One of the most difficult things about being a parent these days is not being consumed with the jealousy of all the incredible applications with which children play.
Of course, the flip side of the fun (and simply funny) applications boom is that the options for keeping the “mini you” entertained on long vacation trips are seemingly endless.
However, not all applications and games focused on children are matched. That is why, after weeks of testing in the eventual successors of the Stuff team, we have reduced the most absorbing and ingenious applications for all age groups, from preschoolers and elementary school children to older children (including you). It’s time to start packing the emergency kit for your suitcase …
The best applications for preschoolers
# 1 Thinkrolls: Kings and Queens
All entries in the Thinkrolls series are great; but this last part of the fun of the soft game brings a regal air to your dozens of riddles of logic and gravity (in the sense that the roly-poly protagonists wear crowns, unless you decide, for some reason, to play like a chicken ).
The goal is to clear a path so that the resounding hero can continue to advance through a massive labyrinth. The downside is that it involves discovering how to work with all kinds of gadgets, such as gears, bridges, hatches and even a harp that makes an otherwise hungry crocodile dream.
It is the only thing that makes small minds work overtime, while secretly they are interested in video games.
# 2 Touch Nature
Imagine that Populous was merged with a nature book for children and that is Toca Nature. Your little person can build hills and dig canals for rivers and lakes, all without getting their hands dirty. The trees are planted with taps, with which the rabbits, bears, fish and beavers begin to approach their respective habitats.
Your child can then observe his creation from above, like a miniature god, or use the magnifying glass to approach and approach, throwing acorns and fruits at his furry worshipers and subject to fish.
# 3 Endless Alphabet
If you have tiny humans moving from one place to another, you probably have some wooden puzzles where the letters are inserted on a board. If you are very lucky, you will still have some of the letters, instead of a sad child who sadly points out the gaps.
Endless Alphabet should distract their minds from such losses, with dozens of words to sort by dragging letters and lots of fun animations when each word is completed. It is stalking the strange Americanism, but if you can avoid launching your device from a moving car to see that the “smell” lacks “you”, you’ll be fine.
# 4 Bbc Iplayer Kids
We love the BBC iPlayer, but it’s a bit easy for kids to “accidentally” end up seeing something horrible that might scar them for life or, what’s worse, that they’re interested in EastEnders. Hence BBC iPlayer Kids, which cleverly limits the pliers to the programs broadcast on CBeebies and CBBC.
Like the standard iPlayer, there are no ads, the interface is elegant and simple, the search is fast and you can download programs for offline playback. Which means, of course, that we feel compelled to thoroughly test the application to include it in these pages watching 20 episodes of Danger Mouse in a row.
# 5 Metamorphabet
As we all know, ‘A is for apple’, usually poorly illustrated and, for most children, followed by ‘B is for BORING NOW’. But Metamorphabet gives new life to the learning of the alphabet through imaginative, surrealistic and frequently disturbing animations.
Start with an ‘A’. Touch and pop antlers from which you can ping. The “A” then turns into an arch and heads towards an amble. And that is just the beginning. Then, you are seeing a giant ‘B’ with a thick beard and a beak belching an endless sequence of colorful insects. It’s strange, creative, brilliant and usable even for a small 18-month-old to try his little hand.
# 6 My Very Hungry Caterpillar
The most beloved larval stars and gluttons in the world in a variety of books with holes, some of which have been uncomfortable in applications. But this one is different, it looks like a virtual pet.
It begins with an egg, which when it emerges from the shell reveals the titular currigator, who happily hides any food that has been placed in front of him. Then it’s game time, which, depending on the season, can mean slipping the belly in an icy pond, frantically slamming an inflatable ball, or blowing up bubbles. Everything is very charming, and once the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, we imagine that your little creature will want to start over.
# 7 Sago Mini Friends
There are many applications of Sago for children, but Mini Friends is particularly good. Choose a character and sneak around a neighborhood, breaking into people’s houses and then playing mini-games.
These are simple enough for most children: arrange a birdhouse by nailing some nails into it; play dress up; eat some snacks, and astutely promote empathy and exchange. For example, when two animals are sitting before a party, throwing all the noms to one of them makes the other look like it’s going to burst into tears. Only by sharing all are in a happy place.
Check also: The best free games for children
# 8 Peek-A-Zoo
This unique screen application presents a group of cartoon animals and at first it looks a bit basic. But it is really sneaky, it offers a surprising amount of depth. The basic game involves your wee clamp identifying the correct cartoon animal, based on a simple clue. This could be a name, emotion, action, position or sound.
Once the correct character is clicked, a new scene appears. This will not fail to make the supervising father smile (assuming they are not dead inside), like a seal trying to make a phone call to a banana, or a ‘hidden’ pig on a pink background.
# 9 Namoo
Children like the outdoors, so many parents find a collection of pine cones and dirty handprints in their home after a walk in the woods. But the weather does not always like children. When it does not cooperate, it can nourish the interest in plant life with Namoo.
This interactive book has a magnificent minimalist artistic style and succinct text. The most important thing is that the scenes encourage play and exploration, like a plant cell that makes science fiction sounds and a fertilization section that leaves you with a futuristic-looking angular apple that fears breaking your teeth if you bite it.
# 10 Weather by Tinybop
Since the British are legally obliged to complain about the weather at least 50 times a day, it is better that you start your children to learn early about everything that rains, the wind, the sun and the snow.
In Weather by Tinybop, touch icons to discover hot spots that unlock small interactive scenes with which you can play. Child in a good mood? Watch how they melt the ice to help someone fish, or cool things for a panting dog. A little Trump on hold? Worry about destroying a house with a tornado, while they laugh maniacally and shout something about climate change as a hoax.
