The Christmas holiday period is fast-approaching (aghhh, sorry to remind you). Many parents will be looking for quality apps to entertain and educate children over the holiday period (not just apps that will keep them busy).
Whether it’s entertaining children on long-haul flights, or perhaps keeping their brains switched on over the long school holiday period, parents are always searching for quality apps.
And we all know that reading is a worthwhile pursuit. So I’ve compiled a list of the best book apps for 2014 for children aged 2-12 years.
It’s important to reiterate that book apps are no replacement for “real” books and a traditional book experience. Nothing beats being cuddled up in bed with a book with your parent. Nothing.
But book apps can be a great way to entice reluctant readers to read. They also provide new and exciting ways to read. Book apps should be considered as an alternative book experience to traditional, print books.
Below I’m sharing some of the best children’s book apps I’ve used and discovered in 2014 (they weren’t necessarily released in 2014).
My Very Hungry Caterpillar– Children tap on the screen to enable the caterpillar to hatch and then collect fruit to feed him. This is a great app to complement the book and extend play on and off the screen.
Suitable for: 2-5 year olds
Jack and the Beanstalk– This app is a combination of a book and game app. The story has been very well illustrated and narrated and can stand on its own as a book app. As a game app children can play a variety of games in the giant’s house (younger children may need help with some of these games).There are some truly magical elements in this app. For example, in the puzzle game children can wave their hands at the device and hints appear. It also turns a mirror (based on your device’s camera) into jigsaw puzzle pieces (so your child’s face appears on the mirror).
Suitable for: 3-9 year olds
The Very Cranky Bear-This book app has an Australian narrator and professional musical score to accompany the story. There is a range of interactive features within the story, but they are intentionally used to enhance meaning, and not detract from it. By far, the best feature of this app is the ability to record your own narration. Children or adults can record their voice on each page of this book app. This is ideal for encouraging young children to practice their expression and experiment with their speaking skills. Young children love nothing more than hearing their own voice (or that of Mum/Dad or the teacher) reading to them.
Suitable for: 3-8 year olds
Hogworld Knart’s Adventure– like most book apps, this app is ideal for sharing with an adult (co-viewing). The story is about a hogbunny named Gnart who needs to get to the dentist before sunset. Users have access to a complete interactive experience.This app is more than an interactive book but different to a game. It is highly original and sure to appeal to pre-schoolers, as well as older children and parents alike.
Suitable for: 5-10 Year Olds
Butterfly Kisses- This is a delightfully illustrated and written book app. It’s ideal app for parents and educators and one that kids will love. This app is very well-designed as parents (or educators) can turn off background and animal sounds, so as not to distract children. The app has minimal animations enabling young children to focus on comprehending the story.
Suitable for: 4-8 year olds
Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App– This highly interactive and engaging app allows young children to create their own Pigeon stories. Users follow the bus driver’s instructions, tell him what they would like the story to be about and voila, the story is created. The app cleverly integrates the child’s voice into the story to make a comical plot which children love. This app app relies on ‘shake-and-play’ technology.
Suitable for: 3-8 year olds
Want to know how to get the most out of your child’s book app experience? I provide valuable and practical tips here. I’ve also previously shared what to look for in quality children’s book apps here.
I’d love to know in the comments below, what’s your child’s favourite book app? It would be great if we could share as many as possible so we can all collectively benefit.