Tap Kids by 2be!creative

Tap Kids is an iPad/iPhone app with four different mini-games. All the mini-games are variations on the same theme: click on the number, color, object or animal when told. You score points for each successful click and lose points when you don’t click the correct one. You are also rewarded for doing it as fast as you can. So for example for the numbers mini-game: it will show you 2+1 and you would have to click on 3 as fast as you can.

As far as educational value for children, they would be able to learn math facts, and also the colors, and some animals and objects. Even though I am not young, I played the game more times that I would like to admit. Two things made it addictive to me: One I wanted to beat my previous record and two the fact that I felt I was re-learning Portuguese (You can also change the language from English to Portuguese). When I was younger I had a few Brazilian friends that tried in vain to teach me the language. With this game I was able to master a few objects, a few animals, and a few colors. Not bad for a 99c app.

As for things I wish were different:
I wish the app had sound. For a while I thought my iPad was broken. It would have been really great if all the Portuguese words were sounded out. I also would have liked if the top score was based on the individual mini-games and not the entire game as a whole. My record was on colors, but I couldn’t get anywhere near that score with any of the other mini-games. Clicking on the start button and then having to jump right into the game doesn’t feel right. Maybe in the next version, they’ll add a typical 3 second countdown before you start the game. And finally I would have love more objects and more animals.

I reviewed the app (provided for free by the publisher) on my iPad. The app works with no internet connection. And I couldn’t find an Android version of any kind.

Awesome Upstander! by HealthTeacher, Inc.

Awesome Upstander! is a side scrolling 2D platform game (think of old school Mario). This platform game deals with bullies. By collecting objects and friends you are able to stand up to the bully at the end of the board.

The game re-enforces the idea that you can stand up to bullies if you bring enough friends. Some of the objects you collect also illustrate other things you can do. A phone could be useful for calling the school or a parent if you are about to be bullied. At the very least the game is a way to vent for children that are bullied, and maybe provide a game were they feel they have some control.

The game has some very minor problems. The game got a little repetitive for me (but not sure if this would hold true for a young children), and the burping sound when you eat fruit will probably get old for the parents (although provide hours of giggle for some kids and you can turn it off). I also had problems jumping at times, but as I have said in a few reviews my fingers aren’t that agile.

Overall how can you fault a 2D platform game where a kid that is being bullied comes up on top at the end of the level. I reviewed the iPhone version on my iPad (the app was provided for free by the publisher). An iPad and an Android version also exist. The app is available for $0.99, does not have an in-app store, and appears to work offline.

Hungry Fish by Motion Math

The concept is fairly simple but brilliant. A hungry fish floats about the screen while plants (or what look like plants to me) bubble numbers (bubbles with numbers in them). You join the bubbles together so that they match what the fish is hungry for (it is displayed on the body of the fish). The fish will come over and eat the bubbles. The more he eats the bigger the fish gets.

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The game is as entertaining as some of the most popular games on Android or Iphone, but with an educational twist. The action can also get frantic, especially for those that are not that finger nimble.

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Although technically a kid game, other people could enjoy it. Adults can brush up on their math facts and improve their reflexes.

The app is only available on the Apple App Store for free (it requires in app purchases to unlock subtraction, negatives and others math functions).

U.S. Presidents by Socratica, LLC

The app is a very simple presidential study guide. Each president has its own card with really basic information like: years he was president, the vice-president, and a picture. The app also provides a link to the wiki page of that particular president.

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Of little value, the app has a parade of presidents that consists of the president’s pictures being presented one by one in order of service. It also has a configurable quiz: you select the type of question from the data provided on the presidential card.

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The app is free, and although not rich in content it does have some value. If your child needs help learning basic president facts, this app is useful. Available on Google Play and the Amazon App Store.

Presidents vs. Aliens by Dan Russell-Pinson

How many of us know all the presidents? This app is highly entertaining and at the same educational. The concept is simple. By answering questions about the presidents, you receive presidents that then you fling to knock down aliens. Clearing a board gives you presidents that you can save to open up mini-games (I couldn’t review the mini-games because I don’t have enough presidents).

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The graphics although simple are more than sufficient. The backgrounds are beautiful pictures of national monuments. The music and the sound effects are great. You can also win power-ups by answering x number of questions in a row. For example my favorite power-up is the ability to fling simultaneously 3 presidents up at the aliens.

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Overall a great app. Only available on the Apple App Store (there is a similar named app on Google Play that is not related to this app).

Dictionary.com by Dictionary.com, LLC

Available from the Apple App Store (version reviewed), Play, and Amazon. This $2.99 version of this dictionary is all the dictionary you might need. Like any good dictionary, it provides  a detail definition of the word, idioms, origin and even sample sentences.

Although I have not reviewed any other dictionary app, two features really stand out. The first one is the ability to do searches when offline. When I place the iPhone in Airplane mode, I am still able to search for words. Although I was no able to test it, it should work great for devices that don’t have permanent internet connections or where it is not permitted.

The second feature that I really liked (and probably not the intended purpose) is the ability to make a list of favorite words. My daughter receives a list of words weekly for a test at the end of the week, and it would be useful to have those definitions handy and quickly accessible throughout the week.

 

It also has many other features of various value. It has a built-in thesaurus, able to hear the word spoken out loud, search by voice (worked great for me), share the word via e-mail, twitter or Facebook (limited value), and word of the day in Spanish and English (not bad to increase your vocabulary).

My only complaints are that on the iPhone 4S it is slow sometimes especially clicking between the button navigational buttons, and that although I like the extra features the interface seems cluttered.

The $2.99 version has no ads except a more page where it promotes other apps.

Stack the States

States drop from top of screen, and the player is prompted to touch the correct state. Doing it correctly enough times clears the board and you are awarded a particular state. The awarded state is displayed on the USA map.

Even as an adult I enjoy the game. Great sound effects, graphics, and addictive elements make it a game you and your children would come back to again and again. My children love the game and all of them get something out of it (even the youngest, who can’t read).

At a price of 99 cents it is a bargain. A free version is available (not reviewed). The game is available on iOS and Windows phones, and works perfectly well when not connected (perfect for road trips). An outstanding educational game for the entire family. You are never to old to learn your states.

Review by AJG.