The Only Toddler Apps You'll Ever NeedJuly 06, 2016
We've reached a milestone.
My child is now attached to his iPad. In all honesty, I've looked forward to this day but I found myself unprepared. What apps should he play? Is there a way to avoid all things Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Does it count as screen time if he's actually learning? Do I actually care about screen time? As you can see, it was a wild time for the both of us.
In my hunt to find the Perfect Toddler App, I did what every responsible parent does and went straight to Google - and found that every single article or blog post about the best apps for babes touted a list of Must Haves that was twenty or so apps deep.
Twenty apps for a baby?
Let me be clear here, I love my kid and want him to be The Boss when it comes to toddler knowledge, but 20 apps is just a little steep for my iTunes budget. Thankfully, I happened to score 4 of the best educational apps on the block (two by luck and two by referral from more seasoned mamas) and I'm here to tell you that my core four are all you and your toddler need. Thanks to
my excellent parenting skills apps, my son knows his numbers, letters, shapes and colors and I can often score a quiet-ish stroll through Target (as long as the iPad battery is charged). I'm constantly asked which games he's into so I thought I'd round them up for you - and I'm listing them in order of my preference (so, the least annoying ones are first, you're welcome).
Shout out to Megan who told me about this app - she gets all of the credit - but we are in love with Endless Alphabet. I love it because it can grow with him as he learns new skills and he loves it because of the cartoon monsters and their little skits. I dig a gender neutral app and he really has learned all of his letters and the sounds each letter makes because of this gem. The words taught are not baby-ish in the least ("zipper", "ruckus" and "yawn" are G's current faves) and the skits used to teach the meaning of each word are crazy creative. This is a paid app but it updates the vocabulary words constantly, making the cost worth it to me. Gray now points out letters everywhere we go and says/shouts both the name of the letter and the sounds that it makes. Bonus points that he was able to at least use some of the app immediately and without my help and could work through the entire layout in no time.
Potentially the most boring app of all time, iTot Cards is a win for the simple reason that there is no way it could possible annoy you, the parent. Perfect for long car trips and for those moments when you just can't tolerate another Disney theme song, iTot Cards somehow captures my 23 month old's attention with zero flash or pizazz. Imagine traditional flash cards of everything from shapes to household items on a constant scroll and you'll get a great idea of the iTot Card experience. I do love the extensive shape section and Gray likes to flip through the colors. There is a free version of this app but it's basically useless so you'll end up paying for it - but you won't mind because as long as your kiddo can swipe right, he'll be off to the races with this one. Bonus points that it is available in multiple languages in case you're raising an over achieving toddler.
From the creators of Endless Alphabet, Endless Numbers follows the same premise (more funny monsters) to teach simple math and counting. The math aspect is what really caused me to spring for the paid version of this app (I'm terrified that my son will be as horrendous at basic math as I am) but in all honesty, he didn't mind the free version of this one. Just like Endless Alphabet, Endless Numbers has so many elements that it keeps him busy for quite a while. Bonus Points for having a free version that is actually useful and for being Toddler friendly from the start (meaning, I did not have to help him learn to use it).
4. Tally Tots
Oh Tally Tots. My kid loves this one but it sort of grinds my gears. The app is somewhat intricate to learn at first (some of the numbers require a bit of fine iPad maneuvering) and my toddler required quite a bit of help the first week or so that he played it (as opposed to the others which he either picked up immediately or within a super short amount of time). Tally Tots also has a theme song that will take up permanent residence in your head but, in all honesty, it was the first app that my toddler ever gave a second glance. It is a paid app but Bonus Points for the feature that lets you count to 100 and does not include the theme song.
So there you have, the only toddler apps you'll ever have to download.