3 Creation Apps to Try with Your Kids

Try these creation apps with your kids; creative play and activities play a central role in a child’s learning and development.


Try these creation apps with your kids; creative play and activities play a central role in a child’s learning and development.


These type of learning experiences help build connections in the brain that foster problem solving and communication skills. Often when kids are actively involved in the learning process they are more likely to remember the learning behind it. For example, you may remember the details of a volcano model that you made and how it erupted because you were actively engaged in the creation experience.


Duckie Deck Trash Toys

Duckie Deck trash toys

Create something new with virtual trash. Use the spray paint tools to decorate a tin can, a plastic cup, or an old jar to produce a new look. Then use springs to create arms, buttons for eyes, or silly string for hair. Save it to your camera roll when you are finished. Unleash your creativity and then let your child try some offline creative tinkering with similar objects. This app is easy to navigate and it’s easy for kids to work together to make creations. Duckie Deck Trash Toys is appropriate for children ages 3-6 and costs $2.99.


Art Maker by ABC’s Play School

Art Maker

Art Maker by ABC’s Play School offers an engaging scrapbook-style environment for children to create, narrate, and imagine. Children can choose from a variety of backgrounds with characters and objects to which they can add, resize, and manipulate. Each picture can be assembled into a storybook or transformed into an interactive video as your child narrates and moves the images. His creation can then be saved in the app to view again. A very informative “for parents” page gives tips and ideas to help you get started. Art Maker is $2.99 and appropriate for children 3-6.


Toca Builders

toca builders

Toca Builders is a virtual 3D playground where kids use characters to build and create their own unique world. Each character has a different way of contributing to creations in the virtual world. For example, Jum-Jum loves to spray paint (a favorite feature of our child testers) and Connie can lift and move blocks. Your child can create several different play-based worlds within the app that he can add to or adapt later. The app does not include any words or dialog so be sure to take some time to discuss the characters and their abilities, or perhaps create a story about the characters as your child manipulates their world. Toca Builders is a Minecraft inspired app but appropriate for children ages 4-8. Children can demonstrate their creativity as well as spatial relationships within a 3D environment. Be sure to check out their “for parents” section within the app for more ideas. The possibilities are endless for your child’s imagination in the Toca Builders world.


Related Blog Post:
3 Top Book Creation Apps


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The 7 Types of Educational Apps

Many educators and parents are searching for educational apps that provide the best virtual environment for learning to take place. Generally, this means apps that deliver meaningful content with an in-depth experience incorporating discovery and challenge.


Many educators and parents are searching for educational apps that provide the best virtual environment for learning to take place.

These apps are often “free-play” or “choice-filled” games that encourage kids to engage in their own learning. Apps that integrate depth of content and choice empower learners and construct understanding. These apps have activities designed to support the child as they progress and master tasks. This keeps your child in the ideal zone for learning , building on past concepts and challenging them to try something new. Feedback is often provided for parents or teachers through email to let you know how your child is progressing.


However, a lot of educational apps don’t fit this ideal or only offer one of the types of learning experiences listed above. Often they don’t offer children independent choices, and they stay on the surface of educational subjects instead of diving into deep thinking. Is there value in these types of apps, or should parents and teachers not use them? Just because an app doesn’t meet the ideal doesn’t mean there isn’t value in the other experiences. Completing math drills, reviewing grammar skills, or playing puzzle games can support your child’s overall development, too.


To help me make sense of the different types of educational apps and the learning experiences they provide, I have created 7 overlapping categories. Sounds like a lot? It is. Keep in mind that many apps fit into two or three different categories because each provides something a little different to a child’s learning experience.


