written by: Steve McFarlane•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 5/26/2011
Having trouble getting your children excited about mastering literacy and numeracy skills? Try these apps - they are designed to capture the attention of children and make learning fun for them.
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It is not always easy to determine what new gadget or toy kids will take to next, for the simple reason that adults and children have different tastes. Nevertheless, we have combed the web in search of Android apps for kids that have consistently gotten favorable ratings from children and their parents alike. If you have the confidence that your little one won't trash your Android, here are some of the best apps for kids on Android – they will keep the children occupied, entertained and educated.
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Paint Joy - Movie Your Drawing (Free)
There is no two ways about it; children love colors and love to color things even more. Paint Joy is a neat way for children to express their creativity without messing up the walls and furniture with real paint. The app has over 15 brushes and a color palette to choose from. A favorite feature of many Paint Joy users is the movie playback feature that allows you to see, stroke by stroke, the steps that were used to create the drawing. After your kids are done creating their masterpiece, you can e-mail their artwork to their grandparents, to show them just how much progress they are making and how creative they are becoming.
Toddlers seem to be transfixed by the colorful shapes and captivating sounds that are made each time the screen is touched or played with, and often fall asleep playing with the game. The idea behind this game is to get the toddler transfixed on playing with, and making, various shapes on the phone, while not giving access to the rest of the Android device. In essence the phone can only be unlocked by someone who can read the unlock instructions at the top of the phone.
This is a digital version of connect-the-dots activities that preschoolers often find engaging. The app has 90 plus images, once the dots are correctly joined a colorful image is revealed. This is a great way to have children practice working with numbers and letters of the alphabet, without them even knowing it that they are learning. Some older kids may also find the game fun to play, but bright kids will soon run out of images to work with and get bored with the app. This makes the $2.99 purchase price a bit hard to justify.
This is another way to engage girls who like Barbie dolls. The aim of this app is not to help girls develop an eye for fashion, but to help them develop their problem solving skills. Barbie Dolls is simply a jigsaw puzzle that is reassembled by dragging the pieces to their correct spot on screen – the game has 90 stages and 4 difficulty levels to challenge those who play this game.
Kids Numbers and Math Lite is designed to teach children basic math and numeric skills. They will learn addition, subtraction, matching, advanced preschool activities and how to choose min and max numbers. The app keeps the learning progress moving along by prompting for user input/response in child friendly English, Japanese, French, German or Spanish. The app is free.
More than doctrines and dogma, the bible is replete with stories that can teach deep moral lessons. Especially for parents who are trying to raise children in a world of declining moral standards, these timeless stories can help to sow good seeds in the hearts of children. The app presents the bible parables in a comic book form, that children often find attractive, and has support for English, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, German, Italian and French. Help your children learn good life lessons from these stories and parables with this children’s stories app.
This app is also a reincarnation of an old classic. Simon helps adults and children alike to develop their memory and mental alertness by trying to remember the sequence of colors and sounds that were played and then reproducing them. A fun yet educational game for your mobile phone.
Those who were growing up during the 80’s may remember the Speak and Spell toy. It was designed to help children learn how to speak and spell words. This app emulates that toy and the features it had – it is amazing what can be integrated into a phone or Tablet. It is unlikely that a child will be entertained by this app, but it can help them learn lots of words and perhaps improve their pronunciation.
We couldn't conclude our roundup of the best Android apps for kids without including an ABC app. This game is designed to help kids (3+), to learn the alphabet by using educational images and the children generally find the graphic design stimulating and fun to use. There are a number of game types to choose including “finding letters," “finding a word" or “writing a word," all of which are designed to help children learn while having lots of fun in the process.