For busy parents, the ability to preoccupy the kids with a phone or tablet is a dream. With kids being raised in an increasingly technological-based society, there are concerns whether it’s at the expense of their concentration and interpersonal skills. However, the benefits of technology outweigh any cons when parents limit screen time and carefully select apps.
Apps have the ability to improve hand-eye coordination, build vocabulary and increase knowledge on areas like language, music, and number skills. Parents can gladly breathe a sigh of relief knowing their little one is learning while engaging in fun games and even getting a head-start in school.
But what’s appropriate screen time for toddlers? And what about babies?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies and toddlers younger than 18 months should not have any screen time.
Toddlers over 2 can have up to an hour of screen time a day.
However, while babies and toddlers under 2 should not have any screen time, they still have a lot to gain from audiobooks, music, and eBooks read to them from a couple of these apps, which is included in this post. 😊
Here are 19 of the best free and paid apps for toddlers (and babies) that are 100% mom approved.
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Headspace is the meditation app we all know and love. But I bet you didn’t know it’s also suitable for toddlers as well as older children. Headspace helps develop tools that enhance emotional balance and happiness. In addition, there’s meditation to improve attention and sleeping habits as well. It’s also a great way to bond with your child as you perform the daily meditation session together.
With Duolingo, kids can learn over 30 languages all in one single app. Oh, and it’s TOTALLY FREE!
Bright teaches toddlers new words and sets optimal study intervals for better retention.
Dr. Seuss Treasury (iPad: Free)
Gain access to more than 50 of Dr. Seuss’ greatest books in one app with a monthly subscription. However, you can still enjoy 1 free story per month without a subscription. Babies love rhymes, making Dr. Seuss great reading material for new parents.
Endless Alphabet is a visual learning app that helps toddlers learn their ABCs. Words are associated with pictures to help formulate connections and enhance learning.
Gain unlimited access to 25,000 eBooks, audiobooks, videos and quizzes. Epic! will never have you running out of amazing reading material for your toddler and baby.
Winner of “Mom’s Choice Awards” – 2014 and 2015 and “National Parenting Publications Awards” – 2014 and 2015, Lingokids adapts content from the Oxford University Press that teach kids English while adapting to your child’s individual level.
Help your toddler learn the alphabet with letters that transform!
Reading Comprehension Prep (iPad: Free)
Reading Comprehension Prep is suitable for grades 3-5. Kids can read fiction and non-fiction stories and answer questions at the end to test comprehension skills, perfect for an academic head start.
Toddlers will have a blast learning how to write the alphabet, spell, count and much more in this fun interactive app.
Shapes! Toddler Kids Games (iPad: Free)
Toddlers learn shapes and colors with this interactive app.
Toddler educational games (iPad: Free)
This inclusive app is not only tons of fun, but it’s also genuinely educational. Toddlers can work to enhance their hand-eye coordination, concentration, and visual perception. They’ll learn the differences between big vs. small, before vs. after, right vs. left, bottom vs. top as well as other basic concepts.
Get your toddler excited about programming with this fun intro to coding game.
Hopscotch: Make Games (iPad: $7.99/month)
Hopscotch teaches kids how to recreate their favorite games like Pokemon Go! and Crossy Roads using easy-to-follow video tutorials. They can also use the skills they learn to build their own games.
Love You to Bits allows toddlers to use their problem-solving skills to win the game. You’ll definitely want to play this adorable game with them too!
BrainPOP features animated movies explaining facts, including astronomy, engineering, and technology. There are also quizzes to test comprehension.
With its amazing visuals, Solar Walk will be sure to fascinate toddlers and get them excited learning about the amazing solar system.
Loopimal (iPad: $4.99)
With Loopimal, kids can create musical loops with characters that dance in line with each corresponding musical addition. It’s a great introduction to music composition for your little one.
Monster Chords (iPad: $1.99/month)
For kids interested in guitar or ukulele, Monster chords is a must. Music lessons are incorporated into a fun game and all they need is a guitar or ukulele to strum along.
Remember, not all apps are created equal and not all apps may be suitable for your child. Choose 1-2 apps and allow your child to pick out 1 or 2 of their own. Whatever apps you choose, supervision and time limitation is crucial.
Screen Time Tips for Parents
- Limit screen time in your devices’ settings. For iPhone and iPad, go to settings then click on Screen Time to adjust settings. For Android devices, open the Family Link app to set daily limits.
- Restrict screen-time at meals and before bed. Instead, promote discussion and read physical books rather than eBooks at bedtime. The light from screens can disrupt sleep cycles because it contains artificial short wavelength blue light, which affects melatonin.
- Enjoy the apps alongside your kids. Using the apps with your toddler will promote bonding and enhance their learning experience. They also won’t miss out on important socialization which tends to be left out during screen time.
- Choose apps that don’t have a physical cousin. If an app is just for flash cards, make physical flashcards instead. Rather than lending them your iPad for doodling, provide them with art material whenever possible.
These are some of the best educational apps for kids I’ve come across, are there any you and your little ones big fans of? Leave a comment down below!
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