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10 Android Apps Perfect for Preschool-Age Kids

By: Craig Froehle
on July 24, 2011 12:00 pm

A lot of smartphone users I know have young children like I do. While every kid is unique, one consistent theme is that the little buggers are constantly asking to play a game or watch a movie or something. And sometimes, that’s OK, such as when their only alternative activity is shrieking in a restaurant, kicking their sibling in the head, or seeing how many army men fit in their mouth.

So, I’ve tried lots of Android games & apps hoping to find ones suitable for young kids (mine are 6 and 3). Most seem to be for older children, but here are 10 apps, in no particular order, that I’ve found my kids really enjoy using and consistently ask for. As always, YCMV*.

zebra_paint1. Zebra Paint
Paint a coloring-book-style template by touching a color and then touching the area to fill in that color. Lots of colors to choose from and around 40 different templates. Easy to use, even for my 3-year-old, and difficult to mess up to a point where adult assistance is needed. No ads. Free. 136K

reversi2Reversi
The classic game of Othello. Sure, some younger kids might not get the concept, but my 6-year-old loves it. Smooth graphics, good UI, and very stable. A free (lite) version is ad-supported. No ads. $1.60 (UK pricing). 1.7M (supports App2SD)

Here’s Sam, my daughter, giving us a little tour of Reversi (Free) and Zebra Paint:

 

math_magic3. Math Magic
A large variety of math mini-puzzles accommodating a wide range of skills, from single-digit addition to multi-digit division. The high-quality sounds, such as the voice of a kid saying “Excellent!”, and graphics make this especially enjoyable for kids. No ads. $1.50. 7.8M

word_magic4. Word Magic
From the same developer as Math Magic, this is the equivalent game with words and letters. Highly recommended. No ads. $1.50. 16.5M

monkey_ps_lunchbox5. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
Six different monkey-themed minigames involving counting, matching, colors, and sizes. Better for younger kids. No ads. $1.99. 7.2M (supports App2SD)

green_eggs6. Green Eggs and Ham
This is an interactive storybook of the iconic Dr. Seuss book of the same name. The “book” is easy for kids to navigate and can be interacted with in three modes: read to the child at their pace, interactive play (touch items to see and hear their names), and fully automatic story-telling. The voice is recorded, not synthetic, and quite fun. The developer offers several Dr. Seuss titles in the series. In my opinion, it’s a little expensive if you already own the physical book, but can be found occasionally for $0.99. No ads. $3.99. 14M (supports App2SD)

hangman7. Hangman Pro
Hangman…plain and simple. However, it offers three different skill/age levels, so younger kids don’t have to face words like “phlebotomy” (OK, I don’t actually know if that word’s in there, but it could be). There’s also a free (lite) version that’s ad-supported. No ads. $0.99. 3.7M (supports App2SD)

kids_shape_puzzle8Kids Shape Puzzle
Slide the shapes into the outline to reveal the picture. Lots of pictures: animals, numbers, letters, shapes, etc. Very simple, so better for kids under 6. Free (lite) and tablet-optimized versions also available. No ads. $2.99. 9.1M (supports App2SD; can be moved to the SD card)

doodle_fit9. Doodle Fit
Fit the geometric shapes into the outline exactly. It’s actually a great game for grown-ups, too. Sometimes it can be a bit challenging, but it seems to be a very intuitive task for kids. Lots of levels. A free (lite) version is ad-supported. No ads. $1.41 (Euro pricing). 6.1M (supports App2SD)

safari_hd10. Safari!
Link chains of the same animal to make them disappear. It’s a twist on the classic bubble popper theme, but with charming graphics and several gameplay modes (the untimed mode is especially kid-friendly). There are free/lite (ad-supported) and HD (for tablets) versions available as well. No ads. $1.41 (Euro pricing). 3.1M (supports App2SD)

If you have any suggestions to add to this list, please let me know…my kids will be delighted! :-)

This post was also published at the Verizon Wireless Midwest Region Tumblr site.

*Your Children May Vary

 

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Comments

  1. 1
    Ben Udkow says:

    There are 2 MUST have apps on our phones: Toddler Lock (by Marco Nelissen) and Kid Mode: Kids Games + Videos (by Zoodles).

    (My kids are 2 and 4 years old, so this comment is based on that and will definitely change when they’re older.)

    Toddler Lock disables all buttons and functions on the phone and allows the kids to draw lines and shapes without any chance of messing up the phone. The only way to exit the app is to touch all four corners in a clockwise pattern. It’s free, but I’ve donated at least $20 to the developer in thanks. :-)

    Kid Mode: Kids Games + Videos is more for 4+ kids and my 4-year old loves it. She can pick her own games and movies to play and it’s pretty regularly updated with new content. Like Toddler Lock it has a mode that prevents the use of the phone buttons or exiting the game until a Z is drawn.

