Discovery apps can be great time-savers when you’re looking for the best iPad and iPhone apps for your kids. Here are
five six good ones that you can download for free from the App Store. They make it supremely easy to find parent, expert and teacher-recommended kids apps, which deliver the age-appropriate entertainment or educational value that you expect. They’re also very helpful when searching for kids apps proactively in a pinch (as in, loading up an iPad or iPhone with the best apps for kids for an impending trip) or reactively on the fly (as in, deciding urgent questions like “Mom, may I download Instagram, pleeaassee?”).
And so, I bid you Happy Hunting (emphasis on happy). These
five six discovery apps — presented alphabetically — should take a lot of the the iffiness and guesswork out of your kids app downloads and lead you to the best iPad and iPhone apps for your kids with greater speed and accuracy.
Bonus tip: Because app review is an inexact science, it’s good to get more than one assessment on any kids app you may be considering, especially paid ones. When time permits, look for consensus among two or more of these discovery app reviewers, and if necessary, find confirmation from others. You can use my list of more than 100 iPad and iPhone kids app reviewers to find other insightful kids app reviews and recommendations by age (toddlers, tweens and teens) and type (kids books, games, special needs and learning apps).
AppStar Picks draws its kids app reviews and recommendations from six astute kids app review sites: Fun Educational Apps, Digital Storytime, Applicable2U, Teachers with Apps, The iMums and Apps for Homeschooling. Of the thousands of kids apps independently reviewed by these sites, AppStar Picks showcases only the apps that reviewers deem the best iPad and iPhone apps for kids. To date, more than 320 apps for kids aged three (and under) to 13 (and over) comprise their database. The app also delivers app sales and discount deals on a weekly basis, as well as updates on other apps created by app developer, AppGrade.
Here’s how to use the “AppStar Picks” discovery app to find the best iPad and iPhone apps for kids:
- To find suitable apps for your kids, tap “Search” at the bottom of your screen. Next, tap the “Microscope” icon to the left of the “Search Box” above to set your search parameters. You can add keywords to “Context” to describe what you’re looking for; for example, “storybook” or “science.” Then, set your device preference to iPad, iPhone or universal; chose an age range from “Under 3″ to “13+”; and specify one of ten kids app categories, from books to games and multilingual apps for kids. Finally, hit “Search” for a list of worthy kids apps to consider.
- To get kids app suggestions by subject or genre, tap “Picks” at the bottom of your screen. Next, tap the category of kids apps that interests you from among the ten provided: Books, early learning, art and creative play, educational, games, entertainment, special needs, seasonal, utilities and multilingual apps. Then, tap a relevant app subcategory or actual app name. Recommended age guidance appears at the very beginning of the review, right under the kids app name.
This app is brought to you by Common Sense Media, a well-regarded organization that’s dedicated to giving parents and teachers advice on media and technology for kids. It provides straightforward ways to conduct age-based searches for kids apps and kids app recommendations for ages 2 thru 17. What’s more, this kids app discovery app delivers deeper-than-normal reviews on the thousands of kids apps in its database. Besides rating each app’s entertainment and educational value, it also assesses other app content of special concern to parents and other child-caring adults, including ease of play, violence, sex, language, consumerism, and drugs and smoking.
Here’s how to use the Common Sense Media “Media by Age” discovery app to find some of the best iPad and iPhone apps for kids:
- To find suitable books, games or educational apps for your kids, tap “Find Reviews” at the bottom, followed by “Mobile Apps” above. Next, tap your desired age group or groups in the “Age” bar (swipe over it to scroll left or right). Then type a keyword in the “Search Box” that describes the kind of kids app you’re looking for; for example, handwriting, coloring book, math, game and so on. Finally, tap “See Reviews” to get kids app choices to consider.
- To get age-based kids app suggestions, tap “Recommendations” on the bottom, followed by your desired age group or groups in the “Age” bar above. Next, tap the subcategory “Mobile Apps” right below it. Finally, tap “See Reviews” to gather recommendations.
