Favorite iPad, iPhone & iPod touch Games & (FREE!) Video Apps for Babies & Toddlers

Favorite Games & Video Apps (iPad & iPhone) for Babies & ToddlersI’ll wrap up our series of posts about Tommy’s favorite apps (for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) by sharing his favorite games and video apps. Some of these apps are educational and some are purely for fun. All of them keep him busy and put a smile on his face. Read on below for a round-up of some of the most entertaining apps that Tommy has loved, categorized by age.

Favorite Games for 0-1 Year Olds:

  • Giggle Gang – Fisher-Price – Free – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

FP_Giggle GangThis app was one of Tommy’s first favorite games on my iPhone. It is essentially the same as the Laugh & Learn™ Shapes & Colors Music Show app by Fisher Price. Level 1 has six cute characters that pop up when you tap the screen. When you tap on them, they giggle, and you can even record your own little one’s giggle. Level 2 has all of the characters up on a stage. When you tap on a character, it will come forward and dance to a little jingle about its name. After you have tapped the characters a few times, they all perform a song together. There is also a little piano at the bottom of the screen that plays notes when you tap it. This sweet app is great for young toddlers and babies.

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  • Storybook Rhymes Volume 1 – Fisher-Price – Free – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

FP_Storybook1Another great app by Fisher Price, this one flips through two nursery rhymes (One, Two Buckle My Shoe and The Itsy Bitsy Spider) page by page. For each nursery rhyme, you can choose to either “Read & Sing” or to “Read & Play.” The “Read & Sing” option sings the song as it highlights the words and a short animation plays for each page. “Read & Play” follows the words to the rhyme as it is narrated. If you click on the different parts of the interactive pages, objects and characters move and make sounds. At the end of the “storybook” for either option, the whole song plays with an adorable animated scene. Lots of fun for little ones!

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  • Storybook Rhymes Volume 2 – Fisher-Price – Free – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

FP_Storybook2This app is exactly like Storybook Rhymes Volume 1, except with two different nursery rhymes: Row, Row, Row Your Boat and The Animal Fair.

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  • Storybook Rhymes Volume 3 – Fisher-Price – Free – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

FP_Storybook3Again, this is identical t0 Storybook Rhymes Volume 1 and Storybook Rhymes Volume 2 , except with two new nursery rhymes: Hickory, Dickory, Dock and Pat-a-Cake.

    

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  • Elmo Calls – Sesame Street – $1.99 – iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

Elmo CallsMy Elmo-loving boy thinks this app is great! It basically lets your little one receive phone calls and video calls from their best buddy Elmo. There are even silly voice mails they can listen to. When they get a video call from Elmo, a little screen shows up in the corner using the front-facing camera to show what you are up to (like FaceTime or Skype). T loves watching himself almost as much as he enjoys watching Elmo. It’s a very cute app!

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  • Cookie Calls – Sesame Street – $1.99 – iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

Cookie CallsThis app is exactly like Elmo Calls, but with Cookie Monster instead. There are funny video calls, phone calls, and voice mail messages featuring your pal Cookie Monster. If you have a Sesame Street fan in the house, buy the bundle and get both apps!

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Favorite Games for 1 & 2 Year Olds:

  • Laugh & Learn™ Where’s Puppy’s Nose? – Fisher-Price – Free – iPad

FP_Where is PuppyThis is a great game for kids who are learning their body parts! Level 1 lets you tap on a body part on Puppy and it tells you what it is called. Level 2 asks you “Where is Puppy’s ___?” and you have to tap on the right body part. There is also the option to switch to the Kitty character. Both have a cute little frog sidekick that waves and dances. It’s a simple game with cute music and fun animation- great for toddlers!

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  • Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer – Sago Sago – Free – iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

Sago Mini OceanThis is a really funny game! It’s such a simple concept- you just drag a little fish through the ocean and as you approach different objects and characters, he interacts with them. You can explore from the water’s surface down to the sea floor and scroll on and on in either direction. As you move along and tap on things, creatures pop out, the fish hides, he puts on costumes, eats things… the options are seemingly endless! Every time we play this game, I see something that we haven’t found before.

