Appysmarts.com Best Apps for Young Brains


Best apps for kids: Early science.


If your kids love science experiments, want to become astronauts or are just curious how everything works, take a look at this Appysmarts list and try to download some of these great educational apps for iPad or iPhone. Our reviewers put on this list kids apps for teaching about space and Solar System, educational books about animals and their life, explaining biology, geography, seasons and life cycles of different animals and plants along with many science concepts. Thanks to these apps children will learn through diagrams, photos, videos, slide shows and lots of interactive features helping them explore the world around them in a new engaging way. You'll find here the best fun educational games for preschoolers and kindergarteners for classrooms, homeschooling and just for learning while playing.

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GazziliScience

GazziliScience

Price: 1.99$

May contain `more apps` links
iPhone

Overall Score: 100/100

version reviewed: 1.0.2

reviewed:


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

What it is: a set of activities introducing 6 science concepts: life cycle of plants, water cycle, seasons, living/non living, sink/float, senses.

What you do with it: follow the instructions to complete the activities, e.g. in the 'sink or float' activity the goal is to guide the main character out of a system of water filled tubes by moving him up and down with the help of items that make him either float or sink.

Each completed activity unveils a part of a mystery machine.

What we liked: the concept. Good variety of activities. Simple illustrations and animations. Sounds and sound backgrounds. Spoken instructions. The option to display instructions on the screen (useful for hearing impaired kids). Overall quality of the app.

What we didn't like: may get a bit repetitive after you go through the activities more than once. Some activities are more engaging than others (e.g. 'plants', 'sink or float' vs living/non living). The activities have to be unlocked one by one.

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

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

Price: 5.99$

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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Color Vacuum

Color Vacuum

Price: 0.99$

iPhone

Overall Score: 99/100

version reviewed: 1.2

reviewed:


Best for: Interactive play, Attention & concentration, Eye-hand coordination, Understanding of the world

What it is: an app for exploring and playing with real life colors.

What you do with it: use the device as a 'scientific color collecting instrument'. Depending on the mode you can: 'collect' the colors by pointing the camera on your device at surrounding objects (the colors will be represented as bubbles under the magnifying glass), 'search' for objects with colors similar to the previously collected colors or 'vacuum' the colors (you need add or subtract small portions of a color using the controls provided to find the matching hue).

What we liked: the concept, educational/creative factor (encouraging curiosity and free play with 'science'), beautiful 'realistic' interface with lots of clever details (but please see the note below), sound effects enhancing the experience, the fun factor.

What we didn't like: the interface is complex, especially in the 'vacuum' mode (parental assistance is necessary, be sure to master it yourself first). Sometimes it is difficult obtain the expected result (the app works best in good lighting conditions). The app could have even more educational value (e.g. matching colors by their names, explanation of color concepts etc).

Bottom line: a must-have tool for the young aspiring 'scientists' (and we believe parents will have some fun, too).

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Sun by KIDS DISCOVER

Sun by KIDS DISCOVER

Price: 3.99$

May contain `more apps` links
iPad

Overall Score: 97/100

version reviewed: 1.0

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Understanding of the world
Video

What it is: an interactive book + extra activities introducing kids to the Sun, the Solar System, stars and galaxies.

What you do with it: explore the chapters using the main index or page by page. Some pages contain extra photos, short animations or diagrams illustrating the topics.

The extra activities include: solar word search game, simple puzzles and a simple science quiz.

What we liked: the concept. Quality illustrations. Good educational value (explanation and illustrations of the concepts, interesting facts etc.).

What we didn't like: almost no interactive features (just a few interactive animated diagrams). No narration. Navigation is not intuitive (and could be more responsive). The extra activities are very basic.

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Simple Machines by KIDS DISCOVER

Simple Machines by KIDS DISCOVER

Price: 3.99$

May contain `more apps` links
iPad

Overall Score: 96/100

version reviewed: 1.0

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Understanding of the world
Video

What it is: an interactive book + extra activities introducing kids to simple machines (wheels, pulleys, wedges, levers, planes and screws).

What you do with it: explore the chapters using the main index or page by page. Some pages contain extra photos, short animations or diagrams illustrating the topics.

The extra activities include: 2 types of puzzles and a simple science quiz.

What we liked: the concept. Quality illustrations. Good educational value (explanation and illustrations of the concepts, interesting facts).

What we didn't like: almost no interactive features (just a few interactive animated diagrams). No narration. Navigation is not intuitive (and could be more responsive). The extra activities are very basic.

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Sid The Science Kid - Sid's Slide to the Side

Sid The Science Kid - Sid's Slide to the Side

Price: 2.99$

iPhone

Overall Score: 96/100

version reviewed: 1.0.0

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Attention & concentration, Thinking & problem solving, Understanding of the world

What it is: an animated educational book introducing the concept of friction. 2 additional play activities exploring friction, materials and surface types. Features the characters from the 'Sid the Science Kid' PBS Kids TV Series.

What you do with it: listen to the narration while watching animated scenes illustrating various aspects of friction (from a kid's perspective).

2 extra activities:

Push-a-Puck game: compare various materials (the puck and the surface on which the puck travels)

Sid's Sppedway game: drive Sid's car on various types of surfaces and compare the speed and car's behavior.

The app also contains a special 'Friction Song' sung by Teacher Susie.

What we liked: the concept (explaining science topics through play). TV quality graphics and animations. Professional narration and voice acting. Good educationa value. No distracting elements.

What we didn't like: the play and the educational value of the mini-games could be much higher (there are no instructions, guidance or explanation - parental assistance is recommended). Limited reading features in the book part (words are not highlighted, you can't easily repeat a paragraph).

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Noisy Frog Sing-Along

Noisy Frog Sing-Along

Price: 3.99$

iPhone + iPad

Overall Score: 93/100

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 'Noisy Frog Sing-Along' by John Himmelman (about 14 pages long).

Listen to the narration or read the book yourself. Tap the frogs for 'real' sounds and a short animation illustrating how the sound is made.

The Noisy Frog section contains more detailed information about the frogs and their sounds.

What we liked: the concept. Detailed illustrations. Real frog sounds. The 'sing along' narration feature. High educational value. Ease of use.

What we didn't like: we wish there were more interactive features. The app could be more responsive.

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Rounds: Parker Penguin

Rounds: Parker Penguin

Price: 4.99$

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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Solar System for iPad

Solar System for iPad

Price: 9.99$

May contain `more apps` links
iPad

Overall Score: 91/100

version reviewed: 1.1.1

reviewed:


Best for: Education, Interaction, Understanding of the world

What it is: an interactive book about the Solar System by Marcus Chown. About 150 pages, 40 interactive models of astronomical objects, interactive orrery (plus other interactive features), over 600 images, key facts, details + live data from Wolfram Alpha.

What you do with it: explore the book (please note that there is no narration), view photos, use the interactive features (please refer to our video walkthrough for more details).

What we liked: the concept, range of topics, high quality content, easy navigation. Very good educational value. Great quality illustrations and photos. Good interactive features. Overall quality of the app.

What we didn't like: no narration (for non-reading kids parental assistance is necessary). We wish there were more interactive features.

Bottom line: we really liked this app but it is aimed at an audience slightly older than our usual Appysmarts age range. If you are not sure if the app will suit your child please view our 'See before you buy' video (below).

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Plants HD

Plants HD

Price: free

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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