Truck Tunes – Hammershark Media: This is hands down my son’s favorite app, and it is free. It is a series of music videos about ten different kinds of construction and logging trucks. The menu is difficult to navigate at first if you can’t read, but we’ve discovered that deep love of trucks can drive toddlers to figure out all kinds of amazing things. (It is formatted for the iPhone, but it can be downloaded onto iPads, too. Be sure you’re searching for iPhone apps when you go to install it, though, or you may not be able to find it.)
Pettson’s Inventions – Filimundus AB: My son has been returning to this one a lot lately. You arrange gears, pulleys, pipes, candles, windmills, and funny creatures that blow air to make fantasy inventions work. He sits in his car seat arranging the pieces and then watching them work over and over. I like playing with it, too.
Miny Moe Car – Blinq: You can drive a car, turn on the windshield wipers to clean off the occasional spot of bird poop left by a friendly bird, adjust the radio, and turn on your blinkers. Other parts of the app let you patch a tire (with bandaids) and pump air back into it or fill up the gas tank. This was one of our top played apps for a month or two.
Mathmateer™ – Dan Russell-Pinson: My son is way too young for the math part of this app, but he can still choose rocket bodies and engines and boosters, blast them off into space, and watch them fly until they eventually fall back to earth. He LOVES rockets and he loves this app.
Miss Spider’s Tea Party – Callaway Digital Arts Inc.: “I wish I could go to Miss Spider’s tea party,” my son told me one day. Because of this app, we had a series of mom and son tea parties where he drank mint tea from a capuchino cup. This is by far his favorite picture book app.
Endless Alphabet – Callaway Digital Arts Inc.: This app has kept my son’s interest for month. You match capital letters to spell a word, each letter makes its sound while you’re moving it with your finger, and then the app tells you the letter name when you match it correctly. Once the word is spelled, there’s a short, silly animation that explains what the word means. This app teaches capital letter sounds and names, it teaches vocabulary AND it is fun for two year olds for a very long time.
LetterSchool – Boreaal: This is a handwriting app, and I think it is the one that first cemented letter recognition for my son. He’s just now starting to try the handwriting part of the game, but he’s been clicking on letters to see pictures of things that start with those letters (and hearing the letter names and sounds at the same time) for months now. The pictures spring up for only a few seconds, so he had to memorize the letters that went with his favorite pictures in order to see them over and over again.