The KinderTown app provides an easy way to find and organize some of the best iPad and iPhone educational apps for three to eight-year-old kids. Educators, parents and children test and review each learning app before it is included in the KinderTown app ecosystem. Selection is based on the app’s educational value, ease of use, engagement value, design features, artwork, cost and shelf life.
Inclusion in KinderTown means that an app has already proven itself top-notch and worthy of recommendation. Therefore, you will not find any special ratings attached to any app besides those that appear on the App Store itself, where you will be directed to download desired kids apps.
To find suitable apps for your kids, tap “Search” icon on the upper right on an iPhone to conjure up the search tools; on an iPad, the search tools automatically appear in a sidebar. Next, set your device preference to iPad, iPhone or universal; choose an age range from “3” to “8” and set your cost preference to “Paid,” “Free” or “Any.” Then choose a major subject from among the five categories provided — math, language, art, science or social studies — followed by a desired subcategory. On an iPad, kids app recommendations will automatically appear on the main pane to the right; on an iPhone, tap “Results” on the upper left to view the recommended apps.
The good folks at SmarTots review iPad and iPhone educational apps for young children ages two to seven. Apps are selectively chosen from among independently developed learning apps for kids, which are then enhanced with SmarTots SDK functionality. A SmarTots-enabled kids app then becomes part of a network of teacher-reviewed apps. These apps not only deliver sound educational content, but also track a child’s app usage so you can learn his or her app preferences, progress, achievements and areas for improvement.
To find suitable SmarTots apps for your kids, choose an age group between “2” and “7+” and then scroll through the resulting list. To track your child or children’s app usage, tap “Activity” at the bottom, sign up for a free account and then add each child’s profile under “Kids.” When you select any one of the recommended kids apps, you will be taken directly to its page and user ratings on the App Store. If you want to read related teacher reviews, then you would have to visit the SmarTots website, where you will also find apps arranged according to subject (besides age).
Free, teacher-approved educational and “surprisingly educational” apps are the specialty at TechChef4U. It is designed to guide parents and teachers of preschool to 12th grade kids. You can quickly search for kids apps by platform, grade level and category. You can also read, listen to or watch in-depth app reviews and classroom demonstrations of specific apps within the site’s blog, radio podcasts and YouTube channels.
To find suitable, free quality apps for your kids, tap the “bowl” on the lower left of the welcome TechChef4U image that greets you. Set your platform to “All,” “iPhone” or “iPad;” choose a grade level between “Pre-K” to “9-12;” and then choose a category from among the eight provided — fine arts, language arts, math, product-based, reading, science, social studies and surprisingly educational. Tap “Select” on the upper right of the “Categories” screen, followed by “Results” on the upper right of the “Browse Apps” screen. When you tap the “Free” button within a desired app’s page you will be brought to the same page on the App Store to download it.
Turn to WeWantApps! to find kid-friendly apps for ages 3 to 14. Each app carries the stamp of approval for child-friendly content from an international review team, which assesses apps based on 12 quality standards for suitability, age-appropriateness, category, price and so on. The app gives you a clean, straightforward interface by which to search for apps, and a chance to sign up to receive Daily App recommendations hand picked by the WeWantApps! team. It also serves as a gateway to a community of parents and friends who share their favorite apps with each other.
To find suitable quality apps for your kids, choose an age range between “<3″ and “>14,” followed by one or several of these categories — education, games, books and others. Next, tap your preferred language, platform and price (free or paid), followed by “Search” to view a list of recommended apps. When you make a selection, the app takes you to the desired app’s “Description” page, which offers App Store’s description and buttons by which to purchase, share, like and bookmark it. If you’d like to receive daily app recommendations for your specific child or children, tap “Account,” followed by “Login,” and sign up for a WeWantApps account.
Do you use any other reliable discovery apps in your own quest for the best iPad and iPhone apps for kids? Let me know below!