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Seven best apps for grandchildren

Lynn Wright / 02 March 2016 ( 30 July 2018 )

We round up seven of the best fun and educational iPhone and Android mobile phone and tablet apps that will keep your young grandchildren amused.

BBC CBeebies Storytime app
BBC CBeebies Storytime app

Children of all ages love to play on smartphones, iPads and other tablets – and are surprisingly clued-up at knowing how to use the latest technology. 

While too much screen time is best avoided, these entertaining and educational apps for iPhone, iPads and Android tablets and smartphones will allow you to join in the fun with your grandchildren.

1. BBC CBeebies Storytime

Free; Android and iOS

Encourage your grandchildren’s love of reading with this delightful storybook app from CBeebies. 

It’s filled with over 40 interactive stories featuring much-loved CBeebies characters, including Topsy and Tim, Peter Rabbit, Mr Tumble and Charlie and Lola. 

You can download and store up to 12 new ones for free using the app’s library feature, so once you’ve finished a story, you can move on to the next without having to wait for a download - then once all 12 have been read, you can swap them for a different selection. 

The app is free to download, and doesn't have any advertisements or in-app purchases - and it features a parental lock for any external links so you don't need to supervise too closely. It also doesn't need an internet connection once your stories are downloaded, making it the perfect choice for a plane journey or a long car ride.

BBC CBeebies Storytime app

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2. LEGO Duplo Train

Free; Android and iOS

This beautifully animated app lets toddlers build and drive a toy train around a colourful landscape. 

Taking the role of the conductor, they can choose wagons, build bridges, refuel and lay new tracks around rocks. 

There are simple games to play and charming details, such as animated animals and plants that make sounds when tapped.

It's good for improving motor skills, and is said by parents to be a calming game. 

LEGO Duplo Train app

3. Abc PocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words

£6.99; iOS

Help your grandchild master letter sounds and write their first words with this popular educational app that uses the same teaching methods as UK primary schools. 

It helps children learn to recognise letters, listen to letter sounds, form letters by tracing them with their finger, and use the letter sounds to build words. 

The phonics levels are included in the price, but the storybooks are extra: £1.49 monthly or a £12.99 annual subscription.

It's easy to monitor progress; you can see what stage the child is currently at, which letter sounds they're having difficulty with and what storybooks have been read.

Abc PocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words

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4. Squeebles Times Tables 2

£3.99; iOS and Android

Ideal for children aged five to 11, Squeebles Times Tables 2 makes the dull chore of practising times tables interactive and fun. 

By answering times tables questions, children help rescue the cute Squeebles characters from the clutches of the nasty Maths Monster, earning rewards along the way. 

There are plenty of different settings to cater for capable and less capable mathematicians, and feedback implies that even the most reluctant maths students find themselves enjoying the game.

Squeebles Times Tables 2 app

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5. Toca Builders

£3.99; iOS and Android

Toca Builders is a creative Lego-like construction app that’s ideal for kids aged five and older. 

With the help of six different builder characters, children can create their own worlds from scratch using colourful blocks. 

You can save your worlds so that you can continue building the next time you play and take photos to share with others.

Feedback imples that it's a similar premise to Minecraft, so will appeal to children who enjoy having no limits placed on their imagination.

Toca Builders app

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6. Doodle Buddy

Free; iOS

Perfect for kids of all ages, Doodle Buddy lets you draw and doodle with your fingers, just like finger painting. 

It comes with loads of colourful backgrounds to doodle on and fun stamps so kids can unleash their inner Picasso. 

You can share drawings by email or save them to your photo album. 

An ad-free version costs 79p, and there are in-app purchases, so caution is advised. 

Doodle Buddy app

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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