Recommendations for great apps for toddlers
July 9, 2013 7:05 PM   Subscribe

The baby machine, a small boy of 15 months, and I will be taking our first flight in a couple of weeks and I'm freaking out just a little about keeping him entertained for the time at the airport as well as the 2 hours that we're on the plane. We don't do a lot of screen time as he's pretty little but I was thinking that if we there were some fun apps he could play with as part of our entertainment package (!) for the journey.

Some of the apps here look good and pop up on other lists of apps for kids but I'd love to hear actual recommendations for what worked with your kidlets.

So far he loves looking at photos of himself on the iPad as well as flipping them to see more. He's also big into things that make noise - loves shakers and drums - but I don't know that I really want loud things for the plane.

So, any thoughts?
posted by machine to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Apps Toddler Architeuthis liked for travel at around that age:

Toca Train (all the Toca Boca apps are great but most of them are a little more complicated and better for slightly older kids)

I Hear Ewe

Where's Puppy's Nose? (This one drove me maaaaad but he loved it)

Duck Duck Moose's Wheels on the Bus and Itsy Bitsy Spider apps

Toddler Seek and Find (they have a bunch of different ones--basically just scenes where you can touch various elements and they do funny things.)

Peekaboo Barn (and its spinoffs)

Petting Zoo

I see drawing apps recommended for toddlers a lot but my kid (who loves to draw) has never taken to drawing on the iPad.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 7:22 PM on July 9, 2013

My 23-month-old daughter *loves* Petting Zoo on her iphone (it's my old phone with no SIM card in it). She also, strangely enough, likes angry birds, even though she always shoots the birds backwards.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 7:30 PM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I second the Peekaboo Barn recommendation.
posted by Area Man at 7:30 PM on July 9, 2013

Seconding Duck, Duck, Moose apps, especially "wheels on the bus" and "Itsy bitsy spider." "Fish school" was also entertaining at that age even though she couldn't really do the games. "Peekaboo" farm is popular.

There's also a fun "Koi Pond" app that is oddly soothing to put together and then your kid can play with the "water" and turtles and fish.

Honestly, don't overlook the power of a season's worth of "Curious George." I got these cute little kid's headphones for our last airport travel when she was 2 and got her used to them before we left. YMMV on that. ;)
posted by amanda at 7:41 PM on July 9, 2013

Seconding putting some video and kid-friendly headphones on it. Baby Signing Time is how we get our kid to sit for long car rides and on planes. If you don't give them any screentime normally, it becomes a huge treat and they look forward to sitting quietly in a chair!

My kid does not like Petting Zoo at all. Tap Tap Baby, Felt Board, Tap-n-See Zoo, Toddler Jukebox, Uncolor for iPad and Monkey Lunchbox worked well for her at 15 months. Toca-Boca apps are great. I like the Moomin apps too.

Another tip - little fingers sometimes have trouble tapping on the screen hard enough. My kid discovered she could use adult fingers as a stylus for less sensitive apps, so for some of them I will be ordered to sit down next to her and give her a literal hand.

Use a little pillow on his lap and put the ipad on top (in a sturdy cover - the FisherPrice one IMO makes it harder to use the damn thing, and we switched to a Guerilla protective cover instead. Waterproof is key with toddlers) and with comfy kid headphones so you can control the volume, you're set.

Babybugs in the Newstand is a really fantastic young toddler magazine. Mine does not like ebooks as much as real books, but Babybugs has just the right mix that the three issues we have have been read multiple times already.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:57 PM on July 9, 2013

Please check your memail.
posted by alms at 8:25 PM on July 9, 2013

Endless Alphabet is a bit old for him, but it is fun and cute and my younger child basically taught himself phonics from it. You could maybe play it with him if he doesn't quite get it. Free with ads, 99 cents to remove them I think.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:38 PM on July 9, 2013

We get lots of miles out of downloaded youtube videos. My sons enjoy watching them over and over again. I have a bunch of short clips of trains, trucks, and construction equipment in my dropbox, memail me if you want them.
posted by rouftop at 9:58 PM on July 9, 2013

Nthing the Toca Boca apps - they are a goldmine.
posted by Artw at 1:06 AM on July 10, 2013

We took our 15 month old on a 3 stop journey totally 21 hours in the air (thats not including stopovers). For the first 4 hour flight we asked for the bassinet seats and there were other families with kids so they gooed and gahed at each other on their best behavior.

Second flight (14 hours) he slept pretty much the entire way.

Third Flight (3 hours) he was a bit cranky and impatient at that point but manageable.

So ... not sure if you need apps at all! Good luck.
posted by Admira at 1:58 AM on July 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

The apps are all good suggestions, but I'll also throw out the stuff that kept our super busy guy entertained on a flight at about the same age. Stickers and paper (I was skeptical but it was MAGIC) and believe it or not an airplane cup and a few Cheerios. He sat there putting them in and taking them out for what seemed like forever.

Good luck! You can do this!
posted by goggie at 3:56 AM on July 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

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