Henry loves to play on the iPhone and the iPad. I was completely entranced watching him first learn how to use them. Not only as a parent, but also as a developer/designer. Their movements are so pure, which means they let you see wrong decisions and choices a designer made immediately. What I found most interesting, if he didn’t like the feel of an app right away, he’d never go back to it. He seems to believe it should work intuitively or it’s a waste of time. It was either good or bad, period. I tended to agree with his opinion, so I started to hunt down some games that would be good for him. Out of the all the apps we’ve tried, there’s been 3 major winners. It’s hard to find apps your kids will really enjoy at a young age, so I thought I’d share our winners.
Please Note: This is by no means a sponsored or paid review. These are purely our honest feelings of three toddler approved apps.
Endless ABC – Hands down major winner in this house. It’s a letter matching game that is loads of fun. It focuses on the letter sounds more than the names, which coincides his Montessori training. Best of all, the words are way beyond the three-letter words we are used to seeing put in front of them. There are words like quarrel, juggle, gargle, and gargantuan. After they successfully match the letters the word is used in a sentence and acted out. It’s great. I just wasted 5 minutes playing while looking up sample words!
He started using it around age 2 and a half when it first came out in beta mode. He understood how it worked immediately and within 2 minutes we were all giggling at the monster letters. I rarely buy apps. I’ll spend $5 on a coffee without batting an eye, but you have to convenience me you are amazing to spend 99 cents on an app. This app comes in at $4.99 and frankly I’d buy it for $14.99. It’s great. He still plays it today, a lot. They do a good job adding new words often.
Next is Zoo Train. This was our first major hit. Henry started playing this when we was somewhere in his ones. He plays it from time to time now, but this really was his go to app last year. They just recently did a major update, so he’s shown a bit more interest again. This has a few different games within one app. There are 4 to 8 piece puzzles, letter matching, train track matching, and plays some songs. The train track matching got a little difficult at age 2, but he eventually mastered it. It’s the part he primarily plays with now. This rings in at $1.99 and it worth every penny! They do release an update here or there, but not as often as I’d like to see.
The third rock star app is actually a bundle of apps. One of them is the My Little Town. These are done by a German company called Wonderkind Interaktionsmedien GmbH. There is a My Little Town, My Zoo Animals, Tiny Firefighters and Animal Circus app. The apps are very unique. Each one comes with a free scene so you can check it out before giving up your latte money. They run 99 cents to $2.99 each to unlock all the scenes depending on the app. Essentially the app has multiple hotspots around the environment that you click to get an action or sound out of. We own every one and Henry loves playing them over and over again. He was very entertained at a young 2 and is still entertained today as a mid-3 year old. These work well on both the iPad and the iPhone, but they are best on the iPad.
We are always looking for a new apps to try out. If you have an app to share, please do!