February 3, 2012

favorite toddler iPad (and iPhone) apps

As I've said in previous posts, I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship in regards to Ryann and the iPad (or the iPhone).  She loves loves LOVES playing games on the iPad.  If I really need to get something done without too much interruption, that thing can be a lifesaver (or when we're on a plane.  definitely when we are on an airplane).  But I don't want her always staring at a screen, not to mention the complete meltdown that ensues when I take it away.

Nonetheless, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of our favorite toddler games so far.  Most of them are paid, some of them are more my favorites because of the educational aspect, some of them Ryann likes for who knows what reason.  Here you go!  :o)


Itsy Bitsy Spider by Duck Duck Moose  $1.99
This was the first game that really solidified Ryann's love for the iPad and kept her attention.  It is easy for her to navigate by herself, and with about five different scenes to move between she doesn't get bored quickly.  The game also does have a a few educational aspects to it.  The little fly answers some questions, and the squirrel helps you count to 10.  Ryann has liked this game since we went to Georgia, so I would say suitable for about a year an up!

Peek A Zoo by Duck Duck Moose  $0.99
Peek A Zoo is a more recent favorite, one we purchased while in Omaha for Christmas.  Honestly?  I don't understand why she loves it so much, but she does.  And that is what matters.  Basically the game asks a question (who is so and so, who is crying, who is face backwards) and the child selects the right character to move on.

The Monster At the End of this Book by Sesame Street  $3.99
Chris and I both love the book, so we were excited to find an interactive version in the iTunes store.  This is another app that Ryann has liked quite a bit since we first introduced her to the iPad.  She has a great time tickling Grover and knocking down bricks to move from page to page.  It does take a tad bit long for each page to load (nothing ridiculous, but sometimes long enough that Ryann starts to fidget or move on), but overall I think it was really well done.

UnColor by Christy Brant Company, LLC  $0.99
This is a great simple app for young toddlers.  Essentially you use your finger to clear the black off the screen, revealing an image underneath.  Once the image is fully visible the animal does a little animation.  One random side note about this app though, the scene with the zebra?  Scares the crap out of Ryann every. single. time.  The zebra makes a rather abrupt snort noise of some sort and it freaks her out.  She played with it often enough that if she starts to swipe and even a tiny speck of the zebra scene is visible, she freaks out saying "No zebra!  No zebra!"  I do wish the game had more scenes, but to tell you the truth Ryann doesn't seem to mind all that much.

Make it Pop by Tryangle Labs  $1.99
Ok this app, I love the concept of.  It has a lot of educational aspects, working on letters, colors, numbers, etc.  Unfortunately it doesn't hold Ryann's attention.  I think mostly because it doesn't ask her any questions, just tells her stuff when she pokes it.  She'll play with it for a while, but ultimately she picks something else.  But I'm including it in my list because I love finding well designed AND educational apps for the iPad.  (I found this app through Bri over at {collected}!)

Logic by PopAppFactory  $1.99
Err, this is another that I probably like more than Ryann.  But she will play a few sets before moving on.  In this app, the child drags tiles featuring letters, shapes, numbers and colors to the appropriate space on the screen.  This game is a bit more difficult, first because the child has to understand to hold there finger on the screen to drag the tiles (which I'm sure doesn't take too long to figure out, but still).  Also, the numbers portion?  You're matching tiles with a certain number of dots to the correct number space on the screen.  Ryann can count, and she recognizes numbers, but the concept of that section is still too difficult for her.

Coloring for Kids by Internet Design Zone  free
Apparently coloring on the iPad is way cooler than coloring with real crayons these days.  Basically this app has coloring pages you can color.  There are several different colors and apparently 3 different brush sizes (all though I have yet to figure out how to change mine, haven't really tried to though).  Not really sure why Ryan loves it so much, but she does.  This game is listed as 'free', which initially it is, but you only get two of the seven categories of coloring pages.  To have access to the rest is $1.99.  So far Ryann has just been happy with the free set so no big deal to me.

Peekaboo Animals:  There's a Lion in my Backyard! by Bambino Avenue  free
To tell you the truth, I have no idea what this app does or is about.  Ryann clicks through the thing so fast and all I hear is a kid saying "It would be nice to have a GORRILLA! in my backyard," in an accent.  But she accidentally deleted the thing off my phone and it was as if the world ended.  Tears and lots of whining that I couldn't understand.  So, um, it must be fun?  The app is free but only comes with six animals.  You have to pay $0.99 to have the full set of 25 animals.  Maybe the next time we take a trip somewhere I'll pay up to keep my kid entertained for longer :). 

