Our Favorite Learning Apps for Toddlers

toddler apps

Screen time on the iPad is definitely not something that happens too often at our house. In fact, I keep the iPad out of sight as often as I remember. For Jude, it is totally out-of-sight out-of-mind. Though for those long days of running errands, road trips, or for those extra rough times when I need something to keep my toddler still and quiet for longer than 15 minutes – These are our favorite learning apps for toddlers for teaching and motor skills…

toddler apps

  1. Zoo Train – Jude is obsessed with trains, and this cute app contains five train games that involve puzzles, music, building, and spelling. Now that he is older – 2 1/2 – he is doing great with the spelling and actually trying to repeat the words! It has helped with speech because he NEVER will say what I ask him to repeat. 
  2. Peekaboo Barn – This app is adorable and VERY basic. The barn doors shake and you tap on the door to reveal a new animal. It goes through 16 and a cute nighttime scene of them sleeping. Although basic, Jude still loves this one and while playing, this was the first time I ever heard him repeat words. Since he has struggled so much with speech, it was huge!
  3. Duplo Trains – Again, for the train lover! This one has a lot of interaction to build the train, load it, punch passenger tickets, fill up with gas, build bridges, blow the whistle, pick the train’s speed, and more. Very cute! It keep him engaged for quite a while.
  4.  Daniel Tiger – I bought the bundle of 4 apps. They pair perfectly with the show he loves to watch. One has all the things Daniel Tiger does when getting ready in the morning and then when he goes to bed at night – bathtime, brushing teeth, going potty, getting dressed, setting the table, bedtime story etc. . . The Grr-ific Feelings app includes mini music videos of each of the songs from the episodes and Jude will play these OVER and OVER. And lately in the Explore app that has the entire town that you walk through and full of activities – he is a huge fan of cake decorating in the bakery lol…

toddler apps

5. Nighty Night – This is my favorite! There is Nighty Night Circus and James has the Nighty Night Farmhouse on his phone. Designed as a bedtime activity, you click on all the lights in the tents/rooms and turn out the lights to put the animals to bed. Each animal makes noises and does cute little things when you tap on them. Jude giggles so loud every time the bear in the circus pops his balloon animals that he’s trying to make. I love how things rarely get old for toddlers!

6. SoundTouch – This was the first and only app we had for a long time when Jude was younger. It is kind of like sound flash cards with lots of animals, vehicles, household objects, and music instruments that when you tap on it pulls up a real life photo of that thing with the noise it makes. It does not show the same picture or make the same noise each time either – but has about 5 or 6 variations for each. I’m pretty sure this app is why Jude connected noises to everything before words. He still loves it!

Jude also spends a lot of time with Disney’s La Luna app – you can just watch the short film or put it in storybook or interactive story mode. He also really like Tony the Truck – if you child is into Mighty Machines type vehicles, this is a great app!

If you look into it, you’ll notice that all of the apps do cost money – generally $5 and under. Some have “lite” versions that are free and only have a few features, but in my opinion, it’s worth paying a few dollars for full versions. I had a handful of the free ones and ended upgrading and paying for them all anyway. Besides, it gets annoying when Jude is constantly clicking on ads or stuck in the “purchase more” section of the free apps.

Side thought: Isn’t it crazy and scary how quickly little people catch on to navigating tablets and phones? They get addicted quick, too! Which is why I try to stay on top of minimal screen time. Though at the same time, some of these apps are what got Jude speaking better. Ugh – So bittersweet.

xoxo

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The Two Kid Adjustment

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I feel like we have spent a lot of this winter sick. Between croup, ear infections, and colds we have also spent a lot of time cooped up in the house. It doesn’t help that with a new baby #2, I also don’t feel very brave to go out in public juggling a newborn and a toddler. I am getting better at that.Getting out the door takes so long. SO long! Even when I try to plan ahead, we are still running late. Always. Trying to get Ruby into the Ergo carrier by myself in a public parking lot is also not something I want to tackle (with that newborn insert it is complicated – or my arms aren’t long enough for the back buckle), so I just make sure that if I have to go out – I go places that have carts large enough to accommodate the carseat and Jude + groceries. So that narrows it down to Costco and the big car cart at Publix that Jude loves pretending to drive. And it helps out our budget when I go to Target because Jude and Ruby take up basically the entire cart and I can’t buy as much.

There was one Saturday that I convinced James to stop by Target really quick – we were on our way home from getting breakfast with the kids – so I could get diapers and such while they waited in the car. And I may or may not have kept them waiting an entire hour. Ooops! I didn’t have the kids, you know, and I was trying to “quickly browse”. I was judging my time off of whether or not James would text asking if I was done yet…which he never did. An hour in Target flies by so fast, I swear! And James has learned that there is no such thing as a quick Target run. Even if he is waiting in the car.

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Having two children is a definite adjustment; however, I can’t decide if life is difficult right now because we have two kids or because Jude is a firecracker of a toddler. Either way, my hands are full. I tried the potty training thing with Jude – which was a complete success after a couple of days – and then it was a complete failure. More on that some other time, but the kid is in diapers (per his request) until I have the mental and emotional capacity to tackle that again. He is only two and a half though.

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Life is crazy right now. James is super busy with his last semester of school and still working full time. He gets home late and leaves early. I am losing my mind most days, but that is just motherhood in general. We are looking forward to Spring + graduation like you wouldn’t believe. Until then, we anticipate our weekends and pack them with as much family time and “rest” as possible.

