Parents are increasingly turning to smartphone or tablets to keep their children entertained. Regardless of platform, every smartphone now offers a plethora of games, but not all are child-appropriate, and even less fall under the "educational" category. Here are a few that we believe can be entertaining and educational at the same time.
Duck Duck Moose offer up an adorable selection of mini games emphasizing learning through play. Little ones may not yet realize they're toying with real world physics interacting with the game, but that's exactly what Duck Duck Moose offers. Underneath driving cute monster trucks, fire trucks, and manipulating cranes is a cleverly crafted physics engine that lets curious minds experiment and dabble via touch and visual recognition. $2
The Cooking Mama series has already gone through many iterations, but feels right at home on the iOS platform. Children and adults (myself included) will get pulled in by the loveable character, Mama, who guides you through several popular recipes playable as mini games. Although cooking virtually isn’t quite like the real deal, it does educate the importance of following directions through the process of making spaghetti, french fries, pizza, omelettes, and various delectable dishes. Free - $1 in-app purchase per recipe
TribePlay has a splendid series of apps with the veneer of simply being of games, but don’t be deceived, your kids will be enhancing their motor skills with the help of the virtually accredited, Dr. Panda. Available in several forms such as Dr. Panda's Restaurant, Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden or Dr. Panda’s Daycare, each of the series contains ten mini games teaching constructive thinking to preschoolers. $2 - Also available for iOS
Teaching children how to play music early on has many long-term benefits that manifest well beyond their developing years. Kids Piano Games welcomes beginners into the world of piano with an intuitive design and an encouraging learning curve. Children can learn to play songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Old MacDonald and He’s Got the Whole World. Think of the app as training wheels before they move onto real piano lessons. $2
We’re all familiar with Alexey Pajitnovs Tetris, but do you know of his follow-up puzzle masterpiece, Hexic? Similar to Tetris, players are faced with a screen of colorful tiles which drop and stack depending on placement, but this time the pieces are all hexagonal. The board consists of endless hexagon tiles that you can rotate to mix and match with three adjacent tiles; match three or create a bigger hexagon using 6 pieces surrounding an odd colored tile called a flower. The game encourages strategic thinking and planning ahead for kids with an affinity for the spatial and visual. $3
Learning a new language has never been so groovy! Hiragana Pixel Party is fun for all ages, with Nintendo NES-style old school graphics and music. The game aims to teach users how to read Japanese Hiragana and Katakana through rhythm. With consistent training and a reasonable learning curve, the Pixel Party introduces new characters to help children (and adults) learn to retain and recognize symbols of the Japanese language. $3.50 - Also available for iOS
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