Apps for pregnancy, parents and kids
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We asked children and parents to look at some of the most popular kids' apps for iPhone and Android - here are their 10 must-try apps.
As well as trying these child-friendly apps, you can keep your child occupied with our pick of 10 activities to do with your baby or toddler, and see our guide to travelling with children.
Kid mode: Free games and lock - free
Designed for kids aged from one to eight, this app includes videos, a drawing pad, story books and video recording. You can also personalise your account by signing up online and, best of all, lock your phone so your child can't access the rest of your phone. Be aware that you can't use this feature on older versions of iOS (iPhone operating system) - so you may need to download the latest version first.
All the kids loved the videos, but some other features were a little limited, such as the access to story books, unless you pay £3 a month to upgrade. As there's a huge array of videos in this app, and books are available free on other apps such as the iStory Book app, we're not sure it's worth upgrading.
iStory Book - free
Our parent volunteers couldn't believe this app was free, as it includes such a wide range of books. Although, on the negative side, its large size did make it difficult to scroll through and slow to download. Still, a great option for creating story time when out and about.
Talking Tom and Ben News - free
Kids can film their own videos to be broadcast on the news screen, and if you talk to the characters on screen, they will repeat what's being said. Although our kids liked this, it's not as popular as the Tom Cat and Ben Dog separate apps, both of which are free. It's also a large file and does include a number of ads, which would only be removed by paying to upgrade (around 70p).
Kids Numbers and Math - free
This app includes a number of counting and memory games, all aimed at helping your child with number recognition and basic maths skills. There is also a child-lock function within the app, but we think you would need to play on this with your child anyway to help them learn. We couldn't see any advantages to upgrading to a paid-for version (around £1.85).
If you like this app, you might want to check out the other similar apps from Intellijoy, such as a dot-to-dot and puzzle apps.
Peppa Pig and Polly Parrot - around £1.99
This app offers a selection of interactive games, each with various levels so you can adapt it as your child grows. Our parent volunteers were happy with how well this kept their kids occupied - for half-hour chunks over several days. You can look at a video of the app on the Android store if you'd like to see it in action before you buy.
Colour and Draw - around £0.70
We found this to be quite a precise colouring tool that was able to entertain kids for ages. But there are colouring tools within other apps, such as the Kid Mode.
We suggest you get your child to try out a couple of free colouring apps, such as Colouring Pages for kids on Android or Amazing Colouring Studio on iPhone, to see if they like these. If not, 70p isn't a lot to spend to keep your child amused.
Baby Learns ABCs - Baby Bus - free
These interactive games seem like an innovative way to teach children the alphabet, keeping them occupied in the process. It's worth nothing that initially the first screen is a little confusing, as it exists mainly to encourage you to download more apps. But if you are keen to explore similar apps of the same series, of which there are many free ones, it could be useful.
Want to use toys to educate your child? Look at our expert verdict on educational toys.
Sound Touch - free
Press on the cartoon pictures of various animals, instruments, birds, household items and vehicles to hear the sound they make and see a photograph of the real thing. We found this had good sound quality, but it wasn't worth getting the paid-for version (around £3.20) as it didn't keep the child occupied for too long. It also has a child lock included, which is a welcome added benefit.
Sleepy Sounds - free
A mixture of lullabies, nature sounds and white noise can be played for an amount of time set by you or indefinitely. In addition, you can play your own music uploaded to your phone. But the screen is quite bright, so it might be best to shield it away from your baby if they are sleeping to avoid distractions.
Some of the baby monitors we've looked at play calming music to help your baby go to sleep. Take a look at our baby monitor reviews to find the best one.
Blast Monkey - free
This slightly addictive game - possibly for parents as much as kids - is really better suited for slightly older children. There's a great number of levels you can unlock, each more interactive and complex than the last, by gaining more points and bettering your skills.All apps are available both on iPhone from the iTunes store, and on Android smartphones from the Google Play store.