I’m new to the world of apps. As someone who has never put my baby or toddler in front of a television, I’m also weary of using electronics and “mindless media” as a way of keeping my child entertained. But as I grow more familiar with how to use apps and identify fun and educational apps for my toddler on her Kindle Fire, I think they’re pretty cool.
Especially since we’re on the road (or in the air) frequently and there’s only so many books and toys I can pack in a suitcase, I really value the Kindle Fire. It’s also great because once my toddler grows bored of her toys, books, or current Kindle apps, it’s super easy to just download a fun new app for her.
I find it amazing that at 20 months old my toddler can navigate the Kindle, touching and swiping with dexterity. If nothing else, it’s a good fine motor skills tuning. Plus there are tons of apps that focus on critical thinking skills such as puzzles, finding hidden objects, identifying shapes and colors, learning the alphabet, and practicing spelling and names of animals and automobiles complete with sound association. Unlike watching a television, at least the apps on a Kindle Fire (or ipad at a higher cost) require thought and interaction by the child.
On our two-flight and long car ride journey last week from Cochin, India to Ladybrand, South Africa, having the Kindle Fire loaded up with new apps was an incredible positive distraction, and a fun way to brush up on what a purple trapezoid looks like for my daughter. I also loved watching her touch the letter “d” while shouting Daddy! and watching the letter explode into stars, or touching “p” and happily giggling “puppy!” It was also pretty cool watching her touch clouds on a picture repeatedly, causing rain to come down and flowers to grow, or watching her touch the pond causing fish to jump out as she happily exclaimed “Fish!” or touch the barnyard door to reveal a cow which she exclaimed “Moooooo!”
Here are some of my favorite free (or close to free) apps for the Kindle Fire that my 20 month old enjoys:
Barnyard Games for Kids: Shake the leaves from the tree, make the sun spin, make clouds rain and watch flowers grow, splash the pond and see the fish jump, open the barnyard and make the cow moo and the kitten meow, touch the owl and hear him hoot. In another game, choose the correct color and shape from four different options. In another game, touch the alphabet letters from A-Z to watch the letters explode.
Preschool and kindergarten learning games: More practice with shapes and colors and the alphabet like above.
Animal Sounds: Touch each animal to hear the sound it makes, and swipe the screen to see the next animal.
Animal Sounds Game for Toddlers: Press play and see the letters each animal name starts with and the spelling of each animal name. Touch each animal to hear the sound it makes, and swipe the screen to see the next animal.
Animal Hide and Seek Free Hidden Object Game for Kids: Find the hiding elephants, giraffes, monkeys, snakes, and birds in the jungle. Some of them are sneaky hiders so you have to be keen on looking for a little tail sticking out from behind a tree and touch just that little part.
Kids Ultimate Finger Painting: The ultimate colorful no-mess solution to hours of finger painting on planes, at the airport, or in the car.
Toddler Cars and Sounds- Things that Go!: This is one of my daughter’s favorites. Full of every vehicle you can imagine from skateboards to helicopters and cruise ships. Touch the vehicle with the written name displayed to hear the sound it makes and swipe the screen to see the next one.
istorybooks: Donwload lots of free illustrated stories. Always great to have a full library with you for a long journey that fits nicely into a diaper bag 🙂