31 Top Kids' Software Titles

31 Top Kids' Software Titles

EDUCATION: Learning Should Be Fun (continued)


Sure, the Internet knows everything - but this app keeps the skankier portions of that knowledge off-limits to your kids.


2007 World Book


Kids with native curiosity are a perfect match for World Book. The app's clean design makes using it a snap, and it covers a wide range of topics. It's still a more cumbersome than typing Joe Di Maggio into Google - especially since Google forgives common spelling errors. It took our testers four minutes to get to the Joe Di Maggio entry in World Book (with his name correctly). It only took them four seconds with Google (spelling it incorrectly). On the other hand, the World Book doesn't try to cover the entire world, which could seem like a blessing compared to what the kids might find if you set them loose on the Net.


COMPANY: Software MacKiev
CONTACT: www.mackiev.com
PRICE: $49.95
AGE RANGE: 7 and up
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.3.4 or later
Comprehensive. Appropriate for a wide variety of ages. Clean, easy-to-use interface. Universal binary.
Your kids won't ask you anything anymore - wait, maybe that's a good thing?



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Derecha, lista. Izquierdo, listo.


Mia's Language Adventure


There was a time when certain adults might find themselves watching programs like the Teletubbies. For fun - hours and hours and hours of fun. We wouldn't be surprised at all if Mia's Language Adventure didn't spark that kind of devotion, with its hyperreal graphics and Mia the Mouse's valiant efforts to get her young pupils to speak another language, in this case French or Spanish. Our testers were conversant in Spanish and familiar with French, but they were quite entertained by the software's narrative flow, which is saying a lot. Probably "one of the best we've seen," say the kids. ¡Muy bueno!


CONTACT: www.kutoka.com
PRICE: $26.95
AGE RANGE: 6 to 10
Addictive. Great graphics. Simple and engaging - and simply engaging.
There's not enough room at the Mac for you and the kids.



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Teach your kids to create worlds, and one day they may upgrade the real one.


MicroWorlds EX


Our 8- and 10-year-old testers glommed on to this one right away. They were both amused and entertained by the ability to create wholesale environments out of a wide variety of flora and fauna. The graphics were par for the course for kids' software (read: a bit low-end), but it was almost turnkey in terms of adult involvement and supervision. But we really need to know: What's up with the black turtles?


CONTACT: www.microworlds.com
PRICE: $99
AGE RANGE: 8 and up
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.3.9 or later, 512MB RAM
Kid testers enjoyed creating their own worlds.
Average graphics and functionality.



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It's like being in math class, but with twice the math.


The Geometer's Sketchpad


The problem with any kids' math software is the same one you run into with any math class for kids who aren't math prodigies: Making math exciting and nonthreatening is hard to do. And if we're talking about software that's supposed to be chosen voluntarily by your child, when there's no parent or teacher watching, the job is probably even harder. The Geometer's Sketchpad works hard to get around this - and succeeds as much as a piece of software possibly can. But this is clearly not software that kids are going to fire up on their own, so get ready to relearn your geometry as you help your young'uns learn it.


COMPANY: Key Curriculum Press
CONTACT: www.keypress.com
PRICE: $129.95
AGE RANGE: 9 and up
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 8.6 to 9.1, or Mac OS 10.1 or later
The closest thing they've invented yet to a "teacher in a box."
You'll have to force - er, encourage - them to use it.



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This app has been around forever, and for good reason: It's a treat.


The Oregon Trail 5th Edition

There seems to be a thin line between engaging your kids and just giving them something to stare at. The Oregon Trail encourages kids to do stuff - not just sit passively and watch - and it was especially apropos for our 9-year-old tester, who had just visited the Oregon Trail. She found the app easy to set up and quickly got involved in the story as the software actively encouraged her to build maps and participate in other ways. Will your kids pick this up without being prompted? Probably not. But once they do, it will foster problem-solving skills in a way that would make the pioneers proud.


COMPANY: The Learning Company
CONTACT: www.learningcompany.com
PRICE: $19.99
AGE RANGE: 9 and up
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 8.6 to 9.2 and OS X
Keeps kids engaged by encouraging them to interact with the software.
There's only so much excitement to be had in Oregon.



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EDUCATION: Also Try...


If you want to let kids age 4 to 7 "work" on the computer unsupervised without worrying about what they'll get their paws into, Kidwidget ($24, www.astoundit.com) offers a solution: a kid-friendly interface that features a handful of tools including writing, drawing, painting, a piano keyboard, flashcards, a dictionary, and a calculator. Visual learners can beef up skills in language arts, math, social studies, and science with Kidspiration ($69, www.inspiration.com). Help your budding Einstein memorize vocabulary words, math equations, or other important stuff with Genius (free, web.mac.com/jrc/Genius). If your fourth- to eighth-grader professes a love of numbers and stats, nurture that affinity with TinkerPlots ($89.95, www.keypress.com), which helps them build visual representations of mathematical data. Future meteorologists, storm chasers, and pilots will dig 3D Weather Globe & Atlas ($39.95, www.mackiev.com). And World of Where ($15.95, www.acqualia.com) lets your kids - or you - navigate the world.






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tsk ler thank you (:


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You are absoluterly right it helps you to develop the interest in the children so that they can learn while they think that they are playing, and also very helpful to judge the abiluities of the studenst so that you can know where you should workout on the speciefic child. Regards,David Patterson http://www.wholesalepages.co.uk


Mike R.

What a great article. As a parent, I'm sometimes hard-pressed to find good Mac software for my 5 and 8 year olds. These are very good reviews of what's out there.



It is good that someone writes articles which really matters something.

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