When children reach the magic age where tech, rather than Playmobil or LEGO, is on the wish list, it’s time to delve into the world of children’s apps. But with so many apps on the market, it can be hard to know where to begin!
Below are our top 10 favourite apps for children, which have all been tried and tested on our own children’s devices. Engaging and educational in equal measure, all of these apps are a great way to enhance any first-time tablet user’s experience.
£3.99 | Age: 4+ This app comes into its own on those cold, crisp nights walking home from clubs in the dark or on holiday when you’re gazing at the night sky. Point the app at the sky and it tells you the name of the stars and constellations – with a bunch of additional information. An easy way for the whole family to get to know the universe a bit more.
Charges apply | Age: 4+ Move pocket money to a pre-paid debit card with parental controls on where and when they can spend it, it helps children learn how to save and spend their money in a responsible way. As a parent you get an app that allows you to say how much they can spend and where they can’t spend it, it also allows you to see where they’re spending their money. Along with the debit card, your child gets an app which they can use to see their savings grow, check their balance and complete specific tasks to earn pocket money. Has helped a number of our children learn the value of money on a card over the years!
Free | Age: 4+ It seems like the hours a child can ‘waste’ consuming YouTube content could total millennia. This app screens content so there is less risk of them seeing something inappropriate. They can create their own profile of their favourite channels. It has parental controls too, so you can choose what is appropriate for your child including how long they can use the app. One of our children has become a budding Steve Backshall with all the plant and animal programmes he’s watched!
In-App Purchases | Age 4+ Chess is great for problem-solving, developing strategies and improving concentration. The perfect companion for any child interested in learning chess for the first time through to more experienced players wanting to improve aspects of their game. There are lots of humorous and informative video lessons to enjoy, chess puzzles to solve and you can play games against other children online. Motivational rewards and ratings help keep competitive children engaged and coming back for more.
In-App Purchases | Age 4+ Over 40,000 free practice questions to help with revision across all the major subjects, and many more. An excellent app to help with little and often revision, covering GCSE, A Level, AS Level, 11+ and 13+ Common Entrance qualifications. Ensure that you are only learning the content you need to know by entering the name of your exam board. You’ll receive a detailed explanation of any answers you get wrong, to help learn from mistakes.
From £6.99 | Age: 9+ Like LEGO but online; crafting, creating, exploring in an app. We felt it was the best value for money in terms of longevity. All our children love it because it can be played in so many different ways, and if you’re worried about the educational aspect, one of our children uses it to relive their history lessons with Anglo Saxon villages, motte-and-bailey castles and the pyramids recreated!
In-App Purchases | 4+ A great way to get a child looking at maps in context. Detailed UK maps with roads, pathways and terrain on a phone that is a great way to introduce 8-12 year-olds to map reading. They can locate themselves on the map using the device’s GPS, plan routes and learn to identify features on a map. It works offline. One member of the team uses it to get a reluctant walker out on the hills of the UK’s National Parks.
Stop Motion Studio
In-App Purchases | Age: 4+ This app will keep children occupied for hours indoors on a cold or wet day. It’s great fun to learn the art (and patience!) required to make a stop motion animation film. You can develop a storyboard plan beforehand, or just get stuck in and make it up as you go along. Any toys will be great to animate, but it works particularly well when bringing LEGO characters to life.
In-App Purchases | Age: 9+ Augmented reality, collectibles, strong characters that the kids are familiar with. Best app for getting kids out of the house for a family stroll – especially if you’re going somewhere away from home. Near a body of water, they’ll come across more water-types of Pokemon; going for a walk in the forest the grass types increase. If they collect an egg, they need to walk at least 2km to hatch it. One of us has some very happy memories of the summer it went big, tramping the countryside with her family without the normal chant of ‘are we there yet?’
From £3.32 | Age: 9+ For the kids who loved Minecraft but have grown out of it. Different ecosystems to explore, hundreds of things to craft and battles with 2D fantastical creatures to fight. Player versus Player functionality can be switched off and a family can play together offline as long as they have Bluetooth. This app has alleviated boredom right up to the age of 18 where there is no network or wi-fi and everyone is stuck in a small space together! Of course, our children all have DoodleMaths and DoodleEnglish, and their sister apps DoodleTables and DoodleSpell on the devices they use. But the lunchtime chat was about what else there is out there sharing space on the hard drive!