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3 Apps for Toddlers you need NOW

The Importance of Literacy

“The National Early Literacy Panel assessed the most rigorous scientific research available on the development of early literacy skills in children from birth to age 5. They concluded that a grasp of the alphabet and phonics awareness were two of the “strongest and most consistent predictors” of future literacy development.”

This we can agree with.

Looking through the recent report cards and hearing the concerns of the teachers we were speaking to at the meet and greet conference regarding our child’s progress in reading gave us food for thought. What exactly was on the market as far as literacy?

When we think of toddlers, many of us think of how to best keep them occupied. Growing up in the age of Looney Tunes and other cartoons with no apparent life lessons it was a wonder we knew how to read at all much less behave civilly.

After scouring the web for the best reader apps we thought back to our own days growing up learning how to type for the first time. Learning should be fun. Learning to type was just as fun as we had a certain red suited plumber help us in a kingdom full of mushrooms (Mario Teaches Typing we’re looking at you).

What we came up with are three pivotal applications for your android tablet device that absolutely NEED to be installed. They make lessons in reading with both number and letter recognition fun and interactive. Now we aren’t a bunch of scientists with laboratories and the necessary equipment to quantify observation but what we can say is we’ve field tested these applications by giving a tablet installed with these to a 3 year old. We demonstrated the process with our fingers and gave them a go.

Here is what we found.

Alphabet Board


This application works by arranging upbeat music with a board of letters which can be selected in any order.


We selected the letter “A” and had our toddler watch as we traced the lines into the empty figure.


It was a bit shaky at first but we managed to get it done.


It gave us a little congratulatory page with the letter and an arrow pointing us to the next one.


The letter our toddler chose was the letter “C”.


They managed to do this rather quickly and beamed with pride as they pointed and showed us their progress.


While we did this we caught ourselves saying the letter outloud for them to hear. What we failed to notice at first was the tiny ear button on the right hand corner that functioned as an audio clip of the selected letter. Sadly, it was only a feature of the paid version.

Get Alphabets Board on Google Play

Get Alphabets Board Pro for $2.99 on Google Play

Numbers Board


With this app, we found the same interface overall. What we immediately noticed though was the lack of audio clip for the selected number.



This was our child’s first attempt at filling in the zero.





Next, the number “1.”


One problem however was the advertisement right after finishing a number.


This is not something you want to see especially if you can’t figure out how to close it like our toddler and subsequently, lost interest until we cleared it away.

Get Numbers Board on Google Play


Shapes Board


When we opened shapes our child immediately pointed to the triangle and yelled out “Triangle!” Other than the banner ad everything is easy to see and navigate to.


On our square he right away knew the drill from the two previous sets of exercises and went to work with tracing the shape.


Finished square.


The congratulatory screen.

Other than the few advertisements that popped up on occasion and again if our toddler was any indication of what to expect when this gets into your child’s hands, it would help to buy the paid version on Google Play.

Get Shapes Board on Google Play


What’s Best for your Toddler?

As we come to a close on 3 Apps for Toddlers you need NOW we have to remind you of several things and include a few tips that served us pretty well upon actual application. The first problem you may run into is the one we did, if you can’t find a version of the app on the Google Play store that is paid and ad-free, it helps to sit down with your child and go through the app directions with them, correcting them when possible, and making sure they watch you press the onscreen softkeys so they can associate what action goes with what keypress.

We mentioned that the Alphabets Board came in an ad-free version for a few bucks more. Perhaps the biggest gain in this is the ability to hear a letter sounded out. What might be even better is if you sat down with your child and sounded the letters out for them as they completed them. This of course can’t be done all the time with how busy most of us are.

One other tip to keep in mind is that this set of apps are not all-inclusive. These are directed toward a specific purpose and that specific purpose, it does very well. In their developmental stages, we want to concentrate on teaching our children the basics such as, Uppercase letters, Numbers 0-10, and the basic types of Shapes.

As time wears on you are going to want to differentiate between upper and lower case letters, combinations of two and three digit numbers, and more complex shapes like Octagons, Dodecahedrons, Trapezoids, and Spirals.

Practical applications for this app might be one or several of the following:

  • Provide a set time each day to have them do their numbers, letters, and shapes, or have a certain day set aside for either numbers, letters, and shapes.
  • Once they get into the habit, reward them with treats or other activities they normally would not do.
  • Ask them questions as you come across stories and books that they may enjoy such as, “What letter is that?” or “How many are those? What does that number look like?” and “Draw that shape for me.”
  • Most importantly, try to have your toddler use a stylus so they get the hang of using a pen to write these letters, numbers, and shapes.

For all the technological advances in our civilization, it helps as well to pay attention to your child. Some of you may notice those that buy their children things and give it to them so it can keep them busy, if it seems educational then all the more reason to let them have at it. What you can do differently though is get into the habit of treating literacy as an enjoyable time that the two of you can share will do a better job of helping them retain comprehension as well as embedding a positive attitude toward reading in general.

Most of all however, it is important to have fun and celebrate their accomplishments.

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Elias Stevens

Elias Stevens

Freelance Journalist, Personal Chef, and Tech Enthusiast.

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