Saturday , 19 April 2014

10 Best iPhone Apps for Babies

elmos_monster_makerYes, I know. I have a whole store filled with toys, so why is my toddler playing with my iPhone? It’s worse than that. When I upgraded last year to the new iPhone 3Gs, my son actually inherited a (deactivated) iPhone of his own. But that thing has been a life saver, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I’ve searched and searched for a round-up of the best iPhone apps for babies and toddlers, and I couldn’t find anything good. So I took it upon myself to invest some time and money, and I downloaded a whole bunch of apps. Here are my 10 favorite for kids age 2 and under.

Peek a Boo Barn/Peek a Boo Wild Peek a Boo Barn has been a favorite from very early on. When my son was just 9 months old, he figured out the cause and effect – touch the barn and the animals appear. Peek a Boo Wild is a similar concept, but with wild animals. The kids’ voices saying the names of the animals makes me smile every time. $1.99 each (Peek a Boo Barn also comes in a free lite edition).

Balloonimals This is just a beautiful app. Blow into the microphone on your phone to inflate the balloon, then shake the phone to form luminous, complex balloon animals. Once complete, they come to life when you poke them. All three of my kids love this one. $1.99 (also comes in a free lite edition).

Elmo’s Monster Maker Another app with broad appeal and incredible graphics. Choose a monster, add eyes, nose and a hat, then introduce your monster to Elmo. The monsters aren’t simple cartoons – they look just as real as anything your kids see on Sesame Street every day, and they’re funny too. In other words, this app will delight everyone in the family. $3.99 (and worth every penny).

Tiny Tunes Toy Piano Choose a set of instruments (ranging from piano to xylophone to cartoon sound effects) and tap the colorful keys to play along the diatonic scale. Animated characters add to the fun, but it’s all about making music. $0.99

Fisher Price See n’ Say A great adaptation of the classic toy, a flick of the finger turns the spinner. When it lands, it makes the customary animal noise, and then fades to a live-action video clip featuring the designated farm animal. $1.99

Wheels on the Bus/Itsy Bitsy Spider/Old Mac These apps by Duck Duck Moose are beautifully done. They are essentially interactive, musical board books, best when shared between an adult and a child. Each screen plays a musical phrase of the song, and features a beautifully drawn scene with elements that respond to touch. The music is good quality, and can be downloaded in many languages. $0.99-$1.99

White Noise Baby This app is really useful. It offers 17 different background noises with adjustable volume and a timer. I love the baby rattle, a bonus feature that also happens to be the nicest rattle app I’ve found. $0.99

Uncolor Wipe off the black to reveal a colorful graphic underneath. The artwork is really nice, and it’s a simple, intriguing cause and effect game. Older toddlers will have fun trying to guess which picture they’re about to reveal. $0.99 (also available for iPad)

Tappy Tunes This app features over 80 well-known melodies, and babies play the song by tapping on the screen. It’s a great way to develop awareness of rhythm, since the notes follow the rhythm of the tapping, and not based on the rhythm of the original tune. You can also just play the melodies outright. $1.99 (also available in a free lite edition).

Adam’s Game This app is great for toddlers who are starting to understand language. It shows three images and asks the toddler to touch a certain one. Get it right and the app cheers; get it wrong and it says “uh oh.” You can customize it with pictures of family members and record your own voice, too. $0.99

And what about older kids? My older girls have an iPod Touch, and are are both huge fans of the App store. I consulted them for their top recommended apps for kids, and here’s what they came up with.

Doodle Jump True to the warning, this game is addictive. But it’s also really easy to learn and fun for all ages. Just try not to be embarrassed when your kid beats your high score. $0.99 (also available for iPad).

Goofy Mad Libs Just like the books, this is a really fun game to play with older kids. Fill in the words and make wacky stories that’ll have everyone cracking up. $3.99

Jumbo Match A basic matching game, but my kids love that they have over ten different themes to choose from. $0.99

Cupcakes! Choose the batter, bake the cupcakes and decorate them. It’s a simple, delicious idea, but my kids never get tired of it. They can email photos of the finished product to dieting family members for extra fun. $0.99

Art Studio There are lots of painting and drawing apps, but I think this is the best one. It isn’t free, like Scribble Lite, but it is robust and it will encourage your budding little artist to expand her skills. $3.99 (also available for iPad).

26 comments

  1. Babies first tv have great iphone application too

  2. Sheri –
    Thanks for posting this list…
    I have to agree with your choices (and you have one or two I don’t that I will have to try out!)

    I’d also add (I know this is more than 10!)
    Dr. Suess books (ABC and Cat in the Hat) – the stories are read aloud and you can touch to interact with the words and pictures
    Baby Cortex apps (Baby Piano, Baby Memory, Baby Flash) – very nicely done apps!
    Elias Smiles apps (EliasABC and EliasZOO) – flash card apps
    Zinc Roe apps (Sound Shaker, Count Caddy, Pattern Painter, there are more…)
    Loeschware apps (5 Monkeys, Old MacDonald, My ABC Train) – my daugher especially loves singing 5 Little Monkeys jumping on the bed…

    For slightly older, preschool age:
    Learning Touch apps (First Letters and First Words) excellent for learning letters and sounding out words
    SpinArt
    KidArt
    Preschool Adventure (1 app includes: colors, numbers, matching, shapes, typing, sounds and art)

    As a teacher, I amazed at the educational content available for the iPhone! It’s great!

