The iPad is a great device for parents of children of all ages to own. What are the best iPad apps for parents with babies and toddlers? Here are ten great iPad apps for very young children that are worth downloading right away.
Fruit Memory HD ($0.99)
This is your basic memory-match game, with particularly adorable artwork. You can play with one to four players, and with 12, 28 or 40 cards. I have, literally, played Fruit Memory HD for hours with my four-year-old niece. Thank goodness for the one-player option, or I might have gone mad by now.
Magic Piano ($1.99)
While Smule’s fantastic piano-playing app is appropriate for any age, I’ve found that the younger children go to it again and again. The app lets you choose a song from the songbook and learn to play it. You can also let Magic Piano find a duet partner for you from somewhere in the world. I’ve used it as a great jumping-off point to talk about Internet social connections with my favorite kids.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox ($0.99)
By playing six different games, kids work on such educational activities as colors, matching, counting, letters, puzzles and spotting differences. They earn stickers as they progress through the game, and a cute little monkey encourages kids as they play. I’ve watched youngsters from just under two to all the way through five-years-old enjoy playing this game. They get better as they play. This app teaches them that learning can be fun!
Dr. Seuss Books (Several titles ranging between $1.99-$3.99 each)
These classic children’s books are getting a new generation of fans embracing them on the iPad. From Green Eggs and Ham to The Cat in the Hat to The Lorax, your childhood favorites are well represented. Kids can have the story read to them while they turn the pages and interact with the illustrations. They can also read it themselves, or tap Auto Play and watch it like a movie. Touch objects, and the word appears and is said aloud. Pan and zoom in on Dr. Seuss’ fantastical artwork. These titles are must-haves for anyone with an iPad and a kid around (or who likes to relive their childhood).
When my teenagers were toddlers, their first computer games were made by JumpStart. Of course, they’re geniuses now, but whether that’s due to me plopping them in front of the computer when I needed some mommy-time is a question I’m sure will never be answered. The iPad app includes matching, color, letter and number recognition, and other games that will keep your preschooler entertained as they learn. Kids can also earn prizes at jumpstart.com.
Sparkabilities Babies 1 HD ($4.99) Sparkabilities Babies 2 ($4.99)
Version 1 is designed for babies 3-18 months old, while the second edition is for babies 8-24 months old. Each app includes movies and flashcards paired together to “nurture neural pathways.” That is fancy-pants talk for little ones learning stuff that will be the building-blocks for further education. The youngest child I played Sparkabilities Babies with was just shy of six-months-old. Frankly, I was a little weirded out when he started interacting with the game himself (though, it lends credence to my theory that kids are born knowing how to use computers now).
Wheels on the Bus HD ($1.99)
I have to admit, there were moments in my life as a mom of young kids when I wished this song had never existed. I may at least once have cried out, “There is nothing left on the bus! The bus ride is over! The bus driver parked it and has gone home for a beer!” But this app is super-cute, and can be a lot of fun for little ones. You can sing along (and record yourself and/or your children singing), interact by touch with the illustrations, and even listen to the song in other languages.
Cupcakes XL ($0.99)
My four-year-old niece loves this app. It invites you to choose fun cupcake liners, different flavored batters, frostings and decorations. My niece Elisa loves to decorate hers with names (with the candy letters), put a candle in the cupcake, and let us blow it out. You can then share your cupcakes via email or on Facebook. It’s a cute, fun little game. I only wish the cupcakes were real.
Old MacDonald HD ($1.99)
This app lets you sort the animals from the famous song that belong on a farm. Choose all the farm animals, and Old Mac himself will dance and sing. Old MacDonald HD includes real animal soundsand adorable illustrations. It’s a fun one to play—the learning is a plus.
Itsy Bitsy Spider HD ($1.99)
Here’s another interactive songbook, and kids really seem to love these types apps. Kids can touch and poke anything on the screen to make things happen. The task is to guide the spider up the water spout, make the rain come down, and then the sun come out. You can record your own voice too!
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