Guest Author - Traci Falb
Even in this day and age, the best way to educate a toddler is through your own words and actions. That being said, it is still hard to find time in a busy mom’s day to sit down and take time every day, when there are so many things to do. Working mothers appreciate any good tips that keep their kids engaged while educating them too. Here are a couple things I found that I want to rave about.
The ‘Endless Alphabet’ app from Originator Inc. was something that I just stumbled upon, after trying to find something to download on my smart phone, to keep my 18 month-old busy at times. I briefly looked for something educational and didn’t want to download junk for him to watch. This app delighted me as much as it did him and to my surprise, he learned his alphabet in a matter of weeks, with little interaction on my part.
The app is free for limited use, which was enough for me to decide to buy the entire package. It was a bit pricey but definitely worth the cost. My son could recognize and pronounce every letter of the alphabet, even if shown to him randomly out of order, before the age of two. I was so impressed, I checked out other apps by the same creator.
They also have apps titled ‘Endless Numbers,’ ‘Endless Reader,’ and ‘Endless Wordplay’ that I purchased. They all feature the same entertaining animated monsters and sound effects and kept my child busy on my phone, although it looked much better on my 11-inch tablet screen, because its bigger.
Each of the apps is free but the free edition does not allow full access. The cost of ‘Endless Alphabet’ was @$30 and much higher than I would ever pay for an app, but after watching my son absorb everything from the free app, I knew it would be $30 spent on something I desired for my son – knowledge. My mother, who is in her seventies, also loved this app. She played right along with my son and was just as amused by the act of a swipe to put letters into their place and watch them wiggle and make their designated sounds.
‘Endless Alphabet’ and ‘Endless Reader’ won Apple’s “App Store Best of 2013” Award and are available for both Apple and Android.
Another app that is fun is ‘My Very Hungry Caterpillar’ from StoryToys. Adults and kids that love Eric Carle’s original “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” (which is available is a board book for very young readers) will love this app.
This app, like the Originator apps, has a free edition and one available for purchase, for unlimited access. Both are fun and I paid for the app because my child used it very often. It was @$5 to purchase and has a lot going on so a bigger screen is an advantage.
The caterpillar crawls across the screen, either left or right, whichever way your child chooses to move. Your little one’s finger wakes up caterpillar, feeds him, and plays with him. It is a cute app and after several times of waking up caterpillar, feeding (and watching him get bigger), and putting him to sleep, he eventually becomes a cocoon, which hatches and flies away. Then the process starts over again with a single tiny egg.
Another nice thing about this app is the fact that it is a little different each time the caterpillar wakes. There are different types of fruit to feed him and before he pupates, he has access to a picnic basket full of all the treats from the book (including pickles, salami and cupcakes).
The “My Very Hungry Caterpillar” app won the 2015 BolognaRagazzi Digital Award and the 2016 Kidscreen Award and is available to download on Apple and for Android.
Although I don’t usually recommend something to take the place of real interaction with toddlers, I have to pass along fabulous finds when I find them. Even for stay-at-home moms, there are times when baby can’t be tended to and another form of stimulation has to be substituted for mom. These apps also help develop hand/eye coordination and prepare little ones for touch-screen use. I think you will be pleasantly surprised or delighted with these two apps.