Last week while we prepared to head out of town for our beach trip, I spent a lot of time washing and folding clothes and packing our suitcases.
I made sure we had snacks for the car, enough clothes for the week and everything in order for our neighbor who was puppy sitting our dog.
BUT my most important task while vacation prepping, was making sure we had enough entertainment for the kiddos for our NINE HOUR car ride.
Not sure if you have ever taken a long car ride with four children, really any child for that matter, but it can be a challenge to keep the “are we there yet” and boredom at bay.
Our minivan has a DVD player, but movies can only take you so far. We play car games, and sing songs and read books, but I also knew Megan was probably going to be my biggest challenge since that girls mind is always working and usually so is she. I knew being confined to her car seat was not going to be fun, so I made sure to update our Ipad with some toddler friendly apps that have become favorites in our household.
Curious George At The Zoo – This app right here is perfection if your child is an animal lover like mine. Megan would spend hours if I would let her, washing and feeding and playing with all the animals at the zoo. She loves to select their food and brush and bathe them and earn her sticker rewards. Can’t say enough great things about this one.
Hugless Douglas – This was a new app for us, and we were fans from the start. It is the sweetest story, which can be read aloud or you can chose share where you can promote reading the story with keywords being emphasized. There are also adorable games, that have quickly won Megan’s heart.
Elmo Calls – This one is really for the twins. They love to call their MeMaw or really anyone who will talk to them on FaceTime. On the days that my mom is working or we can’t get anyone to answer their phone, Elmo comes to our rescue. The boys know the song the second it turns on and they crowd around the phone or ipad and just giggle and laugh as Elmo sings, talks and tells jokes. They give this app two thumbs up! (Question…since they are twins should it be four thumbs? Who knows….)
Jake’s Never Land Pirate School – Best free app hands down. This app offers so much from playing instruments with the Pirate band to navigating the seas and searching for treasure, to flying with the help of pixie dust. If you have a Jake and the Never Land Pirates fan in your house, this app is a must.
Moo Baa La La La – This is one of our favorite books, and so we knew the app was going to be amazing as well. Sandra Boynton can do no wrong in my book. From the fun animal sounds, to the interactive story and games this is a great great app that both Megan and the boys love.
PBS Kids – We were always Daniel Tiger fans, and Elmo too, but now that our cable is gone we have fully embraced PBS and all that it has to offer. Which turns out is quite a lot. This app allows you to watch any of their kid shows on the go and we are discovering all sorts of new family favorites.
Bible for Kids App – This app is AMAZING. We use the You Version app as adults, and when they put out the kids version we knew it would be a winner. It brings the Bible to life in fun and applicable ways that keep Megan always begging for more. It has helped lead some great discussions in our house, and of course I am always a proud mama when she can’t get enough of “Jesus’ book for me”.
Daniel Tigers Neighborhood – This has been a favorite of Megan’s for quite some time. She loves Daniel Tiger and this is a great game for exploring his neighborhood. Everything from Daniel’s house, the Doctor, bedtime, bath time and more.
Watch Disney Jr – Now that we have done away with our cable, this app has been a life saver when Megan needs her Doc McStuffins or Princess Sofia fix.
Writing Wizard – This app is perfect when you are ready to start practicing writing letters with your littles. The kids trace letters and parents can track their progress. You can even add your own words, which is helpful when they are learning to write their own name. I was a bit worried at first that Megan wouldn’t take to it since it wasn’t a “game” per se, but they make it so fun that I don’t think she can even tell the difference between it and some of her other favorites.
Trucks and Shadows – In this app kids match trucks and other vehicles with the corresponding shadow. Even the twins love this app. Mainly because they are obsessed with trucks and anything that goes, so Megan usually lets them help and it is a fun matching game they can all play together.
Peek A Boo Barn – Another Megan favorite that is quickly becoming one of the boys as well. It is geared for younger kiddos with its bright colorful animation and fun animal sounds. The boys favorite game is peek a boo, so they think there is nothing better than peek a boo with their favorite farm friend.
What are some of your favorite toddler apps that we should check out? We are always on the hunt for new ones.
Meg O. says
We love the PBS kids and the Jake app! Kennedy is currently obsessed with the Bubble Puppy Play and Learn. Yeah, that app was $6. Ah, Nick Jr.
It will truly allow you to access to the most up to the minute scores of all playing teams.
The advent from the internet has dramatically changed the way
in which bets are placed on football or soccer. I guess a
handful of suspensions was enough to satisfy the NCAA.
Do any of these work without Internet?
Do any of these work without Internet?
Yes! You have to have the internet initially to download the apps and the internal downloads (which almost all the time ur free) but they work offline afterwards. we have most of these and they’re wonderful!
Do any of these work without Internet?
We love the “baby bible” game as my kids call it. They did a fabulous job. When they get a chance to play on my phone, which isn’t very often, they choose this game first. We also really like Toddler Fun – the exploding fireworks and stars are fun for everyone. Kids Connect is another good one.
phone4kids app is a great one. It teaches them the seasons, fake texting, and fake phone calls
Thanks for these wonderful ideas!!! My little guy just turned 2 and steels my phone all the time! The only app I had for him was playkids (which is $5 a month!!) I’m so glad to get some apps that are free, maybe I can cancel my subscription! Although my phone is an android, so the Jake game costs $2.99, but that is better than paying every month!
G Beilfuss says
We love the Endless Alphabet and Endless Reader series. It is structured like a game, and can teach your child so much. My just turning 3-year old knows his alphabet and some words because of these apps. Not free, but totally worth every penny!
I highly recommend the wonderkind apps. They are basically interactive pictures that everything you touch has some interaction. My son also loves duplo train and trucks by duck duck moose.
The Pepi games are amazing! Pepi bath and Pepi tree are our favs and the Pepi doctor one is great too! Love them so much, check them out. They have free ones to try it out but we upgraded in a heartbeat my boys love them so much! Thanks for this list btw.
All of the Toca Boca apps are favorites of my boys. They go on sale often, but full price they are only 2.99, which if you only buy one get ‘Toca Life: Town’. It is hands down the best app, and worth EVERY PENNY!
Also, all of the Sago apps are fantastic, and the Edless alphabet and reader apps as well (someone else already mentioned them).
Miranda Pridgeon says
Pink Fong Songs and Stories is my Daughter’s Favorite.
If you cut cable, how do you use Disney Jr.? In my experience, you have to have a cable provider. We also cut cable, but I miss some of the Disney Jr shows for my little ones. If you have a way to access episodes, I’d be very interested.
Thank you for the article! How old is Megan? Would these apps be good for 3 and half year old?
Isabella Clark says
ear Moms, I have recently downloaded and started using this app to entertain my kids ! They love it and i LOVE IT because it gets them occupied at least an hour at a time ! That’s the reason i must share with you because i think it is a valuable resource to all toddler parents !