Best Travel Apps for Children Ages 6-8

Here are a few travel apps to keep your children engaged while you are in the car, airport, or enjoying some down time.

Traveling with children ages 6-8 is an enjoyable experience, and there are so many different ways to enjoy your time together. Here are a few travel apps to keep them engaged while you are in the car, airport, or enjoying some down time.

 

MebyTinybop

Me by Tinybop

This exploration app focuses on your child and everything that makes them unique. This app is perfect for children ages 6-8 because they enjoy expressing their interests, talents, and abilities. Children can record their likes and dislikes, make their own symbols, and answer hundreds of different questions about themselves represented by small bubbles floating on the screen by different categories. Some examples of the prompts presented in the app include: “This color makes me feel sad,” “When I grow up, I would like to be,” “My family includes,” “When I’m scared, I.” The app is easy and intuitive for kids to use; tap the floating bubbles and create an answer. They can draw their answers, record themselves with the microphone, or make a video. Parents, make your own avatar and answer the same questions as your children. A fun way to share and connect with your child for $2.99.

 

Read KinderTown's reviews of top math apps.

Winky Think Logic Puzzles

Slide and move shapes and explore cause and effect in Winky Think Logic Puzzles. Children are introduced to the concepts of each puzzle slowly, and they must drag and move shapes around the screen to solve the puzzles. Creative obstacles are introduced such as pins, ice, bars, and lines. The game offers three different skill levels with 180 games in each level. The app is designed so players can progress at their own pace. Children can use multiple fingers to slide the shapes on the screen, but parents will want to be sure to disable Multitasking Gestures in the settings to prevent the ability to use multiple fingers to accidentally send you out of the app. Parents, you will enjoy these puzzles too, and you can watch your child’s problem-solving skills as they play or make suggestions in order for them to advance to the next level. A user-friendly replay button is located in the bottom right hand corner to reset the puzzle if needed. As each level progresses, additional obstacles are presented, and children earn different tools to solve the problems. Winky Think Logic Puzzles is $2.99, available for iPhone and iPad and appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

pettesonsinventions3

Pettson’s Inventions 3

Pettson’s Inventions 3 guides young children through physics challenges. 36 invention challenges are presented on a map, and each section contains several related inventions. This app is a delightful experience for exposing young children to problem solving and basic contraption play. If the app is too hard for your child at the beginning, go to the settings page and turn off the “fake” objects which add more challenge. Each invention challenge involves the use of simple machines. Students must match the pieces up into the correct order to make the machine move and complete a task such as helping the bunny reach the carrots. Each challenge slowly becomes more complex as children understand how each machine part works. A bike part is earned for every invention section that is completed correctly to help the character, Pettson fix his bike. Pettson’s Inventions 3 is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 6-8.

 

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Early Math Apps for Multiple Skills

These apps provide practice with multiple skills in the area of early math.

The following apps provide practice with multiple skills in the area of early math. These apps can provide the parent insight into skills their child may need additional practice with or provide a review of previously learned skills. In addition, changing the skill keeps the attention of children as they practice what they have learned.

 

Marble Math Junior

Marble Math Junior offers an engaging maze for kids to roll their marble around as they solve problems.

Marble Math Junior offers an engaging maze for kids to roll their marble around as they solve problems. Kids who like to physically move around can use the motion controls of the iPad to tip it and turn it to make the marble move, allowing themcollect the given items. Each time a maze is presented, the directions tell children how to collect the items(for example, “collect from first to last” or “collect numbers that multiply to make 8”). The directions can easily be read aloud to the students as they tap on the words. If children answer incorrectly, they can easily try again using the Replay button or tap the Show Me button to see the answer. There are three levels of game play to make the app long-lasting for kids. Children will enjoy collecting the extra surprises hidden in the maze, such as the flashlight that turns your marble into a special spotlight. The app presents a number of early elementary math skills including telling time, addition and subtraction, comparing numbers, multiplication, and beginning fractions. Parents can easily control what skills are presented to their child by using the checkboxes under Skills on the main screen.

 

Mathlandia – early math learning for kids

Mathlandia provides 6 early learning number games for your child to enjoy.

Mathlandia provides 6 early learning number games for your child to enjoy. Experience content that takes your child through the simplest counting games to a subtraction experience that is so supportive we think a 4-year-old would benefit from playing. Each game is paced slowly with purposeful animations and illustrations. There aren’t any distracting noises or overly stimulating graphics in Mathlandia. Your children will enjoy the number play and counting games.

 

Bugs and Numbers

Bugs and Numbers touches on a variety of math concepts that span a wide age range, including counting, sorting, patterns, measurement, time, money, and fraction activities.

