There are lots of apps out there for kids, and many are themed around a particular character, or concept. OodEdoO brings together a whole host of children’s favourite tv characters and programmes, and combines the ability to watch episodes with interactive learning games. It’s been specially developed to link in with the Early Years Foundation Stage 1 – so it looked like it would be perfect for the Wee Man and Bubby D.
Bubby D in particular absolutely loves it. The characters Oo, bE and doO caught her attention immediately and she was even more thrilled when she saw that her favourite shows were there on the homescreen!
I’d made sure of this by logging into the parental control area on the OobEdoO website, and customising the screen so that her favourite four shows (In The Night Garden, Ben and Holly, Timmy Time and Pingu at the moment) were showcased at the top. This is just one of the features available to parents – another which I quickly activated was the time limiter. I wish all apps had this option – you can choose how long to allow your child to play on the app each day, and once they reach their limit Oo, bE or doO will tell her that’s enough!
It’s also possible to customise sounds and music (or mute them completely!) and to change the colour scheme. Personally I quite like the music, but I can see why some parents might want to turn it off…
The parent area also allowed me to specify how often I’d like reports to be sent to me (weekly, fortnightly or monthly). This tells me what Bubby D has been doing and how her learning is going – it’s a useful way to track what she’s up to without having to hover over the iPad all the time (although I do like to sit with her and interact with her play sometimes, anyway). And it’s possible to add other family members into the Parents Portal area too, so that they can help with her learning as well.
The other nice feature of the parent portal is the ability to upload a personalised video of encouragement for your child, and a photo of them for their welcome screen. Bubby D was amazed to see herself in the app, and even more amazed to see Mummy speaking to her from it!
With three kids to care for (one who is currently very young and demanding at times) there are inevitably moments where it’s useful to have an app that I can happily leave Bubby D to play, safe in the knowledge that it’s advertisment free and she won’t end up sitting in front of it for hours. And if she comes across an activity she’d like to do with me later, she can press a button and automatically send me an email, detailing which sheet she’d like printed out for when I’ve got an opportunity to sit down with her and do some learning together. This was a really nice and unexpected feature – and I can imagine it would be lovely for working parents who can look forward to doing something fun and educational with their little ones when they get home.
So Bubby D is happy, and I’m happy. It is a subscription service, which costs £4.95 a month after an initial free 10 day trial, but I do think with all the features and games that you get for that (which are continually updated with new content and characters) it is worth it.
if you fancy giving it a go yourself, you can find out more and register for a free trial at www.oobedoo.com.