Share Latest 100 apps for Kids

100. Junior Astronaut (iPad)

Aimed at 9-15 year-olds, this delightful app mixes serious science and playful entertainment around space travel.99. Crayola DigiTools (iPad)
A collection of three colouring and drawing apps designed to work with physical packs of art tools. A creative treat.
98. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (iPhone / iPad)
Charlie and the Peanuts gang return for a Halloween-themed story, complete with a feature to make your own character.
97. My Beastly ABCs (iPad)
A beautifully-illustrated book-app with an array of unscary beasties teaching your children the alphabet.
96. The Grunts: Beard of Bees (iPhone / iPad)
This excellent free game from Nosy Crow saw you building a big beard of buzzing bees for a character named Mr Grunt.
95. Monsters vs Superheroes Comic Book Maker (iPhone / iPad)
One of a number of creative digital stickering apps, this features monsters, superheroes and the option to record your own voice.
94. Flutterby Butterflies (iPhone / iPad)
With artwork from Beatles collaborator Alan Aldridge, this matching game looks lovely, and offers fun for a wide age-range.
93. Princess Fairytale Maker (iPhone / iPad)
More digital stickers here, with the subject matter focusing less on monsters and more on princesses (and fairies, etc…)
92. Bloxy HD (iPhone / iPad)
Bloxy HD takes its cues openly from Lego: a creative virtual construction set of bricks and mini-figures for 5-12 year-olds.
91. Skullabones Island (iPhone / iPad)
This app from book publisher Penguin is all about the pirates, with three mini-games including matching pairs, dress-up and ship-sailing.
90. Sakura Time (iPad)
This stylish app helps your children learn to tell the time (on digital and analogue clocks) as well as light maths and number-tracing.
89. Doodle Tales (iPhone / iPad)
Children love to doodle and tell stories while doing it. Doodle Tales capitalises on that, recording their stories and making them shareable.
88. Wombi Detective (iPhone / iPad)
Wombi Detective took its cues from classic detective films, but applied them to a playful whodunnit adventure aimed at children.
87. Ben 10 Game Generator 3 (iPhone / iPad)
The Ben 10 characters are familiar to millions of children. This is a fun puzzle game, with the added option of making your own levels.
86. Tizzy Seasons (iPhone / iPad)
Aimed at 2-6 year-olds, this well-crafted app is based around the four seasons of the year, offering lots of animation and interactivity.
85. Disney Fairies: Lost and Found (iPhone / iPad)
This is a hidden-objects game from Disney set in Pixie Hollow, with your children finding magical items to unlock a fairy story.
84. Peppa Pig Theme Park (iPhone / iPad)
Developer P2 Games has done a great job with its Peppa Pig games, with this one including 10 fun mini-games based on the Pig family.
83. Winnie the Pooh Wander and Wonder (iPhone / iPad)
This whimsical app gets your kids to explore Hundred Acre Wood, tapping on everything they see and meeting Pooh and friends as they go.
82. Toca House (iPhone / iPad)
The first entry in our 2012 list from developer Toca Boca, this turned household tasks into playful mini-games for kids of all ages.
81. Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day (iPad)
Released by the V&A Museum in London, this book-app tells the tale of Clara, a magical hat and swords, tigers and other such fun.
80. Moshi Monsters: Moshlings (iPhone / iPad)
Web virtual world Moshi Monsters is coming to iOS in 2013, but this guide to its Moshlings creatures was a nice taster in 2012.
79. Montessori Geometry (iPhone / iPad)
This geometry app for 5-10 year-olds brought a stylish design ethos to mathematical education, making for tactile touchscreen fun.
78. Letters With Pooh (iPhone)
Winnie the Pooh again, this time with his own education app teaching the alphabet to children. Hopefully he can spell ‘HUNNY’ right now…
77. KBC Kids (iPad)
We loved the idea of KBC Kids: “hip-hop for children” with simple controls to get your kids playing with instrument samples and vocals.
