Notable Children's Digital Media - 2021

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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. This list represents the titles selected by the committee for the first half of 2020, and titles added in January 2021.

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

The Creature Garden by Tinybop. iOS. Elementary

Imagine and create real or original fantastic animals by hatching eggs, adding animal qualities, and testing their skills. Children can name their animal creations, feed and groom them, and have their different creations race each other. Available in English. 

Droplets - Drops for Kids. iOS/Android. Elementary, Middle School

As a language learning app created specifically for families, parents can make Kid Profiles for multiple children of varying skill levels. Users can choose from over 30 languages to learn vocabulary, spelling, and word recognition. Available in multiple languages.

How It Works? iOS/Android. Elementary

Interactive animations and texts read aloud teach kids how natural phenomena work. Kids learn about energy, the water cycle, the parts of a plant, the Earth, earthquakes, and volcanos. Each lesson includes experiment and demonstration ideas for hands-on learning, as well as puzzles, sorting games, and drawing activities. Available in multiple languages.  

JigSpace. iOS. Elementary, Middle School, and or Parent/Teacher/Caregiver 

Curious seekers of all ages can explore dozens of interactive 3D educational presentations, or "Jigs". This simple and easy-to-use app uses augmented reality (AR) to bring hands-on learning through step-by-step instructions on a variety of topics and concepts. Available in English. 

Knowin - Learn Coding. iOS. Elementary, Middle School

Children will learn basic coding knowledge at their own pace with this app that has the user tapping their answers instead of typing. Easy to navigate and no prior knowledge of coding required. Available in English. 

Krystopia: A Puzzle Journey. iOS/Android/Steam. Middle School and Up

In this science fiction puzzle game, help Nova Dune explore and learn about a civilization on the planet Krystopia where all the people have vanished. Available in multiple languages. 

Learn Chess with Dr. Wolf. iOS/Android. Elementary and Up

Learn to play chess with Dr. Wolf, the coach who teaches, points out strategic ideas, and helps with mistakes. Players who subscribe to paid coaching receive some additional individualized coaching (acknowledgment of application of skills) and receive unlimited access to twenty five lessons. Best for beginners and intermediate players. Available in English.  

Lego Duplo World. iOS/Android/Amazon. PreK, Early Elementary

Based on the popular real world Duplo Legos, young children are invited to explore, discover, pretend, and create. Multi-touch functionality allows parent and child to engage together in side-by-side play. Children from all backgrounds will see themselves represented in this open-ended, play-based game. Free, but with paid add-ons. Available in multiple languages. 

Math Land. iOS/Android, Nintendo Switch. PreK, Elementary, Middle School and/or Parent/Teacher/Caregiver

Kids and adults can practice math, everything from simple addition and subtraction equations to more complex equations, with the use of different strategies in a pirate game setting. Available in multiple languages.

Mathigon. iOS/Android/Website. Elementary and Up

This free app for mathematics makes learning fun. Available in English only, the interactive platform offers a captivating narrative along with animation and colorful illustrations. From multiplication flashcards, fractals, to prime and Fibonacci numbers, this "Textbook of the Future” allows students to explore math in a new and exciting way. Best used as supplemental learning. 

Open Ocean: Marine Migration. Website. Elementary and Up

Learn about Earth's oceans, scientific research, and equipment through immersive 360-degree videos, maps, and infographics. Users can explore by visiting the free Ocean School website or by downloading their app to gain a more augmented/virtual reality experience. Available in English and French. 

Play and Learn Engineering by PBS Kids. iOS/Android/Amazon. Pre-K and Elementary

This free, user-friendly app builds kids' engineering skills as they solve puzzle challenges. The challenges vary in difficulty, but all reward logic and experimentation. Reading proficiency is not necessary; brief, vocalized instructions and clear examples demonstrate the tasks clearly. Available in English and Spanish. 

Pocket Build. iOS/Android. Elementary, Middle School 

Children can build their own worlds in this sandbox building app. Use survival mode to mine resources and earn new developments, or use sandbox mode for unlimited creativity. Available in multiple languages.

Prodigy Math Game. iOS/Android/Website. Elementary

Math practice becomes a magical quest in this simple multiplayer game. Students can choose their grade level, then customize an avatar to engage in spell battles/math problems, collecting coins, accessories, and pets for every correct answer. Available in English. 

Scribbles & Ink. Website. PreK, Elementary

Children draw along with characters Scribbles and Ink, either following interactive prompts or creating independently. Printable activity sheets and how-to-draw videos are also provided. The drawing tools are clear and easy to use. This is a simple but elegant drawing program for young learners. Available in English. 

Sky. iOS/Android. Middle School and Up

Explore this expansive and ever-changing world with friends and family through cooperative play and exploration. Your challenge is to restore light to the constellations by solving puzzles, helping others, building friendships, and finding collectibles throughout the seven realms. Available in English and Japanese. 

Swift Playgrounds. iOS. Pre-K and Up

Swift Playgrounds uses puzzles and challenges to teach coding. This app is useful for all ages, both to beginners seeking to gain the basics of coding, and those with some experience seeking to advance their skills before moving on to more difficult coding used by developers. Available in multiple languages.  

Women Who Changed the World. iOS/Android. Elementary and Up

Travel through history to meet the trailblazing women who have made notable contributions to politics, the arts, and sciences. Multiple choice questions and games guide reflection of narrated and written stories with animations, complemented by factual information and quotations. Available in multiple languages. 

Members of the 2021 Notable Children's Digital Media Committee are: Laura Bos, co-chair, Mount Prospect (Illinois) Public Library; Robin J. Howe, co-chair, King County (Washington) Library System; Louise A. Capizzo, Sacrborough (Maine) Public Library; Laura Duncan, Los Angeles Public Library; Annesley E. Gersztoff, Capital Region (New York) BOCES School Library System; AnnMarie Kolakowski, Pasadena (California) Public Library; Kimberly Anne White, Broward County (Florida) Libraries; Taylor Worley, Springfield (Oregon) Public Library; and Seungyeon Yang-Peace, Las Vegas Clark County Library District.