You’re in a store. Or a restaurant. Or, for the love of God, on a plane to somewhere wonderful. It would be peaceful, except… well, you brought your kid.
Your toddler, to be specific. And for some inexplicable reason, she starts to FREAK THE F*%# OUT.
Thankfully, this is the 21st century and we have a glorious tool called an iPhone. I seriously don’t know how my mom got through parenthood without it, actually. I know it’s a luxury, and some people are probably against “pacifying” a crabby toddler with an iPhone, but sometimes, you do what you need to do to survive.
Nora is scary good at operating an iPhone, and has been for a while. She can easily swipe to unlock it, and swipe to scroll from page to page of the apps. She scrolls until she finds HER apps, which she recognizes by the picture. And then she knows how to select them, select things on the screen, and how to return to the apps pages to pick something else. It’s pretty incredible. And honestly, she really doesn’t even use it THAT often. It’s certainly not a daily habit.
Still, this thing is a godsend when we need it to be. If you are a stranger to the toddler-silencer-known-as-iPhone-apps, I thought I’d share the current kid-friendly apps that I have on my phone, and tell you which are Nora’s favorites.
Here is the page that has all of Nora’s apps (and a few stragglers of mine, too). Her top 3 are undoubtedly 1) PBS Kids, 2) ABC Song, and 3) Disney Junior.
The PBS Kids and Disney Junior apps are WONDERFUL. They stream full episodes of TV shows on each of the respective networks, and it’s awesome.With PBS, Nora likes to scroll through and watch a few minutes of Daniel Tiger, Dinosaur Train, Arthur, etc. On this app, she is a “channel surfer.” But with Disney Junior, there aren’t as many options, and “turning the channel” isn’t as readily available, so she tends to watch the episodes with a longer attention span. Both of these apps are 100% FREE, which obviously puts them at the top of my list, too. And if you have a certain cable provider, I think you can enter your account info to gain access to more Disney Junior shows and episodes, but it’s not available through our provider.
The “ABC Song” is a free app that I downloaded randomly before or during our Boston trip. Nora’s favorite song is the ABCs, and she loves letters in general. It’s a SUPER cheesy looking app, but it sings her the ABC song, with the letters appearing in bubbles on the screen. She’s a fan. This app is free as well, but the free version has annoying pop-ups at the end of the song, which Nora hasn’t figured out how to “x” out of by herself yet. This leads to a lot of me having to help her be able to play the song again. I just looked and the full version is only $1.99, so yeah, I’ll be downloading that shortly. :)
The first three apps on my screen there are Old Mac, Bus, and Peek-a-Zoo. All of these are from a developer named Duck Duck Moose, and they’re great apps. I first heard about them from Kate. Old MacDonald and the Wheels on the Bus are based on the songs, so there are pages of the app dedicated to different farm animal scenes, or verses of the Wheels on the Bus. Each page has items on it that are interactive when the child taps them, swipes them, etc. Old MacDonald is $1.99, and Wheels on the Bus is $0.99. Nora LOVED these when they were completely new to her, but now she has to be in the right mood to spend a decent chunk of time playing with them.
Peek-a-Zoo is the same type of thing, but features a ton of animals. When Nora taps them, they say things like, “Hi, I’m Linus the Lion!” as they scroll by. There are also pages that ask interactive questions, like “Who is sleeping?” and shows four animals, one of which has its eyes closed. It lets them know if they’ve selected the right one. It’s cute, and obviously somewhat educational, too. Peek-a-Zoo is $0.99, and this is one that Nora still plays with pretty often (when she is given the chance).
Phone4Kids is the least favorite and is honestly pretty lame. It’s made by the same developer as the ABC Song app, so it has the same type of cheesy graphics. Nora doesn’t care for it much, but will select it occasionally so I keep it on there. It has a numbers keypad where the child can “dial,” and has “apps” like weather, texting, maps, etc. Nora might be more into it when she gets a little older and understands more about what each of these play apps is supposed to be. This app was free, so eh, who cares?
We’ll be taking a long road trip to visit my dad within the next month or so, and I’ll probably download some new apps prior to that to help keep Nora entertained. For those who have tried these apps with your own kids, do they agree with Nora’s favorites? :) And do you have any recommendations for new (to us) tried and true apps that your toddler loves?
AboutI'm Heather. I just turned 30. I'm happily married, and mommy to the most beautiful little girl in the world (what, you're saying I could be biased?). Determined DIYer and homeowner. Sarcastic. A perfectionist. A bleeding-heart liberal. Frugal. Loves a little dog way more than many humans. Loves food, hates exercise (it's an ongoing battle). A loyal football fan. I love to laugh. Value family and friends above all else. Vie to be a world traveler.
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