In Mom life, there is little more of value than an extra ten minutes of sleep. Today I have for you my top 10+ apps for kids–so you can get 10 more minutes of sleep. Hand your kid your tablet or phone in the morning and hit the snooze button, Slacker Mom!
Prerequisites: easy to play so your child needs little to no help navigating the app. I’ve focused on toddler and preschool apps today, but leave a note if you’d love to see apps for the older kids! The following apps are in no particular order. All apps except as noted have free trials too!
Note: I don’t have an iPad or iPhone, and I don’t have an unlimited app budget. I have a huge app wishlist but I simply can’t buy them all today! I’ve listed apps I have tried and love for Android. They are available for iOS as well, but I haven’t used them personally. Please leave a comment if you have an app that works for your kiddos!
Kid Mode by Zoodles – this is the first app I download on any device! It locks your phone with a customized screen. Your child taps on their picture and is launched into a play zone. Zoodles browses the best of Web videos and brings age-appropriate content to your child. Depending on your device, you can also let your child send and receive video mail safely, add apps like those below, and even record personalized stories with the subscription. Available on: Amazon, Google Play, App Store, and your home computer.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox and Monkey Math - a fantastic choice for preschoolers, this app initially frustrated my younger toddler. However, this app is so engaging, she returned to it over and over. Eventually, she actually began learning her colors and other basic skills to be able to play it with no problems! My four year old loves these apps too, and I love the menu-less interface. Monkey Math is a bit harder for my two year old (working on not hitting the tablet in frustration!), but with the positive reinforcement I predict she’ll be a numbers whiz is no time. Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Dr. Panda Restaurant and Dr. Panda Hospital – I admit, I have put off upgrading these apps to their full versions (though my kids beg for it!) because, well, it’s not super educational! In these apps they role play a doctor or a chef in charge of either seating patients, assessing and caring for their symptoms, or seating their patrons, taking their orders, preparing their food and serving them. There’s little creativity required of them, but for an app to keep the quiet for those golden ten minutes? A pure winner for sure. Amazon, Google Play, App Store
My PlayHome – this is another role playing app, but maybe just because I’m a girl, even I find myself tinkering along with them on this one! The app is essentially a dollhouse (with a Caucasian family on the Lite version). In the living room, you can open the windows, turn lights on and off, turn on the ‘TV’ or perhaps start a CD in the stereo. In the kitchen you can ‘feed’ your little family, do a load of laundry, or boil some water for a hot cup of tea. I don’t see my girls playing with it like our real dollhouse, but it does entertain them for quite awhile! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Drawing Pad – hands down, my favorite coloring app on Android. I’m in love with the textures of different mediums like crayon and marker. It’s so realistic, in fact, I learned the hard way that not coloring on the tablet with REAL crayons is an important conversation to have with your toddler. For coloring book apps, I’ve got the Color & Draw HD app high on my wishlist! Drawing Pad: Amazon, Google Play, App Store. Color & Draw HD: Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Intellijoy apps – the puzzle app alone has occupied my toddler for cumulative hours om end. The connect the dots app (toggle between ABC’s or 123′s and more!) encourages alphabetic order awareness. And holy smokes, Android users need to check out their Learn to Read app! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
The Cat in the Hat by Oceanhouse Media – This app takes real books (think Dr. Suess and Berenstein Bears) and has turned them into multimedia presentations. Your child can select Read It Myself, Read To Me, and Auto Play. Auto Play is my favorite for my toddler as it performs like a mini movie for her. In Read To Me, the words are highlighted as the book is read aloud. (Looks like some nifty new features for iOS, too!) Amazon, Google Play, App Store, and more!
Spinlight Apps – it’s not easy to find apps as beautiful and educational as Spinlight turns out. I love these apps. I’m so excited they brought their content to Android. From AlphaTots for toddlers to Operation Math for the older kids, these apps are brilliant, simple, and fun! (Homeschoolers, don’t miss TableTots!) I wish Spinlight offered a trial version of their apps so you’ll have to take my word on this one! Amazon, Google Play, App Store.
Starfall Learn to Read – if you have a preschooler, you likely know and love Starfall.com. Starfall has been bringining their awesome content to iOS for awhile now but has more recently began to focus on Android as well. My only complaint is that not all the iOS Starfall apps are on Android (yet!) but my four year old is thrilled to have her favorite characters on my tablet too. Amazon, Google Play, App Store
Super Why – Finally! PBS Kids is finally bringing content over to Android! So far Super Why and Play at Home With Daniel are the only released on Android, but they’re pretty great. My kids don’t know Daniel, but we are huge fans of Super Why at our house. Note, there aren’t any trial versions of these apps. Amazon, Google Play, App Store. Edit: since writing this, several more apps have been released on both Google Play and Amazon!
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate, and when you purchase through the Amazon links above I get a very small portion of the proceeds.
Any must have apps that need to be on this list? Leave the app name, as well as your operating system below! (iOS, Android, Kindle, or other.)