Happy Kids Timer

App review by
Patricia Montic..., Common Sense Media
Happy Kids Timer App Poster Image
Cute timer helps kids build routines; some limitations.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to think about the series of tasks they need to accomplish to get ready in the morning and how long it really takes them to get ready. Plus, they can learn that some tasks have a clear end point (like making their bed) while other tasks require them to spend a little longer than they might expect (like washing their hands and brushing their teeth). 

Ease of Play

Easy for kids and parents to navigate to each task and indicate when it's complete. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Additional features like customizing tasks are only available with in-app purchase; a few in-app prompts encourage kids to spring for the upgrade. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Happy Kids Timer is a timer app for helping kids age 3 to 8 develop a routine and stay on task as they get ready to start their day. As they complete tasks, a small animation plays that shows an animated child doing the same task as a timer ticks by across the top of the screen. Kids earn stars that can lead to them earning an award: either an in-app certificate or a real-life reward from their parents. The free version of the app comes with eight common morning routine tasks; in-app purchases let you add tasks and customize the built-in options. Only one child can use the app per device; there's no way to set up the app for multiple children to use it. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

Happy Kids Timer is an app created to help kids develop a morning routine. First, parents enter their child's name and select their gender, and parents can choose to upload their child's photo. Kids progress through a series of pre-set activities (like making their bed and getting dressed), and they have a pre-set amount of time in which to complete each task. Some tasks that have a less clear stopping point, like brushing teeth and washing hands, have a minimum time that kids have to complete, too. Kids earn stars for completing tasks, and accumulating enough stars can result in parents printing out an award certificate or giving kids a real-life reward. 

The app's free version includes eight common morning routine activities, and parents can customize the name of the child's reward, the target number of stars kids must earn to receive the reward, and the minimum and maximum time for each task. In the paid version, parents can add up to two more custom activities and further customize the built-in activities. 

Is it any good?

The series of built-in tasks is a great start for helping kids build routines, but there are some limitations. The animations are cute, and it's nice that you can print out a certificate for kids once they've completed tasks enough times to meet a milestone that you set. Plus, it's nice that you can customize the name for your child's real-world reward: This might be a nice way to help remind kids that a "new game" or "trip to the zoo" awaits them as a reward. 

That being said, Happy Kids Timer has some limitations that might limit its appeal: You can only use it with one child, making it a poor fit for families with multiple kids, and you can only add and customize tasks by making in-app purchases. In general, this app might be worth a look if you have one child who needs to work on developing a morning routine; however, if you need more features, and you're looking for more engaging animation, you might look elsewhere. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how kids felt as they watched the graphics in Happy Kids Timer as time ran out. Ask kids whether they felt like they had enough time for the activity or if they would adjust next time.

  • Talk about earning rewards for completing everyday tasks versus doing them because they need to get done. Will they earn prizes every time, forever? If using incentives doesn't work for your family, what are some other ways to motivate your kids?

  • Families can talk about how important learning to manage time can be to the basics of life: school, household chores, homework, cooking, screen time, sleep, and more. How can an app like this help?

  • Choose one task that your kid has trouble completing on time or staying focused on during a certain amount of time and utilize this timer for that one problem area first. Encourage your kid to choose the settings at the beginning, and listen to your child's feedback after the experience.

  • Discuss why it's important to have a morning routine. Ask kids why they think it's important to leave home at a certain time and what might happen if someone left home without finishing something such as showering or getting dressed.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, set objectives, time management, work to achieve goals
    Health & Fitness: hygiene and self care
  • Price: $0.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: August 7, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 54.10 MB
  • Publisher: Evoprox
  • Version: 1.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up

For kids who love morning routine helpers and time management

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