Evaluating Apps and New Media for Young Children: A Rubric

Over the past year and a half, I have been working on a rubric for evaluating apps and new media for young children. I wanted something for my own purposes, to use when reviewing apps for program use or to recommend to families, as well as something to share with other librarians and educators. I’ve have finally come up with something that works for me. Take a look and try it out on the next app you evaluate.

Let me know how it works for you!

The rubric, and other helpful information for evaluating new media, is included in a chapter of Little eLit’s bookYoung Children, New Media, and Libraries: A Guide for Incorporating New Media into Library Collections, Services, and Programs for Families and Children Ages 0-5. I am humbly writing the chapter with the talented Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime. The book chapters are being published individually each month at Little eLit, so stop over and read what my smart librarian friends have to say.

Thanks to many for their conversations about what makes new media high quality, but in particular, the belated Eliza Dresang, as well as Cen Campbell and Carisa Kluver. Thanks also to those who review apps and new media. We are reading those insights with great interest. Keep reviewing and keep sharing!

Evaluating Apps and New Media for Young Children: A Rubric (link now goes to Media Mentorship page and updated rubric, 2016)

Looking for other review sources? Try these:

Children’s Technology Review
Horn Book
Madison Public Library’s App Finder
School Library Journal
Smart Apps for Kids


Apps: Summer Favorites

As promised, here are some of my new favorite apps that tie in nicely with our summer reading program this year. I have another list of iOS favorites you might want to check out here. You should also check out Little eLit Pinterest app boards or Digital Storytime for more ideas. To find out how I evaluate apps and new media for use with kids, read more about my criteria.

Know of any apps that should go on this list? Let me know!

4-8 years

Story Apps
Alphabet of Insects
Red in Bed (and Google Play)
So Many Stars-Andy Warhol
Barefoot World Atlas
Jr. Astronaut-Breaking Through the Space Barrier
The Mud Monster
Finn’s Paper Hat

Toy Apps
Toca Town (also Google Play and Kindle)
Pettson’s Inventions
Plants by Tinybop
How it Works: Machines by Geek Kids
Laurie Berkner’s Sing and Send
MOMA Art Lab

FIFA World Cup (also Google Play It is soccer season after all! Kids, teens and adults can track stats, learn about players, and follow specific teams/countries.)
Minecraft Pocket Edition (also Google Play)
Monster Physics
Barefoot World Atlas
Tynker- Learn Programming With Visual Code Blocks
The Elements: A Visual Exploration
Jr. Astronaut- Breaking Through the Space Barrier