Did a new iPad or smartphone appear in your house over Christmas? Or perhaps it’s time to organise and freshen up your current device, and you’re looking for new and interactive apps for your kids for their screen time (or long car trips). You’ve come to the right place. Here’s a roundup of the apps that most impressed us over the past year.
When you’ve owned an iPad for a while, it can get a bit cluttered up with apps that nobody really uses and the sheer number of new apps available can make you paralysed with indecision, so you actually hardly ever buy any. This is a shame, because there are fabulous new apps appearing all the time – some just for fun (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), but also plenty which teach kids new ideas and concepts in a revolutionary way.
For preschoolers and younger children
Who can go past the iPieces Fishing Game? This one (shown at top) combines the iPad with the age-old fun of a magnetic fishing game. Children will love it and at the end you don’t have to pick up all the discarded fish from all over the house.
We loved the beautiful illustrations in Wee-You Things. The app encourages kids to explore the tiny differences between a cast of characters and see that each one, like each person in the world, is truly unique.
The bright colours of the fruits and vegetables of Yummiloo Rainbow Power are the entry point to teaching children simple ideas about healthy eating in a fun way.
Kids who love cars will thrill to the Tizzy Driving Adventure app, which includes a realistic working dashboard, and plenty of things to do on each driving trip (including washing the car on their return!) – and best of all – it doesn’t require too much in the way of manual dexterity.
Maddie & Matt’s Safe World gives children simple games to play to help recognise and respond to everyday dangers and tricky situations. This app will reinforce things kids have already been taught about lots of day to day situations, and makes a great conversation starter to discuss more sensitive or unusual situations (like stranger danger).
Books and music
A Cautionary Tail is an interactive story, based on the short film of the same name, and it gets the nod from us for its sheer beauty as well as its lovely rhythm and all the little extras to interact with in the app which make it such a treat for the senses.
Kids with a swing in their step can get musical with Bebops. Mix and match more than one hundred and fifty musicians to create new tunes that are all original, and then save and share them with friends.
Colouring and creativity apps
Suitable for the very youngest creators, The Very Hungry Caterpillar stickerbook is a drag and drop app which allows children to make their own Eric Carle-inspired masterpieces.
Once you have a dedicated colouring in enthusiast, CoLAR mix is the app for you. A set of app-specific colouring pages (which is increasing all the time) come to life in 3D once you hover the iPad over them. Six months after first using it, my kids still cannot get enough of this app – hours of entertainment.
I think Foldify might knock over a few days of the school holidays for my kids. This app lets your child create (from templates, so no particular skill is required) individual figures which can be printed out and then cut and folded to form three dimensional shapes for play. Crafty kids who are handy with the scissors will love this one.
A child with a more serious eye for art (or if you’d like to cultivate one) will get hours of enjoyment from the MoMA Art Lab app. Introduce them to the best the Museum of Modern Art has to offer, and then let them play around with it and create their own masterpieces, in lots of different styles.
To finish up, here’s an app that’s really for big kids and kids at heart – it’s Paper, a drawing app that lets you create your own beautiful drawing notebooks. This one is a powerful drawing app with lots of special effects and tricks to beautify your work, and it’s intuitive and easy to use as well.
We’d love to hear from you too about what apps you’ve been most impressed with in the past year. Roll on, 2014 – I dub thee Year of the Organised iPad!