What’s this? A second post in a week? Shut the front door.
Maybe it’s just part of my nesting phase.
Maybe it’s the fact that I had two sweet gals clean my house for me earlier this week and now I feel like I have all the time in the world. What a treat that was! My house is sparkling.
Ever since we loaded up our iPad for our trip to Florida in March, (yep, don’t think I ever blogged about that one!) I’ve been wanting to post a list of the apps we downloaded to keep Analiese occupied on the plane.
We had been putting a little money towards either an iPad or a MacBook for some time now and when the new iPads came out two weeks before our trip, we decided to be decisive and buy one. We definitely had Analiese in mind and thought it was a better (and cheaper) choice over a MacBook with all of the fixin’s we would have wanted to get if we went that route.
Disclaimer: We are not the type of parents to throw a screen in front of our child’s face for hours and hours each day. And I don’t, by any means, think that learning via the iPad should replace one-on-one, hands-on, intentional teaching/learning. We are the type of parents to take advantage of a different way to learn, especially given the technologically advanced generation of kids our children will grow up among. Oh, also, I will have a newborn to nurse around the clock any day and I’m all for a reliable distraction. Don’t judge.
So, back to the list of apps for anyone who may be traveling across the country or would like to know of some great tools to help your kids learn in a different way.
Oh, I should also mention that Analiese is currently about 29 months. She turned 2 in early February and we started using the iPad when we took a vacation in March.
I did my own research first: a quick Google search of other mama blogs to see what they suggest and checking out the reviews in the iTunes Store.
These are the the ones we downloaded for free or purchased. They are listed in order of Analiese’s favorites, with her most favorites at the top of the list.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox ($.99): Worth the $.99. Simple games for color, fruit, number and letter identification, matching, puzzles. After every three completed “games” you get to pick a sticker to put on a board. Analiese loves this one and there are others from the same developer to consider.
Toca Boca Hair Salon ($1.99): This one is not educational at all, but it’s really fun for Analiese to style, cut, color, shampoo, etc. The characters make funny sounds, too.
Play123 (Free): This one kind of reminds me of Baby Einstein stuff with the gentle background music and teaching guides. It’s interactive learning play with colors, numbers and shapes. There is an index of all of the games you can play. One of the buttons on the index page takes you to the app store to purchase another free app, Play Lab. The free version of this new app allows you to play three games before a pop-up appears inviting you to purchase the $1.99 full version. Boo. Analiese has caught on to the idea that when something pops-up she’s unfamiliar with, she needs to hit the home button and start over. This seems to be working, but we’re not fans of in-app purchase prompts.
First Words Animals ($1.99): There is a free sampler version of this one, but because Analiese took to it early on, I wanted her to have more words to work with, so I purchased the full version. The settings page allows you to customize it just for your child’s age/level of learning. There are a TON of other apps just like this one…even for learning other languages.
Shapes Toddler Preschool (Free): Very straight forward ways of learning basic shapes. There are four options on the menu page and toddler is rewarded with stickers when successful. Like the Play123 app above, there are ways to purchase additional parts of this app (colors, letters, numbers, etc.), but that page isn’t as easy to get to as others.
Interactive Alphabet ($2.99): Whoa…$2.99! Yes, this one was a little pricey, but the sounds, colors and animation are fabulous. I also like that they’ve chosen some uncommon words when it comes to ABC flashcards. My favorite is the “O” is for olives…and ogres…of course.
Awesome Eats (Free): I’m pretty sure the concept of learning healthy eating habits is lost on a 2 year old. However, this app teaches sorting and stacking of like objects, which is a good concept to understand for preschool and kindergarten. The conveyer belts seem to move somewhat fast for a 2 year old’s hand-eye coordination, so it’s a little difficult for Analiese to move the veggies where they need to go quickly enough. But, for being a game that she hasn’t really grasped yet, she still plays it a fair amount.
PBS Kids (Free): Each week new clips and full episodes of PBS shows are available to watch. There are many more clips than full episodes, which is a little annoying, but Analiese doesn’t seem to mind. She usually just checks this one out quickly before moving on to a game or something else.
The Monster at the End of This Book (Free): Really cute, funny, interactive book.
Kids Animal Draw (Free): This is not my favorite drawing app for a few reasons, but Analiese really likes it. She just discovered the “Mix and Match” game, which I think is cute. This is another one of those free versions with in-app purchase prompts that are easily accessible within the games.
Doodle Buddy (Free): This was one of the first apps we ever downloaded for Analiese to use on the iPod Touch. It was really easy to navigate and she understood where the colors and clipart were. I don’t think she likes the iPad version as much because it looks completely different than what she’s used to. But, it’s still one that she goes to every once in a while.
Hello Crayons (Free): Personally, I think this is one of the nicer free drawing apps. You can pick what kind of drawing medium you want to use: crayon, thin marker, thick marker, paint brush, etc. There are lots of colors to choose from, too.
I Hear Ewe (Free): Great for learning animal sounds as well as vehicle sounds. Easy to use.
Animal Sounds (Free): As the name suggests, this is another tap the picture and hear the animal sound app. There are a lot of pages of animals. However, only 20 of them are “unlocked” in the free version. Analiese gets a little frustrated when she taps one of the ones that is locked and it doesn’t work, but she likes the ones that are unlocked!
Preschool Games – Farm Animals (Free): This animal game is a little more educational and interactive than the other two that just play sounds. This one prompts you to find and touch the right animal by name or sound.
ABC Alphabet Phonics (Free): I just downloaded this because it is very similar to the Preschool Games – Farm Animals, but instead you have to find and touch the right letter when prompted by sight or sound.
Toy Story Read-Along (Free): This is a short read along version of the movie. It includes special refracts (tap for sounds) on each page, and coordinated games and activities on some pages. You can also go directly to a game at one of three levels. Select a picture to finger paint, or listen to songs from the movie.
Curious George at the Zoo ($.99): The $.99 version only allows you to play one region of animals and you can purchase other regions within the app. For the one region that is available to play, you help George wake, clean and feed the animals. It’s cute, but doesn’t keep Analiese’s attention for very long. I think this could be because you have to listen to the prompts from the man with the yellow hat to know what to do and she would rather have the freedom to discover things on her own at this point. Maybe in a few months…
As you can see, most of the ones we have are free and 2 of the 3 that we’ve paid for are at the top of her list, so I say they were worth the few bucks we spent. If anyone has other suggestions, please pass them along!