Toddler friendly iPhone apps

Posted by Alina on Tuesday Mar 16, 2010 Under mommy products, toddlers, useful tips

Although it is probably not the best idea to hand your iPhone over to your toddler, this maneuver has saved my husband and I on long car and plane trips as well as during long dinners out. Our son, who is now 22 months old, is unbelievably savvy with the device. He is able to open it, choose the application that he wants, play with it, and then move on to the next one when he’s bored. He also knows how to access the iPod and turn on the show of his choice. This probably shows that he has been playing with the iPhone a bit more than he should. However, Apple, knowing that parents like us are out there, offers applications that are fun and even educational for the little ones.

The following cost a dollar or two:

Tozzle is a shape matching app, with 20 different boards that kids can choose from. When a child drags a shape to its matching outline, it makes a sound appropriate to the shape (its name if it is a letter or number, sound of doorbell on a door, or sounds of the appropriate animal, etc…) The boards/ themes are very colorful, include letters (lower case and capitals), numbers, various scenes (fish in the sea, farm, garage, and many more). If after a couple of tries, the child does not match the shape successfully, an arrow appears on the screen and floats to help guide the child. This has been one of my son’s favorite apps.

Letters and Shapes from Toddler Teasers are two separate apps that my son enjoys as well. The child is asked to touch a certain letter or shape and if he/she gets it right, there are applause, cheering and after a few correct answers, they get a virtual sticker. If the child gets it wrong, he/she learns the name of the shape or letter he/she actually touched and is then asked to try again.

Kidzongs by Stepworks is a simple app that has 6 children’s songs with very basic animation and an option to have a voice sing the songs or just play the music so the child can sing himself. As simple as it is, my son enjoys this one, probably because of the familiar tunes, but does not spend a ton of time with it.

Kidztory by Stepworks makes apps of narrated children’s books.  The books are interactive, with the characters moving and making sounds if touched. I have The Little Red Hen, and this book can be narrated in English, Spanish, or Cantonese.

Wheels on the Bus from Duck Duck Moose is an interactive musical book based on the song with the same name. There are various pages with illustrations to touch and explore. You can choose to hear the song in different languages and played by different instruments. There is even an option to record yourself. This app gets a great deal of play time.

ZooBox was a favorite for a long time, when he was a bit younger. This app has photos of various animals that the kids can flip through and each picture has the animal sound to go with it after the phone is tilted to a certain angle and held for a few seconds. I think it’s too basic at this age.

These are free:

Virtuoso Piano has a free version which my son enjoys. It is a piano keyboard that can be played on the phone by tapping the keys.

DoodleBuddy is a cool application which allows your toddler to draw with their finger, there is a choice of different colors, backgrounds, characters with sound effects, and you can even draw over pictures that are saved on your phone or you can snap a new one and get creative. At his age, my son likes to doodle, explore all the buttons/features of this app, and use the characters with sound effects.

The phone could never replace the attention and interaction of parents or caregivers with the kids, but after all other avenues of entertainment (crayons, wind up toys, books, etc…) have been exhausted, it comes in quite handy if you have a cranky toddler, who does not understand why he has to be strapped to a car seat for another hour. You can learn about these and other applications by hitting the APP store icon on your iPhone or iTouch or through iTunes on your computer.

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