76. Fancy Nancy Ballet School (iPhone / iPad)
If you have a child who’s ballet-mad, they’ll love this: a story, but also a way to create their own ballet routines for the Fancy Nancy character to perform.
75. Lego Minifigure Ultimate Stickers (iPad)
Lego’s Minifigures range is popular in the real world, and worked very well in this digital stickering app with eight different themes.
74. This is my Body – Anatomy for Kids (iPad)
More edutainment in this anatomical app, which was an excellent way for kids to explore the human body: from digestion to skeletons.
73. MoMa Art Lab (iPad)
Released by the Museum for Modern Art, this app gets children playing with the work of famous artists, and creating their own pictures.
72. Collins Big Cat: The Farmer’s Lunch (iPad)
There’s a range of Collins Big Cat book-apps, and they’re all worth a look: stories that end with a chance for children to create their own.
71. PlayART by Tapook (iPad)
Here was more artful appness: a way for kids to mash up elements of paintings by Van Gogh, C├ęzanne, Monet and other artists in their own pictures.
70. Transformers Ruckus Reader (iPad)
This was one of a succession of book-apps from Ruckus with stories, word and picture puzzles, and create-your-own-story options.
69. Elmo Loves 123s (iPad)
Sesame Street’s Elmo hosts the action in this educational app, explaining the numbers 1-20 with songs, videos, games and colouring.
68. Eye Paint Animals (iPhone / iPad)
This innovative app used your device’s camera, sending kids off into the real world to find colours and textures to decorate animals with.
67. Lego Super Hero Movie Maker (iPhone)
This had the makings of a Dad Craze: a photography app to create stop-motion mini-movies using your real-world Lego set.
66. Rainy Days: A Stella and Sam Adventure app (iPad)
Our children have loved several Stella and Sam apps, so this went down a treat: an art app with lots of patterns and colouring.
65. Princess Poppy Picture Book (iPhone / iPad)
The popular Princess Poppy picture-books got their own app, with several stories available and celebrity voice narration.
64. Timmy’s Number Tracing (iPhone / iPad)
Every child’s favourite TV lamb made his presence felt on the App Store this year, with this ace early-maths educational app.
63. Leo’s Pad Appisode 1 (iPad)
Hollywood production values? This app had ‘em, roping in Hollywood veterans for an animated mixture of stories and activities.
62. Mr Potato Head Create and Play (iPhone / iPad)
Right at the end of 2012, Mr Potato Head quietly wandered onto the App Store to give kids the chance to make their own potato characters.
61. Kapu Tickle Toy Camera (iPhone / iPad)
Developer Kapu Toys is definitely one to watch: this inventive augmented reality app put cartoon dolls into your real-world location.
60. CBeebies Magazine (iPhone / iPad)
The British children’s TV channel has lots of spin-off magazines in the real world, but now also a digital one with lots of activities and stories.
59. A Whale of a Tail (iPhone / iPad)
This app represents several in the Dr. Seuss series of The Cat In The Hat’s Learning Library apps: education, rhymes and plenty of silliness.
58. Morton Subotnick’s Pitch Painter (iPad)
Memorable name, memorable app: this got kids making music by painting coloured blocks onto the screen.
57. I Am a Child: Just Like You (iPhone / iPad)
This colourful book-app focused on a boy called Mason with Asperger’s syndrome, explaining how he sees the world for other children.
56. Wombi Airplane (iPhone / iPad)
The second app in this roundup from Wombi Apps got kids to build an airplane then fly it, offering simple controls and characterful style.
55. Farm 123 (iPhone / iPad)
Farm 123 looks like a digital pop-up book, and teaches toddlers the numbers 1-10 using farm animals, mini-games and interactive scenes.
54. Colin the Reindeer (iPad)
There might not be any carols about farting reindeer, but gassy Colin makes an entertaining hero for this Christmas-themed book-app.
53. Signed Stories (iPhone / iPad)
ITV’s excellent Signed Stories app offers a range of animated stories for children with sign language as well as traditional narration.
