Tag Archives: iPhone

Toddler iPad App Reviews – Zoo Train

We will be reviewing the many iPad apps Jax has been trying out recently. The iPad is great for car rides and waiting in restaurants. I stick mostly to educational and pretend-play when choosing apps for him.

Zoo Train

Zoo Train is an app by Busy Bee Studios. It has 5 little games in one that are great for preschoolers. It includes: Picture Puzzles, Whistle Music, Train Builder, Word Builder and Track Tycoon.


This was Jax’s first “favorite” app on the iPad. He has impressed so many people, both relatives and strangers, while solving the word puzzles. At first he’d just drag any letter to any spot, but he quickly realized that he needed to match them and started looking for similar shapes. He still gets confused with some letters like “m” and “n” but really does great. He LOVES that the game gives him stickers after he solves three words (you also get stickers every 3 picture and train track puzzles.) He gets so excited and exclaims “Oh! Stickers!!”


The picture puzzles were the first of that style of game he’d done. He was having a hard time with a wooden puzzle he had in real life, but after playing the puzzle game a bit he started to be able to solve it. He didn’t understand the track puzzles for quite a while and would ask me to do it for him so he could see the train go around the completed track. Then one day I looked over and he was solving it like it was no big deal.

Jax enjoys the train building game. You don’t get any rewards for this one, but it is cute. You get to choose a train engine and then 4 cars. All of them have really cute zoo animals. Once your train is built you choose a scene from 4 choices and watch your train drive by. We like to point out things in the scenery that we’ve spelled in the Word Builder, like “cloud” and “ship”.

The section of the app that gets the least use is the musical train whistles. He occasionally goes into it but he isn’t patient enough to let a song play out.

I would definitely recommend this app to other parents of young toddlers. Jax has learned a lot of early literacy skills just from playing these simple, fun games. They have given him a good foundation for learning to recognize  letters and put them into words. The app has also helped with his fine motor skills.

We got this app quite a while ago and I’m pretty sure it was either free or 99 cents at the time. It goes for $1.99 and I think it is a fair price. It includes an iPhone version. I do wish they would add more words to the Word Builder and more Picture Puzzles. Jax can do the puzzles in about 15 seconds each now! I think we’d even pay an extra dollar for an upgrade pack if it were to double our content.

If you have a toddler or preschool app you’d like Jax and I to review, please contact me with details. We have an iPad 1 and an iPhone 4.

iPad Games for Toddlers

A reader asked if I had suggestions for iPad game that toddlers would enjoy. Here are a few that Jax loves!

For young babies, Look Baby! is great!It has four simple activities: a teddy bear you can tickle, a butterfly that changes color, bubbles you pop and shapes that bounce around. Jax sends himself into a fit of giggle when he “tickles” the teddy bear and it laughs at him!

The graphic designer in me loves Interactive Alphabet. The illustrations are so bright and fun! Ever letter has a fun activity, plus you can sing along to the ABC song and watch a robot dance (the robot, of course!) at the end. Jax adores the train, the hamster hiding under a hat and the zipper. It’s on sale right now, so snap this one up!

The first game he fell in love with was Peekaboo Pets. We got it when it was free – it now costs $1.99. It would have been money well spent. Jax learned many animal sounds from pushing the buttons and popping the animals out. He calls the iad “Baa” because of the sheep in that game. He also learned to use one finger to push the button after starting out smacking it with his whole hand.

A more recent purchase was Nighty Night. Jax was enchanted by this half ebook/half game as soon as the narrator started to speak. The graphics are beautiful and the animations and sounds are cute. You can interact with all the farm house animals, then put the light switches to put them to bed. Jax used to just wave “night night” to them, but now he clicks off the lights and is so proud of himself! He loves the fish pond because the fish make silly faces and sounds.

I also recommend all of Sandra Boyton’s ebooks: The Going to Bed Book, Moo, Baa, La La La! and Blue Hat, Green Hat. It’s fun to be able to read those books when we are away from home. Plus, they all have fun interactive elements.

We most recently got Pat the Bunny. It is adorable! You can record your own auto, which I did on the iPad, and if you have a camera (like I do on my iPhone) your baby can see himself in the “mirror”. Every page has a different activity. Jax’s favorites are the nesting dolls, the velcro shoes and the kitchen band.

Hope these suggestions help!