Peppa Pig – Happy Mrs Chicken
I have not met many 3+ children who look to Peppa Pig for all decisions in life: from eating cucumbers shaped like dinosaurs, to jumping in muddy puddles to trying to speak exactly like her. And so then £1.99 seems like a steal for an app when you know they are going to be ordered around by Peppa and made to complete tasks as their best friend, I know my son does!
iOS, Android, Windows Phone Store, Amazon App Store
We all know about the annoying and badly drawn Tom, but we absolutely love him, but obviously not as much as the toddlers. The cat who repeats everything you say with a funny voice and responds to your touch is a massive draw for all ages… go on, download it and go back to your copy of Closer while the rest of the passengers get ready to throttle you!
The first of the CBeebies stable of apps, the colourful graphics, playful sounds and good range of games have been a massive draw to CBeebies fans. Parents can also rest easy knowing their kids can’t jump out of the app when their backs are turned – a PIN system is in place to keep them from any shenanigans.
CBeebies Playtime is a no-brainer instant download for parents and their young ‘uns.
A puzzle game where the cartoon creatures play inside boxes that can be assembled into trains, cars and submarines, there is also a learning angle to it. Fine motor skills and hand eye coordination is apparently greatly improved by it.
Who doesn’t love the apps from the Toca stable? Our favourite, however is the toca train, even though the Toca Hair salon is a very close second. Children get to be the train driver in this simulator game and it is all very intuitive. My son, at 3 has decided being a train driver is his vocation of choice so we just let him get on with the pushing buttons and pulling levers on the iPad. Nothing like starting them young, is there?
Fit Brains for Kids: Sparky's Adventures
I don’t personally know this app well but I have been assured it is a firm favourite amongst our focus group. Developed by a neuroscientist, the app checks what part of the brain needs training and works on it through a series of games. They must be doing something right as the Fit Brains apps have more than 5 million mobile users. It also has a ‘Fit Brains Age Index’ that checks which age group your child is performing the closest to- very scary and oddly tempting!
Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom - Big Star Fun
iOS, Android, Nook, Amazon
Reward stickers, making your own wand and getting to mess about with Gaston, the ladybird who actually thinks he is a dog… can it get any better? There are 4 games within the bundle and is all a bit samey but the toddlers don’t care!
Hours of magical fun is what it is!
Tilly and Friends
Format: iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad)
The app is illustrated in muted pastel shades and features music from the TV show, a far cry from the usual riot of primary colours that other apps sport.
Author/illustrator Polly Dunbar wrote the original series of picture books, which were subsequently fashioned into a TV series about Tilly, a little girl and her animal friends Pru, Tumpty, Doodle, Hector and Tiptoe. Arranged along three levels of dexterity, the game has the characters performing simple tasks and the most interesting bit was that my 3-year-old was able to understand what was required of him.
There are 32 mini games that get unlocked as a child progresses through the stages, upping the difficulty level every time.
My son loves it, even though I think it is too complicated…