52. Fairy Magic (iPhone / iPad)
Fairy Magic is innovative and fun: an app that gets kids to point the camera at the real world to find and play with virtual fairies.
51. Amelia and Terror of the Night (iPhone / iPad)
This book-app was distinctly spooky: a Tim Burton-esque tale of Amelia and her friends with mini-games and an impressive soundtrack.
50. The Happy Face (iPhone)
This app is really for parents: a way to clearly signal to your child how their behaviour is. Originally designed for kids on the autistic spectrum or with ADHD, we thought it could be useful for all parents.
49. Animal SnApp Farm (iPhone / iPad)
Gruffalo-illustrator Axel Scheffler teamed up with publisher Nosy Crow for this brand new book-app set on a farm, with six animal characters, each with their own rhyming story and sliding game.
48. Grimm’s Snow White (iPhone / iPad)
Another digital pop-up book, with the advantage that the pop-up bits can’t be ripped out by an overenthusiastic child. This one tells the tale of Snow White through animation, mini-games and sumptuous music.
47. Dr Frankenstein’s Body Lab (iPad)
Book publisher DK wanted kids to “step right into Dr Frankenstein’s laboratory” for this body-parts game, but don’t worry: it’s not gruesome. Instead, it’s an entertaining way to start learning about basic anatomy.
46. The Land of Me – Story Time (iPad)
This is one of three Land of Me apps released at the same time in December: each offering stories with a chance for your child to get involved and change their contents by tapping on characters, words and items.
45. The Singing Alphabet (iPad)
There were hundreds of bad ABC apps released in 2012. Luckily there were a fair few excellent ones to hold your children’s attention. This one did it by getting the letters to sing – alone or together with tuneful harmonies.
44. Miffy’s Garden (iPad)
Dick Bruna’s cartoon bunny Miffy made an impressive debut on iPad this year – the first of several Miffy apps. Here, the original book’s storyline was fleshed out with a gardening mini-game and the ability to record your own voices.
43. Kindergarten Reading (iPhone / iPad)
Kid-apps publisher Duck Duck Moose did a grand job with this phonics-based educational app, introducing letter-sounds through a series of colourful zoo characters, with a print-offable workbook available from their website as an extra.
42. Tomo ABC Town (iPad)
Tomo ABC Town appeared from nowhere on the App Store this year, but we’re glad it did: a digital toy for dragging and dropping letters into words, while unlocking items to play with in a virtual house, garage or playground.
41. Chess Academy for Kids (iPhone / iPad)
Children learning chess? That’s the idea of Chess Academy for Kids, which breaks the game down into more than 140 tutorials and challenges, with some simple enough for five year-olds to start having fun with.
40. Numbers With Nemo (iPhone / iPad)
A fun follow-up to Letters With Pooh, this Disney app used orange fish Nemo and friends as the basis for some maths education for young children: counting, tracing numbers, matching objects and other activities.
39. Moomin, Mymble and Little My (iPhone / iPad)
The Moomins are back! And this beautifully-designed book-app gets their charm across perfectly, with a quirky Moomin tale, lots of animation and interactivity, and voice narration from actor Samuel West.
38. Ben 10 Comic Creator (iPad)
We love apps that get kids creating their own stories rather than just reading or watching. This uses the characters and settings from Ben 10, with simple controls to drag and drop them into digital comic strips.
37. Finding Nemo: Storybook Deluxe (iPhone / iPad)
Another appy outing for Nemo, although this was a more traditional book-app telling the story of the Finding Nemo film. Puzzles, digital painting and whale-chat were included, as were famous actors for narration.
36. Wince – Don’t Feed the WorryBug (iPhone / iPad)
This was a neat book-app with a serious message: that children can overcome their worries. It was told through the eyes of Wince, a character who not only worries a lot, but has his own nemesis when he does: the WorryBug.
35. UP: My Name is Dug (iPad)
Remember Disney’s marvellous UP film? This is a new spin-off book-app based on the dog, Dug. He introduces your children to his pack and hunts for a colourful bird, with plenty of tappable interactivity.
