http://www.starfall.com/ This is a favorite among early elementary teachers and parents alike. If you have an early reader, this is a fantastic resource. They have online books (free, of course), that will highlight each word as a narrator reads aloud to your child. There is also an animated ABC section that is completely appropriate for two-year-olds. Need to give your little one extra practice with sounds and emergent reading activities? Starfall is the place to go.
Best Early Math App (tie): Moose Math
An app that teaches counting, addition, subtraction, sorting, geometry and more. Featuring multilevel game designs where kids solve real world problems by applying algebra skills, and earn rewards to build their virtual city. The app complies with the Common Core State Standards, and includes a Report Card for parents.
Best Early Math App (tie): Eggy Subtract to 20
Focusing solely on subtraction, this app builds basic math skills through six interactive games. Kids can have fun playing a memory game, completing a 3×3 subtraction grid, and snowboarding to solve equations. It is available in US, British, and Australian English. If you want an app that focuses on addition, check out Eggy Add to 20.
Best Montessori Math App: Montessori 1st Operations
A fun and comprehensive activity app based on the Montessori principles. Kids learn the concepts of addition, subtraction, odd/even numbers, and halves/doubles by playing games in three levels of learning. The app supports multiple user profiles and is available in 11 languages.
Best Phonics/Sight Words App (tie): Eggy Phonics 3
An app for practicing phonics, word building, reading, and word rhyming. It focuses on 100 words that are hard to spell such as earth, frown, sport, knight, and scratch, organized into 20 levels. Kids learn each word through six mini games that involve reading and tracing.
Best Phonics/Sight Words App (tie): Word Teller for Kids
A comprehensive app that introduces kids to the alphabet, simple words, and rhymes. It covers 44 sounds in the English language in details, and includes 96 words with their corresponding pronunciations. Kids also learn to identify rhyme families, consonants, digraphs, short/long vowels, r-controlled vowels, trigraphs, and uncommon blends/digraphs.
Best Spelling App: Spell with Pip
Based on the latest research from the team behind Oxford First Dictionary for kids, there are at least 3,000 words that kids commonly find hard to spell. This app attempts to help kids learn those words through a fun spelling game. It allows multiple user profiles.
Best Word Building App: Word Wizard
Four is the perfect age to learn how to read and collect new vocabularies. Word Wizard lets kids build their own words and provide instant feedback by pronouncing the word as it's built. It also checks the words against iOS’ built-in spell checker and dictionary. The app supports words in Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, and Swedish.
Best Bedtime Storybook: I Love You All the Time
An endearing storybook that highlights the bond between parent and child. Good for readers of all ages, the book conveys a deep message through simple verses and catchy rhymes, and has a soothing atmosphere suitable for reading. There’s also a nice feature for listening the story as a song.
Best Original Storybook: Have You Heard?
A comedic tale about a grapevine of mix-ups, presented in colorful graphics and animations. Comedian Rhys Darby provides excellent narration and sound effects for this story riddled with wordplay and homophones. There’s also a fun game that tests the reader’s memory and concentration at the end of the book.
Best Fairy Tale Storybook: Pinocchio - Pink Paw Book Interactive
The classic tale of puppet-turned-boy gets a modern makeover in this charming app, which features exquisite illustrations by Korean artist Sung-Yong Kim. Made available in seven languages, the app includes an engaging narrative and word highlighting for emerging readers. There’s also just the right amount of interactivity to keep kids engaged.
Best Interactive Storybook (tie): Frozen Storybook Deluxe
Adapted from the animated movie Frozen, this storybook cleverly detects the iPad’s orientation to switch between the two perspectives of the story’s protagonists Anna and Elsa. The developers also included two thematic mini games: frozen jigsaw puzzles and ice doodling.
Best Interactive Storybook (tie): Caillou: Show and Tell
A storybook that encourages parents to read along with their kids and start meaningful discussions. Kids follow along as Caillou prepare for a show and tell at school, while parents can pick up tips for better storytelling. The app offers an interesting mode called Read and Talk, which foster language development in kids. Caillou: Show and Tell is available in English and French.
Best Non-Fictional Storybook: The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends
A fresh approach to the popular children’s book by Eric Carle. It is presented as a mini encyclopedia, and covers many facts about nature such as how silk is harvested. There are also mini games interspersed within the book. Available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Japanese.
Best App to Encourage Healthy Eating: Veggie Bottoms for iPad
A silly storybook that turns fruits and veggies into anthropomorphic characters with unique personalities. Kids can learn what each fruit or vegetable looks like, and spin them to (hilariously) reveal their bottoms. Available as free download, with an optional in-app purchase donated to Fruits and Veggies More Matters initiative.
Best Musical App: Music Superheroes
A fun app in which kids learn music concept and skills as they play. It includes five mini games that cover concepts such as tempo, rhythm, notes, instruments, and music production, and features recordings made with real instruments. Kids can also record their voice to create unique sounds.
Best Toy App: Pango Playground
A simple yet delightful playground, filled with interactive bits and pieces to explore. Fun for all ages, it features four scenes with colorful wood blocks and animal-shaped pieces, and an endless gameplay.
Best Coloring App: Damki Town
Meet the fun and quirky residents of Damki Town. Each character has a name and a set of stickers that reveals his/her personality, allowing you to color in unique ways. You can paint your heart out, because the app supports multiple undo actions.
Best Space Exploration App: Jetpack Journeys: Astronaut Trainer
A great activity app that lets kids explore the solar system. Kids can read about various space facts as they play mini games. The app includes a narrator, making it accessible to younger kids as well.
Best Hidden Object Games: Abricot Games - Hide and Seek
A charming hidden object game that feature beautiful hand-drawn illustrations depicting hundreds of tiny characters. The app has high replay values and a great sense of humor, so it can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Best Construction Game: Toca Builders
A creative construction game in which kids can build virtual 3D worlds using colorful cubes. It is similar to Minecraft, but considerably simpler and easier to use. It also has no rules, no penalty, and no time limit, so it is easy to spend countless hours building various constructions in the app.
Best App to Discuss Screen Time Policy: The Adventures of Ash & Ollie: ScreenTime
An engaging storybook that follows two brothers, Ash & Ollie, as they manage their screen time allowance on the weekends. As you read with your kids, you can use the examples in the story to discuss your screen time. Remind them how you value other activities, such as playing outside with friends and family.