We see a lot of apps for kids here at Cool Mom Tech. A lot. Which means when we feature an app on our site, we really love it. Great for you, but tough when we’re trying to narrow down our favorite kids’ apps for 2013. Here, the cream of the crop when it comes to the best apps for kids of all ages.
And yes, we realize that most of these are for iOS, which makes sense since parents are much more (like 3x more) likely to carry (and let’s be honest, hand over) an iPhone or iPad than an Android or Windows device. But always nice to see those Windows and Android apps popping up too, especially after we’ve hinted very strongly about that for many years now.
Learn with Homer
Aside from being utterly charming, Learn With Homer is a comprehensive reading app that was created by literacy experts that kids love as much as parents. (iOS)
Mo on the Go
If your kids love Mo Willems and his Pigeon as much as our kids, then you’ll want to snatch up his latest app release, which is as appealing and entertaining as his first. (iOS and Nook)
A to Sea
There are no shortage of cool alphabet apps, but this year, we’re crushing hard on A to Sea, which is more of an e-book than an app. Even so, your kids will not only love the illustrations but come away with a pretty extensive knowledge of underwater life. (iOS and Android)
Mystery Math Town
Mystery Math Town encourages kids to use math skills and build equations to unlock rooms and passages as part of a cool mystery story. And thanks to the customizable skill levels, it’s perfect for young and older elementary kids alike. (iOS)
Human Body app
While The Human Body app won’t necessarily be replacing any science books, it’s a cool, virtual playground that beautifully showcases all the amazing functions of the human body. Hence the name. Heh. (iOS)
Think Tim Burton meets Cut the Rope and you’ve got a cool, addictive game that you might want to play as much as your kids. (iOS and Android)
The gorgeous retro style illustrations of Junior Astronaut are enticing, but don’t think the app is just a pretty face. Your older elementary kids will really benefit from the well-designed discussions (and accompanying app features) of space-related science topics. (iOS)
Our Editor Kristen’s daughter described Toca Builders as “Minecraft without the scary zombies trying to bite your head off” and well, she’s pretty spot on. It’s a creative building app similar to Minecraft that’s perfect for younger kids that aren’t necessarily ready for the other parts of that game. (iOS)
Here’s one of the best handwriting apps for preschoolers we’ve seen, with thoughtful lessons and an approach that makes a sometimes boring (hey, we said it) subject much more interesting and enjoyable. (iOS)
One World Kids
Give your kids a day in the life of kids around the world through photos and audio narration by children with those accents. We’re finding it’s one of those apps our kids bring up later, remembering the stuff they’ve learned and wanting to discuss it with us. Awesome.
Check our entire Editors’ Tech Picks of 2013 series to see all of our top picks of the year, and follow on Twitter at #CoolMomBestof2013
The illustrations in A to Sea look wonderful – I’ll definitely download that one for the kids.
Another great kids app worth checking out is Peppa Pig – Happy Mrs Chicken. It’s fun, bright and educational and has helped a lot with my daughter’s counting and motor skills.
I am disappointed that, not only do you provide mostly ios apps in this article, but you also (Mistakenly) add that iPhones are more prevalent (“like 3x more”). In actuality, Android phones are more common than iPhones, although the race is reasonably close in the US. Several independent studies have been done to attest to that fact. (For a good, unbiased showing, you can visit http://techland.time.com/2013/04/16/ios-vs-android/ –this being one of a multitude of similar findings). I like your site, but this blatant error/misinformation kinda irks me. It’s fine if you like Apple products better, or find more useful apps for the iPhone than you do in the play store, but please don’t blame your lack of variety in app platforms on the misguided excuse that iPhones are more widely used.
Thanks for your comment. If you reread the post, you’ll notice that we specifically stated that *parents* are more likely to own iPhones – 3x more likely.
“[in the survey of 25,000 mothers] moms prefer iOS to Android by 77 percent to 23 percent. While the overall U.S. mobile device population is split more evenly with 60 percent on iOS and 40 percent on Android.”
Because we primarily cater to mothers (though certainly we have lots of readers who are not), this information informs our decisions about what to cover. You’ll notice we also don’t cover violent FPS video games for the same reason. We also know from our own reader surveys that upwards of 90% of our readers have an iOS device in the house, so even if they are not using iPhones, they are downloading iOS apps on iPads.
Interestingly, there is also a socioeconomic divide that’s increasingly growing between iPhone and Android users that got a lot of play after the holiday shopping season in 2013. Here’s an interesting piece on it:
“Android is the dominant platform of the next decade. Why aren’t designers paying it more attention?…The replies were mostly variations on the theme that Android users don’t pay for apps, they don’t have data plans, you can’t monetize them easily, and designers are all iPhone users and don’t really understand Android users”
Another very comprehensive piece on why Android development still lags behind iOS, from the Guardian, which explains in part why many of the “best” apps just aren’t on Android–or aren’t yet:
Kind of fascinating.
In any case, thanks for stopping by and we’re glad you like our site, Skye. – Eds