A little bit late… Here’s our monthly roundup of our best new iPhone and iPad apps for children, as covered on Apps Playground in June 2012.
We’ve got a mix of familiar brands, favorite developers and out-of-the-blue indie apps, all of which piqued our interest
It’s time for the latest monthly roundup of our favorite new iOS apps for children, as covered on this site in May. As ever, it’s a mix of familiar brands and indie apps, all of which grabbed our attention in recent weeks.
- Toca Train (iPhone/iPad)
For many parents, news that Toca Boca has released a new app is an instant purchase, no questions asked. Toca Train is the latest. It’s the company’s first app to be properly 3D. As the name implies, you’re driving a train (well, your children are, but you’ll be sneaking crafty goes too, we suspect).
- Bizzy Bear Builds a House (iPhone/iPad)
We get just as excited about new Nosy Crow apps as Toca Boca apps, so last month was a treat. This is the second app starring Bizzy Bear, which appears in a range of printed books already. This time around, Bizzy has ditched farm life in favor of the building site. He’s building a house with the help of a digger, a crane, a bulldozer, and a cement mixer.
- Moomin, Mymble and Little My (iPhone/iPad)
We carry quite a candle for the Moomins thanks to the TV show aired when we were young. we’re very excited about the launch of an official Moomins storybook app. It’s called Moomin, Mymble, and Little My, and goes back to the original books by Tove Jansson.
- Magic Town (iPad)
Mindshapes started off making a series of fun, creative apps for children but has recently shifted its focus. In May it launched Magic Town, a web-based virtual world based around reading and picture books. Now there’s an app for that on iPad. It’s a fully-working version of the website too, rather than a cut-down spin-off.
- Brave: Storybook Deluxe (iPhone/iPad)
Happy times in many a household with children when a new Disney/Pixar film comes out. Brave is the latest, complete with its own spin-off storybook app. It presents the plot of the film – princess Merida going on a quest in the Scottish Highlands – with animated scenes and the option to record your own voice reading the words.
- Stories About Me (iPad)
There is an increasing number of ‘social stories’ apps aimed at children with autism and other special needs, but most simply present these stories to be read. The new iPad app Stories About Me, though, is designed for parents and teachers to create their own social stories using text, photos, and voice recordings.
- Ice is Nice! (iPhone/iPad)
Penguins, polar bears, icebergs and The Cat in the Hat… together at last! That’s the theme for Oceanhouse Media’s latest book app. This is the latest in a series called The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, in which the popular Dr. Seuss character takes a more educational turn.
- MoMA Art Lab (iPad)
There are plenty of creative iPad apps that let kids play with sound and images, but how many of them feature the artworks of Henri Matisse? It’s the work of the Museum of Modern Art, one of the world’s most famous museums. The idea behind its app is to help children and their families “explore how artists use line, shape, and color, and create your own artwork inspired by MoMA’s collection”.
- Oliver Twist (iPhone/iPad)
Want to get your kids started on the works of Charles Dickens early? They may find the actual novels hard going, but here’s an alternative. It’s a new book app for iPhone and iPad that brings one of Dickens’ most famous tales to touchscreens, with a lovely illustration style and plenty of interactivity.
- IMAG•N•O•TRON: ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’ Edition (iPhone/iPad)
One of our favorite iPad book apps of all time is The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, released in May 2011. Now its developer Moonbot Studios is trying something different: bringing augmented reality technology to the book-of-the-app’s print edition.
- FamJam (iPad)
Photo-sharing apps like Instagram are all the rage, and the mobile game Draw Something was a big hit earlier this year. Now imagine these things combined but aimed more at children and their extended families. That’s FamJam.
- Cause and Effect Sensory Light Box (iPad)
This app was apparently created “for a group of teenagers with autism and significant intellectual disabilities” with the aim of providing “open-ended, language-free exploratory interactions”. Without wishing to sound flippant, what this means is that when you touch the screen, pretty things happen with pretty sounds. It’s beautiful.
- Brave Interactive Comic (iPhone/iPad)
A busy month for Disney’s film Brave in app-land. Its plot is based on the movie, as a princess called Merida sets off on a quest to “undo a beastly curse” in the Scottish Highlands. Here, that all takes place over a 48-page digital comic, with music and sound effects.
- Make A Scene: Under The Sea (iPad)
The rationale behind digital-stickers apps is simple: if your child plays with one for half an hour, the results aren’t plastered over your walls/cat/face. A result, by any yardstick. We like the look of Innivo’s Make A Scene series, which provides colorful virtual stickers to play with on a variety of scenes.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Touch of Classic (iPad)
Here in the UK, many schoolchildren don’t encounter Shakespeare until they’re 11 or so. But what if they started reading The Bard’s tales at a much earlier age? Say, four… That’s the idea behind this app, spawned by a project called Touch of Classic, which is funded by the Spanish government.
- Collins Big Cat: The Farmer’s Lunch Story Creator (iPad)
Collins Education’s Big Cat apps are storybook apps for iPad that aim to spark children’s imagination and get them to create their own stories using pictures, characters and key vocabulary. The latest involves a farmer who’s lost his lunch. The storyline covers his search for the missing food.
- Babel, the King (iPad)
This is the work of developer Epic and a chap called Karim Maaloul, who came up with the storyline and world. The idea: a storybook aimed at 2-8 year-olds – a wide age range, admittedly – starring Babel: “a grumpy old cat and not very bright at all… a megalomaniac cat who dreams of becoming king and who dares to create his kingdom at any cost”.
- Who’s In The Loo? (iPhone/iPad)
We can’t recommend the children’s book Who’s In The Loo? highly enough. From its opening sentences – “Who’s in the loo? There’s a very long queue. Is it an elephant having a poo?” – it’s gold all the way. Now there’s an app for that.
- Tom Loves Angela (iPhone / iPad)
The Talking Friends series of apps – spearheaded by Talking Tom Cat – has generated more than 360m downloads, with well over 100m people using them every month. romance is a key part of this new app, with Talking Tom wooing fellow feline Angela by talking to her on a balcony.
- The Little Classical Music App for iTunes (iPhone)
This is a new iPhone app released by Naxos, a well-known classical music record label. The idea: classical music tracks for kids, accompanied by illustrations and explanations of the stories and people behind them – these can be read out aloud if required.