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  • Bugs & Buttons – Little Bit Studio, LLC – $2.99 – iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

Bugs and ButtonsYou get so much for the price with this app! The graphics are beautiful and realistic, and there are 18 different games to choose from. Toddlers will need assitance playing some of these games, but many are simple enough for a one-and-a-half or two-year-old to play independently. Games include flinging bugs onto a flower with a slingshot, completing patterns with colored buttons, counting bugs, tic-tac-toe, catching bugs, sorting colored buttons, picking apples, connect-the-dots, catching buttons as they fall off a moving truck, helping a bug get through a maze, sorting colored fireflies into jars, bug races, navigating a flying butterfly around obstacles, finding hidden bugs, a picture matching memory game, and a letter train. This app cleverly teaches kids hand-eye coordination by adding obstacles into the games and having them manipulate the screen in a variety of ways by tapping, dragging, pulling, pushing or pinching objects on the screen and even physically tilting the screen to help objects move. There is so much educational value in this app and hours upon hours of entertainment. It is an app that will grow with your child so that they will love it for years. Worth every penny and more!

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  • Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Play at Home with Daniel – PBS KIDS – $2.99 (or buy Daniel Tiger Collection bundle of 3 apps for $5.99) – iPad

Daniel Tigers NeighborhoodThese apps are so great- especially for a little one who loves Daniel Tiger as much as mine does! This app has 5 games included. You can play with a doctors kit, use various instruments to make music that shows different emotions (happy, sad, angry), explore the bathroom (flushing the potty, brushing teeth, washing hands), help put Daniel to sleep, and create a picture using different scenes and stickers (or even your own photographs). Very fun, educational, and cute, cute, cute!

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  • Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings – PBS KIDS – $2.99 (or buy Daniel Tiger Collection bundle of 3 apps for $5.99) – iPad

Daniel Tiger Grrific FeelingsThis app is all about feelings (as many episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood are). There are 4 games within this app. The music box plays little videos with 18 different songs about specific feelings. The drawing easel lets you make a picture using markers, crayons, paint, stickers, and photos. The feelings photo booth uses the front-facing camera and asks you to take photos making faces showing certain emotions (also demonstrated by Daniel Tiger). The trolley game is Tommy’s favorite part of this app. It’s a little board game where you use a spinner with different shapes and move the trolley along to corresponding markers on the board. Then you complete a series of mini-games to help move the game along. The photo booth pictures are also positioned along the game board showing the different emotions. Very fun, and T has learned a lot about feelings and how to interact better with others by playing this game!

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  • Daniel Tiger’s Day & Night – PBS KIDS – $2.99 (or buy Daniel Tiger Collection bundle of 3 apps for $5.99) – iPad

Daniel Tiger Day and NightThis app goes through the steps of Daniel Tiger’s songs that remind him the processes of getting ready for school as well as getting ready for bed. In the “Good Morning” part of the app, you wake up Daniel Tiger, then help him get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, put on shoes, and head off to school on the trolley. The different steps have a lot of options within them… for example, for the “eat breakfast” step, you help set the table, then add toppings to Daniel’s pancakes, and finally you can watch a silly animation “imagining” your decorated pancake dancing. The “Good Night” part of the app lets you help Daniel take a bath, brush his teeth, put on his pajamas, read a story and sing a song, and then go to sleep. The “Good Night Daniel” song and video are so sweet, and T could watch this part over and over again. The “brush teeth” step of this game is the most simple, but has been great for us. T used to scream and fight every time I brushed his teeth, but after helping Daniel Tiger brush his teeth in the morning and before bed, he has learned that it’s not so bad after all. We LOVE this app!

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Favorite FREE Video Apps for Babies & Toddlers:

  • PBS KIDS Video – PBS KIDS – Free – iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

PBS kidsThis app is T’s favorite for watching videos. It is so easy to navigate, with a sidebar showing character icons to help little ones easily scroll between all of the PBS Kids shows. T’s favorites are Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and Super Why, and he can easily find them by choosing the picture of the corresponding character. They can watch full episodes of the shows, as well as video clips. Amazing!

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  • Nick Jr. – Nickelodeon – Free – iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

Nick JrFor free, you can choose video clips to watch from various Nick Jr. shows, and if you log in with your cable account, you can watch full episodes and even live TV. The main menu is a little jumbled, but shows all of the different shows in one place, or you can tap the “Friends” icon at the top of the page to choose a specific show by selecting an icon with a character’s picture (similar to the PBS Kids app). This is a great app!

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  • YouTube Kids Youtube – Free – iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

YouTube KidsT could scroll through this app all day long if I let him. It has music, video, learning and exploration channels, and all are totally kid-friendly! The content is uploaded from all over the world, so there are fun shows that kids here in the U.S. won’t find on TV. I swear he’s learning Russian from all of the episodes of “Masha and the Bear” that he watches! There are also these strange videos just showing hands opening plastic Easter eggs and playing with cars that he LOVES. And Tayo the bus! He loves this app!

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What are your favorite toddler games and video apps for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch? Any that we missed? Share in the comments below!

