There’s lots of cool apps you can get either free or for a small fee and we’ve searched through a ton of them looking for ones specifically for toddlers and babies ages 1-3. While we are strong advocates for limited TV and IPad time, there are times that it comes in handy to have a favorite movie saved in your queue at home or a favorite app that is both educational and fun. Here’s a list of some that are either free or paid apps that we think are not only fun and toddler approved but have a learning element built into it. If you are already using a children’s learning program like ABC Mouse, the following are good companions or stand alone learning tools that you don’t have to subscribe to.
Orginator makes some great apps for toddlers and my 2 year old learned about numbers and letters way before she was 2 partly due to these apps. We have Endless Reader and Endless Numbers and now I’m looking to purchase Endless Spanish. When your child touches the number or letter, a voice constantly says that number or letter until the child drags and drops it onto its correct location. They are then rewarded with a little 10-20 second cartoon clip about the number or word they just spelled. Mrs or Mr. Potato Head is also by Originator and helps children learn about parts of their body. Most can be purchased from Apple ITunes or Google Play and the demo versions have a good amount to play with as well.
What’s cool about the Sago Mini line of apps is that many are cause and effect interaction where the child drags the character to different spots in the game and the character interacts with its surroundings. They are super easy to control and even though they are rated for 3+, my oldest has been playing with them since she was 1. We got the Ocean Swimmer for free from ITunes and it was an instant hit so I bought more. Before you start counting dollars on your little one’s new favorite set of apps, Sago Mini has package deals you can purchase so that you get several apps at a better deal than buying each one individually. We have Ocean Swimmer, Forest Flyer, Space Explorer, Pet Café, Music Box and Friends. Most are available on ITunes App Store and you can also find some on Kindle Fire and Google Play.
Infant Zoo is one of the few apps for children under 1 years of age that is engaging and entertaining. The colors and animal faces are simplistic with minimal color and detail. It truly is visually stimulating and there’s two modes: interactive (where the child can move through each animal) or auto (where it moves through each animal automatically). While tbd has other apps, we’ve have yet to explore them so I can’t give you an honest review of them yet. Personally we always liked the auto mode of Infant Zoo because I think it’s a bit hard for a baby to determine where they need to put their little finger to move through each animal. Currently you have to hit one of the tabs on the side to change animals and in my opinion, this is too complex for a child under 1 to understand. Either way, this is a great app for babies and worth buying but you can test out a few animals with the demo version that is free. Only available on ITunes.
There’s some pros and cons to the Fisher-Price apps. The only real issue I have with the apps is either the collection of stories or nursery rhymes are short and I think there should be more in each app. Other than that these are awesome apps to get for children under 1 and maybe even up to 2 years old although my own 2 year old isn’t too interested anymore. Did I mention that all of Fisher-Price apps are totally free?! They are and can be downloaded from ITunes or Google play. There’s little songs in each and we liked the Shapes and Colors app and the Learning Letters Puppy.
Keynotes make musical apps for all ages but I’d like to highlight the one made for babies and toddlers. Theres a demo version that gives you access to some of the sounds and it’s enough to get playing and to have fun with. Different melodies are made by just sliding your fingers across the chords or pressing each individually and you can easily move from piano to xylophone to harp. This is a fun app that promotes music and sound through instruments and is an easy app to play. So easy that a baby under 1 years of age will have fun with too. Currently Keynote is only available through ITunes so you’ll need an I-something to download it.
As you probably already figured out, I didn’t list any prices for the apps above. That is because you never know when someone’s price is going to change and the last thing I want to do is promote a price of $1.99 and you go to purchase and the app increased to $3.99. That would almost be like false advertisement on my part even though I am not getting paid for your downloads. So try the demo first before you buy to make sure it’s right for you and your baby.
When picking a new app, I like to download the demo first and test drive it with my little ones. If it’s a hit, I buy it, if it’s a miss, then we didn’t lose out on anything. The list provided are all apps I purchased/downloaded and that my kids like. In no way is this list an affiliation or solicitation to buy anything that was just recommended. No one is getting paid (besides the maker of the apps) if you download them, this is just an honest-to-God recommendation.