As a dad, I can attest to the fact that it’s hard to rationalize that Angry Birds or Temple Run have educational or developmental benefits for your kids. But it’s equally hard to try to get them to stop playing these games. If you are a parent that’s just looking to distract or occupy your child, then by all means go with the above apps. If, on the other hand, you’re seeking to take full advantage of the Kindle Fire HD’s upgrades, assortment of interactive and educational apps, and the thousands of classic and interactive books available, then this is a good place to start. Here are 5 of the best Kindle Fire HD apps that will be sure to keep the kids happy and satisfy your parental responsibilities.
Scrabble (Kindle Fire Edition)
The classic board game has found new life with tablet apps. Another game that works well with the Kindle’s enhanced touch screen, this game can be played in “pass” mode where the game can be handed off after your turn, “challenge” mode for playing online with someone or just “single player” mode for individual play. The small screen proved to be a bit of a challenge at times, but once we got the hang of it, we were addicted. The “pass” mode is great while you’re watching TV or doing other things. As with traditional Scrabble, younger kids have a hard time keeping up with adults and can get frustrated easily, but there are few better apps for helping build vocabulary and spelling skills. Scrabble from EA is available to download on the Kindle Fire HD for $2.99.
Download: SCRABBLE (Kindle Tablet Edition)
Picasso – Draw! Paint! Doodle!
If you’re child has been spoiled by some of the advanced drawing apps found in Apple’s App Store, then the number and quality of drawing apps available for your Kindle HD could be a bit disappointing. We did find this nice little app, however, and the price can’t be beat ($0). The app worked wonders on the HD screen and the ability to upload and download photos and drawings is a must-have for all those parents that want to share their little artists’ creations. The touch screen was responsive and ability to change brush sizes, textures, and choose from huge color-wheels was great. This is a really good drawing app and gets 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Download: Picasso – Draw! Paint! Doodle!
Getting your kids to read anything is a huge plus but taking advantage of the newness and interactivity of the Kindle Fire HD, makes it a little easier. The whimsical, timeless classics of Dr. Seuss gain a new and rich life with the Kindle Fire HD tablet. The apps offer 3 ways to interact with the book: You can do the “Read to Me” mode which is self-explanatory, go through it on your own in “Read it Myself” mode or you can get interactive with the “Auto Play” mode taking full advantage of the touchscreen and interactivity as the story is read and the pages turn automatically. Whichever you chose, the books look and sound great on the Kindle Fire HD. You can pick up individual Seuss titles in the $1.99 to $4.99 range or you can also purchase collections of stories for $14.99. It’s probably best to start with a single book and see how receptive the kids are.
Download: Dr. Seuss
World of Goo
This game has received more awards and recognition than I care to list in this space. This quirky, unique and challenging game is a great way to engage your little problem solvers. Increasingly difficult levels have users stringing together Goo balls in order to reach a goal while putting the Kindle Fire’s enhanced multi-touch screen response to the test. As I mentioned, it’s a great way for them to develop problem-solving skills while dealing with the laws of physics and gravity. The award-winning visuals and designs will take full advantage of the Kindle’s HD display and keep you and the kids engaged for hours. This is a must-have for any Kindle Fire with or without kids. World of Goo is available in the Kindle App Store for $4.99.
Download: World of Goo
We have a Netflix streaming membership that we access from multiple devices in our home, with the Kindle Fire HD being one of them. Watching movies and television shows on the Kindle Fire high definitions screen is great, and the Dolby sound continues to amaze as it’s so much further ahead of other tablets audio output. My daughter’s love that they can watch Nickelodeon and Disney shows and lots of kids movies. Netflix has even launched a kid’s only section that can be accessed through the app, so that smaller children will only be presented with appropriate content. There are additional parental settings for additional safety.
In addition to these essential children’s apps available on the Kindle Fire HD, Amazon has just announced the upcoming launch of Kindle FreeTime Unlimited. The new service will allow Amazon Prime members to pay $2.99 per month for each child to access over 1500 kid’s apps and videos. This is another great reason to take advantage of an Amazon Prime membership if you are a Kindle Fire owner. For more information on this exciting new offer you can visit NBC News.