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Kids are great, except when you’re planning Christmas and they’re zooming about the place and taking up every tiny scrap of your energy. Fortunately, your iPhone and iPad can keep them occupied – if you have the right apps and games. Once the kids are quiet, dig into our previous festive app roundups below:
Part five: keeping kids happy
You can tell it’s no longer summer when your kids start demanding to know how long it is until Christmas – every single hour of the day. As the big day draws near, keep them distracted with games and apps!
Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift [Free]
If we’re honest, Santa’s look’s getting a bit old, and it’s time for something a bit different. In Toca Hair Salon, you can restyle his beard and hair, adding some vibrant color and entirely unnecessary Christmas decorations. And because it’s Christmas, you can do precisely the same to Topzy, an oddly sentient and grumpy Christmas tree. (Or perhaps he only got grumpy because we painted him orange.)
A Charlie Brown Christmas [$5/£5]
For many people, the holidays aren’t complete without checking in on the Peanuts gang. This interactive book reimagines the 1960s classic cartoon for the touchscreen, enabling you to interact with animations, play small games, and read along with the narrative. It’s really sweet and even the odd bug on current versions of iOS (sometimes sound loops from previous scenes) doesn’t really spoil the fun.
Bogga Christmas Tree [$4/£4]
You might balk at spending a few bucks on a virtual Christmas tree, but it’s a good bet for kids. First, it might stop them wrecking your real tree through regularly ‘redesigning’ it. Secondly, a premium app means no hideous adverts interrupting things every eight seconds as per most of Bogga’s rivals. And finally, you can make custom baubles from photos of anything in front of your iPhone’s camera, including your own gurning face. Perfect!
Dr Panda AR Christmas Tree [Free]
This app reasons you don’t need a real Christmas tree cluttering up the place when you can have a virtual one. Here, you decorate in AR and place your tree anywhere you please. Sort of. The floor-scanning bit is, in fact, a touch flaky. But when it works, this is a fun take on decorating, with new ornaments provided daily from a built-in advent calendar. Neatly, the app also caters for multiple kids, since several different trees can be stored.
LEGO Duplo World [free + $5/£5]
There are three distinct scenes in the “Winter Holiday” section of this app. The first finds a Duplo Santa and reindeer in front of what’s presumably Santa’s house. Lob gifts off of the screen and elves helpfully bring new ones. Next door, an ice skating rink has little figures sliding about. The best bit, though, is a virtual Duplo set you can use to build a festive snow figure – all without later painfully treading on one of the bricks.
Christmas Countdown (2020) [Free]
Fed up with your youngling asking you every eleven seconds how many sleeps there are until Christmas? Load up this app for them instead. You can choose from various Christmas scenes and countdown types, and there’s an advent calendar with backgrounds and treats to unlock. Go premium for $2/£2 and you get a Home screen widget and extra background tunes so your little darling can belt out Jingle Bells until everyone demands they stop.