By Fiona Passantino
Good educational apps for our expat kids
The Summer Edition : Getting Creative
Summer is the time to get creative and get our hands dirty. But as we travel on long airplane rides, stay with Grandma and Grandpa or a beachside hotel, getting creative means keeping purple finger marks off the sofa. Creative tablet apps are great for long train or plane trips and are much kinder to the AirBNB host’s walls. Here are a few we like for kids in the 4+ category.
Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity
By iMagine Machine LTD
“Faces iMake” lets kids create faces using collage materials. It has a real-life look-and-feel to it, which makes it more believable and goofy. This app is kid-friendly and fun and even introduces kids to symbolic elements of art. There is even a YouTube tutorial area (parents may want to stay nearby while kids ponder the video material; one could get “lost” and find themselves astride a wrecking ball). It also provides opportunities for kids to share their creativity via email and social media as well as with other app users worldwide in a special gallery called FaceWorld. Very cute, not too many options, a good interface, an all-around winner.
ARTREE for iPad
By Hansol Huh
Artree is a tree-generator. With a tap of your finger, Artree's sophisticated generative algorithm begins growing a lovely, living, growing organism. Every tree has its own unique shape and life. No two trees are alike. This is fascinating and culturally interesting as they all have a distinctly Japanese flavor to them; my 5 year-old daughter is enchanted. And when she’s not looking, mama makes a few trees too.
Build A Truck - by Duck Duck Moose
By Duck Duck Moose, Inc.
Build A Truck is undeniably a boy’s app. It is part cool-monster-truck-building factory and part race-in-neat-environments. Kids pull together interesting parts to construct trucks (including a hamster in a ball as the engine), spray paint them, plaster them with decals and give their baby a name. Then, they choose a race course with obstacles and star coins to collect (run over) for points. Players colleting points need to complete the course before time runs out, but they can try as many times as they like, with as many different trucks as they can imagine.
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.