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Best Android Apps for Children: 5 year old girl May 7, 2013

Posted by NAyK in android, Apps, children, games, Reviews, tablet.
8 comments

android_logoChildren and tablets is a controversial topic. Mostly it feels wrong to let a child be unsupervised for long periods over any media, whether it is television or tablets. However, the reality is that parents tend to use gadgets as babysitters… and honestly… (sadly)… so have we. We have however tried to prevent too much “alone” time on the tablet and encourage as much participation when possible. So when on the tablet, we encourage our daughter, we have a 5-year-old, to ask us for help… and many of her games, we play too, and even try to attain game goals together (ie. collect as many coins). Additionally, the tablet is a family tablet and does not “belong” to our daughter… so it helps her to know that we all share it together (even though children specific apps dominate the tablet).

Anyway, the following is a personal list of what we as parents use for our five year old daughter on our Sony Android Tablet. We’ve really benefited from these kinds of lists as we go about choosing apps on our tablet… and so we too want to contribute to other parents like us, who are looking for Android specific apps for 5-year-olds.  The following list is in no particular order.

A. CATEGORY: Books

1. The “Dr. Seuss” books by Oceanhouse.

drseussOceanhouse has done a really good job in preparing books for reading on the tablet… and we especially like the highlighting of whole words as well as the option of our daughter interact with the words and pictures by tapping. We don’t think of Oceanhouse books as a way to teach a child how to read. But we enjoy the books and also like seeing our daughter interact with them. We’ve also used the “Little Critter” books as well, which our daughter enjoys. We haven’t tried the smaller books because they are expensive, and don’t have that many pages.

Parent participation: Low

Mostly our daughter has and can go through the entire book by herself, she does like it when we go through the pictures with her. Plus, she likes to share some of the funny events in the book with us. For instance, the book “Green Eggs and Ham” has in one screen a voice under the water.

2. Other books? Charlie Brown Christmas

Another book that we did like was Charlie Brown Christmas… though we were disappointed that there were not that many “songs” as in the interactive book that we had few years ago. Still, Charlie Brown Christmas does not have the high production values of Oceanhouse yet there too there is word-by-word highlighting and the story is nice.

B. CATEGORY: ACTION GAMES

Subway Surfer

subwaysurferMy daughter likes cars/racing etc, so the action games she really liked and was surprisingly adept at, is Subway Surfer. I say this in the past tense because after a while, the goal of playing has changed. She no longer finds it challenging and the goals, like getting a new surfboard, are just too difficult. (even for me). It would take us a month or more, to get one of those special surfboards… which is just too much to ask for a 5 year old to wait. I did get close to 200000 coins, but then, she just went and bought the latest characters and cheap surfboards available. Still, Subway Surfer is fun for her, and she plays it quite often.

Parent involvement: Medium, because I (father) play the game with her often. We’re a team. My wife does not play it at all. But when my daughter plays, she plays alone (I don’t have to watch her).

Beach Buggy Blitz

beachbuggyAnother game that my daughter really liked, though it was, and still remains, quite difficult for her to handle for long periods, is Beach Buggy Blitz. It was really difficult for me too… but when I figured it out, then both my daughter and I started having shared goals. Like buying a new character, or getting an upgrade. Now, we’ve gotten all the upgrades… so there is really nothing more to look forward to. So we don’t play that game much anymore.

Parent involvement: Medium, because like Subway Surfer, I play with her. But again, when she’s driving, she drives alone. Also she needs help to read the missions.

My daughter never really took to Angry Birds… though, she occasionally opens that game and plays for a while.

She has played a bit of Hill Climb Racer, but maybe again because she likes the goal of buying trucks and new scenes, and she lets me do most of the driving.

She also enjoyed the jumping and running games Manuganu (which she played in another tab, but we don’t have it on our tablet).

