Appysmarts.com Best Apps for Young Brains


Best apps for kids for learning about nature.


The best and most educational iPad & iPhone apps for kids to teach them about nature, planet Earth, ecosystems, biomes seasons, ecology and lifecycles of different plants and animals. Great interactive way to introduce preschoolers and kindergarteners (as well as primary school students) to biology and early science.

You may also like Best apps for kids: Early science

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A Whale of a Tale! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat)

A Whale of a Tale! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat)
by Oceanhouse Media

Price: 5.99$
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May contain `more apps` links
iPhone

Overall Score: 99/100

version reviewed: 1.09.1

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Interaction, Language, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive book from the Cat in The Hat's Learning Library about whales, dolphins and porpoises..

What you do with it: two modes of 'reading' the book: listen to the narration and follow the text or read the story yourself (or have the story read to you by a parent). Touch the objects on pages and their name will be displayed and read out. Touch highlighted ('difficult') words and their meaning will be explained. Tap on the objects for explanation of concepts (e.g. watch animations explaining the difference between fish and whale tail movements).

What we liked: the story, good educational value, the interactive 'extras', excellent reading options (words are highlighted, you can touch a word to have it read out, you can touch and hold the words to repeat a paragraph), professional narration, sounds and sound backgrounds, the visual clues.

What we didn't like: we would like to see more interactive elements, animations and quiz-like activities.



Bottom line: another recommended book from the Cat in The Hat's Learning Library series!

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Ice Is Nice! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat)

Ice Is Nice! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat)
by Oceanhouse Media

Price: 5.99$
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May contain `more apps` links
iPhone

Overall Score: 99/100

version reviewed: 1.09

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Interaction, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive book from the Cat in The Hat's Learning Library about the North and South Poles.

What you do with it: two modes of 'reading' the book: listen to the narration and follow the text or read the story yourself (or have the story read to you by a parent). Touch the objects on pages and their name will be displayed and read out. Touch highlighted ('difficult') words and their meaning will be explained. Touch the 'interactive diagrams' for illustration and explanation of 'scientific concepts.'

What we liked: the story, good educational value, the interactive 'extras' (but please see the note below), excellent reading options (words are highlighted, you can touch a word to have it read out, you can touch and hold the words to repeat a paragraph), professional narration, sounds and sound backgrounds, visual clues.

What we didn't like: the idea behind 'interactive illustrations' (like the one explaining how polar bear's fur 'works') is good but there are just too few of them. Many 'diagrams' lack true interaction (e.g. in the diagram explaining Earth's axis we wish we could 'spin' the globe around to illustrate the concept).

Note about ads: the app has an option to display news and ads from the publisher but this option can be turned off in the settings menu.

Bottom line: much more value than the print version of the book!

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A Troop is a Group of Monkeys

A Troop is a Group of Monkeys
by Little Bahalia Publishing LLC

Price: 1.99$ (was 3.99$)
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iPad

Overall Score: 96/100

version reviewed: 1.0

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Early literacy, Interaction, Language
Video

What it is: an interactive book teaching the collective nouns for animals (a parliament of owls, a pride of lions, a bloat of hippopotami etc). 16 pages + information for teachers and parents.

What you do with it: listen to the narration or read the book yourself. Touch the animals for simple interactions.

What we liked: the story. Nice illustrations. Simple interactions complementing the animal scenes. Professional narration. Sounds and sound backgrounds. Ease of use.

What we didn't like: reading options could be better (words are not highlighted, you can't easily repeat a paragraph). The theme song should have a separate place in the main menu (now it is played only on the 'credits' page which has prominent links to Twitter and Facebook).

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Over in the Jungle

Over in the Jungle
by Dawn Publications

Price: 2.99$ (was 3.99$)
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iPhone + iPad

Overall Score: 94/100

version reviewed: 1.1

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Early math, Interaction, Language, Understanding of the world
Video

What it is: an interactive book (10 pages) with extra activities.

What you do with it: listen to the narration or read the book yourself (the book also can be used in the 'sing to me' mode where words are sung by the narrator). Touch the animals for simple animations and sounds.

The extras include: a seek-and-find game (find all baby animals hidden in the forest) and animal facts pages.

What we liked: the story/rhymes. Beautiful illustrations. Simple interactions complementing the storyline. The 'sing to me' mode. Good educational value (covers many subjects and skills at the same time). Narration, sounds and sound backgrounds. Good reading options (words are highlighted, it's easy to repeat a paragraph).

What we didn't like: the audio could be better quality.

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Rounds: Franklin Frog

Rounds: Franklin Frog
by Nosy Crow

Price: 4.99$
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iPhone

Overall Score: 93/100

version reviewed: 1.0.1

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Language, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive book about the life cycle of a frog presented by... a funny frog character called Franklin.