And don’t forget to check out our Favorite ABC & 123 Apps for Toddlers, our Favorite Art, Shapes & Colors Apps for Toddlers and our Favorite Puzzle and Sorting Apps for Toddlers.

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Countdown Calendar for Out-of-Town Parents

My husband travels quite a bit for business, but it’s usually only one or two nights once or twice a month. This past week, though, Dada went away on a week-long “man trip” to hike and mountain bike in Utah, and I was worried about how  little Tommy (23 months old) would handle it. He LOVES his time with his daddy and has certain routines that revolve around their time together, so I knew that 7 nights with just mommy would be a challenge. T will ask for Dada every night when he expects him to come home from work and then again in the morning when my husband routinely gets him out of his crib and changes his diaper while I slowly drag myself out of bed.

In an effort to help T understand that Dada was going on a trip, I brought him to the airport with me to say goodbye and send him off. I explained to him that Daddy was going on an airplane and would be home in seven days. He said his goodbyes and seemed okay with it, and I realized that he did understand that Daddy was traveling when we were out later that day and he kept pointing at airplanes in the sky and saying “Dada! Dada!”

But when we were at home later that night, he started looking around the house for Daddy and getting upset. I knew that there had to be a better way to help him understand that Dada would not be home for a few more days, but that he would indeed come home eventually. So, I decided to make a little countdown calendar.

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I just drew a simple calendar with the days of the week from the day Daddy left to the day that he would return (Monday through Monday). Then, rather than listing the actual date, we counted down the number of nights left until he would return. On the final day, we pasted a picture of Daddy. Then, each morning when T woke up, we would go to the calendar and put an X through the previous day. Any time during the day that Tommy asked for Dada, I would take him to the calendar and point to the number and ask him “How many more nights until Dada comes home?” and he could look at the calender and tell me.

After the second night with the countdown calendar, he understood what was going on and stopped looking for Dada at bedtime and in the morning, and instead would tell me “Dada airplane” or “Dada bye bye” or “See you soon Dada.” It made him excited to see the days getting crossed off and was a great visual to help him comprehend that each day that passed was getting closer to the day when he would get to see his daddy again. On the final day, he kept shouting “One day Dada home!” to all of our friends and neighbors.

We will definitely be doing this from now when my husband goes out of town, and it would also be a great idea if we ever get a chance to go on a getaway together and have to leave him overnight with a babysitter or relative. It could work, too, for a little one with a sibling going away for summer camp, or even to look forward to an event, like a countdown starting the week before grandma comes to visit or a birthday countdown.

Do your little ones have a hard time when a parent goes out of town? What are some tips that help you pass the days? Share in the comments!

Favorite ABCs & 123s Apps (iPad, iPhone & iPod touch) for Toddlers

Here we go with our roundup of Tommy’s favorite ABCs &  123s apps! Favorite ABCs & 123s Apps (iPad & iPhone) for Toddlers I attribute much of T’s alphabet and number recognition skills to the use of these apps. When he started using the iPad to learn letters and numbers, his interest in it soared and now he is more excited about practicing using real puzzles, flashcards, magnets, books, etc. The iPad made letters and numbers more interesting to him, and now he just can’t get enough! He is 22 months old and can recite the entire alphabet on his own, can identify all of his letters (uppercase and most lowercase), and knows many of his phonics sounds. He can count up to 13 on his own and can identify numbers up to 10. These apps are excellent practice for him and he’s learning more every day! Favorite Alphabet Apps:

  • Elmo Loves ABCs – Sesame Street – $4.99 (Free for lite version with letters A, B & C only) – iPad

Elmo Loves ABCsMy boy is obsessed with Elmo, and, thanks in large part to this app, he is now also obsessed with his ABCs! He started using this app when he was just over a year old and he has absolutely loved it. My nieces (who are 3 and 5) aren’t even big Sesame Street fans, but they enjoy this app, too. You can choose any letter from the menu and then it asks you to trace the letter to open the next screen. The “tracing” doesn’t have to be precise… he could swipe his finger over the letter a few times and get past this step when he was about 13 months old. Then you can watch Sesame Street video clips about the letter or you can choose from the side bar to open a drawing page or a hidden objects game. There is also the option to open a screen that asks you to touch a specific letter (uppercase and lowercase) or an object that starts with a specific letter, and then it shows you a video clip relating to that letter and picture. The whole game is narrated by Elmo. Very cute app with tons of educational and entertainment value- it’s worth every penny to upgrade to the full game and practice the entire alphabet! IMG_0453IMG_0456IMG_0457IMG_0458IMG_0460IMG_0454

  • Laugh & Learn™ Learning Letters Puppy – Fisher-Price – Free – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

