Optical illusions are always magical, and this game turns beautiful illustrations in the style of Escher into cunning mazes to explore and conquer. The impossible geometry will get kids (and adults) of all ages flexing their grey matter to try and untangle the route so they can guide the forgetful little princess to safety.
iOS/Android/Windows phone £2.99
Enjoy the squelch of wet clay under your fingers without any of the mess, with this virtual potter’s wheel. The free version lets you shape and fire amazing vases, with the full version adding paint glazes and stencils. Photograph your collections to enjoy any time.
iOS/Android £2.99 (free lite version)
Fractions were one of the hardest parts of maths for me, but they’re made fun and interactive with this cute game. Melt the ice blocks by releasing just the right amount of lava, and help the hairy mammoth get by. Your kids won’t even realise they’re learning maths.
iOS/Android £2.99 (ages 6-8)
Collect candies and defeat a string of clockwork monsters in this animated game. You’ll be asked to input the education level of the player, ensuring the sums are just the right level of difficulty.
iOS free (4-7 years)
This beautifully illustrated interactive book explains all about Buddha from a historical viewpoint. With character cards to collect and mini games to complete, it’s a truly engaging experience. The publisher has similar apps on a whole host of famous people, including Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and Joan of Arc.
iOS £3.99 (6-8 years)
A good one for curious minds, this app covers everything from memory and puzzles to maths and geography. As well as playing the pre-made games, kids will also be encouraged to come up with their own variations — turning a photo of grandma into a puzzle, for example.
iOS free (ages 3-7)
A charming interactive storybook about overcoming fears, this one’s based on a true story of three brothers helping their grandma overcome her fear of flying. It’s wonderfully illustrated, with plenty of interactive bits and bobs to help pre-schoolers learn spatial awareness and develop simple motor skills.
iOS/Android free (£2.49 for premium app with 4 extra mini-games)
One in an ‘endless’ series of games from this publisher, Endless Alphabet helps little ones recognise letters and spell words. The 70+ words are accompanied by adorable animations to make learning easier and more enjoyable.
iOS/Android/Windows Phone £4.99 (ages 5 and under)
While an agriculture-based learning app might not immediately grab your attention, this is actually a fun single-player game that challenges players to manage a farm and successfully raise livestock. Avoid risks and spend your money wisely to progress through the ranks.
Keep up with the piano classes with this musical app. You’ll need to earn or buy gold coins to unlock some of the melodies, but there’s also a good selection of tunes, both modern and traditional, available for free.
Using images from Google Streetview, this app tests your knowledge of geography and problem-solving skills as you work out where in the world you’ve landed. You can wander along the road to try and find extra clues, like signs and vehicle number plates.
Explore the wonderful sights and sounds of the world with this interactive globe. Just pick a spot and zoom in for pictures, animations, 3D models and a narrated passage of information about your selected country and culture.
iPad £5.49 (ages 9-11)
For over 20 years, the Flat Stanley Project has been teaching children about travel and encouraging them to write to kids from different countries and cultures. This new iPhone app means it’s easier than ever before to get connected and start exploring.
If you’ve been on any trips recently, make sure to remember it with a digital scrapbook. Add drawings, pictures and words before sharing your memories with friends and family through social media. With template designs to get you off to a swift start, this is an interactive activity that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages.
Published in the Winter 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller Family (UK)