A hugely original, interactive picture book created by acclaimed illustrator and author Christoph Neimann, who taught himself code and hand-drew all the animations for his app. The petting zoo is a collection of 21 animals, which when tapped or swiped respond in many surreal and surprising ways. Tap the lion and see its mane blow-dried in every direction or swipe the dog and see it breakdance. A winner for kids and parents alike.
Available for iphone/ipad for £2.29; itunes.apple.com
A fun and creative app idea that gets children drawing (on real paper!) while they play. They just put the device on a plain piece of paper and the app explains what and how to draw around it, e.g: legs, whiskers, a tail… When they are done, the device provides an animated face, to bring the picture together. There is an animal for every letter of the alphabet and tapping on the face triggers another animation and sound, bringing the picture to life and maybe getting a few giggles on the way.
Available for iphone/ipad for £1.99;yatatoy.com
Toca Boca is a Swedish development company and one of the most popular and well-trusted children’s app brands out there, with 25 high quality apps to choose from. Toca Nature has to be our favourite: a truly interactive and beautifully designed game, in which your kids create their own natural world by planting trees, growing forests, feeding animals, digging rivers, and even raising mountains. There are no points, high scores or any in-app purchases. It is about building and exploring, and getting kids to think about how the different parts of the environment connect and interact with eachother.
Available for iphone/ipad and Android for £1.99; tocaboca.com
A thoughtful interactive book created by the Oscar-nominated animator Heidi Wittlinger, blending storytelling, beautiful animation and interactivity for the perfect bedtime story. Set on a sleepy farm, kids can visit and play with various farm animals to help the animals settle in for the night. Parents can control the length of the story each night by choosing how many animals will be put to bed – and animals cannot be woken up again once they have been put to bed. It also has a lovely narration and soundtrack which adds to the magic.
Available for ipad/iphone, Galaxy and Android for £1.19; foxandsheep.com
Sago Tool Box
Sago Sago is the preschool-focused sister studio of Toca Boca, and all of its apps are much loved by young children. Their newest, The Sago Tool Box gets young kids building (safely). They buckle up their virtual tool-belt and are given eight tools and 15 different projects in which they work to build things from seesaws or puppets to computers.
Available for ipad/iphone for £2.29; sagosago.com