My four year old knows a lot more about electronic games than I would like him too – he sees his big brother and sister playing Minecraft on the iPad, or Skylanders on the Wii, and naturally he wants to join in. It’s quite difficult to stop this happening, but it does make me laugh to think back to how we agonised over whether our eldest was too young for a Wii when Santa brought us one when he was seven and a half!
But I have been researching more age appropriate apps for him to play with on the iPad, stuff that I’m happy to let him sit and play without me, and equally that he doesn’t need help from one of the older ones to enjoy. So it was a stroke of good luck that I was asked to review the Heroes of the City app from Swedish company Ruta Ett – and as an extra bonus they also sent a book, a DVD and some Hero cars!
I was a bit worried that he would not be interested in anything that his big brother and sister hadn’t stamped as ‘cool’. but in actual fact he was thrilled to receive something ‘just for me, Mummy’. So thrilled that I might have secretly felt a little bit guilty about my non-negotiable hand-me-down policy, oops. I thought he’d go straight for the DVD but he was immediately drawn to the story book ‘The Hot Air Balloon’ – it’s bright, colourful and the pictures are engaging, even without an adult to read the story. To be really picky, it’s clear from the language patterns that the story has been translated – but I can’t see this bothering any children looking at it.
The book and the DVD share the same positive outlook on life – there’s a strong emphasis on friendship and the importance helping each other out of tight spots, and there’s a fun ‘where’s wally’ balloon spotting game throughout the book, which was a nice touch.
Being the smart cookie that he is, it wasn’t long before he spotted the Heroes of the City app on the iPad. ‘Mum! It’s my book! But it’s a GAME!’ Cue a lovely peaceful cup of tea for me while he explored the app, which is free to download but packed with nine games and nine ‘movies’ – mostly around 15 minutes each, so just right for an after lunch treat. The games are fun – there were some very simple ones (pairs, jigsaws, etc) that would be ideal for younger children, and some which required some more concentration – and one – a railway track puzzle – that I quite enjoy myself, on the quiet! There are also in-app purchases available but thankfully they are located in a separate ‘shop’ area, and don’t pop up during games.
I really like the Heroes of the City app, but more importantly so does my four year old. It’s well worth downloading either from the App Store or Google Play – and if you like the look of the goodies below, you can enter a draw to have a similar bundle delivered to you! Just leave a comment and enter via the Rafflecopter widget, and you can unlock bonus entries by following LearnerMother on Twitter and/or Facebook. Good Luck!
**Disclosure – my four year old was provided with the Heroes of the City bundle seen above in exchange for reviewing the iPad app; as always, this post is an accurate reflection of my thoughts**