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
29 / 50
My First Tangrams HD
My First Tangrams HD’s Rankings
Tangrams — those colorful, geometric puzzles that are staples in every Montessori classroom — are a great tool for easing kids into mathematics and logic. As with any kids puzzle, however, it’s only a matter of time before the pieces get lost. Thankfully, you can’t lose pieces with My First Tangrams HD — and that’s not the only reason we love this app. It replicates the look of a classic wooden tangram, using simplified rules (you can’t rotate pieces, for instance) to ease the learning curve. With 32 puzzles in all, it’s got plenty of replay value, but we especially love the app’s creator mode, which lets you build your own tangrams and share them online with other players.
Get it for iPad, $1.99