5 of the best educational apps for your toddler

5 of the best educational apps for your toddler

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Having a computer programmer as a husband, and coming from an avid Apple family, it was no question as to whether or not we were going to purchase an iPad. As soon as the money was saved, we purchased the iPad 2.

I like to think it was one of the best investments for our toddler, who now refers to it as his iPad. Not only does it keep him entertained when we are waiting in the doctor’s office, driving to visit family or until I can pull myself out of bed in the morning, it also teaches him.

I wish I could take all the credit for teaching my son letters, colors, shapes, words and animal sounds, but I cannot. At least partial credit goes to the various app developers who have spent many hours creating educational apps to benefit my child.

The following are a few of my favorite educational apps I've downloaded for my toddler. There are many more educational apps out there, especially for children in grade school; this list of five is just a start.

  • Zoo Train — Within this app you will find five different activities for your child to choose from: playing music, building words, piecing together two types of puzzles, and building his very own train. With so many activities, your child is bound to stay entertained for hours. Most activities are rewarded with virtual stickers that the child gets to choose and place on his suitcase, which has helped my child stay motivated to continue to play and learn. I like that the activities are fun and engaging while also teaching hand-eye coordination, letters, words and music.This app can be purchased in the iPad app store for $1.99. You can watch a video review of this app on YouTube.
  • Alphabet Car – In this app your children will find themselves driving a bus, using their device as a steering wheel to pick up letters and spell words. The main thing I like about this app is that it has multiple levels and speeds that will continue to engage your children as they grow. Your kids will also be rewarded with new buses to drive as they complete these levels. This app can be purchased for your iPad for $2.99 or your Android device for $1.99. There is also a lite version if you want to try this app out before you buy it. You can watch a video of review of this app on YouTube.

Learning letters on the iPad. (Photo: LeAnn Mills)
Learning letters on the iPad. (Photo: LeAnn Mills)

  1. First Words Deluxe – If your goal is to teach the letters of the alphabet to your child, this is the app for you. I like this app because it verbally reinforces the letter names as your child moves the letters around the screen and spells words. Although at first your child will just be learning letters, eventually the goal is for your child to begin to grasp the concept of spelling words. With various categories of words — vehicles, animals, home items, colors and shapes — your child has a large library of words to choose from. Also convenient is the parent’s ability to set the length of the words that your child is given. This app is a little more expensive at $4.99, but it's worth every penny. You can watch a video review of this app on YouTube.
  2. I Hear Ewe – This app is for the younger crowd and primarily for the purpose of teaching the sounds that animals and vehicles make. When your baby or toddler taps on the picture card, it will tell you what the picture is and then play a recording of the sound the animal or vehicle makes. I even found myself amazed at some of the animals and what sounds they make. For those whose first language is not English, or those who wish to teach their child another language, this app also provides Spanish, German and Chinese options. The best part of this app is that it is free, so don’t hesitate to download it.
  3. Shape Puzzle-Word Learning Game for Kids – I have always loved puzzles, so I was thrilled when I came across this puzzle app for my toddler. Puzzles help teach hand-eye coordination, shapes and colors while increasing your child’s memory. This app allows your child to select a puzzle scene (there are nine to choose from). Each scene has about 15 puzzle pieces for your child to select and then put together to complete the picture scene. I appreciate the fact that after each puzzle is completed the app verbally tells the child what the picture is. This feature has helped my child learn various words.

    This app can be purchased for $0.99 in the app store and also has a lite version if you wish to try it out first. For more information on finding the best apps for your children, visit kids-apps.mobi and funeducationalapps.com.

A native of Washington state, LeAnn Udy Mills currently resides in Harrisville, Utah. She is a mother of two and a graduate of Utah State University with a degree in elementary education.

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