7 of the best children’s apps

Our pick of the most entertaining and educational games and creative apps for children

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All children love the chance for some screen time and there’s a huge choice of great apps on the market. So we asked our child testers and their parents to find the best ones for fun, education and creativity – that are also safe to use and require no in-app purchases.

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Here are 7 top kid’s apps, as tested and rated by children…

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1. Lightseekers, Free

GOLD winner, Best Children’s App, 2017 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 4-7 (Rated 9+)

What it is: An action and adventure role-play game (with some fighting) based around the new Lightseekers toys, suitable for all ages. Includes combat, quests, 7 mini-games, crafting and gathering tasks, and play time builds as your child progresses. The app can be used on its own or synced to the Lightseekers action figures and augmented reality playing cards (bought separately). There are no in-app purchases, online multiplayer functions or chat. 

Why we love it: It’s really simple to use and get playing, but there’s a lot of challenging play, encouraging children to think strategically and develop their character’s skill and experience to complete the quests. The sync function with the toys and cards is very cool, but our child testers agreed you didn’t need to buy these to enjoy the app.

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘The animation is brilliant and we will definitely play this again.’ Twins Archie and Ethan, 8
  • ‘This is EPIC! The graphics are great.’ Ben, 11 

Available from: Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon

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2. PJ Masks: Super City Run, £2.99

SILVER winner, Best Children’s App, 2017 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 5 and under (Rated 4+)

What it is: A classic chaser game featuring the 3 superhero stars of Disney Junior show PJ Masks. Players choose a character to search the city, collecting stolen items, chasing villains and avoiding obstacles as they run, with no time limits. No in-app purchases.

Why we love it: It’s good simple fun to play and progress, and our child testers loved being their favourite PJ Masks characters. The lack of time limit is a nice touch, so there is no pressure or frustration for younger players.

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘My son doesn’t play with apps very much so this was a nice, simple and straightforward game for him to play. Taliesin understood what he needed to do and generally it was easy to use. As a PJ Masks fan, he enjoyed playing as the different characters.’ Siriol, mum to Taliesin, 5

Available from: Apple, Google Play and Amazon

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3. Bing Baking, £1.99

BRONZE winner, Best Children’s App, 2017 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 5 and under (Rated 4+)

What it is: The first app featuring the CBeebies star Bing, where players can roll and squidge dough, cut out biscuits, bake and decorate them, while accompanied by Bing and Flop.

Why we love it: It’s sweet, simple and slow-paced: ideal for toddlers and preschoolers. Bing fans will adore the high-quality animation and letting their creative side run riot with the different icings, sprinkles and toppings (bonus points for healthy fruit options!).

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘Brooke was really excited about playing the game, making the biscuits and ‘eating’ them. There is a brilliant range of colours and decorations and the narration is great.’ Sarah, mum to Brooke, 3

Available from: Apple, Google Play and Amazon

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4. Entertainment One Peppa Pig: Seasons – Autumn and Winter, £2.99

Age: 5 and under (Rated 4+)

What it is: An app aimed at preschoolers, with different games and activities, based on the autumn and winter seasons, to play with Peppa and her friends – from picking fruit to throwing snowballs.  

Why we love it: It’s a well-thought-out app with bright, simple graphics (including a very cute ‘loading’ hedgehog). The games are well-pitched at the under-5s and we liked the fact that there were reward stickers to collect as you play. Our child judges (not all of whom were Peppa Pig fans) particularly enjoyed picking the fruit, tobogganing and, of course, jumping in muddy puddles. This app won Gold fin our 2016 MadeForMums Toy Awards.

Available from: Apple, Google Play and Amazon

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5. Arsenal Football Club Junior Gunners App, Free

Age: 4-10 

What it is: A free app for young Gunners with videos, news of upcoming fixtures, competitions, and games where you can coach your own digital player or manage a 6-a-side team. Updated for the 17/18 season with a new Gunner Run game.

Why we love it: Brilliant fun for small Arsenal fans – especially the bit where create your own personal Arsenal avatar. Our child judges’ parents in the 2016 Toy Awards particularly liked knowing it offered their children a safe online space to catch up on footie news and facts – and our child judges liked trying to win the challenges and collect trophies, so much so, they awarded it Silver.

Available from: Apple and Google Play

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6. Learning Time with Timmy Pack, £6.99

Age: 3-6 (Rated 4+)

What is it: A bundle of 3 apps, designed by The British Council, that focus on games to help you learn key words for colours, numbers, animals, shapes, food, classroom and toys. Suitable for toddlers and preschoolers, or older children for whom English is a 2nd language.

Why we love it: The games are engaging, simple and fun. Our toddler and preschooler child judges in the 2016 Toy Awards really liked the sticker rewards you get for completing each task and awarded the app Bronze.

Available from: Apple

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7. Noddy Toyland Detective, £2.99

Age: 5 and under (Rated 4+)

What it is: A game and story app based around the much-loved Enid Blyton character. Your child drives Noddy’s car around to solve puzzles, decorate the car and make musical masterpieces. And, once they’ve finished their mission, they can read about it in a specially generated storybook. No advertising or in-app purchases.

Why we love it: There’s real educational value to the challenges and plenty of variety. We like how parents can limit the time they play for and the storybook element encourages them to sit and read with you afterwards (although the stories are a perhaps a little stilted).

Available from: Apple and Google Play

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