Apple introduced app bundles with the launch of iOS 8 in September last year. Developers haven't been shy about putting together their best-of compilations since then, and that's particularly true for the Kids section of the App Store. There's plenty of value to be found – bundles must offer some sort of discount on the combined price – and the 'Complete Your Bundle' feature rewards parents who've already purchased one or more of the included apps.
Short of an initial burst of enthusiasm from Apple, there doesn't seem to be much room given over to showcasing app bundles for kids on the App Store these days. Regional variations can confuse matters too. I was surprised to find that none of Toca Boca's excellent bundles (like the Toca Travel Box) seem to be available on the Irish store right now, for who-knows-what reason.
Discovery problems aside, here's a short list of my top 5 favourite bundles. Let me know if I've missed any of your personal gems in the comments at the bottom.
Tinybop Explorers 1, 2 & 3 (€6.99)
Tinybop specialise in beautifully illustrated educational sandboxes with an attention to detail that borders on the obsessive. This bundle includes the first three entries in their Explorer's Library series, and will delight inquisitive children aged 6 and up. You can read my earlier review of Plants here.
Sago Mini Amazing Eight Bundle (€14.99)
A riot of playful exploration for preschoolers, Sago Sago's bumper collection is packed with digital toys that reward curiosity and creativity. Our toddler is loving the all-dancing, all-pooping antics of Forest Flyer's Robin at the moment, but I'm looking forward to the time when she's old enough to tackle Doodlecast's combination of drawing and storytelling.
Never let it be said that we'd let an opportunity to toot our own trumpet pass us by. Yes, both the apps in this bundle are by made by me and my friends. Yes, we are hopelessly biased. So don't listen to us – listen to BabyCenter, Boing Boing or The Sunday Business Post, who called them “great apps for toddlers” “fantastic” and “fun and visually striking”. Who are we to disagree?
Endless Learning Bundle (€34.99)
Not a bundle for the budget-conscious, there's nevertheless a wealth of great content here. Lots of off-the-wall character design and a strong educational bent makes this a great purchase for teachers and parents alike.
Fox & Sheep - Apps for Kids (€9.99)
Prepare to be charmed. Always polished, always inventive, German publishers Fox & Sheep have put together a lovely little illustrator-led toy box for younger kids. Cristoph Niemann's Petting Zoo and Chris Haughton's Hat Monkey are particularly delightful apps and worth the price of admission by themselves.