Okay, here are some new apps we've been enjoying. I need to stay far, far away from the app store!!!! Thank goodness for Christmas gift cards. In fact, my 6-yr-old put "iTunes gift cards to the app store" on his Christmas list.
1. Cash Cow ($2.99) - So, I love this game and so do my boys. You need to make coin combinations to make a certain amount of money, then you use that money to buy things for your farm. You unlock certain bonus games and things like "gold nuggets" as you go. I love to watch my kids figuring out money - "If I have 2 dimes and a nickel that makes a quarter and then if I add 3 more quarters it's a dollar." Oh, the painless learning. And it's fun. There is a free "lite" version you can try first to see if you'll like it. Very highly recommended.
2. Coin Math ($1.99) - There are 4 different games here. First, you match the front and backs of coins to a piggy bank. Then you can count coins and choose the answer from several possibilities. The last 2 games are "shopping" games. You need to figure out the coin combinations to buy something, like a $.52 hamburger. The kids enjoy it and even the littlest can play. Very highly recommended.
3. Color Friends ($.99) - So dumb. My 3-yr-old asked me to take it off the iPod because "it's boring and stupid". You would click on a color and it would show a picture with that color, but it didn't say the color out loud and didn't do anything fun or fancy. There was no matching involved, just looking at colors. Not recommended.
4. eliasABC ($.99) - These are ABC flashcards with minimal animation. You tap the card and it will say "T is for tie" or whatever. Cute and simple. My 3-yr-old has only played with this a few times though. It doesn't hold his attention. I would also have liked it to teach the sound, not a word that begins with the letter. Not recommended.
5. eliasZOO ($.99) - Animal flashcards. When you tap the card it says the animal's name (the name is written underneath too) and then the animals make a sound. Most of them are fairly realistic, some are not. Cute animation. He looks through this once in a while. Recommended if your kid really, really likes animals.
6. Lola's Flag Adventure ($1.99) - This is a memory type game with world flags. We tried the free version and my older boys kept asking for more so we bought the full version. It's a fun way to quiz them on flags. There are 3 levels - easy, medium and hard. Recommended.
7. Monkey Preschool When I Grow Up - ($.99) - There is really no academic value to this, but my 3 and 6-yr-old love it. You get to choose a monkey (2 boys and 2 girls) and dress them up, then the monkey does a silly dance and some animated stuff happens. They love to make goofy creations like a pirate dancer or princess farmer or astronaut policeman. Very cute and really well done. Highly recommended if you're just looking for something fun or need a few minutes of quiet time.
8. Ranch Rush ($.99) - We all love this game. Here you manage a farm. You have to plant and harvest crops. You have to fill customer orders and buy new equipment or seeds. You also have to plan your movements so you are doing things most effectively. It's challenging for me, but easy enough for my older boys (9-yrs-old) to play. I think it's a great learning tool for money and time management. There is a free version you can try first. Very highly recommended.
9. Sums Stacker ($.99) - This is a really interesting math game. You can choose the type of object you want to count (fingers, blocks, written number, number symbol, Roman numerals and more) then you can choose if you want to "race" or "solve" the problem and you can choose easy or hard. Tons of options. Then it gives you 3 "stacks" of numbers. For example, it might say "11, 1, 9" across the bottom and give you 6 numbers above. You have to rearrange those six numbers to equal the numbers across the bottom. So not only are you learning to recognize different symbols/numbers but you have to count, add and subtract. Yippee! A great mind workout. Very highly recommended.
10. Toddler Teasers Shapes (free) - They show 3 shapes with the word written at the bottom and then it says "Touch the _____". If you get it wrong the wrong shape disappears. If you get it right you hear clapping. After a few right you get a sticker. My 3-yr-old enjoys it and for a free app I think it does the job very well. Highly recommended.
11. Word Cub Letters & Sounds ($1.99) - There are 3 modes of play - Letter Match, Word Discovery and Sound Match. You see three blocks in the middle of the screen. For Letter Match the blocks spin to show you a word then it says, "Touch B" and says the alphabet name. Each time you get it right it spins for a new word and letter. For Word Discovery it shows a 3 letter word, sounds it out then reads it to you. In Sound Match it asks you to "Tap rrrr" or "Touch mmmm", the phonetic sounds. After you get a certain number right it cheers for you and you get to pop bubbles. I play this with the 6-yr-old for 'reading lessons' sometimes. They don't pick it up to play on their own, but they have fun with it once I direct them to it. Best for new readers or those learning their letters and sounds. Highly recommended.
12. Wriggle (free version) - You try to get the worm out of the hole, but there are other worms in the way and he can only move certain directions. It's kind of like Rush Hour, but your moves are more limited. All of the kids love this, from the 3-yr-old to the 9-yr-olds. We'll be getting the full version soon. Great logic and problem solving with super cute graphics. Very highly recommended.
13. Meet the Letters - Lowercase ($.99) - We love the Preschool Prep Co. videos so this app was a good fit. It gives you the choice of 3 lowercase letters, says it out loud and you choose one. It turns into an animated letter and does something cute. My two youngest sons like it a lot, but it would be nice if after a few letters they got a song or some other reward instead of having to go through the entire alphabet. I can't wait for their other apps to come out. Highly recommended.