Top Apps for Keeping Kids Happy in Cold Weather

It's officially winter outside (at least in temps) here in Nebraska.  My kids have been clamoring for more to do, and the iPad gets its share of use.  We have been trying to expand the kinds of apps my kids have been using on the iPad, lately, so I've been trying out dozens in search of ones that captivate  as well as teach.  Here are the top picks at the Knerl household as of today:


The upgraded version..

A shot of the original (featured in the opening credits)
I know you remember the original from when we were kids; the redo is back, and my kids are fully addicted!  This fast-paced upgrade features the same vine-swinging action that made the first one so habit-forming.  My kids couldn't believe that I had a much clunkier version growing up (that is, until I showed them what it looked like in the opening shots when the game first loads.)  This game takes a bit more finesse then the arcade version of our youth, but my 5-year-old can't get enough -- even the older kids argue over who plays next!

Tap the Cat

Since I now have 3 kids using the Reading Eggs program, we have a house full of boys that LOVE to read!  I am always so amazed at how well they've done with consistent use of Reading Eggs, but they can't all crowd around the computer at the same time.  The Tap the Cat app is the 2nd app from Reading Eggs, and it's perfect for my 5-year-old, who is just starting to form small words. My favorite part of the play is that kids can use the microphone on their device to record themselves reading words and then play it back.  It has great potential for kids who can read well but are still not pronouncing words as well as they could. The app has a variety of activities to do, so you can expect it to have a long useful life in your educational arsenal!

Madagascar Preschool Surf n' Slide

Here's a game for the smallest of iPad users.  The Madagascar Preschool Surf n' Slide app features baby versions of your favorite Madagascar characters, and uses simple sliding action to help kids maneuver their characters around obstacles -- all while learning basic preschool skills!  My 5-year-old adores this game, but my 2-year-old uses it the most!  With fun customization features (you can choose your character, as well as their vehicle), kids can have just as much fun with the setting up as the actual play!  There is also a "sticker book" type game play; my son loves to place the Madagascar themed letters on various scenes to create words -- or amazing pictures!

iLuv Drawing Monsters

Boys love monsters, and all my kids love to draw.  That's why the Fun with Apps app we tried was so successful in our home.  Using the app, kids trace a monster step-by-step, then color and customize to make it their own.  It's an art lesson and a chance to get really creative.  All of my children have used the app (which features 20 monster lessons), even the youngest!  It has the potential to be a stand-in art activity for those busy homeschool days when we are low on supplies; we even use it in the car!  (This is also one app that I don't mind spending a little time with.)  I should mention that the monsters are more cute than scary; the app is appropriate for even the smallest artists!

*Samples of some apps received to review.  Opinions are 100% our own.