6 inspirational, creative apps for kids

Musical Me

There are so many apps for kids on the App Store that it makes choosing the best one for your little angels a bit of a challenge. There are plenty of apps and games that are great for shutting children up on a long journey, yet much less that actually inspire, educate and encourage creativity in youngsters.

I’ve hand-picked a selection from the cream of the App Store: six original, innovative apps that encourage children to think creatively, as well as being a lot of fun. In general, these applications are designed for over threes, but they can be enjoyed by bigger kids as well. In fact, I defy you not to pick up and play with these once your little ones have gone off to bed!

Toca Hair Salon

If your child has aspirations of being a hairdresser, or even if they just like dressing up games, Toca Hair Salon is not to be missed. This excellent interactive app lets children run their own hair salon. They can cut, comb, blow-dry and tint the hair of six different customers to make weird and wonderful hair styles.

The presentation of Toca Hair Salon is a cut above. The fun characters include a dog, a lion and some human customers (or should that be ‘victims’?) You simply choose a tool, then use it to change the hair by running your finger along the head. It’s really addictive, and as you‘ll see from this 5-year-old’s video review of Toca Hair Salon, kids can’t get enough of it!

For ages: 3 & up
Price: $2.59
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRzz3NI6RCY[/youtube]

Cake Doodle

How to teach your kids to cook without destroying the kitchen? Install Cake Doodle and let them experiment with virtual cooking. This culinary app allows you to ‘bake’ different kinds of cakes, mixing different ingredients from the huge selection available in Cake Doodle.

The process of baking with Cake Doodle is great fun and very interactive. You’ll have to perform tasks such as cracking eggs, pouring in liquids, squeezing lemons, grating carrots and more as you follow each of the 14 different cake recipes. There are 18 different styles of cake to choose from and lots of ways to ice and decorate. This makes Cake Doodle an app that will keep junior chefs amused for hours.

For ages: 4 & up
Price: $1.29
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Cake Doodle

PBS Kids Photo Factory

PBS Kids Photo Factory is a fun way to introduce young children to the world of photo editing. It allows them to appear alongside their favorite characters from PBS shows, including Curious George, Arthur, Calliou and Sesame Street.

The application makes editing images as simple as can be, walking the young user through the process very gently. They simply upload a photo of themselves, choose a frame and select a character they want to be next to. Then they can resize and move the character around to get them in the right place. Once the masterpiece is complete, it can be shared with family and friends via email.

For ages: 2-8
Price: Free
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Photo Factory

PlayTime Theater

If you want to get your kids into theater at an early age, PlayTime Theater makes for a great way to raise their interest and get them excited about producing plays. This great app empowers children to create their own stories though a virtual puppet show theater play set.

PlayTime Theater comes loaded with a customizable cast of characters which can be spread around the interactive stage, which is in the form of a castle backdrop. Characters can be picked up and moved around as they ‘act’, and then the user can speak to do the voices of the cast. All of this can be recorded, played back and shared on YouTube to encourage children to create theatrical masterpieces!

For ages: 4-12
Price: $4.19
Compatible with: iPad

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tNqJOD5nlI[/youtube]

Elmo’s Monster Maker

Personally, I think this is one of the most fun apps in the whole App Store. Elmo’s Monster Maker allows children to design their very own Sesame Street monster and bring it to life. The whole interface is based around video. You start by selecting a base monster, then you choose between a range of eyes, noses and hats just by tapping the appropriate part of the face.

Once your monster is created, you can interact with it and have a lot of fun. Take a photo of it and have it saved to your camera roll, get Elmo to pop along and interact with it, or turn on the music and make it dance. This will have your kids rolling on the floor with laughter, and the sheer range of monster designs and video clips means that the fun never stops!

For ages: 3 & up
Price: $5.29
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcEBxbaNYk[/youtube]

Musical Me!

Had Mozart played Musical Me! on his iPhone as a baby, maybe it wouldn’t have taken him so long to write his first composition. This educational app encourages youngsters to learn more about music through a series of interactive activities.

Among the different elements of Musical Me! are a note-recalling memory game, a rhythm game, a monster dancing test, virtual percussion instruments, and a composition tool for creating music by moving notes along a staff. There are also lots of popular children’s songs included in the app for them to sing along to.

For ages: 1 to 8
Price: $2.59
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Musical Me

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