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10 Apps That Take the Guilt Out of Screentime

Tech time for toddlers (try saying that three times fast) is a tricky business when it comes to parenting. You want to do the best for your child—you're aware of the recommended limits on screen time—but you also need just 5 minutes of peace to make phone calls , do the dishes or just sit in silence to calm your nerves. Apps for your phone and tablet have come a long way and many can even help your children in the same way Sesame Street taught all of us how to count and say our ABCs.

Here are 10 apps for toddlers that I recommend:

1. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

This oldie but goodie app has been keeping kids busy for at least five years. Children learn their colors, the difference between large and small, do puzzles and even play a matching game. After each set, your child is rewarded with a virtual sticker.

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2. Tozzles

Kids who love puzzles can't get enough of Tozzles. Your child can pick from a number of different pictures.Some are easy, while others build upon layers to make objects like trains and airplanes. Your child will love it when the puzzle springs to life through animation. He can control the airplane going up or down and the train moving along the track.

3. Dr. Panda

This app is more like a video game, but it also works fine motor skills. Kids can drive a bus around town, where they'll have to obey traffic signals and pick up passengers. In other versions, the users make food at a restaurant, travel to the airport to their next adventure and even fly into outer space.

4. Teach Me Toddler

Children go through numbers, letters, shapes, colors, the ABCs and counting drills to earn stickers. Once your child graduates into Kindergarten, you can move up to a new app made just for that age group.

5. TallyTots

Work through numbers one through 20 in this fun and interactive game. Put away twelve toys, race two cars, find 13 baby chicks in eggs and more. Your child can even play over and over again until she is sick of the number three.

6. Photo Hunt

Get your kids motivated to explore outside and around the house with this fun and very simple app. The app will ask them to take photos of water, clouds, patterns, flowers and even trash. Not only will it get your kid up and moving, it can also help you get out the door so you can explore together.

7. Pepi Bath

Teach your child simple hygiene while having a little fun. Help the boy or girl (your choice) take a bath, do the laundry, brush his or her teeth, or even go to the potty.

8. First Words

Kids can practice spelling from a very early age using First Words. Parents can set difficulty level, including uppercase or lowercase letters, letter hints (faint outline of letters), speech (sounds the letter out for your child) and letter order. After each word is spelled, it springs to life with a little spin and goes onto the next word.

9. Frequent Flyer

If you are planning a trip with your kids, this is the perfect app for them no matter their age. The game brings your child through the packing process, getting to the airport, going through security and getting on the plane. It is a fun way to take any fear out of that first flight.

10. Endless 123

Just like the name says, there seems to be endless ways to reinforce numbers in this app. Silly antics ensue as your child places the "monster" numbers in their proper order, does a little simple math and watches animated counting unfurl.

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