I try not to let Ella use my iPhone too often (mainly because she thinks it’s fantastic to be “textin’ Grancie” or “Me call Daddy” rather than using the apps), but sometimes, when we’re stuck somewhere or when I just really need her to be engaged for a bit without me, I find an iPhone loaded with some toddler apps to be my best friend.
Our recent vacation was one of those times. I was SO happy to have some games for her to play while we were on the airplane and doing a couple of mini-road trips.
I’m also not a mega fan of spending a fortune on apps, and free is my favorite price. Here are ten free apps that have been hits in our home:
In the free version, there is one scene with 15 different animal puzzles, each of which has about 7 pieces. You can upgrade to 8 different scenes for 99 cents. My daughter played this in the car for two straight hours, so it’s pretty much my favorite app of all time.
Download Shape Puzzle on iTunes
This simple app lets you click on the letter, and then tells you its name, the sound it makes, and displays an animal that starts with that letter. You can also do a vehicle-version, instead of animals.
Download Alphabet Zoo at iTunes
These Kitchen Monsters are hungry! Open the fridge, pick some food, cook it up, add some seasonings and feed them dinner! Sometimes they’ll like it, sometimes they won’t.
Get Kitchen Monsters on iTunes
This lite version includes three animals. With the barn doors closed, you can hear the animal making noises and when you tap the doors, they open to reveal the animal and a voice names the animal.
Download Peek-a-Boo Barn on iTunes
I Hear Ewe
A really basic, but charming app where you tap an animal and it makes the animal sound and names that animal. Just the kind of repetition toddlers tend to love.
Download I Hear Ewe on iTunes
Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Version
Let your child give Santa a haircut or a shave and then grow it all back. This is a Christmas version of the popular (and not-free) Toca Hair Salon app.
Download Toca Hair Salon – Christmas at iTunes
My toddler has loved this one for over a year. She loves the sound effects the paint makes and how it names the colors for her when she switches from one to another. You can buy additional coloring sheets, but she just prefers the blank screen.
Get Paint Sparkles Draw on iTunes
This grumpy dog just wants to read his magazine, but if you poke him, he’ll put it away and interact with you. You can talk on the telephone with him or feed him or even do some science experiments.
Get Talking Ben the Dog on iTunes
This cute bear has several games to play, including peek-a-boo, telling stories, singing songs, and going to bed. You can lock it on Toddler Mode, too, so it cycles automatically through the choices and doesn’t let you into the menu.
Get Beary Happi at iTunes