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20 Educational Apps For Toddlers To Stay Busy During The Pandemic

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While you're stuck inside with your kids practicing social distancing, a little extra screen time is likely to grace your daily agenda. Instead of watching Paw Patrol for hours on end, these educational apps for toddlers to use during the pandemic will encourage your little one to learn.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting screen time to one hour of "high quality programming" per day for kids ages 2 to 5. But in the world's new coronavirus-induced reality, if you're working from home during a quarantine — or even just trying to mitigate stir-crazy toddler angst while you manage the happiness of your entire family while stuck indoors — this is less than realistic. Despite your best intentions and a slew of indoor activities on tap, more than an hour's worth of screen time will probably happen.

As a solution to this (hopefully) temporary problem, you can install a variety of educational apps on your tablet or phone to meet the AAP's high quality programming recommendation and keep your toddler occupied. I don't know about you, but I'm willing to do just about anything at this point to keep Frozen II from playing on an endless loop on my TV. These educational apps for toddlers will save your sanity during these trying times.

1. Breathe, Think, Do With Sesame

This free app by Sesame Street can help little ones learn valuable lessons about problem-solving, planning, and self-control. In true Sesame Street fashion, activities like learning how to practice deep breathing are led by a friendly monster on screen to keep your toddler engaged. This type of educational app could prove extremely handy if your child experiences any anxious feelings during the pandemic.

2. PBS Kids Games

If the PBS Kids Game app isn't already your go-to educational app, you're definitely going to want to download it. In this free app, your toddler can play learning games to practice their problem solving skills related to math, reading, and science alongside their favorite PBS Kids show characters.

3. Noggin Preschool Learning App

Your toddler can learn from their favorite Nick Jr. characters in the Noggin Preschool Learning App. Brain-boosting games, eBooks, puzzles, and interactive activities provide the perfect mix of entertainment and learning for your toddler. This is a subscription-based app, but parents can also utilize a free seven-day trial before committing to a monthly fee.

4. Laugh & Learn Shapes & Colors

This app by Fisher Price allows kids ages 6 months and up to learn about shapes and colors by tilting their device or tapping the screen to sort and slide different shapes. Two levels of play are available depending on your toddler's skill level. Also included in the app are songs to dance and sing along with in between game play.

5. Fish School

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The Fish School app is a free resource for toddlers to practice counting, letter recognition, shapes, and colors. The app features plenty of music and interactive games to keep your toddler engaged and learning as they count, sort, match, and play with colorful fish on screen.

6. ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse provides kids ages 2 to 8 with a full online curriculum in reading, math, science, and art tailored to your child's age group. This educational app is typically only available as a paid subscription-based service, but the app can be accessed for free right now if a representative from your local school district fills out a form on the app developer's website.

7. Shapes!

If your kids love playing with shape sorters where they manipulate different types of shapes into their respective slots within the toy, they'll love this interactive app. The Shapes! app is suitable for kids ages 2 and above. Toddlers can practice their color and shape sorting skills as well as fine motor skill development as they engage with the app.

8. Reading Train Starter Books

After a while, your kids might get bored with the books in your home library, but heading to the public library might be out of the question while under quarantine. You can practice social distancing and read new books with the Reading Train Starter Books app. Beginning readers can listen and look at guided stories sorted by three reading levels, as well as play games to enhance their learning experience.

9. Little Stars Toddler Games

With topics like first words, letter names and sounds, counting, shapes, and colors, the Little Stars Toddler Games app gives toddlers the opportunity to learn through space-themed games. Parents can use toggle controls to turn certain topics on or off depending on which areas of learning they want their toddler to focus on at any given time.

10. Musical Me!

The music-based app Musical Me! introduces toddlers to musical concepts like rhythm, note reading, and pitch. If you have little music lovers at home, they can do more than just listen to music during quarantine — they can learn about how it is composed as well.

11. Scribbaloo

Educational apps aren't limited to just math, science, and reading — art counts, too! Your toddlers can take advantage of the art-based app Scribbaloo to learn about colors and make their very own masterpieces within the app. You can also take a screenshot of their creations to share with family and friends to brighten their day.

12. Leap Frog Academy Learning

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Toddlers can learn through more than 2,000 activities in the Leap Frog Academy Learning app. Subjects like basic math, early reading skills, and simple science are taught through puzzles, eBooks, and games, perfect for little learners. Although this app is subscription-based, parents can take advantage of a free month-long trial.

13. Bugs & Buttons

Toddlers can practice pattern recognition, color sorting, and counting in the Bugs and Buttons app. Each of the 18 activities within the app help toddlers learn while engaging their fine motor skills by pinching, tapping, and dragging colorful bugs and buttons across the screen to sort and count.

14. Elmo Loves ABCs

For toddlers, there is almost no better educational instructor than Elmo. In this Sesame Street app, Elmo teaches the ABCs through a collection of songs, games, and coloring pages. Once your toddler has had their fill of learning about letters, the Elmo Loves 123s app teaches basic counting and math skills. Although parents must pay for the full version of either app, lite versions are available for free with a limited amount of letters and numbers.

15. Toca Doctor

While health and medical safety are first and foremost on everyone's mind during the coronavirus pandemic, toddlers can play doctor while learning in the Toca Doctor app. Games and puzzles will keep them occupied while they learn about the body and practice problem-solving skills.

16. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

Toddlers can learn shapes, counting, and more in the Monkey Preschool Lunchbox app. Fun games are led by a an adorable monkey, and kids can help pack his lunch by interactive play. Animated stickers motivate toddlers to keep learning through game play and songs.

17. Funbrain Jr.

The free Funbrain Jr. app helps encourage learning for kids ages 2 to 6. Toddlers can practice counting, fine motor skills, patterns, and number recognition with games that involve popping balloons, memory flash cards, and more.

18. Little Writer

Toddlers can practice their tracing skills without wasting any paper with the Little Writer app. Using their finger, your tot can trace the entire alphabet, numbers, and shapes, as well as learn how to write their own name and basic words within the app.

19. Dr. Seuss's ABC Read & Learn

If your kids love the whimsical stories of Dr. Seuss, they'll love learning through the Dr. Seuss's ABC Read & Learn app. Developed to promote early literacy, the app features narrated books, letter sorting games, letter recognition practice, and more.

20. Talking ABC

The bright and colorful interface and clay art animation of the Talking ABC app keeps toddlers actively learning by introducing the sights and sounds of all 26 letters of the alphabet. Catchy songs, puzzles, and interactive game play reinforce learning for your little one.