My children were incredibly lucky yesterday to be some of the first to try the new CBeebies app, which is released today! We were invited to CBeebies HQ in Manchester and were only told that the children were needed to try something new. Very cryptic!
My children were absolutely giddy when they arrived. So ridiculously excited. They loved that the stools in the foyer made CBeebies sounds and that there was a large Tree Fu Tom. I was quite surprised that they sat down willingly to watch the announcement we were all there to see. When it was announced that CBeebies were releasing an app, I thought it was a great idea. Something child friendly which I wouldn't worry about them playing with on my phone or ipad. They were played a clip showing the new app and they both looked very excited!
After the announcement, the children were allowed to try the app out on various devices. The girl is two but is already well versed in ipad usage. Initially she struggled a little with choosing the shape and colour of the balloon, but once she was into the games, she had an absolute ball. The boy is four and understood what to do immediately. The app is very intuitive for children. The girl's favourite game was Something Special Paint Pop and the boy's favourite was Octonauts Cadet Training.
It was definitely a hit. Both of them were transfixed. I was impressed that they both played with different games and weren't instinctively drawn to one in particular. I love the fact that you don't need WiFi in order to play. So many games these days require an active internet connection, so this way they can at least play when you are in a car on a long journey or on a plane. The app is also free, which is a huge bonus for a great app which includes lots of different games. There are no charges at any point, so your child cannot accidentally press a button and get charged for it.
They then got to meet the CBeebies presenter Cat, who helped the boy play with the games. The girl was slightly obsessed with Cat's hair and kept trying to find ways to stroke it! Both children loved meeting Cat, who I think is a fantastic presenter.
So, what is included in the app? Here's what CBeebies have to say about it:
CBeebies Playtime is the perfect companion for young children, allowing them to play along with favourite characters whenever and wherever they want, including the Alphablocks, Octonauts, Tree Fu Tom and Something Special’s Mr Tumble. Parents can also join in the fun through the dedicated ‘Grown-ups’ area. Here they can record special messages for their little ones, find out about each game’s learning benefits, and access useful tips to help their children get the most from the app.
Profiles can be created for up to four children, allowing them to collect CBeebies bugs as rewards for their progress, and listen to messages left by their parents. Each profile features a hot air balloon that children can personalise, which transports them into the CBeebies Playtime world where they can choose to play one of four games.
Alphablocks Word Magic
Alphablocks Word Magic helps young children develop confidence in reading and writing by learning how to spell a range of words. They simply tap on a picture of an everyday object and spell it out by choosing the right Alphablocks, in the right order. The words get progressively more difficult as the game goes on.
Octonauts Cadet Training
Help the Octonauts in a variety of missions to rescue sea creatures who’ve gotten themselves in a pickle. Shaking the device to remove rubble and calling out to lost Orcas are just some of the ways children can help them out. It helps develop listening skills and teamwork, as the Octonauts guide them through a series of underwater adventures, as well as finding out more about the world around them.
Something Special Paint Pop
Play along with Mr Tumble and his friends, who need some help decorating their clothes and accessories. Children can colour them in by tapping the screen to pop paint bubbles as they pass over the items. This game is suitable for all children, including those with special needs, allowing them to have fun and develop confidence.
Tree Fu Tom Chuckleberry Chase
Join Tree Fu Tom on harvest festival day after the Mushas have stolen all of the chuckleberries. Children can cast the super speed spell with Tom and help him race through Treetopolis to catch the Mushas and save the day. The game allows children to practice fine motor skills, helping to develop their movement at a crucial time of their growth.
CBeebies Playtime includes several safety features that allow parents to let their children play and explore the CBeebies world with confidence. Once downloaded onto a compatible device, the app does not require internet access and even if the device is connected to the web, passcodes prevent little fingers from straying too far. In addition, the app is completely free to download and play with no in-app payments that may add to a phone bill. The app has been designed to be as accessible as possible, allowing children of all stages of development, and those with special needs, to take part in the fun.
I would highly recommend it if you have young children. It is educational, fun and free. Learning through play is important, and this is a wonderful way for your children to do that. Both my children had a fantastic time playing with the app and we will definitely be downloading it today.
The app is available to download today on Android, iOS and Kindle Fire devices in the UK.