Like so many parents of toddlers, Robbie and I have a complicated relationship with the iPad. Finn would happily play it all day if given the choice. Even with advice from pediatric associations that limited use of learning apps can be beneficial, our gut feeling is that any more than very limited use is not healthy. So we use the iPad sparingly. It’s awesome for travel, grocery shopping, going out to eat and for when guests come for a quick coffee. We probably use it a couple of times a week and then it goes into it’s special nook up high on a shelf, out of sight, out of mind.
I’ve been meaning to put together a list of the most adorable iPad apps for toddlers for a while. These apps are for toddlers around two years old. Finn has moved on to Dora and Peppa etc. but the ones we loved when he was a little younger were seriously adorable. Luckily Bennett will be able to use these when he’s older because I can’t bring myself to delete them from the iPad. I have been known to play some of these myself, you’ll know why when you see them.
Here’s my shortlist:
Little Fox By Fox and Sheep – I am totally obsessed. Finn, thinks it’s cute too. From iTunes: “A sing-along songbook with more than 100 interactive elements in 3 songs and the little fox music studio where you can record your own songs! Brought to you by the team that created the bestselling App “Nighty Night”! Great for kids between 2 and 6 years old.”
My Little Town, Tiny Airport, Tiny Firefighters and Animal Circus By Wonderkind – All of these are so awesome. From iTunes: “Kids love our interactive world: they discover, they explore, and they learn. Everything, absolutely everything, is interactive, with beautiful animation and fun sounds.”
Nighty Night! By Fox and Sheep – Oh my cuteness. Also check out Nighty Night Circus. From iTunes: “Nighty Night! is the perfect App for a daily go-to-sleep ritual with cute animals, sweet lullaby music and great narration. All around the house the lights go out, and in the barn even the animals are tired. But who puts them to bed? Who turns out the lights in their stalls? That is the task for small children aged 1-4. Watching all the animals go to sleep is a lovely way to set the mood for bedtime.”
Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs and Others By Nosy Crow – Classic stories for toddlers. I bought the “super pack” for $25 because to buy all the stories separately would cost $40. This bundle includes award winning story apps. The illustrations are really gorgeous and you have the option of having the app read for you or to read it yourself. From iTunes: “A fantastic bumper collection of Nosy Crow apps – the essential starter kit for kids apps! Featuring our award-winning Fairy Tale, Rounds, and Bizzy Bear apps, and two fantastic apps from The Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler.”
Endless Alphabet, Reader and Wordplay By Originator Inc. – Funny cartoon characters explain the definition of unusual and difficult words (for a three year old) by acting them out in little skits. The characters are hilarious and Finn laughs constantly while he plays it. From iTunes: “Set the stage for early reading success with the Endless Reading Collection! Kids will have a blast learning their ABC’s, building vocabulary, learning “sight words”, and recognizing spelling patterns with the adorable Endless Monsters.”
Paper Town Friends By Robin Rosenthal – Dress up your animal friends in endless combinations of gorgeous paper cut-out clothes. From iTunes: “A dress-up game with a twist: in Paper Town, everyone and everything is made of paper! A great creative play game for all ages. Choose from six characters and mix and match clothing. Choose from over 150 items of clothing including robot outfit, crocs, princess dress, camo shirt, and hoodies, to name a few. Save your well-dressed buddies to the camera roll when you are done.”
Petting Zoo – Animal Animations By Fox and Sheep – Another very cute and clever app by the people who made Little Fox. As you flip through the zoo, you can interact with the animals as they morph into other things. You really have to see it to understand. From iTunes: “21 beautifully animated animals. Full of surprises, wit and quirky animations!”
Dr. Pandas’s Hospital (and others) By Dr. Panda – This is a really well made app. Finn loves helping Dr Panda perform medical procedures on his animal friends. From iTunes: “Help kids learn about life and the world around them. Cook in Dr. Panda’s Restaurant, play doctor in Dr. Panda’s Hospital, take care of babies in Dr. Panda’s Daycare, build and fix in Dr. Panda’s Handyman.”
Kids Doodle and Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad By Bejoy Mobile – these will have you pulling the iPad away from your three year old because you want to do it yourself. The colors and the patterns… oooooh so pretty! From iTunes: “Kids Doodle is a pretty easy-to-use painting application that is designed specifically for little kids to enjoy doodle freely on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It supports more than 10 brushes, such as glow/neon brush, rainbow brush, crayon brush, oil brush, etc. The brush size and color is randomly adjusted to let kids entertained all the time.”
My PlayHome By PlayHome Software – Cute interactive house where you can make breakfast in the kitchen, go to bed in the bedroom etc. From iTunes: “My PlayHome is the original and best dolls house app. Massively interactive, your kids can explore and use everything in the house. The characters eat, sleep, shower, brush their teeth and more. Want the room to be darker? Close the drapes! Fancy a change in music? Pop a different CD into the stereo!”
Dinorama By thesixtyone – This is a little like playing with a Tamagotchi. You buy dinosaurs then you have to feed them and you earn credits to buy things for your dinosaur park, like photobooths. When we first got the app, I took over from Finn and wasted an hour feeding dinosaurs. From iTunes: “As a park owner, they’re in charge of everything from buying food and habitats for their dinosaurs to selling popcorn and hiring employees. Dinorama provides an engaging, entrepreneurial experience where kids literally learn the value of saving for a rainy day — parks are filled with unpredictable events like rainstorms that lower ticket sales, crop shortages that raise food prices, and flat tires that maroon valuable tourists. There’s even a (piggy) bank where kids can earn interest!”
Pancake Tower By Takahiro Ota – Basically all you’re doing is stacking pancakes in a tower and trying not to let them topple over. So silly. And utterly addictive.