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xoxo

Also, some of my FAVORITE bows for Ruby + bowties for Jude: NavyLaneHandmade

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Fall is Here

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fall thatgirlwhit

Come October, the weather has been nice enough for boots and more time spent outside before evening. Jude, as always, loves helping with chores and going on long walks down by the river. I am always snapping pictures on my phone of our everyday moments, so this is a iphone pic post. I am trying to get better at doing things with all the photos I take.

Nights have been crisp, which is perfect for campfires. Perhaps we can fit in an evening camping before it gets too cold.

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jude thatgirlwhit

pumpkin cookies

pumpkin chocolate chip

I always try new pumpkin recipes every year – and usually am disappointed. Maybe I can blame it on my oven, but whenever I try baking breads, they are dry or underdone in the middle. With pumpkin cookies – they are too cakey or doughy or with hardly enough flavor/sweetness for my liking. This time around, I realized that I prefer the cookies after they are fully cooled or even chilled in the fridge as opposed to hot out of the oven. And I would say the recipe was a winner; however, I have a couple more from friends that I want to try out.

Recipe I made – that does not use eggs – can be found HERE! 

farm boy thatgirlwhit

farm boy thatgirlwhit

farm boy thatgirlwhit

art time thatgirlwhit

cowboy jude

Jude has an obsession with this hat of my Grandpa’s. No matter where I put it, he finds it.

xoxo

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Jude’s 2nd Birthday

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Our dear little Jude Boy turned two in August. Here I am barely posting about it…in late September. Pregnancy has been rough. Little gets done and most days are focused on Jude + trying to survive his energy and meltdowns while my energy continues to decrease. It is no secret that I am not a fan of pregnancy – the emotions, constant discomfort, pain and exhaustion are real, folks! But, at 30 weeks now, I am trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel haha!

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Back to Jude!

He is a very sweet boy and a light to our days. I am constantly entertained by his quirks and exploding personality. Though he is a chatterbox, his speech is delayed and most of it is indecipherable. His facial expressions and hand motions while talking make it that much better! He does know a fair amount of words – I am MA and James is DAD. Most often some of his other daily words include: STOP, NO, SHOES, SOCKS, TOES, HAT, PLEASE, TRASH, NOSE, UH OH, HOT, OH NO, & WOW. He is in an interesting phase of calling a lot of thing by their sound instead of their name. Cars and trucks are “Brr brrr’s” – trains (which he is obsessed with) are “Toot too’s” – Cows are “Moos” – Horses “Nay nays” – and other sounds for Ducks and Pigs. There are a lot of other words I am starting to distinguish amongst the jibberish too, but right now I am not going to rack my brain for them all. The good thing, is that he comprehends pretty much everything we tell him. James especially loves requesting that Jude bring him the remote or throw things in the trash for him. Ha!

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At age two, Jude has his favorite things. Some being:

Trains!, Kitties, Cars/Trucks, Horses, Cows, Creatures that Roar. (thus the cake decor)

He prefers watching Curious George, Thomas & Friends, and Shrek. Lately, he has a new love for Frozen and Beauty and the Beast. I find it a little funny that he especially gets into the kissing scenes at the end. He makes the smooch noise and comes and lays his head on my shoulder, cups my face, and says AWWWW. Hopefully it is not something we need to be concerned with in the future. After all, his daddy IS a romantic.

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(dancing ^^^)

As any boy would, Jude loves being outside. Going on walks, four wheeler rides, and trying to help out when we are working. Poor thing does not get as many walks or outside time as before right now though – the heat has this pregnant mama staying inside as much as possible. I can hardly run after him anymore anyway.

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Jude LOVES swimming and the water. He is fearless. We have to keep an eye on him because he will let himself go under – doing his vertical bicycle kicking in place. He can hold his breath for a few seconds, but needs work. We never put a puddle jumper on him so that he has to learn to swim. I think next summer he will have it down!

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Jude’s birthday fell on a Saturday this year, so we just had a low key day of swimming and grilling out. Grandma and Grandpa came as well as our good friends, the Oldroyd’s (basically Jude’s adopted aunt and uncle) and then our next-door cousins came over a little later. Maybe when Jude is older and comprehends his birthday, we will make a bigger deal about it. He had fun on his day – and that was all that mattered!

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Apart from other fun new cars and light-up tractor, Jude got some cool train toys which are, of course, his latest obsession. And a fun new wind-up train book (from my Usborne obsession lol). We gifted him his book the following day though. He was overloaded with cool things on Saturday.

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The night ended with a trip to Stone Mountain for the laser show. He loves the lights, fireworks, and music. He dances and jumps around the whole time! Most of the family joined us for it, so it was a fun, family-filled day.

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I have to document the cake because – as James knows best – I am no baker. Other than cookies, I ruin everything. Baking from scratch is something I just cannot perfect. It did not help that the day before, I watched an episode of Master Chef where the challenge was to make a perfect three layered birthday cake. The critiquing of those cakes left me feeling the pressure! However, with a phone call to my sister for some advice – I was proud of myself and this birthday cake. The homemade funfetti icing turned out amazing too!

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Jude turns two

So here is to Jude – our little two year old. We love him so! I love that I get to spend my days with him (even though motherhood can be tiring work) and I cannot wait to see him as a big brother.

xoxo

Whit

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