Happy 2016! Julie's first post for the new year is actually a recap of some of the most impressive apps she reviewed last year. She call this the “TOP FIVE Apps of 2015 that Deserve a Second Look”. She decided these apps were the best of the best, with each one being awarded a TOP PICK. They are listed in no particular order, and they represent a cross-section of children’s apps available in the App Store and on Google Play.
Julie's Top 5 for 2015!
Outstanding app for parents of children with special needs:
(Note: Although technically not a children’s app, I have included it on the list because of its unique and worthwhile content for parents of children with autism.)
Children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) experience the world in ways that are often confusing and scary. The Autism Discovery Tool simulates these difficulties using a technique that gives people a glimpse of what it must be like for children that struggle with sensory integration disorders. Parents can discover what it looks like and feels like when sensory input is distorted. Not only does this build empathy, but it also starts the process of planning strategies to make the child more comfortable. Read full review
Outstanding spelling/ literacy app (elementary level):
by Education Curb Party (available for iOS and Android)
This developer has designed a comprehensive program that incorporates spelling into a series of phonics/literacy apps. SpellNow Year 1 focuses on the basic vowel rules, including short and long vowels, rhyming words, making words plural, and using the silent “e." SpellNow Year 2 continues where Year 1 leaves off. Parents will appreciate the well-organized content, while children will enjoy the age appropriate learning games that feature the antics of cute, furry little creatures. The app is designed for children ages 6-8 and is a win-win for everyone. Read Reviews - SpellNow Year 1 - SpellNow ear 2
Outstanding science/nature app:
by Bright World eBooks (available for iPad only)
More than just a story, Ocean Forests provides a tour through a magnificent kelp forest, from the ocean floor up to the canopy layer. Also included is a separate 3D exploration module that allows your child to find information and fun facts about the many different inhabitants that live deep within the realms of the kelp forest. This app gives viewers a chance to discover a largely forgotten world hidden deep beneath the ocean’s surface. It is intended for children ages 6-12 who love to learn about the nature. Read Review
Outstanding coding app:
by Scientia Software (available for iOS devices including iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch)
What’s coding? It’s the language used to write computer programs and apps. Not very many years ago, only computer science students showed any interest in coding, but in the 21st century, coding will become a skill that many, if not most, children will learn. Believe it or not, developers are now simplifying the concept so that youngsters can learn the basics of coding. Traffic-Programming for Beginners is a simple app that uses a series of instructions to create a "program" that sets a car in motion. Using code, it is possible to make the car move forward, steer left or right, stop, and avoid crashing into other vehicles. It is intended for children over the age of 8. Read Review
Outstanding fantasy app:
by Plexus Games (available for iOS devices, including iPad, iPhone, and iPod)
Beautifully conceptualized and expertly designed, My Little Fairy gives children (ages 4-7) an opportunity to wander around an enchanted fairyland where nothing is quite as it seems. The graphic design in this app exceeds expectations, with its rich colors and 3D artwork. Don’t be put off by the fact that this is a “wordless” app. The key to success is to encourage your child to talk about what is happening on the screen. This is an excellent way to develop oral language and thinking skills.
So there you have it. These apps received our highest level of praise in 2015. If you are searching for some new apps to add to your child’s device, I think they are worth considering. Complete reviews for these apps can be found by searching for them by name on our site. Now that 2016 is here, it's time to start reviewing all the new apps that will be released.
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