Notable Children's Digital Media - 2020

Interested in the best books and media for children?
Check out ALSC Book & Media Awards & Book Lists!
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The Notable Children’s Digital Media list includes real-time, dynamic, and interactive media content for children 14 years of age and younger that enables and encourages active engagement and social interaction while informing, educating, and entertaining in exemplary ways. 

To find out about more great digital media for children, visit the page for ALSC's Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award.

Apart of Me. iOS/Android. Elementary, Middle School

A small but open-world role-playing game (RPG), in which players connect with real stories of love and loss while working through their own grief. Includes journaling and real-life "assignments," mindfulness exercises, and resources for further support. Available in English.

Aquation: The Freshwater Access Game. iOS/Android. Elementary, Middle School

Produced by the Smithsonian, this simulation game educates children on water equity and challenges players to distribute resources and humanitarian aid around the globe. Available in English.

Arithmagic - Math Wizard Game. iOS/Android/Amazon. Elementary

Use addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and other math skills to help a wizard cast math spells to defeat enemies. Available in English.

Bandimal. iOS. PreK

This open-ended music composition app lets kids create drum loops, compose melodies, and add effects onto songs. Compositions can be saved to the collection. Available in English.

Career Girls. Web. Elementary, Middle School

A diverse array of women professionals from around the world share their experiences for girls to explore careers. Content includes quizzes, extension activities, and resources for parents and teachers. Available in multiple languages.

The Cat in the Hat Builds That. iOS/Android/Amazon. PreK

This companion to the PBS KIDS series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That explores a variety of engaging STEM mini-games and activities. Includes supplemental materials and suggestions for caregiver/child interaction. Available in English and Spanish. 

Drops. iOS/Android. Elementary, Middle School

Using simple navigation rather than relying on native language, this app and website teaches over 30 languages through audio/visual cues and mini-games. Available in multiple languages.

Funexpected Math. iOS. PreK, Elementary

This app leads kids through a beautifully animated world using a wide variety of mathematical games and activities. Challenges increase noticeably in difficulty, and replay value is moderately high as users continue to build skills. Available in English.

GoNoodle - Kids Videos. iOS/Android/Amazon. PreK, Elementary

This app and website is full of short videos that provide music, movement, dance, stretching, yoga and mindfulness. A simple way to get kids moving in a safe and fun environment. Available in English.

Hopster Coding Safari. iOS. PreK, Elementary

This drag-and-drop coding logic game teaches basic computational thinking. The controls are easy to use and the puzzles increase in difficulty to build skills. Available in English.

Jet’s Bot Builder. iOS/Android/Amazon. PreK, Elementary

Children build and personalize their own robot as they travel through outer space with Jet and his friends in this adaptive STEM app from PBS KIDS. Closed captions available. Available in English.

Little Chickies / Los Pollitos. iOS/Android. PreK 

Listen to the traditional Spanish lullaby accompanied by cute animated chicks from the Canticos board book. Other interactive activities include chick-related art projects that can be saved in a digital scrapbook. Available in multiple languages.

Little Mouse’s Encyclopedia. iOS/Android/Amazon. Elementary

Explore beautifully illustrated European habitats while learning details about various animal and plant species. Detailed biomes include forest, underground, and underwater. Available in multiple languages.

Me: A Kid’s Diary. iOS. Elementary, Middle School

This digital journal app provides a guided introduction to multimedia storytelling and encourages self-expression. Users of different ages can create pages about themselves with prompts for silly drawings, self-portraits, gifs, photos, and sound recordings. Available in multiple languages.

My Child Lebensborn. iOS/Android. Middle School

Set in post-WWII Norway, this engrossing life-simulation game puts the player in the shoes of a foster parent. Players must make tough choices to guide their child through painful experiences like poverty, bullying, and shame. Available in multiple languages.

NAMOO - Wonders of Plant Life. iOS/Android. Elementary, Middle School

Combining engaging and interactive 3D animation with enriching encyclopedic content, children can explore and discover the life cycle of a plant. Available in multiple languages. 

Novel Effect. iOS/Android. Parent/Caregiver

Enhance storytime through voice-activated special effects. Choose from a comprehensive list of stories to read aloud and the app will do the rest. Available in English and Spanish.

OurStory Kids. Android. Elementary, Middle School, Parent/Caregiver

Created by We Need Diverse Books, this website and app recommends diverse titles to readers based on an extensive number of customizable preferences. The site may be used to purchase titles from a variety of vendors. Available in English.

PEEP Family Science: Colors. iOS/Android. PreK

Featuring characters from the television show PEEP and the Big Wide World, this app uses an array of short videos and tutorials to introduce the science of colors. Users explore colors through hands-on activities that use the scientific method in a fun, challenging way. Available in English.

Pokémon Playhouse. iOS/Android/Amazon. PreK

Children meet and interact with a variety of Pokémon characters as they explore the Pokémon Playhouse, listen to stories, solve simple puzzles, search the stars, and much more. Available in English. 

Puku: Learn New Words. iOS/Android. Elementary

Kids learn new words through digital flashcards with matching and fill-in-the-blank activities. As they master new words a worm-like creature grows. Word lists are customizable. Available in English.

Sago Mini Village. iOS/Android/Amazon. PreK

Children build a gnome village by moving around various block pieces and accessories. No rules, instructions, or time limits are provided, so users can create their own parameters for play. Available in English.

Storyline Online. iOS/Android. PreK, Elementary

Developed with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, this website and app contains a diverse and growing selection of picture books read by celebrity readers. Each book includes supplemental curriculum material developed by educators. Available in English.

Tami’s Tower. iOS/Android/Amazon. PreK, Elementary

Produced by the Smithsonian, this game asks users to use basic engineering design principles to help Tami the golden lion tamarin solve the problem of how to reach the best fruit. Available in English.

Think & Learn Code-a-pillar. iOS/Android/Amazon. PreK, Elementary

This companion app to the Code-a-Pillar toy teaches kids the basics of coding using simple commands to direct the Code-a-Pillar through start-to-finish puzzles. Toy not required for use. Available in multiple languages.

Thinkrolls: Space. iOS/Android/Amazon. Elementary

This app inspires children to use creative thinking and problem-solving strategies as they guide their alien character through a series of logic puzzles. Available in multiple languages.

Who Was? Adventure. iOS. Elementary.

Kids test their knowledge of famous historical figures from the popular Who HQ series by answering trivia questions in increasingly difficult arcade style games. Available in English.

Members of the 2020 Notable Children's Digital Media Committee are: Alec Chunn, co-chair, Eugene (Oregon) Public Library; Laura Bos, co-chair, Mount Prospect (Illinois) Public Library; Heather Love Beverley, Cook Memorial Public Library District, Libertyville, Illinois; Laura Duncan, Los Angeles Public Library; AnnMarie Kolakowski, Pasadena (California) Public Library; Kelsey Matoushek, Broome County (New York) Public Library; Taylor Worley, Springfield (Oregon) Public Library; and Seungyeon Yang-Peace, Las Vegas Clark County Library District.