How do you transport your child to a world under the sea, to a sleepover with their favourite cartoon characters and on adventures to save the day with the tap-tap of a finger?
The answer is with the Sky Kids App, where you can access more than 5,000 episodes of your kids’ favourite TV shows.
There’s everything, from CBeebies to KidsVids, and from CITV to Disney.
When we were invited to check out the app and share our thoughts on it, I was thrilled to discover all of my three-year-old’s favourites were right there for her to watch on demand.
Now, before I go any further, I just want to make clear my views on screen time, a phrase that seems to have become a bit of a dirty word when it comes to children.
We’re quite happy to binge watch all of our own favourite TV shows, but when it comes to our children for some reason we feel guilty about letting them watch their own much-loved entertainment.
If you never take your child outside ever. If you cannot remember the last time you took them somewhere fun. If you sit in a darkened room all day, every day. These are the scenarios where perhaps your kids are getting too much screen time.
However I believe daily screen time for kids is nothing to worry about.
The truth is that letting my children watch their favourite shows gives me time to get some housework done, keeps them occupied while I’m cooking tea and gives us something fun to talk about.
I love asking my girls about their favourite TV characters, and they love making up little adventures where they are the superheroes of the Paw Patrol. So it stimulates imagination and conversation, while giving parents a window to get stuff done. It is a win-win.
Now, let’s talk about the app!
How does the app work?
Download the free app to your tablet or smartphone. It’s available in both Android and iTunes stores.
You need to be a Sky TV customer and have the variety or TV boxsets package.
Once it’s downloaded, you login using the details you use for sky.com then set up a profile for your child. You add their name, date of birth and can state whether you want them to not be shown content for over fives.
You can then choose your Sky Buddy for your child’s profile picture. Jessica struggled to pick a favourite, they’re all lively and fun. Each buddy is animated and has its own personality.
You can state whether the app has access to your device’s camera and, the best feature of all, you can set what time the app can be used.
So if your child is reluctant to go to bed, the app will power off at 7pm (or whenever you choose) and there will, hopefully, be fewer arguments.
You can have a maximum of 10 profiles on the app, so if you have more than one child they can all have their own preferences and security settings.
Once you’re logged in and the profile is all set up you’re ready to browse the selection of shows on offer. The menu is bright and easy to scroll through, with icons illustrating TV shows your kids will recognise and episode descriptions.
What are the key features?
There are more than 5,000 episodes of children’s TV shows and 17 channels. For us the favourites available on the app included Paw Patrol, In The Night Garden, Ben and Holly’s Little KIngdom, Bubble Guppies and Peppa Pig.
The parental control section is password protected, so your child can’t go in and tinker with the time, camera or age restrictions you may have set. It gives you control of what times your child can use the app, and age-appropriate content.
There is a variety of fun games and quizzes suitable for a range of ages. They include a Paw Patrol skiing game which my little girl loved, as she got to become her favourite pup.
What did my three-year-old think of the Sky Kids App?
My daughter loved browsing through the range of shows that were available. She switched between several during the first few minutes before settling on Paw Patrol – her absolute favourite show.
There are lots of episodes available and the user interface is very child-friendly, so she picked up how to use it herself pretty quickly.
There is plenty there to keep her distracted and happy when I need it.
What’s my verdict on the Sky Kids App?
Fabulous. Everything about it is geared up for little ones, from the colourful logo to the easy navigation menus.
I love that parents have ultimate control over use of the app, something that I’m sure will become even more important as my kids get a little older and are allowed tablets of their own.
The games are a brilliant addition, providing a bit of added entertainment and, for my child’s age, good development for hand-eye coordination.
I particularly appreciate the fact that I know that when my children are using the app, they will not be accessing any inappropriate content. This is so reassuring as a parent introducing her kids to the internet, streaming and tablets.
The range of shows is fantastic, you need never hear “I’m bored” on a rainy day again.
I will definitely be using the app more frequently, especially on days where we have a long car journey or I have things I need to get done around the house.
This is the perfect way to let kids enjoy their favourite TV shows, while keeping control of the type of content they are viewing.
For more information visit the Sky Kids App website.
This is a collaborative post with Sky Kids App and Mumsnet.