I was getting my MacBook Pro serviced the other day. I handed Samantha an iPad from the kiddie table and then realized 10 minutes later she was silent, and still really occupied with that iPad. I could hardly peel the thing away from her when we had to leave. She looked like a natural. So when we got home I dusted off the iPad and started looking up some fun kid apps. Finding quality apps for her age range took a little digging. This may not be a problem in the future now that iOS7 will categorize apps for kids by age (yay!!!), but until that release which isn’t until Fall, you kind of have to rely on the internet and App store surfing to find fun apps. So after some searching and toddler testing, below are our tried and true apps that Samantha, my two year old going on 3, loves.
1. Mr Potato Head app. Very user friendly for kids to navigate. Familiar for most kids, especially if your child is obsessed with Toy Story like mine. Not only can you chose a bunch of different boy and girl potato head outfits, but you can put them in an environment that matches the outfit (an underwater potato head gets an ocean environment) and have them do some interactive play. Really fun.
2. Nighty Night app. A very cute app that’s perfect to wind down your child before bedtime. A guy with a british accent (I love it!) says his intro spiel about how everyone is going to bed, but how one particular farm house needs help turning out the lights. Yep, you guessed it. Your child turns out all the lights. With a little interactive play included it’s actually a really sweet little app that won’t tie them up for too long, but is just enough to give them a treat before bed. Very soothing. I also like that you can “turn on snow” so it looks like a snow village. Fun for the seasons.
3. Little Fox Music Box app. This app does a few different things. Not only is it a sing along, but the songs have an interactive environment the kids can enjoy while singing. Like shown in the photo above, the song London Bridges Falling Down has a London backdrop with a lot of fun characters to play with. So far Samantha loves how when she touches the parrot, he poos on the pirate (of course she does… sigh). This app also allows you to record yourselves singing and has a karaoke section too. Totally cute and the graphics are gorgeous. It takes a second or two to load between pages, but it’s not too long and totally worth it.
4. My Animals – A Toddlers Seek & Find Picture Book app. This is one of my favorites and I was so pleased when Samantha enjoyed playing it. You have the choice of 3 locations, a farm, the zoo, and forrest. These lovely water color illustrations interact once you touch them. It has a very soothing background music too. The kind of app you can’t help but look over your toddlers shoulder because it’s so cute and interesting to see what they like to touch. Samantha likes tapping the camel and watching it spit in the mans eye lol. Her second favorite is watching the giraffes eat from the trees. They also have a Little Town and Animal Circus version of this app.
5. Shapes Toddler Preschool. To my delight, this is one of Samantha’s favorites. It’s made for preschoolers and has different scenarios to learn about shapes. Some of the methods are by using puzzles, balloon pop, flash cards, etc. It sounds like a typical preschool app, but I’m telling you… this is one of the ones Samantha will keep occupied with for a while and I don’t feel too terrible about it since she’s learning.
6. Doodle Dots app. If your child watches Sprout on TV you may recognize these characters. Basically it’s a follow the dots to make a drawing app. You can choose between your child connecting dots, fruit, numbers, and shapes. It’s pretty straight forward and nothing too flashy, but it totally engages the kids and keeps them occupied while learning. Another good one for preschool play.
7. Color Ripple app. This is a fun app that is simple, but really entertaining and eye catching. Anywhere on the screen you tap, it ripples in different colors. That’s it, but man the kids love it! Sometimes Samantha looks like she’s typing a typewriter when she plays with this app. It’s cute. The only things that aren’t ideal about this app are it doesn’t rotate at all if you move your ipad device. So if you flip your ipad uspide down for some reason to switch sides, it won’t rotate itself. It’ will stay upside-down. Kind of a “first world” problem, but something to take note of. Also, there isn’t a button to get you back to the main menu. Since this is a toddler app it’s no big deal, but again just something to take note of.
8. Potty Time with Elmo app. Samantha loves this app. It’s interactive, has songs, and has Elmo. Totally gives them something to play with when on the potty or if you are trying to teach them the concept of potty. It’s easy to navigate and if you have an older child it has some games like puzzles, find the item in the pictures, and sticker rewards. A very solid app.
9. Pocket Pond app (not pocket pond 2). This is also a good one for potty training because anytime the child touches the water it makes a gentle splashy water sound which sometimes triggers Samantha to pee lol. But potty training or not, this is a great app that doesn’t have a lot going on, but keeps a toddlers attention. Kids can splash, feed fish, make frogs jump, and change the look of the pond. Very tranquil and won’t drive parents crazy with annoying sounds and music.
10. Tap Bubbles app. Last but not least is another simple, but powerful app that toddlers love. What toddler doesn’t love bubbles? What toddler doesn’t love tapping the ipad with their fingers like crazy?! Well, with this app not only do you pop the bubbles, but when you touch the night sky you also generate new bubbles that you can pop again. It just keeps going. Nothing results in a game over (which is a common thing I find with bubble apps. Kind of annoying for a toddler). You simply make and pop bubbles and that’s it. It’s also very pretty with the luminescent colors and gentle guitar music playing in the background.
That’s it! Our current top ten favorite apps for my sweet toddler Samantha. Hopefully these will keep her occupied for a while, but at the rate her little mind is growing I’m sure I’ll have to fish around for some new ones pretty soon.