FP_PuppyLike the other Fisher Price apps, this one is very simple and is a good starter app for young toddlers and babies. In addition to ABCs, this app also teaches numbers 1-10 and shapes and colors. From the home menu, if you tap the ABC button, your little one can tap their way through the alphabet. Every time they tap the screen, it will bring up the next letter in the alphabet with a cute animation of an object or animal that starts with that letter, followed by the alphabet song after the letter Z. If you tap the 123 button on the home menu, your child can tap the screen and see numbers and animations counting up to 10, followed by a counting song. The shapes button on the home menu is the same thing but for shapes and colors. When you tap once, it tells you the shape, then a second tap tells you the color of the shape. There are also 2 cute shapes and colors songs. The music notes button on the home screen lets you cycle through the various songs that are included in the other parts of the app. IMG_6726  IMG_6729  IMG_6730IMG_6731  IMG_6737  IMG_6744

  • Endless Alphabet – Originator Inc. – $6.99 – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

Endless AlphabetI was skeptical about paying $7 for an app that didn’t have a “lite” version that we could try out first, but Endless Alphabet turned out to be a paid app that is definitely worth the money spent! This adorable app has a bunch of words that you can choose from, and then you match the letters to the word like a puzzle. The letters make their phonic sound and turn into cute little monsters when you touch them. Once the puzzle is completed, a little animation plays with a monster acting out what the word means. You can also click the word bubble at the top of the page to hear a definition of the word. Tommy loves this one and I love how much he is learning from it. New words are constantly being added (hence the use of the word endless in the app’s name). There is definitely endless fun and learning to be had with this app! IMG_0540  IMG_0542IMG_0543  IMG_0546

  • AlphaTots Alphabet – Spinlight Studio – $2.99 – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

Alpha TotsThis app is great! From the home screen, you can choose a letter of the alphabet, and a voice will say the name of the letter as well as the phonics sound (or sounds) that the letter makes. I love hearing Tommy repeat the phonics sounds back- it’s a fun way for him to practice! Then it enters into a mini-game centered around performing an action word that begins with that letter. For example, ADD candles to a birthday cake for the letter A, or FIX a broken bicycle for the letter F. There is a new mini game for each letter of the alphabet. This is different and fun, since most alphabet apps (as well as kids books, puzzles, and toys) focus on nouns like animals, household objects, or foods rather than adjectives. From the menu, you can also tap the tab that has an “Aa” with arrows to switch to lowercase letters (which only changes to lowercase letters in the menu, so this option doesn’t really do a whole lot). If you click the tab with music notes, you can to hear the alphabet song and the corresponding letters show as the song is sung. The “A-Z” in a circle at the bottom of the menu opens a screen where you tap on each letter of the alphabet in order and hear it- to practice reciting the alphabet in the correct order. This is a great app for toddlers to practice their ABCs and sharpen their problem solving skills at the same time through the mini games. IMG_0547  IMG_0549 IMG_0550  IMG_0648

  • abc WOW! – Bologna Games – Free (upgrade to full version for $2.99) – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

ABC wowThis is a very fun and easy to use app with bright colors, cute music, and lovely artwork! This app uses only lowercase letters, which I like. Most ABC apps show the lowercase letter alongside the uppercase letter, but rarely alone. Many don’t even include lower case letters at all! This is a fairly simple app, so it works well on a small screen. I keep this one on my iPhone for the little rascal to play with when we have a particularly long wait in the car or if he is starting to lose it at a restaurant while we wait for our meal. The free version only includes a few letters and the ABC song, but if you upgrade, the menu will give you 3 options. The the top “letters” button lets you see the letters of the alphabet one by one. When you touch the letter, it turns into a cute image that starts with the letter and also looks like it. Super cute! The “find the letter” option on the menu gives you 4 lowercase letters and asks you to find a specific letter. When you tap the correct letter, it turns into the image of the object and tells you “a is for apple” or whatever the letter and object are. The “abc song” option sings a fun version of the classic ABC song with the letters showing up in order as the song goes along. IMG_6004   IMG_6800   IMG_6801IMG_6005   IMG_6802   IMG_6006

  • ABC Alphabet Phonics – Innovative Investments Limited – Free – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

ABCThis app is very basic, but excellent for learning! It just puts a few letters up on the screen and asks you to touch a specific letter. It makes a little error sound if you choose the wrong letter, and the narrating voice offers praise after each correct answer, saying things like “Super!” and “Sweet!” I have heard Tommy saying things like “Perfect!” when we are playing a game together and I do something right, and I’m pretty sure he’s learning it from this app. The best part about this app (besides the fact that it is FREE) is that the settings offer so many ways to customize it to your child’s learning level. You can change the difficulty by displaying anywhere from 1 to 10 items at a time. You can choose from the library to show any combination of uppercase and lowercase letters and phonic sounds, as well as many different options of letters with fun little illustrations next to them. A great learning tool for toddlers! IMG_0539

