I have to admit I’m new to this world of apps for toddlers and it’s a wild west out there; from AMAZING to so bad they are almost good (like amazing bus puzzle it’s free and won’t disappoint in awfulness!). Plus, my main tester isn’t all that into apps yet. At 18 months he gets frustrated quickly. The phone is too small for his unsure fingers and switches off easily. And the iPad is more fun to scrap around on the floor… I’ll have that thank you.
That said, he is getting the hang of using “Peter Pointer” and the apps we’ve tried can certainly entertain for the time it takes to change a nappy, so that’s good enough for me! With that in mind, here are some educational toddler apps that I like and my tester is warming to, this isn’t a ‘definitive’ list (money and time being an obstacle!), it’s a ‘getting you started’ list so additional recommendations are welcomed nay, encouraged in the comment section below!
Those Sago Mini people know what they are doing. The apps look good and are appealing to mama for sure… Forest flyer is a little bird that flies where you want, stopping at points to do funny little things like read a paper or pull a worm out of the ground. Ocean swimmer is much the same but this time the fish explores the sea. They’re both darn cute.
2. Bug Builder by Sago Mini (£1.99)
We also have Bug Builder by Sago Mini, which is a simple, design-your-own bug game. You then feed, clean and take a picture of it. It’s a bit complex so a toddler would definitely need your help but that’s all part of the fun (right?).
Bug Builder – my bug, Mr Bugsie
3. Musical ABCs by Jamaroos (£1.99)
This is an entertaining introduction to the alphabet with animals that play musical instruments (I particularly dig “Val the Vulture plays the Vibraphone”!). It is American though, so it’s ‘Zeee’ instead of ‘Zed’!
4. Playtime by Cbeebies (free)
Apart from the “grow-ups, press and hold” button, which threw me a bit (it contains tips for how to play it with your child), this app is great. There are lots of things to do from exploring to painting to learning the alphabet.
If you look up your children’s channel of choice you can normally find something for free but it isn’t as extensive as the CBeebies one (we have a Thomas app that was free and a big hit).
5. Lets Count by Fisher Price/Laugh & Learn (free)
The music is annoying but Reuben loves this – it introduces both counting to 5 and zoo animals with their sounds (the penguin is dubious). There’s also a song after counting to 5, which is equally thrilling for my tester, and then it restarts the counting but with farmyard animals. Fisher Price also do a bunch of other free apps, there aren’t as good in my opinion but they are free…(although the Giggle Gang will drive you to distraction).
6. Vehicle Sounds for Babies by Fabio Bassan (£0.69)
This has naff graphics of squat vehicles that make a sound when you press them. That’s it and Reuben LOVES it! It is simple and doesn’t seem to be over sensitive, so great for little clumsy fingers. The free version has the vehicles pictured below but we liked it so much we upgraded to the full package (!).
Vehicle sounds for babies
7. Alice in Wonderland by Atomic Antelope (£5.99 for the iPad)
We’ve had Alice in Wonderland for years and it’s been a firm favourite of Gabby, my stepdaughter who’s 7. We love making the traditional illustrations come to life. This video is a bit manic but you get the idea.
8. Other apps you might consider are by Toca Boca, who create a range of successful apps aimed at children over 4. Gabby would love the hair salon 2 (£1.99)
What do you think?
I hope this helps any new-timers navigate the wilds of app world and for anyone with recommendations, please do comment below.