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25 iPhone and iPad Apps for Smart Girls

25 iPhone and iPad apps for smart girls - Some are educational. Some are just for fun.

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I have app-itis. So do my kids.

I debated whether or not I should make a holiday gift guide for apps, but I am 100% certain that Gracie would be delighted to get any of the apps below for Christmas. (I mean, she would be delighted to get them, except that she already has them. But she would be delighted to if she didn’t.) When a new must have app comes out (I mean, something from Toca Boca or Disney or Fancy Nancy or Grimm’s or Barbie or Usborne), Grace begs and pleads and makes a nuisance of herself until I agree to buy it or allow her to use the money from her piggy bank. She checks for new ones periodically.

So yes, I believe that she would love for these apps (or others like them) would magically appear on our iPad on Christmas morning, all Santa-like.

  • Disney Princess Royal Salon – $4.99 – Imagine playing dress-up with your favorite Disney Princesses. That’s what this is. Except, you aren’t limited to the clothes they wore in the movie. You pick a princess and a situation, and then you get all kinds of hair and wardrobe choices to put on. Of course, there are accessories and even pets. Grace plays with this for long periods of time, budding fashion designer as she is.  There’s also a Disney Princess Palace Pets (free) that’s pretty similar but features the princess’s pets. Grace loves it, too, but it has in-app purchases, and that kind of bugs me.
  • The Opposites – Free – This is a vocab builder featuring a brother and sister duo. The words pop up like helium-filled balloons, and you have to match up words that are opposites. Grace likes it, and she doesn’t usually like learning games.
  • Leo’s Pad: Preschool Kids Learning Series – Appisode 1 is free; 2-4 are $2.99 each – This app is awesome! It’s part tv show, part game, part puzzle. You  join a young Leonardo da Vinci and his friends (including Marie Curie) on big adventures, and you play learning games that are woven seamlessly into the stories. This is one of my own current favorite apps.
  • Kids Timer App Free – This is a basic timer, but it uses the development of an apple tree to show the passing of time. You can set it for 1 to 60 minutes, and the tree grows leaves and apples. Pretty neat idea.
  • Little Pim French, Chinese, and Spanish – $2.99 each – I did a Twitter party with Little Pim this past week, and I got to see a sampling of their products for kids. They’re really great, and they teach foreign language in a way that is natural and easy to learn.
  • 3D Interactive Pop-up Books from StoryToys – Grimm’s Rapunzel, Grimm’s Red Riding Hood, Grimm’s Puss in Boots, Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, Grimm’s Hansel and Gretel, Grimm’s Snow White – $3.99 each – My kids play these every time they pick up the iPad. There are interactive storybooks, 3D stickers, and puzzles. If you want to unlock all of the stickers and puzzles, you have to pay $2.99 extra per app, but I think it’s worth it.
  • Geoboard – Free – Years ago, we made a homemade geoboard out of wood and pushpins. We still use it with colored rubber bands. This app gives us another option for spatial play, a slightly smaller version that requires fewer fine motor skills. It’s also a lot more portable than our big wood one.
  • Fruit Ninja – $0.99 – Oh, fruit ninja. I love fruit ninja. I could try to say that it is good for hand-eye coordination or something, but it’s just plain fun. In some of the modes, there is actually a little critical thinking and strategy – hitting more bombs can get you a bigger bonus at the end, but if you hit too many, you negate the bonus. Obviously, I’ve spent some time thinking about this game.
  • Dinorama – $3.99 – I think someone on Twitter recommended this one to me, and it is awesome. It’s all about entrepreneurship – money management, strategic planning, making customers happy, and taking care of your stuff. BUT it’s all set up in a super cute dinosaur zoo with super cute little kids milling about, dropping stickers and coins to reward your hard work. A word of caution – if you leave this app running on your device, your dinosaurs will all get too hungry and run away, and then you have to start over. We learned that the hard way. {I’ll admit it. I play this one as much as Grace does.}
