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.
Exactly how fast can someone rack up a $2,500 tab with a free App Store game? One five-year-old across the pond did it in a matter of minutes, with the unwitting help of his parents and their password.
Having your own animation studio on an iPad is a fantastic resource, no matter your age. However, the younger ones may find it difficult to grasp the principles behind stop motion animation using apps designed for more mature users. And if you wish you had the time to teach them, but don’t, luckily Easy Studio - Animate with Shapes is a fantastic resource designed to let young children learn as they go.
You don't have to be a great artist to have a good time fiddling around with DrawQuest. This goofy little social art app for iPad encourages you to draw something new everyday by giving you a prompt to follow, and then pitting you against other artists to see who can come up with the most clever sketches. It's a cool way to jump-start your creative spirit, but the real fun comes from sharing your creations with the game's thriving community and voting on your favorite doodles.
Our lives are on our iPhones. Gone are the days of fishing through boxes of old photos and unlabeled Super 8 videos; now, we can reminisce just by reaching into our pockets. But even the most obsessive parents can lose track of their favorites in such an endless sea of snapshots. That's where Lifetime in My Pocket comes in. A photo organization app that focuses on individual pictures rather than full events, Lifetime filters your photo library into a single stream of moments that tracks every milestone and precious memory in a sleek chronological portrait.
Kids love iPads, and those whose parents have Netflix subscriptions probably love that company's "Just for Kids" section as well. Now, those two great tastes are coming together for a "special kid-friendly Netflix experience."
Toddlers and preschoolers love to draw, and the App Store has no shortage of solutions for keeping little ones busy doing just that. Squiggles! for iPhone is one of the latest, but goes much further by actually bringing your little one’s work to life, complete with animation and sound.
The thought of creepy monsters lurking under the bed, in the murky depths of the closet, and in other dark places around the house is enough to give most young kids nightmares, but Hiding Monsters puts a fun and friendly spin on uncovering creatures that go bump in the night. This colorful, interactive storybook app delivers a short, cheerful tale of mischievous monster pals that your kids will love to poke and prod through.
When it comes to iPad apps made for kids, how many of them are any good, let alone great? Viacom’s new Nick Jr. Play & Draw HD happily falls at the latter end of the scale, inspiring creativity while entertaining kids at the same time. Play & Draw HD allows children freedom to create in a colorful, intuitive, and educational environment that features familiar faces like Dora the Explorer.