The App store can be a bit like shopping at an unorganized consignment shop. But now, finding the best app with an educational value that makes use of your preschooler’s creativity, curiosity and silliness is made easy with this list by Common Sense Media. Some of these apps are completely open-ended, some involve numbers and others develop a love of reading. Find the apps that fit your kid’s interests and age with this list below.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (2014)
Parents need to know that Busy Shapes is an exploring-to-learn activity for toddlers based on Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Piaget believed that the youngest children, in the stage of development he called “sensorimotor,” learn about their world by exploring and manipulating it. Busy Shapes gives kids a digital playground to explore and has lots of features in place to make it easy for the youngest users to play without crashing or accidentally swiping out of the app. It uses artificial intelligence to automatically adjust to keep kids challenged. Parents can set up different accounts for several kids (up to 40) and review how long kids played and the concepts they explored. Busy Shapes isn’t about learning the names of the shapes; rather, it’s about developing an awareness of how objects relate to each other and how they can impact the objects and the world around them.
Moo, Baa, La La La!
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Fire phone, Kindle Fire (2011)
Parents need to know that Moo, Baa, La La La! is an interactive version of the classic board book by Sandra Boynton. Like the book that inspired it, the app is aimed at toddlers. They can read the book with or without narration, and can hear individual words spoken aloud when they are tapped. There are lots of interactive hotspots for kids to find as they explore the pages, and tilting the device also creates some small movements on the page.
Cookie Monster’s Challenge
Devices: iPad, Android, Fire phone, Kindle Fire (2014)
Parents need to know that Cookie Monster’s Challenge is a collection of activities designed to stretch kids’ non-academic school-readiness skills, such as problem solving, memory, self-control, and following directions. Kids need to understand English well, as much of the games are about listening to the instructions, all of which are in English — or, rather, in Cookie Monster trademark speech. Tasks get harder as kids progress, and parents can make multiple accounts so different kids can progress at their own pace; this is important because kids should not jump in at an upper level since getting through higher levels sometimes requires remembering what happened at lower levels. Beware, though — the games can be addictive: Kids need to finish an entire level to be able to save progress, and Cookie Monster gives lots of encouragement to keep playing.
Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings
Devices: iPad (2014)
Parents need to know that Duckie Deck Trash Toys is a virtual creation tool made for preschoolers. Kids choose from a variety of recycled and found items and make creatures. Kids aren’t limited by how many items they can add to their creature. No ads, parent settings, or instructions distract or limit kids. They are totally free to be as creative as they want.
Share your preschooler’s favorite app in the Comments below! Then hop over to Common Sense Media for the full list of awesome apps.
Common Sense Media is a leading independent nonprofit organization offering the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for everything kids want to watch, play, read, and learn. The ratings, reviews, and information are unbiased and provided for free to help families and educators make great media and technology choices.