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My mom bought my 2 year old son a LeapPad2, which is fun but also a big, big challenge for him at this stage.

The tablet is definitely helping him develop his fine motor coordination, but at the expense of being frustrating. He tends to visit the same apps over and over and not understand the goal of various activities. Normal I suppose for a 2 year old -- but I can easily imagine an app existing which he could use and enjoy at his skill level. For example he is good at feeding his LeapPad "pet", giving it a bath, and taking it out for exercise. He can't "teach" the pet very well yet, because that requires very specific drawing of letters which is more frustrating than its worth to him.

So my question is:

How do you find apps that a 2 year old can use and enjoy?

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We're at a similar point: 32-month-old with a LeapPad2, who can wash a dog like a champ but gets hacked when he can't yet write a letter with the stylus. (Sigh.)

Have you talked to the folks at LeapFrog directly? They rank their apps for appropriate ages, and we've found their customer service folks to be very approachable and knowledgeable about which groups get the most use out of which apps.

Unfortunately, they don't often have free trials of apps, but keep an eye out; when they do, download it and try it out. You'll know pretty quick if it is a hit or not.

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I got the Discovery Animal Alphabet Video app for my 2-year old. There are several videos so that may help. I haven't tried the music yet but that may be another possibility. Pick music or videos that teach something and you are good to go. Aside from Mr. Pencil and playing with the pet it was all over her head until I discovered these. She never watches the whole video, but she does like the animals.

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Not related to leap pad, but I have downloaded some apps from google play store into my Android phone.

I give my twins aged 2 years the phone after selecting one of the apps to play in the morning. These may not be as advanced as the ones in Leap pad but they do enjoy these.

There are animal sounds with pictures, click on alphabet and see an animated animal with some music, a paint application where you can pick and color etc.

I selected these by searching for "toddlers" in the play store

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My daughter loves the painting/drawing apps on android and iOS. She also likes the animal sound apps. I have not found many that are truly educational.

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Could you round out this answer with some information about how you went about choosing the apps she does like? The question isn't looking for suggestions of games alone, but how you decide upon them in the first place? What makes it likely a child of this age will enjoy the game? – balanced mama Jan 30 '14 at 20:11

My response is not at all an answer but the opposite. My two year old also has used android or ipad. Both these work on touch and the comfortable distance my kid keeps this device from the eye is 6 inches or less. I tried to use that device myself at such a eye distance and was badly straining my eyes. I don't think the focal length of eyes have anything with age. So I have assumed it will be very bad for his eye sight. Now we have banned all devices for him. This is just my personal opinion.

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Actually, the near point varies greatly with age. That's why you'll likely need reading glasses between 40 and 45. [] Your near point can be farther than the length of your arms. However, your point is valid, and it can cause problems. With binocular vision, the eyes need to be "cross-eyed" to focus on something so close. [] – Marc Feb 8 '14 at 22:06

When I worked at the school in the early childhood department (ages 3-5 who are behind their peers) the "Starfall" app was very popular, and educational. We also had a xylophone app that was a favorite of the kids.

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Lego Duplo are building blocks sized for toddlers, so I figured Lego probably publishes some Duplo games. Turns out they do! I found one and from there just clicked onward on the "related apps" that were listed.

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protected by Beofett Oct 15 '14 at 18:33

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