tilly and friends

We were a very lucky and spoilt family this Christmas. Father Christmas managed to squeeze down our chimney with a very fancy and shiny new iPad. What lucky boys and girl. After the initial excitement died down and we had got the hang of the basics we realised we needed to get stuck into the App Store and get gaming! ….oh, the choice…what to get to keep a just turned 3 year old and a 5 year old happy…then we got pointed in the direction of a new app from Daredevil Development – ‘Tilly and Friends’.

We discovered and enjoyed the ‘Tilly and Friends’ books a good few years ago, being fans of author Polly Dunbar’s other work. More recently they have been made in to a pre-school television series on Cbeebies…and now we have this app!

Tilly and her five friends Pru, Hector, Doodle, Tiptoe and Tumpty all live together in a little yellow house.

What is it?

The app – for iPad and iPhone –  is designed for children aged 5 and under. It consists of 32 mini games (!!! too many to list them all here!!), but there is a mixture of educational and action, covering just about anything, including games to test your reactions, spellings, maths, spot the difference, matching…you name it.. all designed to stimulate and entertain young children, whilst encouraging core developmental and educational skills including phonetics and numeracy.  Instructions are given both pictorially and spoken. There is a choice of three difficulty levels but the app also has ‘auto-levelling’ which means it adapts to your level of play – clever!

What did the little ones think?

With three lads aged 5 and under we are the perfect target audience! Already fans of the books and tv series the boys didn’t need much persuasion to give this app a go.

Roo has just turned 3 and just getting to grips with the iPad and, as he has only just turned three, not really been allowed on it much till now. It was interesting to watch him get on with it. To my surprise, and after some initial help setting up his profile and finding the start button, he was able to navigate around easily, enjoying the familiar scenes and characters. He needed slowing down at times with his little finger jabbing too frantically at anything and everything but the games didn’t get away from him and we’re quite forgiving of his over enthusiasm. I liked the way he would stop and listen to instruction (not normally something he does much!), and took time to think about what to do next.

Five year old Bean also thoroughly enjoyed this game. I asked him if it was maybe a bit young for him, in theme if not in content, he said that although he does find the Tilly TV series a bit babyish, he does still like the game and the characters. Beans review;

“..it’s good – love it! It’s all about Tilly. You can play all sorts of games. A skateboard game – you jump over all the stuff. Catching apples – Doodle eats them! I like it because we can choose what game to go on. My favourite game is the skateboard game….”

What did mummy think?

I am really happy with this game. I’m still in two minds about whether my children are a bit young to be playing on the iPad but I’m resigned to the fact that this is the future! So to find a game the children enjoy, and that I approve of, is a winner.

To start with the illustrations are beautifully to form, so sweet and quirky. It’s cheerful and playful, fun and best of all, educational. I feel it makes them use their heads, to stop and think about what they’re doing but they don’t know that, they’re just having fun.

The games are all timed, and don’t drag on to cause boredom or frustration, as with the variation of game, there is always something new to try.

There are three difficulty settings. I found that my 5 year old was sufficiently challenged by the hardest setting, although he struggled a little with his reaction times for some of the games, it didn’t faze him though. The spelling, reading and numeracy games were perfect for his level.  With Roo, on the easiest setting, again mostly it was just right…apart from when it expected him to read and spell. That is the one niggle for me – pre-schools, whom the game is aimed, can’t generally read or spell…but hey, maybe with the help of the game they can learn!

Overall 9/10

At only £1.99 this is a very good value app for kids. Although recommended for under 5’s I think it can be played and loved a good couple of years past that. It’s become our compromise “Pllleeeeeasssee mama, can I have a go on the iPad??”….”You can play Tilly..” “Yay”


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