Jingling all the way with the Jingle Bells app

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The Jingle Bells app includes holiday fun for young children.
Screenshot: Helen Barker

As we travel further into December, my thoughts are turn towards our winter holiday preparations. Although I always enjoy the season, eventually, it takes me a while to get into the swing of things. But for the first time, the Christmas spirit has found its way to our iPad, via a new Jingle Bells app for children from P2 Games.

Can the app warm up this Scrooge’s icy heart in time for Christmas?

The Jingle Bells app includes five different mini games and puzzles, all accessed from the main home screen. The friendly vocal instructions mean that even young children can access the app independently, and as the app has no in-app purchasing or data gathering, you can let your children play with this without any worries. The music, sound effects, and vocal instructions can all be turned off independently, too.

My 4-year-old daughter’s favorite part of the app is the sticker sound book section. Here she can build up scenes easily using the backgrounds and animated stickers, which also have sound effects. Once the scene has been perfectly set up, you can press the play button to hear a Christmas song, and then press your stickers to animate them along with the song. Screenshots of the creations can be saved to the device’s photo stream. My daughter particularly enjoyed turning on the snow setting, which made everything even more festive.

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The sticker sound book is my daughter’s favorite part.
Screenshot: Helen Barker

The musical element of the app includes two different mini games. In the first, you can learn how to play and then practice “Jingle Bells” on the keyboard. The colored keys make it easy to follow the tune, although its ponderous pace will make more accomplished musicians wince. It’s a good speed for beginner musicians like my daughter though.

The second musical game allows you to play a keyboard and record your tunes for playback. Although it’s fairly simple, my daughter really enjoyed the open-ended aspect of this, and made up her own little tunes. There’s a few different instrument sounds to play with too.

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Learning to play Jingle Bells.
Screenshot: Helen Barker

A coloring book section is nicely done, with both traditional tools where children can choose the color and thickness of the line, as well as a magic paint setting which doesn’t go over the lines and fills in everything in a sensible color. My daughter, despite generally liking to choose her own colors, loved the magic paint option. It’s a good one for younger children who don’t quite have the fine motor skills yet to stay completely within the lines. There are also a range of stickers to be used here to make the picture unique. Again, the finished artworks can be saved to the device’s photo stream to be e-mailed, printed, or posted online.

The last section is a puzzle game. When one of the simple drag and drop puzzles is complete, a song and interactive animation play. My daughter liked this section, but often wasn’t patient enough to wait for the animation to finish, which is a shame as more stickers for her favorite sticker sound book section are unlocked as a reward at the end.

This is fun app with plenty of games and activities to keep younger children occupied for quite a while. The sticker sound book area is particularly fun, and there are lots of other nice activities included too, which means that it is good value for money. It hasn’t entirely melted my icy heart, but I think that it has helped to start the thaw.

The Jingle Bells app is available now on the iTunes store for $1.99/£1.49.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

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