By Fiona Passantino
Good Learning Apps for our Expat Kids
The Fall Edition: Story Time
Time to recover from our summer holidays and get back to school, back to work and reenter the gravitational pull of our daily lives. During the holidays, the App Train and its two willing, unpaid user testers took a few storybooks for a spin. And here the best storybook apps for kids in the 4+ category.
Even Monsters Get Sick
By Busy Bee Studios
Price: $ 0.99
Our favorite, a storybook with cute things to pull, push, tweak, bounce and boink with every page. A nice story about a little boy and his sick monster, narrated by a little boy with a great, humorous voice. The story is peppered through with nice little games (like a drag-drop maze, slingshot food into monster’s mouth) and scrolling array of monsters at the finale. Very cute, priced right, perfect amount of fun for a bedtime.
Bobo Explores Light
By Game Collage, LLC
Price: $ 4.99
Another winner, this in a slightly different category; fun learning about science. While a bit scattered, jumping from topic to topic without going into much depth, this app takes on a few of the “big questions”; why is the sky blue? How do light waves work? And does it in a slick, well-made, engaging way. Kids can interact with nearly all the objects, mix light, bend laser beams and shoot off fireworks with their fingertips. Cute, educational and very professional, only getting a less-than-perfect score because, as apps go, it’s a bit pricey.
Little Lamb in Amsterdam
By Joshua Wilson
Price: $ 4.99
This app is particularly fun for our kids; English-speaking, living in Holland. It’s a sweet story with funny sound effects about little lamb going for a long bike ride through the countryside and into Amsterdam to see something beyond her little patch of clover. We see all the Dutch trademarks: herring-eating, fields of tulips, windmills kids can turn themselves, wooden shoes, art, canals and even poffertjes. Not quite as slick, not quite as professional (one has to think hard to figure out where to click and what to do), rather expensive for what it is, but warm and full of character.
Fiona Passantino is the founder of The App Train (www.theapptrain.com), a small, app design and development company with a dual focus: building commercial apps, iPad magazines, folios and mobile content for clients and building learning apps for children as an independent micropublisher for Apple and Android. Fiona lives in The Hague with her husband and two small but highly competent app testers-and-debuggers aged five and ten.