C. CATEGORY: CASUAL GAMES

Clouds and Sheep

cloudsandsheepIn this category, if you haven’t gotten it already, we would strongly recommend Clouds and Sheep. She really enjoyed it from 4 years old… and now, having completed most of the challenges, doesn’t play it much. But she played it very often and really really liked it. We bought the premium version and did not regret it.

Parent involvement: Medium, mainly to to read the signs/hints/challenges to her.

D. CATEGORY: PUZZLER / PROBLEM SOLVERS

Spy Mouse

spymouseCurrently, this game is my daughter’s favourite. Spy Mouse has been something that my daughter has played and played over the past few weeks (Since we just bought it). It’s got a maze like interface and requires speed as well as thinking. We are surprised by how well our daughter recognizes the characters of the cats, and is able to not just focus on the goal of getting cheese, but interact with the game play… see about pushing the limit of how close the cat can get before escaping etc.

Parent involvement: High (for some levels): Here, my daughter often asks for help to cross a level. Difficult portions include places that require speed and precision, and sometimes it can be quite frustrating for my daughter when the mouse gets caught. So she asks for help.

Other games

She loved Cut the Rope, but finished all the levels.

She also liked Where’s my Water, though does not play it as much anymore.

One game that she likes is Bad Piggies… and plays that occasionally… trying out new combinations. Similarly, Amazing Alex is something she is getting used to.

She also liked/likes Where’s Waldo. Often needs our help, but still finds it intriguing.

E. CATEGORY: COOKING

We don’t have any dress up games on our tablet yet, though she likes playing it when she gets a chance on other people’s tablets or ipads. We wish the Toca-Boca games (from iPad) were present in Android. I like the dress up game there. Even the cooking Toca-Boca games are fun.

Cooking games, like making, baking, pizza, cakes, juices etc she likes. There was a panda cooking / restaurant game that was not as fast/manic as the other restaurant games currently on android, and she liked that for a while. The problem is that it does not work without wifi (which is really frustrating). And also, it stops being interesting quite soon.

***There are many other games, but I can’t remember all of them. Will update this post when I remember. Hope this helps.

 

Change May 12, 2012

Posted by NAyK in android, ipad, tablet.
1 comment so far

I can’t believe how long it has been since I last post. Actually I can believe it. I was busy. Full stop.

Now I’m back. But only just. I bought a new laptop (HP Probook), I have Windows 7 Home Premium installed. But I am hesitating to install openSUSE 12. I don’t know why. Earlier, that would be the first thing I would do. After Windows, install Linux.  But I really don’t feel like installing openSUSE right now. It takes too much time to configure… especially to my office network… and I can’t see myself using openSUSE apart from the occasional Windows problem solving. (Plus, I was truly disappointed that TrueCrypt did not allow me to encrypt my previous notebook because the openSUSE boot partition was not on the first “main”? sector, whatever that means.)

But why have I lost interest in openSUSE, I don’t know. From being a fun (distraction) project, Linux has gone out of favour for now. I now need my computer for work… and sadly I never invested enough time to learn linux-based systems… apart from the basic installation and early-work phase. After trying one, I would move to another… and so on. There was a time when I used openSUSE for a long time… but once I moved towards webdesign (read Dreamweaver)… it was Windows all the way (and I actually prefer using Adobe products on Windows rather than on the Mac which my office also has. So, yes, you can stop reading now that I have lost all credibility!)

But there was a change. In the last few months… there has been a smart-phone/tablet boom. And I too have joined the craze.

I recently bought a Sony Tablet S for my wife. And spent more time than her in configuring it, figuring it out… and really enjoying Android.

I had seen the iPad before, but I just couldn’t see myself using an iPad (plus they were really expensive). More reasons for choosing Android in a later post.

So for now… until I muster the will/courage to head back into linux-love (and install openSUSE on my new notebook), I’ll talk a bit about my android love. It’s so ironic that since my last post… android (linux-based) has truly become an “alternative” to the “evil”  Windows Apple! (haha!) Who would have thought!