Apps for Your Preschooler’s New Device

Tracey Dowdy

Did your preschooler get a new tablet for Christmas? Developers figured out pretty quickly how popular devices like iPads and Amazon Fire tablets are with kids and have done a great job adapting both the hardware and software for little hands and big imaginations.

There are thousands upon thousands of apps to choose from, but which are worth the space or cost? The following apps are parent-recommended and among the most popular with the preschool set. You can have peace of mind knowing your preschooler is learning and exploring in a safe environment.

Based on the hit PBS KIDS series, PEG + CAT Big Gig is a musical app that invites kids to play along with Peg, Cat and their friends in the worlds familiar to viewers – the farm, Pirate Island, the Magic Forest, and the Purple Planet. Through music, kids will identify numbers, count up and down by ones and twos, and repeat patterns. Kids can sing along with lyrics on the screen, compose their own songs, and record and playback their music. ($1.99 – iPhone/iPad/Android/Amazon)

Puzzles challenge your child’s cognitive skills, encourage problem-solving, and develop spatial awareness. Shape Builder Preschool Puzzles is a fun collection of 173 puzzles, designed especially for preschoolers. Each puzzle has between 5 and 10 pieces, Once the pieces are dragged and dropped into place and the image is revealed, sound effects play and a voice recording by a licensed speech therapist says the object’s name. Shape Builder LITE is a free version you can try out if you’re not sure your child will enjoy it. ($3.99 – iPhone/iPad/Android)

TeachMe: Toddler features Mimi Mouse, who teaches six preschool-appropriate skills: letters, phonics, numbers, shapes, colors and counting. You can customize the games by choosing the subject and even the questions; review your child’s performance history for each subject; and kids are rewarded with stickers that can be added to a selection of scenes and exported as wallpaper or emailed to family and friends. Alternatively, you can have the child earn virtual coins and set up your own reward system for reaching milestones.  ($0.99 – iPhone/iPad)

What preschooler doesn’t love monkeys and snacks? Monkey Preschool Lunchbox features seven different games with a loveable monkey that teaches preschoolers about colors, letters, counting, shapes, sizes, matching and differences. Each game is designed to flow into the next for unlimited play and each successful game earns animated reward stickers.  Kids will pack lunch based on the color of foods, put puzzles together, spot the differences, search for the fruit shape hidden in a picture, play matching games and more. ($1.99 – iPhone/iPad/Android)

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

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