The Top 50 Apps for Kids, 2012
Whether you're an iPhone mom, an iPad dad, or an Apple-agnostic type who prefers Google's Android operating system, your kids just know you as the one who buys the apps. However, with more than 1 million tablet and smartphone apps available across Apple's iTunes Store and the Google Play market, where do you even start to find the best ones for your kids?
For Babble's annual roundup of the 50 best apps for kids, we looked at some basic criteria that you and your family might also consider before downloading an app. Every app we tested had to have received an age-appropriate rating ("4+" in Apple's case; "Everyone" in Google's). We also considered whether the app allowed parents to participate in, or at least oversee, whatever their kids were doing onscreen. In addition, even if the apps were designed to do nothing more than keep kids busy while you're in line at the store, there had to be some positive or educational element to them.
We've broken down our top 50 kids apps by category, price, and age range (check out the full list here!). (While we tried to eliminate apps that might let kids accidentally make in-game purchases, a few of our apps do offer upgradeable features that cost money.) Apps that are labeled "HD" are exclusive to iPad, but nearly all the iTunes Store apps we selected can be used on any Apple device you own.
We hope you have as much fun checking these out as we did testing them. And if we missed one, be sure to tell us about your favorites in the comments! — Aaron Burgess
5 / 50
Big Nate: Comix by U!
Big Nate: Comix by U!’s Rankings
Big Nate, the star of the same-named Diary of a Wimpy Kid-style book series and online comic, gets his own app in this clever creative workshop aimed at older kids. But Big Nate: Comix by U! isn’t just a passive adventure; rather, the app lets kids choose from a handful of tools to design their own digital comic strips. Getting started is easy: just drag, drop, and add text bubbles to create a basic strip, and if you’re stuck, the easily accessible help menu makes it easy to find your way around. If you want more features than the basic strips offer, you can also edit stories and add your own text — and when you’re done, there’s a gallery where you can save and email finished strips to friends.
Get it for iPhone + iPad, $2.99