    I’ve used most of the other apps for kids and my kids keep going back to the these two. :-)

  2. 2
    Concerned Parent says:

    Have any of you read those reports on cell/smartphone radiation exposure? Children are not supposed to be using these devices due to the higher levels of radiation they emit. Children, until at least the age of 12, do not have fully formed skulls with enough density to sufficiently block the radiation like adult skulls can. Each of you should do a little internet research to at least learn of the dangers of this hidden menace. These devices are too new and understudied to understand their effects on the human body especially children. Here are two articles to get you started:

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/31/who.cell.phones/index.html

    http://www.internationalparentingassociation.org/BrainDevelopment/cellphones.html

  3. 3
    Craig Froehle says:

    Dear Concerned Parent,
    Yes, I’ve read them and I’m not in the least concerned. Here’s why: cellular radiation intensity decreases by the square of the distance from the transmitter. All those studies that assess radiation output are measured right next to the phone — i.e., with it pressed up to your ear. When children are playing a game, their heads are at least a foot away from the phone, meaning the radiation level has dropped to near-undetectable levels. Even 6 inches away from the phone makes the radiation well below any governmental risk level. So, since the article is about games for your kids, rather than having them talk on the phone, radiation is not a concern.

  4. 4

    Thanks for the shout-out Ben! Kid Mode all the way :-)

  5. 5
    kasia says:

    I would like to introduce you a musical game for kids. It is avaliable for the mobiles (800×480, Android 2.2+) and the tablets (1280×800, Android 3.0+).

    Of course FREE.

    More info here: http://www.kidsmusicalchallenges.com

    It is also avaliable on MArket: https://market.android.com/developer?pub=Mediamachina+Studio
    as on SlideMe: http://slideme.org/applications?text=mediamachina (it is one of the featured apps there).

    Hope you child’ll like it :)

    Enjoy !

  6. 6

    Hope we can add to the list –
    Check out our new game “Robot Puzzle Factory” which lets your children construct 10 unique robots by following a blueprint!
    Then watch the robots come to life when they are complete :)

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.happygrizzly.robotpuzzle

  7. 7
    Kurt says:

    Look at the this one (Bobby Riddles):

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.planemo.bobbyPuzzlesEn

    Fairly simple in execution but I think the original in the idea.

  8. 8
    miriam says:

    There is a great website for apps, http://www.educationalappstore.com, which specialises in educational apps for young kids, parents, students and teachers. It is the one I always use when I want to find an educational app, and also the main store for my friends to buy good apps for their kids.

  9. 9
    Jessica says:

    This application is free, it is very entertaining for the kids and have a high added value for their educational content.

    Lets draw and color the same way you do on paper using different tools such as pencils, crayons, stamps and even a magic wand!.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobimind.aprendecoloreando

  10. 10
    Paul says:

    My kids love “Learn Coloring”, is a free application for painting and coloring, which has educational content and educational challenges. I like also because it is an entertainment and encourages them to learn many things.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobimind.aprendecoloreando

    more:
    http://www.aisper.com.ar/mobimind

  11. 11
    Melanie says:

    Hello,

    I would add this:

    Where Is It
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dcb.whereisit

    My son of 3 year old is very entertaining with her and above both is learning. You know the colors in Spanish and English, now I’ll see how it with numbers.

    Greetings.

  12. 12
    Andrey Fidrya says:

    I would like to add one good Android game app for preschool age kids. It is Shape Puzzle – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=biz.ideus.puzzler that is educational game for kids of preschool age.

  13. 13
    grebulon says:

    There’s a new app – Little Professor. It’s an emulation of the famous TI toy.
    Look for Little Professor in the google play store. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.grebulon.littleprofessor)

  14. 14
    SilverHotspur says:

    I know of a 4yr old who loves this game, its call “Flow Free” you have to link each colour point to fill a small grid. Its addictive for adults too, I’m 50 :) https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bigduckgames.flow&feature=nav_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDNd

  15. 15
    Shehryar says:

    This is a good free app to keep toddlers and kids busy while learning counting and animal names:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mmm.TOSCL&hl=en

  16. 16
    Andrew Fidrya says:

    Shape Puzzle is another good Android app for pre-school age kids – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=biz.ideus.puzzler it is a fun game that improves vocabulary of kids and can be used by parents to keep children busy.

  17. 17
    Dom says:

    Make sure you lock your PLAY Account using a PIN code, then you can be sure you don’t get any suprises!

    Our kids enjoy this one ( and its free )

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=chickenlegs.magictoys

  18. 18
    Pespiware says:

    More than 1 000 downloads in a month for the free and fun animal game for kids: Crazy Farm Party!
    And an average rating of 4.81 / 5.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pespiware.audiogame

  19. 19
    Ali says:

    Add https://play.google.com/store/search?q=trophyfarm&c=apps to the list. Our 3 and 5 year olds love “Connect the dots” by Trophyfarm.

    Games by intellijoy are also nice, but they kinda lack the cuddly factor that out kids do like. Nevertheless, they also offer nice apps for preschoolers!

  20. 20
    Steve says:

    Thanks you all for your suggestions. I often have to bring my four year old granddaughter to my board meetings. She is a cutie but was a bit disruptive. No more!
    Kudos to the poster above with regard to his reference to the inverse square law. Assuming a cell phone is one inch from a child’s brain when talking on the phone and twelve inches when playing a game, the gamer’s radiation dose would be 7/1000th of the talkers dose. If we assume the talkers brain is half inch that number drps to 1/1000th.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Jaromir says:

    Hi, my 3 kids love apps full of photos and sounds. The newest one is Babatoo gallery: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cz.apigro.babatoo.gallery

    Simple and free. Perfect.

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