iPad App - Alien Assignment

This high quality app is brought to you by the Fred Rogers Center.

In Alien Assignment, kids are on a mission to help the Gloop family fix their spaceship. The narrator instructs kids to take photos of objects that can help solve various problems. For example, there is a leak, so they need something that can hold liquid.

After each round, kids are prompted to pass the device to an adult. The photo review provides kids with feedback on their solutions and also gives parents a way to begin conversations with kids about important learning topics.

Curriculum Area: Critical Thinking

Age Appropriate Group: 4+

iPad App - Star Walk Kids

Star Walk Kids - Astronomy for Children is a fun and engaging way to explore the night skyIt's a virtual planetarium and education tool that teaches kids (and adults) about constellations and celestial bodies. 

Kids can stargaze by pointing their device at sky. The built-in gyroscope follows kids' movements and creates a map of the sky based on their locations.

I've learned so much. Hooray for technology!

Curriculum Area: Science

Age Appropriate Group: 5+

iPad App - Gracie and Friends Birthday Cafe

This is a super approach to helping kids develop an easy familiarity with quantities under five. 

Kids match the number of guests with the seats at a table, and number of plates to hungry guests as they seat and serve food to Gracie and her pals. To do this, kids must subitize for numbers up to five, or quickly determine how many objects are in a group without counting. (Here is a great article on subitizing. Isn't it a great word?)

The game offers scaffolding galore with twenty levels that increase in difficulty or pause for tutorials based on each child's needs.

Curriculum Area: Math

Age Appropriate Group: 5+

iPad App - Big Bird's Words

This app is Sesame Street quality through and through.  Highly interactive elements make this app super fun and engaging.

Play begins in a cyber grocery store where kids are introduced to an i-spy-like game.  Our favorite big yellow bird describes a food and kids have to find it in the on-screen market.That item is then added to a grocery list. 


From that list, kids choose a word to drag into the Word-o-Scope. They then have to find that word in their environments (the pantry, the store, a recipe, any piece of print). Kids line up the word in the camera, and the Word-o-Scope, impressively, recognizes it. Very nifty!

Curriculum Area: Reading

Age Appropriate Group: 5+

iPad App - Reading Rainbow

Take a look! It's in a book! Cue the classic RR song.

Reading Rainbow offers an extensive library of books to users, themed according to a child's interests  Kids can choose to have a book read aloud to them or to read the book themselves. 

But, to access more than the first five free books, it's going to cost you. The subscription fee is: $10 for one month, $30 for six months, or $50 for one year. The high price tag may be a deterrent to many. A library card is free, after all!

 Curriculum Area: Reading

Age Appropriate Group: 4+

iPad App - Who Am I?

This app was developed by a Harvard University expert on anthropology and diversity. Its' goal is to act as a catalyst for meaningful discussions between parents and children about race, ethnicity, and culture. 

The app includes many parental tips on how to talk about human physical diversity and racial self-identification. The game is really designed to be explored by parent and child simultaneously, making it both highly engaging and eye-opening.

Curriculum Area: Social Studies

Age Appropriate Group:  5+

iPad App - Sago Mini Monsters

From a green pit of bubbly slime, kids drag and form a monster shape. After adding horns, eyes, teeth, and seemingly limitless accessories, one can tap a check mark to bring the creation to life.  Kids can then feed and care for their monster.

It would be nice if the accessories were scalable, so that kids could make a bow tie bigger or smaller, for example.  I think that an in-app sharing option would be a great addition too. All of that delicious creativity should be shared with friends and family, after all.

You can shake the device, a la etch-a-sketch, to knock everything off and start over again at any time. I think that Sago Mini Monsters is pure creative fun! 

Curriculum Area: Arts

Age Appropriate Group: 3+

iPad App - Kid in Story Book Maker

Kid in Story Book Maker has a pretty heft price-tag of $6.99. But, it's social-story focus for kids with special social and communication needs is unique and does set it apart from similar apps. 

Creating social stories is a snap and allows kids to see themselves in different situations before they encounter them. This may help ease anxiety. This approach can be very successful with kids on the autism spectrum.

Here  is a video of a social story created using Kid in Story about moving, found on YouTube.

Curriculum Area: Emotional Development

Appropriate Age Group: 4+

iPad App - Toothsavers

Toothsavers Brushing Game is a free app produced by the 2min2x campaign to promote the brushing of little pearly whites twice a day for two minutes.

Kids can play games to see how brushing removes food from their teeth and kills bacteria, unlocking more characters as they advance along a map in a kingdom that is locked by a curse that only brushing can end.

Kids also can brush along with a two-minute video that shows them how to brush each area of their mouth and teeth. Parents can set up the times of day their kids should brush and receive push reminders that it's time to do just that. This app can truly make parenting easier!

Curriculum Area: Health and Fitness

Appropriate Age Group : 5+

iPad App - Touch and Learn Emotions

Touch and Learn - Emotions is a free app that helps kids identify and name emotions, facial expressions, and body language. 

Four stunning images appear on the screen and a voice says an emotion such as "tired." Kids tap on the picture of the person they think looks tired. You can also add personalized audio and photos to boost engagement.

Some of the images are rather ambiguous. I had trouble identifying a few of them myself! The app could use a bit more of a tutorial. Fortunately, the settings options allow you to adjust which images link to which emotions and set images to match more than one picture. 

Curriculum Area: Emotional Development

Appropriate Age Group: 4+