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10 apps for toddlers that will save moms' sanity

Mary is a writer living in the Midwest with her husband, Chris, and her two daughters. Mary loves to write about all of the things she loves the most: motherhood, marriage, food, current events and really great books.

Fun apps for toddlers that might actually teach them something

Digital natives. This is what people in the tech world are calling today’s children. This title is derived from the fact that our children are growing up with tech, and most will not know what it means to live without computers or smartphones for any portion of their life.

Screens permeate our lives, and this has changed the nature of parenting, especially when it comes to screen time. Even pediatricians, who typically recommend no screen time before age 2, have recently changed their stance. They have adjusted their perspective on screens for toddlers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is expected to release updated guidelines regarding screen time sometime this year.

More: My kids can have all the screen time they want

What does this mean for parents? It means that now, more than ever, we have a wealth of resources at our fingertips. Screen time is more than a way to entertain our children; we can teach our kids new concepts and expose them to ideas, music and images by simply pulling our phones out of our purse and turning on our tablet. Are you looking to add a few new apps for toddlers to your smartphone? Continue reading for some of the most educational and fun apps for toddlers.

Fun apps for toddlers that might actually teach them something
Image: Design via Becci Burkhart/SheKnows; Image via Getty Images

Sago Mini, $2.99 each

Sago Sago is group of designers who united with the purpose of creating fun, educational and creative apps for children. Sago Mini isn’t a single app — it is a collection of apps covering various themes from trucks and diggers to babies and doodling. Not only are these apps incredibly cute and educational, but none of them include in-app purchases or third-party advertisements — what parent doesn’t love that?

Where to buy: iTunes/Google Play

PicsArt Kids, free

Toddlers can be most creative when given the opportunity for independent and open-ended play. PicsArt Kids provides that opportunity with their free drawing mode that allows toddlers to create art using a wide variety of brush sizes and colors.

Where to buy: iTunes/Google Play

More: 25 apps no busy mom can do without

Avokiddo Emotions, $2.99 

Avokiddo Emotions uses four fun characters — zany zebra, shy sheep, jolly giraffe and modest moose — to teach toddlers all about emotions and using words to describe how we feel. Toddlers can use a wide variety of props to interact with characters and watch for their response.

Where to buy: iTunes/Google Play

Duckie Deck Collection, $1.99

Each of the six games included in the Duckie Deck Collection uses interactive games to teach toddlers important daily habits and address some of the challenges kids their age might face. One game focuses on straightening a messy room while a matching game teaches kids to try new foods.

Where to buy: iTunes/Google Play

The Dr. Seuss Treasury, $14.99 each quarter

Oceanhouse Media has created over 50 digital adaptations of the classic Dr. Seuss books every child is sure to love. This treasury allows children to listen to prerecorded versions of each story, or parents can record their own narrations of their favorite Seuss stories. Toddlers can also interact with the app by clicking new words to learn their meanings through words and pictures. Oceanhouse Media allows parents to try out this app by offering a seven-day free trial.

Where to buy: iTunes

Peekaboo Barn, $1.99

This super simple app is perfect for young toddlers. Peekaboo Barn includes animated animals that hide behind barn doors and play peekaboo with your toddler. Children can learn the names of each animal, along with the sounds they make. Included with this app are 12 language options, and an option to record your own voice for adding a personal touch.

Where to buy: iTunes/Google Play

Eli Explorer, $1.99 

Toddlers can learn new words and phrases in multiple languages in this open-ended game. Kids can move Eli the rabbit from place to place while learning the names of each new object they encounter. This game allows kids to move at their own pace, or even backtrack to revisit a previous location.

Where to buy: iTunes

More: Suns, houses and scary people: What kids' drawings really mean

Moo, Baa, La La La! $3.99 

Books by Sandra Boynton are a favorite in most households with toddlers. Her popular board book Moo, Baa, La La La! has been adapted into an interactive app for toddlers. While listening to a reading of the book, toddlers are surprised with interactive portions of the app, including moving pictures of the trademark Boynton animals.

Where to buy: iTunes/Google Play

Busy Shapes, $2.99

The designers at Seven Academy were inspired by Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development when they created the Busy Shapes app. Piaget firmly believed that children learn best when allowed to freely explore and manipulate their world. This app encourages problem solving and the development of reasoning skills by learning how shapes relate to each other.

Where to buy: iTunes

Musical Sparkles, free

This play-along music app allows toddlers to learn more about musical instruments while playing along with recorded musical loops or freestyling their own musical creations. The free app includes a drum kit and a xylophone, and the app upgrade ($3.99) includes 12 additional musical instruments.

Where to buy: iTunes

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