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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Guardian Names The "Peppa Pig" iPhone And iPad App "Peppa Pig Me Books" As A Top Kids' App

From The Guardian:
The 50 best children's apps for smartphones and tablets

Adults are starting to trust their kids with their smartphones, but can children trust the grown-ups to download the best apps? Stuart Dredge picks the apps designed to get the kids learning, creating and playing

A recent survey of 2,000 parents in the UK found that 75% share their smartphones with their kids.

When Apple unveiled its iPad in January 2010, the idea of handing over a touchscreen gadget costing at least £429 to a sticky-fingered child seemed ridiculous. Two years later, tablets – and smartphones – are now well established as pass-on devices, with an increasing number of apps available for children of all ages.

In July, Disney commissioned a survey of 2,000 British parents who owned an app-capable device and found that 75% share them with their children; 56% said they had downloaded an app at the request of their kids; and 37% considered apps to be an "integral" part of their family life.

There are hundreds of developers making apps for kids, from games and story books to maths and phonics apps. This isn't just about absorbing information, though: there are apps for children to make music, draw and share digital pictures and record their own voices reading favourite stories.

Pretty much every big brand in the world of children's entertainment is now involved in apps, including Disney, Nickelodeon, Penguin, Mattel and Moshi Monsters, as well as individual characters and TV shows such as Bob the Builder, Peppa Pig, In the Night Garden and Dr Seuss. And with new companies such as Toca Boca and Nosy Crow establishing their reputations, parents are spoiled for choice, with more apps appearing every month.

That said, the choice itself can be a problem, as the big app stores from Apple and Google do not have dedicated kids' categories. Instead, children's apps are scattered between categories such as entertainment, games, education and books. On the plus side, this means that children's apps tend to be spread by word of mouth among parents – genuine recommendations rather than big-budget marketing.

This list is intended to help parents find new apps for their children, not just from famous brands but from the best independent developers too. Some are purely about fun; others focus on bringing an interactive twist to storytelling; and others are more weighted towards the building blocks of maths and language-learning. Most of these apps are for iPad and/or iPhone, which is a reflection of the wider market: 90% of high-quality children's apps are still released for Apple devices alone, mainly because that's where their developers think they can make money.

This may change, thanks to impressive Android tablets such as Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire, which is tipped to be released in the UK later this year.

Meanwhile, strong sales of Android smartphones mean there is a sizable number of parents looking for kid-apps on those devices too. Expect some of the apps featured in this list that are Apple-only to make the jump to Android in the coming months.

OUR CHOICE OF THE 50 BEST APPS FOR KIDS [list below only features Nickelodeon Preschool (Nick Jr.) themed apps]

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STORIES

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PEPPA PIG ME BOOKS iPhone/iPad – £1.99. This innovative app brings Penguin's range of Peppa Pig books to Apple devices, with one included in the price and more available to buy in-app. The key feature: your children can record their own dialogue for every page.