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11 Best iPad apps for Kids

Dr Seuss

Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat Color & Create!

$1.49 iPad ~ By Random House Digital, Inc.

Dr Seuss Cat in the Hat

Everyone's favourite cat in a red and white striped hat is back in iPad app form. Random House Digital have created a colour and create application that even the most active imaginations will get excited about, although the kooky (and necessary, to get the full effect of the app) sound effects may stretch the tolerance of nearby supervising adults.

With a format similar to a traditional colouring book, and easy to navigate swipe-action controls, the Cat in the Hat offers eight different colouring scenes per ‘Pack’ as well as a rainbow of colours and decorations to choose from to illuminate the page. There’s the ubiquitous crayon and paint bucket but things get very Dr Seuss when you choose the pattern maker (grass, cogs, paint splotches – you name it!) or the confetti cannon! This is where the app takes that next step up from a colouring book into an interactive Dr Seuss world of your child’s creation.

Learning rating 2.5/5 Entertainment Rating 4/5

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Timmy Tickle

Timmy Tickle

£0.69 iPad ~ By Nimblebean

Timmy Tickle

Timmy Tickle is a bright orange octopus and he was an absolute hit with both Mr Five and Mr Three. The easy to follow storybook format with interactive animation was a nice mix of reading, following instructions and small problem solving skills.

Timmy Tickle takes your child through a series of different scenes, from roller-skating and washing up to costume play and turning out the light for bedtime. It’s not the most educational of apps but what it lacks in learning, it makes up for in cute illustrations and entertainment value.

Learning rating 3/5 Entertainment Rating 4.5/5

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Farm 123 icon

Farm 123 ~ StoryToys Jr

$0.99 iPad ~ By StoryToys Entertainment Limited.

Farm 123 screenshot

Taking on a pop-up-book format on the screen, Farmer Jo takes your child on a counting trip across her farm, getting to know all of the animals and the sounds they make. There are also a couple of ‘bonus’ counting games offered, although the prompts to upgrade the app are a little too easy to access. A simple password protect will prevent any blow-out bills.

Farmer Jo’s speech (in an English accent) is quite simple and the pace and animation of the app is more suited to younger users – Mr Three was wrapped from start to finish. Mr Three also found himself counting out loud, unprompted, as he touched each animal that was counted by Farmer Jo. A great storybook-format counting app for younger users with a fun farmyard theme.

Learning rating 4.5/5 Entertainment Rating 4/5

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Junos Piano

Juno's Piano

$0.99 iPad ~ By The Juno Company.

Junos Piano screenshot

Juno is a cute little ragdoll puppet (albeit with a nasal American accent) that offers to teach your child a simple song on the keyboard, alternate same-note playing with ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’, or free play. The appeal of free play was just too much for my three and five year old road testers but when prompted, Mr Five did manage to learn a simple song and repeat some notes after I had played.

This app is a great supplementary tool to educate your child about playing music and following instructions – the keyboard lights up with the keys the child is supposed to press, but is definitely not a replacement for piano lessons or an appropriate app choice for quiet places.

Learning rating 4/5 Entertainment Rating 2.5/5

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Little Digits

Little Digits

$1.99 iPad ~ By Cowly Owl Ltd.

Little Digits on iPad

The strikingly simple format of this counting app is a little disarming when you first get the hang of counting fingers by placing them on the iPad screen. There are no instructions, instead a 10 second short video of a child using the app to count the fingers on his two hands. I imagine that there are great benefits from using this app as an aid to bridge the mental gap between numerals and the number of ‘things’ in the real world, however without direction you child may lose interest and move on to something else.

For slightly older children there are two addition and subtraction ‘games’ where you place the correct number of fingers on the screen to answer the problems. This is also a remarkably simple way to demonstrate addition and subtraction, however by the time they are old enough to grasp the concept of mathematics the graphics and voiceover may seem childish to them.

Learning rating 4/5 Entertainment Rating 2/5

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Little Digits

Where's My Perry

$0.99 iPad ~ By Disney

Wheres my Perry

Obviously the age ratings on these iPad apps are only a guide, however the concept behind Where’s my Perry? is quite sophisticated and while Mr Five gave it his best shot and was beginning to get the hang of it, in his own words this app was probably better 'for big kids.'

