The iPhone is the best babysitter ever. Get yourself a very sturdy protective case, some quick reflexes (for when it drops) and let the magic happen.
5. YouTube (free)
The beauty of this app is that it's already installed on your phone right out of the box. In line at the grocery store and melting down over the Polly Pockets that Mommy is not going to spend $5 on again? Bust out with some Beyonce. All The Single Lettuce! The kids will sing along and entertain themselves and your fellow shoppers.
4. DoodleBuddy (free)
I guess you can draw with friends with this thing. Whatever. My kids don't need to draw with all their friends who have also stolen their parents' phones, they just want to draw. When you put a frog stamp down, it ribbits. When you stamp with the frowny face with tears, it sounds like a baby crying. Endless fun. You can also "airbrush" with your finger. Shaking clears the screen, so it's easy for kids to start over. Just be sure that they don't shake the phone into the dentist's fish tank.
3. Tozzle (light - free; full - $1.99)
I got to go to the bathroom all by myself today (!!!) because my kids were busy fighting over Tozzle. It's an animated puzzle app. Claire had no trouble figuring it out. It even teaches letters, numbers, and rudimentary spelling. They will quickly grow bored with the two puzzles available in the light version, so be prepared to cough up the $2 if you download it.
2. Toddler Teasers - Shapes (free)
Claire had fun with this one. "Find the oval!" and then when you touch the oval it claps. "Find the crescent!" was too hard. I said, "A crescent is a moon," and she immediately got it. So, she learned stuff. Yay!
1. Balls (free)
Shut up! Once you get past the name (or you start calling it "rainbows") Balls is a beautiful zen-like wind chimey ball thing that will entrance your kids for as long as it takes to get through the check out line. If they shake it the balls bounce and the chimes go faster. If they tilt it they all fall toward the floor ("gravity"). You can customize the settings, for more balls, bigger balls, different tones, and so on.
What are your favorite apps for your kids?