Okay, okay, I know… the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one or two hours of media/screen time per day for older children, and tells us, “television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2.” (For more info, see their Media and Children page, or read this Scientific American article: No More Than 2 Hours Daily Screen Time for Kids)
Um, so I have a confession. My two-year-old has had screen time. I have allowed my under-two toddler to play my iPad. And watch a little Sesame Street or Curious George… and actually she’s a big fan of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. But, hey, this blog is about no judgement, right?? 😉 And, actually, it looks like that may not be as bad as first thought:
PBS: TV and Kids Under 3
NPR All Tech Considered: What You Need to Know about Babies, Toddlers and Screentime
Since my family lives a state away, and we tend to travel quite a bit (stay tuned for an upcoming post about my family’s three-week trip to Europe…with a toddler!), my iPad has been a helpful tool for keeping my toddler happy during flights, drives, and really anytime that we need a good distraction. So, here is my own list of (mostly) educational, age-appropriate, and easy-to-use apps for younger toddlers. Most of these cost from $2-$5 per app, but they have all been tested and approved by my toddler!
- My Animals: Toddler’s Seek & Find – An interactive activity book, by wonder kind GmbH. This app is very simple for little fingers, there are no pages to turn or pieces to move, and I believe would work for youngest of toddlers: just hit any place on the page and the animals on the page move. And its very quiet, so won’t disturb other passengers on a plane!
- Egg Head: Baby Touch and Hear – Simple app that features animals and sounds they make. Just tap and go. Baby-friendly.
- Night & Day Studios has a great series of “Peekaboo” apps that are young toddler word-teaching games.
- Endless Alphabet – This. App. Is. Awesome. Kids drag the letters to make words. Great for letter/sound identification and recognition, spelling, vocabulary… and done in a way so even little ones can begin to latch onto these older kid concepts.
- Almost all of the games by Toca Boca. Most of their apps have a few steps that a child has to follow to make something happen in the game (so probably easier for older toddlers and preschoolers), but the creators have made it very easy to learn, and Olivia was playing without my help after just a few tries. Most highly recommended for younger kids are:
- Sago Sago also has some great apps for young children in their Sago Mini collection. A couple of our favorites are:
- The Monster at This End of The Book – This is a book that is interactive and reads aloud to your toddler (based on the actual book starring Grover from Sesame Street). One of the best “app books” that I have found
- Animal Pants – This is a fun little game, with a few educational components, and lots of info about cool animals. And I went to elementary school with some of the creators… but this had no bearing on how much my toddler liked the app. Which was a lot.
For a few other suggestions (if none of the above seem appealing), check out some others’ lists:
Gizmag.com “Best iPad Apps for Toddlers”
CommonSenseMedia.com “Kids’ Apps We Love: Toddlers”
Via Big City Moms: “Top Speech and Language Development Apps for Infants and Toddlers”
Have an app that you love? Let us know below!
And, as always, these are just some fun recommendations if you choose to let your child have some screen time. Do your research, then always do what works best for you and your family.