Best iPhone applications for your preschooler

Handing your iPhone to a toddler is crazy, you say?
And I respond, “Why? It’s going to crash every half hour anyway!”

I’m not that reckless, really. Boobaby’s pretty good with electronic equipment — she reprogrammed the car’s oxygen sensor this morning — so I wasn’t too worried about how she’d treat my $200 chunk of not-very-much (but oh-so-delicate) metal.

And besides, we were flying.

Get in an airplane with a napless, constipated two-year old and all rules about entertainment are off: we’d let her watch Canadian ice-fishing bullfight porn if it would keep her occupied.

But Boobaby is an interactor: if we have her watch a movie, she’ll soon be singing about the plot at the top of her lungs. (Pilots freak out when they hear “NEMO and MICKEY! And SHARKS SHARKS SHARKS!” sung to the theme from The Love Boat.)

So in preparation for the flight, I got a bunch of potentially distracting iPhone apps to try out on her. Here are the very unscientific results of our little test, in descending order by how long Boo was distracted by each one.

1. Scribble.

image Total distraction time: about 29 minutes.

This is a simple (and free!) drawing program: you touch a color and pull your finger around the screen and you get a drawing. But, most importantly, there’s pink, and so Boo will ask to play this over and over. The cutest part: when Boo touches a color on the screen, she examines her fingertip to examine the dollop of ink she believes to be there.

[iTunes Link]

2. 300 Bowl.

imageTotal distraction time: about 17 minutes.

Boobaby’s actually astoundingly good at this game, which requires only a simple finger flick to send the pins flying with a satisfying clatter. Her best score is 145, although I managed to beat that pretty easily by staying up until 3 a.m. playing over and over again.

[iTunes Link] — Hurry, it’s half price this week!

3. Preschool Adventure.

image Total distraction time: about 10 minutes.

This app isn’t bad, although not really very educational — the matching isn’t really matching. You just click the pink sea anemone and it says, after the fact, “pink sea anemone.” Still, Boo seemed pretty into it, if only briefly, and for a dollar, it’s not bad.

[iTunes Link]

4. ABC Letters.

image Total distraction time: about 5 minutes.

This one will probably work when she’s a little older. Some of the fonts display the letters in a completely illegible form, sadly — this one needs a little work. Still, Boo does seem to be getting something out of it.

[iTunes Link]

5. Bubbles.

Total distraction time: about 30 seconds. Mom and dad distraction time: hours and hours.

image Another free one: All you do here is drag to create ethereal bubbles, then tap to pop them. Boo got the idea and decided it was boring pretty quickly. Working Mom and I — well, we’re sort of addicted, sorry to say.

[iTunes Link]


I’d also give an honorable mention to “Matches,” although it’s a little clunky and not really age-appropriate for us. How about y’all fellow followers who’ve succumbed, like I have, to these infernal devices? Got any baby-with-the-iPhone favorites?