Best-Illustrated Game Apps for Babies/Toddlers

I know, I know . . . it’s been too long since I’ve posted. But in that time, a new project has been brewing.  I’ve been offered the opportunity to illustrate and design an iPhone app for babies/toddlers, and I couldn’t be more excited. So stay tuned for tons more updates as I enter the world of new media and app development!

In doing market research and speaking with the app developer, I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to game apps for babies and toddlers, the market is wide open.  For instance, the Toddler Teasers series (above) has sold millions of apps – I’ll bite my tongue and leave you to judge the images and design for yourself.

What’s lacking, overall, are game apps with high-quality illustrations.  Who says that images in an app have to look digital, cartoonish, mass-market, or be pasted together with clip art and stock photos?  The developer and I agree that it doesn’t have to be that way – and I’m looking forward to putting the same watercolor, hand-drawn quality into this app that I would into a trade picture book.

That being said, there are a few good illustrated apps out there (and some nicely-designed apps that don’t need illustrations at all).  Before I dive into book apps, let’s take a look at some nice iPhone game apps for toddlers:

1. Peekaboo Barn (Night And Day Studios) / The most comparable app to ours, Peekaboo Barn’s game of farm animal names has been downloaded over 400,000 times!  Illustrator Divya Srinivasan’s young, quirky illustrations are well suited for the app world as well – quite a departure from her editorial work.  Be sure to check out the sequels, Charley Harper’s Peekaboo Forest and Peekaboo Wild.

2. Word Wagon (Duck Duck Moose)Duck Duck Moose is another award-winning app developer that I can really get behind.  Their animated characters and levels of learning look like a lot of fun, don’t they?  And as far as illustrations that are super-digital, these are pretty sharp.  Check out their other apps like Park Math, Wheels On The Bus, and Fish School.

3. Tiny Tunes Toy Piano (562 Studios) / A well-designed interactive way to start off your kid when they’re still too young for piano lessons. The combination of note name, letter, color (and bonus – animated animals!) could help small kids learn basic songs in no time.

4. Uncolor (Christy Brant Co.) / An innovative and simple twist on the illustrated app.  Just draw on the screen with your finger and an image appears beneath the black surface.  Kind of like those rainbow Scratch Art boards from childhood!

5.  Balloonimals (IDEO Toy Lab) / Because I – literally – could find no other illustrated, non-licensed-character apps for babies and toddlers that I thought were well done, here’s my favorite non-illustrated app.  The design is gorgeous, 3-dimensional, and interactive.  Just beware not to spit on your phone when you blow up the balloon!


3 responses to “Best-Illustrated Game Apps for Babies/Toddlers

  1. Hey AnnieB – i have a couple of “beta testers” if you need any!!! and they are BOTH familiar with iPhones 🙂

  2. I like this list, and definitely appreciate your attention to high-quality art for toddlers. Why’s it gotta be all slick cartoons, amirite? In spite of ambivalent feelings about exposing and inuring babies to screens, I also designed an app just out for infants, and includes 70 pieces of original art. It’s called Baby Smart and it’s presented in a low-stim black and white format and designed to introduce infants to animals, famous figures (Marie Curie!) (Beethoven!), and things from their day-to-day lives. All the art was designed so that infants can see and process it, meaning it’s high-contrast (black and white) and with thick lines. The app is meant to keep a fussy little one happy in the waiting room or airport while also engaging baby’s vision and mind. Link to Baby Smart Cards in the iTunes store here:

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