Man, oh man…are there ever TONS of iPad apps for kids out there? The answer is YES. There are tons of technological things for kids out there. All those Leapster things, etc…I don’t even know what they are, but it seems like kids get a computer at age 1, right? This can be a good and bad thing…I am trying to find a good balance as a mother.
Each day when I rock Jude to sleep for his nap, London has to wait her turn (I nap with her everyday) so she needs something to do while she waits. Cue iPad. This is the time each day when she plays the iPad alone. She can play whatever games she wants and I can see what she has played afterward…this lets me in on the secret of what exactly are the most successful apps we have. Now, each night, she and I play together as well. Usually for 30 minutes and sometimes longer if she is in the mood to really, really learn. Mostly I choose what we play (all educational) and then she may get to choose one quick thing herself at the end.
So, for us, the iPad is something that is NOT tv that she can do alone while I am busy…that actually engages her and requires brain power and interaction. Then, we can really get down to business when we play it together and have some serious learning time!
So, what do we play?
I wanted to break down some really great apps for preschoolers that we have tested and found to be very useful and very much loved by London, who is 3 years old. I would say these apps are appropriate for kids ages 2-4…but almost all apps will tell you what the age range is, especially if it is an educational app or an app as part of an educational series. If you haven’t shopped for apps much, here are some things to look for: USER RATINGS and REVIEWS. Read them. SCREEN SHOTS of the app…scroll through and check out what the game looks like. Sometimes cheap looking games are good, but most of the time they are not. COST is also important, but don’t limit yourself to only the free or $.99 apps. There are some good ones out there, but look for reviews for the more expensive ones…people will tell you if it was worth the money or not!
Ok, here you go!
*my two faces in each category
These are really sorry descriptions for each app, so you’ll have to look them up in the app store and see for yourself!
*Letter School- sooo beautiful. Learning how to write letters and how to properly write them in the correct direction, step-by-step.
*Smarty Pants School- this one is a bit pricey, but it’s worth it…your kid gets tested at the beginning to figure out where he/she should start in Smarty Pants School and then the lessons are planned accordingly! A lot for your money!
PlaySquare-WordWorld- An interactive book from one of the coolest shows
Elmo ABCs- there’s a lot in this one…all the letters have coloring pages, seek-and-find, videos, etc. Plus, it’s elmo!
Starfall ABCs- we LOVE Starfall and this is a simpler version of the famous interactive ABCs you can find on their website.
Nick Jr’s A-Z- a simple but beautiful lowercase and uppercase alphabet seek-and-find with Moose A. Moose
SuperWhy!- Lots of word games here!
Bugsy K-Read- Several phonics games with awards for each game and a cute little hamster to narrate and teach
ABC Wow! HD- cute interactive alphabet
Interactive Alphabet- interactive alphabet
Alphabet Is Fun- lots of more difficult letter games packed into one app
Monkey Wordschool Adventure- several word games fit for 4 and up
ABC Food- there is a lot packed into this one too…each letter gets several real-life foods and in each food are videos, songs, or an interactive game like “peel the banana!”
*Team UmiZoomi Zoom Into Numbers- 5 wonderful math games in one! Earn math badges and the ultimate key to Umi City!
MonkeyMath- a fast-paced math/shapes/numbers game that just keeps asking more questions, great for alone play
Math 3-4- several math games in one
Math 4-5- several math games in one
*Pirates Love to Count- it doesn’t hurt that this one is narrated by a british guyfast-paced math games with rewards and they just keep on rolling, great for alone play
My Piggy Bank- learn about coins, matching coins, sorting, etc.
Little Digits- so neat! it recognizes fingers on the iPad…its the interactive finger counting app!
My First App: Series 1- I love My First Apps…this one if about putting things in chronological order
*Guess The Dress- This is one cute app…dress a boy or a girl for all 4 seasons correctly and play lots of fun games along the way!
Stack the States- a simpler way to learn all the states, and then you can get more complicated later and learn the capitals and other facts about each state
*Bubble Guppies Animal School Day- there is SO much in this app…10 animal school day episodes…its like real Bubble Guppies episodes for each animal, except interactive. The prizes are things for Bubble Puppies dog house!
StarWalk- just a really cool thing…hold it up to the sky and see real life constellations
Preschool PlayMat Farm Fun- shape sorting, counting, etc.
*Animal Hide and Seek- beautiful seek-and-find game
Angelina Ballerina Bubble Pop- quickly popping bubbles with certain items and colors
Cupcake Matching- just a fun and cute matching game with three difficulty levels
*Shape-O!- really beautiful puzzles
My First App: Sort it out 1- My First Apps are simple but challenging! sorting objects into the proper category
My First App: Match It Up 3- matching objects to similar ideas…like a monkey to a banana
My First App: Build it Up- building objects in the correct order…like biggest on bottom and stacking largest to smallest
My First App: Puzzle Me 2- puzzles
My First App: Families 2- matching things in a similar family
My First App: What’s Different 2- objects are in a certain category and they have to choose which item does not belong
Animal Puzzles- beautiful puzzles of animals and scenes
*Monster Coloring Book- most fun coloring book ever!
*Princess Fairy Tale Maker- this is one seriously cool app…design your own fairy tale page, coloring, even coloring with patterns (like chevron!) and then you can record your own voice telling your fairytale and store it! so sweet!
Color Me! Summer- I love the music with this coloring book! Really cute coloring pages
Art of Glow- this is simple but really really neat…neon coloring on a black page with lots of animation choices
My First App: My Scene- build your own animal habitat
Starfall Me- We LOVE starfall…this is a neat app that lets you choose how you look, how your room looks, your toys and pets
My First App: Let’s Create- designing is fun! design your own jewelry, food face, and lots of other fun things
Multiple Learning Subjects (Math/Shapes/Phonics/etc):
Zoo Train- spelling words, build a train, train track puzzles, and all very beautiful!
*Monkey Preschool Lunchbox- this one is great because it’s another one that constantly refreshes games and they can play a lot at once (shapes, puzzles, etc.) alone
Bug Games HD- music, fireworks, dot-to-dot, etc. and very beautiful!
Bugsy Pre-K- lots packed into one
Mickey’s Road Rally- interactive book from Mickey Mouse ClubHouse
*Teach Me Kindergarten- sooo much packed into this one!
Make It Pop!- 5 fun games that are beautifully designed
Winnie The Pooh Wonder and Wander- a few games such as matching and music…pretty good for free!
Just For Fun!:
Cookie Doodle and Cake Doodle- designing cakes and cookies, these two apps are simple but really fun…you even crack the eggs
Toca Kitchen- I love the Toca apps! They are beautiful. This one is cooking, chopping, and preparing food for guests
Little Princess- lots of games, like dress up and washing the pets
Pets in the House- simple, decorating scenes with pets
Toca Hair Salon- you probably have already seen this one! It is so fun.
Minnie’s Bow Maker- who doesn’t love Minnie’s Bowtique?
*Monster at the End of This Book- looove this classic book, it is an interactive version and grover is hilarious!
Starfall Snowman- simple designing a snowman (like on the star fall website) and matching game
Baby Chef- decorate cakes, pizzas, make salads, etc.
Team UmiZoomi Carnival HD- interactive Team UmiZoomi episode
*Toca House- cleaning windows, build a fire, ironing, sweeping…18 simple chores in this beautiful app!