While technology was never originally intended for babies, and certainly research indicates that they should be exposed to screens sparingly, there is value in some of the visual stimulation that tech can provide.
When I was a little kid, one of my favorite television shows was Sesame Street. I always learned something new without realizing it and Big Bird was just the best character ever. He still is, by the way. That was screen time in the seventies.
Say ‘screen time’ now and it means something else entirely. Frankly, it’s no surprise to me when I see a 1 year old who can swipe a screen to the next page. Love it or hate it, technology is going to be a huge part of growing up for this latest and future generations.
While I’m sure we can all agree that screens aren’t babysitters and technology is something that needs to be limited and monitored, to eliminate a ready source of fascinating teaching opportunities disguised as FUN out of hand is also a mistake.
So without further ado, here are some great apps, divided by age, that your children can play with and master the art of the swipe:
Designed for children between 9 and 36 months of age, this app features a 7 key piano complete with bright colors, animated animal characters, freestyle playing or playing along with a nursery rhyme! There are 3 songs on the app now with more in development. Your kids can even record themselves playing and singing their hearts out. Download the FREE version from iTunes or upgrade to the full version!
Turn your phone into a rattle, with four sound options to choose from for when baby shakes it! There are also animations that engage when baby taps on the screen. This is a fun way to let your curious baby play with your phone in a way that is completely intuitive to them already. Download it from iTunes!
Baby’s Musical Hands
15 brightly colored squares, each playing a different note, make a fun and interactive musical playing app for babies to interact with. Your little one can exercise their inner Mozart while sprays of twinkling stars decorate the screen and keep them engaged for ages. Download it from iTunes!
Little ones can hear, see and start tracing all the letters of the alphabet with this intuitive app. Each letter has a unique illustration, music and your kids can learn how to ‘write’ them out by tracing them.
Little Red Hen
Narrated story books are the wave of the future. Your little one can follow along while you’re busy making dinner, as someone reads them their favorite story. For the 115th time. The Little Red Hen is a great story and an excellent read. Another favorite? The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton. If you don’t know her books, you’ll love the eBook versions with interactive treats to discover!
Toddler Flash Cards
Bilingualism is so much easier to achieve when kids are tiny, and these flash cards, available in 13 languages, will help! With spoken audio and animal sounds (where appropriate!), your kids will learn about animals, foods, objects and more, at the tap of a screen! Download the FREE version from iTunes or upgrade for more languages!
These days, kids are expected to know their letters and numbers before they even hit kindergarten. With this app, they can learn how to write alphabet letters in uppercase and lowercase, as well as a few words. They will also learn to count and write numbers up to 20. If you want to give them a head start, this is the app that will do it. Download it from iTunes!
Learn about farm animals in one of twelve languages, complete with animal sounds! It’s another great tool to introduce their tiny brains to different languages. Download it from iTunes!
This is a puzzle game, with 44 different puzzle pictures, that will help your little one learn shapes and develop their motor skills in much the same way a traditional puzzle will, without risk of losing all the pieces! The pictures come with sound effects, making it that much more fun! Download it from iTunes!
Sesame Street Go
This one is my favorite! Spend some time on the best street in the world, playing with friends who never get old! Video clips, games featuring your little one’s best-loved characters, all promoting learning through interactive fun! Download it from iTunes!
Whether it’s a few minutes so you can prepare dinner or a book you play with together, apps for the little ones can be instructive, fun and a great addition to the tools in your chest for teaching them and growing their little brain muscles!