Finding suitable apps for toddlers in the Android store can be a little tricky, which is odd given Google’s mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. So here are five of the best free apps for kids, road tested on a demanding three year old and a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Anything that didn’t pass the two-minute-attention-span test didn’t get included, nor did anything with overly intrusive ads.
Kids Match’em Kids Match’em is a memory game, with twelve cards that kids need to turn over in pairs to match. The vibrant colours and fun characters make Kids Match’em a great way to enhance short-term memory, and your toddler will probably surprise you with a better memory than you have!
Talking Tom Cat Tom cat’s big green eyes and his ability to mimic every word your child says make this a sure winner for capturing their attention. Stroke him and he purs, tap him in the head and he eventually falls over, with stars flying around his head and laughs all round. The ads in the free version are a little intrusive so it is well worth the few bucks to go for the paid version.
Kids Socks This is another matching game – this time [no prizes for guessing] with socks. Selecting which sock needs to go from the pile to join its counterpart on the washing line is a great way to help kids in building pattern and colour recognition. The sounds and ultra-enthusiastic appreciative voices on correct matches spur kids on to play again.
Kids Doodle The touch-screen lends itself perfectly to drawing apps and this app lets you easily draw beautiful pictures (or lines and scribbles, depending on your age) with multi-coloured neon lines. The colours are so pretty it’s actually quite easy for an adult to spend time drawing on this one. For the benefit of the toddler, of course. Got a favourite app that your toddler is crazy for? Drop me an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Kids Preschool This is a tablet version of the jigsaw puzzle with a range of brightly coloured pieces and a nice selection of animals, objects numbers and letters. This one requires a little more patience for kids because the pieces don’t click into place unless you place them right on top of the correct spot. Nevertheless an engaging – and free – app with little advertising and a good educational angle.