What’s so great about the New Happy Studio from McDonalds?

December 16, 2015 Published by

Happy Studio from McDonalds launches today in the UK and at Fundamentally Children we couldn’t be more excited! We’ve been involved with the creation of this re-designed app since the concept phase. We are proud to have been involved in providing input to help ensure it is great fun for children whilst supporting their development in a range of ways as well as being easy to use. All in support of the vision of creating the app around Purposeful Play.

“We liked the animations and the different ideas in the app and [my children] would definitely play it again!” Mother of Boy, aged 5 and Girl, aged 8.


We tested the version that is launching today pre-launch with an entirely different team of experts and children to those who supported its development and were delighted to see how much they loved it.
The app is available across different platforms including iOS (Apple devices), Android and on a PC. At launch Happy Studio is focused on the Peanuts movie and contains 3 games (Be a musician, Be an artist and Be an inventor), an opportunity to play with the Happy character and a digital book, as well as a set of activities and games to do away from the screen.

How well this app balances ‘fun’ with ‘developmental benefits’

We’re particularly excited about:

  • How well this app balances ‘fun’ with ‘developmental benefits’: you’ll find that each game within the app supports development of different skills across a range of areas.
  • How the app incorporates real world jobs as the games focus to help children engage and learn real world skills that can be applied away from the screen.
  • How well the app encourages creativity – whether musical, artist or creating an innovative vehicle – as well as learning and developing: Think Make Grow is absolutely appropriate for this app.
  • The inclusion of a digital book to encourage literacy and supporting McDonald’s wider UK Happy Readers programme giving children access to a free physical book with every Happy Meal.
  • The way the musician app encourages children to move while they play, helping to combat the issue that screen time leads to children being too sedentary
  • The activities to play away from the screen, inspiring children into physical activities to encourage a balance in their play time and include the opportunity to develop even more skills including physical and social skills.
  • How well the app works for a wide range of ages, with older children being able to extend the learning whilst younger children still able to enjoy it.
  • The app is gender neutral: both girls and boys loved playing this app during our testing, with different games within the app catering for different preferences.
  • How the app will continue to be regularly updated. It is launched full of the Peanuts characters from the new movie but will continue to change and grow alongside the Happy Meal focus.

Be an Inventor

This is a particular favourite of ours. We love how well the team managed to encourage learning through trial and error. Failure is fun with this game which is so important as children can be so easily put off when they feel they have failed. This is a great game to help children learn physics principles as well as being creative about the vehicles they create.

He really enjoyed the Inventor section, he spent ages trying to perfect his car, and then his pinball machine! Parent of 8 year old boy

“Do you think this would work? I think I need more rocket boosters.” Boy aged 5

Happy Studio app - Inventor

Be a Musician

Such a great way to learn about music, develop a sense of rhythm, learn about instruments, be creative and get moving – all in one game. We particularly like the way this game gets children active – screen time doesn’t have to be a sedentary activity.

“Shake, shake, shake – look at me dance Mummy” Girl, aged 6

Happy Studio - Musician game benefits

Be an Artist

Whatever your age, this game helps you believe you really can draw something recognisable. Not only that but the way your creation becomes animated at the end is so much fun, encouraging children to try it again and again with different designs, helping them to further hone their skills. The set of backgrounds, art tools, stickers etc also enable budding artists to use their imagination.

“She enjoyed the art section and she spent quite a while colouring her pictures” Parent of Girl, aged 6

Siblings Playing on Tablet PC

Play with Happy

This is a lovely, playful part of the app, allowing children to experiment and get creative. Succeeding in the challenges within other parts of the app also unlocks props and other extras to use with Happy – a great reward that encourages children to have yet more fun!

“The idea of changing what Happy was wearing, his background etc went down well and has caused lots of giggles” Mother of 6 year old boy

Happy Studio_Happy

All that and did I mention that it’s all totally FREE – no in-app purchasing, no adverts, no links to purchase more apps.
This is such a wonderful thing for such a well-known brand as McDonalds to be offering. An app parents can trust, for free, that helps children develop whilst having fun. What more could you want!



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This post was written by Fundamentally Children

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