Thursday, 15 August 2013

CBeebies? There's an app for that!

Yesterday myself, Little D and Mr D were lucky enough to be invited to MediaCity for a very special preview of a brand new CBeebies product.


The free CBeebies Playtime app launches officially today, and we had great fun trying out the games and features.  After we had created our profiles (each player is represented by a customisable hot air balloon), we had a go at all the games  featuring some of Little D's favourite characters Alphablocks, Octonauts, Tree Fu Tom and Something Special's Mr Tumble.

The first game we tried, Alphablocks Word Magic, aims to help 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. Little D was surprising good at this game, and we thought it would really help him with learning letters and later words as he develops further.
In Octonauts Cadet Training you 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 aims to help 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. Little D thought it was great fun, quickly getting the hang of pressing the right buttons in the correct order to complete each quest.
Little D's favourite was Something Special Paint Pop where you play along with Mr Tumble and his friends, who need some help decorating their clothes and accessories. Children 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. Little D had  great fun decorating Mr Tumbles bow tie and Aunt Pollys handbag.
Tree Fu Tom Chuckleberry Chase was a very exciting arcade type game. 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 practise fine motor skills, helping to develop their movement at a crucial time of their growth.  This was probably better for older children (Little D is three) but he still enjoyed himself moving the tablet and dragging Tom across the scene with his fingers to complete the challenge.
As parents we loved the fact that once downloaded that the game does not need internet access and even if the device is connected to the web, passcodes prevent little fingers from straying too far. Refreshingly the app is completely free to download and play with no in-app payments that may add to a phone bill. We explored the dedicated ‘Grown-ups’ area where you can record special messages for your little ones, find out about each game’s learning benefits, and access useful tips to help their children get the most from the app.

Little D?  Well he was happily gathering a fine array of the reward bugs, that you can collect after successfully completing a game.  The app is currently live in the Apple and Android app stores and will go live in the Kindle/Amazon appstore later today.

This is not a sponsored post.