I’ve been ploughing through an abundance of Christmas themed apps to find the best out there for 2014. Here we are only a week away from the big day so am thrilled I just managed to let you know about these whilst there’s still a bit of time to spare! Here are a few ideas to add some Christmas cheer to your iPad in the run up to the big day. These first two aren’t actually to be played by the kids specifically, more for the adults to add a little festive magic to the whole Christmas / Santa experience.
Portable North Pole – Free
Many may already know about the Portable North Pole, it’s pretty popular, but this is the first year we’ve used it. It enables you to personalize a video of Santa so it appears he’s talking specifically to your child. The app is free and you can create messages using their Classic option or select from one of the premium paid messages for longer more detailed videos. It’s funny to see how the little ones take it all in, L Star was fairly star struck and amazed to see that Santa actually had a book with info about him in it, so sweet. Also contains four Christmas themed activities and games. Click the icon above to go to the AU App Store or see here for more info https://www.portablenorthpole.com/
Kringl – The Proof of Santa video app – Free
This free app has real wow factor: catch Santa on film delivering presents in your own home! Kringl cleverly uses augmented reality to super impose prerecorded video of Santa onto a background of a room in your house. Simply choose from one of the five videos then hold your phone or tablet so the camera can see the room where you want Santa to be. You adjust his size and lighting to match your room and voila! Santa has been sprung! Can’t wait to reveal this one on Christmas morning 🙂 Click on icon for AU App Store link or go here http://kringlapp.com/ to check out very cute demo video with kids reactions.
Maily: Your Kids’ First Email – Free
We’ve been using this cute version of kids email for a while, but this year Santa joined Maily too! Initially I thought it might be a bit early for L Star to be involved with checking for emails and being concerned with the social side of the web, but I’m so glad we tried this app. You invite friends and family to connect with your child and manage the connections via the parent account. Within this closed little network your child can write, draw, play with stamps and backgrounds to create pictures and then send their masterpieces to the contacts approved by you. The parent account also receives all replies. This brought on a flurry of artworks from L Star and true joy when receiving replies from relatives overseas. He and Nana are currently battling it out over a long range game of naughts and crosses. Now Santa has joined too (Maily sent me a notification email and I set up the connection) so when L Star opened Maily today there was an official squeal of delight as he saw he had a message from Santa! He spent a happy few minutes sending Santa lovely pictures and Santa replied with thanks to each one. http://www.maily.com/
Monty’s Xmas – Free
This is a cute storybook app by the department store John Lewis. I notice it’s made by the clever folks at Nosy Crow, the maker of many a fine storybook app so I’m not surprised this one’s a goody. It’s pretty simple and sweet but with some lovely creative activities, such as ‘Create your own Christmas storybook’ where you can use scenes and characters from the book to make your own story.
Santa’s Engineer – $1.29
Interesting app to get your little inventors thinking about creative solutions to a bunch of engineering problems, like how to make design a roof that doesn’t collapse after heavy snowfall. It’s a holiday spin off of another app called SimplePhysics. The controls are a little involved, I had to work it out first so I could show L Star so it may be aimed at older kids around 7 +, but once I showed L Star where the buttons were he delved right in and this has become one of his favourites.
Magikid Christmas – Free
Lovely creative story making app, Magikid provide the stage, characters and props so kids can make their own Christmas movies. I love the design and the fun pull down baubles style menu. Also includes some simple puzzles and carols with lyrics for a festive singalong. Great design.
Koala’s Xmas – $3.79
I was very happy when I found this great storybook with an Aussie connection. It’s rare to find an app that displays how Christmas is here on the south side of the globe – hot, sunny and no snow! In this charming and beautifully illustrated story Koala travels across the globe after being invited to the North Pole by Polar Bear. He meets many different kinds of bears on his travels, finally getting to meet Polar Bear and share Christmas under the Northern Lights.
Toca Hair Salon – Free
Toca Boca gifts us another fantastic app with this fun creation. Cut, colour and accessorize Father Christmas’ hair and beard, and style a rather bemused Christmas Tree. Giggles a plenty from this one, encourages heaps of playful experimentation and exploration.
Xmas World: Christmas and Celebrations Around the World – $2.49
This is a fairly basic app but I liked the idea of the kids learning about Christmas and equivalent traditions from around the world. Touch an area of the globe to display an interactive scene from that country with a narration detailing the festival depicted. The kids didn’t play with this one for that long but it was a nice dip into our global festive diversity.