Last month, we took a two week vacation to California. As I mentioned in my previous post 10 Must-Haves for Flying with a One-Year-Old, one thing that I always take on the plane is my iPad loaded with in-flight entertainment for my little guy. I seriously don’t know how my 22-month-old and I could do the cross-country flights without it!
I have spent the past couple of months downloading tons of new apps and having Tommy try out one or two a day. Because I let him use the iPad not only for flights (when he is sitting on my lap), but also when I need a moment to cook dinner, check my e-mail, or run to the bathroom alone, I look for apps that will hold his attention for an extended period of time. I also try to find apps that he can navigate on his own with little to no help from Mommy so that if I am busy, he won’t be whining for me to come over and help him if the app freezes up or if the app is too complicated for him to use without help. We do also enjoy snuggling up and using the apps together. Most of the apps that I download for him are learning apps, and I love to work on them together with him or to at least be close enough to watch so that I can see how he’s learning and growing. After a lot of trial and error, I have added some really awesome new apps to our handful of tried-and-true apps that he has been using since he was about a year old.
There are a lot of apps that I want to mention, so I am splitting them up into a few separate posts. I will start here with our favorite art, shapes & colors apps. Without further ado, here is our list of Tommy’s favorite art, shapes & colors apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch:
Favorite Drawing/Art Apps:
- Kids Doodle – Bejoy Mobile – Free ($0.99 to upgrade to ad-free) – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
This is one of the first apps that I ever downloaded for Tommy when he was about a year old, and he has always enjoyed it. It’s a drawing app where he can use his finger to scribble a design, but the black background and neon colors make it more fun than old fashioned pen and paper. Now that he is a little older, he is using some of the more advanced features, like changing the brush style, watching the movie play back of this drawing steps, and drawing on top of photos from the camera roll. It’s simple enough to entertain a one year old, but has enough to it that I think he will enjoy this one well into his toddler and preschool years.
- Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad – Bejoy Mobile – Free ($0.99 to upgrade to ad-free) – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
Very similar to Kids Doodle, but this one makes beautiful symmetrical designs with the tap of a finger. Tommy loves watching the bright colors change and watching the replay videos. He also likes to switch between the 8 kaleidoscope modes and 10 brushes to get new effects. Fun app for babies and toddlers!
- Cool Coloring – DB Best Technologies LLC – Free ($0.99 to upgrade to ad-free) – iPad
I was really surprised how long it took us to find a coloring book app that we liked. Most of the coloring book apps that I found have lots of ads, in-app purchases, and locked images. Tommy would get so frustrated with them and was always clicking links that took him out of the app. I love Cool Coloring because it has a variety of cute, simple images to color, is super easy for a toddler or baby to use, and has a pretty texture over the images that is nice. I like that you only have to tap on an area and it fills with color- some of other coloring book apps require you to actually scribble the color in and that is too hard for a one or two year old to do on their own. I also like that you can turn on fun music to listen to while coloring. Another great thing about this app is the rainbow colored paint drop that you can select- it automatically changes the color every time you tap it so that the kid doesn’t end up coloring the entire image one color each time. Best free coloring book app out there, hands down!
Favorite Shapes & Colors Apps:
- Laugh & Learn™ Shapes & Colors Music Show – Fisher-Price – Free – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
This was one of Tommy’s first favorite apps. There are two different levels and both are cute and fun (especially for one-year-olds). Level 1 has five fun little shape characters (blue circle, yellow star, etc.) that pop up when you tap the screen. When you tap one of the animated shapes and drag it around the screen, smaller shapes will trail behind it, music will play, and a cheery voice will tell you name of the color and shape. Level 2 has all five shape characters up on a stage. When you tap on a character, it will step forward and dance to a fun song about its shape and color. After you have tapped the characters a few times, the curtain comes up and they all sing and dance together. There is also a little piano at the bottom of the screen that plays notes when you tap it. Very cute and fun, and a perfect first app for babies!
