Do you own an iPhone? Do you also have toddlers or kids who are about to enter school? Put the iPhone and the kids together with some of the apps listed below to keep the kids busy as they prepare themselves for school.
The list below is separated by categories, and each app is listed alphabetically under those categories to show that we do not favor one app over another. The links lead to reviews about the apps or to the businesses that created the apps. This way, you can learn more about the apps before you download them. While many of the apps listed below are free, some cost anywhere from $0.99 to under $4.00. Also, the reviews can help you learn whether the app truly is age-appropriate for your child.
- ABC Animals: Toddlers to second-graders can enjoy this app, where they learn animal names as well as the alphabet. Flipping the cards reveals examples of how letters are used, which can teach kids how to spell.
- Animal Memory Match: This is a match game for kids of all ages that can test and improve their memory skills as well as help them learn to identify animals. Imagam also carries other memory games on their site.
- AnimalSays: Like Simon Says, this app helps kids memorize animal sounds. This app is supported by advertising.
- Dex ABC Animals: This set of flashcards is similar to ABC Animals listed above. Each letter is paired with a corresponding animals, so your child can learn letters, animal names, first-sight words, upper- and lower-case letters and pronunciation of letters and animal names.
- Landleben: Take the kids out to the farm, where they can learn various animals and sounds. A tracker is included to keep count of the discovered sounds and animations.
- Peekaboo Barn: Tap on the barn doors to learn which animal is hiding behind them. Animal names are in English and Spanish, but the sounds are all animal.
- Softick: Coloring is a great skill for preschoolers to learn, but now you don’t need to lug coloring books and crayons around with you. The coloring ‘books’ come in sets, from Elementary to Creatures and holiday books.
- Create a Cartoon Face: Generate cartoon sketches by selecting a face type, hair style, eyes, mouth, nose, etc. This app can help kids learn how it feels to accomplish a task as well as learn more about facial expressions and how to draw them.
- Doodle Kids: Created by a kid (Lim Ding Wen) for kids, this app is a free art application that has been downloaded over 4,000 times since its release this year.
- Preschool Adventure: Written specifically for pre-school kids, this app allows kids to select colors, shapes, sounds and body parts to see images and learn various image names by sound.
- Spin Art: Remember the splatter-happy fun of spin art? Now, your kids can enjoy it without the mess with this iPhone app that encourages artistic expression.
- Midomi: Midomi is an application that will identify any song it hears, whether it is on the radio, being played live, or your own singing or humming. This is a great way to learn pitch, words to songs and more.
- MiniPiano: This fourteen-note keyboard provides hours of fun and learning for kids. If you want another octave, try FingerPiano. A link to the latter app is located at the MiniPiano link.
- Ocarina: Smule makes a number of musical apps, but this one is too hot to pass up. Make flutelike music by blowing into the microphone and fingering on-screen “holes.”
- Wheels on the Bus: This is a wildly popular app that teaches sing-along songs in several languages and an option to record your own version. Different scenes also call for various interactions.
- Bejeweled 2: This is a classic computer game, modified to play on the iPhone. Swap jewels to fill a row with identical jewels. This game is suitable for kids of all ages, but don’t expect the toddler to accomplish a line-up immediately.
- Best of I Spy: Each puzzle consists of a picture with hidden objects. This is an old game, that has been proven to challenge critical skills and that offers fun for kids of all ages.
- Bob the Builder: With a focus on critical thinking, problem solving and fun, kids can complete fun and educational activities to build the a carnival with the help of Bob and the Can-Do Crew.
- Bobby Carrot Forever: This app requires the gamer to solve puzzles and find carrots before moving on to the next of 72 levels. Suitable for first graders to play alone.
- Brain Challenge: Meant to be played in short bursts on a daily basis, this app provides games that challenge kids. Comes with a personal trainer, one female and one male.
- Shape Builder: Grab this bag full of 120 puzzles that include music instruments, fruits and veggies, animals with sounds and more. These puzzles are geared toward toddlers.
- touchPhysics: Kids don’t need to know physics to practice the basic laws of physics. Draw shapes on the screen which moves a ball to its target, according to real physics laws.
