I remember when I was a kid – my mother would give me a box or a wooden spoon and a pan to occupy me when she needed to not have to worry about what I was getting in to. Now, I have 2 little ones terrorizing our household on a daily basis – and sometimes even those types of activities aren’t enough.
My little hurricanes have a lot of energy and there are days that the only thing that will hold their attention for more than 5 minutes is something electronic. It’s always so easy to plop kids down in front of the television – but we all have felt guilty for doing that. There are a ton of great educational apps for iPads and iPhones that will not only hold their attention but also stave off that TV guilt that – let’s face it we’ve all had to endure during those very special energetic moments!
Princess Isabel’s favorites (with mom’s endorsement) include:
1. Endless Alphabet – free – 5 star rating
An educational app is super cute and a wonderful way for children to learn the alphabet. You get a word and all the letters that spell the word. You have to drag each letter to its correct place in the word. The entire experience is animated with cute little monsters and when all of the letters have been dragged to the proper place, a few of the monsters demonstrate the definition of the word. Fantastic use of letters and language!
2. Agnitus – free – 4.5 star rating
This app is awesome because it follows your child’s skill level. As the princess gets better, the games get harder. There are a few different games in it like memory games, color recognition, counting, sense of quantity, etc. It actually focuses on 9 academic skills based on the common core state standards. The best part as a parent is that I get a report card emailed to me telling me how Isabel is doing. My 2 year old is the equivalent of a 4 year old with memory… not so fun for mommy when I’m hoping she’ll forget something!!
3. PBS Kids – free – 4 star rating
Princess Isabel loves this one because she can watch some of her favorite episodes of her favorite PBS Kids television series. This app features a ton of different videos from shows like SUPER WHY!, Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Curious George, Dinosaur Train and more. Additionally there are new videos every week – which keeps her engaged with new material. The princess is very fond of the potty episode on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood at the moment – so I am happy for her to watch it over and over.
4. I Hear Ewe – free – 3.5 star rating
This educational app doesn’t have a high rating in the reviews; however the princess loves animal sounds. She has been playing with this app since she was 8 months old. It has 24 different animal sounds and 12 different vehicle sounds. It’s fun when I can ask her things like “Where is the cow?” or “What does the cow say?” and she can touch the correct answer (or answer me) and then we can listen together. This app has an upgrade called “I See Ewe” for $0.99 that expands into shapes, objects, colors and more.
5. Shape-O ABC’s by Bellamon – $1.99 ($0.99 on iphone) – 4.5 star rating
This app is a puzzle app where you drag and drop shapes to complete a puzzle. It has pretty colors, which can be changed, and letters are used as puzzle pieces to help with letter recognition. I often find Isabel picking out her favorite animal puzzles and completing them over and over.
Princess Regan’s (Isabel’s BFF that lives next door) favorites include:
1.Wheel’s on the bus – free/$1.99 – 4 star rating
This cute app is a favorite because of the song “Wheels on the Bus”. It features an interactive sing along, a horn piano, car race, happy bus math and more. The two BFFs love to sing this song and this app keeps them entertained while we moms enjoy a quick break. The app starts out free, but you need to pay $1.99 to get access to more song pages and screens.
2. Interactive alphabet by piikea street – $2.99 – 3.5 star rating
Although this app doesn’t have as high of a rating as some of the other educational apps; Princess Regan loves it. She flips through each letter and works the interactive bit for each one – like eating the apple, zipping the zipper or making the dinosaur roar. When Princess Isabel is playing with Regan the two girls fight over whose turn it is to tickle the whale. It’s a good one for upper and lower case letters as well as phonics sounds.
3. WATCH Disney Junior – free – 3 star rating
Princess Regan HAS to see Mickey every day. This app is similar to PBS Kids as it’s full of episodes off of the Disney Junior channel. Your toddler can watch learning shows like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Doc McStuffins. Since both girls love to dance to the hot dog song – it definitely is a good way to get them up dancing and singing along.
4. ABC Mouse – free – 4.5 star rating
An educational app that hasa music video for every letter of the alphabet. These little girls love, love music which makes it a favorite. Toddlers learn the sounds of the letters as well as increase their vocabulary. The only thing to be aware of with this app is all of the videos aren’t unlocked – you have to earn tickets through watching videos to unlock the rest of the videos. Or you could make in-app purchases to unlock them quicker.
5. Pizza Crazy Chef or Smoothie Master: A Crazy Chef – both by Tab Tale LTD – free – 4 stars & 3.5 stars respectively
These aren’t really educational apps– but they do have healthy ingredients as choices… Princess Regan will absolutely argue with you that she’s really cooking – so we had to include them in her favorites. We all need a fun game every once in awhile!!
Prince Grayson’s favorites include:
All of these – he’s only 10 months old – while he’s too young for the apps – he loves to stick my iphone in his mouth (reason why I own mobile gadget insurance), smash his had repeatedly on my ipad (reason why I own ipad insurance), and screams like a banshee if Princess Isabel takes either gadget away from him.
All of the ones I’ve recommended are apple store educational apps because we are an apple family. Having browsed through the apps in the android app store, I found a few similar apps when searching under specific topics like toddler education, toddler alphabet learning, etc. If the ones Princess Isabel and Regan suggest aren’t of interest – there are tons more out there. Just ask people with kids and you will get more recommendations than you can load on your phone.