What is it
Hopster is an app that includes a wide (and increasing) range of video on demand content for children (currently including Thomas and friends and Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, among 22 shows and over 1,000 episodes in total) with educational games offered at the end of each show as well as available from the main tree. There is also an increasing quantity of downloadable programmes (for subscribers only) for viewing away from wifi and absolutely no ads or in-app purchases (beyond the option to subscribe only available in the Parents Area).
There are at least 5 free episodes per day as well as free learning games. Access all the content for a £3.99 monthly fee.
The educational games currently comprise:
- Letters: children learn to recognise letters, objects that start with that letter and how to trace the letter with their finger.
- Find: children need to use their fingers to steer through the on-screen maze to the correct object in answer to the questions posed. The questions increase in complexity e.g. from finding a named object to ‘objects that don’t live in water’.
- Share: children move the trampoline left and right to make sure all the characters get a turn – otherwise they get cross and fly away.
- Grow a plant: plant a seed, water it and give it sunshine to watch it grow e.g. into a tomato plant or flower.
- Creative: free draw or trace your very own pictures using a range drawing and colouring tools, then proudly see them displayed at the base of the Hopster tree.
Current shows include: Thomas and friends, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, Bob the builder, Angelina Ballerina, Humf, Max & Ruby, Paddington Bear, 64 Zoo Lane, Tractor Tom, SuperWhy!, Maggie & the Ferocious Beast, Louie, Pablo the Little Red Fox, Babar, Babar & Badou, Hilltop Hospital, Little Bear, Madeline, Monster Math Squad, Nursery Rhymes TV, Pingu and Caspar Babypants.
What our team of testers said
"It's Ben & Holly...I love it!" - Boy, aged 3
"This is a great range of programmes - plenty of shows they both like - and having the educational games is such a good idea!" - Mother of girl aged 2 and boy aged 4
"He has that on his head because he hasn't had a turn - evereyone's going to get a turn, don't worry" (whilst playing the sharing game) - Boy, aged 4
- Great range of U rated children's programmes including educational content (e.g. Maths programmes)
- Educational games linked to EYFS curriculum: related to literacy, understanding the world, sharing, colour recognition etc.
- Letters game supports letter recognition and learning to write
What our experts think
This is a fabulous app for preschoolers who like to watch TV on the small screen! It avoids the adverts and risks associated with many other sources of these programmes and combining learning games is something we are delighted to see.
The range of shows is fantastic including a number of real favourites which mostly can’t be seen elsewhere without adverts at least at the start and end, and some of the programmes like Monster Math Squad are themselves educational. They provide something for everyone within the target age range 2 – 6.
The games encourage development in a whole range of areas. ‘Letters’ is a lovely app to encourage letter recognition and formation through tracing with their finger. ‘Find’ provides a great challenge for cognitive skills testing basic problem solving. ‘Share’ is a clever approach to helping preschoolers to understand the importance of taking turns. The growing game is also a lovely way for children to learn about nature and how things grow.
It was great to see how much the children enjoyed the games as well as the TV shows.
It would be even better if...
We were delighted to find the downloads area (click on the blue Sir Bagster) but would love to see this feature next to the downloadable videos elsewhere in the app, as well as more available for download overall.
Within the sharing game we’d love to see an indication that the child needs to move the trampoline left to right initially – this wasn’t immediately obvious to all our little testers.
We’d also love to see the ‘grow a plant’ section open more quickly.
- Brands: Hopster, Plato Media Ltd.
- Key Features:
- British English
- Made in the UK
- No 3rd party adverts
- No in-app purchasing
- Child Restrictions: Yes- appropriate features restricted
- Languages available: British English
- Appropriate child restricted areas? Yes- appropriate features restricted
- Apple version: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Requires iOS 6.0 or above
- App Types: Educational Apps
- Types of skills developed: Cognitive
Colour, shape and pattern recognition
Fine motor skills
Learning to read
Learning to write
Numeracy, counting & money
Personal, social & emotional development
Physical & motor skills
Speech, language and communication skills
Teamwork, turn taking & sharing
Understanding the world