Top 5 Favorite Apps For Kids (under 6)
Top 5 Favorite Apps For Kids (under 6)
In this second installment of Maria Dicieanu’s Favorite Apps for Kids, she covers ‘must have apps’ for under 6-year-olds. These apps are gooood. You might succumb to the urge to snatch the iPad right from your toddler’s unsuspecting hands to play with them yourself. See the harvest below, or find the previous Top 5 featuring Apps for Kids (six years and up) here.
Milli, the world’s most adorable snail, engages on an epic journey to discover the thing(s) that snails do best. On her adventures she finds a bunch of equally charming characters, such as Miro the ladybug, Leo the chameleon and Wanda the owl – each with their own problems. Milli, as a sweet and helpful snail, helps them sort things out. The story of Milli is simply adorable and deals with friendship, self-discovery and helping out others. The narrative is complemented by gorgeous painterly artwork that creates a heart-warming atmosphere, while characters and objects are done in a style that resembles children’s drawings.
Parents and children can follow Milli’s adventures by reading the story together or by listening to the narration (the text on screen just like the narrative voice can also be turned off). Each chapter features interactivity and mini games, perfect to keep the little ones engaged and curious about exploring Milli’s universe. The kids are asked to do small things like letting apples fall from a tree and discover the worms in them, look under leaves, make music with the grass, search for pieces of broken glass and rearrange them, etc. Milli is a mountain of inspiration not just in terms of the actual story, but also considering that creator Jana Schell and Studio Honig crowdfunded the project through a Kickstarter campaign (yes, we pledged!).
Behold an exquisite touch of genuine nordic delight! The goal of the iPad app Wuwu & Co is to experience a set of rather peculiar short stories in a very immersive and innovative way. The whole adventure starts in a little house in the woods during a snow storm. By moving the tablet in different directions you will be introduced to the mediated reality of strange creatures that are in some sort of trouble. Each little animal has a story to tell of how they ended up in the problematic situation, and what you can do to help them out. The resolution comes in the shape of a mini game that requires the user’s physical participation. Shaking the tablet makes the snow fall off a tree, while saying “wake up” in the tablet’s microphone awakens some of the creatures who can then be saved etc.
From the design of the characters and the environments to the actual content of the stories, Wuwu & Co oozes a mesmerizing nordic aesthetic. Weirdly looking yet fascinating creatures and the atypical narratives prompt Wuwu & Co to be an incredible and memorable adventure for the little ones.
Part of the app’s beauty comes from the fact that the augmented reality drags you into the story. But I liked how the creators from Step in Books did not simply rely on the novelty of the technology. Literally shouting at strange at strange creatures, getting physically involved in the stories and doing things just because a narrator asks you to (and you do them just for the sheet fun of it), all these things scream “childhood is awesome!”
Wuwu & Co makes me want to be 5 years old again!
Lucy and Pogo provide a beautiful mash-up between text and lovely interactive mini games for children. Lucy is a curious cat that is tired of being left home when her neighbor friend Pogo the dog goes to school. She attempt to join the group of pupils, but finds herself rejected for simply being a cat. This doesn’t discourage resourceful little Lucy, who then joins the class disguised as a dog. The attempt to rescue everybody from a bus accident blows up her cover though, leaving the school’s teacher wondering whether cats are really that terrible. The story has a happy ending and –spoiler alert– Lucy is allowed to join the dog school as herself.
This clever story about diversity and acceptance is spiced with small interactive moments for children, such as waggling the tails of the dogs, helping Lucy to put on her suit, counting claws, peeing against a tree and (in a fun twist!) making it grow, connecting dots to discover the dogs’ greatest enemy, etc. The super funny texts and less than ordinary depictions of dogs peeing and doing other silly stuff guarantee to make this CatznDogz creation a hit for kids. But the app not only addresses kids. The smart phrasing, the rhetorical questions highlighting the pointlessness of the fights between cats and dogs… they are small Easter eggs for parents to ponder upon as well. Lucy and Pogo is clearly a great life lesson for everybody to think about, regardless of age.
Sometimes all anyone needs is a good old game of picking the ‘odd one out’. Fiete Choice proves very educational: children learn how to pay attention and compare things using different criteria based on shapes, colors, accessories, quantities etc. Some puzzles are quite straightforward such as picking the blue triangle in the line of yellow ones, or selecting the pig among the cats. As the game progresses, the difficulty increases and challenges become more complicated. Like picking the animal that doesn’t wear yellow boots, selecting the glass that has the least amount of juice, picking the fish that looks in a different direction than the other fish and so on.
Fiete Choice has 99 levels consisting of 3 to10 suites. The suites change quite quickly and the criteria constantly evolve. The item that was the odd one out for one reason, can become the odd one out for another reason or, on the contrary, can blend in with the others. Children are bound to develop their cognitive skills and logical thinking, and the world of Fiete is a great place for parents to explore as well. Studio Ahoii, whose founders initially made Fiete Choice for their own kids, delivers a simple yet beautifully designed product emphasizing that the “less is more” slogan can perfectly work for kids apps as well.
Easy as 1, 2, 3, Metamorphabet is the ultimate ABC app for kids. The alphabet has never been more fun to learn and explore. Each letter comes with a set of corresponding elements which are brilliantly morphing into one another. For example when poked the letter “b” grows a beard and then gets a beak from which bugs come out, one of them being a butterfly. When dragged, the letter “c” grows into a cone which then kids have to spin in order for it to turn into a propeller attached to a car. Once they press on its lights, a caterpillar shows up at the wheel. Thus kids are invited to poke, prod, drag and spin each of the alphabet’s 26 letters to reveal spectacular shifts and help letters evolve into the next one in line. All the visual elements belonging to one letter are clearly pronounced by a voice over, which makes this app a great tool for learning new words as well. The kids control the morphing with finger gestures.
The 3D design feels very organic, almost tactile, it’s like you can grab the letters from the screen. They feel less abstract and this makes kids feel more in control. Whether this Vektorpark creation really is a more effective way of learning the alphabet remains to be seen. It however surely is a mesmerizing way of presenting it. One that parents and kids alike are going to enjoy tremendously looking at and interacting with.
Remco combines his role of editor of Submarine Channel with interactive producing its animation and game projects. He initiated and ran the popular website on to the art of title design, 'Forget the Film, Watch the Titles.' And he worked on the interactive graphic novels The Art of Pho and Ascent from Akeron. Screendiver.com –an online directory where viewers can discover the best indie interactive comics– is his latest project.