Yes, there is a huge debate as to how much screen time kids should have. Toddlers should have minimal to no screen time. Guess what? I’m a human. I know it’s a shock to some people but as a mom with three little under the age of 5 sometimes a screen is necessary. Especially for BigM who is such a visual learner that he learns best from the visually engaging apps on our mobile devices.
Now all of these were used on iOS so I cannot say if they are available on other devices. Some of these we got for free by watching for sales and others we just paid for because they were that awesome. I apologize that i can’t remember what we paid for and what we haven’t. I have tested out over 300 apps with BigM to see which ones he and we liked the best to keep on the device he is allowed to use.
So without further adieu here is MY list of top 5 apps to use with toddlers and early preschool ages.
Hooked on Phonics: Okay so maybe this one is a bit old for toddlers but let me tell you. The songs they play are quite catchy. Enough that it had my preschooler and toddler fighting like cats and dogs over who got to play with this app. It starts things out super easy and kept BigM entertained and interested for a good solid doctors appointment, including waiting in the waiting room.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox: Seriously, this one is amazing. It it how BigM learned shapes and colors and classification. I heard about it from a mommy friend who had it for her little girl. When BigM was a little older we got it for him as well. Countless hours have been passed listening to monkey noises. After completing a number of mini tasks the children then get to choose a stick to add to their board. They love seeing the growing number of stickers and making a scene out of them.
ABC Music: This one hasn’t captured BigM’s interest as much. It is not his go to app. It is one of our favorites though so it made the list. We love the variety of instruments introduced to the kids and that it even plays sound clips of what the instrument sounds like. They also have a menu that lists all instruments alphabetically. Music and pre-reading in one! Who could complain with that?
Toca Hair Salon: We love this one because it encouraged imagination and creativity. There are so many different options of how to style the hair. Scissors, clippers, mousse, hair dye, bows, blow dry, comb, brush and the characters to choose from make for endless fun. With BigM having Autism, imagination and exploring ideas like this are hard for him so by pairing it with an electronic like this we are making it a little easier for him to explore.
Disney Appisodes: Yes, this means sinking even more money into the ever present Disney monster.When it is a show that catches his attention and focus and encourages him to interact with it, it is pretty hard to not buy into one or two of his favorite shows. We had a free episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and it had them talking to the app along with solving puzzles and drawing shapes. Overall pretty cute and kept him entertained for as long as we needed him to be.
Of course I should mention that we primarily used the devices when we needed him distracted for some time. We have since adjusted this to only in long appointments or during car trips over 2 hours. What are your thoughts on kids and using mobile devices? If you do use them do you have favorite programs that you let the kids play?