I Review Our Favorite Free or Cheap Apps for Preschoolers
I’m going to preface this by saying, my three year old doesn’t get a lot of time on the tablet. We mainly use it for air travel and as a potty training bribe. It is fairly rare that he gets to use the tablet at home since I’d rather he get in the habit of watching what he wants on the TV so that we can see what he’s watching. That being said, this is my second preschooler and all of the apps my youngest uses were also favorites of my oldest son.
I’m also a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to technology. I can’t stomach paying for an iPad for myself (mine is really old and slow), much less for my kids. My oldest son uses an iPad my husband literally found on the street.
Someone had thrown it in the gutter because the screen was cracked. Since my husband is super tech-savvy, he replaced the screen, fixed a few glitches and we’ve been using it for five years now. When we were making a cross country flight two years ago, I decided we’d better get our youngest a tablet to eliminate fighting on the plane.
Lucky for us, Amazon was running a special on the Kindle Fire and we got it for under $45 (it normally sells for $49.99, which is still a steal!). What I didn’t realize when we bought it was that we could use our Amazon Prime membership to download free TV shows or movies onto the tablet. Such a deal since we always had to buy shows for my oldest son! Also, since it was so affordable, I’m not an anxious mess while my kid is using it. We put a really sturdy case on it and it really holds up. In fact, my son threw it down a flight of stairs when we were visiting my brother and it survived with zero damage.
Now, on to our favorite apps!
Favorite Preschool Apps
- YouTube: I know I shared this in my Five Friday Favorites, but seriously, my preschooler loves watching “toy Thomas” aka other people playing with their Thomas the Train sets on YouTube. He can also watch cartoons and his favorite video is kid music video with popular songs like Wheels on the Bus, Daddy Finger, Five Little Monkeys, etc. Of course, YouTube doesn’t work without wifi so he can only use this when we have access to wifi. (Price: Free)
- Monkey Preschool Lunchbox: We got this app when we were flying cross country with my oldest when he was 2.5 and he loved it. My 3.5 year old now plays and loves it as well. Depending on your preschooler’s ability on a tablet, you may need to help them, particularly with the puzzles. My kids always have trouble dragging the pieces into the right spot. The best part is that you don’t need wifi. (Price: $.99)
- Thomas and Friends: Go Go Thomas! Speed Challenge for Kids: I admit, I think this game is lame since it is just the trains racing on the track but my preschool son loves everything Thomas so he really likes this app. In all honesty, there was an old Thomas and Friends app that we had for my older son that was so much better. It had matching games and puzzles and he could “color” the trains using his finger. I haven’t been able to find anything like it. Since my three year old never saw it, he doesn’t know what he’s missing and really enjoys this app. (Price: Free but they charge you for add ons)
- Wheels on the Bus: If your preschool kid likes the song Wheels on the Bus, they’ll love this app (you may lose your mind hearing it over and over). Your preschooler can move objects and characters and listen to the song in other languages – so cool! (Price: Free)
- Disney Junior Watch Now: My oldest son actually downloaded this (with our permission) and he and his brother enjoy playing the games. They don’t really watch the full show episodes since if we’re home, I’d rather they watch the TV than a personal device. You can watch full episodes of shows as well as clips and listen to Radio Disney. (Price: Free)
- Little Baby BumBum app: My preschool son adores these nursery rhymes on YouTube, so for our recent trip, I checked online to see if they have an app and they do! There is a Lite free version and a premium version for $2.99. We went with the premium since it doesn’t require wifi. You can check out the content for free on YouTube first. My preschooler seriously loves this video! (Price: free or $2.99)
Since my preschool son doesn’t get a lot of tablet time, I don’t have a very long list. That being said, he really enjoys all of these videos and has a tough time choosing between them.