Developer: Jan Essig
Price: $3.99 Download on the App Store
If you’re the parent of a toddler or preschooler who likes to hijack your iPad for fun, then why not make the most of their attention span with an all-in-one game app. Playground HD is a parent-friendly and kid-approved collection of games appropriate for young children. It contains 12 different activities that are meant to be familiar and entertaining to the discerning audience of 2 to 5 year olds, but has a few well-meaning features that are handy for parents as well.
The collection of activities included with Playground HD are fairly varied and include some creative options such as a piano, drawing and coloring, and a few cognitive games such as memory match and a kid-friendly version of Simon. Various puzzles, a match-three color type game and a different critter version of whack-a-mole round out the collection. Kids can easily navigate back and forth between games and the main screen where they make their activity selection. Parents are provided with a timer setting option to limit the play session if desired.
As an all-in-one, Playground HD offers a nice collection of games that are surprisingly suited to the preschool age range. Rather than downloading various puzzle, memory match and coloring book apps, Playground HD provides a solid all-in-one option that has broad-based appeal. Using standard colors, graphics, animation and characters, there is nothing gender-specific about Playground HD making it appealing to both boys and girls. And because the activities are varied, there are options for both the youngest and oldest end of the age spectrum.
Playground HD not only provides a nice, well-rounded collection of games, but the games have depth and replay value on an individual basis. The coloring and drawing activity provides a nice collection of pages to color plus a blank page option for free-style drawing and the tools provided allow for some exercises in creativity. The piano activity includes 4 different piano styles with notes represented by critters – my personal favorite being the cats, though there aren’t quite enough notes to reproduce the Meow Mix jingle. Nonetheless, for little kids eight keys is plenty and they will definitely be impressed with the various collection of activities that will keep them both busy and entertained.
Playground HD provides a dozen different, ad-free activities that were clearly designed with children in mind. One could easily spend five dollars downloading various .99 apps meant to engage young kids or simply offer up this all-in-one. Available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch (running 4.0 or later), there is also a Lite version available for free to explore the nature of each different activity and while this limited version is also ad-free, it doesn’t supply the same comprehensiveness as the full version provides. For its overall design, completeness and appeal to the toddler/preschool age group, Playground HD is a solid investment.