Finding safe iPad apps for toddlers can be challenging. If you’re a mom like me you don’t want to just sit your child in front of technology when you need a moment to wash dishes or do some shopping quietly. So you want to make it rewarding when you have to.
I usually try to find apps that are educational or worthwhile, without a lot of advertisements or none at all. This is a small list of ones I have found that fit the bill! I have broken the different apps into two categories- Educational and Entertainment. And most of these apps you can find on iPhone as well.
(PS. you may be able to find some of these for android, however we are an Apple product household so I am not familiar with android apps)
- StarFall & StarFall ABC’s
These two apps are also extensions of the StarFall website which is great for kids learning concepts of ABCs, 123s, and other important PreK-2nd grade information. The regular StarFall app is great for early learners and keeps students engaged. It also has music for kids to listen to and helps kids learn how to read with read-along stories and spelling practice. The StarFall app is free but you can access more with a subscription that you can purchase through the app or their website. However, the StarFall ABC’s app is free and works without Internet connection.
- TinyHands Apps
The TinyHands group has a number of apps that are great learning tools for toddlers. They are free with in-app purchases (you can extend the material to more parts of the app which is great when you see what your child enjoys). They have apps for each age level, so far I have only tried out the 1, 2, and 3 year old apps. With my 2 year old we have matching games as well as shapes and color recognition games. They are fun and very engaging!
- Originator Inc. Apps (Endless Numbers, Endless Reader)
These apps are very funny and enjoyable especially for 2 year olds. They captured my daughter’s attention to help her learn numbers and words with fun stories and characters that act and establish new concepts with each word and number. It is easy for kids to move the words and numbers around while they reiterate the concepts. There are a handful of numbers and words available within each app but past those it can get pricey with the in-app purchases. However as a learning tool I have found them to be super fun and with what is offered for free, my daughter doesn’t seem to mind.
- FisherPrice Laugh&Learn Apps (Shapes & Colors, etc.)
These apps are free all the way around and great for early learners. Some kids will recognize the characters from their toys or any FisherPrice videos. They are fun and there are many apps listed under their group. The ones with Shapes and Colors have different activities for kids to do with songs and exciting characters to help with learning those concepts. There are some that take a different character to learn letters (such as the Monkey and Puppy). There are other ones that cover animal sounds, body parts, and rhyming. Many different concepts for learning and all Free!
- PBS Kids Video
This is a great app that allows for kids to watch all the shows on PBS without a tv provider connected. It streams quality shows and content and little kids can have fun watching the short videos that are attached to the different sections of shows. They will revolve videos with new ones every month and there are even some older shows on there as well, such as Clifford the Big Red Dog and Sid the Science Kid. But your regular content such as: Arthur, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Krats, and Dinosaur Train are all available and quick to the fingertips as it is an easy app to use. No subscription necessary for watching.
- Sprout Now
This app is only available to people who can watch the channel it on their tv stations at home. However there are some small amounts of videos available to watch without a subscription to the channel. There is fun and cute little shows such as RuffRuff, Tweet & Dave available to watch and kids can navigate the app pretty easily on their own. If you do have Sprout at home you can log into your local provider through the app and be allowed to watch all the content available at your fingertips.
- Disney Junior
Just like Sprout, Disney Junior app content is only available for those who have the show from their local cable or dish provider. You can log in to see all the different shows and shorts available, and there is a lot of content! However without logging in you can view a handful of episodes and games. There is also the ability to watch the channel live and play radio Disney straight on the app! Sometimes they have movies playing live (like Hercules, Princess & the Frog and Pocahontas) in the evening so your kids can watch that while you get a chance to check up on your TV or while you’re making dinner. So go onto the app to watch some of the shows they have available such as our household favorites: Doc McStuffins, Whisker Haven shorts, Mickey Mouseclub and PJ Masks!
- Sesame Street Go
You can’t say Elmo to a little kid without their eyes lighting up and seeing a little red furry creature fly across the screen! Sesame Street Go is free and accessible for kids to play games and watch videos of their favorite characters. Some old and new content is available and you do not have to log into your local service provider to watch. It also works without an Internet connection for some videos and games. You can favorite videos and rewatch them over and over again; like in my house we have watched some videos more than 20 times… in a day. But that is ok; Sesame Street is great quality TV where kids learn shapes, numbers, letters and other emotional tools from the big fuzzy characters.
*All four of these entertainment apps can be streamed to your TV via a Chromecast device. It is a great tool if you don’t already have one and you have a smartphone! I will be reviewing the product in a future post so you can hear all that it has to offer!