Thursday, October 10, 2013

arty's top five ipad apps

we are a nerdy family. we make no apologies for the fact that we enjoy our screen time as much as our out-in-the-park time, and our computer games as much as our board games.
pleasingly, arty is now developing the attention span, and the fine motor control to be able to enjoy the ipad.

if you've ever perused the app store, you'll know that there's no shortage of toddler apps out there. i've downloaded loads of them, only to delete them immediately because they were riddled with ads, or were just badly made. precious few have lived up to my standards, and of those, fewer still have met with the approval of arty himself. however, some have made the cut, and provide excellent education, distraction and relaxation opportunities for our boy.

here are his top five:

this app is full of bright, bold colours, and features animals, vehicles, and funny noises. basically: toddler win. 
it has very straightforward action (the baby can touch any point on the screen to move the story forward), and uncomplicated graphics. this was the first app arty used on the ipad, and it was a very good introduction.

there are 9 mini games in the full version of this app, but you get two of them for free, and then have the option of buying the rest with an in-game purchase. arty's favourite is one of the free ones, called 'tap farm'. it's a screen with a range of different animals on it, and as you tap them, they make their noises. that is literally all there i to it, but it keeps him amused for ages. he also enjoys one of the paid games called 'balloon burst', in which balloons float up the screen and he taps them to burst them - this one seems particularly good for developing hand/eye coordination. the other games in this app are for 2 & 3 year olds, and i look forward to exploring them with him as he gets a bit older.

i love the detail in this app. the artwork is whimsical and very sweet. every time a child taps an object or a character in the scene it reacts by moving, and making a sound. the bus drives away, the man on the corner does star jumps, the dog catches the toast as it pops out of the toaster.
the scale and complexity of the artwork invites the child to peer right in and explore all the tiny details represented. it has a calm and gentle feel to it, with a soft, unintrusive soundtrack.
some concentration and precision are required for the child to get exactly what they're aiming for with this one - screen-mashing doesn't get results. i'm using this one to help arty exercise patience and care when using the ipad!
the first scene (morning) is free, and the second two can be bought in-app. there are other apps in this series, including my zoo animals, and tiny firefighters.

caspar babypants (aka chris ballew of 'presidents of the united states of america' fame) is a kids singer/songwriter. he's taken his songs, and made them even more fun for kids by allowing them to play along. there are four modes in this app - a xylophone, a guitar, drums and percussion, and lyrics and chords. all the instruments are tuned so that as the child plays along, they are in tune with the song, but can strum or tap away in their own way. 
the free app comes with a bunch of great songs, and you can buy more in-app if you want to.

ours is a peppa-loving household. she is absolutely arty's favourite tv character, so a peppa app was a must for us. this one features six mini games, but the original happy mrs chicken is his favourite. it is literally the same as the game you see the characters play on the show. you make mrs chicken lay eggs, and then they hatch. the best bit about it is the excellent farting noise she makes as she lays each egg.
other games include a maze, puzzles, and of course, muddy puddle jumping.

finally, i'd like to give an honourable mention to nursery rhymes with storytime.
it's not one of arty's most favourites, but i really like it. it's a pretty app, featuring well known nursery rhymes, including, three blind mice, the grand old duke of york, and baa baa black sheep. children can not only see and hear the text, but also interact with the images by shearing the black sheep, or knocking humpty dumpty off his wall.

if you've come across some great toddler-friendly apps i'd be very glad to hear about them in the comments!

n.b. this is not a sponsored post, i'm just sharing our experience.


  1. Oh, I'll have to check those out. Christian loves the Waybuloo app (really, really loves it) - 5 games, including his all time favourite Peeka. We have an animal one that he's sort of into, but it's not as much off a hit.

    Christian also likes the lock screen, especially when he figures out how to get a slide show going :)

    1. ooh - i will check the waybuloo app out - it's a sweet show, with a nice relaxed feel to it.
      all the lock screens arty comes across are pictures of him, so he loves them too :)