Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great iPod/iPad apps for kids!

You might have noticed we got Lolly an iPod touch recently.  Dave and I also got iPads (yay!), so we've all been shopping madly in the app store and trying out applications.  I've read some decent reviews of kids apps, and thought I'd add my voice to the mix.

Here are our favourites for a 2 and a half year old (I know, we're THOSE parents).

Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles!  It's all about the puzzles!  Lolly loves real puzzles, and not suprisingly loves the puzzle apps on her iPod.  If you're looking for puzzles, you can't go past tozzle - which is just great. 

Tozzle is a series of puzzles, including letters and numbers.  Lolly loves it, though my main critique is that they do need to release some new puzzles as upgrades, she's done all of them now, and doesn't choose this one as much as she's become familiar with them all.  More puzzles, please!  That said, there are 33 puzzles on there, all with sound effects and animations. All for only $2.49 (prices in Australian dollars), which is great value.

More puzzle goodness - Anything by Alexandre Minard is great - Here are My First Puzzles and My First Tantagrams.

Just gorgeous, and really engaging.  Though like all the puzzle games, they could do with releasing more puzzles rather than making new apps (yeah right :p).   These are cheap, only $2.49 a pop.

redfish is the iPad version of poissonrouge, the great kids website.

This app is amazing.  Just so creative and intuitive.  Lolly loves it, and I can see it would engage kids much older than her as well.  It's relatively pricey for the whole package, $12 from memory, but worth it!  You get a lot of games for that within the package.  There's heaps in this version, and if you do an app search for redfish there are a few to try for free as well.

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox - this application is just adorable, and when we first got it for her, Lolly spent AGES playing it.  It still gets in regular rotation here, too, so it has staying power, which a lot of these apps don't really have.  It's a mix-em-up game, with counting, sorting, matching, puzzles, letters and colours.  Well worth it.  It's a little praisey, but hey, most of them are (sigh).

Lolly is also really enjoying this Interactive Alphabet game - it has little animations for each letter.  She seems to really like it.

Some others worth checking out - Tickle Tap apps - these are really sweet!

The toddler pack has five games and has been worth it.  They have a second collection, toddler pack 2, coming soon which I will probably buy for Lolly.

The is the biggest problem with kids apps all round, is that there are a limited palette of options inside the game, and kids gets to know them and get tired of them fast.  It's not a product of the technology, at least not in my experience, Lolly has the same thing with "real" wooden puzzles, for example.  She's engaged while it's a challenge, or if it becomes new and interesting.  Otherwise she moves on to the next challenge.

This is something game designers need to account for in updates, especially for kids games in this area.  When your app is limited to the alphabet letters, or to 12 puzzles, it's only going to engage a toddler for a certain amount of time.  Games for older kids have more choices, they are often playing  an actual game, rather than just interacting more simply with the device.  There needs to be more thought to these apps for kids in the 2-4 range.

I'm going to review the Montessorium apps separately soon!

Which apps does your toddler/young one enjoy!?


Anonymous said...

Ever app you mentioned is WONDERFUL!

Also, take a look at Drawing Pad and Shape Builder!

iPad Drawing App
Preschool Puzzle App


Selene said...

Oh you're right, we have Shape Builder and it is a great puzzle app! I should have mentioned it :D Thanks for the link to the drawing app for iPad, looks good!