What are the best kids apps, games and gadgets your children got for Christmas? Santa very kindly brought an iPod Touch for my soon to be 11-year-old, something that has made Ezra feel cooler than a penguin wearing Ray Bans while doing the Moonwalk on a glacier in the North Pole. Ok, weird analogy (blame those Christmas cracker jokes), but it’s safe to say he’s rather pleased with his new toy.
I’m relieved as it means I can declutter my phone — although I’ve saved some of the best kids apps and games that I still play with the boys (shout out to Air Hockey!).
One of the best kids apps the boys downloaded last year was Airside Andy, the world’s first kids MMO (massively multiplayer online community) built exclusively for tablets and smartphones.
Ezra downloaded the latest update of Airside Andy onto his iPod and has had a great time checking out some newer features. Meanwhile Jed is thrilled he gets to have his own profile (they were sharing an avatar before).
You might recall the babes were beta testers for Airside Andy and shared their first impressions in this cute video review last spring.
Since Airside Andy launched, there have been lots of elements added including extra customisations for your avatar’s look, even slicker design (the interface has always looked fantastic), and several mini challenges to enhance the open-ended style of play. I’ll admit I get a kick out of flying the plane in the Sky Dash game… flying was something we’d hoped would be part of a future upgrade.
I was impressed by how quickly Ezra was able to set up Airside Andy on his device. The app requires parental approval, which means you can keep tabs on what your little one’s doing. The MMO angle is completely safe as while kids can interact with virtual friends playing the game, they can only communicate using harmless, pre-set chat phrases.
Ezra and Jed were keen to review the app again and tell us in their own words why they’d pick it for Best Kids Apps for ages 4 to 9.
Jed’s Review (age 7)
‘I really like Airside Andy. I like how they keep on updating the game and and also how you can customise your character. The plane matching game is my favourite because it’s like Pairs (Jed is a master at Pairs aka Memory, the card matching game). The Sky Dash game is fun because you get to fly and dodge objects and collect coins. I also like Paper Planes and of course the catching baggage game. I’ve chatted with some people and made a friend on Airside Andy, although I don’t know his real name. I have a little car pet and I can race with him too. Airside Andy is probably in my Top 10 Apps and Games. I would rate it 9 out of 10. If the app connection didn’t keep dropping (there seem to be a couple of bugs with our last update) it would be a 10.’
Ezra’s Review (age 10)
‘It’s a very good kids app, especially for ages 4 to around 9. I learned that there are lots of jobs to do in an airport for instance baggage control, the control towers, and also people are constantly testing different things they’ve invented and applying it to new models of airplanes. There’s always quite a few people playing online now and it’s fun communicating, playing mini games and working together to keep the Airside airport running. I enjoy helping people off the planes. My favourite things about Airside Andy are the mini games, the My Hangar (kids get their own hangar space that they can decorate) and the emotes. I think Airside Andy is good because there are a lot of online games that aren’t really suitable for younger kids, but with Airside Andy you can’t be rude, actually it encourages you to be friendly and helpful!’
Airside Andy is one of our Best Kids App choices for children ages 4 to 9 and teaches STEM principles in a fun, engaging way. It’s FREE to download (with optional in-app purchases). Visit www.airsideandy.com for more details.
Photo credit: Auntie China pictured here with her nephews!