2011 is behind us, and there were so many amazing apps for children that came to the App Store. It’s great that this sector runneth over, but some titles stand out above the crowd. So, here are Apptudes picks for the top 10 Edutainment Apps for the wee ones, and our top 10 Digital Books for kids too young for school right through to Junior High. We’d love to know your favorite children’s apps from 2011, or your thought on ours, in the comments. There are too many good ones for any one list to do all the worthy offering, hiding in the tripe, to do the genres justice.
For the Best iPhone and iPad Games of 2011, for everyone from the hardcore to casual player click here.
Top 10 Edutainment:
Buy My PlayHome here
by Shimon Young
Universal – $2.99
Shimon Young brings innovative, imaginary play to children in a smartly priced app. A virtual dollhouse, children can play, explore, create and so much more. My PlayHome is great for young children, but is versatile enough to keep children aged 8 entertained as well. There are no in-app purchases, and the app grows with children over time and usage.
by Launchpad Toys
FREE – iPad only
Creating stories with children is simply delightful with Toontastic. Children can easily create stories using the app’s built in elements, or create their own. What makes this app so special is the ability to integrate teaching the elements of a true story arc within building a story. Stories become animated treasures to share with friends and family easily with Toontastic.
AlphaTots and AlphaTots Pocket
Buy AlphaTots here
Buy AlphaTots Pocket here
by Spinlight Studio -$.99
It’s as easy as learning one’s ABC’s with AlphaTots. Children can actively explore all 26 letters of the alphabet, which will most definitely activate young minds. Alpha Tots is loaded with songs, surprises, and sensations for children to engage and explore while learning the letters of the alphabet.
Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers HD
Buy Team Umizoomi Math HD here
by Nickelodeon -$3.99 – $2.99
What’s better than learning math with a child’s favorite character? Team UmiZoomi Math starts with the fundamentals of many- identifying numbers, 1:1 correspondence, and builds to addition and subtraction. This is an essential app for any pre-school aged child to have. It’s fun to use, ease of learning, and ability to grow with a child is something that is a huge bonus.
Toca Hair Salon
Buy Toca Hair Salon Here
by Toca Boca
Universal – $1.99
Children can be their own virtual beautician with Toca Hair Salon. Cut, style, blow-dry cute character’s hair to create truly unique designs, which can be shared via social networks or e-mailed to family. Children of all ages enjoy using Toca Hair Salon to make their own creations, fostering their creative side.
by Artgig Studio
Universal – $1.99
An app that’s out of this world, Alien Buddies is packed full of early learning activities and skill building to reinforce basic skills. Children match letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. Perfect for building learning, extending learning, and reinforcing learning, Alien Buddies offers up a virtual world of learning for little ones. Learning is built visually and auditory which helps children not only see but hear the correct item to be matched.
Discovery Kids Sharks
iPad – $1.99
Any shark lover will want to have this app. With a treasure trove of learning games, interactive video, this app is an amazing choice. Children and adults will delight in the amazing graphics, brilliant videos, and engaging learning games that will turn any shark lover into a true shark aficionado.
Injini:Child Development Game Suite
Buy Injini here
$49.99 iPad only
One of the most comprehensive early childhood apps out there, Injini:Child Development Game Suite offers 10 different activities to teach young children cognition, fine motor, and early language skills. With an easy to use interface, and a variety of activities, this app brings fun into early learning. Injini: Child Development Game Suite is great for preschool children, and for children with disabilities.
Teach Me: First Grade
Buy Teach Me: First Grade here
by 24×7 Digital, LLC
Universal – $.99
Teach Me: First Grade teaches sight words, addition, subtraction and spelling. Children earn coins while learning about these concepts. Any iOS device is easily transformed into a powerful learning tool to teach these fundamental skills. With handwriting recognition, children can use their fingers or a stylus to interact with the app.
Dora’s Rhyming Word Adventure
Buy Dora’s Rhyming Word Adventure here
Universal – $1.99
Reading readiness is one of the most important skills to acquire in young children. Dora’s Rhyming Word Adventure teaches children rhyming words with their favorite characters of the Dora the Explorer series. In teaching rhyming words, young children match rhyming words and sounds, helping youngsters become aware of how to hear, discriminate, and manipulate rhyming words to make new words.
