Every year, a new crop of children encounter Justin Fletcher for the first time through his shows on CBeebies: Something Special, Gigglebiz and Justin’s House.
He’s probably the most familiar face on children’s TV here in the UK, and now he’s making the leap onto iPhones and iPads with a planned series of ‘Justin’s World’ apps. Starting with Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Released last week, it sees Justin telling the famous fairytale through a mixture of video and mini-games, including dressing up as Goldilocks AND the three bears.
We’ve enjoyed many of the apps released by Swedish developer Wombi over the last couple of years, so here’s some good news: they’re giving away some freebies this week.
Wombi says it’ll make one of its apps free every day from Monday 20th May to Friday 24th, starting with the very-tasty Wombi Ice Cream, which gets your kids creating (virtual) icy treats.
We don’t know what the other four will be, but Wombi says it will announce them every day on its blog, Facebook and Twitter profiles, so keep an eye on those.
A new version of Rudyard Kipling’s story The Jungle Book has popped up on the app stores for iOS and Android… literally.
The Jungle Book is the work of StoryToys – the latest classic tale to be turned into a virtual pop-up storybook by the developer.
Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera and the nefarious Shere Khan are all present and correct with 3D animated scenes, music and sound effects, and some simple mini-games to keep children interested.
On 6 September 2010, we wrote our first article on Apps Playground: a story about an app named Thumbelina for the iPad. Just over two and a half years later, this is our one thousandth post! We thought it was worth a mini-celebration.
In the 32 months since we launched, more than 178,000 people have visited Apps Playground – a number that’s been growing at its fastest in the last few months. It’s also a number that makes our heads spin, given that the site started as an in-our-spare-time project simply because we wanted to share details about the apps we found for our two children.
So what do the next 1,000 posts hold in store? We’ve got some big plans, including a professional redesign of the site – which will also look spiffing on smartphones and tablets – and more of everything: more news articles, more reviews, more videos, and more opinion on the apps and topics that we’re passionate about in children’s digital entertainment.
Disney’s Where’s My Water? game has been a hit with children and adults alike, introducing cute alligator Swampy to an audience of tens of millions. Now he’s getting a friend.
Her name is Allie, and yes, she’s a female alligator. She’s the star of 40 new levels for the game, which can be bought for a 69p in-app purchase. Whereas Swampy’s levels are focused on manipulating water, Allie is more focused on steam.
“Allie is the sewer’s most creative alligator. Her quirky spirit and artistic talents made her a star. Now, the gators have crafted a one-of-a-kind steam-powered musical instrument, and can’t wait to hear her play it!” explains the game’s App Store listing.
A fun touch: Allie even plays “classic Disney tunes” on the instrument. She joins Swampy, Cranky and ‘Mystery Duck’ as characters in the game. Where’s My Water? costs 69p on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.
Book publisher Bloomsbury has released a pair of new iPad apps for kids that promise piracy and princesses in equal measure.
Bloomsbury Pirate Activity and Bloomsbury Princess Activity have similar features: puzzles, digital stickers and colouring, mini-games and animation, designed to appeal to kids with a yen for yo-ho-ho action and/or dressing-up fairytales.
(Yes, you could say that the Pirate Activity app is aimed more at boys and Princess Activity at girls, but we know a fair few girls who’d rather play with pirates than princesses, and vice versa for a number of boys.)
Justin Fletcher is one of the most familiar faces in children’s entertainment here in the UK, thanks to his CBeebies shows Something Special, Gigglebiz and Justin’s House.
Now he’s launched his first app: Justin’s World – Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Released today for iPhone and iPad, it’s a retelling of the famous fairytale with a combination of video, animation and interactivity for pre-schoolers.
Justin himself provides the videos, telling the story – including getting into character as Goldilocks herself. The interactivity comes with accessible mini-games testing children’s counting, sorting, matching and language skills.
If you’re anything like us, your fridge door will be festooned with your children’s pictures. But have you ever wondered what they sound like?
Now you can find out with an innovative (and free) app called Tunetrace, which has been developed by researchers at Queen Mary, University of London.
It works by taking a photograph of a drawing – any drawing, it doesn’t have to be a child’s picture – and then “translates the photograph into a skeleton of line endings and crossings”.
Another week, another Dr Seuss book being turned into an app. And the fact that The Butter Battle Book isn’t one of his most famous works actually makes it more appealing to us.
The storyline focuses on feuding Yooks and Zooks, whose battle is based in part on ferocious disagreement on whether to eat bread with the butter side up or down.
The app, like the book, traces their descent into ever-sillier weaponry (Triple-Sling Jigger, anyone?) as they try to outdo one another.
Pre-schoolers are capable of using surprisingly-complex apps in an intuitive way, but toddlers often prefer to simply jab at colourful things on a screen to make stuff happen.
Sago Mini Sound Box provides exactly that. It’s the work of children’s apps studio Sago Sago, which used to be called Zinc Roe until it was bought by another kid-apps company – Toca Boca – earlier this year.
This is its first release since then: an improved version of Zinc Roe’s award-winning Sound Shaker app from 2009. It’s described as a “21st century rattle” where kids interact with sound via tapping and tilting of the device.