Keeping children entertained with apps during the holidays

Something different after the Christmas pudding

The Christmas break officially starts today for millions of children. Exciting times putting up the tree, decorating the house and spending time with family and friends. Although there's a lot to do, everyone eventually gets a little bored. We've all been there. Gadgets such as iPhones and iPads aren't only an amazing gift, but they are great devices to keep the little ones of the family entertained.

If you have children in your family you probably knew this already. You might even have some emergency apps for children installed "just in case". Knowing during the holidays we spend more time together, I've put together a list of apps that can help you getting the right entertainers. These are arranged in age groups for your convenience.

Toddlers

Kids Opedia - A collection of 500 interactive flash cards with topics ranging from alphabet and numbers to shapes and colours. You can create a individual profile for every child so you can see the progress later, analyse performance and check how the concepts are developing once they go to sleep. You can determine whether you wan to combine pictures, sounds and text as part of the learning experience, allowing you to stretch the use to preschoolers.

Lily and the Animals - Introducing children to the animals in a farm is one of the learning objectives of this activity app. Young gamers will follow Lily in a trip to her grandparent's house in the countryside and play with the multiple mini games included.

Preschoolers

Toony Draw - A different drawing app that automatically fills any shape drawn with a colour. This might not sounds like a great improvement but it changes the way anyone draws with traditional pen and paper as it removes the colouring aspect to focus on the more creative side. The easy colour picker and controls means your users will have no trouble learning this new technique.

Tom and Jerry and The Looney Tunes sticker book - With its recognisable characters, these interactive 'sticker books' allow you to recreate a scene using multitouch controls to rotate resize in a fun way. The developer has other well known IPs using the same book style with sounds, which are definitely worth a look.

My Beastly ABCs - A spooky effort from different monsters to teach the alphabet cannot be a bad thing. Every new letter includes interactive elements and narration to keep the story going. The characteristic artwork and animation from some of the people working in feature films such as Tarzan and Hercules really shows some style.

School Age

The Pilgrim's Progress - A beautifully 3D animated version of the story by John Bunyan featuring interactive elements and native narration.

Edna & Harvey: The Breakout - Following the tradition of old point and click adventure, Edna & Harvey is a great option for this Christmas for the whole family. The format itself lends to collaboration and cooperation with other family members, as long as they keep track of the storyline. Note that this isn't a children-specific release although I think those older than 9 would appreciate the tone and the slightly edgy graphic style.