Perry is a Platypus secret agent who travels from one underground level to the next – his mode of transportation is fuelled by water and you, as the player, must channel the water into the fuel cells. There are lasers, ice rays, gnomes and baddies – probably a little bit over the heads of some kids below the age of about seven or eight years old, but an engrossing puzzle game for the right age group.

Learning rating 3.5/5 Entertainment Rating 4/5

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Trucks HD

Trucks HD

$1.99 iPad ~ By Duck Duck Moose

Trucks iPad screenshot

Ok, for my two little roadtesters who are, quite-literally, car mad, this little roll-playing game was the bees knees for about 15 minutes straight. In this multi-scene game you can pick up rubbish in a rubbish truck, pop car tyres by running over sharp objects and then putting on new tyres, run a sports car through the mud (while dodging mudpies thrown by a pesky monkey) and then through the car wash plus a few other scenes equally as car-oriented.

While the educational benefits of this game aren’t as straight forward as learning the ABCs or numbers, there are probably social skills to be learnt through acting out real life scenarios – such as putting rubbish in the correct rubbish bin and washing the car when it’s dirty. It’s not going to make your kids geniuses but it’ll keep them entertained for a short while.

Learning rating 2/5 Entertainment Rating 4/5

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Moshi Monsters

Moshi Monsters: Moshlings

FREE iPad ~ By Mind Candy Ltd

moshi monsters

If you have Moshi Monster fans in your household – check out - then the Moshlings app will be a sure-fire hit. The digital age’s answer to the Tamagotchi, Moshi Monsters –Moshlings are cute little monsters of all shapes and sizes with funny names and back-stories about where they come from and how to 'catch' one. The iPad app is a catalogue of Moshlings that you can learn about, hear them squawk or laugh and stick funny stickers on.

While the benefits of this app aren’t its learning capabilities, this is a fun little free game to keep your own little monsters occupied for a short time.

Learning rating 1.5/5 Entertainment Rating 3.5/5

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Doodlecast for Kids

£1.49 iPad ~ By zinc Roe

Doodlecase on iPad

The Doodlecast for Kids app is beautiful in its simplicity. There are 20 drawing prompts for your child to choose from, some of the favourites were ‘what is messy’ and ‘what is stinky’, which then encourages the child to drawn on the screen using a simple paintbrush function. Where this app differs from a simple drawing palette is in the recording of the conversation during the creation of the drawing and the playback of the drawing taking place.

There is real excitement on their faces when they recognise their own voice talking about the masterpiece they are creating and see their picture come together in front of their eyes. A great deal of lateral thinking is required to think of something that fits the prompted category and then draw it on the screen, however due to the game nature of the app, they aren’t too anxious about getting the right answer and seem to learn and have fun at the same time.

Learning rating 4.5/5 Entertainment Rating 4.5/5

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Princess Fairy Tale Maker

Princess Fairy Tale Maker

$1.99 iPad ~ By Duck Duck Moose


Your little princess will have an absolute ball creating their very own fairytales without those bothersome wicked witches, poison apples and spinning wheel spindles – that is, unless they want them in there! The Fairy Tale Maker app lets you pick a location image, such as a pumpkin carriage or a palace dining room, to create your own interactive scene. Not only can you choose the characters in your scene, you can also narrate your story while moving your characters around the screen. Once each scene is complete you can drag and drop scenes onto each other to create an entire Fairytale!

While the scenes and the characters are generally plucked from pretty traditional fairytales, you can find an astronaut princess, as well as pirates, dragons, bows and arrows and sushi rolls to add to the scenes. This app could keep a young story maker occupied, quite happily, for hours.

Learning rating 3.5/5 Entertainment Rating 4.5/5

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Hugless Douglas

Hugless Douglas - Interactive Book by David Melling

$2.99 iPad ~ By Hachette UK (BP)

Book preview

Hugless Douglas is a fabulous children’s book by David Melling, that is read by UK actor and comedian Alan Davies for this iPad app. Douglas is a big brown bear who wakes up one morning with the unquenchable desire for a hug. He goes unsatisfied until a kindly rabbit helps him find the perfect hug – no spoilers here but it will be a favourite story for mums and bubs alike. The app itself allows the user to be read to, to read the book on their own (with interactive Easter eggs on each page), play some short games or learn more about the author and the making of the app.

It's more like a DVD with special interactive features but it can't be denied that the story itself is heart-warming and the extras make the purchase completely worth it. Have you hugged someone today?

Learning rating 3/5 Entertainment Rating 4/5

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