven, by Early Ascent – This developer has reason to be proud of their first release. Reading Raven has what it takes to get kids on the road to reading and the developers have done it brilliantly by following a proven reading program. Reading Raven is phonics-based, and unlike other learn-to-read apps, even phonics apps, it takes children all the way from learning foundational pre-reading and reading skills to reading sentences and very short stories. We’ve heard this story many a time, Scott White wanted to teach his 5-year-old son to read and wasn’t too impressed with much of what was available for mobile devices. Once again, a new app was born due to a parent’s curiosity and concern about their child’s early learning experiences. The developer suggests this app for ages 3-7 and that appears to be right on. (Read TWA full review)
11. Futaba Classroom Games for Kids, by INKids, introduced a powerful concept for the iPad, engaging multiple players in fast paced games for the classroom or home. These games, which vary in content, can be set to a specific skill or set to randomly display a mix. All by a simple visit to the settings menu. Presently they have a pre-k section with animals, shapes, transportation, and “things.” There is a K-3rd grade math section, geography, and Dolch sight words. Also, they offer First Spanish Words and Japanese for beginners to learn the language. You can easily add your own content and create your own game based on any theme you choose. This is an amazing option for teachers to implement and customize to whatever they are studying. INKids is now asking for teacher and parent input and plans to expand the game selection. There are plans of adding different learning sets, as well. David Wingler, a teacher at Osaka Kunei Girls’ Junior and Senior High in Japan, is responsible for the original idea. (Read TWA full review)
12. Letter School, by Boreaal, got lots of accolades from just about everyone (including us!) for being a spectacular app for implementing and practicing fine motor skills, and for beginning the process of building a strong foundation for reading and math readiness skills. TWA wants to give this app a huge shout-out! Their slogan, Letter School Makes Handwriting Cool, is on their opening page… and, oh yes, this app makes everything cool! The surprise factor and variety that this app has to offer for each and every upper and lower case, as well as numbers, keeps children engaged and active participants for long periods of time. When we field-tested this app, we had to struggle to get our iPads back from the students. They kept insisting, “Just one more, PLEASE!” (Read TWA full review)
13. 5-in-1 Kids Pack HD. If your little one loves matching games, this is the app for her. Lots of matching games are included, and you can customize each one by the size of the grid, timing and types of objects to be matched — numbers, pictures, letters. (iTunes, $1)
14. AlphaBaby. This simple app is great for even the youngest of babies. Kids can touch the screen and a letter (or number, or shape) will appear. If they touch again, they will see a new image. A voice says the name of the letter, number or shape out loud when it's touched. It may sound kinda dull, but to a little one, it's just the right kind of cool. (iTunes, $1)
15. Bubbles. It's a scientific fact that kids love to pop bubbles (just ask any scientist who has kids.) And that's all this app aims to do. There's no teaching, no repeating, just the ultimate in super-fun bubble-popping distraction. Go ahead, just try and tear your toddler away. (iTunes, $1)
16. Drawing Pad. This app is like a virtual arts and crafts kit for kids. Tots can choose from crayons, pencils, brushes and big fat erasers. Oh, and don't forget the stickers — lots and lots of stickers that kids can layer in their drawing as they see fit, or delete at will. (iTunes, $2)
17. Fish School. This cool app includes lots of fun activities for kids working hard to master the basics. Toddlers can name numbers and letters, guess colors, and play memory matching games. (iTunes, $2)
18. I Hear Ewe. This fun app includes 24 animal cards, and 12 vehicle cards, each identified by name and by sound. It's like a 'See and Say' toy for next generation. And for the price, you can't beat it! (iTunes, Free)
19. Squiggles. This app is marketed for toddlers and preschoolers, but I'm pretty sure my older kids (and even my husband) would fight to play it if they could. This fun app makes a child's hand drawn "squiggles" come to life — from a wiggly line to a sheep's wool, a curly bear, rocket smoke ... you name it. Best part? It's free! (iTunes, Free)
20. Peekaboo Barn. This app is a fun animal recognition game featuring all of your toddlers favorite critters, including pigs, roosters, cows, goats and more. And of course, this game wouldn't be complete without the playful version of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" tinkling in the background. (iTunes, $3)
21. The Monster At The End of This Book. This is one of my girls' favorite books, so I just knew the app would be a winner. Kids can read the story and use the interactive features to untie knots, knock down walls, and help Grover overcome his fear of monsters. (iTunes, $4)
22. Toddler Counting. How fun could it possibly be to count? Count cows. Count sheep. Count strawberries. This app not only counts along with you, but it applauds when you're done. That's pretty darned fun for a 2-year-old. (iTunes, $1)
23 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
This ebook highlights words as the narrator reads, and your young reader will love interacting with objects featured on each page -- touching them brings up their associated words. (ages 2-8, $3.99; iPad and iPhone)
24 The Magic School Bus: Oceans by Scholastic
Ms. Frizzle and her students embark on an aquatic journey in this interactive storybook, which features science facts, pictures, games, and videos. (ages 4 and up, $8; lighter free version also available; iPad only)
25 Fish School HD
Colorful fish teach your preschooler his letters, numbers, shapes, and colors in an under-the-sea world. (ages 3 to 5, $1.99; iPad)
26 My Mom's the Best
Snappyant, best for ages 2-4, $3.99, iPad
Filled with charming and hilarious illustrations showing why baby animals think their moms are the best, this book app is perfect for your youngest techie. The baby bear mentions his mom's hugs, so he is seen enveloped in a bear hug where he is squeezed tightly. The hippo mommy excels at hula-hooping, where the mommy frog is a dancer. The pattern of hearing why the mom is the best, followed by a surprising animation, will make your toddler or preschooler giggle.
