Welcome to the month of April. Like always, on the first day of the month we try to look back at what we have done in the past few weeks.
Also, even though today is the famous April Fool's Day, we are not going to fool you with any goofy contents. Instead, we will do the usual and outline the reviews that we have published into several categories: creativity apps, storybooks, alphabet apps, and math apps.
As a parent, I try to stimulate my sons' creativity as much as their raw intelligence. This month, we managed to review three unique apps that encourage juniors to be creative.
The first one is Puppet Workshop - Creativity App for Kids, a great app that lets you decorate socks and gloves with household items like buttons and zippers to make colorful puppets. You can name these puppets, and draw your own backdrops before taking a snapshot of your creations.
The second app is IdentiKat, a creative studio where you can make quirky cats using scraps, buttons, strings, and laces. It also has a puzzle-like game where you recreate a number of pre-made cats that come with the game — a great memory exercise for young minds as they try to remember where each material belongs in the puzzles.
We also reviewed Berry Forest, a unique toy app that stimulates creativity and exploration by letting your juniors control anthropomorphic berries around an interactive forest handmade entirely from clay.
All these apps have a few things in common: they allow you to create your own puppets, they have no rules and very minimal instructions for using the apps, and they allow you to take snapshots of your new creations. I think we may have a pattern here!
This past month we reviewed eight storybook apps of various themes. We had our first comic book review: The Phoenix Weekly Story Comic, a weekly children's comic anthology filled with 32 pages of original strips.
We also wrote about The Adventures of Captain Underpants, which was adapted from a book of the same name. The app brings an excellent narration and a neat parallax effect to bring the cheeky story to life.
Zoe's Green Planet is a story about a planet where everything is green. In Red in Bed, we see a world where one color is missing. These are cute little stories that would invoke our imagination and instil a sense of appreciation for the world that we all live in.
The one storybook app that deserves a special mention is Walter's Flying Bus. Inspired by real-life stories of a special needs orphanage in Uganda, the app aims to share about the existence of these orphans, and encourage other people to help with the movement.
Alphabet and Math Apps
The Lonely Beast ABC is the best flash card app there is. Its attention to details is amazing — no wonder Apple featured it in one of their TV ads.
If your juniors love to play peek-a-boo then you should let them try Alphabet Animals: A Slide-and-Peek Adventure. Adapted from a pull-tab book, the app lets you reveal letter cards by swiping. A nice animation accompanies each card as it slides in and out.
If you are looking for math apps, we reviewed three of them this month. The first one is Farm 123, an app for two-year-olds to learn counting as they play with adorable pop-up farm animals.
The second one is Count, Sort and Match. Perfect for juniors ages three to five, this app provides three colorful mini games for developing basic math skills.
The last app is Dinosaur Train Classic in the Jurrasic, Jr.!, a math app developed based on the popular TV series: Dinosaur Train. This app would be great for kids ages three to five.
Other Notable Apps
This section highlights several apps that don't really belong to any of the above categories.
Another great one is Memollow, which had us aww-ing and sighing at its adorable gameplay. This is definitely one of the squishiest memory game we have seen!
Finally, we also recommend Babble Planet, an educational app created primarily to help ESL students ages six and up, but will also benefit native speakers as young as three years old.
In our previous Reflection Journal we mentioned that we would be seeing a good amount of new creativity apps. We think the three creativity apps that we reviewed during the past month show exactly this trend, which we believe will continue in the coming months.
A similar trend is also seen in the quality of educational apps in general, and we think this is a good thing for parents and juniors. We do hope that more developers would start filling the less crowded markets for apps aimed at juniors ages four and up as we still struggle to find great apps there.