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One Sunday morning, in a desperate attempt to pay attention to the church service I was attending, I handed my phone to our extraordinarily active and chatty preschooler. I just needed him to be occupied for a few minutes, and despite the twinge of guilt I felt for the screen-shaped babysitter, I also experienced one of the sweetest moments of motherhood ever. You see, another mom (with grown kids) leaned over to whisper in my ear and said, “I wish I had one of those when my kids were younger, it’s good to be able to give them something to occupy their minds for a few minutes every once in a while.” A sigh of relief and thankfulness for a non-judgmental mother soothed my guilt and I was able to focus for a few minutes.

These little devices we have aren’t all bad, despite Crunchy-Christy telling us that our brains are all turning to mush because of them. Educators around the world have found ways to include all kinds of devices in learning, and we can do the same thing in moderation. Here is a short list of our favorite preschool apps:

  1. Duck, Duck Moose – All of the Duck, Duck Moose apps we have tried have been great. So far, Moose Math and Moose Reading are highly enjoyed in our house. These are targeted to three to seven-year-olds and are quickly learned.
  2. Lego– My list wouldn’t be complete without at least once Lego game. We like the Lego Friends and the Lego Train Game. Both are easy and all the parts look just like the Lego parts we already love.
  3. PBS Kids– PBS offers some great free apps, too. You can find an app for many of your favorite PBS shows, as well as a general PBS Kids app with short clips from the shows on TV.
  4. Starfall– My older kids zoomed through their preschool and early elementary years on the Starfall website and now they have an app for most devices. What could be better than Starfall on the go? Starfall teaches all kinds of preschool topics ranging from math concepts, to phonics and early reading. I like that my big kids still enjoy playing Starfall games.
  5. Drive About Numbers ($2.99) teaches math through nine different games inside the app. This game is loved by many, but only goes up to 20. If your preschooler knows higher numbers than that, look for a different game.

So, as you can see, there are some good quality games out there for preschoolers. Download a few of these and when you “just need a moment” you will be armed with the right tools. And, when Crunchy-Christy gives you judgmental looks, just smile and enjoy the moment.

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.