    – Jackie

  3. I was wondering if you know if any of these apps are available on the Android operating system? Some of us parents don’t have iPhones!

  4. Patricia, that’s a great question. I’ve never used Android, so I’m not sure. But from what I can tell, many app developers are converting successful apps from one platform to the other to be able to broaden their reach. So if any of these are not yet available, hopefully it’s just a matter of time.

  5. We recommend Talking Carl — he repeats what you say. Our 5 year old laughs out loud every time he plays it. YOu can also tickle Carl and make him laugh. Always a hit!

  6. My recommendation: never let your baby or toddler know that such things exist! (This isn’t an ant-tv or media comment, my kids watch more TV than they probably should, just a way to make sure they don’t steal your phone every 30 seconds!) My friends who let their toddlers use their iPhone regret they ever let them see it.

  7. For classic children’s stories, check out http://www.onceuponanapp.com

    “Tale of Peter Rabbit” has been listed as a “Staff Favorite” in the iTunes App Store for several weeks running, and the newest app “ABC Book of Funny Animals” is not your typical ABC app.

  8. Thank you for this article, I stumbled upon it and I am happy I did. I have 4 girls and they love playing with my iPhone and I am always looking for other good games that get ratings to install and let them play with. Also as a mother I am trying to help other parents and first time parents in any way I can. I am a app developer and I am making lots of great free new apps. The newest one is 50,000 baby names. To see our other FREE apps check out my website that lists all of my other apps http://www.pregnancytoolspro.com/ Thank you!
    Jen

  9. Baby Helper definitely belongs on that list. Most useful app.

  10. Cell phone radiation is damaging to the brains of children. The NIH and the WHO have recently taken cautious stances towards cell phones (which is sign enough that there is something amiss), but the research data exists. Info: http://www.environmentalhealthtrust.org/content/babies-and-iphones-horrifying-combination

  11. check out this app, Baby Animal Balloons. It’s from Little Lap Time ( http://www.littlelaptime.com ) and is super cute, made for 1-2 year olds. available for iphone, ipad and android.
    (incidentally, I’m the dad and creator of the app)

  12. Great list! I really like the PBS Kids apps for babies, there are a few really good ones that are free. The PBS Photo Booth is great: http://appsforkid.com/2011/09/24/pbs-kids-photo-factory/

    Also, for learning the alphabet and letters the following 4 are really great:
    Licking Letters
    Alphabytes
    iWrite Words
    Alpha Tots

    Many of these have letters of the alphabet with an interactive thing for each letter and can be used by younger babies.

    Full review of all 4: http://appsforkid.com/2011/10/13/4-best-alphabet-learning-apps/

  13. Check out What Face? for babies – a great looking, incredibly simple game for babies. Vibrant colors, textures and sounds, completely FREE, and non-commercial. (I’m the developer – I originally made it for kids in my own family, who’ve grown a bit older now – but hopefully many more babies and young toddlers can still enjoy it!)

  14. (oh – the app is available here: http://mwl.li/whatface and the game has a small website here: http://mwillis.com/whatface – thanks!!)

  15. This is a very interesting list and discussion. I just launched a blog with a different viewpoint that might spur some discussion: http://www.babyunplugged.com. It’s mission is to keep kids screen-free until 3, with reading and creative play as alternatives, from a pediatrician dad’s perspective. I do think that there is no place in a baby’s world for baby apps, and don’t really believe in any real educational benefit from any of them. Engaging, for sure. Educational, no. Babies are just getting the hang of the real world, and mostly need real people to spend time with them. Technology will consume them soon enough.

  16. My baby girl loves TinyGenius. Great flashcards with sounds effects supported in multiple languages.
    She’s already learned a few words in spanish!
    Check it out! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tinygenius-lite/id490008376

  17. I really like this Baby Zoe app. It’s not a game, but a useful app to track my baby’s health events and daily activities.

    You can also track your child’s growth, track medicine dosages, track milestones, and create reports to be shared with your pediatrican.

    Check it out! http://www.babyzoehealth.com

  18. I let my son use our iPad in a very strong case. iPhone was already broken once. His favorite iPad app at the moment is called baby tap and learn. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/baby-tap-learn/id520540178?mt=8

  19. My fave baby app is High Contrast, Shapes, Letters, and Numbers for Babies – It is very educational with the alphabet and numbers included as well – http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/high-contrast-shapes-letters/id521485281?mt=8

  20. My daughter loves Toy Store Delivery Truck, Singing City, FlySmacker, Guess Who Silly Shadows and Baby Tap and Learn.

  21. My son loved the app iCanCount. This app made eating our hassle free for us. it was free at the time and has much improved with additional languages.

    It also helped him to learn numbers at a very early age. A link is available on its website iCanSwipe.com, here is the link anyway. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/icancount!/id523502821?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4.

  22. Check out SelfSoothe sleep trainer. This little app is great for getting young babies into healthy sleep rhythms!

    i developed this to help when my twins boys were born with some digestion problems, works a treat. We only use it now when they are teething or have a cough (or sometimes we use it in the morning when we want a sneaky extra hour lie in!)

    Thanks, donal

  23. My 2 year old son is super into ipad/iphone games, he even plays “flow” which is an app I downloaded for myself. Lately, he’s been playing this app called “The Popbits” and loves it! I like it because it’s really simple (some apps just have too much going on!), it’s good for teaching cause and effect, the characters are cute, and (most importantly to mom) the music is good and not annoying! :).

    here is the link:

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-popbits/id663963323?mt=8

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