Best Children’s Products: Apps and Virtual

Nov 4, 2013 | Blog, Cozi Recommends

Here are the winning children’s apps and virtual products from the 2013 National Parenting Publications Awards.


GOLD WINNERS


Bookboard

BookboardBookboard, Inc., $8.99/month for a monthly plan, or $4.99/month for a six-month plan ($29.94 billed every 6 months), bookboard.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family

Why we like it: Take a library with you everywhere! This subscription based website offers over 400 books for ages 18 months to age 12. The selection is outstanding including the Berenstain Bears, the nonfiction Smithsonian series and chapter books. Parents can up profiles for each child for gender, age and level of difficulty. The read along option is perfect for young readers. Free trial available.

GOLD WINNER

 


Clifford The Big Red Dog’s Website

Clifford The Big Red Dog’s WebsiteScholastic Media, www.scholastic.com/clifford. Ages: 2-6

Why we like it: Who doesn’t love Clifford the Big Red Dog? This is a very extensive site with stories, games and videos that could occupy your kids for a long time. There is a vast collection of downloadable coloring sheets, party invites, craft activities, games for home or school use and includes lesson plans for teachers.

GOLD WINNER

 


Early Learning University

Early Learning UniversityFootsteps2Brilliance, $4.99, www.EarlyLearningU.com. Ages: Pre-K through 2nd grade

Why we like it: A great resource for young readers with 18 interactive, beautifully illustrated books built to the common core standards. You can also make your own books. The ALPS series has over 200 learning games. There are three levels of game play and the report section allows parents to track their child’s progress.

GOLD WINNER

 


Little Fox

Little FoxLittle Fox Inc., $20 per month or $150 per year,www.littlefox.com. Ages: Preschool through Tweens & Teens

Why we like it: A wonderful online reading program with an extensive library of 2,500 leveled readers, which can be watched as a movie or read page by page. There are songs and games that accompany the books and additional experiences for advanced readers. A learning log tracks the child’s progress.

GOLD WINNER

 


Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint and Play

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Paint and PlayDisney Publishing Worldwide, $4.99, www.itunes.apple.com. Ages: Birth to Early Elementary

Why we like it: This is a wonderful site for creative expression. Imagine Photoshop for kids where they can select different tools to manipulate their images. Paint and decorate the kitchen, living room and garden! Each has a coloring book covering all the items, background and characters. The parent area gives clear directions on how to use it.

GOLD WINNER

 


Monarch OS, preloaded on nabi 2 tablet ($179.99)

Monarch OS, preloaded on nabi 2 tabletFuhu, Inc., free, www.nabitablet.com. Ages: 3-10

Why we like it: Monarch OS is an Android O/S software overlay with two modes: nabi Mode and Parent Mode. nabi Mode is a safe zone for kids and Parent Mode is the password-protected standard Android experience where parents can manages apps, games and content a child has access to in nabi Mode.

GOLD WINNER

 


MosacHD

MosacHDPopAppFactory, $1.99, www.itunes.apple.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family, great for special needs

Why we like it: This fun app is a digital version of a magnet board that allows the user to exercise their own creativity or color in the drawings built into the program. Make designs with pebbles and save your pictures in your personal gallery or send them to friends. It’s a great way to practice learning shapes and color. A plus – the music volume can be turned down or off.

GOLD WINNER

 


Pan: The Fearless Beribolt

Pan: The Fearless BeriboltHullabalu, $3.99, www.appstore.com. Ages: Preschool through Early Elementary

Why we like it: This engaging story has revolves around the adorable purple panda, Pan and a host of delightful animated characters with more than 12 different scenes and activities that are touch stimulated. The “read along” option helps children develop their reading skills, highlighting words as they are spoken. Parts of the story may be a bit frightening for the younger kids.

GOLD WINNER

 


Time Controls, preloaded on nabi 2 tablet ($179.99)

Time Controls, preloaded on nabi 2 tablet Fuhu, Inc., free, www.nabitablet.com. Ages: 3 – 10, great for special needs

Why we like it: nabi Time Controls helps parents manage children’s screen time by setting time limits and enforces them through nabi – a character that interacts with children to let them know their time is up. Time Controls also allows parents to gain real insight into what their children are doing on the tablet and for how long. Most importantly, Time Controls encourages children to learn and earn by rewarding time spent on educational apps with more playtime on their favorite apps and games.

GOLD WINNER

 


Treasure Box, preloaded on nabi Jr. ($99.99-$139.99) and nabi 2 ($179.99) tablets

Treasure BoxFuhu, Inc., free, www.nabitablet.com. Ages: 3 – 10, great for special needs

Why we like it: Treasure Box is a kid-friendly app store where children can redeem nabi® Coins they’ve earned for apps, games, videos, music and even real goods. Treasure Box works as a tool to assist parents in teaching children how to make the right choices by teaching them purchasing and money management.

GOLD WINNER

 


Wings Learning System, available for nabi Jr. ($99.99-$139.99), nabi 2 ($179.99), and nabi XD ($249.99) tablets

Wings Learning SystemFuhu, Inc., price starts from $1.99, www.nabitablet.com. Ages: 3 – 10

Why we like it: Wings Learning System is an effective, completely personalized tablet-based adaptive learning system made highly engaging so children will be motivated to play and learn. Wings features over 3,000 lessons and 50,000 questions aligned to Common Core State Standards, as well as achievements, unlocks, and characters for a genuine gaming experience.

