After being a dad for about a year and a half, I really felt like making a game for the little guy. He really loves toying around with tablets and nothing more awesome than to see him enjoying something that I built especially for him :-)

The timing was perfect because he seems to be falling in-between age targets as he's getting bored with "sound-board" style games while the puzzle games are still a bit too difficult for him. So, here's "Hippo Holidays", a block-puzzle style game with cute images created by David Ferriz.

Get Hippo Holidays for iOS

Get Hippo Holidays for Android

To keep things simple, each puzzle is made up of only nine pieces that always fit in the same three by three grid. Their shapes are slightly deformed to notch it just one step up from squared pieces and add just a little bit of a challenge.

I also tried to keep buttons and choices to a minimum, highlighting wherever needed the obvious "next" button, and concentrate on a simple and straightforward game-play.

The game basically alternates between a screen where you choose the puzzle and the actually puzzle game. When first starting the game, all levels are represented by mystery cards and when you start solving the puzzles, they are turned around so your toddler can see the puzzles he did. This adds a sense of progress to the game which my baby seemed to enjoy. There's a tiny button on the top of the screen that mum or dad can use to clear the progress.

At home we use the power of applause as our main educational tool to reward our boy whenever he does good, so he's used to clapping and really likes how the game rewards him with an applauding sound when he completes each puzzle.


Some random thoughts about tablets ( from a dad's point of view )

Tablets are really great devices to keep your kids occupied for a while. I'm not saying children should be glued to the screen all day, but for me it's the best way to get five minutes of breathing time. It's a mobile device, so you can use it in the car or when eating out. And I personally think it beats television; at least he's using his brain and hands when moving the pieces around.

I'm an Android fan personally. But I have to say that for little kids, the iPad is a much better "toy" because it's really easy to understand, even for toddlers, and there's just one hard-button that always closes the current app. This works much better than Android's on-screen buttons which are very sensitive and get pressed accidentally all the time by his clumsy fingers.

Hope you enjoy the game!