This post is part of a three-part series of roundups dedicated to finding apps for your home and family life. In part one, we’ll focus on fun and educational apps for your kids.
So you’ve bought your shiny new Mac, and you’ve got it all set up on your desk, ready to go. Even the kids can sense the wonder and awe emanating from behind those office doors. Surely you can find some time in between all of those important projects to let them play, right? But what will they do? You don’t want to set them loose on the vast expanse of the Internet, but something tells you that they’ll find your Numbers spreadsheets a bit less than exciting.
Fortunately for you, I’ve rounded up a handful of fun and productive apps that your kids will enjoy using on your Mac, and I will introduce them to you in this first part of our series on Mac apps for your home and family. Disclaimer: I assume no responsibility for children hogging the family computer.
Cerebrally Stimulating Games
It’s probably safe to say that most kids are primarily attracted to fun. So why not start with some games that are not only enjoyable, but will also help get that gray matter pumping?
Rail Maze is a puzzle game where the player must manipulate a field of track to help a locomotive reach it’s destination safely. A classic gameplay style combined with beautiful design make this game visually appealing to youngsters and can help them develop non-linear thinking skills and hand-eye coordination.
Developer: Developer Name
This game is one of my personal favorites. Max takes the near trope-esque concept of “manipulating your surroundings with a pen” and turns it into a series of puzze-based levels that require you to collect ink and draw Max through each stage. Critical thinking skills are bound to come out of this one.
Developer: Press Play
Doodle Fit is a fun game similar to a game classic tabletop gamers might know as Tangrams. Players will maneuver Tetris-shaped puzzle pieces into regions on the playing field an effort to make the correct shape. The game is well designed and illustrated, and will build your child’s problem solving and spatial reasoning skills.
Memory Match doesn’t do anything revolutionary. It is, however, a well built and attractively designed matching game that feels right at home on your Mac desktop. Your kids will boost their memory and information retention skills with this classic game. And the cards feature educational and conversational talking points to boot!
Apps For Learning
Arguably, playing any game is better for your child’s development than a less engaging activity like watching TV, but that’s a topic for another discussion. Before gaming, your kid should probably do his homework.
I was a student not too long ago, and I can personally attest to the cruciality of flash cards when studying. There are so many candidates on the MAS for such an app, and while Smartr may not have the most kid-friendly user interface, it is simply too good not to be the number one choice. Besides, kids these days are surprisingly in-tune with technology, so I’m sure your elementary-grade youngins will have this app figured out in no time.
Developer: Barefoot Hackers
If there’s one skill I developed as a kid that I will be eternally thankful for, it’s my ability to type. I don’t mean to brag (ahem…105 wpm…), but I was one of the faster typists I knew growing up, and I think it’s a skill that every child of the 21st century should learn. Typing Tournament v2 is one of the best App Store apps I’ve found for teaching such a skill.
Okay, okay, so Brain Challenge is technically a game. But it’s a great game, and it’s also one of the best general-education apps I’ve ever used. Various puzzles and games help with skill development in the areas of memory, visual, logic, math, and focus, and give you quantitative feedback on how you improve these skills over time.
Creative Skill Building
Your child is surely well on his/her way to having substantially developed academic skills, but what’s a well-rounded child without some form of creative expression?
I’ll start with this one, because music is my chosen form of creative expression (aside from writing, of course). iMelody turns learning about music into a fun exercise. The intelligent design and attractive colors make iMelody a good app for even your youngest Mac users, and exercises will teach them about the basics of piano and music theory. The best part is that they can wear headphones the whole time!
KidPix is your child’s point-of-entry to the world of video production. With a visually intriguing yet simplified interface, your child will be able to shoot video with the built-in camera on your Mac and apply all sorts of fun effects and 3D animations. KidPix is one of the pricier apps on this list, but it’s also one of the most functional and will give your child plenty of room to grow in his newfound hobby.
Well there you have it. Sometimes, in order not to appear selfish, we all have to let our children use the computer for just a little bit. Hopefully you’ve learned about some apps today that will give them something more constructive to do than haphazardly reorganizing your bookmarks.
Do your kids (or any kids you know) use Mac apps I haven’t mentioned here? Let us know!