34. Magic Town (iPhone / iPad)
Magic Town was an interesting idea this year: a virtual reading world for kids on the web, but also on iPad (and more recently, iPhone). Parents pay a monthly subscription for unlimited access to digital picture-books.
33. Tom and Jerry: Stickers With Sounds (iPad)
Two of OUR favourite cartoon characters popped up on the App Store to entertain our kids this year. Tom and Jerry returned in fine squabbling form, with a digital stickering app for creating shareable scenes.
32. Miffy in the Snow (iPad)
More Miffy, this time with a Winter theme as she dons her warmest clothes and heads out into the snow for some sleigh-riding and rhymes. Mini-games, e-card creation and the ability to record your own voices are includd.
31. Brave: Storybook Deluxe (iPhone / iPad)
Another Disney film getting the Storybook-app treatment was Brave this year, telling the story of Princess Merida going on a Scottish highlands quest. Archery, puzzles, colouring and film clips all played their part well.
30. Your Fantastic Elastic Brain (iPad)
This excellent educational iPad app aimed to teach kids about their brains, based on an existing print book. It blends interactive ‘brain workouts’ with text and animation for a neural treat of an app.
29. Peppa Me Books (iPhone / iPad)
If your children love Peppa Pig and her picture-books, they’ll love this digital version. It presents the same stories as the printed version, with voice narration, but the twist is you can record your own words and sounds.
28. Cinderella Storybook Deluxe (iPhone / iPad)
Another one of Disney’s most famous films gets the app treatment, retelling the movie’s plot with animation, music and voice narration, as well as a singalong of the song ‘Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo’. Altogether now…
27. Maily (iPad)
Maily was a very good idea: a first email app for children? Email? Well, more of a drawing and colouring app really, but with the key feature of being able to safely email creations to preset friends and family members, while getting their messages back in return.
26. Bizzy Bear Builds a House (iPhone / iPad)
Bizzy Bear is a familiar character from Nosy Crow’s print books, but he got his own app this year too. It sees him building a house (yes the title rather makes that obvious) with lots of interactive fun for 2-4 year-olds, and voice narration provided by slightly older kids.
25. Draw and Tell HD by Duck Duck Moose (iPhone / iPad)
We’ve seen how our own children love to describe what they’re drawing while doing it. This app riffs off that, recording their digital scribblings, but also using the mic to record what they say – then packaging this up as a video for sharing with faraway family.
24. Makego (iPhone)
Makego was one of the apps this year that made us enthusiastic about the crossover between physical and digital play. In short, you make a car or boat out of Lego/cardboard, then drive an iPhone around in it, with this app providing the view of the vehicle from above.
23. Miko and Cola (iPad)
Miko and Cola are two slightly-creepy looking cartoon cats, but their app is delightful. It’s half storybook and half music-making tool for 5-11 year-olds, with the latter involving tapping on characters and items to trigger samples and loops. Enormously good fun.
22. The Jungle Book: Disney Classics (iPad)
You may have noticed we’ve included the Disney storybooks that caught on most in our household in this roundup. And yoo-hoo-hoo, we wanted to be like you-hoo-hoo in this interactive retelling of The Jungle Book, with songs included alongside puzzles and interactive fun.
21. Pip and Posy: Fun and Games (iPhone / iPad)
Another app from Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler and Nosy Crow, this wasn’t a storybook, but rather a collection of mini-games and activities based on Scheffler’s Pip and Posy books. Matching pairs and making faces into the iOS device’s camera went down super-well here.
20. Rounds: Parker Penguin (iPhone / iPad)
We’ve loved Nosy Crow’s take on fairytales like Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs, but Rounds: Parker Penguin struck off in a different direction: an educational book-app about the natural world, focusing on the life cycle of penguins. Characterful graphics and lots to see and do made this a wildlife treat.
19. Dr Seuss Bookshelf (iPhone / iPad)
Oceanhouse Media released LOTS of Dr. Seuss book-apps this year, all with similar features – including clever use of word-highlighting and animation to focus on early readers. Rather than include all of them in this list, we’ll spotlight one: Dr. Seuss Bookshelf, which is a way to browse all the available Seuss apps, and find them on your device once bought.
18. Little Fox Music Box (iPhone / iPad)
One of our favourite musical apps of the year, Little Fox Music Box has two distinct sections. One involves interactive scenes with songs London Bridge, Evening Song and Old McDonald Had a Farm, where everything can be tapped on to make something happen. The other section is a home music studio for the titular fox, where your kids make their own musical tunes. Beautifully done.
17. Toca Train (iPhone / iPad)
It wasn’t quite an app equivalent of a real-world train set, but Toca Boca’s Toca Train was a stylish way for your children to try life as a train driver. It has 3D graphics, a colourful world, and an array of characters getting on and off your train. Aimed at 3-7 year-olds, there are no stressful goals to complete: just pootling along the track stopping when you feel like it.
16. Grimm’s Puss in Boots (iPhone / iPad)
The idea of apps pretending to be real pop-up books might sound a bit backward-looking, but StoryToys did a grand job this year with its fairytale updates. Besides leafing through its pages and playing with the pop-up scenes, there are puzzles and mini-games to keep your kids interested. As with their other apps, the music stands out too.
15. Talking Ginger (iPhone / iPad)
We had some reservations about Talking Ginger due to its use of in-app ads, but we can’t deny that our children were fascinated by the cute ginger kitten. The app sees you preparing him for bed, brushing his teeth, showering and drying him, and even sitting on the loo (albeit to play a toilet-roll mini-game rather than anything else).
14. Little Digits (iPad)
Such a simple and genius idea, we’re surprised nobody thought of it earlier. Little Digits teaches young children to count to 10 by getting them to put their fingers on the touchscreen. One finger brings up a number one, two brings up a number two and so on. The numbers are cute monster characters, and there are some light maths mini-games to play as well.
13. Rounds: Franklin Frog (iPhone / iPad)
The second Rounds app from Nosy Crow on this list, and the first to be released: because we’ve spent longer with Franklin Frog, he’s slightly higher in our estimation. The app works in the same way as Parker Penguin though: a guide to the life cycle of frogs, with engaging words and narration, and lovely-looking graphics based around circles.
12. Night Zookeeper Drawing Torch (iPad)
We’re watching for big things from Night Zookeeper in 2013: it’s bigger than one app – a website for children to indulge their creativity, based around the world of a zoo where all the animals are magic. But this iPad app was an introduction to that world: a series of drawing ‘missions’ suggesting pictures for your kids to draw, from inventing a ‘Spying Giraffe’ to drawing a frog after a monster steals the colour green.
11. Ladybird: I’m Ready for Phonics (iPhone / iPad)
We grew up with the Ladybird books, but now a new generation of children is learning to spell with the brand, thanks to this well-crafted educational app. Based on the UK curriculum it aims to help children prepare for their Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year One (so 5-6 year-olds), practising 44 letter sounds over 12 levels of mini-games. There’s lots of variety and a neat three-star scoring system to track progress – it feels like fun play, not dry work.
10. Toca Hair Salon 2 (iPhone / iPad)
The original Toca Hair Salon has been one of Toca Boca’s most popular apps, with millions of children enjoying the chance to play hairdresser on four quirky characters. This sequel increased the fun factor, with new people for your barber’s chair, and new tools like a razor, curling iron, straightener and crimper. As before, no instructions are required: your children simply tap on the tools and dyes, and cause hair-havoc.
9. Move the Turtle (iPhone / iPad)
There’s been a lot of talk in the tech press recently about the challenge of getting children interested in computer programming. Move the Turtle is part of the answer: a marvellous app that takes the first steps towards children learning the basics of programming. Yes, using a turtle, who helps explain the ins and outs of loops, procedures, variables and conditional instructions. This could be one sparking point for the next generation of app developers.
