Glue sticks, sharpened #2 pencils, folders, 3-ring binders, and composition books, oh my! And a few tissues to wipe away your back to school tears.
You’ve got the physical essentials, saw your kiddos off on the school bus, and stopped crying (mostly), now for some digital fun when they come home! I mean learning. No fun / learning / fun / learning / rabbit season / fun, what?
Here are OWTK’s top iOS apps for back to school season. Load up the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iWhatever with these beauts that are all super fun and some even educational…you know, if you’re into that sorta thing:
This is a gorgeous app that’ll sweetly walk your toddler through, you guess it, the 4 seasons (and no, I’m not talking about Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Soccer…although that’d be pretty awesome too!) Tizzy Seasons is a gentle, quiet app that isn’t a storybook and not quite a game, although there is some lite cause-n-effect gameplay (build a sled / fly down a hill in the Winter, design a jack-o-lantern / watch it light up in the Fall.) Available separately in stunning HD for iPad, and also in standard definition for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad.
Along the same lines as Tizzy Season, seasonally speaking, this very Toca Boca-ish looking app involves getting a zany pair dressed appropriately for specific times of the year. Make a mistake and the boy and girl show their emotion and come back into the house for much needed costume change (love the girl sweating in the summer when she is bundled up in winter gear!). There isn’t a ton to do, but for a buck it is a clever and visually delicious app for lil’ kids to giggle over as they pick the proper ensemble, hat, and footwear for the season. Very cute and with an update to make it a bit more robust, this could be a real hit with tiny tots. Available for iPad.
What’s tremendous about Hungry Guppy being your toddler’s first math game is that it encourages very basic math skills that you and your child may not even know they possess, but, in all likelihood, they already do or will quickly obtain playing this lovely underwater math adventure. Pick the colors, pick dots or numbers or mixed, and pick the level — for example, on the Numbers Only / 2 & 3 level, a fish wearing a #2 swims around a series of bubbles with 1s and 2s in them. Your child is tasked with dragging a 1 to another 1, making it a 2, and watching the fish gobble it up. Shazam! They’ve just performed their first math equation innocuously and had fun doing it. Yep, that is brilliant and beautiful. The mellow steel drum music? Oh that’s just the icing on this tasty math cake. Available for iPad and all other iOS devices.
A nifty 6-in-1 app with games to help children learn their letters through looking (animal pictures), doing (connect the dots, flying a flamingo to collect ABCs, seek and find), and writing (my fave with a variety of pencil colors and an easy dotted-letter guide to capital A through Z.) The add-on, animal mask photo booth ‘game’ is tough when playing solo, without the ability to flip the camera around, but with a friend or sibling to lend a hand, it could be fun. Available for iPad and all other iOS devices.
A preschooler’s delight, Kapu Forest is the sum of 10 whimsical mini-games designed to casually educate, but more importantly, to provide simple, gentle fun for your youngest children. No obnoxious sounds, no ads, no need for parental instructions, but WITH a playtime clock that can be set ahead of time. That is pretty darn brilliant from this darn pretty app. Available in HD for iPad, standard definition for other devices (for $.99), and a Lite version to sample the fun for free.
Mobad Media makes some stunning 3D storybook apps (The Furniture Is Alive, Penelope Rose) and they have another hit with Chug The Bug. A perfect Back 2 School story about making new friends and finding yourself, the storybook comes alive by touching on words to hear them read aloud and finding then tapping the hidden surprises on every page. Or, set it on Auto Play and watch the storybook like a short film. Either way, Chug the Bug is terrific. Chug the Bug 3D is available for all iOS devices.
Catch the falling coins, get what you want! Complete missions to collect a certain amount of coins, get help remembering how much each coin is worth, and then pretend to buy things! There’s also a cute story mode. Coin Catcher is a nice, well-executed app to start the conversation about money falling from the sky, or just about money in general. Your choice. The lite version for iPad gets you 10 (of the 50 total) for free.
*OWTK received promo codes to test out these apps. The opinions above are honest and unbiased, as always.