I had a great day yesterday – the geekdaddy and I had a rare day out together without the kids, and we went to the Gadget Show Live at the NEC. It’s a huge exhibition of every kind of gadget and gizmo you could imagine under the sun, and we spent the whole day wandering around, immersing ourselves in technology. Rather miraculously we even came away without buying anything, which surprised me! There was one item I would have bought if it was available – an iPad case with integrated keyboard – but as it’s not being released for a couple of months I have had to content myself with just a note of the company name to keep an eye out for in the future.
Anyway, now to tell you about the apps we’ve been playing with this week…
My app of the week this week is a really simple game, best for babies and young toddlers (although even the geekdaughter has been enjoying playing it this week, and I must confess I’ve played it myself more than is seemly!) Dot Collector – Ellie’s Games, LLC (Universal – 69p). On the screen appears a black dot, and an increasing number of coloured dots. Simply grab a coloured dot and drag it into the black hole, where it makes a little musical sound and disappears. When you’ve cleared the current dots a new screen with more dots appears. It’s simple, but entertaining, great for hand/eye coordination, and with no ads or upsell attempts it is perfect for small kids. Here’s a short film of the geekson in action with the game:
If you can’t see the video above you can find it on YouTube here.
For Easter one of my favourite app developers released a new app. Toca Kitchen Monsters – Toca Boca (Universal – Free) is basically a slightly cut-down version of another of their apps. Toca Kitchen, and is a delightful game where you get to prepare food for one of two different alien characters. You can select a foodstuff from the fridge, and either attempt to feed it to the creature raw, or process it in a number of ways (blend, microwave, fry etc). You’ll get a different reaction for the character based on how much they like the food and the way you’ve prepared it. It’s a great app for pre-schoolers upwards, and definitely a look as it’s free!
The geekson’s love of jigsaws continues, and recently I bought him Bumbles Jumble – Toddler Puzzles – EduGame UK (Universal – 69p) – a rather charming collection of 8 jigsaw puzzles with around 5 or 6 pieces to each. You’re provided with a faded-out “guide” picture to match the pieces to, and you get a satisfying “ding” noise when you get a piece in the right place. One you’ve completed the puzzle the name of the item appears and it animates slightly. The only downside to this app is that once you’ve completed a puzzle, the button to go back and select another puzzle is very difficult to spot, and the geekson keeps missing it and getting confused as to what he needs to do next. Aside from that it’s a great quality app, and suitable for todders and pre-schoolers.
I just picked up Color Wall HD – Libii (iPad only – £1.49) when the price was dropped to free temporarily (as a side note, make sure to join the Apps for Parents Facebook group to get notifications of free or price dropped apps). It’s a nice little colouring app, which has a good selection of line drawings for kids to colour in. There’s a good selection of colours, and you can toggle between spray paint mode (where the child only has to tap once in an area for it to be filled with the chosen colour) or paint brush mode (where the child paints with their finger, and can go over the lines as they wish). However for me there is one big downside to this app – whenever you go into it the first thing it does is give you a pop-up window promoting another app – if the child presses the wrong button they get taken into the app store in an attempt to get them to buy another app. For me as a parent this is a complete no no, so I can’t recommend it I’m afraid.
And now for something that might appeal to older kids. I was sent a promo code to test out *Rollerhog – Neon Play (Universal – 69p) – a unique game as it is the result of a competition run by Neon Play with Mac Format and Tap! magazines. The competition was to come up with an idea for an iPhone game, and Rollerhog is the idea of a 42 year old landlord from Ascot – he must be so pleased to see his idea come to life! Bright coloured, cartoon-style animation gives this app a real fun feel as you try to guide a rolling hedgehog through a seemingly neverending succession of sunflowers that need to be decapitated, spiders that need to be scared off, crocodiles that need a swipe on the nose to prevent them from eating you! Personally I found this quite a difficult game to play – it requires a level of coordination akin to simultaneously rubbing your tummy and patting your head, but it’s something the older kids might enjoy.
New on the app store this week is The Weaning of Life – by Plum! – Be-Digital Media (iPhone only, but will run on iPad in compatibility mode – Free). This is a new baby weaning app by Plum Baby, and although I’m extremely pleased that I have no need for this app as both my kids are well and truly weaned now, I did enjoy having a look around it. This app contains a lot of useful information about weaning – how, what and when, as well as lots of information about the Plum Baby range of baby foods. I must say I found weaning a completely baffling process when I started with the geekdaughter, and an app like this, which has just the pertinent information presented in a nice concise format, would have been invaluable.Even more amazing is that the Plum team have included a selection of recipes for you to cook at home for your baby – I missed this on my first look at the app, because you select the recipe you want to see by pressing a picture of the relevant Plum product, and I had wrongly assumed that this would just show me nutritional information for the product, not a complete recipe! This a great free resource, so if you’ve got a baby of weaning age I recommend you grab it from the app store.
I mentioned Maths, age 3-5 – EuroTalk (Free, with additional in-app purchases – iOS Universal) in a previous app round up. I said at the time that I thought the price of £9.99 to unlock all the content was a bit steep, and this week the developer contacted me to say that the price has now been dropped to £6.99 (individual components remain £1.99 each).
That’s it for this week. Check back next week for more app reviews.
Disclosure: An asterisk (*) denotes an app I for which I received a promo code and thus did not purchase myself. The links above incorporate my iTunes affiliate ID. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link it doesn’t cost you any more money, but you contribute a few pennies towards the upkeep of this site. All prices were correct at the time of writing.