Our kids love to play on mum and dad’s iPhones, our girls started before they were one year old. Within moderation I’m quite happy for them to play games at this age, it’s a lot more stimulating than just watching TV. Apple recognises this growing market too and their new kids app store has made it easy to access a lot of children’s apps, but it can still be very hard to know which ones are brilliant and which are a waste of money.
Our daughters (now 3 and 6 years old) have been working hard on a three year research project: finding the best kids apps for the iPhone and iPad! They’ve been
playing testing lots of games apps, we’ve made sure they’re wholesome and spam-free, and now we’re ready to share the scores thesis with you. So here are the top 10 best kids apps, ranked by the time our kids spend on them over the last three years.
ChatterPix makes anything talk: a toy, drawing, family member or random inanimate object. Just take a photo of the object, mark where the mouth should be and then talk. You can even dress up your object before saving or sharing it. If your kids are even slightly creative I’m sure you can see how quickly they can get hooked on this!
Here’s the very first ChatterPix video my oldest daughter made when she was five. It’s her foot singing a song about being a foot. You can see why this one made the top of our list!
This is one of the simplest games on our list and yet one of the best. You simply drag the bird around the forest but when you let him go he’ll interact with the things around him. He may play with the other cute animals, eat a cup cake, go for a swim or break into song. It ticks a lot of boxes for both our three year old and five year old: cute, simple, funny, creative. I’d equally recommend the partner app called Ocean Swimmer, much of the same but in an underwater setting.
An entire waiting room full of dozens of pets to cure: broken wings, swallowed insects, sore eyes, a knotted worm and everything in between. Both our kids, 3 and 6 years old, absolutely love playing doctors with these cute creatures: it’s a hard combination to beat.
You might not think that three and six year old girls would be into a truck game but are they ever! It’s a simple side-scrolling driving game, no competitors so it’s nice and casual, and plenty of coins to collect along the way. Where this game becomes exceptional is that kids also get let their creativity loose designing their own trucks.
In essence this is a fairly simple jigsaw puzzle game. But the developer has done a fantastic job mixing in cute characters, funny sound effects and a tactile 3D environment. This game has easily been our youngest daughter’s favourite app while she was two and three years old.
I think most girls enjoy brushing mum and dad’s hair, and this app lets them take this to another level. They can colour, shampoo, cut, extend, blow dry and style a range of male and female characters. There’s also a sister app for the same price which lets you take photos of real people who’s hair you can then style. While this sounds even better, we found that our girls didn’t like it as much, it was quite hard for them to set up photos to work accurately with the app.
We were cautious in mentioning a children’s game with in app purchases but our six year old gets so much fun out of Clumsy Ninja there’s no way we could leave it off the list. You can complete missions by training him, throwing him, tickling him, and even tieing balloons to him. Everything you do helps him level up in the quest to find his missing friend Kira. Your child needs to have a reasonable reading level to understand the written quest instructions so I’d say six years and older if they’ll be playing unsupervised.
If your kids enjoy helping cook, this is the best app for them to experiment with. Your job is to prepare meals for two hungry monsters. You have complete freedom to choose which foods you serve up and how you prepare them. The real ingredients and cooking techniques makes it somewhat educational, but as far as our kids are concerned it’s all fun, they love showing us the ridiculous meals they cook up for the friendly monsters.
This is the simplest app on our list and not exactly cheap, but there’s something about it which keeps our kids giggling for hours. You mix and match the head, body and legs of different animals to form crazy creatures. Tapping the creature triggers a cute little animation which is different depending on the combination you’ve used. It’s smart, simple and will appeal to any preschoolers.
This is the most challenging of the apps on our list, our six year old started playing this last year and is only now really starting to make the most of it. It’s a child-friendly combination of Mine Craft and Lego. The kids have total freedom to build any structures they want using five different construction robots. You start with a blank slate so it takes a child with a descent amount of creativity to enjoy it. If your kids like to build their own Lego creations then this is definitely worth a look.
What are your kid’s favourites?
We hope this list saves you some time trawling through the app store and that your kids get a lot of fun out of these apps. What are the best kids apps according to your kids? Let us know in the comments below.