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iPhone iPod TouchAccording to Business Week, the iPod Touch was the surprise hit of the holiday season. This likely means that your little guy or gal now is in possession of a shiny new toy .. er .. I mean next level productivity device. Either that, or like me, you find out that the little one enjoys playing with your iPhone much more than their Nintendo DS or PSP.

Whatever the case, this post will show you how to turn your iPod Touch or iPhone into your very own portable digital babysitter – an iPod for kids – all without spending a dime more than you already paid for the device. Sound good?

Take Advantage Of The iPod Functionality

First of all, iTunes will be your gateway into getting the most out of the iPod feature that is included with your iPhone or iPod Touch. If you want to go deep into the world of iTunes, then you will want to check out our BIG Book of iTunes.

Step 1: import your CD collection into iTunes How Do I Download Songs onto iTunes - A Tutorial How Do I Download Songs onto iTunes - A Tutorial Read More – gather up all those children’s CD’s and audiobooks. When you’re done importing, you’ll have your very own kiddie jukebox, a perfect iPod for kids that will include all of the music they love.

Step 2: rip your DVD collection and add to iTunes (Mac Clip & Convert Your Video Faster With Quicktime X & The New Handbrake 64-bit [Mac] Clip & Convert Your Video Faster With Quicktime X & The New Handbrake 64-bit [Mac] Read More or PC) – it’s like having one of those small TV screens installed in the back seat of your vehicle, except much smaller and portable (but also easier to lose, remember that velcro is your friend).

Step 3: download podcasts [iTunes Link] – start by doing a search for your kid’s favorite shows within iTunes. Next, check out other popular podcast directories. You can add those podcast feeds that you found into iTunes by clicking Advanced->Subscribe to Podcast… from the main menu (see the image below).


Add a external podcast feed in iTunes

Free Apps To Delight the Little Ones

ipod for kids

Doodle Buddy [iTunes Link] – this little drawing app should be fun for those little guys and gals who love to play with MS Paint.

Sprout Player [iTunes Link] – if your child loves Sprout, then this is a must-have app. It plays podcasts from some of the popular shows on the Sprout network.

DizzyBeeFree [iTunes Link] – this game uses the accelerometer controls to move the little bee around the screen collecting goodies. There are four levels in this lite version with two levels of difficulty.

Free Apps To Educate The Little Ones

ipod touch for kids

Matches [iTunes Link] – this is a iPhone adaptation of the classic game, Memory. It has three varying levels of difficulty to keep things challenging.

Peekaboo Barn Lite [iTunes Link] – this is a good app for toddlers that introduces them to animals, their names and the sounds they make. This lite version only has three animals, but that should be enough to keep the toddler entertained for a bit.

Spell & Listen Cards [iTunes Link] – these flashcards help your little one to learn how to spell. The app has 500 flash cards, all with audio. Note that this app is only free for a limited time, so hurry up and grab it!

When you are ready to start looking for your own free apps, take a look at AppMiner. Most of the games I own, and some apps, were selling for $1.99 or $.99 normally, but because of this app, I was able to grab them for free. Some good categories to explore first for the kiddies are games, books and education.

Handle With Care

I must suggest one more item to create your iPhone or iPod for kids, even though it is not free. Do yourself a favor and buy a nice protective case, since our little ones tend to drop and throw things. But, if you insist on going the free route, here you go. Also, be sure to take a bit of time to learn about parental controls.

What free apps do you have installed? Do you take advantage of podcasts and movies? What mobile and kid friendly websites do you have bookmarked? I would love to hear your suggestions, ideas and experiences. Happy iPodding!

Image Credi : tinkerbrad

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  1. Kiseney pitts
    March 8, 2010 at 12:53 am

    I've been talking to this guy I met online for a few months now and we've decided that we should meet in person. We live in different states and plan on meeting in a mutally agreed upon city. Although I feel that I can trust this person, what is the best way to keep myself safe?

  2. 1fastbullet
    January 14, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I didn't realize a kid needed an iPod, much less an iPhone.

    How silly of me.

