There is no denying that we have a love of technology in our house. Our children are no exception, both of them could give Bill Gates a run for his money!
Well, not quite, but they are both pretty nifty with the pc and know their way round their tablet better than I do. I’m not sure if I should be admitting this, but when I need 15 minutes of peace to sort out my washing or clean the kitchen, the pad is a great way of keeping them quietly entertained until I’m finished!
There are some great apps out there designed specifically for children, but the app store is vast, and it can sometimes be a bit of a minefield trying to work out which ones are suitable and which are junk.
Here is a look at Neil & Caitlin’s favourite apps
Disney Princess Palace Pets
Available on Android and itunes
Palace pets is one of the latest apps from Disney. It’s free to download and play, but there are optional in-game purchases available.
The idea is that each of the popular Disney Princesses has her own pet, and you have to take care of and style the pet, by washing, grooming and feeding it, before dressing it up with accessories. There are 10 pets in total, 4 of which are free to play with, the other 6 are ‘sleeping’ until you purchase them.
If you wish to buy the 6 sleeping pets it will cost £7.99, or £1.99 per pet. I was a little disappointed with this, while there are free to play pets, Caitlin keeps crying about the sleeping pets and asking how we wake them up. I would rather the app had cost £2/3 but allowed you to play with all of the pets rather than enticing you in and then charging you a fortune to unlock the pets that your child is crying for. I suppose everything is heavily profit driven these days. I must say though, Disney have a great child lock to stop young children making purchases without your knowledge, by writing a code in written form and asking for it to be typed in number form to access the store.
Overall, if you ignore the pricing, it’s an enjoyable little game, and Caitlin love looking after her little pets. I have had to explain that you cannot really dress up your pets in tiara’s though!
This has got to be one of the most popular apps available, having been downloaded over 16 million times.
The basic idea is that you build your own world from scratch, by mining and crafting, the name says it all really. There are two modes, Survival and Creative. In the Survival mode, you mine your own goods and create everything your self, and have to contend with zombies, skeletons and creepers who are hell bent on making your life a bit more difficult. Creative mode is a little easier, all of the materials are already there for you, and there are no nasties there to sabotage you.
It’s a little bit like lego, you use blocks to build and make things. It looks simple, but takes more brain power than you may think! It takes a lot of concentration and patience to build things, which can’t be a bad thing. Some of Neil’s creations are a little random, but he’s got the right idea.
Neil is a minecraft fanatic, and would spend every waking hour playing if you would let him, and I’ve even got my own ‘world’ to play on once the kids are in bed.
This is a great app from the bbc which is both educational and fun.
When you first load the app, your child can create their own ‘profile’, where they make a little hot air balloon and add a picture to it. Each time your child uses the app they can select their own profile, and their progress will be saved. You can create up to four profiles, which is great for family tablets.
There are a series of mini games, including learning to spell with the alphablocks, an underwater mission with the octonauts, and other mini games from some of cbeebies most popular shows.
The kids especially love the octonauts game, as there is an opportunity to make as much noise as possible at the end.
It’s a lot of fun, both Neil & Caitlin love it, and it’s definitely the most educational of the three apps I’ve mentioned here.
Do you allow your children to play with a tablet/ pad? What are their favourite apps?