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This kiddie app soothes my adult anxiety — and it’s one of Apple’s ‘best apps’ for 2023 Leave a comment


If you have anxiety, you know more than anyone that it makes you your own worst enemy. The irrational sense of dread and doom can be unbearable as you battle incessant restlessness, stress, and worry.

Pok Pok

Pok Pok is for kids, but it can settle your adult nerves.
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

However, while playing “Pok Pok,” an Apple App Store gem that Apple itself named one of the best of 2023, all of that disappeared — just for a minute or two — while interacting with its wide variety of multi-sensory stimulation games.

But the kicker is that Pok Pok isn’t for grown ups. It’s designed for kids. Still, the founders of the educational app, Melissa Cash and Esther Huybreghts, embrace the fact that adults, too, find peace while getting lost in the app.

What is Pok Pok?

Pok Pok is a “digital toy room” for kids, particularly between the ages of two and seven. Cash and Huybreghts conceptualized this app because they noticed a shortage of non-addictive, healthy, and educational apps for children.

That’s why Pok Pok was born.

I got a chance to play with Pok Pok, not really expecting to be intrigued by a kiddie app, but I was enchanted.

From the handmade illustrations (yes, you read correctly, the app is completely hand-drawn) to its striking color palette, I was sucked in.

However, what really stood out to me is how much “digital fiddling” is featured in Pok Pok’s games. In one of them, my anxiety seemed to dissipate as I tapped on a handbell, tinkered with a fan, spun clanky gears, and fooled around with light switches.

It soothed my anxious energies in the same way that a fidget spinner or a clicky pen tames my nerves, but Pok Pok is superior in that it features a diverse array of objects that quell my inner restlessness.

Pok Pok

I played Pok Pok on an iPad, but you can download it on your iPhone, too.
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

It’s no wonder that Pok Pok is one of Apple’s best apps in the “Cultural Impact” category, which awards apps for their ability to inspire positive change in the world.

“This year’s winners encouraged users to learn and grow in an inclusive and accessible space, contribute toward a more sustainable future, and explore self-reflection and connection across generations,” Apple said in a press release.

It’s worth noting that although fiddly-diddly objects like fidget spinners and busy boards haven’t been confirmed to be effective for us jumpy adults, my experience with Pok Pok says otherwise.

You can download Pok Pok in the Apple App Store.


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