I know that racing games are super popular for tablets these days, but when they sometimes require little kids to tilt and steer in mid-air, I get a little nervous. After all, even I get a little clumsy and accidentally drop my stylus on the iPad screen every now and then. So when little hands can possible drop the whole unit, it makes me want to steer clear (pun intended) of racing games.
However, I know of one particular little boy who loves any and all moving vehicles, so Thomas, this blog’s for you (and your Daddy who has to download these apps for you first).
Kids Vehicles: City Trucks & Buses HD Lite for the iPad – free to try for iPad, full version retails for $1.99 (iPhone version available but iPad version recommended instead)
Even though there are lots of changes I’d recommend, I think this is a cool app judging from the free version. Users are introduced to various vehicles by “Jeff” the app MC, then tap on different parts of them to hear what they are, like wipers, doors and lights. It’s a neat idea for kids who’ll love the sound effects and the enhanced interactivity that they won’t get in a book (even with a sound effects panel).
It looks like this app has had several updates to it, so it would definitely be worth the $1.99 compared to what you’d spend on a print book without any “pizzazz.” The music is a bit annoying in the free version, but that could be a different case in the full version.
Kids Cars, Trucks & Community Vehicles – Puzzle for Toddlers – free for iOS and Android with in-app purchase of $1.99
There are some great things about this app, and with a set of headphones, add it to the list of apps to use while waiting for food at a restaurant. It’s really all in the title as an app that gets toddlers putting together very simple jigsaw puzzles of vehicles. Once the puzzle is solved, the screen fills with balloons to pop before moving onto the next level. I wish there was a way to skip the balloons, but the cartoony nature of the illustrations and slow pace actually make this quite perfect for little fingers. There are four puzzles available in the free version, then 15 altogether in the full version, which will give lots of replayability.
For app developers, take note that this app makes clever use of a press and hold button that links to info for parents.
Stop and Go – free for iOS with in-app purchase of $1.99 in US App Store
I originally wrote, “I don’t know why this app is free, but I love it and would pay for it”, and alas, the full $1.99 version with 12 vehicles, an airplane and a Spanish version is only available in the US App Store. However, that could change (or could have changed) in a matter of days, so load the free version on your iOS device and see if your kids will take to it in the meantime.
The background in Stop and Go is a mix between a stock image vector landscape and cartoony hand-drawn illustrations, so the app is bright and colourful for toddlers with the added bonus of surprising interactivity. Users press the stop light colours to make the vehicles come and go, see the name of the vehicle in big, bold letters, and press on various items in the scene for a reaction. It’s good fun with very cute voiceovers.
If the developers are reading this, there’s a typo in the word “fire truck” (it’s two words, not one) and I’d love for more backgrounds to be added to the mix. And please get it into the Canadian App Store if you haven’t already!
Kid’n’Play Vehicle Puzzles – free to try, $0.99 in-app or separate full version purchase
If your kid(s) love(s) any sort of moving vehicles, this is a wonderful app of puzzles. With the price point only being $0.99, I say it’s worth jumping in, but developer JumpApp also provides a great demo to try before buying.
Users can select between puzzles of four or nine pieces, then drag and drop pieces onto the puzzle board. There’s also an option (toggle on and off) to see the puzzle guide, and that’s really useful for very little ones to get started. I wish there was some kind of voiceover and text to say what the vehicle was when you finish the puzzle, but adults will probably get roped into pointing out names when a proud, beaming little face looks up for some congratulatory remarks.
For app developers, take note that this app actually puts a math question as an in-app purchase kid protector. Fantastic idea.
For more app reviews, keep checking back at KiwiCommons.com.