GOLD WINNER

 


SILVER WINNERS


MeeGenius

MeeGeniusMeeGenius, First 6 e-books are free. Additional e-books start at $0.99, www.meegenius.com. Ages: Birth to Early Elementary

Why we like it: This app is a lovely way to make books accessible to the youngest readers. They have an extensive library of over 1,300 books, all of which come with the optional “read-along” feature. The trial version offers five free books, all classics. It’s a great way for kids to practice reading independently while building their fluency skills.

SILVER WINNER

 


My Story World

My Story WorldMindshapes Ltd, free, www.itunes.apple.com. Ages: Toddlers to Early Elementary

Why we like it: There are some free stories but a subscription is needed for unlimited access for six months at a time. The graphics, animation, cognitive interaction and narrator are pleasing. It is easy to advance within the story, select individual chapters or have the story read by professional actors. Quizzes during the story helps children master comprehension.

SILVER WINNER

 


Questimate!

Questimate!Motion Math, $5.99, www.appstore.com. Ages: nine and up

Why we like it: This cool app makes you think about mathematics, magnitudes and comparisons. You may play it solo or in pass-n-play mode. Select a category, make an estimate and see your answer. The questions are relational such as “How many giraffes would be as tall as Mt. Everest?” or “How fast can is the world’s fastest train?” Players learn about geography, history, animals and more by making estimations.

SILVER WINNER

 


Ranger Rick’s Tree House

Ranger Rick's Tree HouseNational Wildlife Federation, $19.99 for a full year or $4.99 for a single issue plus two bonus updates, www.itunes.apple.com. Ages: 7 – 11

Why we like it: This cool app makes you think about mathematics, magnitudes and comparisons. You may play it solo or in pass-n-play mode. Select a category, make an estimate and see your answer. The questions are relational such as “How many giraffes would be as tall as Mt. Everest?” or “How fast can is the world’s fastest train?” Players learn about geography, history, animals and more by making estimations.

SILVER WINNER

 


Virtual Piggy

Virtual PiggyVirtual Piggy, Inc., free, www.virtualpiggy.com. Ages: 5 – 21

Why we like it: Kids can learn to manage their money, shop online and donate to charity on this website. They shop at pre-approved online retailers, ensuring a kid-friendly shopping experience. Virtual Piggy is a great way for parents to manage an allowance program for their kids and monitor their spending. For kids, it’s a good start toward financial literacy and understanding spending limits.

SILVER WINNER

 


HONORS WINNERS


Dr. Panda’s Hospital

Dr. Panda's HospitalTribePlay, $1.99, https://itunes.apple.com. Ages: 2-6

Why we like it: This is an interactive app that addresses what doctors and hospitals are all about. Children learn about anatomy and health care moving from room to room and experience giving injections, measuring blood pressure and setting broken bones. It’s a good way to introduce children to the idea of hospitalized health care.

HONORS WINNER

 


Luca Lashes Visits the Doctor

Luca Lashes Visits the DoctorLuca Lashes LLC, $1.99, www.itunes.apple.com. Ages: Birth to Kindergarten

Why we like it: Children accompany Luca Lashes, the boy with the magic lashes, as he visits his doctor and see that it’s not such a scary experience after all. This is a wonderful educational and interactive multilingual app in Chinese, English, French, Italian and Spanish. Helps parents too, with suggestions on how to handle a stressful doctor visit.

HONORS WINNER

 


Speakaboos

SpeakaboosSpeakaboos, Free to download in the Apple App Store with three free stories that users can keep forever; $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year, www.itunes.apple.com. Ages: Birth to Kindergarten

Why we like it: Features three free stories, then for a small fee, users can access over 150 stories ranging from traditional fairy tales to new stories read by celebrities. The graphics and illustrations are nicely done. The animation is smooth and the stories have the read along feature, highlighting words as they are read. Great touch-screen interactions, various levels and a nice collection of songs, games and other activities.

HONORS WINNER

 


Yummiloo Rainbow Power

Yummiloo Rainbow Poweryummico, $1.99,, www.itunes.apple.com. Ages: 2 – 6

Why we like it: An adorable and fun story about the “Rainbow Machine” that needs food to make it work. This app teaches color recognition and gives a sense of where food comes from. A plus is that it allows you to pause when necessary. And for the eco-conscious players, rotten foods and identified and destined to the compost pile.

HONORS WINNER

 


Skylanders SWAP Force

 Skylanders SWAP ForceActivision Publishing, Inc. and Vicarious Visions, $74.99,www.skylanders.com. Ages: Fun for the entire family, great for special needs

Why we like it: This very fun, clever and addictive game promotes problem-solving and teamwork. It’s a toy/game hybrid with fantasy characters that light up when placed on the glowing portal. A new feature allows users to transform the 16 SWAP Force figures into more than 250 new characters by swapping the top and bottom halves of the toys.

HONORS WINNER

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