We’re big fans of Android in this house – Husband loves being able to root his phone and use custom software and I love being able to customise my device to my requirements and the Open ethos of Android lets us tinker to our hearts content. Last Christmas, we decided to buy Sausage a tablet PC and the Nexus 7 was the obvious choice.
She uses it for so many different things, surfing the web, sending emails, using Plex Media Server to connect to the family PC and watch films. Obviously, a big part of tablet use is the apps that are available, so we thought we’d put together a guide to our favourite Nexus 7 apps for kids, to show you what’s available. There are free versions available of some of the paid apps, but I’ve added the paid ones here as I don’t really like Sausage being exposed to adverts all the time.
This is a physics-based game featuring all of your favourite Toy Story characters and is not entirely unlike Angry Birds, in that the aim of the game is to throw balls at the aliens and knock them off of their perch. It’s great for practicing aim and timing and is immersive for adults and kids alike.
This app is based on the newest Tinkerbell film, Secret of the Wings and features beautiful graphics and music from the movie. As you move through the levels, you travel around the different areas of Pixie Hollow and the aim is to find as many ‘Lost’ items as you can in as little time as possible, which in turn unlocks new chapters of the story book. The game is great for reflexes and observation and really is beautifully made.
The Dr. Seuss read-along books are a brilliant aid to learning as you have the option to read the book to yourself or have it read aloud, and the read-aloud option highlights each word as it’s spoken, so your child knows what the words look and sound like all at once. There are also interactive parts of each page, so you can tap pictures and the name of the object is read aloud and will appear on-screen. The Lorax is a particular favourite of ours although we’d happily recommend anything by Dr. Seuss.
Wreck it Ralph – £0.65
If you have a child who’s a fan of the Wreck-It Ralph film, they’ll LOVE this game as it’s really close to the content of the movie. You get to choose from three games, Wreck-It Ralph, which is an exact replica of the game in the film and requires you to help Fix-It Felix Jnr fix the building before Ralph wrecks it entirely. Hero’s Duty is a top-down shooter in the vein of Smash TV (if you’re old enough to remember it!), where you have to shoot as many Cybugs as you can whilst moving around the map and Sugar Rush: Sweet Climber is set in Candy Land and requires you to get Ralph as high up in the Candy Tree forest as he can, whilst collecting candy along the way. The whole game is beautifully animated and contains some of the great music from the movie too.
This one does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s simply a blackboard. It allows you to use your finger as chalk and has been absolutely brilliant for Sausage as she perfects her reading, writing and arithmetic. We use it to write words for her to read to us, giving her words to try and spell, writing sums for her to do and all manner of other things. If you have younger children, it’s also a mess-free way to start mark-making with them. For a free app, it really does have a lot of uses and you’ve got nothing at all to lose by giving it a try!
The aim of Nemo’s Reef is to build and maintain the best underwater reef, collecting new species of coral and fish along the way. It’s educational as it teaches kids about marine life and also gives a concept of responsibility as it requires a certain level of attention to maintain what you’ve built. Even aside from the education factor, it’s a lovely little game, very relaxing as the music is ambient and calm and the graphics are really attractive.
Club Penguin Puffle Launch – £0.65
This fast-paced game is amazing for the reflexes as you shoot the Puffles from canon to canon, collecting gold rings long the way and trying to make sure your timing is exactly right, otherwise you’ll end up in the water and out of the game. It’s great for the whole family and totally draws you in. Addictive!
I have to admit, I ummed and ahhed about including this game as it’s a bit like Candy Crush in the respect that there are several areas of the game that encourage you to spend money and use paid-for add-ons, which can really pile the pressure onto parents, something that I don’t encourage. And that’s not even factoring in the fact that you’re caring for, well, a POO.
Having said all of that, I actually really like this game. It’s kind of like a modern day Tamagotchi in that the point of the game is to care for Pou with food, entertainment, exercise and sleep and she becomes ill and dirty if you forget about her. There are also some in-app mini games which are really fun and some are even developmentally positive too, so as long as your child’s Google Wallet is password-protected I’d still recommend this app. I must admit, I even sneak a go when Sausage isn’t looking..!
We discovered this after going to the cinema to see The Croods and it’s pretty similar to the Dr. Seuss read-alongs. Another great aid to learning to read and some lovely graphics too.
This is another physics-based puzzle game where you have to use water in its different forms (water, ice, steam etc.) to help you solve the puzzle and save Perry the Platypus. It’s a seriously fun game and manages to be educational without the kids even realising it!