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Apps that helps your kids have fun and learn at the same time.
One of the coolest things about the Samsung GALAXY S4 and Note 8.0 is how simple they are for children to get to grips with. After a few minutes of prodding and swiping they usually pick up the basics of how to use a touchscreen and before you know it they will be mithering you to play with your favourite gadget.
Rather than just let them loose on your emails, both devices have a huge library of apps aimed at kids that combine education with fun.
Here is our pick of the best.
Famigo – Kid Lock
Handing your phone or tablet to a toddler can be a nerve-wracking experience. Even assuming they don’t work out how to send confusing texts to your boss they could accidentally delete something you haven’t had a chance to back up yet, make an alarmingly-expensive in-app purchase or just stumble upon something you would rather remained private.
Famigo will temporarily replace your home screen with a kid-friendly list of approved apps (don’t worry, you get to chose, not them) and lock down everything else.
They won’t see incoming notifications or be able to do anything on your S4 or Note 8.0 without your say-so. Once the phone is back in your hands you can quickly enter a code and disable Famigo until next time.
Trying to plan your studies is a lot for a kid to cope with, especially if you add exams into the mix. HomeWork is an app that can help.
It works like a scheduler, logging homework assignments and keeping track of the weekly timetable – either for students or teachers. The app is flexible enough to be used by teachers, pupils and their parents to help manage a busy school year.
iStoryBooks is a complete tablet-or-phone-sized library of picture books. Books range from history and facts (the life of Helen Keller or a guide to Dinosaurs, for example) to fairy stories and folktales with plenty in between. All books are well illustrated and can be both narrated page-by-page or left to play through in ‘movie mode’.
If the free books aren’t enough to keep your kids occupied, you can subscribe to an iStoryBooks Monthly for 99p/month and get access to a catalogue of extra titles to download as you need them.
Any child with the slightest interest in space will love this, the official NASA app, which is packed with more interesting facts about the solar system and beyond than you can shake an asteroid at, as well as details on all current NASA missions.
There is a brilliant gallery of the latest images from NASA’s many eyes in the sky, which you can share with friends or save for later. It will even work out where you are based on GPS and give you the instructions you need to spot the International Space Station with the naked eye.
How To Draw – Easy Lessons
An app just made for use with the Note 8.0’s S Pen, How To Draw aims to show you exactly that – clear instructions to help you draw anything from Hello Kitty to Justin Bieber.
Inside the app you are faced with a ‘graph paper’ background upon which it will show you step-by-step lines to trace around using your fingertip or the S Pen. Once you have finished tracing the app will show you where you went wrong. Your masterpieces can be saved to SD card or shared by email from within the app.
Green Eggs And Ham
Dr Seuss’ classic nonsense rhyme comes to your GALAXY S4 or Note 8.0 with the complete text and illustrations from the book, ready for bedtime.
The app works in three ways – as a simple storybook that you can read through by flipping the pages, an automated and fully narrated version of the tale or a combination of the two where you cant run the pages and have the book sound out each word as you tap.
The illustrations can be tapped to make the narrator say the name of a character or object and the same is true of any word in the story, which can be read aloud simply by tapping it.
LEGO DUPLO Zoo
LEGO’s Duplo bricks are geared towards simple fun for younger builders and this cute app takes the form of an interactive (and wordless) story in which you must help Giraffe and Rabbit to deliver a parcel to Mr Lion.
There are plenty of interactive elements to tap on screen and each stage features simple Duplo builds which work more like shape-matching puzzles than anything else. You can also unlock movies featuring the characters from the story. A great way to entertain small children.
The Icky Mr Fox
A charming, lightly interactive storybook for young readers. The narrator reads the story of Mr Rabbit and Mr Mole trying to have a tea party while the Icky Mr Fox tries to burrow into their underground hiding place. As the story progresses your child can tap almost every object in the book to hear what it is called. There are also hidden characters to be discovered by careful tapping.
There are plenty of ‘tappy-tap’ moments where your child must help things along by tapping characters to make them move. A simple but fun diversion for young children.
Monkey Word School Adventure
Monkey Word School adventure is an educational game designed to help with spelling, reading and writing with a focus on phonics. Your monkey guide will take you through minigame after minigame, all with a simian theme.
Children will need to spell words by dragging letters around, trace the outline of letters to practice writing and tap gems containing certain words or letters as they fall from the sky.
Color & Draw: Super Artist Ed.
Colour and Draw is another app just begging to be used with the Note 8.0’s S Pen, although finger painting on the S4 works just fine as well.
Children can jump straight into drawing on a blank canvas or can instead pick outlines from a library of 100+ pictures to colour in or embellish with new detail. Photos can be imported to use as image backgrounds or just be scrawled on.