27 Elmo Loves 123s
Sesame Street, best for age 3-5, $4.99,iPad
Elmo teams up with Abby to teach kids about the numbers 1 to 20. Through fun videos and songs from the Sesame Street television show, as well as games and coloring pages, kids learn to identify numbers, trace them, count groups of objects and practice early adding and subtraction. The app also provides parents with information about their child's experience. Elmo and Abby are so likeable that kids have a riot learning numbers while playing with their favorite muppets.
28 Rounds: Parker Penguin
Nosy Crow, best for ages 3-6, $4.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Kids meet Parker Penguin when he is just a chick growing up in Antarctica. On each page in the science book app, kids interact with the penguin to learn what his life is like. They help him grow up, hunt for food while avoiding predators, find a mate and protect his egg. When the egg is ready to hatch, kids tap the shell so the new baby chick can break out and the story starts again — with a new star — Parker's son. Presented with rich artwork full of round shapes and accompanied by music that varies when you touch the penguin, this is an intriguing way for kids to learn science.
The shy protagonist of "My Beastly ABCs" learns to enjoy the beasts he meets, including these dancing Zombies who accompany him home.(Photo: Duncan Studio)
29 My Beastly ABCs
Duncan Studio, for ages 4-7, $3.99, iPad
This interactive book brings together two things that kids love: narration by Jim Dale (the award-winning narrator of the Harry Potter audio books) and mythical creatures (such as the Loch Ness monster and the Abominable Snowman). Starring a timid little boy who gets up on the wrong side of the bed, this youngster's day is filled with surprising but wonderful interactions with monsters and beasts. He plays hide-and-seek with the Boogey Monster in his closet, flies to school on the back of a Griffin, tickles an Ogre under its arms, tosses rings onto a Unicorn's horn and struts home, surrounded by a crew of dancing zombies. With great interaction, an engaging story that introduces a different beast for each letter of the alphabet and wonderful illustrations, this app will chase away all fears of monsters.
30 Bugs and Numbers
Little Bit Studio, LLC., best for ages 4-8, $2.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
By playing through 18 games, kids learn early math concepts, including numbers, how to count, comparing sizes and sequence. They even explore early fractions and telling time. The games feature realistic-looking bugs doing things like hiding under discarded items in the junkyard while waiting to be counted, or crawling through an arcade game where kids learn left and right by following onscreen arrows and listening to spoken directions. These educational games are fun, and they adjust in difficulty depending on how your child is doing.
31 Let's Color
Lazoo Worldwide, Inc., best for ages 4-10, Free, iPad
This free app contains a simple drawing program and a series of 18 pages with drawing prompts. When kids respond to the prompt by drawing something and then hit the "Go" button on the page, their creation magically animates. It is as if the ink is enchanted and what they draw can come alive. In addition to drawing, kids can also watch an animated video about three friends, using their creativity to go on an adventure. This app is special and free; so don't miss it.
Kids can create funky-looking faces with the app "Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity."(Photo: iMagine machine LLC)
32 Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity
iMagine machine LLC, best for ages 4-up, $1.99 on iPad (also on iPhone and iPod Touch for $1.99 but called Faces iMake - Premium)
This is one of the most creative apps in iTunes because it encourages kids to create faces using unusual collage materials. By thinking outside of the box, kids arrange candy, toys, fruit, musical instruments and more to create fanciful faces. With the iPad version, kids can even upload their creations to FaceWorld, a virtual art gallery. They can also download other people's creations, modify them and then upload them to collaborate with kids from around the world.
33 Pettson's Inventions 2
Filmundus AB, best for ages 7-up, $1.99, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Pettson the inventor and his talking cat Findus have 37 inventions for you to recreate. Pettson provides you with the parts to his Rube Goldberg-like machines, and it is up to you to drag and drop them into the correct locations. Each invention has an "On" switch so you can experiment to see what happens when you do things. The wacky inventions do things like rocking an old lady to sleep in her chair. Engineering becomes fun with this zany, hands-on building kit.
34 Where's My Perry
Disney, best for ages 8-up, $.99 on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and $1.99 on Nook.
This physics puzzler stars a secret agent platypus named Perry. Perry earned his fame on the Disney television show "Phineas and Ferb," but you don't have to know the show to enjoy this inventive set of puzzles. In each, you must figure out how to use your finger to create a path for water to get it to some generators so that you can transport Perry to his spy headquarters. In each puzzle, the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz has placed obstacles in your way, such as lasers that heat the water and turn it into steam. With over 100 puzzles, a semi-aquatic sleuth with an attitude and a hilarious bad guy, there's a lot to love.
In a clever mashup, the famous Angry Birds have now morphed into the good guys from Star Wars, and the bad pigs are now Darth Vader and the evil pigtroopers.
35 Angry Birds Star Wars
Rovio Entertainment Ltd, best for 8-up, $.99 for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android. HD version is $.99 for iPad, Nook and $2.99 for Kindle.
In a clever mashup, the famous Angry Birds have now morphed into the good guys from Star Wars, and the bad pigs are now Darth Vader and the evil pigtroopers. This version of Angry Birds is still filled with puzzle levels where you slingshot the birds at the pigs who are hiding inside of block structures. Everyone is in costume and the Star Wars music and locations grace the background. The beloved Star Wars themes, with accompanying power of lightsabers, blasters and Jedi powers, breathe new life into this popular app franchise. Losing becomes fun, because a piggie version of Darth Vader laughs at you.