In my post on how to keep a baby happy during a long flight, I mentioned a couple of apps that I found that were baby friendly and kept baby busy for more than a few minutes at a time. No small feat given how little minds don’t focus on one thing very well and don’t have the knowledge of how to deal with more complicated tablet gestures. So I thought the topic of baby apps deserves a post of its own.
The words “baby apps” probably make a lot of people cringe. Babies shouldn’t have tablets, much less apps. I know, I know. The recommended amount of screen time for babies under 2 is actually 0 minutes a day.
My baby doesn’t have a tablet, or iPhone or even one of those Vtech Baby iPhone lookalike. We don’t watch tv or use the computer on a regular basis. My baby gets to play with an app in two circumstances: he’s getting a vaccine or we are traveling.
Maybe because of this, most of the apps you tend to see are made for “older” babies, preschoolers or at least 2 year olds. Considering that especially at first, Baby only liked to tap or swipe his hands across the screen without a particular purpose, these apps were way too advanced. There is a selection of apps though that are made for younger babies. Which brings me back to this post.
Below are apps I’ve tried and would recommend for babies who are 3-4 months old and up. Most of them are free (or at least have a free component).
One last word before we jump into it: I have an iPhone and iPad, so the apps below are ios. I’m not sure if all of them exist on Android but the most popular ones (like the ones made by Fisher Price) should. Leave a comment if there are any good apps on Android that aren’t in the list below!
Baby App Reviews – The Best Apps
Touch the Ladybug: Super simple app with a simple concept: baby touches a ladybug that moves around the screen. The ladybug flies away and lands somewhere else on the page. Repeat. Bright and simple color pattern that stands out for babies’ eyes. This app kept my younger one entertained for many minutes at a time. Free!
Smart Rattle: This one is super cute and one of my favorites. The free version comes with 4 scenes. There is a city scene, an underwater one, a Christmas one and a farm one. Music accompanies each scene. Objects float around on the screen. For example, the farm one has farm animals and the city one has various vehicles. If baby shakes the tablet or phone, the objects move around (rattle). The objects make a sound if baby presses on them. The other nice thing is that the scenes change according to a timer so baby doesn’t have to learn how to swipe in order to have a good time. Tip: You get a bonus additional zoo scene if you leave a review.
Kidloland: You get a lot for your no-money down with this free app. It is a collection of nursery rhymes, songs and games that have beautiful interactive imagery. For example, in the Itsy Bitsy Spider song, babies can touch the spider and it moves up the water spout. The free version comes with 10 nursery rhymes, the ABC song and a couple of games/activities.
Fisher Price Apps: Fisher-Price has published many free apps for babies and toddlers. These apps are well made, if somewhat limited in content. Below are my favorite ones for baby.
FP Baby Soothing: This app has two scenes that play soothing music (underwater aquarium and counting sheep). It doesn’t sound like much but I’m telling you this app is magic. My baby always calms down when I play this app. His favorite is the scene in which sheep jump over a fence. If baby touches the screen, fireflies appear. One time when I was stuck in a major traffic jam at Christmas time, Baby was in the back seat by himself, hungry, screaming like a banshee. I gave him the app and he stayed calm for the rest of the drive home (another 20 minutes or so). It’s also my favorite vaccine time app. I’m telling you, magic. Well worth the space on your device.
FP Baby Contrast Color: Another free FP app that is suitable for the very young ones. There are two scenes in this app. The app draws each scene out, like a movie. One is black and white and the other in bright colors. Soothing music plays in the background. If baby touches the screen, ladybugs appear.
FP Baby Shapes and Colors: As the name indicates, this app is all about shapes and colors dancing on the screen. There are 2 levels: one with shapes appearing on the screen when baby touches the screen, the second one that has a keyboard and plays a song if Baby finds all the shapes. My baby didn’t get into this one until he was a bit older (about 9 months) but he loves playing the piano now.
As I mentioned, there are many Fisher Price apps, some of which sustain my Baby’s interest more than others. Please post in the comments if you find any other ones your young baby likes.
Other Popular Apps Baby didn’t like
Magic hands: A finger drawing app. I think my 15 month old is too young for that still.
Peek a zoo: Tour a zoo and see cute animals. Unfortunately you have to click the forward arrow to move from one animal to the next and Baby can’t do that yet.
FP Story Book: The app reads various stories and highlights words. It’s probably better for older kids.
Baby apps/Baby games collections: There seem to be a lot of multi-activity baby apps appearing in the App store recently. While they claim to have a lot of activities, most of the activities are similar across all the apps. They are generally poorly made, a lot of the scenes don’t actually do anything, so it doesn’t catch my Baby’s attention at all.
I hope this post will help avoid you spending countless hours searching for and testing apps that your baby might love. Happy travels!