What you do with it: listen to the narration or read the book yourself. Touch Franklin to make him talk about frog facts ('I swallow my food without chewing it') or perform simple tasks (jump over lily pads, eat worms etc).

What we liked: the 'story' (the concept is well explained and easy to understand, lots of details included), simple illustrations and animations, easy operation, interactive elements complementing the story, great educational value.

What we didn't like: we would prefer an adult narrator (as an option).

Bottom line: the price may be high but we really recommend Franklin.

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The Swamp Where Gator Hides - Android version

The Swamp Where Gator Hides - Android version
by Dawn Publication

Price: 4.99$
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Android

Overall Score: 92/100

version reviewed: 1.0

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Early literacy, Understanding of the world

What it is/what you do with it: an interactive version of the book by Marianne Berkes. (about 12 pages long).

Listen to the narration or read the book yourself. Tap the animals/objects for simple interactions.

The 'Animals' section contains extra facts about animals presented in the book.

What we liked: the story. Great illustrations. Good reading options (text highlighting). Good educational value. Professional narration. Ease of use. No distracting elements.

What we didn't like: text layout is not 'young reader friendly'. The app could be more responsive. The included game is very basic.

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The Swamp Where Gator Hides

The Swamp Where Gator Hides
by Dawn Publications

Price: 3.99$
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iPhone + iPad

Overall Score: 92/100

version reviewed: 1.1

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Early literacy, Understanding of the world

What it is/what you do with it: an interactive version of the book by Marianne Berkes. (about 12 pages long).

Listen to the narration or read the book yourself. Tap the animals/objects for simple interactions.

The 'Animals' section contains extra facts about animals presented in the book.

What we liked: the story. Great illustrations. Good reading options (text highlighting). Good educational value. Professional narration. Ease of use. No distracting elements.

What we didn't like: text layout is not 'young reader friendly'. The app could be more responsive. The included game is very basic.

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Rounds: Parker Penguin

Rounds: Parker Penguin
by Nosy Crow

Price: 4.99$
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iPhone

Overall Score: 91/100

version reviewed: 1.0.1

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive books, Attention & concentration, Early literacy, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Language, Understanding of the world
Video

What it is: an interactive book about the life cycle of a penguin (presented by a penguin called Parker).

What you do with it: listen to the narration or read the dialogues yourself. Touch Parker to make him talk about penguin facts ('walking keeps me nice and warm'), engage in dialogues with other penguins or perform simple tasks (jump, slide, hunt for fish etc.).

What we liked: the 'story' (the concept is well explained and easy to understand, lots of details included), simple illustrations and animations, easy operation, interactive elements complementing the story, good reading options (words are highlighted when read by the narrator), great educational value.

What we didn't like: we would prefer an adult narrator (as an option).

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Plants HD

Plants HD
by Sprout Labs

Price: free
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iPad

Overall Score: 90/100

version reviewed: 2.0

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Language, Understanding of the world

What it is: an app teaching about plants and their lifecycle.

What you do with it: start by 'arranging' the lifecycle of a plant. Explore the available sections (fruits,seeds,dispersal,germination,plant and trees,flowers,polination): view photos, read the text (or have it read out to you by the narrator). You can also take the quiz (answer questions related to the subject) to test your knowledge of the subject.

What we liked: the concept, good educational content with many small 'extras' (e.g. all photos are captioned, there are some short interesting 'facts' thrown in etc.) , simple operation.

What we didn't like: limited interactivity (think of the app as a more sophisticated 'viewer' for curated texts and photos). Navigation could be more consistent. The 'quiz' activity is very simple.
For younger (or poorly reading) kids this app should be considered as a 'teacher/parent tool', not an app your child will engage in by himself/herself.

Bottom line: a simple but well put together educational app.

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Ecosystems HD

Ecosystems HD
by Sprout Labs

Price: 2.99$
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May contain `more apps` links
iPad

Overall Score: 90/100

version reviewed: 1.1

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Interaction, Language, Understanding of the world
Video

What it is: an app teaching about biomes and ecosystems: grasslands, deserts, forests, tundra, oceans and wetlands.

What you do with it: explore available sections: read the text (or have it read out to you by the narrator) and view curated photos or videos illustrating the subject. You can also take the quiz (answer questions related to the subject) to test your acquired knowledge.

What we liked: the concept. Good range of educational content with many 'extras' (e.g. there are some short interesting 'facts' thrown in etc.). Easy to use.

What we didn't like: limited interactivity (think of the app as a more sophisticated 'viewer' for curated texts and photos). Navigation could be more consistent. The 'quiz' activity is very simple. We didn't like the choice of videos too much.
For younger kids this app should be considered as a 'teacher/parent tool', not an app your child will engage in by himself/herself.

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