Breaking Down the 7 Categories


1. Playful Learning

These are the apps that I tend to enjoy the most. They are silly, funny, and open-ended. Just because the educational content doesn’t take the center stage doesn’t mean that your child isn’t learning through play. Play is primary mode of learning for most young children. These apps mirror the free play your child enjoys at home, such as pretending in the kitchen, driving trucks, building with blocks, or playing dress-up. You want these educational apps for your kids because they encourage creativity and lead to more creative, playful experiences away from the app. For example, after playing with a virtual science lab for kids, my daughter asked if she could freeze soap bubbles to see what would happen to the solution. Good examples of this type of app would be the apps made by Toca Boca and Dr. Panda. Try out Toca Lab for a playful science lab your children will love!


2. eBooks

When reviewing an eBook for educational content, not just a good read, I look for the experience to encourage learning through listening and observation. eBooks that use meaningful interactivity (not just tap to see what happens) for extra practice and play also fall into this category. It is always exciting to find stories that use interactivity to connect learning experiences and vocabulary to real life. Your child benefits from hearing stories read aloud in order to develop vocabulary, an understanding of story lines, and a love of books, especially during the pre-reading years. Auryn HD- Teddy’s Day, Cinderella by Nosy Crow, and Goodnight Moon are some of my family’s favorites.


3. Workbooks/Worksheet

These apps usually generate a question and ask the child to choose between three or four choices. I wouldn’t encourage this kind of app for play time, but why not use them for homework and extra practice? Especially if you are replacing the time your child is spending with sheets of paper and pencils, the use of these apps can have many more benefits. They’re great for fluency, test prep, and direct one-step content practice. Be present when your child uses this type of app because often they can choose the wrong answer several times, which creates a less beneficial learning experience. Try out Todo Math and Bluster! Deluxe as examples of workbook/worksheet types of educational apps.


4. Puzzles and Traditional Games

There are now many puzzle, memory, matching, and other classic early learning games available in app form. These apps have the potential to support cognitive development in the same way as traditional games, such as encouraging reasoning skills through a game of Go Fish or developing spatial skills through a classic puzzle. I still believe it is beneficial to dust off the traditional puzzles once in a while, but these apps are really fun for kids, too. There are extra benefits of developing social skills when they include multiple children. Try these apps made for more than one child.


5. Theme Experiences

These apps let your child delve into themes that really interest them. If your child can’t get enough of dinosaurs, why not grab a few dinosaur apps and let them explore? This is similar to going to the library and grabbing a few books. Your child is absorbing so much of their passion that it is hard to keep up, so include iPad apps in their quest for new knowledge. Check out the Science and Social Studies categories in KinderTown to find apps that correlate to your child’s current interests. Barefoot World Atlas, appropriate for ages 4-8, and Geography Drive USA, ages 6-8, are favorites in my house.


6. Interactive Encyclopedias

This one is easy – you get to see videos and images and even play games right in the app. Do I need to say more? These are beneficial because your child is exploring topics of interest. For example, if your child is struggling with understanding the life cycle of plants, an app like this might be the way to make the connections to the content they need. ABC Aquarium is an excellent example of this type of app, appropriate for the youngest learners.


7. BYOC for Kids – Build Your Own Content

These apps are less game-like in structure and have more of an open design that allow kids to create their own unique activities from scratch. The benefit of these apps is building what you want instead of only using pre-made offerings. Create your own machine, design your own work of art, or build a virtual world. These apps are beneficial for parents who want to create a special experience for their child above and beyond traditional learning. Try out Pettson’s Inventions Deluxe, Faces iMake – Premium!, and Toca Builders for engaging experiences that are sure to tempt you to jump in and create alongside your child.

A variety of app options provide an opportunity to search for what is going to suit each child best. There is much more out there than the “gold standard” that gives a valuable learning experience for your child. KinderTown can help you discover the latest and best educational apps for your child.


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3 Top Book Creation Apps

Use these apps to easily have your child create something special.

Fall is in full swing, and for my family that means trips to the pumpkin patch, walks to the park, and collecting leaves. Parents, I am sure you are also snapping photos as you create memories with your children. Why not create a memory book with your child of your experiences? You could create a photo book, art book, a book to use as a gift, a journal, or a creative story based on your fall fun. Use these apps to easily have your child create something special. They probably won’t be aware of it, but they’ll be developing reading and writing skills in the process.


