Purpose of App: Bedtime play featuring Germany's popular Little Sandman who helps your children settle down for bed while tucking in animals and characters in the app.
Strengths: All reviewers agree that the graphics and illustrations are gorgeous while the premise of a sandman is a tried and true favorite for families.
Weaknesses: Our reviewers agree that the price tag is a bit large for the limited options available within the app, especially compared with apps already available in the market.
Suggested Audience: Made for ages two through five.
Number of Reviewers: Five
Developer: Wolkenlenker UG (haftungsbeschraenkt)
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iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch ($3.99)
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Strengths: The basic premise is a cute but not a new idea; kids help Mr. Sandman put the various people and animals in each of three scenes to sleep. It’s a beautiful looking app. The graphics and sound are terrific and work smoothly. Clearly this was not done by fly-by-night/amateur developers. I love that Mr. Sandman drives vehicles such as an old Volkswagen van and that there are more characters to put to sleep than animals. Enough animal apps, please.
Suggestions: On the downside, although the simplicity of the dream dust is certainly appropriate for what it’s trying to do, I found the interface a bit klunky and slow for the target age. Also the playing of the same lullaby at the end of each scene gets redundant quickly. When it goes to the lullaby pages, I kept waiting for something to happen. An app can be go-to-sleep melodious without being boring and this one walks a bit too close to the line.The $4 price is a bit much in app terms. Two of the best apps in the genre, Nighty Night Bedtime Story and Nott won’t sleep, are $1 less (and were released in 2013) and there are a large number of Dr. Seuss and other bedtime-reading apps available for the same price or less. I’m partial to the bedtime story app (that also offer basic interactions), even for kids that young.
General Opinion: I think it will appeal far more to German kids who are familiar with the TV character. Definitely worth a look for the graphics alone, but a U.S. niche is going to be tough to find.
Strengths: I absolutely love an app with quality graphics. The illustrations in Goodnight Little Sandman really stand out and are pleasing to the eye. Since this app is meant to help children relax and get ready for bed, I appreciate that the images are not too bright or overly stimulating. The dark colors and soothing music do help to create a relaxing experience.
Suggestions: Other than the beautiful graphics, there isn’t much to make this app stand out. It would be nice if there was a choice of multiple songs or even white noise instead of music so that users can personalize the app a little. My kids both love listening to relaxing music or white noise while going to sleep, but they also like a little variety. I admit, I love Brahams Lullaby, but I’m personally a little burnt out, so that could be part of the reason why I’d like the chance to change things up. I was also expecting a little bit more content. It surprised me there were only three scenes to choose from.
General Opinion: With a price tag of $3.99 I would expect a little bit more bulk to the app. Granted, the scenes were very cute and I am a big fan of quality over quantity, but I really expected a few more scenes and the ability to change up the music. I had such high hopes for this app when I saw the graphics, but it just needs a little more to be that must-have, stand-out-ability I’m looking for in an app.
Strengths: The app is so soothing it almost put me happily to sleep. I enjoyed the light music and sounds in the game. For my youngest son who has sensory issues and cannot tolerate sudden or loud sounds, the gentle and quiet noises in the game are very suitable for him. The visuals were lovely and there are no in-app purchases or ads. Plenty of opportunity for easy free-play with cute animated surprises.
Suggestions: For a paid app, it would be nice if there were more than just three easy sections involved. My youngest mastered all the app had to offer in a very short amount of time.
General Opinion: I enjoyed the app and would recommend it to anyone with a toddler (ages 2-5yrs is what the iTunes page suggests). Tuck your child into bed with this app and dim the lights – let the Goodnight Little Sandman work its magic.
Strengths: The app has great graphics and soothing sounds from nature as well as bedtime music and since it's a universal app, parents can pull out their phones and have a goodnight app at the ready while traveling.
Suggestions: I would like to see the app beefed-up a bit. There are only three environments for the kids to explore which may be fine for one or two visits, but they will become tiresome pretty quickly to app-savvy toddlers of this generation. I would also like to see the data privacy and support areas localized for the appropriate app stores since they are in German currently.
General Opinion: A cute character with solid graphics and a traditional storyline that needs a bit more included to carry off the $3.99 price tag in a crowded app market that may be unfamiliar with the star-power of this character.
Strengths: This little app takes “Germany’s most beloved children's television character” around taking magic sleep sand to help characters off to dreamland. Your child will get to visit three separate scenes and help animals and people drift off to sleep by sprinkling magic dust over their heads. There is a soothing lullaby playing in the background that can be turned on/off. Once all of the characters in each of the scenes are asleep, kids are rewarded with a view of a constellation of the sandman in the stars. After all three scenes are put to sleep, the little sandman dips down on a cloud to say goodnight. Restful might be a word that one would use to describe it. I will note that the graphics are on the simple side (but not bad) and that the mechanics of the app seem to work exactly as promised.
Suggestions: I felt like I had to keep reminding myself that this is designed for kids aged two to five because it was not holding the interest or my kids (or me), but I don’t believe it would have held their attention when they were in preschool either. Now, I get that it was soothing and all, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. The app description in iTunes notes that it is available in several different languages, which would be an interesting addition, except that I couldn’t find anywhere to change the language and then Cynthia explained that "localized" means for each country's app store, which bums me out because changing the language in the app would add at least the ability to expose toddlers to new languages. At $3.99 this app should offer more than three little scenes and should perhaps offer a little more in the area of language development by doing something as simple as addressing each character as they go to sleep (“goodnight, cat”, “goodnight, horse”, etc.)
General Opinion: If a parent is looking for a soothing app for their preschooler’s bedtime, then I guess this could be it.