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8 Girl-Power Apps for Young Kids
Many so-called "apps for girls" try to win fans by relying on the same old stereotypical ploys like dress-up, oversimplified gameplay, and pink -- lots of pink. But a few apps are shaking things up and welcoming girls into the joys of digital fun. Using ideas that traditionally interest girls -- strong backstories, fashion, female role models, and open-ended creativity -- apps like Goldieblox Movie Machine, Pickle’s Paper Dolls, and Toca Town hook their audience without pandering.
Of course, girls can play “boy” apps and vice versa. All kids need exposure to media that’s not sexualized, stereotypical, or gendered. But apps that are specifically designed to avoid these messages are particularly good for girls because they open new doors that have often been out of reach. And bottom line? They’re really fun, enriching, and let girls play on their terms.
My PlayHome Hospital, age 3+. Through open-ended play, kids can explore different areas of a hospital and meet the people who work there. As they take x-rays and go to the gift shop, kids can take on the role of doctor, nurse, patient, and more.
Peg and Cat Big Gig, age 3+. Spunky problem-solver Peg and her feline buddy Cat combine music and math in this app based on the popular PBS TV show. Peg sometimes “freaks out,” but she’s always able to use her critical thinking skills to work through challenges in the end.
Pickle’s Paper Dolls, age 4+. A traditional activity with a modern spin, these virtual paper dolls feature girls from six different cultures and show beauty represented in a variety of ways. Fun and empowering -- the best combo!
Toca Tailor, age 4+. Toca Tailor lets kids design clothes for girl, boy, and even animal models; they'll love the detailed choices (you can even take photos of your surroundings and turn that into a T-shirt pattern!)
Twelve a Dozen, age 5+. “Twelve,” a young number in the land of Dozenopolis, must save her family by overcoming lots of math challenges in this arcade-style game. She adventures through a beautifully spooky world of numbers, solving problems and learning lots along her journey.
One Globe Kids, age 6+. Kids can learn about their counterparts all over the world with these photo- and audio-based "a day in my life" stories told by individual kids from different countries.
Goldieblox: Adventures in Coding - The Rocket Cupcake Co., age 7+. New girl on the kid toy scene Goldie has made a big splash with her engineering and problem-solving toys. In this fun app, she has to deliver cupcakes to all of her friends via visual coding blocks. Kids can also watch related videos and customize their own coding puzzles.
Monument Valley, age 7+. A mega-hit with kids and grown-ups of all genders, Monument Valley is a gorgeous, M.C. Escher-esque puzzler featuring mind-bending landscapes. You play as Ida, a princess who faces constantly changing challenges to complete her journey.