Screen time is a hot topic at the moment, we think it's best to take the approach of all things in moderation, especially in these unusual times. The internet can be a really valuable tool for learning, there are so many amazing educational and entertaining games out there, designed specifically for a younger age range. Learning through play is the absolute best way for toddlers to absorb information, and the following games are all about bringing the fun, alongside developing new skills and encouraging them to take their first steps towards things like learning to read, problem solving and even some mindfulness - something you are never too young to learn. As these games are all aimed at tiny tots they do require some parent participation, but they can be enjoyed alongside a cup of tea!
Teach Your Monster to Read: First Steps
This series of educational games comes out on top time and time again, they have even been nominated for a BAFTA! First Steps is stage one of the series and is aimed at little ones who are just beginning to recognise sounds and letters. Your child will begin by creating their own monster, who they then accompany on an adventure to magical islands where they will meet fun characters and win prizes, as they begin to develop the speed and accuracy of their letter recognition, all alongside their monster! One of the best things about this game, we think, is that it is adaptive to the individual child, if there is a letter or sound that they struggle with and get wrong a few times, it will start popping up more often so they can get the hang of it. The graphics and design are really modern and cool, kids will 100% engage with the bright colours and the fun of designing their own monster pal.
Teach Your Monster to Read is available to play for free on all browsers! Click through to the website here to set up an account and get started. For a limited time (due to you know what) Teach Your Monster to Read app is available for £0.99 instead of the usual £4.99- bargain!
The Go Noodle games are all about being active alongside screen time, so even though we can't be out and about as much as we would like at the moment, this is an excellent way to for kids to move their bodies and engage their minds in a really positive way. These educational games are totally interactive, similar to something like the Wii that picks up your movements, so you can take part on screen. In the game 'Om Petalhead’s Flower Power' the aim is to clear the weeds in the garden by jumping and sweeping your arms, followed by some peaceful yoga, then in 'Zapp Von Doubler’s Space Race' the kids will be reaching up to collect stars and jumping out of the way of space junk! These games are an excellent way to tire your kids out in time for bedtime, they make a nice change from other apps and computer games which require sitting still, not the easiest task for many toddlers! The mindfulness aspect is also a lovely touch, anything to create a little calm in a bit of a scary time seems like a pretty good idea!
The Go Noodle app available for free on iOs and coming to Android soon!
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
This game is perfect for toddlers, it is so easy to tap and swipe through each game that they will pick it up the technique in no time, which means straight into the learning aspect! So Monkey Preschool Lunch Box focuses on problem solving, using 7 different educational games that teach kids about colours, letters, counting, shapes, sizes, matching, and differences. Each game flows smoothly to the next, after a completing a few at a time your little one gets to pick an animated sticker as a reward, so no high scores or levels to reach, just simple and very effective unlimited educational play. Kids will get a real sense of achievement from this style of learning as the quick paced style creates a happy and encouraging environment, if they get an answer wrong they can just keep trying! The design of this game is super bright and joyful, everything feels really high energy, which is great for toddlers who will love the way the fruit jumps around the page, as well as the upbeat music and cheerful narration, not to mention the lovely Milo the monkey who accompanies them every step of the way!
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is available on iOs and Android for £1.99, click here to go straight to the Monkey Preschool site!
Go Explore from CBeebies
The CBeebies website is absolutely jam-packed with free educational online games for kids, but if you fancied something a bit more portable, we LOVE the Go Explore app. There is quite a lot to choose from, but it's likely your toddler already has their favourites! The idea behind the games on the app is to help prepare your little one for starting school, by drawing on the Early Years curriculum to build on their skills and understanding of different topics. The opening scene of the app looks a lot like a map you would be given at festival! You can choose which area to visit, perhaps your toddler would like to help Hey Duggee with some party planning, all while learning about shapes and sequences. They can also learn about emotions with Bing, and practice some phonics and letter sounds with the Alphablocks. Go Explore is literally an interactive version of CBeebies, giving your toddler the opportunity to join in with their favourite shows and become part of the action!
Click here to go straight to the Cbeebies website to take a look at all the free games and apps on offer
Screen time is fine in moderation - hopefully some of these educational online games for toddlers will keep keep your child amused for a short while each day, while also encouraging reading skills and more.
Freelance writer Amy lives in Hampshire with her 3 year old daughter, who is a super energetic, chatty child, leading to Amy’s interest in all matters to do with infant and child sleeping patterns and mindfulness for adults and children. Amy’s degree was in fashion design and she loves filling their beautiful home full of interesting textiles, tiles, art, ceramics, and houseplants or, alternatively, pining over them on Instagram. When they aren’t out exploring in the fresh air they can be found cosying up at home, painting, knitting, and dancing!