Top 10 Interactive Books:
Another Monster At The End Of This Book: Starring Grover And Elmo
by Sesame Street
Universal – $3.99
A Sequel to The Monster at the End of This Book, the heart of the story lies with Grover trying to stop Elmo from turning the pages due to the fear of the monster at the end of the book. The app is virtually a complete replica of the original printed version, and demonstrates the iOS’s multi-touch capabilities by allowing the reader to help Elmo reach the end of the book by foiling Grover’s schemes. Children and adults are sure to laugh out loud while interacting and reading.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
by Loud Crow Interactive
Universal – $6.99
Past meets the present in one of the most amazing books on the market. With narration by the original voice of Charlie Brown, any fan of the holiday classic special will want to get their hands on this app. Interwoven within the interactive pop-up book are snippets from the original series, narration, and engaging activities that bring the reader into the heart of the story – and the heart of Christmas.
X is for X- Ray
Buy X is for X-Ray here
by Touch Press
iPad – $7.99 iphone – $2.99
Ever wonder what the inner workings of ordinary objects look like? X is for X-Ray is an app from the folks that made The Elements. Children can explore 26 ordinary objects and learn the alphabet at the same time. It’s simply stunning, jaw-dropping photographs and real- life inner workings of ordinary objects make this an app that children and adults will exclaim is totally cool.
Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!
by Oceanhouse Media
$3,99 – Universal
It doesn’t get much more classic than Dr. Seuss and in Oh, The Think You Can Think, the publishers who own the library, Oceanhouse Media, implemented an updated GUI that lends a little more interactivity, without sacrificing their signature minimalistic reading-centered approach. The title itself is wonderfully imaginative and the enhancements like retina graphics, and the ability for kids to be further immersed in the magical world makes it a no-brainer for a top spot in 2011.
Cinderella – Nosy Crow Animated Picture Book
Buy Cinderella here.
by Nosy Crow
Universal – $7.99
The classic children’s fairytale springs to life in this captivating cute book-app. Children can choose from a variety of reading options, and interact with the various elements in the app – all of which is fun, engaging, and charming. Another modern twist to a classic.
Bobo Explores Light
by Game Collage, LLC.
iPad – $4.99
Geared for older children, Bobo Explores Light is simply brilliant. It’s not an ordinary interactive book aimed at grammar school-aged children. It’s a learning tool that takes kids on an educational journey to discover how light interacts with the world. As the developers claim, it is very much like having a science museum right on the iPad.
Grimm’s Rapunzel 3D Interactive Pop-Up Book
by Ideal Binary, Ltd.
Universal – Free
Grimm’s Fairytale Rapunzel ~ 3D Interactive Pop-Up Book has won several “best of” awards because it is so cool! It’s a real pop-up book, right on your iDevice.Ideal Binary has taken the Grimm’s classic and updated it with modern language. They also took it a step further by incorporating a host of dazzling, fully interactive pop-up scenes.The graphics are amazing, the story true to the classic, and it will keep children and adults engaged and interested in the story.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App!
Buy Don’t Let the Pigeon Run this App! here
Universal – $6.99
Mo Willems is a fantastic pigeon and wants to create stories. Kids of any age and the young at heart can create stories with ease. The Bus Driver helps readers to share their ideas, then just shake the pigeon. Hilarity ensues every time. It’s a novel way to inspire imagination and storytelling.
Harold And The Purple Crayon
Buy Harold and the Purple Crayon here
by Trilogy Studios
Universal – $6.99
Bringing another classic to iOS, Harold and the Purple Crayon allows young children to color Harold’s drawing on each page. This brings the page to life with beautiful animation. Harold’s curiosity and imagination help drive the same in the youngest children’s. It’s a fun way to read, draw, and grow.
by One Hundred Robots
Both children and adults will find humor in this title. The book has 28 pages brimming with fun features, including spoofs on well-known operas that should appeal to culture-seekers and will capture the imaginations of those more used to hearing pop music and saccharine kid songs. It’s a breath of fresh air. Hildegard is simply delightful as she faces her moment in the spotlight. Charming, witty, and delightful.
†Prices accurate at time of posting but are subject to change without prior notice on the App Store.