These are all either free, or have Lite versions that are free.
- The Dr. Seuss storybook app is a success, so far. It's going on the list of apps we're going to buy.
- Soundrop isn't exactly educational, but he plays it and doesn't get sucked in the way he did with Angry Birds.
- Doodlebuddy is a good, free drawing app.
- TapToTalk is a free communication app. It's $99 a year to have access to create your own vocabulary for it, which is a very good deal compared to some of the others. He fiddled with it for a few minutes, but has not shown any real interest in it. They've made it available on the iPod/iPhone/iPad, the Nintendo DS and several other devices.
- There is a series of apps called "FirstWords" that I like. They show you a picture of something (a cat for instance) and then you drag Scrabble-tile looking letters into their correct positions to spell the letters. It reads the letters out loud as you position them, and when you complete the word, it says it and the picture spins. It kept him occupied for a little while. I suspect he lost interest because it only had a few different words in the lite version. Whether or not he's learning anything from it, it's at his skill level and he can play it by himself.
- Animal Match looks good, but we've not been successful in getting him to play it by himself yet (just installed it today). It's a memory style card matching game, which he should excel at.
- iColoringBook is another new one we just installed. I'm not sure yet if it's something he's going to be interested in.
- We're hoping to find an app that will let us set up his schedule in the iPod and then it will alert and remind him. Like, he gets on the bus at 8:05, so it should make some noise at 8:00 and show him a picture of the bus. The same with dinner time, teeth-brushing time, bed-time, etc. I saw one in the app store, but there were a lot of complaints about it not working properly and this one was more than 99 cents.
He's had the iPod for a week now, and it's not been as revolutionary as I'd hoped, but he's showing interest. I will update again in a couple of weeks and we'll see how things are going then. I suspect that once we're able to buy the full versions of some of these apps that they will really be able to capture his interest.
If you have any apps, free or otherwise, to recommend for a mostly pre-verbal four year old; please leave a comment and tell me about them.
Update on Otterbox: I called customer service and they offered to send a replacement silicon outer case for free and I accepted. He's left the torn case on all week, so hopefully once we replace it he will leave the new one alone.