Elmo Loves ABCs by Sesame Street  $4.99
I hesitate to include this one, mainly because of the price.  I don't necessarily think it is worth $5.  Some of it is a little complicated for a young toddler as well.  But Ryann DOES play it, and does enjoy it.  It doesn't hold her attention as long as some of the others.  Supposedly you can upload your own photos and such into the game to be included in the various letter segments, but I have yet to try it.  I saw that there is a lite version (no idea why we didn't try that first) so maybe look for that as opposed to paying for this one.

Glow Coloring by MobiTech3000 LLC  free
Just another simple and fun coloring app.  I guess you can scan images and import them into this app so you have something to trace/color.  But we haven't tried that out yet.  Ryann likes the coloring app I mentioned above better than this one, but maybe if I included the images to color she'd like it more.  Either way, it's free, might as well give it a try!

And there you have it.  Overall I would highly recommend checking out all the apps by Duck Duck Moose if you are looking for a good game for your kiddos.  I think Fish School seems good for younger toddlers, but Ryann isn't all that interested in it.  We've also got Park Math which seems a little over her head, and Musical Me which just doesn't seem to hold her interest or is a little complicated or something, but I still think they are good games.  I'm excited to try out Word Wagon soon.  I just like that the apps really are trying to be educational, AND they are well designed.

How about you?  Have any favorite apps you'd like to share?


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this list! I wrote down a few and will load them this weekend for my 19 month old son. He also loves all the "simple" Duck Duck Moose apps like the Old McDonald and another one I can't think of right now.

He also likes the iTot Cards app - basically flashcards but the animals will say a sound. They've got several other apps that Ryann might like (better for older kids) such as the iTot Animals and ABC...Touch.

I bought a button cover for my iPad to keep my son from closing apps before he's really ready to stop playing. He just COULD NOT resist that button staring at him! So much better now that he'll tell me "off off" when he's done instead of having to re-load games over and over again.

Kelly said...

Our favorite app is Netflix hahaha It saves us in the car when I need to keep C awake from one place to another.

Amber said...

Thank you so much for this list! I'm constantly
Looking for new apps for our little girl.

Anonymous said...

Probably not what you want to hear, but the AAP released a statement a few months ago stating that NO video games or apps are actually educational for children under the age of 2, and that children that young shouldn't have any "screen time" yet. I love my apps & tv, but we definitely don't do baby-media in our house.

Mike said...

Our two year old son LOVES Alpha Tots and Tally Tots, he loves the airplanes that go to the next letter and number. DEFINITELY worth the 99 cents for each, at least for us.

Ashley said...

I am aware of the AAP recommendations. This is an area where I feel that I can pay attention to the guidelines, but ultimately make my own decision about whether or not I introduce technology to Ryann. I definitely limit how much she is in front of a screen, but I don't personally feel 30 minutes or so a day is harming her.

And I will say, she definitely didn't know what a semicircle was until she played the Logic game. Could I have taught her that? Sure. But it didn't cross my mind to introduce that shape. May not be the MOST educational thing out there, but I'd call that learning.

Randi said...

I agree, Ashley. Charlie could count to twenty at 22 months because of that Toddler Counting game!

Jo said...

It's like you were reading my mind. I just got an iPad and I have been trying to figure out what apps would be educational and entertaining to my almost 2 year old. Thanks to your list we now have a handful of new ones that my daughter loves.

I'm one of those people who was hoping to not expose my daughter to TV, video games, or apps until she was older, but it hasn't worked out that way and I'm ok with that. I use my good judgement to limit what and how much she watches. Often these media formats have helped her learn things such as her colors, and the alphabet.

Ok, now I just need to figure out what apps I want for myself...

Amber (Happiness is Eva) said...

I agree with your previous comment. I believe it is just as important to be computer and technologically literate as it is to have literacy and numeracy skills.

Certain apps on an iPad a fantastic for hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and problem solving skills.

Eva also loves "Elmo love ABCs" and her current favourite this Play School Art Maker app: http://www.abc.net.au/abcforkids/sites/playschool/about/apps/

She especially loves the puzzles.

Jess Judkins said...

Thank you! I was just talking to my husband about this, if we should let Judah use our iPad or not. Im still on the fence about it but wanted to try some fun apps with him :-)

The Bignon Family said...

Thank you- this is awesome! We haven't gotten into downloading any apps yet (hubby have iphone, I sadly do not)- but we were just saying the other day that we need to! I know that will come in handy on our upcoming 10 hour plane trip!!

Chelsea said...

This post could not have come at a better time! I just got an iPhone on Friday and was looking for some good toddler iPhone apps! Thanks :)

MommaBird said...

Thank you! my LO loves my iPhone and this is perfect to load it up with apps for him

iphone app said...

Iphone that fulfill all the needs of a home.

Anonymous said...

I like all apps by Russpuppy.

Check out Toddler Cars: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toddler-cars/id580207786

It's also available for android: