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Kids' apps: passing the ‘William test’

Adam Fraser Published by Adam Fraser November 12, 2012

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Kids' apps: passing the ‘William test’

0
43

Adam Fraser Published by Adam Fraser November 12, 2012

When it comes to kids’ apps on our mobile phones, there’s no better judge than an actual kid. So, rather than me telling you how good the games are, I’ve handed my Nokia Lumia 800 over to my 15-month-old son. He’ll play with the apps, and I’ll write whether he likes them or not, giving them a rating based on his reaction to them. Here we go.

Peekaboo – Free

One of the earliest games we’ll play with our children is Peek-a-boo. The real world version (rather than an app) is often played with us (the parents) hiding our face behind our hands, a cushion or a chair and then popping back into the baby’s view with a cheerful “Peek-a-boo!”. Usually, joyous laughter from the child ensues.

In this version of Peek-a-boo, there’s nothing for you to hide behind, as it’s an app, but there’s a little blue character that hides behind three on-screen objects. At fairly regular intervals, you’ll see his little hand poke out from behind the object, giving your child a clue as to where he is. Touching the correct item means you’ve found him, but touching the wrong one means you get to guess again.

In terms of gameplay, the items are quite small and your child will need to be at an age where he or she is able to accurately point to an object with purpose.

I gave this to my son – William – who’s more than capable of pointing at things on screens.

What did he think of Peekaboo?

The true test

This was William’s favourite, by far. The little blue character, the childlike way the character says “Peekaboo!”, and the colourful animations all made him smile.

I was actually expecting this to be a difficult game for my son, as the hand that waves at you from behind the object is really tiny. I didn’t expect him to see it, but he did. After making a couple of guessed prods at the screen, he soon realised he needed to touch the one with the waving hand.

The joy was apparent as he made the right decision in the game, manifesting itself as smiles, gasps and even a couple of claps.

We’ll give this five stars.

5 star

Toddler Memory Match – Free

Toddler Memory Match categories Toddler Memory Match game

Memory games aren’t only fun for kids, they’re also important as it helps to develop their visual memory. Visual memory is what we use when remembering an old friend, or how to navigate to a previously visited location.

Toddler Memory Match serves up a set of digital memory cards where you can decide if you want to see numbers, letters, animals, colours, and a few others.

Touching on a memory card will reveal what’s underneath, touching on another will do just the same. Your task is to match up an identical card to win.

I went through a few different sets of cards with William to see how he’d get on.

The true test

After selecting a set of cads, my 15-month-old just sat there not really sure what to do – but whacked the screen with his hand anyway. Even after some cards had flipped over, he still didn’t seem to enjoy it.

The dull looking cards looked flat, and non-inviting, and some of the images on the reverse of the cards are difficult to make out. This might be down to bad image selection, or for the fact that there are lots of cards crammed into a relatively small amount of space.

After a few minutes, William got frustrated, so we gave up. This receives one star.

1 star

Animal Sound Box Free – Free

Animal Sound Box cartoon cow Animal Sound Box cow

Living in a big city (as I do), it can be tough for parents to teach their kids about the different animals around the world. Sure, you’ll probably see a random dog throughout a day, but what about the other animals?

Animal Sound Box has a over 30 animal sounds to help introduce animals to your child, from a safe distance. Some are your regular farm animals, like a pig, cow or a sheep. Other more exotic animals include a panda, lion or a gorilla.

As you scroll through the large animal icons, you can decide what pictures to show your child. By default, a cute drawing of the animal is shown, but if you want a real photo, press the smaller icon at the bottom. Then, pressing on the large image in the middle will play the animal sound.

Although this app is intended for children aged two to five years, my 15-month-old just loves animals – so I gave it to him to play with.

The true test

This was a fun app, filled with noises, colourful photos and just the right amount of interactivity. Some of the animals that particularly caught William’s attention were the Camel and the Buffalo, which both make impressive sounds – as do all of the other animals, of course.

He loved flicking through the animal selection, pausing to study what was on the screen before flicking on to the next animal. This app gets four stars.

4 star

Touch Fireworks – Free

Touch Fireworks explosion one Touch Fireworks explosion two

While the other apps above teach your young child a thing or two, this one doesn’t, it’s just a way to distract and keep them entertained for a few moments.

Presented with a black screen, as black as the night sky, placing a finger on the screen will cause an explosion of sparkly colours, with the additional sound effect of a firework popping and crackling.

It’s always good to keep in mind that young kids often just slam all five fingers down on the screen at the same time, often causing other interactions to be cancelled out. This app supports multi-touch, so any finger your child uses will cause an interaction.

How did William enjoy it?

The true test

While this doesn’t really have any education-value, it’s sometimes just nice to play something.

This was fun, for about 10 seconds, until William got bored and wondered why the screen was completely blank. Although that’s the point of this app. Nothing happens until you touch the screen. For William, the explosive, light show reward for touching the screen didn’t satisfy him for long. We gave this one three stars.

3 star

There you have it. Four kids’ apps tried and tested by a real kid. Right or wrong, the results are real and true, from one 15-month-old’s perspective.

If you’ve got kids of a similar age, give these a go and let me know how they enjoy them, using the comments section below.

Additionally, have you got any suggestions for any other apps I could try?

Image credit: Cadeyrn C

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