iPhone essentials: best apps for babies

Babies these days aren’t content with the plastic toy phones like we had in my day. Today’s tech savvy toddlers demand the real thing. The great thing is, Apple’s mobile devices are so easy to use that even a two year-old can enjoy them, as you can see from the wonderful video below. Plunder the App Store and you’ll find a whole world of iPhone and iPad programs designed specifically for under fives. Besides educational games and fun virtual toys, you can find a number of useful apps to help you in the merciless task of caring for a new baby. Here’s a selection of the best iPhone and iPad apps for babies and young children.

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Learning animals and spelling with FirstWords: Animals

First WordsThe first app that the little girl plays with in the video is FirstWords: Animals. It teaches tots how to recognize and match letters and put them together to make words. All children love animals, and the fun drawings and animal noises keep their attention. You can adjust the difficulty level as your kid grows and before you know it they be writing hippopotamus without using a spell check, which is more than I can say for me! $1.99

More animal adventures with Fisher-Price: Say ‘n Say

See and SayWhen your child is ready to learn more about animals, introduce them to Fisher-Price: See ‘n Say. Based on the popular toy of the same name, the app teaches animal noises and fun facts. With sounds and real movies of 12 different animals, your toddler will be able to grasp the key differences between creatures. Fisher-Price: See ‘n Say is really easy and picking an animal is done just by spinning the wheel. $1.99

Recognizing objects with BabyApps: Flash Cards

Flash cardsFlash cards have been a common teaching aid for years, and this iPhone app replicates the system on your mobile device.  BabyApps: Flash Cards contains 51 different flash cards, covering animals, food, nature and everyday items, all arranged in a fun iPhone-style interface. The app contains lots of sound effects, and the illustrations in the program are excellent. Perfect for developing vocabulary. $0.99

Discovering numbers with Fisher-Price: Chatter Telephone

Fisher Price telephoneThe Fisher-Price telephone is so old, even I had one as a wee lad. This iPhone version of the classic toy is aimed at two to five year-olds and it gets them used to dialing phone numbers. It gives practical information about contacting community helpers, such as the police, and can even be used to help your little one make music by tapping on the buttons. The phone’s face can be personalized, as can the backgrounds. $0.99

Learning a second language with Peekaboo Barn

Peekaboo BarnYet another educational game that uses animals to help children learn words. The difference with Peekaboo Barn is that it teaches the names of animals in both English and Spanish, helping your child learn another language. Smaller kids will love opening the barn doors to see what animation is inside, as they learn about cause and effect. Older ones will have fun guessing the animals by the sounds they make from behind the barn. $1.99

Record your child’s development with Total Baby

Total BabyDesigned for very young ones, Total Baby helps you log and track all aspects of your child’s development. You can use it to record and monitor diaper changing, feeds, sleeping, baths, etc., as well as logging growth, vaccines, doctor’s visits and growth. Total Baby holds unlimited data and you can export all of the records via email in the form of an easy-to-read table grouped by day. $4.99

Shut your baby up with Baby Soothe

Baby SootheThere are few sounds more irritating in life than the noise of a baby wailing. Baby Soothe is designed to put a stop to incessant crying by playing calming sounds to your infant. Effects in the app include brook, rain, waterfall, heartbeat, and white noise, giving you plenty to experiment with to see which one your baby responds best to. The interface even includes a Parent Soothe option, with comforting words of encouragement for you in your moments of panic! $0.99

Track baby’s daily routines with Baby Activity Logger

Activity LoggerVoted Best App for New Parents by Good Housekeeping magazine, Baby Activity Monitor helps you keep tabs on everything your baby gets up to. The application produces graphical reports and trending charts, logging sleep, feeds, diaper changes, baths and much more. It even features Twitter integration, so you can let the whole world know how many times junior has filled his nappy today. $4.99

Make sure your child is sleeping soundly with Baby Monitor & Alarm

Baby MonitorWhy buy an expensive baby monitor from a shop when you can install this reliable app for just three bucks? Baby Monitor & Alarm detects noises in the room and will notify another phone of your choice when it hears something. The Mum’s Voice feature can play a recording of your voice, or another calming sound when the baby starts to cry, helping them to get straight back to sleep. $2.99

Go shopping for fun with Toys ‘R’ Us for iPhone

Toys R UsOf course, iPhone apps are no substitute for real toys. If you want an easy way to find goodies for your kids then install the Toys ‘R’ Us app. The free program lets you browse the store’s catalog and purchase products online. It gives you access to special offers, customer reviews and ratings, and includes a store locater. There’s also a Baby Registry option to help you plan your purchases. Free

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