Appysmarts.com Best Apps for Young Brains


Best apps for kids about wild animals.


We picked the best, most educational and fun apps for all kids loving zoo & wild animals such as lions, tigers, giraffes, zebras, monkeys and other animals living in the jungle, in the desert or in the savannah.

You'll find here apps for creating safari scenes, teaching animal facts in a fun way, puzzles and coloring pages with the wildlife theme.

See also: Best apps for kids: Farm animals

Best Apps for Young Brains - get our weekly app recommendations by e-mail!

The Champion Hare

The Champion Hare
by InteractBooks LLC

Price: free
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iPhone + iPad

Overall Score: 100/100

version reviewed: 1.1

reviewed:


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

What it is: an interactive story (about 20 pages long) about a hare entering the Animal Sports Competition. Written by Gwen Christie, illustrated by Paul Wrangles.

What you do with it: read the book or listen to the narration. Touch objects on the pages for animations and sounds.

What we liked: the story, nice illustrations, interactive elements complementing the storyline, professional narration, no distracting elements.

What we didn't like: some interface elements could be more intuitive to use (e.g. to listen to the narration you need to tap the text - on every page). The reading options could be better (e.g. text is not highlighted, text layout is not too kid-friendly etc).

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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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Herd Absurd! Mix, match & collect

Herd Absurd! Mix, match & collect
by Tinybright

Price: 2.99$
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iPhone

Overall Score: 99/100

version reviewed: 1.0.3

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive play, Attention & concentration, Creativity, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Thinking & problem solving
Video

What it is:a set of 'mix and match' puzzles with animals (15 animals).

What you do with it: slide 3 strips containing heads/bodies/legs to complete an animal then tap different parts of the animal for sounds and animations.

Two modes of play: 'free' (just mix and match) and 'challenge' (complete all the animals as instructed).

What we liked: the concept, simple illustrations, sounds, ease of use, fun factor, no distracting elements.

What we didn't like: some animations may be too 'flashy' for more sensitive kids. Some elements are designed for fun but they may introduce false concepts (e.g. a hedgehog keeping a baby hedgehog in a kangaroo-like pouch). The educational value could be higher.

Free preview: if you are not sure, please see our 'See before you buy' video (below) or try the free version of the app.

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Kapu Forest HD

Kapu Forest HD
by Kapu Toys

Price: 1.99$
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May contain `more apps` links
iPad

Overall Score: 99/100

version reviewed: 1.0.3

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive toys, Attention & concentration, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive toy for younger kids featuring 12 forest animals.

What you do with it: swipe around the scene to choose an animal, touch the animal to play a short minigame (e.g. feed the squirrel with pine cones, help the beaver to match wooden shapes to finish his dam, match mushrooms with color baskets etc.).

What we liked: the concept, nice range of activities (simple enough even for younger kids), simple navigation, ease of use, simple graphics and animations, realistic sounds and sound backgrounds, the built-in timer (for limiting the time spent with the app).

What we didn't like: no voice instructions (parental assistance is recommended for younger kids). We wish there was more variety in some of the activities.

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Make A Scene: Safari

Make A Scene: Safari
by Make a Scene

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

Overall Score: 98/100

version reviewed: 1.1

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive play, Attention & concentration, Creativity, Interaction, Language, Understanding of the world

What it is: an app for creating virtual sticker scenes.

What you do with it: choose the background, drag the stickers from the menu, flip or move them around to create your scene. There are over 50 stickers (giraffes, lions, hippos, zebras etc), 5 animated backgrounds and 5 animated foregrounds to choose from. Created scenes can be saved and shared.

What we liked: the concept,nice illustrations, good selection of stickers, lots of tiny fun details (many stickers are animated), good educational value (when you grab a sticker the name of the object will be read out: 'giant tortoise', 'hippopotamus calf' etc.), sounds and sound backgrounds, ease of use.

What we didn't like: no instructions (it took us some time to figure out how to remove a sticker from our scene). We would like to see an option to resize the stickers manually (they are resized automatically when you move them around). Prominent links to Twitter and Facebook (on the starting screen and in the 'share' menu).

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Kapu Forest

Kapu Forest
by Kapu Toys

Price: 1.99$
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May contain `more apps` links
iPhone

Overall Score: 98/100

version reviewed: 1.0.3

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive toys, Attention & concentration, Eye-hand coordination, Interaction, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive toy for younger kids featuring 12 forest animals.

What you do with it: swipe around the scene to choose an animal, touch the animal to play a short minigame (e.g. feed the squirrel with pine cones, help the beaver to match wooden shapes to finish his dam, match mushrooms with color baskets etc.).

What we liked: the concept, nice range of activities (simple enough even for younger kids), simple navigation, ease of use, simple graphics and animations, realistic sounds and sound backgrounds, the built-in timer (for limiting the time spent with the app).

What we didn't like: no voice instructions (parental assistance is recommended for younger kids). We wish there were more animals to play with.

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Some simple animal puzzles

Some simple animal puzzles
by Jan Essig

Price: 0.99$
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iPhone

Overall Score: 97/100

version reviewed: 1.2.0

reviewed:


Best for: Brain teasers, Attention & concentration, Eye-hand coordination

What it is: a set of 50 animal puzzles

What you do with it: slide the pieces into place to complete a picture of an animal. Two modes of play; Toddler Mode: 10 simple 1 piece puzzles (4 animals on a page) and Pro Mode: 40 animals, about 8 pieces each.

What we liked: ease of use (the puzzles are suitable even for very young children), simple graphics, no distracting elements.

What we didn't like: the app could offer more educational value (e.g. the names of animals could be read out etc.). We wish there were more sounds and sound backgrounds.

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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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May contain `more apps` links
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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Saffy Looks For Rain

Saffy Looks For Rain
by Simply Read Books

Price: free
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iPhone + iPad

Overall Score: 95/100

version reviewed: 1.0.1

reviewed:


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

What it is: an interactive story (about 15 pages long) about a baby giraffe. 2 extra activities (coloring and simple picture puzzles).

What you do with it: 2 modes of reading (listen to the narration or read by yourself). Touch objects on the pages for simple animations.

What we liked: the story. Simple illustrations and animations. Interactive elements complementing the storyline. The extra activities (coloring and puzzles). Quality narration. Sounds. The option to record your own narration. Ease of use. No distracting elements.

What we didn't like: 'timed' puzzle challenge. Only one coloring sheet and only one puzzle scene.

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