Depending on your feelings about the company's distinct brand of entertainment, Wake Up With Disney either takes a bit of the pain out of dragging yourself out of slumberland or ensures you’ll never want to sleep again. You’ll have to love Donald Duck and his propensity for tantrums to stand it for more than a few minutes, as he’s the one and only choice of companion in this playful interactive alarm clock. He’ll huff and he’ll puff, and he’ll either drive you insane or delight you with his wake-up-time antics.
With the incredible popularity of Minecraft, it’s not surprising to see other games expand upon its winning creation formula. Toca Builders is one such offering, but it uses the template for additional aims. This kid-oriented app from Toca Boca adds some interesting twists to the core concept of “building with blocks” and gives kids the chance to be creative while also employing problem-solving skills.
Pairing Disney's biggest original iOS hit with the company's most iconic character, Where's My Mickey? XL delivers another breezy physics puzzler that challenges you to guide a stream of liquid to the cartoon mouse. Skillfully utilizing a classic Mickey Mouse aesthetic with animated cut-scenes, the game maintains the winning gameplay formula that propelled Where's My Water? and licensed follow-up Where's My Perry?, though a lack of challenge makes it less memorable than expected.
Our kids may have been able to unlock our iPhones since before they could walk, but that doesn't mean they're actually gaining anything by using them. There are countless cartoon and character apps to keep them occupied, but sometimes we want them to learn and create while they're having fun. Montessorium's "Intro" apps have always struck a keen balance between education and entertainment, but its latest entry, Intro to Colors, might be the best to date. With a vivid, interactive interface inspired by the Montessori color tablets, Intro to Colors just might turn your child into the next Picasso.
A good night's sleep is as important to parents as it is to babies. Whether your child is still in swaddlers or running around at top speed for hours on end, a nice stretch of shuteye can do wonders for refueling his/her body -- and yours. But as for getting a kid to actually lay down for eight or so hours? Well, that's another story. Lullabytes is something of a smart soother for your iPhone, using simple controls, intelligent sensors, and sweet melodies to lull your child to sleep.
When I was a kid, I got this magazine called Penny Power, which was put out by Consumer Reports with the goal of helping kids grow wise to the concepts of money (mostly spending it) in age-appropriate ways. It's no longer published, but I still remember some of the lessons it taught me, because it made those lessons fun. Dinorama appeals to me for the same reasons, now as a parent myself. It's filled with teachable moments about money, wrapped up in a tycoon-style game where kids build and run their own dinosaur park.
Summer’s here, which means that now (or very soon) the kids will be free from the clutches of school for a long stretch of vacation. But there’s no reason that you can’t encourage some independent learning to keep their minds from turning to sludge, especially with a little help from an iPhone or iPad. These 10 fun and engaging iOS apps will expand your kids’ vocabulary and leave them talking like scholars in no time.
Fancy yourself a comic book fan? If you've always dreamed of weaving together your own comics and image-heavy stories, but don't have the motivation (or ideas) to pursue the real deal, Halftone 2 for iPad can scratch that itch and then some. With more flexibility and features than its predecessor, this greatly improved follow-up lets you create elaborate and hilarious comics from your camera roll almost effortlessly – if you're willing to drop some green on in-app purchases, that is.
Sometimes the simplest of activities can be loads of fun. That's the case with Face Party, a stylish and goofy app that lets you create wild and wooly pictures of monstrous pals to tweak and share. Charm ultimately wins out over substance here, but that shouldn't stop you from tinkering with terrifying tomatoes, fidgeting with mega mustachioed men, or drafting evil cat-pigs to your heart's content.
Like all parents in the digital age, we have a couple of folders on our iPhones and iPads dedicated to our young children, filled with apps designed specifically for their growing minds. At first blush, Petting Zoo – an interactive picture book created by New Yorker cartoonist Christoph Niemann – seemed like one more cutesy app for our collection. But once we started playing with it, we realized that we were enjoying it almost as much as our little ones.