Trying to find more mommy and me activities that appeal to both your younger and older kids? When it comes to kids and online time, gaming seems to be their natural gravitational pull. However, creative and innovative kids can actually make great use of their (or moms) devices with a little direction for the littles, and a little safety awareness for the bigs.
My passion is photography, and I love seeing children sparkle when given the opportunity to learn art, science and technology while creatively expressing their view of the world. Here are some of our favourite apps for the art and science of photo or video minded tweens (between the ages of 8 and 12).
Fun Photo Apps for Kids (of All Ages)
Camera+ (iOS devices only)
This application gives your child options more like a regular point and shoot camera, with the ability to shift focus and light in simple taps and drags of view finders on the screen. Better than the built-in camera for those reasons, it also has some simple photo effects to improve clarity, light, etcetera. Plus some cool filters.
For children with iPods, this is handy because low light (no flash on iPods) can hurt image quality. This app gives a bit more control. For 99 cents, every person should have this app for better photos. It’s on my phone!
Camera+ photos are saved in Camera+ automatically and then can be edited and saved to the Camera roll. They can also be shared directly to social networks (but we don’t recommend that from this app). Camera+ also lets a child edit photos from their camera roll that they may have taken in another app.
Instagram (iOS & Android)
Yes, we know, social networks are scary for kids. However, shared amongst friends and managed closely by mom or dad, Instagram is an excellent app and frankly… it’s the one most kids want to use (because their friends are). With built in filters, children have the ability to take cool photos and then play around with on-camera techniques before posting to their accounts.
Instagram is technically rated age 13+ however our research (rated age) indicates many children are on Instagram anyway, with private accounts. Instagram, like Camera+, lets a child take photos in another app and pull into Instagram, if saved to the camera roll first, if they prefer to do fancier editing and effects than Instagram allows.
We prefer children join with parents permission, never show their own faces and DO share but amongst friends only. Setting the privacy setting so only friends can see their images is a safe way for children to explore photography and social sharing, within guidelines, and test social platforms while still valuing mom’s and dad’s opinions.
This cool app lets kids add text over images right on the smart device. They look like posters (photo + posters = Phoster). The connection of images plus words to express ideas is exciting! Combining the two is a fun and effective way to share their outlook, beliefs and feelings. These can then be shared or saved to camera roll.
StoryKit (iOS devices only, 3.0 or later)
This app is fantastic for younger ages too! It has delightful and extensive ways to use it beyond photos. But since we’re talking photos, imagine your child creating a whole storybook based on a holiday or a day in their life or something out of their imagination that they seek images to support. We’re pretty enthusiastic about this app as an extension of their vibrant storytelling worlds.
We certainly are also fans of a regular point and shoot camera. Using a service like Shutterfly, Tiny Prints or your local store to print photos to put in frames or on the fridge is the coolest way to let your child showcase their photography and art!
Tech time can be learning time. Researching fantastic apps for art, science and expressing thoughts and ideas are the best use of our modern technologies when kids want to be on devices.