I do not normally get too excited about screen time for my toddler. In fact, I would not allow her to even be in the same room as a television for the first year of her life. Then, she discovered Sesame Street and Disney movies. I realized I could not banish all screen time from her life, but I could put limits on it that make us both happy.
Technology versus Imagination
The use of technology with kids is a double-edged sword. On one hand, we live in a technological world. Kids need to know how to use technology effectively to succeed in school and in life. I cannot ignore this fact as I am a virtual teacher! Technology is very much a necessity.
However, when I was a kid, I read books and went outside to play. I did not use controllers to play games, I used my imagination. As a teacher, I can say the imagination of kids is not what it once was. I do this little visualization with my students in which I ask them to close their eyes and then describe something they just saw. Many kids simply state, “All I see is black.” They are unable to use their imagination to visualize, which is a key component in developing reading comprehension!
Thus, as both a teacher and a mom, I am at an impasse. I want both my students and my daughter to learn to use technology. However, I do not want them to lose their imaginations in the process. It is a balance. Finding the right balance is sometimes the difficult part.
Apps for Toddlers
I resigned myself to allowing my daughter a bit of screen time per day once she hit toddlerhood. Sesame Street is as wonderful as I remember when I was a kid and who does not love Disney? But, I was not ready to hand over my iPad and let her explore one of the thousands of apps for kids quite yet.
Then, KidloLand asked me if I would check out their app for six months. Before allowing my daughter to try it out, I played with the app myself for about a week. I also looked into several other educational apps for toddlers for comparison. Parents Magazine lists their picks for the Best iPhone Apps for Babies and Toddlers and I checked all out all of their free recommendations.
I discovered that there are some pretty nifty apps out there for toddlers. There are ones that focus on the phonemic awareness and the alphabetic principle. Some apps are great for developing one-to-one correspondence and fine motor control. Most apps also include some sort of musical component with songs and nursery rhymes. However, I found all of the above and more with the KidloLand app.
Why KidloLand is the Best Educational App for Toddlers
*I was given a free six-month subscription to KidloLand in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own. Additionally, I will continue to subscribe to this app when the six months are up at my own cost!
After playing with this app myself, I knew my daughter would love it. My daughter calls it “Monster’s Game” because all of the games within the app have these cute, colorful little monsters. This app combines many of the elements other apps have (and then some!) but it is a one-stop shop!
KidloLand Helps Practice Early Literacy Skills
There is an option to listen to a premade playlist of favorite children’s songs or you can even create your own playlist. Toddlers can listen to the playlist while they play a game or just dance along! Kidloland also has an entire library of all kinds of nursery rhymes and children’s songs to listen to. My favorite part is that the lyrics to the songs and rhymes are displayed throughout the interactive videos. This helps build your toddler’s phonemic awareness and word recognition!
Learning the alphabet is two-fold. Children need to not only recognize letters, but the sounds that letters make. Then, they begin to understand that words are comprised of these letters that represent sounds. KidloLand has several games that are perfect for emphasizing this concept.
My daughter loves the “ABC Bike Rider” game in which sometimes she has to recognize letters and sometimes she has to recognize the sounds that the letters make. These tasks range from simple to complex. For example, for the letter C, toddlers are asked to match the “c” animal to it’s given shadow outline in the puzzle. But for the letter F, toddlers must distinguish which objects have the /f/ sound and which do not.
There are also several games that reinforce the idea of capital versus lowercase letters. Toddlers even get to practice tracing and writing letters. These are important early literacy skills, but toddlers are also able to practice their fine motor control.
There are several activities to build phonics skills. I like the phonics word building skills because they are really great for kids ages 2-5. They learn letter sounds, CVC words, and how to recognize and build upon knowledge of word families. There are also several early reading skills included where your toddler can work on flashcards or learn days of the week, months of the year, or seasons. These are great for building your toddler’s vocabulary and they are completely interactive!
KidloLand Helps Practice Early Math Skills
My daughter just loves the number recognition games! There are several variations, but they are all fun and interactive. Again, I love that these games practice the desired skill, but they also help to develop fine motor control. You have to fast to splat those numbers or pop the number balloons!
Counting Numbers 1-10
One of my favorite games in the entire app is “Counting Math 1 to 10”. Your toddler will move their little monster through the math of different counting and number recognition activities. Again, there is a range of difficulty. Sometimes they have to identify a particular number or count a number of objects up to 10. Other times, they are required to distinguish between groups of objects to determine their amounts or whether they have “more” or “less”. Every activity along the path is different!
Meet the Shapes has a similar concept as “Counting Math 1 to 10” where your toddler can follow the path that leads to different shape related activities. But, my favorite part of this game is that in between each activity, there is a shape song! The shape song helps to teach your child about the name of the shape and it’s properties.
KidloLand Arts, Games, and Puzzles
It may all seem like fun and games and…it is! In addition to building valuable early learning skills for preschool, there are plenty of games and puzzles that your toddler will think are super fun. However, as a teacher and mom, I know that the art games help my toddler with color recognition and fine motor control. The puzzles help my toddler think critically and problem solve. All of the activities are colorful and engaging.
Teacher Mom Tips for Toddler Apps
I highly recommend this app for toddlers, as both a mom and a teacher. It is educational, but also highly engaging for those little minds. However, in order to get the most out of your toddler’s learning and reduce your mom guilt for allowing your toddler to have screen time, check out my tips.
1. Limit the Amount of Time Spent in the App
This particular app is so fun and engaging, but there is a fine line between having a blast and having a meltdown for a toddler. My daughter will be plugging along having the best time with the monsters and the next second she is overstimulated. I determined that her happy place is twenty minutes maximum. We set the timer on the iPad for twenty minutes and my daughter knows that when the timer goes off, it is time to take a break. I allow her to come back to the app later, but I limit the time-per-session at twenty minutes.
2. Use the App to Reinforce Skills
Use the toddler app to reinforce skills, not teach the skills for the first time. Teach your toddler the necessary skills and then use the app to reinforce what you just taught. For example, after my daughter and I work on a particular letter, we pull up the app and work on the games associated with that letter. It is a great instructional tool if used in this manner.
3. Use the App with Your Toddler
Yes, there are plenty of times, especially as a work-at-home mom that I hand the iPad to my daughter with the KidloLand app ready to go. However, when you can, sit down and play the games with your toddler. This way, you can talk through the games, answer questions, and reduce the likelihood of frustration. We also use the app to practice taking turns. There are several “coloring” activities and we take turns coloring in different parts of the picture. I admit it…it’s fun!
The KidloLand app is free, however, the subscription is paid. You can either pay $4.99 per month, $24.99 for six months, or $40.00 for the year. In my opinion, this is a great bang for your buck. But don’t just take my word for it! This app has been recommended by parents, educators, and mommy bloggers alike. Check out their recent reviews and awards here. My little reviewer absolutely loves it and I am sure your toddler will love this app, too!
Download the KidloLand App Here:
Have you tried the KidloLand App for Toddlers? Do you have a favorite toddler app? Please comment and share below!