  • Cube Dog – $2.99 – This app allows you to create weird-looking dogs and then play with them. Grace’s favorite thing to do is to talk to (or yell at) the dog, and then the dog repeats her. So she plays with all kinds of sounds and different tones and voices, and she laughs and laughs at how it plays them back.
  • Barbie Doll’d Up Nails for iPhone – Free – Absolutely no educational value whatsoever unless you’re raising a budding cosmetologist. Grace loves to design nails all day long. You don’t get to choose the length of the nail or the shape, but you pick colors and patterns and accessories like stones and stickers. It’s pretty nice as far as free apps go. Wait a minute, maybe you could get an artsy connection here. Colors and patterns? Symmetry? Contrasting and complimentary colors? It’s a stretch.
  • Toca Builders – $2.99 – We are totally and completely in love with Toca Boca and have every app they’ve ever made. Ever. For real. A few months ago (in July, to be exact, {I know because we played it in the nursing home when we were visiting my mom.}), my friends Amy and Allie told me how their 6-year-olds were enamored with Minecraft – Pocket Edition. The kids couldn’t get enough of it, and the moms thought it was awesome how it encouraged them to be creative and resourceful. Amy and Allie had to limit their kids’ time spent on the iPad, playing it, because they’re so obsessed. I jumped in and shelled out the $6.99 for it, assuming that Grace would be just like her comrades. Well, she wasn’t. Joe and I both got into it a little bit, but it was soon trumped by Candy Crush (which is free), and now it just sits on the iPad being played by no one. To be fair, Grace gets frustrated really quickly, and I think she has some kind of fine motor skill or hand-eye coordination issue that may have played a role. So there could be a real, physical reason that she doesn’t get into Minecraft. When I sit down with her and play it with her, helping her to build things in just the right way and dig and break things, she does like it. Back to Toca Builders. It looks just like Minecraft, except that it’s made by Toca Boca and has characters who do the building and painting and whatnot for you. It’s sort of like a littler kid version of Minecraft. Anyway, Grace really likes it, and she plays it on her own without my help.
  • Strawberry Shortcake Berry Best Friends – $2.99 – This gets a lot of play time at my house. It’s an interactive book where you can read the pages or have the pages read or have the characters on the pages act out the scene. That part is pretty neat. There’s also a hand you can dress up with nail polish and rings (which I find weird, but look at the Doll’d Up Nails app above), hairstyling, and some coloring pages. Grace likes it a lot.
  • Strawberry Shortcake Bake Shop – Free (Offers a boatload of in-app purchases, but also plenty of free stuff) – This is a standard baking game where you dump in the ingredients, stir, bake, and voilà! A cake appears. What makes this one different (aside from it having Strawberry and her friends in it) is that it gives you real recipes that you can actually make with your mom in the real kitchen. Pretty fun.
  • Fancy Nancy Dress Up – $1.99 – I cannot believe that Fancy Nancy has apps, and I didn’t know about it until yesterday, when I was editing her Wikipedia page. Apps! As soon as I saw them, I downloaded two. You know how Fancy Nancy wears all kinds of fantastic and wild outfits in the books? Well, now you can help her create dazzling and unique ensembles on your own! From her closet! Pile it on! There’s a 99-cent in-app purchase to add Christmas clothing, which I promptly paid.
  • Fancy Nancy Ballet School – $1.99 – Grace takes ballet, 45 minutes a week. She learns real ballet moves and real ballet terms. Fancy Nancy’s app teaches you how to do real ballet and explains it using the same real terms. And, if that was not enough, you can choreograph a dance for Nancy to do and record yourself doing it at the same time. My mind is blown.

And of course, all of these apps are good for smart girls, too:

The best kids iPad apps

The Best Educational Apps for iPad

7 Nice Dress-Up Apps for iPad

good dress up games for ipad and iphone

And, while you’re at it, check out more than 50 more kids’ gift guides and our group gift guides Pinterest board.

Christmas Gift Guides for Kids - the Best Apps for Kids


© 2013 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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