The iPhone is, to modern day parents, what I’m sure the pacifier was to parents of the early 1900’s. A life saving (or at least sanity saving) device that will keep your children quiet on long car (or horse & carriage) trips, as well as a welcome distraction for those times when you need them to be quiet for more than five minutes.
I have scoured the internet to find out what people think are the top apps for kids, and I will also tell you what works for our family, so you too can pacify your child through the wonders of modern technology.
Travel Savvy Mom has a good list, but I notice that all of her selections cost money. That’s fine for some people I suppose, but at our house we prefer the free apps. I might check out that geocaching app though, since my wife and I do enjoy it. If you haven’t tried geocaching, I highly recommend it as a fun and healthy activity, but that’s a blog for another day.
Babble.com has a long list of 50 apps, helpfully divided into category, and this list gains authority by placing at number one, the obviously best app of all time, Angry Birds. Kids love Angry Birds as much as adults love Angry Birds, and it is just as addictive for them as well, so you can spend many long hours in the car with happy, silent children using just this app alone. Tenor Dad gives two thumbs way up to Angry Birds.
Parenting.com has their picks, which conspicuously include their own apps near the top of the list, but they do have some great ideas on there. Ruby loves Pocket Frogs for instance, which is an app that lets you breed frogs and then make them hop around the pond, or race other frogs. However, I must warn you, do not let them get the Woooo! Button on a long car trip!
WorkItMom has her list, and MommyBits has hers. PBS even has advice on how to choose apps for your children. My only rule is that I never let the kids use an app that I have not fully tested first. And so now, without further ado, I present to you:
Ruby’s Favorite iPhone Apps
1) Angry Birds – Obviously
2) The Monster At The End of This Book – Starbucks was offering this one for free, so I grabbed it. It’s just an interactive version of the Sesame Street book that she already loved, and she never gets tired of reading it again on the phone.
3) LetsTans Deluxe – Tangrams for the iPhone. Simple as that, and fun for hours!
4) Songify – Yes, those Schmoyoho guys have an app that turns what you say into an autotuned masterpiece, and it’s free! We love this one.
5) Tap Tap Muppets – I think we mostly like this one because of the Muppet songs. We are not very good at the actual game.
6) Pocket Frogs – Cute frogs hopping around. ‘Nuff said.
7) Fog Window – Drawing on a virtual foggy window. Almost as much fun as drawing on an actual foggy window.
8) SpawnGlow – Basically just shiny lights flitting about the screen that you can control.
9) String Augmented Reality Showcase – This takes a little more work, but is pretty amazing. You print out on pieces of paper some images from their website, and then when you point your phone at those images, 3D stuff starts to happen. Our favorite is the dragon, which flys around your house. You can take pictures of it too. It’s free and it looks like this:
10) Virtuoso Piano – Or any musical instrument. Kids love to make music, so any sort of piano, flute, etc. is super fun.
I’m sure there are tons of other great apps out there that kids would like, so feel free to share your favorites. We always love new ideas! Oh, and if you have a Droid or something, then you can just read the list and be sad that you do not have an iPhone. And then probably go download them all on the Droid anyway.