Book Creator for iPad

book creator

A simply designed app, Book Creator for iPad, can take your ideas and make them into a well-designed book. When Book Creator opens, a simple visual tutorial walks you through how to create a book. In Book Creator, you can add photos, create drawings, or record your own voice. Also, adding text is simple. Book Creator offers 3 different book layout options (landscape, square, or portrait) and includes 50 different fonts. Book Creator is free and is appropriate for children ages 5-8. Ideally this is an app you would use alongside your child to encourage creativity, writing, and sharing their work with others. When you are finished, you can email the book, print the book, export it as a PDF, or upload it to iBooks. These options are great for sharing with friends and family. The app is $4.99.


My Story Book Creator School Edition

my story

My Story Book Creator is a creative book maker where your child can use stickers, markers, photos, and voice recordings to create their own book. This app also allows for multiple users, so more than one child in a household or classroom can have their own account within the app. This feature is great for classrooms or learning centers. My Story Book Creator also allows for sharing if enabled by email, on social networks, or in iBooks. Parents, be sure to help your child with this part if you are interested in sharing. My Story Book Creator costs $4.99 and appropriate for children ages 4-8.


Savor the childhood moments of the fall with your children and create a book together.


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KinderTown Loves Tiggly Shapes!

Using the iPad to learn about shapes provides another avenue for exploration and learning.

Shapes are one of the core learning concepts for early childhood development. Using the iPad to learn about shapes provides another avenue for exploration and learning.


Tiggly Shapes

Tiggly combines the digital world with physical manipulatives that are so important for young children. I value hands on learning, and when I saw the Tiggly Shapes I was instantly in love! Tiggly Shapes are hands on 3-D learning shapes (square, circle, star and triangle) that interact with the free Tiggly Shapes apps on the iPad. They are rubbery, durable and easy to grip for little hands. I think this concept is right on target for early learners and I could not wait to try them with children. As I suspected our kid-testers loved them too!


Most recently, Tiggly added a bilingual feature allowing you to choose two languages to engage with while playing with the Tiggly apps. Let me overview three of the free apps that go with the Tiggly Shapes. Also, if you aren’t up for purchasing the Tiggly Shapes you can use a lite version of the apps for free. Tiggly Shapes and their apps are appropriate for children ages 18 months to 4 years old. KinderTown rarely recommends apps for children this young, but we feel strongly that the hands on component of these shapes is appropriate for children as young as 18 months when used alongside an adult. Parents, please note that you must match the shapes to the screen when the app launches to allow the Tiggly shapes to sense the screen. Also, check out the parent section in each app for additional information. Tiggly apps are only made for the iPad.


Tiggly Safari

Screenshot 2014-06-05 17.36.21

Tiggly Safari invites children to match the correct shape to the outline of the shape shown on the screen. After matching the shape, the app shows the shape, and the coordinating word. Then the shape is made into a safari animal, all while hearing the animal sound in the background. In multi-language mode the name of the shape is said in both languages that are selected. Also, the word is shown in both languages. As the app progresses, multiple shapes are combined to make animals and different orientations of each shape are shown. Tiggly Safari is the app I would recommend using first with your Tiggly Shapes.


Tiggly Draw

Screenshot 2014-06-05 17.37.05

Tiggly Draw allows your child to create characters from the Tiggly Shapes. Add a funny face, a mustache or silly feet, and then save the creation to your camera roll. The shape characters come alive with animation and sounds after they are created. Choose from 10 different backgrounds, and the character combinations are endless. Parents, have fun sharing your child’s work with friends and family. In addition to learning about shapes, your child is developing vocabulary associated with character parts as well as giggling over their silly animations.


