Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Favorite FREE Learning Apps for Toddlers on Android

We live in a society where you can’t get away from technology. It’s everywhere and trying to limit screen time for your children is almost impossible when there are TVs and computers everywhere. Instead of limiting screen time, find more educational programs and games for your kids. Be aware that since these are free apps, they’ll probably come with advertisements. A good way to avoid having your child buy things with your phone is to put it on airplane mode. The downside is that you won’t receive any calls or texts but it saves your wallet and your phone bill. Plus the apps won’t be able to access the network and use up your data on unwanted ads.

I’ve come across a company that makes apps for Android that are not only fun, but educational as well. I find that the more fun J has, the more he learns without realizing it. This company, Intellijoy, has developed a handful of learning games that are interactive and fun. My son really likes Kids ABC Learning Trains Lite. Since it’s the lite version you only get 2 activities within the game but it’s still fun and they’re still learning their alphabet. One of the activities is using the train to trace the letters on the track and the other is connecting the dots between each of the letter train stations. They’re both a lot of repetition and they say the alphabet out loud to help your little one register the letter and what it looks like. Another one that J likes is the Kids Reading Sight Words Lite. It’s this little tadpole in a tank and you have to match the words in the pitchers above the tank with the word they’re saying. After each correct match, the pitcher adds water to the tank until the tadpole turns into a frog and takes you to another screen where you play the matching game again but you have to match the word twice in this level. We’ve sampled all of Intellijoy’s games and those two are the ones that my son would always go to first and play the longest.

Another fun learning app is Alphabugs: Super Fun Alphabets by Lazy Androids. The object of the game is to keep the letter filled in before time runs out while battling bugs who want to eat what you’ve colored in. The only problem is that J doesn’t just color the letter, he colors the entire page and yells “Oh no!” while squishing bugs so he’s never actually beat a level. Not that it matters because he is learning and it keeps him happily occupied.

The first app I ever downloaded for him is called Toddler Lock by Marco Nelissen. The cool part about this app is that it locks your phone when it’s activated so your child can’t get out of the app without touching each corner going clockwise. Toddler lock lets them draw on the screen in bright colors or if they just tap the screen it brings up bright and colorful shapes while making a wind-chime noise in the background. When J was smaller, that app would keep him occupied for a long time.

Sprout Games and Videos by Sprout is another great app. It has free episodes of your child’s favorite shows on Sprout as well as their favorite songs that can be heard on Sprout. The games section keeps expanding as new shows come onto the station. J likes to color in the scribbler and I just noticed that they’ve added new activities such as tic-tac-toe, mazes and connect the dots. The only downside of this app is that it uses data to stream so you can’t use this app on airplane mode.

These next few apps are not technically educational but they help your child learn strategy and thinking outside the box.

J’s favorite “non-learning” app is called Cut the Rope by ZeptoLab UK. The reason I put non-learning in quotes is that this game is a thinking game all about puzzles and strategy. It teaches kids problem solving while having fun at the same time. I call this “subliminal learning”. The object of the game is to get the piece of candy into the frog-looking guy, Om-Nom’s mouth by cutting the ropes in strategic order. I have a heck of a time with this game, but J can whip through levels. There are 4 different versions of this game and each game has 20+ levels so they won’t get bored with it fast. All of the levels are free on your Android phone, but only certain levels are available on IOS.

Another app J really likes is Angry Birds by Rovio. This is another strategy game because you have to fire these birds with your slingshot at different structures to squish the Bad Piggies and get your eggs back. Some of these levels are very difficult and you have to fire your birds at the right spot to get everything to crash down and squish those piggies. There are 8 different versions of the game with the newest one being a racing game called Angry Birds Go!. These apps are perfect for long car ride because there are so many different levels in each game for them to choose from, they won’t get bored being stuck on one level.

I hope you enjoy these awesome apps!

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