Including screen time fun for your little one
As a parent, you may be feeling guilty about how much screentime your toddler is having but don’t. The online world is a great place for children to learn and develop their motor skills and problem-solving skills. Like everything, it works great in moderation.
No one can deny that the online world is going anywhere, so getting your toddler used to playing games can really help them in their development, ready for primary school. Knowing how to work a tablet or computer can help your child become mobile literate which is a very useful skill to have.
Many of the apps below can help your toddler with their imagination, number-solving, and reading skills. Think of it as guilt-free screen time that can help them to expand their horizons.
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13 toddler-friendly apps
These are the best app for toddlers that are free. They are all fun, educational and are games that you can play together.
First Words UK, Free, Google Play
This is a great resource for helping your toddler to talk and sound out words. With each word, there is a picture so that they can associate the word with the picture. There is a fun quiz mode for them to try out and the voices can be changed depending on what your toddler likes.
The animation is really cute and makes for a really fun learning experience. You can purchase the paid version which costs £1.99 and offers over 360 words.
Elmo Loves 123s Lite, Free, iTunes
This is a really cute app that is free to download. It’s full of games and videos that help keep your toddler amused and always learning. The activities include everything from counting objects to tracing to colouring. They do offer a paid version which comes with a lot more games and activities.
ABC Kids Tracing & Phonics, Free, Google Play
This is a great tracing app that is great for learning phonics. It is brightly coloured and helps them to form letters.
Disney Junior Play, Free, iTunes
Available on Google Play and iTunes, this is a great problem-solving app with over 20 games that can help improve observation and imaginative play. They do offer in-app content which offers you more games and activities.
CBeebies Storytime, Free, iTunes
This free Story Time app is just that, lots of different books, some using well-loved characters and others just well-loved stories. The books can be read to your child or they can read them themselves. Throughout there are games and puzzles to complete to continue the story.
I have found this helps keep my daughter interested. The language used is adventurous so they may need help if reading the books themselves. You do need to download each book separately into the app.
123 Numbers, Free, Google Play
This is a great free app for Google Play that teaches your toddler how to count and trace shapes. This has no in-app purchases and is great for on-the-go when you need to keep those little hands busy!
Playtime Island, Free, iTunes
These games are great for toddlers as they are based on all the CBeebies programs. The games are all different, covering activities from drawing to spelling and skills from counting to problem-solving.
There are no hidden extras or places that your toddler can go to charge you money. Like all toddler apps, the parent areas have code to put in so that little fingers can’t sneak into the settings. My 3-year-old loves these apps and has done for over a year now.
Fisher-Price Laugh, Free, iTunes
These are not really storybooks but nursery rhymes. Again they can be read with your child or sang to them. My little girl loves the bright colours and familiar characters.
Lego Junior, Free, iTunes
This is a great introduction to playing more advanced games. It is simple to play but provides great talking points between you and your toddler. They have to start making decisions about what their character will look like and what they can drive.
These decisions have some consequences, eg the helicopter can reach the higher coins. They also have to work their way through the levels to get more characters. Again no in app purchases which I love.
Giggle Gang, Free, iTunes
I had to include this one, although I don’t think you can get this app anymore. This was the first app my daughter used. It has all the bright characters and annoying songs that you associate with Fisher-Price but it is simple and designed for babies to use. My 7 month loves hearing the characters giggle and watching them bounce around the screen.
EasyXylo Xylophone App, Free, iTunes
This is a great music app for babies and toddlers. They can play tunes and really have fun making their own music. It does offer in-app purchases for more songs and sounds.
Peppa Pig: Paintbox, Free, Google Play
This is a great game for toddlers to play as it can really bring out their creative side. Pick either Peppa and George and watch your kids choose to either colour in a picture or make their own. The picture becomes interactive with rainbows and muddle puddles. This is also available on iTunes too.
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Teach Your Monster to Read, Free, iTunes
This is free at times and paid at other times depending on the time of year. It offers three different levels from beginner reader to free reader. You can start by picking your monster and dressing them. Then it’s all about reading and following the instructions. It’s a great way to learn phonics.
There are hundreds of free toddler apps out there and although most of them have loads of in-app purchases, some are perfect for little, exploring fingers. If you have any other favourites please comment below so we can provide some sanity to those of us who struggle to keep our toddlers away on long journeys or just to amuse them when we just need 5 minutes.
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more ideas on things to do at home then head over to the Staying at Home section where you’ll find loads of creative ideas for things to do at home. You could also pop over and follow our Facebook page here or our Hampshire days out Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on things to do when you are at home; Staying In Ideas With Kids, Kids Craft Ideas and Rainy Days At Home.
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