Game

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 one: the best apps for making plans.
Part two: the best apps for gift shopping.
Part three: the best travel and weather apps.
Part four: the best food and drink apps.

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.)

8-toca

Toca Hair Salon

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 (the clock never seems to go away) doesn’t really spoil the fun.

Charlie Brown Xmas

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!

Bogga Xmas Tree

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 six different trees can be stored.

Dr Panda AR

LEGO Duplo World [free + $4/£4]

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.

LEGO Duplo World

Sleeps To Christmas 2 [$2/£2]

The countdown app mentioned earlier isn’t exactly aimed at kids, what with its weird neon tree and explosions. Sleeps to Christmas 2 Premium, though, is bang on. This is basic stuff – Santa or some other grinning wintry character stands next to a sign that states how far away Christmas is. Initially, it displays ‘sleeps’. But if your kid demands precision, you can have the sign count down the seconds until the big day.

Sleeps to Xmas 2