I’ve seen the look of horror on people’s faces when they see my 20-month-old swiping and poking away on our iPad. I know they are thinking “Isn’t she too young?” Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn. At 20-months, I have already seen the payoff in the dozens of apps I have purchased for her. Whether it is her advanced vocabulary, growing knowledge of her ABCS and 123s or basic memory skills, I attribute a good portion of it to the wonderful iPad apps being built by smart and talented developers.
So what are some of these apps turning my little girl into a pint-sized prodigy and burgeoning tech wiz? Below is Part 1 of an introduction to our favorite apps for the under-2 set. (Please note: when apps have multiple levels for different age ranges, I will just be reviewing the portions of the app relevant to my little one.)
Night & Day Studios are the developers of these three apps, created to build your child’s vocabulary and learn about cause & effect. Each app encourages the child to tap either a barn, refrigerator door or animal habitat, so a different animal or food item pops out and surprises your kids. The art for each app is beautifully done, and the surprise appearances are randomized. The Forest and Barn apps also educate children on the sounds their favorite animals make.
Some more love for Night & Day Studios! Both of these apps incorporate the beautiful artwork of Eric Carle, with the famous Hungry Caterpillar showing up. The math-themed Counting with the Very Hungry Caterpillar has multiple levels to appeal to children all the way up to 5. For my youngest, we usually stick with Level 1, which, according to the developer, introduces the concept of counting. Players have to eat each fruit as instructed by the narrator, with the names and symbols for numbers one through twelve appearing on screen as you munch away on fproduce. Level 2 starts to introduce vocabulary as players are asked to eat only specific fruits.
Eric Carle’s My Very First App takes the illustrations from My Very First Books and also put them into different levels of game play: Easy (ages 1-3), Medium (ages 2 and up) and Hard (ages 3 and up). Easy has players matching the top portion of the screen with the bottom. For example, match the color white to a snowman or bees to a honeycomb. The Medium mode – which may actually be easier for some children – is based on the standard game of Memory, flipping cards over to make matches. There are different themed card sets (Colors, Animal Homes) and additional ones are available for purchase.
This app, from Brain Freeze Entertainment, is surely one of the reasons the iPad was created. Mixing a storybook/TV show format, humorous animation, simple gameplay and elements of surprise throughout, this is a one-of-a-kind app. My daughter has had an interest in Mother Goose stories since she got a Humpty Dumpty doll from NH-theme park Storyland. When looking for Mother Goose apps, I found some decent options, but this leads the gaggle. With humorous animated interludes that will appeal to adults as well as kids and four casual games, your child will soon be reciting poems about tuffets and blind mice. .
One of your favorite childhood books makes it way to the iPad. And while you won’t be able to feel dad’s rough beard or smell the flowers, Random House Digital has a bunch of other tricks up their sleeve. Fourteen interactive scenes have made this app one of our little girl’s favorites. Whether watering flowers in the garden, velcroing Judy’s shoes, catching butterflies, hunting for Bunny or using the front-facing camera as a mirror, it will take a while before your child tires of this app.
Although this television property never quite found its footing in the United States, this app is not one to ignore. From BBC Worldwide, this app lets your toddler interact with the characters from this popular global TV property. Visit the gentle ‘Night Garden’ where users can play simple games with characters like Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy and Makka Pakka. This app is probably one of the most simple for young users with basic touch activities like washing faces, touching flashing hidden objects, and making characters dance. It is also a great introduction to a unique television property worth finding on home video.
Check out some of these apps for your tech-happy toddler, and look for another roundup soon!