Source: Bamba Surprise on the App Store
Source: Toca Hair Salon on the App Store
Source: Swiggles Colors on the App Store
These apps are currently free, but I don’t know how long they will last. The Tiggly apps are aimed at early learning skills. The ones I linked are best for ages 3 to 6. They introduce spelling, phonemic awareness and vocabulary. Tiggly has designed these apps to interact with Tiggly toys, but you can play using the touch screen option. There are other Tiggly apps that are also free like Tiggly Chef, Tiggly Safari, Tiggly Draw, Tiggley Addventure, Tiggly Cardtoons and Tiggly Stamp which focus of early math skills.
Bamba is another maker of early learning apps which are aimed at a slightly younger age range at 2 and up. The one I linked is aimed more at preschoolers while their other pretend play apps like Bamba Burger, Bamba Ice Cream, Bamba Pizza and Bamba Post Office are fun for younger kids.
Toca Hair Salon is just fun playful app for ages 3 to 6. Toca Boca develops some of the best apps on the market for this age group. They should be scooped up when they are free. These are must have apps. Younger kids can also play with Toca Boca apps as tapping and swiping will always do something on the screen.
Swiggles is a decent app for very young kids in the toddler age range. It will flip through the silly monster faces with a peekaboo effect with one type of app motion like swiping, tapping, and shaking. The second one names the colors as the faces rotate through. It’s fine for a free app, but I wouldn’t actually pay money for this one.
Other app makers that I like for the younger set (ages 2 to 5) which may or may not be free right now are Tizzy, Wonderkind (makes the uber fun Seek and Find and Tiny apps), Fairlady Media, Gazilli, Dr. Panda, Duck Duck Goose, Tropisounds (wooden puzzles), Wombi puzzle, Tribal Nova, Little Bit Studio (math), Build A Word by @Reks, Playsmart-Kids, Bugsy, Klicktock (hidden pictures), Innovative Mobile, Fisher Price, Lego Duplo, Lakeshore Learning Materials, Tappi Bear (just for fun) apps. Older kids also still love to play these apps as well though they may not want to admit it. There are plenty more out there that I didn’t list on here.
For toddlers and preschoolers, hands down the best app bargain is the Teach Me series of apps which go from toddler to 3rd grade which you can read about here: http://wp.me/p1M41l-fU