Drake has loved playing with my phone since he was quite young. When I was working as a nanny, I needed to occupy him so I could get things done without him getting bored or upset. I used to play videos for him on my You Tube app, but after a while I decided to look into some educational phone apps for him. He has really taken to playing these games, and it helps a lot now with Juliet as the phone keeps him happy and occupied. It is also a relatively quiet endeavor when I’m nursing or trying to put Juliet to sleep.

It’s amazing how well adaptive children of his generation are with all kinds of smart technologies.  In just a few days of showing him how to play some of these games, he was not only a pro at playing them, but also switching back and forth among them as well as unlocking my phone and finding them if I just handed him my phone.

Here are some of the apps that Drake enjoys and I think are worth the cost:

Picsart Kids (Cost: Free for Android, $3.99 for iphone) –  This is basically like a coloring book on your phone.  It has several different options, including basic coloring pages to drawing your own pictures on various backgrounds.  There is a place to save the artwork, trace pictures and mazes as well.  For the price of nothing it’s a nice fun app especially if your child likes to color on a regular basis.  Drake likes telling me what colors he is going to use to color the animal he picks out on the coloring book page.

Monkey Math School Sunshine (Cost: $1.99) – My best friend had this on her phone for her son when I saw her recently, and that’s what sparked the idea that I ought to try downloading some more games for Drake. This app teaches patterns, addition, subtraction, shapes, number sequence , number recognition, and counting to name a few.  A monkey engages the child asking questions like, “What shape has 5 sides?” or, “What comes next in this pattern?” Three options are shown and the child has to pick.  Each little section is different and after a series of sections are done, the child is rewarded with a prize for their virtual aquarium. Drake didn’t understand all these concepts at first but after playing the game for a few days, he mastered everything including subtraction, which I was surprised at.  His virtual aquarium is actually too full now but he still likes playing this one a lot.

 Alphabet Toddler Aquarium (Cost: $1.99) –  This one breaks down every letter into a series of games to complete for each letter.  Every letter has a puzzle to build the letter, pick the correct letter, build an animal that starts with the letter, match objects with their silhouettes that all start with that letter.  Drake’s favorite section is putting the animals together and calls this game the building the animal game.  I liked that some of the objects he had to match up were words he never knew and it helped build his vocabulary more.

 ABC Puzzles (Cost: $1.99) – Because Drake has gotten into puzzles more recently and really enjoyed the puzzle building aspect of the Alphabet Toddler Aquarium, I found this game which is basically a puzzle building of animals of each letter.  I like that after the puzzle is complete they say the name of the animal and spell it out at the bottom, thus expanding Drakes vocabulary and spelling.

Toddler Maze 123 (Cost: $2.99) –  This app has all kinds of mazes that your child uses their finger to trace through.  Drake is just starting to get the concept of mazes and drawing lines to find the way through them, so I thought this would help teach and reinforce this new budding skill he is learning.  So far he has taken to this one as well, only taking a day or so to fully understand and master the concept.  He likes the idea of helping the character through the maze and will often talk his way through it saying things like, “We need turn around,”  or “Almost there!”

As technology becomes more and more apart of our lives, I am sure apps will become the new norm to help children learn and reinforce growing skills.  The great thing about most of these apps is they have a Lite version, which is free, that allows you to sample and try out the app before purchasing the full version.  I often download the Lite version and let Drake pay around with it first.  If he hits the end of the trial and can’t go further and asks me to help him, I know he likes it and will often buy the full version then.  If he gets bored quickly and asks to switch out the game, I know it won’t keep his interest and that saves me money because I only buy what I know he enjoys and will play with.

What are some of your favorite educational apps for toddlers?