Screen Time

9 Mom-Approved Apps That Kids Love

We get the mindless appeal of Flappy Bird, but your child will love these brain-healthy apps just as much — and improve her ADHD symptoms, plus social and organizational skills, while playing.

A girl uses a tablet with apps for kids with ADHD.
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The Gift of Technology

In today's fast-paced tech-driven world, your kid is bound to be exposed to screens — whether you like it or not. Instead of letting her mindlessly play Flappy Bird, why not encourage her to spend her screen time improving social skills, learning STEM-based skills, or brushing up on organization? Give your child these ADHD-tested apps this holiday season to make sure her big brain is being put to good use.

Bugs and Buttons is a great app for kids with ADHD
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1. Bugs and Buttons 2

Bugs and Buttons 2 (iOS, Android; $2.99) is a math and writing game for young kids who struggle with these skills, or could use practice with critical thinking. It also requires good attention to detail, a trait often lacking in young children with ADHD. Your child will love the bright graphics, quick timed “mini-games,” and getting to explore the tiny world of bugs — without actually having to touch a bug!

Monster Physics is a great app for kids with ADHD
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2. Monster Physics

Monster Physics (iOS; $1.99)is a favorite app among Minecraft aficionados (young and old) who love its open-ended design and the infinite possibilities. Users are given various materials and told to build a contraption — a car, a plane, or a tank — then drive it through an imaginary world. The app encourages easily discouraged children to move past mistakes and try again; they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even notice they’re learning actual physics skills!

Tupsu, the Furry Little Monster is a great app for kids with ADHD
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3. Tupsu, the Furry Little Monster

Another physics-based game, Tupsu (iOS, Android; free) guides players through space as a small monster-like creature, searching for brightly colored stars to collect. The game increases in difficulty as it progresses, and often requires children to concentrate for 5 to 10 minutes at a time without looking away. This level of sustained focus may be difficult at first for distractible children with ADHD, but the constant rewards and engaging nature of the game will keep your child captivated — even when it gets tough.

Toca Nature is a great app for kids with ADHD
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4. Toca Nature

Toca Nature (iOS, Android; $2.99) is a beautifully designed virtual world where children can plant trees, raise mountains, and observe animals in their own personal slice of nature. The freeform design of the game (there are no rules, no goals, and no time limits) will appeal to kids with ADHD, and the quirky graphics make the wonders of nature fascinating.

Roblox is a great app for kids with ADHD
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5. Roblox

If your child is into computer games at all, it’s likely you’ve heard of Roblox (iOS, Android; free) Now, Roblox comes in app form, bringing the fun of the popular computer game anywhere! Roblox strengthens planning skills, organization, and working memory as children learn from past designs to build a world that is visually appealing, well organized, and fun for others to explore.

Put It Away is a great app for kids with ADHD
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6. Put It Away

Real-world chores are tough enough, but getting your child to also complete virtual chores? Yeah, right. She may change her mind after playing Put It Away (iOS; free), which encourages her to organize virtual rooms using a fun and educational interface. She’ll improve her working memory as she starts to identify patterns, and learn valuable organization skills that can be applied to real scenarios. While this app can be used by any child with ADHD or LD, Learning Works for Kids recommends it especially for children on the autism spectrum.

Hay Day is a great app for kids with ADHD
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7. Hay Day

Hay Day (iOS, Android; free) is, on the surface, a simple farm simulator where children plant crops, raise animals, and make a profit while keeping their farm running smoothly. But the app’s complexity makes it perfect for teaching time management and organization skills to children who struggle with executive function. If your child wants to make a profit, he’ll need to balance his growth with his output, keep track of timelines for multiple crops, and learn to prioritize certain products in order to generate the most revenue. He’ll learn basic money-management skills while improving executive functions in a captivating game that’s sure to hold his attention!

News-o-matic is a great app for kids with ADHD
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8. News-O-Matic

You want your child to stay informed about the world around her, but she finds it difficult to focus on long ever-changing stories. Enter News-O-Matic (iOS; $6.99), a captivating app that delivers the news in short, bite-sized chunks — perfect for older kids with ADHD who have short attention spans! While the stories range from funny to serious, a child psychologist reviews all of them to make sure they’re age appropriate. There are also read-aloud options for children who struggle with reading, and the stories can be translated into Spanish for non-native English speakers.

ChoreMonster is a great app for kids with ADHD
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9. ChoreMonster

The holiday party is starting in two hours, and your child’s room is a mess. It’s easy to see how the stress of the season can lead to more yelling — and more messes — than ever before. Get control of the chore wars with Chore Monster (iOS, Android; free) that turns chores into a game your child will race to win. Parents enter the chores, along with a unique score for each one. Children complete chores to earn points, which they can later exchange for rewards. It’s fun, easy to use, and teaches important self-control skills.

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