7 Best Apps for your Child Prodigy
My son Alex is just over 4 years old. He’s been playing with the iPad for at least 3 years and its been very interesting to see what entertains him. His teachers have complimented us on how smart he is, and how excellent his manners are. I usually end up explaining that he had unlimited access to TV and iPhones since he was 6 months old. As they stare at me with an open mouth, I also share that he is not ‘addicted’ to any of the technologies. He moderates his own time between sandbox, cars, trucks, Thomas the Train tracks and books.
A huge amount of children’s apps are now available and filtering out the good and not-so-good is a difficult challenge for parents. Especially when those apps cost money to download. I’ve chose these apps for their ability to keep a child entertained, or at least my son entertained. Each game has lots of levels and the graphics are hugely attractive to children. Six of the chosen games are available on iTunes and Google Play.
Playing a game with your child is highly rewarding for them and also educational for you. Number one on the list is not only my favorite, but one of my son’s favorites as well, and it’s even named after him.
Amazing Alex ($0.99/$1.23, Ages 4+)
It’s a physics puzzle game from Rovio Entertainment, the creators of Angry Birds. Similar to taping construction paper to the wall to create a marble maze, this physics game uses gravity, multiple tools and balloons filled with helium. The object is to create a path for a tennis ball or billiard’s ball to roll from point A to point B. You drag ramps, scissors; balloons held with strings, buckets and pipes onto the wall and let gravity do its things. It’s recommended for Ages 4+, but I’ve found that my Alex has a difficult time solving the higher levels. These challenges are specifically why I’ve placed it at the top of the list.
iPhone/iPad and Android by Rovio Entertainment
Flow Free (Free + IAP, Ages 4+)
“It’s a simple yet addictive puzzle game, where you connect matching colors with pipes to create a flow.” It is also one of my favorites. With 1000 different levels and 10 different board sizes, it’s sure to captivate your child with hours of problem solving, and simple playability.
iPhone/iPad and Android by Big Duck Games
Offroad Legends ($0.99 + IAP, Ages 4+)
Offroad Legends makes the list because it is an extremely fun racing game or as Modojo.com reviews it: “This is the best physics racer we’ve enjoyed for some time.” My son loves big trucks and this exciting game has 4 vehicle categories and 90 different tracks. Its similar to the games above in that it requires some patience and possible parental help as the levels get harder.
iPhone/iPad and Android by Dog Byte Games
More Trucks ($1.99, Ages 5 and under)
Duck Duck Moose is one of the leaders in entertaining children’s apps and this one is a KAPi award winner. Go to the junkyard to stack cars, use a crane, or put out fires. This simple game with simple graphics is one that Alex always finds his way back to. Sorting and problem solving keep the little ones highly entertained.
iPhone/iPad and Android by Duck Duck Moose
Sweetland ($1.99, Ages 5 and under and the whole family)
This app is a 3D board game for up to 4 players. It reminds me of the Candyland game from my childhood, so I think the app name is quite fitting. Take turns with the spinner and navigate your cute little characters to be the first one to Castle Cake.
iPhone/iPad and Android by Tipitap
Little Builders ($2.99, Ages 2-6)
Coincidentally, Alex opened this construction site app last night while I was compiling this list. Your child can: drive a digger, mix cement, roof a building, operate a crane, drive a street sweeper or paint a house. We have a huge need for engineers in the coming decades, and this app is sure to create a few new ones.
iPhone/iPad by Fox and Sheep
Wild Kratts Creature Power ($1.99, Ages 6-8)
Last on this list is one of our favorite TV shows on PBS by the Kratt brothers. Even though PBS Kids recommends this app for ages 6-8, my 4-year-old son has a ball with it. It is an educational app that lets you pollinate flowers as a bee and feed a family of raccoons. A constant stream of dialogue will educate the adults who spend some time enjoying this app with their child.
iPhone/iPad and Android by PBS Kids
A couple extra.
I’ve added 2 extra apps that were created by a friend and myself. They are available for Apple and Android.
Peck Peck’s Garden (Free, Any age)
It’s a new genre of apps that use “free range, self-animated beings at the intersection of virtual and real”. The creator, Jeffrey Ventrella , was one of the designers behind the widely popular virtual world ‘Second Life’, and I believe he uses a form of Fractal Algorithms to give the characters a personality but individuality as well. Your child will enjoy feeding the cute ‘bird’ some seed, and where he poops is where a flower will grow. Tap on the flower and get more seed. Don’t forget to hold the little guy in the air and watch him run off screen to return when he feels safe again. Check out the Wiggle Planet website to see how these characters are coming alive through Augmented Reality.
iPhone/iPad and Android by Wiggle Planet
Big Cat Race (Free, Ages 4-12)
I created this app in order to move video gaming out of the home, as I wanted Alex to enjoy gaming outdoors with his friends. All of our future apps will have a core of fitness, education, nutrition and rewards. These apps will use Intrinsic Motivation, which is the self-desire to seek out new things and new challenges. Each app will require movement by the child. Whether it is running a race against an online opponent or throwing a Frisbee with a Bluetooth Tracker, the use of wearables will be the key to placing the child within the game and measuring their performance. Imagine “A Toy Story” movie where your child will be the animated character doing various tasks within the App. Download our beta version and keep an eye out for its update and our new releases in the 1st quarter of 2015.
iPhone and Android by GenZPlay
P.S. While I was looking through my purchase history of the 800+ apps that I’ve downloaded since the app store went live, it was fun to see the Pregnancy Countdown app, as all of the kids apps I’ve downloaded followed that moment.
About the Author:
Steve Calhoun is the creator and founder of GenZPlay. A Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with a degree in Architecture and lifelong a passion for gaming, sports and technology, Steve is now raising his 4-year old son, Alex. Seeking a healthful integration for children and technology, Alex has inspired him to make outdoor interactive gaming a reality, contributing a viable solution to the many health problems faced by today’s children.