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Spending Time With Your Children, There’s an App For That – Top 5 Apps For Kids and Parents

photo by flickr user Thijs Knaap

In a recent post I asked the question is it OK for young children to own devices such as iPads, Kindles, or NOOKs? I feel that as long as there is a balance, technology such as these can enhance a child’s learning rather than distract from it. As promised I wanted to share with you some of the top apps out there for children. There are thousands upon thousands of apps to wade through: educational apps, drawing apps, apps that read to you, silly apps, just for fun apps, helpful apps and some downright useless apps. I chose to narrow my list down to those apps that encourage parent child interaction, because I know that technology claims to keep us “connected” when in reality it can keep us from interacting with each other face to face. Here are my top five picks for staying connected to your children.


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Alright, so my #5 pick isn't exactly an app that you can play with your child but I just had to include it in my list because it is a goldmine for great apps for kids. This handy app sorts all the educational apps into subjects like math, science, spelling etc. It also comes with some very useful features such as a wish list where you can put those apps that have potential but you just aren't ready to commit to yet. And for those amazing apps that you know you and your kids love, you can share with your friends (for anyone who is addicted to Pinterest you know how awesome that is.) If those are not enough reasons to love this app, how about this: it's free!

 
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While this app could be hovering over the useless apps category, I included it in my list because, while it is not at all educational, it is a lot of fun. This app took me back...way back, to my own elementary days. I know many of you out there used to play this future telling game with good old fashioned pen and paper. MASH (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House) is a fun way to predict your future spouse, occupation, and more. My own kids had a blast coming up with silly options for each other, and I had just as much fun reminiscing about my own youth. I enjoyed sharing something that I used to do as a child with them. Advantages to using the app as opposed to the archaic pen and paper method mentioned earlier, are the cool features such as letting your device randomly select your options, in which I ended up as a urologist in Geneva with a Siamese fighting fish named Simba. You can also share your stories on Facebook. My kids were quite entertained with the free lite version but if you are willing to throw down and extra $1.99 you can get even more categories.

 
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OK so I’m a sucker for nostalgia. #3 on the list is another throw back to my youth. Highlights, the original hidden picture game is both fun and challenging for little ones. Even parents can keep their minds sharp by searching for these disguised items. You and your child can work together to pass each level. This app also has a free version with just a few puzzles to search or you can upgrade for $1.99 to get even more.

 
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This is an app for the budding author. My children's favorite stories are not the ones read from a book, they are the crazy stories that my husband comes up with on a whim. This is a chance for kids to come up with their own stories. Kids can take two paths: one path allows them to come up with the story all on their own; write their own text and pick their pictures to go along with it. For beginners there is another path that helps them along the way. It gives them a subject and several different scenarios to choose from. This option was very helpful in getting the creative juices flowing. My 8 year old loved creating his own stories and the best part was having him read it to me when he was finished. While this app was pricier than the average $.99, it was worth the $2.99 that I paid.

 
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This app got rave reviews, so I knew I had to give it a try. At first I thought, really, I paid $1.99 for this? All it consists of is a stock pile of random questions. With all the apps out there that sing, and dance and entertain you, what good is this app? I mean it doesn’t even read the question to you. Why do you ask is it my #1 pick then? After trying this app with my family I found that I love it because it is simple yet engaging. If interaction with your children is what you are after then this app delivers. Like I mentioned earlier it really is just a set of questions that you take turns asking with your kids. There are different sets of questions depending on your location, ie: road trip, flight, waiting in line. You pick a location, a question pops up and you ask away. The magic begins when your children start answering. The things you will learn about your children will astound you. Some of them will even have you cracking up. The journal feature also comes in handy, it allows you to write down your child’s answers and store them. In the end this turned out to be a surprisingly valuable app to add to our collection.

 

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