It’s no secret that kids are starting screen time younger and younger these days. Busy parents are handing over the iPad, iPhone, or Android and allowing their kids to use age-appropriate apps in the car, while trying to make dinner, or as a reward for good behavior. Although apps give parents a much needed break at times, constant advertisements can make it tough to distinguish which ones your child should be using. From purely fun to educational mini games, apps come in all shapes and sizes. So, how do you know which are the best apps for toddlers?

Here are 5 of the best apps for toddlers

If you’re overwhelmed by the number of apps available—and whether or not to fork out a few bucks for any of them—you’re not alone. We’ve put together a list of 5 of the best apps for toddlers that will keep them learning while having fun. You may even get some bedtime and potty training tips! 

Best educational apps

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox. Ranked as the #1 preschool game in Apple’s app store, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is a must have for parents looking to get a head start on early learning. It’s meant for toddlers (ages 2-5) and allows kids to practice counting, colors, and matching in a fun, engaging way. They’ll be able to try different kinds of puzzles, making learning a game they enjoy. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is available on Apple and Android devices. 

ABC Mouse. You’ve probably seen the commercials on TV filled with testimonials from parents about ABC Mouse. While you need to have a paid subscription to access this app, it may be worth it. Many preschool and kindergarten classrooms are using ABC Mouse on a daily basis and it ranks as one of the favorites among teachers. According to their website, this app offers “7,000 fun and interactive learning activities that teach reading, math, beginning science, art, music, and more”. ABC Mouse is for children ages 2-8 and can be found on Apple and Android devices, along with the Kindle Fire.

Best interactive play app

PBS Parents Play and Learn. Turning to an app doesn’t mean your kids have to sit on the couch and just watch a screen. Apps can serve a purpose during interactive play as well. For example, the PBS Parents Play and Learn app gets you and your little ones focused on a specific theme during one of their 13 mini games. Parents can use teachable moments while their kids learn about the grocery store, eating at a restaurant, or working in the garden. 

Best app to help with potty training

Potty Time with Elmo. If your toddler is hooked on Elmo, this app may be your best friend when it comes time to potty train. In Potty Time with Elmo, he tells your toddler a story while also singing and keeping track of their “potty progress”. This app, available on both Apple and Android devices, avoid handing out candy every time the toilet is flushed.

Best app for bedtime

Nighty Night. This app serves as a go-to for many parents when it comes to bedtime. Keeping your child in a nightly routine usually makes bedtime easier, and the Nighty Night app is a great addition. With over 6 million downloads in the Apple store, this app uses animals to tell a nighttime story, encouraging your toddler to go to sleep. Nighty Night is also compatible with Android devices.

 

Toddler app: Purpose: Cost:
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox Education Apple: $1.99

Android: $1.99

ABC Mouse Education $9.95/month subscription and then free access to Apple and Android apps
PBS Parents Play and Learn Interactive Play Apple: Free

Android: Free

Potty Time with Elmo Potty Training Apple: $2.99

Android: $2.99

Nighty Night Bedtime Apple: $2.99

Android: $2.99

 

How much screen time should my toddler have?

Finding the right balance when it comes to the amount of screen time to allow your little ones isn’t easy. Take a look at these recommendations, according to a new study by the World Health Organization. Children ages 2-4 should have no more than 60 minutes per day of sedentary screen time, the study suggests. 

 

The bottom line is that it’s okay for your little one to have screen time, as long as it isn’t taking over their day. There are numerous kid-friendly apps to try, so play around to see which ones are right for your kids. Limit their use to under one hour and ensure the apps they are using serve a purpose and aren’t just filling time.

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