  • Little Matchups ABCInnovative Investments Limited – Free – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

Little Matchups ABCThis is the best app for learning to match lowercase and uppercase letters! We just downloaded this one recently, and T has been choosing to use this app a lot. I thought that it might seem kind of boring to him, since there’s not a whole lot to it, but he seems to really enjoy it. He has been working on taking a couple of lowercase letters and matching them up with their corresponding uppercase letters and vice versa. This app also offers a lot of customization options in the settings. You can choose to display between 1 to 8 items, show letters with animal illustrations or plain, and you can even add in letter sounds. Instead of a letter, it will show a little button that you tap to hear the phonic sound and then you match the correct letter to that sound. What an awesome (and FREE!) app for learning letters! IMG_0645 Favorite Numbers Apps:

  • Laugh & Learn™ Let’s Count Animals for – Fisher-Price – Free – iPad

FP_CountingThis cute app is a great first numbers app for young toddlers or babies. I doesn’t require any action other than tapping to hear the name of the animal and number and tapping the arrow to move on to the next number. After the number six, there is a short animation and the song “Six Little Ducks,” and after the number 10 there is another sweet song about visiting the zoo. The animations and songs are adorable and a fun way to introduce your little one to numbers 1-10! IMG_0449  IMG_0450

  • Elmo Loves 123s – Sesame Street – $2.99 (Free for lite version with numbers 1, 2 & 3 only) – iPad

Elmo Loves 123sThis app is equally as loved by Tommy (and Mommy!) as the Elmo Loves ABCs app is. It teaches the numbers 1 through 20 similarly to the Elmo Loves ABCs app- through tracing, videos, and games. From the home screen, if you tap on Abby Cadabby, you enter a game where you have to match the correct number of objects to a certain number of characters. For example, give one T-shirt to nine chickens. Then, you tap the check mark when you think you have the correct number and Abby will tell you if it is correct or not and move you along to another step of the game. Different steps ask you to add or subtract objects to get a new number. This is a great part of the app to work on together. If you tap on a number from the main menu, it opens a screen where you trace the number. Again, the “tracing” is very easy and just swiping a finger over it a few times will unlock the next screen. From the next screen, there is the option open a videos screen where you can watch 3 different Sesame Street video clips about the selected number, to open a coloring screen with 3 different coloring pages featuring the number, or to open a games screen. The games screen is the part of this app that Tommy likes best. There is a game where you grab the correct number of a certain type of animal and drop them into a bucket. There is another game where you have to find the number hidden in a scene. And there is a puzzle game with a few different versions of 6 and 9 piece puzzles featuring the number. This app teaches so much more than just numbers! A must-have for toddlers and definitely worth much more than the $2.99 it costs! IMG_0461  IMG_0462IMG_0463  IMG_0464 IMG_0465  IMG_0466IMG_0467  IMG_0469

  • TallyTots Numbers – Spinlight Studio – $2.99 – iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

Tally TotsThis is the numbers version of AlphaTots, and it is just as much fun! The main menu shows numbers 1-20, and if you tap a number it brings you to a mini game that helps practice counting to that number. It’s great because if you tap on 8, it will start counting from 1 up to 8 and then it will open the mini game. I have heard Tommy counting along with this app and it is so great to see him counting! The mini games are really fun and have options like putting 10 shapes in a puzzle, adding 17 pennies to a piggy bank or feeding 19 acorns to a chipmunk. T thinks the games are so funny, and I love knowing that he’s learning, too! From the main menu, the circle at the bottom with music notes sings a cute song that counts to 20 and shows the corresponding number of images from the mini games. The “123” circle at the bottom of the menu page opens a screen with the numbers 1-100 that you tap in order to count along to 100. Since Tommy started playing this app last week, I have seen him lining up his toys and pointing to count them- something he was never very interested in when I tried to do it with him. We LOVE TallyTots! IMG_0649  IMG_0651 IMG_0652  IMG_0653

Do you have any favorite apps for learning letters and numbers? Share in the comments! Or just download these ones, try them out, and let us know how you liked them!

Stay tuned for one more post about Tommy’s favorite apps- and don’t forget to check out our Favorite Art, Shapes, and Colors Apps for Toddlers, our Favorite Puzzle and Sorting Apps for Toddlers, and our Favorite Games & Video Apps for Toddlers.