Have you considered getting an iPad for your child? My toddler loves her iPad, and we put boundaries on her technological involvement by curating educational apps for her. A couple years ago my husband bought me an iPad for my birthday. A year and a half later, Stella was the number one user. We got a super great child-friendly case, the iGuy, and went from there. We have come up with a set of rules regarding technology for our children, which you can see on my post on Four Rules for Kids and Technology. With all those boxes checked, we let Stella enjoy the iPad and apps. Here’s our Top 10 Learning Apps for Toddlers.
1. Daniel Tiger Collection of Apps
Bundle of all three apps: $5.99
includes Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Play at Home with Daniel, Daniel Tiger’s Grr-iffic Feelings, and Daniel Tiger’s Day & Night. Sold separately, they are $2.99/ea.
This is the first app for which I was willing to fork money over. I’ve never regretted my decision to purchase the entire bundle. These apps are colorful, fun, and offer an entire world to explore. Amongst other things, there’s role playing, music, emotions, stickers, day-to-day skills (such as using the toilet and setting a table), coloring, dress up, songs from the show, a photo booth, a great timer for teeth brushing, and a dancing pancake
2. YouTube Kids App
Brand new as of February 2015, YouTube Kids is a must-have. It’s clean, organized, and super simple to use. There’s categories for shows, music, learning, and exploration. It’s safe, so I don’t worry about whether or not Stella will stumble on a music video, clip, or ad I definitely don’t want her to see. There’s also parental controls, and a timer to limit screen time.
3. TinyHands Preschool Apps
Bundle of three apps: $5.99
includes TinyHands Sorting 3, TinyHands Town Center and TinyHands What’s My Pair 3. Sold separately, they are $3.99/ea., and there are also free limited versions of TinyHands apps available.
These three apps can help develop your child’s skills in matching, sorting and classifying, counting and numbers, vocabulary, hand-eye coordination, concentration, visual perception, vocabulary, logical thinking, problem solving, identifying colors and shapes, object associations, and more. There’s lessons with occupations, food, household objects, animals, and more.
4. Endless Alphabet
I love the funky monster characters in this app, and the jovial little marching tunes. I love way when the child touches and drags each letter, the letter makes the sound associated with it (for example, a hissing sound for “S”). Stella has learned some letter sounds using this app, and as she uses it, I know she will learn more. The words might seem too complicated for your little kid to understand at first, but I love that Stella is exposed to a broader vocabulary. On the app, she spells words like “scrumptious” and “cooperate,” and gets to hear them used in a sentence and have their meaning explained in a way she can grasp. Since she started using Endless Alphabet, I have heard her actually use these new words in the correct context, like “timid” and “commotion,” for example.
From the creators of Endless Alphabet (Originator), Bebop Blox is a delightful puzzle game in which children touch and drag blocks to make larger, recognizable shapes like various vehicles and animals. Each block has a precious little critter on it, and the animations and sounds are wildly entertaining.
6. Tap a Tune
This app is a cheerful virtual xylophone and music maker. A funny group of animals help kids play nursery rhymes, Christmas songs, or their own little ditties. Instruments and sounds include (but are not limited to) guitar, piano, accordion, drums, harmonica, and animal sounds. A great app to encourage musical creativity.
7. Toca Doctor HD
Lite Version: Free | Full Version: $2.99
Toca Boca has LOTS of other apps we also enjoy such as Toca Kitchen (and Monster Kitchen… Stella loves monsters) and Tea Party.
8. Peekaboo Forest
If you’re unfamiliar with the renowned illustrator Charley Harper, I encourage you to look up some of his books. Peekaboo Forest was made in part by Charley Harper, and is a great nature app in which little ones find forest animals, hear the sounds they make, and explore habitats, as well as seeing the word in another language. This is a great app to explore with your toddler, and share facts with them about each of the animals
9. Elmo Loves ABCs and Elmo Loves 123s Apps
Lite Versions: Free, but only include three letters/numbers| ABCs: $4.99, 123s: $2.99
If your kiddo is a fan of Elmo, these are a great apps to get. The ABCs cover the entire alphabet, and 123s cover numbers 1 through 20. One of my favorite features of this app is how the child has to trace the letter/number before moving on to the next screens. There’s lots to do and see, including puzzles, games, I-Spy, and videos, reinforcing beginners’ reading and mathematics.
10. Fiete – A Day on a Farm
The second in a beautifully designed collection of apps about Fiete, a sailor who lives in a lighthouse, this app advertises that it is for players aged 1-99 and they are NOT kidding. The design and illustrations are absolutely adorable! I enjoyed exploring and playing just as much as Stella: getting the farmer friends out of bed, watching the sunrise, collecting eggs, taking care of animals and harvesting mini crops. You will fall in love with Fiete and his adventures on the farm.
Moms, how do you incorporate technology in your home with younger (or older) kids? What are your favorite learning apps for toddlers ?