  3. Elmer Thomas
    January 9, 2010 at 7:47 am


    I can't find it either anymore ... that is a shame because it was the best IMO. I guess the "limited time" was *very* limited.

    If you do a search for "flash cards" in the iTunes store, you will find many to choose from including a few free ones. But the free ones I have played with were not so great.

    • Janet Gerber
      January 9, 2010 at 10:50 am

      I contacted the developer. He said it was removed because the "free" offer is over. He's adjusting the price and it will be back in the App Store in a few days.

  4. Janet
    January 9, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Can't find "Spell & Listen Flashcards" in iTunes?

  5. Force Factor Reviews
    January 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Is the Apple Company going to make an iPod touch with a camera? I think that the iPods should have cameras and someone told me that Apple was going to make one.

  6. Elmer Thomas
    January 8, 2010 at 7:26 pm


    Thanks for the fantastic tips! I will definitely be adding some of your ideas to my toolbox :)

    Out of those 500 free apps, did you find any that especially "stuck"?

    • alhasib
      January 8, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      Here are some of the apps that my kids like and have stood the test of time, in no particular order:
      YouTube, Crazy Mouth, Matches, KidsMath, Shape Builder, iBlast Moki, Rolando 1 & 2, Tell Time, Make a Face, Doodle Kids, RhinoBall, I hear Ewe, Peekaboo Barn, Baby's First viewer, MiniPiano, FingerPiano, Doodle Buddy, Animal Farm

      As I mentioned in the other post some of these are free apps, were free for limited time or simply lite versions.

      • Elmer Thomas
        January 8, 2010 at 8:47 pm


        Thanks again for your contributions!

        This past December I scored over 20 free games here, though not all were suitable for kids: I hope they do a similar promotion December 2010.

        From your list the following apps are still free:

        Crazy Mouth Lite
        Shape Builder Lite
        iBlast Moki Lite
        Rolondo Lite
        Rolondo 2 Lite
        Tell Time LT
        Make a Face Free
        Doodle Kids
        I Hear Ewe
        Peekaboo Barn Lite
        Baby’s First Viewer
        FingerPiano Lite
        Doodle Buddy
        Animal Farm Lite

        Just search for these titles in iTunes to find them.

  7. alhasib
    January 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks for the article. Here are a few tips I use with my girls (6yr, 3yr & 1yr) when they "borrow" their mom's iPod.

    I could not agree more with the tip about getting a good strong case. If your kids are still young, don't carry the iPod with them and are not too concerned with the sleekness of the iPod, then wrap that iPod with the most heavy duty case you can find.

    DO NOT install any apps/games that involve shaking, waving, jiggling, batting, etc. Even with a protective shield when the iPod slips out of their tiny little hands, which it will, the iPod will not like hitting a wall or floor. Of course a gentle tilt is not a problem, since the accelerometer is what makes the iPod so cool.

    For my 3 year old, since she can't read yet, I create playlists just for her that have very short names (just a letter or two) and begin the letter "A" so they are right on top.

    When you find websites that your kids love and that have a mobile friendly version, add the page as a bookmark to your homescreen. The next time your kids want to visit the site they can launch it just like an app.

    If you go out with your kids (which I hope you do), you are bound to be without WiFi. So go to YouTube on your computer and download some of their favorite songs as MP4s. I use the DownloadHelper extension with FireFox to find the right file. Then import the files to a playlist in iTunes that will sync with the iPod. Videos are waaaay more fun for the little kids.

    Add some short family movies/clips. Babies love to watch the people they know and love. Tip for dads: if mom is out, a prerecorded song or soothing video message from her will calm down even the fussiest of babies.

    As a final note, if you keep your eyes open there are daily giveaways and great promo apps that won't cost you anything. Currently I have over 500 free apps. mostly games, that I have collected over the past year. And since kids love to try out new games the lite version is usually enough for them before they move on to the next game.

  8. LuckyRadish
    January 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Nice article! Our kids use the iPod Touch all the time and are very careful. Only allowed when sitting. Cool thing is how they automatically know what to do. It's all about the touch which is the first way kids investigate everything.