Bugs and Numbers is the third in a series of early learning, playful math apps from Little Bit Studios. The app touches on a variety of math concepts that span a wide age range, including counting, sorting, patterns, measurement, time, money, and fraction activities. The games are beautifully designed and completely fun for kids. There is even a bug reward area for some free play. Our only note is that some of the games advance quickly, so you might want to choose the games carefully so as not to frustrate your child. Join in on the play when you first start Bugs and Numbers; this is app you’ll enjoy playing, too!

 

KinderTown has reviewed many math apps. Check them all out here.

 

 

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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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Coding Gift Guide for Kids

We’ve recently talked about apps that promote coding skills, so here are some less techy gifts that will inspire that same higher-level thinking and problem-solving required for programming.

 

Learning to code can be delightful and captivating. Read our reviews of some less techy gifts that inspire problem-solving.

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by: Linda Liukas

hello ruby

Hello Ruby is a captivating story about a little girl named Ruby who has to solve a puzzle. She is spunky and bold. She is given a map to solve the problem and must travel to different locations in an adventure world. Along the way she is solving different clues in order to gain the rubies she needs. The book is organized into chapters and each chapter includes a problem to solve and introduces a special character.  In the back of the book, there are activities to complete with your child that go along with each chapter and use the type of thinking skills presented in the chapter. For example, Ruby learns how to repeat the task of connecting sticks with rope to create a ladder, and uses that skill to solve the problem of reaching the ruby. Overall, the storybook is delightfully crafted and appeals to children ages 6-9, with parents interested in facilitating learning activities.

 

Robot Turtles: The Game for Little Programmers!

Robot Turtles

Robot Turtles is a board game for kids that revolves around the concepts of the Logo programming language. Players as young as 4 can dictate the movement of their turtle on the board by using cards that give commands to the turtle. The commands tell the turtle to turn, move forward, or side to side. The goal is for your turtle to reach its own jewel. The game has other components that can be introduced gradually once your child has a basic understanding of how the game works, such as obstacles, repeat cards, and lasers. These additional components make the game interesting and challenging for older children. Lastly, Robot Turtle has done a great job of making programming understandable for parents, and providing clear directions in the booklet that accompany the game. I especially appreciated the Quick Start Guide and the additional resources provided online. The game is well developed for parents as well as children.

 

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Apps That Promote Problem Solving

Problem Solving apps are perfect for your children to explore on a rainy day, a long car ride, or a day off from school.

Problem Solving apps are perfect for your children to explore on a rainy day, a long car ride, or a day off from school. Check our KinderTown’s top picks for developing problem solving skills.

 

Thinkrolls

In Thinkrolls, rolling character balls take the stage as your child solves increasingly complex problems to allow their character to progress through the maze. Read KinderTown's review.

In Thinkrolls, rolling character balls take the stage as your child solves increasingly complex problems to allow their character to progress through the maze. There are two levels of game play, easy and hard. Easy is recommended for children 3-5, and hard for children ages 5-8. KinderTown recommends that all children begin at the easy level to understand the goals of the puzzles. Your child does not have to spend a long time at this level to be ready to move to the harder levels, but this will set them up for success. A blinking “redo” symbol flashes in the corner to assist your child when they are stuck and unable to complete the challenge. The challenge is then reset with the maze.

 

The challenges in the mazes come in the form of obstacles. Some unique obstacles include fire blocks, ice blocks, balloons, and KinderTown’s favorite, the jelly block. The jelly block allows your character to jump up from one area to another. Another child tester favorite was the fire block. Watch out! If your character rolls into the fire block, it will turn black and burnt, which our child testers loved! However, the goal is to not become burnt. Children eventually solved the puzzles after experiencing the burnt characters. As the levels progress, children have to use visualization skills to predict the cause and effect of several “moves” in the puzzle. Concepts about physics and chemistry are sprinkled along the way when children must make decisions about the moving gear box, figure out how to make the balloon pop and move the ice to squelch the fire. The app offers an amazing amount of content in the 90 levels of easy game play and 90 levels of hard game play. Many different players’ games are stored within the app by the labels “Player 1″ ,”Player 2.” Change the “Player 1” to your own child’s name by double tapping to store different games for multiple children within the app. Be sure to read the Chapter descriptions in the settings section for parents in order to have a complete understanding of all the challenges presented in each level or chapter. There are nine levels of game play included so the app is long lasting! Thinkrolls is a truly unique app priced at $2.99, available for iPhone and iPad, and is recommended for children ages 3-7.

 

Twelve a Dozen

Twelve a Dozen is a game based in the town of Dozenopolis in which the number 12 must solve puzzles in order to save the town. Read KinderTown's review.

Twelve a Dozen is a game based in the town of Dozenopolis in which the number 12 must solve puzzles in order to save the town. The fictitious town is buried beneath a broken pixel on a calculator. Twelve, the main character, must progress through the world in order to save Dozenopolis by solving problems and math number sentences. Twelve is accompanied by her friend “Dot,” a helpful decimal point. The app does have a creative story line and dark graphics. Your child should have a solid understanding of addition and subtraction to use the app effectively.

