Mummy Confession: My kids get way too much screen time most days.
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It wasn’t always this way. As a first time mum, my oldest didn’t interact with much technology until after a good year and a bit. We didn’t need TV, tablets, phones and whatever other gadgets are out there. She was content to play with blocks and cars. Let me tell you though, that all went out the window when my second was born. Desperate for some semblance of assistance during the day, I turned to technology. (See a place to download the apps at the bottom of this post.)
So you are aware, my children do a fair bit more than just screen time at home, too. We love some fun and free activities and mess-free type play as a part of some of the other activities we enjoy.
Yes, I’m that horrible parent that lets screen time do the babysitting on occasion. My only excuse is that otherwise, my children would be crying while dangling off my leg while I try to get a shower or have some sort of sustenance. Sometimes, I need a safe way to accomplish the dishwashing, laundry, or other household cleaning. Nowadays it doesn’t help with that as much, but it lets me tend to another child until he falls asleep, undistracted.
I know, I know, there are other ways to distract them more organically, but usually I have exhausted all other methods before I give in, or I just need a quick solution. In all the years, have found my children tend to like some apps better than others, and for those of you who are just as bad a parent as I am, let me recommend some for your sanity.
They are listed in accordance with the popularity with my children. I show you some screenshots below and tell why I love these apps when my kids get screen time.
Wheels on Bus– an app that goes with the song, quite obviously. There is a free version and paid version, and after using the free version, I shelled out the big bucks (ok, not much at all) for the HD version, which includes all activities. It has colouring, car racing, puzzles, math problems, and sings the song, in addition to many other activities. Well worth the small price paid!
Interactive Alphabet– an app that teaches, you guessed it, the alphabet! This one is very customisable in so many ways! You can do uppercase, lowercase, or a combination. It even has an edit mode where you can add words/people for your child to see under the letters, too! You can record it being read, too, and they can trace the letters! It’s one of my personal favourites, as I had each relative record their name!
Starfall– I have the free version of this educational app, but you can get the even better paid version by subscription. I’ve been told it updates with that version, and all areas of the app are open, not just select parts. This one has my preschooler sounding out letters! It has all sorts of educational games not limited to maths, shapes, colours, letters, and songs. (This one isn’t available in the US, sorry)
ABC IView and Kids Play– both free, IView has ABC kids shows on, available to filter for the mums who dislike certain shows, and you can set a timer for it as well! The Play app is based on the IView shows and is interactive. (Neither are available in the US store, sorry)
Animal Muddle– this app mixes up animal parts and creates different looking creatures. It doesn’t keep the kids too long, but it is a hit with them. They have the option to change scenery, pick animals specifically, or randomly select a mix of creatures. This one is pretty good for littler ones who just randomly tap the screen.
Palace Pets– Disney app with the various pets for the various Princesses. Firstly, you choose your pet, followed by a story. You then go to the salon where you can style and groom them. Lastly, you see them paired with the Princess again, and you can save the photo of your pet. It’s fairly straightforward and great for children who love dress ups and Disney princesses (and their animal friends)!
There are many more, I know, so please share your favourites (and your child’s)! And don’t forget, whenever your child is using the various devices, so check out this Handy Case Selection to protect your device!
4 thoughts on “Screen Time: Our Favourite Entertaining and Educational Apps for Toddlers”
Touch screens and technology is our children’s future and most (if not every) primary school class will now use an iPad and interactive whiteboard daily. There have also been studies linking touch screen use to increased fine motor skills in toddlers. I have found iPad apps to be really educational for my girls and to be honest think the idea of ‘screen time’ just tries to make people feel guilty about a natural part of modern life. As with all things it’s about moderation and picking the best things. I did a blog post a while ago on my girls favourite apps, I’ll take a look at some of these ones you recommend too.