Saturday, 29 January 2011

Apps for toddlers

My friend Jo sent me a link to a Guardian article this week, which contained the top 10 most engaging and educational apps for toddlers. I read it with interest, mainly because I only have one of the apps on my iPad. I thought it would be useful to share some of the apps I have and that my kids use the most.

1) Lego Harry Potter

Most definitely the best app I have at the moment! You use your finger to move Harry around, flicking, drawing, and tapping to cast spells and make potions. It's easy to control for young children, although it's probably a bit too advanced for my 3-year-old (I'm sure she'll be fine with it in another month or two). This app contains Years 1 to 4, and there's plenty of gameplay to keep even me interesting (*must get all the face cards*)

2) Draw with Stars

Lovely and simple, you just move your finger across the screen to create a sparkly twirly line of stars. Advanced users can change the star size and colour, and the degree of spin.


3) iColoringBookLite

Bit of a cheapo app this one. One of the first apps I bought for my iPad. Has a row of colouring pencils at the bottom that can be selected by touch, and a variety of pictures to colour in. And it's not that kop-out one-touch fill colouring either. A lovely app for toddlers.

4) Angry Birds

I don't think I need to say anything about this app, only to add that even a 3-year-old who has no idea how bomb birds work finds this amusing. Go and blow some pigs up!

Image courtesy of http://www.crunchbase.com

5) Memory Cards

Does what it says, you select from a choice of 2x3, 4x4, 6x6, or 8x8 grids and then tap to uncover pairs of cards. You can pick Ocean or Cartoon Animals themes. Be warned this app does contain in-app payment, so make sure you've turned that off. My daughter is super-fast at this game, she's impressive!

6) 3D Rollercoaster Rush

This app works by tilting the iPad or iPhone. You get points for how happy your passengers are and if you get 'extreme air'. But get too excited and they'll escape and use their parachutes! There are loads of versions of this game, some levels can be bought for free. We have the full version, which has a career mode. My 3-year-old is better at this game than I am, although, that's not saying much really.

Image courtesy of http://uk.wireless.ign.com/

7) Cat Physics

The aim of this puzzle game is to position the arrows in the best possible way so two cats can pass a ball to each other. Yeah, it's a bit of an odd plot. But highly addictive. This is one for older children, but little ones will enjoy clicking on old levels and thinking they did it all themselves (aww, bless them).

8) Disney Digital Books

I've linked these apps together but there are about 5 or 6 interactive books available to buy now. You can either read the book or play the hidden games (colouring with fingers, jigsaw puzzles, tilting games). We have Toy Story and Mickey's Spooky House (Halloween book). Great for reading together with a toddler or an older child on their own.

9) Fingerzilla and Tesla Wars

Again, I've lumped these two together because the concepts are the same. Use your finger as a giant zapper to cause mayhem and destruction. The aim is to score enough points to progress to the next level. Easy enough for a 3-year-old to play, difficult enough for a 5-year-old to shout "MUM!! Can you kill these men for me?"

Zap, you're dead! Tesla Wars image courtesy of http://www.gamertell.com

10) Flashcards

A lovely educational app for toddlers learning to read. There are lots of themes to choose from (eg, animals, transport, shapes, and colours). A picture will appear, followed by the word, which is then spoken. There are also word match and spelling games for slightly older children.

Image courtesy of http://www.ifreeware.net


So that's my top 10. I didn't even mention Talking Tom (hilarious), Paper Toss, Super Juicy (bubble popping fruity fun), Pixelmania (pixelate your stored photos) and Lego Photo (turn your photos into Lego pictures), Ragdoll Blaster, Doodle Jump, Jelly Car, the beautiful Uzu (similar to Draw with Stars), and the multitude of action games my husband downloads for my son (NOVA, Modern Conflict, Earth Defender, Spacestation Frontier to name a few). Or Safari (for BBC iPlayer, when you've missed your favourite cbeebies programme) and YouTube (for looking up Lego Star Wars clips).

Please feel free to share any of your favourite apps in the comments.

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