 

As the levels progress, concepts about multiplication and division are presented and must be solved. Twelve a Dozen uses creative numblings, which are number characters that you use to solve problems. Twelve is the main character but her number screen changes when other numblings are added or subtracted from her. KinderTown likes how the app allows you to rewind or use hints, and includes checkpoints along the way. This app would be well-suited for children who are typically at the end of first grade, or at a second grade level, or ages 6-8.

 

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KinderTown Flips Over Osmo!

Osmo comes with a stand and a mirror that attached to the iPad and allows for the integration of real objects into the play associated with the iPad.

My Osmo product arrived this week, and KinderTown was giddy with excitement! Osmo is a unique game system for iPad. Osmo comes with a stand and a mirror that attaches to the iPad and allows for the integration of real objects into the play associated with the iPad. There are 3 apps that can be used with the Osmo system. When you open your Osmo system, assemble the red mirror device onto the iPad, and the iPad on to the stand. Download the free apps and you are ready to begin.

 

Osmo Tangram

The Osmo Tangram kit comes with tangram pieces that interact with the iPad. Read KinderTown's review.

The Osmo Tangram kit comes with tangram pieces that interact with the iPad. Download the free Osmo Tangram app to get started. Osmo offers a nice “getting started” section to familiarize your child with the use of the pieces and their interaction with the screen. The child must arrange the tangram pieces to match the on screen arrangement. While constructing the pictures, your child is developing important visual spatial skills. After your child completes the “getting started” section, the app offers different pictures for your child to choose from to construct with the tangram pieces. The app also indicates the level of the pictures from easiest to hardest by color coding them yellow, orange and red. The yellow puzzles offer color clues and the orange puzzles offer black and white shapes. The app does offer a hint button if needed to complete the puzzles. The hardest level offers just one solid black outside line. Arranging the tangram pieces was challenging, engaging and also fun to complete with a friend.

 

Osmo Words

Osmo Words is played with the letter tiles. Read KinderTown's review.

Osmo Words is played with the letter tiles. One set of letter tiles is blue and the other is red. To play, you can either play alone or with a friend.  To compete with a friend was challenging and loads of fun! Osmo Words shows you a picture and the number of coordinating letter tiles. For example, a picture of a tree and 4 blank tiles. You must race your competitor to see who can throw the correct word tiles out first. The letters can be tossed into the playing space in any order. KinderTown really likes how more than one child can play with the tiles and the iPad to develop cooperative play skills. One suggestion KinderTown has is that the letter tiles are all in capital letters. Most words when written in text are lowercase. It would be great to see both upper and lowercase forms of a letter on a tile, maybe one on the front and one on the back. Children need exposure to both forms of the letters, especially when learning to read.

 

Osmo Newton

Osmo Newton uses the Osmo system to reflect the space. Read KinderTown's review.

Osmo Newton uses the Osmo system to reflect the space, and the players choose which objects they use from around the house to affect the space. Osmo Newton drops balls from the top and supplies targeted areas that the balls should reach. KinderTown used blocks, paper clips, pencils and drawing lines on the paper in the space to change the movement of the balls to reach the targeted areas. Osmo Newton was challenging and does require persistence on the part of the player to solve the puzzles. As you continue to play, the number of targets increases and objects around the targets are added to increase the challenge. KinderTown recommends using 3D objects to affect the space. The drawing of lines was helpful but more difficult to change (erasing) when we wanted to change the direction of the moving balls. This app uses your child’s thinking and problem solving skills to interact with the screen in a challenging way!

 

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Just Plain Fun! Educational Apps for the Summer

Read KinderTown's reviews of these fun summer apps.

Busy Shapes

Busy Shapes

Busy Shapes encourages children to use their logic and problem solving skills to maneuver shapes and objects into the correct holes in order to advance to the next screen. Busy Shapes is an app inspired by the work of Jean Piaget who proposed that children construct their own knowledge through play, in this case digital play. Busy shapes has 38 levels of play and continues to advance and challenge children as it adapts to their level of learning. It includes an area to set up multiple logins per household. The app does not teach the names of the shapes but encourages free play and cognitive development through experimenting with the shapes. Busy Shapes is $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 2-6. The app is colorfully made and includes basic tools along the way to help  children explore the effects of the tools on the shapes.  As the levels become more difficult, multiple tools are presented.  The app is very intuitive for children who are familiar with the iPad. They start dragging the shapes and they are off to solve the problems presented. Parents, you may need to assist when your child reaches a challenging area they can not solve on their own, but generally this app is one your child will be able to navigate independently.

