Jan 15, 2014

Ten Best iPad Apps for Toddlers

The world of technology for children is vast these days.  I have seen lots of posts on avoiding technology, or limiting and, though I think being in front of a screen in excess is not the best option, I think we should be embracing technology for our kiddos.  By all means, get those babies outside and play play play, but also allow them opportunities to engage in technology and learn those skills, too!

In the spirit of quality technology time, I would like to share with you my ten favorite iPad apps for toddlers.  Enjoy!

1.  Elmo Loves ABC's

     Cost - $4.99 (free version available with just a few letters)

My 3 year old daughter loves this app.  She is able to select a letter, learn to trace that letter in capital and lower case, and then play activities for each letter that introduce her to the sound the letter makes and various words that start with that letter.  This is an app we have had for a while and my daughter has just started to really enjoy it without help tracing the letters.  The educational value of this app is off the charts, plus, she loves Elmo, so it is a Mama win and a Kid win!

2. Little Genius
    Cost - $2.99

This app is great for hours of play - we still have not reached the end of this app. The home screen is reminiscent of Candy Crush where there is a map and you unlock each new puzzle when the previous is completed.  Each treasure chest contains different puzzles, memory games, coloring challenges and matching games.  My daughter's favorite is the color challenges where she can match her colors to the image they provide.  Each section gets slightly more difficult, so it is perfect for little ones and grows with them.  Great for helping with hand eye coordination, matching skills, and color recognition.

3. Toca Hair Salon
    Cost - $2.99

Both of my girls totally get a kick out of this app.  On the home screen, you can choose between 6 different characters, both boys and girls.  You then have the option of cutting their hair, making their hair grow, curling, brushing, washing, drying, adding bows, and hats and accessories.  The characters express different emotions depending on what you do to their hair.  Beyond the fun of this app, it is just well done.  The graphics are excellent, and it is incredibly user friendly.  Toca Boca is one of my favorite app developers for kids.

4. Toca Band
    Cost - $2.99

Again, an incredibly well done app from Toca Boca.  Children can explore different musical styles and rhythms by moving characters around on the board.  I actually love the music that my girls create in this app, but if repetition bothers you, you might want to get your little one some headphones for this app.  This is one that both my one year old and three year old girls adore.

5. Emotions by Avokiddo
    Cost - $2.99

This is such a fun app!  Even mama gets into this one!  The lever on the side makes items drop down from the top - you can use each of the items on the character (three to choose from) and see how they react.  Some things make the character feel silly (see image above), some things make the character mad, etc.  Your child can gain a better understanding of emotions and how each person feels differently about different things.  This app is endless as each time you pull the lever, different combinations of items drop down.  Literally hours of enjoyment for my kids over the past year or so.

6. Stella and Sam Interactive Story Books
    Cost - $3.99

This app is amazing.  It includes 5 interactive stories with incredible illustrations.  The stories are sweet, kind hearted and educational.  Both of my girls love to explore the stories, complete the tasks (put flowers in a line to get ants across a puddle, reveal constellations, mimic bird calls, etc).  All of them include Sam (the little brother) and Stella (the big sister) and various friends.

7. Nighty Night
    Cost - $2.99

Another interactive story that takes your child through a farm house to put all of the animals to bed.  As an artist, this app is highly attractive to me - it has amazing graphics!  I love to look through all the scenes and see the details.  Obviously, my children aren't that observant, yet, but they adore the beauty of this app as well and love searching for the light switches in each scene to put the animals to bed.  It has relaxing music playing in the background and a very soothing narrator.

8. Shape Puzzle HD
    Cost - FREE

I am not sure I  have ever seen a more high quality free app for kids.  This app contains several different scenes with puzzles throughout.  Various skill levels are available, so the puzzles can have lines to guide or you can bump it up and take the lines away for a harder puzzle.  My 3 year old has been using this app for over a year and still loves it!  It is also a great app for identifying various objects, from animals to sea creatures to produce in a grocery store.

9.  Paint Sparkle

     Cost - FREE

Get creative with this drawing app.  I love that there are lots of color choices, different brush options and fill options and coloring pages available.  I believe the color pages are an additional cost, but the app is a great one even without those pages.  Great art app for kids.

10.  The Three Little Pigs

       Cost - FREE

This is a beautiful interactive story with excellent graphics and illustrations.  There are options to read it to yourself, or have the app read the story to you and different surprises on each page.  It takes the traditional story of the Three Little Pigs and adds a creative, interactive experience to go along with it.

And a bonus app -

Apps Gone Free

Cost - FREE

This one is for you, Mom and Dad!  A good majority of the apps I have listed above cost around $3.  By itself, $3 is no big deal, but when money is tight and you need more than one, it can add up quickly.  Here's a little secret - I did not pay for the apps listed above (the only exception is Elmo Loves ABC's)!  I found them listed as free on Apps Gone Free and downloaded them to try that day and fell in love with them.  I see several of these cycle through on the Free lists, so I highly recommend you check Apps Gone Free daily - I think they update the list around 11am CST each day.

Enjoy this list!  Are there any apps your kids love that you can add?  I'd love to hear your suggestions!

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