# 11 Goldilocks And Little Bear
Nosy Crow interactive books have long been one of our favorite ways to spend time focused on the child on the iPad, and their latest is no exception. Goldilocks And Little Bear, which follows Cinderella and Snow White on the digital shelves, is a beautiful thing: beautifully drawn and animated, endless charming details for curious eyes and fingers to discover.
The story is just as special: yes, you’ve heard it before, but Nosy Crow manages to make it sound modern and natural without being anything of the other world. It is also completely interactive; Although the very young (or lazy) can just sit and listen while reading the story, they will have more fun dragging and sliding the pages, helping Goldie to clear up the mess she has created and the bears to eat her porridge. And as they grow, they can read everything by themselves.
# 12 Touch Blocks
Minecraft is great, obviously, but it’s also vast, slightly intimidating and difficult to master for the younger end of the game spectrum. Touch Blocks is not one of those things, while offering a creative environment in which young people can let their imagination run wild.
Like Minecraft, it’s about digging and building, but since everything is 2D, it’s much easier for young children to visualize where their blocks should be placed. Blocks of different types can be combined very easily, simply mix them, to create all kinds of textures and different objects, and one world can end up looking completely different from another.
There is no objective as such, no survival mode, no dangers, so it probably will not stop your attention beyond five or six years, but that is not a problem, as you will be ready to level up and move on to Minecraft. anyway.
Check also: The best fighting games
# 13. Loopmal
If you have played Underworld and Orbital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, trying to brainwash your children to make electronic music, you will most likely throw them in front of ProTools, it will simply cause confusion and wide-open eyes. Enter: Loopimal, essentially ‘My First Sequencing App’.
Drag colored shapes to empty slots, which will trigger canned loops made by a cartoon creature. Master that and the screen can be divided, allowing an animated Fab Four to break strange rhythms. Nothing happens, all the songs are in C major so that others can play, and the funky and the octopus and the stompy mammoth need their own recording contract immediately.
# 14. DNA Play
We admire the ambition in DNA Play. Its goal is to introduce children to the concept of DNA, through an interface based on riddles that results in a monster that receives constant mutations. Actually, we imagine that the nuance will be lost, but that does not mean it is not fun to mess with the DNA.
Once your monster has all its parts, more hits and blows produce radical transformations. The monsters can be complicated by putting them on skateboards, frightening them by turning off the lights and making them dance flamenco (presumably while the real monsters look, shaking their heads slowly).
#fifteen. BBC CBeebies Playtime
Anyone who plans to make an educational application for children should open CBeebies Playtime and start taking notes, because everything is absolutely fine.
First, it has star power. Children tend to identify with great brands and characters they already know, and here you get the basic television products for kids like Mr. Tumble, Octonauts and Tree Fu Tom (do not ask).
Second, there are no ads or purchases in the application. Okay, since it is a BBC application that you would not expect to exist, but again you do not expect to see children exploited in any other application suitable for children, however, we regularly have to rescue our descendants from the paid content traps.
Finally, the games themselves, of which there are nine, are the perfect combination of education and fun, teaching children to read, mathematics and even basic programming concepts.
# 16. Earth Primer
Some children like books, but a heart can sink when you say, “Hey, I just made you a great new iPad book on Earth, which you can read while we travel.” Any grim expression should disappear when you add: “And you can make volcanoes with your fingers!”
That is the magic of Earth Primer, which is an interactive tactile experience imagined by Chaim Gingold (Spore Creature Creator). One more piece of genius is found in the sandbox of the book: a small piece of land on which you can build, freeze, bake or drown, but only if you have first read the corresponding chapters.
Check also: The best upcoming games of 2018
# 17. Journeys of Invention
For older children fascinated by inventions, there is no better digital book than Journeys of Invention. Browse through interconnected roads to discover the most extraordinary events in science and technology.
You can explore many objects you find by turning them with a finger. But there are also much more interactive rates. You can examine a flea under a microscope, explore the inside of the Apollo 10 Command Module and send messages using an Enigma Machine.
And if your children start doing all the time all the time, instead of sending you messages in English, it’s all the fault of trying to educate the little blighters.
# 18 Love You to Bits
This is a point-and-click adventure in the old school reinvented for a world of touch screens. The rookie space explorer Kosmo must search for the components of his robot girlfriend, which have scattered throughout the galaxy. Visit the planets to which the parts have been tracked and recover them by solving riddles.
For both children and adults, there is a constant offensive charm and an avalanche of pop culture references from which it is impossible to escape. The combination of clever riddles and great visual effects is intoxicating, whether you’re thinking of beating a Monument Valley in 2D or lurking in a certain canteen in a galaxy far, far away.
# 19 Solar Walk 2
Children are often captivated by the heavens. A couple of decades ago, they might have received a book to browse, with dubious planetary paintings.
Today, they can be launched through a virtual solar system, moving between Jupiter and Venus, spinning Saturn and, in Solar Walk 2, launching themselves into a comet. For those who want to deepen, tap the information button to get all kinds of facts and figures about any given planet. You can also take a look at its internal structure. (The appearance of Saturn is like a freaky eyeball – possibly worth the entry price alone).
Check also: The best PS4 games
# 20 the Room Three
Barely a minute in room three, you’re scared of your wits when a ghostly apparition is in front of you in a train car. The lights go out and you wake up in a dungeon with a note from the mysterious craftsman. Calculate your exit (and then from the complex of several rooms as a whole) or finish.
Cue: hours to slide, explore, solve puzzles and rarities in general with a dreamy horror. One to (hopefully) captivate older children for a few hours, while astutely simultaneously flexing their brain muscles. The two previous entries in the series are also fabulous.