Mini Monet ($2 on iOS)
Theme: Drawing / Art
Mini Monet lets kids explore a town where they can click on different things to learn about different types of art. Kids have a number of digital tools available to them, such as markers, paint, pencils, and glitter. They can also make custom stickers and stamps. Mini Monet offers 120 coloring pages and a blank pad in which kids can create pictures from scratch. Every week, kids receive a new challenge page and can win stickers for completing said challenges. Every masterpiece can be saved to your child’s art book and looked at later or sent to emailed and printed out. Once kids complete a coloring page, they can earn coins and use those to buy new coloring pages or different colors. If you have a little one who wants to play along, Mini Monet offers the magic pencil that ensures they stay within the lines. Though this game says it is appropriate for children up to 10, unless your child really likes to color, there isn’t much appeal for all but toddlers.
Theme: Art Preservation and Sharing
Artkive is the refrigerator door of apps. It allows you to take pictures of your kids’ artwork and share it on Facebook or send it to anyone via email or text. This may sound like something you can already do with the camera on your phone, but Artkive offers child-friendly navigation and lets anyone easily edit pictures for brightness or filters. Artkive lets you create a plaque for each picture that includes the child’s name, age, and date, so you don’t have to try to remember who painted what. You can also upload artwork you like onto the Artkive website and create calendars and books, which could be used to embarrass your children for years to come. A book from 99-105 pages cost $100. Artkive can be used to preserve school work and projects as well. If you have more than one child, you can either combine all the artwork or make separate accounts for each one.
If your child likes to sing and listen to music, Little Fox Music Box is the perfect app. The player can sing along with the Fox and his friends to classics such as “Old MacDonald,” and “London Bridge.” Each song is paired with a different scene with interactive animals and backgrounds. If your little one is tired of the standard basic songs, head to the fox studio where you can record original songs while Little Fox dances along. This app is not without a major flaw: it’s relatively simple for kids to buy in-app purchases. For reasons yet to be fixed, Little Fox Music Box still allows in-app purchases regardless of whether you’ve have turned them off on your phone or tablet. These purchases appear when users swipes down from the top of the screen–which is easy to do for a child–so parents would be wise to keep an extra close eye on their children while they play this game.
Theme: Music Education
A great place to start learning about music, My First Classical Music App teaches kids about different genres of music, types of instruments, and historically important composers. The app has a lot of text, but kids can click on paragraphs to have them read out loud and click on pictures to watch illustrations dance and move. Cartoon animals walk kids through what each instrument sounds like and how these are played. Once you child has learned about instruments, you can head over to the composers section and read about the lives and music of famous composers. The app features over 40 recordings of classical music, so they can start to recognize famous pieces of music. After working through the app and reading about instruments and composers, your child can answer questions about the material to test retention. My First Classical Music App is one of the more expensive apps on this list, so only pull the trigger if is something you are confident your child will enjoy for awhile.
Theme: Creativity / Lite-Brite
Lite-Brite was a revelation of the ’90s that combined the glory of neon, art, and potential chocking hazards. This relic used to be found in every suburban home, but now it has gone the way of Pogs and fuse beads. Art of Glow brings back the national past time digitally — without the choking risk. Every creation begins with a blank black screen and children choose which kind of brush stroke to use, such as stars, hearts, and circles. Choose a color, all of them neon, and draw away. It’s like finger painting without the mess. Some of the shapes are animated and will come to life, but all of them are bright and eye-catching, perfect for a young child. After the masterpiece is completed, you can then save them to enjoy later. And perhaps the biggest upside to this app: you won’t find those little Lite-Brite tabs stuffed in the carpet.
What are your favorite apps for kids? Sound off in the comments below.