If you read my post Toddlers and Technology you will know that I’m slightly ambivalent about encouraging children to use technology, so when Ruta Ett approached me about reviewing one of their apps, I was hesitant. Would this be an app that simply encourages children to zombie out on a smartphone or tablet, or would it actually be an app that helps their development?
Ruta Ett are a leading edge Swedish children’s media company with a huge international market. Their main products are based around a cartoon series called ‘Heroes of the City’ – a short series based around rescue vehicles in a small town, where everyone gets to be a hero!
I never let the kids look or play anything on my iPhone until I’ve checked it out myself so I spent a good hour or so exploring the app, which is really simple to navigate. They are very simple animations with clear language and bright colours – very appealing to a toddler. The targeted age group is 2-7 but I would think that maybe 6-7 year olds may find it a little too simple. It’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. When Harrison watched it he was completely engrossed! The main theme running through it is friendship and helping each other which is a really lovely idea for this age group who are just beginning to think about these issues. These fourteen minute videos are perfect for those moments when you need to put dinner on, sort out younger kids, or do any of those little jobs that toddlers don’t seem to want to let you do!
The app comes with twenty-six preloaded movies.
There are nine games on the app. All the games are simple and among with ‘real life’ activities will support fine motor and cognitive development. It includes simple jigsaws, colour block games and one where you have to complete a train track.
These were perfectly pitched for Harrison who is two and a half but very bright for his age, and even Alex who is thirteen months loved sitting watching the cartoons with his brother.
You can buy plenty of add on packs containing more videos and games for £2.49 a pack, which isn’t bad considering what you get, although the app does come preloaded with plenty!
The only thing I would like to personally see is some sort of restriction timer on the game, to prevent children playing for long periods – like the parents having to put a password or something in after thirty minutes, but this is something I would like to see on all children’s games and apps!
All in all, the ‘Heroes of the City’ app is one that I’m quite happy to let Harrison and Alex for short periods of time, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else Ruta Ett have to offer!
Try it yourself!
Apple device (I tried it on iPhone 4S) https://itunes.apple.com/app/heroes-of-the-city-movie-app/id602592310
Thanks to Ruta Ett for a promotional version of the app. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.