What Educational Apps For Ipad – Meghan Popp » The Best Educational Apps for Toddlers and Preschoolers That Engage, Motivate, and Educate Kids
One of the biggest struggles we face as parents is how to instill digital savvy in our kids – while we don’t want to shield them from today’s latest technology (hello, iPad!), we want to make sure it does. What they are experiencing is still helping their little brains grow.
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Yes, we’re talking about screen time and, specifically, how to optimize it for younger children.
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Well moms, we’re here at What Moms Love to help with this confusion and banish that mom guilt that often comes with screen time once and for all.
We’ve searched high and low, tested with countless topics, and objectively experienced all the best digital apps on the market and put together our recommendations for the top 10 best educational apps for toddlers and preschoolers.
You don’t have to feel guilty about handing these to your child when it’s hard to get going, because each of them really encourages academic (and sometimes emotional) development…not to mention they’re all super fun and super engaging!
We’ve included not only our written recommendation, but also a trailer video for each app so you can easily get an idea of the general concept – making it easy for you to pick your favorites to download before the upcoming 6-hour journey.
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We want to emphasize that we are not advocating the use of tablets and apps as a substitute for real-life situations and interacting with your child. As we all know, simultaneous and imaginative play is of monumental importance at this age. Their little brains are like sponges! In fact, the AAP does not recommend using any screen media (other than video chatting) before age 18 months, and for children ages 2-5, they recommend limiting screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programming. He recommended that parents co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
And now, we’d like to present our tried-and-true list for toddlers and preschoolers, presented in no particular order:
This fun app takes your child from not reading to reading chapter books. It helps build real, long-term reading skills by focusing on the core curriculum of phonics and phonemic awareness, sight words, vocabulary, comprehension, and reading for meaning.
From the first lesson, children are motivated and excited to learn. And the journey continues with hundreds of online reading lessons and thousands of wonderful e-books, guiding and motivating your child every step of the way.
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We are blown away by the progress of our 4-5 year old testers. Many of them are going from being able to recognize a few letters, to knowing them all + their sounds + actually reading!
Theapp is highly interactive and uses fun characters, songs and rewards to motivate kids – they earn golden eggs that can be used to buy things for their avatar or home. All of our testers loved the reward eggs and happily completed their “lessons”.
You can also get detailed progress reports and have access to downloadable activity sheets of Reading Eggs that correspond with lessons in the app.
We recommend reading Eggsas, one of our “favorite finds” in our email newsletter, and have received the most amazing feedback from our subscribers telling us about their positive experiences with the app:
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Special offer: Reading Eggs is giving moms who love readers a 30-day trial to their entire program (including their Math Seeds) with this link!
The Avokiddo ABC Ride takes your child on an exciting adventure through the alphabet – keeping them fully engaged with tons of interactive fun. After choosing who you want to take on your adventure (Beck or Bo), you can start searching for letters through different challenges like catching apricots that fall from a tree or popping balloons to reveal the missing letter (B). After completing the game, ABC Ride puts the alphabet into action and your child can fill in the letters while listening to the letter names or phonetic sounds for words like “APRICOT” or “BALLOON”.
We like that you can adjust the difficulty level by choosing from lowercase or uppercase letters and whether the letters are shuffled or in order. Super fun and a great introduction to ABCs and basic phonics where your child will be excited to see what letter adventure comes next.
Between the gorgeous animation and accompanying music, this game was an absolute blast for our test subjects (and their parents too!). Each “level” requires Bugs to perform a different task that teaches concepts like numbers, colors, shapes and puzzles – finding all the matching colored fireflies to collect in a jar or manipulating a bumblebee through a maze. Our 3-year-old test subjects were challenged, but always encouraged, because each stage of the game was completely different from the last, so they were excited to see what was next.
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WML Recommended Age: Due to some more difficult touch manipulation (using two fingers on the screen instead of one), we recommend it for slightly older toddlers 3-5
It’s a great app to introduce your child to numbers and math concepts in a fun urban-setting. Stop by the Moose Juice Store and practice counting, addition and subtraction by making a smoothie, or swing by Lost and Found to group similar items together. By solving these problems, kids earn prizes to help build their own city and decorate the buildings (which they love!) – a great form of motivation for them to learn.
We particularly liked the parent “report card” that shows the thinking and learning process behind each game and what your little one is mastering or needs more work according to the app. Plus… you can’t beat the price!
While these apps are a little flashcard-y (that might be a word, right?!), they’re extremely entertaining and a hit with our toddler test subjects. Both apps help associate a letter or number with their sounds, and they also do a good job of explaining where the letter is in the alphabetical sequence or how the number is written.
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These apps require some parental help to understand the concepts, so they’re both great options when you want to sit down and work with your toddler on the basics of numbers and letters.
This app was a surprise finalist for us, but our youngest test tots couldn’t stop playing! It’s a great way to start teaching colors, letters and shapes – whether it’s choosing the right shaped alien to match the shapes on the flying saucers or putting together simple interactive puzzles.
We recommend Mama’s helping hand in the beginning to help them understand the games, but once shown, our kids were able to work independently through matching and puzzles, clapping between each correct and complete play. It will get your kids brain working!
Super entertaining and educational, this app can keep preschoolers engaged for a good amount of time… and bonus, they’re learning too! Drive About has a sort of Candy Land vibe, where you move your mode of transportation (from cars to submarines to rockets and hot air balloons) to various challenges and numbers and sequencing games.
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The educational element is “hidden” through fun activities such as slinging food into a whale’s mouth, catching numbers in a sea pickle using whack-a-mole tricks, or slaloming correctly numbered flags with a moose.
We loved that the app used a baby’s voice and fun sounds to explain, which our testers found incredibly engaging. It’s pure fun!
This entertaining app comes from the amazing line of fun apps from Sago Mini. They have so many, it was hard to pick just one, but we found Puppy Preschool to be the most educational. It provides exciting ways for children to learn about colors, spatial recognition, music (thanks to the colorful puppy xylophone!) and an introduction to numbers.
We love the way this app encourages kids to freely play and explore – teaching them how to handle things appropriately with the tablet screen.
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There are few apps that we would venture to say we wouldn’t count as our adult screensaver because of the visual appeal, but Metamorphabet is beautifully made and mesmerizing to watch. This allows the child to focus on one letter at a time and see some examples of how that letter connects to common words (which they can discover by touching the letter and moving things around). This app is a great choice for an early introduction to the alphabet and especially for engaging our younger children.
Well, before you get scared off by the prices of some of these full apps, let’s just say we’re quite skeptical
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