- Shapes Toddler Preschool – Toddler Teasers – Free ($3.99 to add all categories) – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
Another awesome (and free!) app for learning shapes. This one has flashcards, quizzes, games, and puzzles to help kids learn their shapes. They can practice recognizing their shapes by viewing the flashcards and hearing the name of the shape, then the quiz will ask them to “find the (circle, crescent, triangle, etc.)” among other shapes. When they tap the correct shape, they will hear cheering, and after a few right answers in a row, they get to choose a “sticker” to add to their sticker collection. There is also a “Toy Box” game where they get to pop balloons to reveal shapes, launch shapes out of a cannon, build a train with the various shapes, and build a block tower with the shapes. The “Puzzle” option brings you to a shape sorter where you match the shapes to the matching negative spaces in what looks like a wooden board. There is also an option on the top of the homepage for “Stories,” where there are little mini eBooks about shapes. (In all honestly, this is the one part of the app that Tommy is not interested in at all.) This app also has great options in the adults only section: you can change the language to English, Spanish, or French; buy 29 more categories to learn (including colors, letters, numbers, animals, food, musical instruments, and money- just to name a few!); change the theme of your reward stickers (picnic, underwater, or robots), and see a “report card” showing which shapes your child is getting right most of the time and which ones need more practice. There is SO much included in this app for FREE, and paying $3.99 to add the other categories is really a great deal. It’s so exciting to see when he is asked “find the octagon” and he picks it out among 5 or 6 other shapes!
- My Colors & I – My Digital Photo Story – Free (upgrade to full version for $1.99) – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch
This app is really only worthwhile if you pay for the upgrade. The free version uses a default child’s image, but with the full paid version of this app, you can upload your child’s photo and they will burst into giggle fits when they see themselves inserted into all sorts of silly scenes wearing costumes of different colors. You can choose between 15 different colors and it will display a screen covered in 9 cards with objects of the selected color. As you tap the objects, it tells you the name of the object and the card is lifted away to reveal part of the image underneath. The revealed image is a scene of the selected color with your child wearing a silly costume in the same color. There are over 50 unique costumes with different options for girls and boys. This app is so much fun, and Tommy’s 3 and 5 year old cousins couldn’t get enough of it, either. I like that it not only teaches colors, but also teaches over 100 vocabulary words with corresponding images, which is awesome for babies and young toddlers who are learning to talk.
*UPDATED 6/28/15- we added a new favorite shapes & colors app to the list!*
I was contacted by an app developer, Rico Zuñiga, with an offer for Tommy to try out his new app. We are always interested in the opportunity to experience new products and thank those who are generous enough to share with us. Most of the products that I recommend and review on this blog, Instagram, and Facebook, are products that I have found and purchased on my own or that we have received as gifts from friends or family. Whenever I do mention a product that I was given the chance to review for free (or if I was compensated in any way by a product’s maker or distributor), I will state it. I assure to all of Make Learn Go’s followers that I will only share positive reviews for products that Tommy and I truly do feel are great enough to recommend… and this app happens to be a really good one, so read on below for the review! 🙂
- Shape Match Kids – Alpabeto Games – current discounted price of $0.99 – iPhone & iPad
As I have mentioned before, Tommy LOVES puzzles, so this app was a hit with him right away! The game is set up like a shape sorter puzzle, with a shape’s outline shown at the top of the screen and a smaller shape below that the child taps and drags over to fit inside of it. As the child progresses through the levels, it gets more difficult- additional shapes are added in to make it harder to find a match, and various colors are added so that the child has to match not only the shape, but also the color. The app has music and sound effects (that can also be muted). The graphics are simple, but bright and engaging. I appreciate that this app has no ads or in-app purchases, and there is a “parents” section with news, upgrades, and support that can only be accessed by holding down your finger for 5 seconds. It’s so great to find apps that are easy for my just-turned-two year old to navigate and play without being constantly led out of the app by pop-ups and links. This app was clearly developed by a parent of a young child for parents of young children. I also love that this app teaches him shape recognition, color recognition and matching, and helps to sharpen his visual perceptual skills. It has quickly become a favorite app of Tommy’s, and would be a great addition to the app collection of any toddler or preschooler!
Do you have any favorite art, shapes, and colors apps that I should know about? Share in the comments! Or just download these ones, try them out, and let us know what you think about T’s favorites!