Tiggly Stamp

Screenshot 2014-06-05 17.36.49

Tiggly Stamp is an open-ended creative play scene to use with the Tiggly Shapes. Each time a shape is “stamped” on the screen it becomes an object to play with in the scene. Your child may create an animal, decoration or flower. Many of the scenes presented have a theme often based on the time or year. My favorite feature of Tiggly Stamp is the recorder. This is especially great for developing oral language and interacting with your child. Tell a story about the scene with your child and the voice recorder will record all your interactions. Play your story back or delete it and create another one. This will surely be something you will want to treasure as a parent. I love listening to my child tell the story and I like knowing that I have preserved the sound of her young voice. A great keepsake for any parent or loved one!



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3 Creative and Educational Apps for Kids

Read KinderTown's reviews of these creative, educational apps.

“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” — Ken Robinson


Wreck this App

Screenshot 2014-05-12 21.53.36

Wreck this App, as the name implies, invites children to make a mess with the pages in this virtual journal. Each page gives the user a prompt in order to think as an artist or start into an artistic direction with their own thoughts and ideas. Wreck This App is based on the book Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. The app is intentionally created in black and white and has a simple interface that children ages 4 and up can easily use. The journal does not read the prompts to you, but younger children are able to navigate the tools once the prompts are read aloud to them. This would be an engaging app to take on a trip, to use while waiting in an airport, or on a rainy or snowy day inside. Some examples of the prompts included on the pages are: Add a photo of dirt, garbage or stains, trace your toes, or document a boring event in detail. This app makes your child think in many different directions and they can use words, photos, or drawing tools to express their answers. If your child doesn’t like the creation they’ve made, they can erase it and create another one. The app does have options for easily sharing to social media so parents will want to monitor their children when using the app or disable these features on your iPad. Wreck this App is available for $4.99 for iphone and iPad and uses creative prompts and ideas to make a digital journal your child can enjoy coming back to again and again.



Screenshot 2014-05-12 21.54.14

PlayArt makes you feel like you’ve stepped into an interactive Art Museum. Add a background of Monet’s and add artistic elements of Van Gogh and empower your child to take on the feeling of famous painters to create their own pieces. The app has an area where kids can save their masterpieces in the My Museum section. Within the app, children can decide which painter’s elements are their favorite’s and save them to their own personal pallet. Children can also add their own paint to the background of notorious painters or start with an empty canvas. The app includes 160 elements and 48 canvases from 8 famous painters. The app is completely kid safe and does have options for sharing to social media but they are locked. We wish that the app contained more information about the well-known artists themselves, so parents may have to supply the information once children are exposed to the painters. This app is sure to pique their interest in prominent painters work and enjoy the process of creating their own unique paintings.


Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App

Screenshot 2014-05-12 21.57.24

The app is based on the famous book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! By Mo Willems. The app is cleverly titled “Don’t let the Pigeon Run this App.” In this app, appropriate for children ages 3-6, your child brings a new Pigeon story to life when the bus driver asks for ideas. The app is narrated by the author, Mo Willems, as himself and the Pigeon. When opened, the app awakens with the happy cheering voices of children. Choose create your own story to begin. This app offers three different options for creating your own pigeon story depending on your child’s level; egg, chick or big pigeon. The egg level creates a new pigeon story for your child to listen to and invites them to read along. We recommend leaving the reading tab open so your child can see the words as the story is told. The chick level gives your child picture choices in order to customize the story. In the Big Pigeon level, your child then uses their own voice to add their own ideas…a definite parent favorite. Once you make choices for the story you must shake the pigeon in order for the story to be created. Finally, listen to your story and laugh with your child and enjoy literature, storytelling and the experience of loving a book character. The app saves all your child’s creations under Favorite Stories and includes an area where your child can learn to draw the pigeon himself. This is an app to be enjoyed alongside your child and is sure to be loved by children of all ages. To find out more about, Don’t Let the Pigeon Run this App, download the free KinderTown App, the Educational App Store for engaged parents.


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