- TanZen: Preschoolers can use this game to learn how to fit shapes together. This is the iPhone version of the classic Tangram puzzle game, which has over 400 different ways to fit seven pieces into a larger shape.
- Trace: Preschoolers can enjoy walking a man to a target in different screens and levels. Draw and erase paths and remove moving obstacles to teach problem-solving skills. Levels become more difficult as the game progresses.
- Where’s Gumbo: This is a digital ‘lift the flap’ book app that helps your preschooler learn how to gain problem-solving skills. Gumbo (a dog) is lost, and your child must find him under different flaps for each game.
Reading and Writing
- Dejal Narrator: Play out a story with different voices with changes in pitch, inflection and volume for various story characters. This app also contains an option for silent read-along.
- iPhoneTypingTest: A simple Web site created to test typing speed on an iPhone.
- iWriteWords: This app can teach your child how to write while playing. Great for preschoolers.
- Letter Tracer: Help your preschooler and other prereading children trace and paint letter and number shapes so they’ll be prepared for reading and writing in grade school.
- Rulla: Create a message that crawls across the iPhone screen like a news ticker. Start with names and work up from there.
- SpellingBee: Even preschoolers can delight in Benny the Spelling Bee as they engage in the first of three levels of this spelling game.
- StoryNory: Storynory is an online treasure trove of audio stories published weekly since 2005, including fairy tales, and specially-adapted myths and histories.
- The Caterpillar’s Dream: iKidsPlay takes preschooler stories and adapts them to the iPhone. This app is easily memorized by non-readers and easily learned by beginning readers. Bonus is the painting tool, a doodle pad and a recording/read-aloud section.
- TypingWeb TypingTutor: This is a premier typing tutor for iPhone and iPod Touch. Practice, increase your speed and track progress for free.
- Word Scramble: This game is geared toward older kids. Race against the clock to find as many words (of at least 3 letters) as you can. Longer words score more points.
- Wurdle: Early and skilled spellers can use this game to make words with this Boggle-like game.
- Basic Maths: This app provides exercises covering basic mathematical skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Targeted for children under twelve, they can experience varying degrees of difficulty as they learn.
- Basic Maths Deluxe: This is the deluxe version of Basic Maths that provides exercises covering even more fundamental math skills.
- BrainTuner: BrainTuner tests basic math skills against the clock. Perfect practice for ages five and up.
- Clock It Lite: Use this app to teach your child, or anyone for that matter, how to read a time shown on a clock. This is not a real clock, so don’t rely on it to be on time for class.
- Coin Math: What a great way to learn how to count and add U.S. coins. Kids learn both sides of a coin, how to add them and how to pay for something with the correct coins.
- Cute Math: This is an easy and comfortable math application for kids under age five. Several games teach math basics, such as counting to ten.
- PopMath: Six pairs of bubbles with numbers float on the screen. Pop the corresponding bubbles. Each level grows more difficult, including levels that use equations.
- Brain Toot: Exercise the brain with sixteen brain-training games for math, visual and thinking skills. This study aid is suited for older kids who won’t be satisfied with barnyard animals or Toddler Flashcards.
- Flash 4 Kids: This app allows kids to see the type of questions they want and then allows them to practice them easily.
- iFlipr 1.11: iFipr Flashcards contains pictures, sounds and a WYSIWYG editor to change font faces and sizes, to add highlighting and more. Plus, users enjoy a large community of users with over a million available cards at the Web site.
- Mental Case: use these premium flash cards to learn a languague, memorize trivia or study for an exam. Import information or enter it directly. Mental Case can generate lessons and sync time to your iPhone or iPod Touch and can tell you when to study, too.
- StudyArcade 1.0.2: This flashcard app synchronizes with Anki, ChinesePod, FrenchPod, ItalianPod and SpanishPod as well as import cards. Great way to study foreign languages.
- StudyCards: Download study cards to learn offline, or type your own (in 650 languages) or import a text file from the Web site.
- Toddler Flashcards: Teach basic words, letters and more including basic words in English, French or Spanish.