 

Care Bears Love to Learn

Care Bears Love to Learn

Care Bears Love to Learn grabbed my attention, because I can distinctively remember my purple Care Bear that I loved!  The Care Bears are back because, we grew up with them and they remind of us of our own childhood.  I like this app a lot because it is simple, yet presents easy to understand questions in a randomized fashion which kept the attention of our youngest child testers. The app works on a mix of basic Preschool skills such as colors, shapes, letters, memory skills and counting.  The app also rewards children with digital stickers when they answer the questions correctly. The app is free and appropriate for children ages 2-4.

 

Grandma Loves Bugs

Grandma Loves Bugs

Grandma Loves Bugs is an app that practices different types of skills that are appropriate for children ages 3-5.  The app includes 10 mini-games and 8 educational videos for children to enjoy.  The app works on skills such as matching letters, memory skills, identifying groups and looking for differences. Grandma is charming as always and dances, and needs help finding the bugs in her hair.  This app offers great basic skills practice for the summer. Children can also catch fireflies, draw a spider web and eat caterpillar leaves with Grandma. The app is $1.99.

 

How I Became a Pirate!

How I Became a Pirate!

This app by OceanHouse Media is a digital book sure to be loved by your kids.  I know many boys who love to pretend to be pirates, and I often observe large playground toys, or backyard tree-houses imagined into pirate ships. The How I became a Pirate book was a New York Times bestseller and is sure to be a favorite digital book as well. It has two options for reading: Read to Me, and Read by Myself.  The book has several different interactive options. When reading, your child can have the words read again by tapping them or tap the wrapping on one of the pirates heads and hear the word bandanna. This story is perfect for summer because the story begins with a boy using his imagination at the beach spying a pirate ship in the ocean. The pirates come upon the shore and interact with the boy. The boy in the story board the pirate ship and has an adventure. I really like the recording feature on each page.  Beginning readers can read and record their voice. Save the recording and your child can listen to themselves read the story.  This is a great learning activity for children ages 6-8.  It develops fluency and expression while reading and will become a parent favorite as well. The app is $3.99 and appropriate to read with children ages 3-8.

 

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Best Coding Apps for Young Children

Check out these top coding apps for young children.

Coding. It’s the latest, most popular, and slightly geeky topic to be teaching your children right now. A recent New York Times article called Reading, Writing, Arithmetic…and Lately Coding, talks about the trend and it’s significance. I like this trend and feel that teaching coding is teaching problem solving, strategic thinking, visual/spacial concepts and math. It’s all of these skills wrapped up into one area, and usually weaved with game-like qualities that make it fun for kids to learn. That’s why coding is a great addition to your summer learning. Check out these top coding apps for young children.

 

Kodable

Kodable

Kodable is an introduction to coding for young children. The Kodable website uses the tag line “Learn to code before you know how to read.” This is an interesting thought in our digital age. When children use the app they are coding fuzz balls to move around the screen. The app starts off with very simple mazes for the “fuzz” balls to complete, and progress as your child completes the puzzles.The children we tested this app on loved the option to change the puff ball’s color as they earn additional colors when they successfully complete the puzzles. Kodable is for kids ages 5 and up and is free but does include in-app purchases to unlock additional levels. With the free version there are 45 levels with interactive tutorials. Kodable Pro offers all of the in-app purchases into one app for 6.99 and includes interactive tutorials and learning guides. Check out their website  for more information on their line of apps. Kodable also offers another feature called Kodable Sync, which is designed for classrooms in order to accommodate multiple students.

 

Daisy the Dinosaur

Daisy the Dinosaur

Children can program Daisy the Dinosaur and learn some basic rules of programming in the process. Daisy the Dinosaur has two sections for your child to explore, free-play mode and challenge mode. In the free-play section, children can experiment with commands and see how Daisy moves as a result of their program. In challenge mode, children are presented with a problem to solve. They must use the commands given to complete the challenge. Use the easy drag and drop icons to make Daisy move. Daisy the Dinosaur lays the very basic foundation for learning programming in the future. The amount of content in the app is not expansive, but a good amount for a free app. This app would serve as a great introduction to programming or to test your child’s interest in the topic. Daisy the Dinosaur is appropriate for children ages 5-8 and is free.

 

Move the Turtle

move the turtle

Move the Turtle is reminiscent of the turtle that I used to program on the Apple II e. Move the Turtle is a much more updated version of the basic programming I learned as a child. It offers three areas to explore; Play, Compose and Projects. In the Play area there are nine different chapters with directions to instruct your child on how to program the turtle to accomplish a basic goal such as moving to a diamond or drawing a line with a pen. Children earn diamonds, trophies and stars along the way. In the Compose area your child can apply what they have learned in the Play area in order to create their own project or experiment with commands. In the Projects section, your child can explore what other children have created. Move the Turtle also offers the option to create multiple accounts for children in your house or in a school setting. Move the Turtle is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

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