Best Apps And Games For Your Children

From exploring Minecraft to learning code with Harry Potter.

Video games and apps are not only a great way for kids to express themselves creatively, but they can also help them with critical thinking or even teach them to code.

However for parents who don’t have the time or the patience to stay on top of all the latest apps and games, it can be difficult to know what’s safe for your child to play.

Modern smartphones can allow kids to do a huge range of things from playing online against each other on Fortnite to chatting to strangers and even buying add-ons without their parents knowing.

Fortnite is great, but it coms with in-app purchases and the ability to chat to strangers.
Epic Games
Fortnite is great, but it coms with in-app purchases and the ability to chat to strangers.

As with any new game or app, the two most important points are education and communication. Educate yourself on the app or game by researching it beforehand or even downloading it and playing it yourself. Finally stay in communication with your child, open dialogue can help you learn about any potential issues within a game or even persuade you to join them and play together.

For now, here are some games and apps that are great for kids but don’t come with the controversial that we’ve seen through games such as Roblox or Grand Theft Auto.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition
Minecraft is everything you want in a game and more. It's simple, fun and above all else it encourages creativity and teamwork. Build and design your own worlds, homes or work on construct vast models with friends or other members of the family. The game can be played solo without any interaction with other humans or online by connecting to any of the multiplayer servers that are running.
- Multiplayer lets children interact with other people. Stay safe by turning off chat in Settings and finding child-friendly servers by looking online (they're often run by other parents).
- Minecraft Realms is a pay-monthly service that gives the player and their friends their very own permanent online world that they can drop into. This costs money and can be bought through the app but it does guarantee a safe space for online play.
- In-app Purchases: Players can buy and download new worlds created by the Minecraft community. They do this using Minecoins that cost real money.
- Available on iOS/Android
Price: £6.99
This devilishly simple game will keep adults and kids alike hooked for hours. The objective is simple, you have to find a shape using the shadow cast by the objects hovering in front of you. It starts off easy but then gets incredibly hard, so while it might not be for the youngest out there, it's a perfect game to use for a long car journey.
- This game offers in-app purchases so make sure that your child doesn't have access to either Touch ID, Face ID or your account details for Google Play.
- Single player only.
- Available on iOS/Android.
Price: £3.99
Samorost 3
Amanita Design
This utterly enchanting game follows the adventures of a 'space gnome' (no idea) across the galaxy as it uses its magic flute to traverse nine different worlds. It's a simple point and tap exploration game that challenges you with puzzles, riddles and more. The artwork and design is all hand drawn and the soundtrack is utterly beautiful.
- The game design might not be suitable for really young kids, so take a look on the App Store first before downloading it.
- Single player only.
- No in-app purchases.
- Available on iOS/Android.
Price: £4.99
BBC iPlayer Kids
iPlayer Kids does what it says on the tin. It's the iPlayer app designed specifically for kids providing them with only the content from Cbeebies and CBBC. It has exactly the same features as iPlayer though so you can download TV shows for long journeys or flights and it can stream content over WiFi or a mobile connection.
- This app can use mobile data for streaming.
- Available on iOS/Android/Amazon tablets.
Price: Free
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
The Lego series of video games are a gift to the world. Not only are they enormous fun to play but they're genuinely hilarious as well. This one download gives you easy access to every Lego Star Wars game in the series. The controls take a bit of getting used to but the graphics look great, and the game's especially fun to play on iPad or tablet.
- The game is free to download but each game has to be bought through an in-app purchase. These can be expensive so make sure only you have access to the payment details associated with the phone or tablet.
- Download sizes are large, so again be mindful that this game will take up a lot of storage on your phone or tablet.
- This is a single player game only.
- Available on iOS/Android.
Price: Free
Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit
Now while this doesn't technically count as being just an app or a game, it is both. This all-in-one kit teaches kids the basics of coding through the medium of Harry Potter. You build your own wand from scratch and then through the app you can learn to build games that then interact with the wand. It isn't cheap, but this is by far one of the coolest ways to learn we've seen.
- This is not just an app, you have to buy the app and wand together.
- Available on iOS/Android/Windows 10/Amazon tablets.
Price: £99
Swift Playgrounds
Swift Playgrounds is Apple's very own app for teaching kids and adults how to code using Swift, Apple's own programming language. It's completely free and contains a dizzying array of lessons that always have an element of fun to them. What's really cool is that you can see your code actually running in realtime through the game world that Apple has created right next to the tutorial.
- This is only available on iPad and on iOS.
Price: Free