Our middle daughter resides in Connecticut with her husband and the newest edition to our family, a lovely two-year-old child. When the family flew from Boston to Seattle, a ten-hour cross-country flight, and then immediately set out on a flight to Kona, Hawaii, some type of device was definitely called for that would entertain our granddaughter throughout the entire journey. Fortunately, our daughter had her Apple iPad with her and, once shown how it worked, the little one had no trouble using it and managed to avoid disturbing other passengers throughout the long flight.

What her parents came up with were five free educational applications that were designed for a two-year-old’s abilities, as well as keeping their attention span focused for longer than the normal duration. In fact, this worked so well that it not only kept her occupied on the flights, but also while waiting at the Seattle airport for the connecting flight. Here is the list of the five free applications that were used to help to keep this two-year-old quiet and engaged.

Baby Flash Cards [by Yippie Arts] This simple-to-use application will help to keep your child entertained while they learn about different animals. But the best part of the Baby Flash Cards application is that a parent can create their own card system and add personalized pictures. You can include pictures of your family, places you have visited, or any other picture of your choosing. My daughter shared with us that by using pictures of family and places they have been, our granddaughter can reinforce people and places in her life with past experiences.

Fun with Animals [by Deepak Demiwal] What makes this application great for kids is that the child can go to the zoo or on a safari right from their Apple iPad. The application contains some 60 different animal sounds that are sure to keep any child entertained. With this application, your child will also learn the animals’ names so that the next time you take the child to the zoo, the child will be able to name the animals, which should delight any parent or grandparent.

FingerPiano Lite [by Junpei Wada] This light version is a free download and will provide your little one with plenty of entertainment. The only issue my daughter found was that young children have a tendency to bang on the keys. Apple has made a fairly strong iPad tablet that can take the pounding fairly well, but the sound may be disturbing to some adults.

Draw 4 Free [by Indigo Penguin Limited] This free program needs some intervention by an adult to show the child how it works. But once that is done, the child will be drawing in no time. There are some simpler drawing programs available, but if you have a bright child, this application will make their creative juices flow.

Zoo Sounds Free – A Fun Animal Sound Game for Kids [ by Tantrum Apps] This is another one of those applications that can keep your little one entertained. When children do visit a local zoo or animal preserve, they enjoy not only the way the animals look, but they also like to hear their different calling sounds. This application allows them to experience both avenues of a zoo experience while educating them on all the different animals they may find in the zoo.

One thing to be prepared for, if our granddaughter is any indication, is that once you, the parent, allow your youngster to experience the iPad, they will think it is theirs and desire to use it at any time. Sometimes this may be when you need to use it or are just surfing the Internet for your amusement. When this occurs, be prepared for an argument or to make the decision that it is naptime or bedtime to eliminate the confrontation. The only other option that we can see is to go to eBay or Craigslist and attempt to find a used one for sale so you don’t have to share your expensive Apple device with your toddler.

Hopefully these applications will help to entertain your little one[s] on the next airplane flight or long car drive that you and your family needs to make. Good luck and happy flying. Comments welcome.