8. Foldify (iPad)
Released towards the end of 2012, Foldify was an elegant riposte to critics who think iPad play is turning children off physical play. This is one of the apps that combines both: your kids create characters on the iPad, adding eyes, mouths and other virtual stamps, then you print them out to be folded into real-life paper figures. You can also see what other people have made using the app, downloading and printing their creations to get inspiration.
7. Barefoot World Atlas (iPhone / iPad)
Our five year-old really got bitten by the geography bug this year, and Barefoot World Atlas fascinated him. It’s an atlas rethought as a virtual spinning globe, initially on iPad but now on iPhone too. You can zoom in on any part of the world and tap on the little animations of animals, people, vehicles and landmarks to find out more about them: text, photos and voice narration from BBC presenter Nick Crane.
6. Me Books (iPhone / iPad)
We’ve written about Peppa Pig Me Books earlier in this roundup, but Me Books is a more general app from the same company, Made in Me. It offers a collection of digital picture books, sold as individual in-app purchases for between 69p and £1.99. The Peppa books are included, along with vintage Ladybird books, Beatrix Potter stories, and other famous stories. Richard E. Grant, Sir David Jason, Tamsin Greig and other actors provide voice narration too.
Numbers 5 – 2
5. The Snowman and the Snowdog (iPhone / iPad)
Making a sequel to classic Christmas short-film The Snowman was a risky move, but we’ve seen The Snowman and the Snowdog and it’s a worthy follow-up. Its official game will also keep your children entranced well beyond Christmas. It sees the Snowman, his Snowdog and their young friend flying over the UK – countryside and London landmarks alike – before heading to the North Pole. Kids don’t have to control the flight – they just tap on snowflakes, angels and other objects as prompted, making it something a three year-old can have fun with just as much as older children. The visuals and music are a treat, too.
4. Toca Tailor (iPhone / iPad)
More Toca Boca – if the company is new to you, hopefully you’re beginning to understand why so many parents keep an eager eye out for any new app from the Swedish developer. Toca Tailor turned your children’s attention to fashion, with four characters to dress up in hats, shoes and accessories, before designing their actual clothes. That involves choosing from a range of patterns then dragging and shaping them onto the clothes. Or, in the best touch, you can use the device’s camera to take a picture of something in the real world, and use that as your pattern. Very innovative, but more importantly, very fun.
3. Whale Trail Junior (iPhone / iPad)
We were huge fans of the original Whale Trail game, which came out in 2011. While its psychedelic graphics and cute whale hero appealed to kids, the game was a little too difficult for younger children. That was remedied this year with Whale Trail Junior, which kept all those elements bar the difficulty. So, your kids fly Willow the Whale through the clouds collecting bubbles and stars, with no frustrating ways to die. They unlock new whales and levels as they play – all for free – while adults will find themselves humming the game’s Gruff Rhys theme tune for days after watching their kids play.
2. Sneak (iPhone / iPad)
Released right at the end of 2012, Sneak is another marvellous blend of real and digital play. Your children choose a bait, then hide somewhere in the room until one of five cartoon monsters tiptoes onto the screen to eat it. Then, your children have to sneak up to the screen – it’s best on iPad but works on iPhone too – and tap to take a photo of the beastie. Oh, and the app takes a photo of your children at the same time, often revealing a thrilled face. Our children can’t get enough of it: hopefully more monsters will be making appearances in 2013, because this has long-term appeal.
And our number one app of 2012 is… 
1. Toca Band (iPhone / iPad)
One last app from Toca Boca takes top spot in our inaugural annual chart. Toca Band is the app we and our children have kept coming back to since its release, and a fair few parents we know have become addicted to its charms too. The idea: a musical mix ‘em up where cartoon characters scroll along the bottom of the screen, ready to be dragged onto buttons higher up. When in place, they sing or play an instrument, slightly differently depending which button they’re on. The fun comes in choosing different combinations of character to make the song sound different. Stomping spider, theremin-voiced cat, the amazing Stick Figga rapper and so on. Our only Christmas request to Toca Boca is FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE PUT ANOTHER SONG IN SOON! The one track is a real earworm in a good way, but we’d happily pay for another tune or two in 2013.

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