YouTube Kids launched in the UK and Ireland last week. It's a free app which makes the YouTube experience safer and more accessible for young children, and we had a lot of fun at the launch party while we learned all about it!
Mia loves any opportunity to have her face painted, and so while she was being turned into a pink cat, Harry and I attempted to mould plasticine into something resembling Shaun the Sheep, one of the many familiar television programmes that is available through the YouTube Kids app. I think he did very well!
We also enjoyed some delicious food - these cake pops were amazing, I wish I could get mine to turn out like this! The children had a brilliant time playing trains with the Fat Controller (or Sir Topham Hatt as he's known these days), meeting Postman Pat and an Octonaut, and the chance to see meercats, an armadillo and a donkey close up.
YouTube Kids is a completely logged out experience, so it's not linked to a YouTube account and you aren't able to like, share, upload or comment on videos. The channels and playlists can be browsed in four categories - Shows, Music, Learning and Explore - and feature many familiar series like Thomas & Friends, Postman Pat and Teletubbies as well as those aimed at older children like Stampy and his Minecraft videos that Harry is currently loving.
Parents can choose whether to limit their children to the videos that the app has selected, or allow them to use the search function to find other videos that meet family friendly criteria. There is also a timer function, very handy! We've been using the app for a few days now and I've been very impressed with it. I know how easy it is in YouTube to click on to video after video and before you know it you are looking at something completely different. At least using this app you know that everything the children find will be family friendly. It's also really easy and intuitive for little ones to use by themselves, and packed with familiar programmes and characters.
Then we had the time to go out and explore the zoo. We'd not visited London Zoo since Harry was a little toddler, so we had a lot of fun looking around. Harry was interested to see the Reptile House where his namesake Harry Potter first discovered his ability to speak to snakes, and both children loved making friends with monkeys through the glass.
Thank you very much to YouTube for inviting us along, we had a great day! You can find out more information about the app in this blog post from YouTube Kids, and if you have little ones I'd definitely recommend downloading the app and giving it a look.