Steve is back sharing with us his Best Mobile Games for Kids.
These days, if kids don’t have their own tablets they probably spend plenty of time with mom and dad’s mobile devices in their hands. The jury is still out on the long-term impact of growing up in a world where screens are scattered around the house and screen time is harder to monitor than ever. Are tablets killing creativity by making boredom a thing of the past? Or preparing today’s kids for tomorrow’s highly tech-centric world? Only time will tell, but the uncertainty where the science is concerned hasn’t dampened kids’ – or parents’ – enthusiasm for apps of all stripes.
One piece of good news is that there has never been a better time to introduce kids to the wide world of mobile games and apps. The vastness of the library of titles available for kids means that children and their parents are bound to find apps and games they can agree on. Better still is the fact that the games and apps on the market now are worlds away from the rinky-dink assortment of even five years ago. Snapdragon’s mobile technology and other advancements in the phone and tablet space have made it possible to create beautiful and engaging games for kids that are more than just a distraction.
Here are lots of stand-out apps for kids, broken down by age group:
For kids in the 5-7 range, looks for titles that encourage creativity. Glow Doodle is a great little drawing app that is as good as markers and a stack of paper for inspiring children to whip up unique works of art. Not into neon? Scribble Light is equally amazing. If you’re ready to give your little ones the freedom to choose their own downloads, sit down together and browse the PBS Kids lineup of games – you can be sure everything available is fun, educational and age appropriate. Toca Boca offers a similar lineup of open-ended playground-like titles.
Children from 8-9 are ready – and usually more than willing – to take care of a virtual pet like the adorable monsters in Beast Farmer. Yet they’ve also reached an age where screen time can be a useful learning tool. Jelly Car looks like mindless fun but can actually teach kids a lot about physics and problem solving. Monster Physics is up front about its educational origins but still fun. And Where’s My Water is another game that prompts kids to think through a problem step by step to find a workable solution.
The 10-12 set may be a little harder to please but that doesn’t mean shoot ’em ups and sci fi thrillers are the only games in town. Storytelling meets cultural immersion in The Legend of Momotaro, which introduces kids to Japan and its language through narrative. Children who like to tell their own stories will love Storyteller Deluxe. But for pure gamers who want to play with the big kids, look for titles that don’t glorify violence. Games like Smash Hit and Rymdkapsel will make kids think, while Minecraft: Pocket Edition gets their creativity flowing.
Now, a caveat. While kids love phones and tablets (and the apps that keep them busy for hours), experts generally agree that kids also need plenty of time away from the one-eyed babysitter. Tablets and phones aren’t going anywhere so foster healthy habits in your kids now by making tablet time family time and limiting mobile device use to 30-45 minutes per day. Model those good habits by setting limits on your own screen time, too. You’ll still get your fix but you and your kids will also have time each day to rediscover all the things that engaged your hands and your heart back in the pre-device days.
Thanks Steve for sharing with us today.
Stephen Reynolds is a freelance journalist who covers shopping, entertainment and all things lifestyle. He is also an editor at www.UpwardOnward.com. Follow him on Twitter at @sreynoldswrites.