10 of the Best iPad Apps for Parents with Toddlers and Young Children

The iPad is the latest craze in the world of technology today. Everybody seems to have one– students, professionals and parents. If you’re a parent with an iPad, you have hopefully discovered how awesome this tablet is for helping to educate your child.

There are hundreds if not thousands of great iPad apps for toddlers and young kids. So many of them are educational and wonderful. In this blog post, I recruited the help of another mom, Cynthia, to put together our take on some of the best apps for parents who have young kids. Enjoy!

(Note: We’ve included YouTube videos below and yes, we know they sometimes are showing iPhone / iPod Touch and not the iPad. That’s fine. Most of these apps are either available in an HD version as well, or you simply use the iPhone version and hit the “2x” button for proper display on the iPad.)


App Recommendation #1:

TeachMe: Kindergarten

Cost: $0.99

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages: 4 to 5 years old – basically kids who are just starting kindergarten.

What it’s all about:

Teach Me- Kindergarten is best for kids who just started kindergarden, or haven’t yet started. The game revolves around a series of questions regarding addition, subtraction, identifying sight words and basic word completion. The child is given 4 sets of answers for each question, which he could choose from to find the best answer. He would then earn a “coin” for three correct answers, which could be used for creating a scene on the game. For instance, he could choose the “car” sticker which he could use against a highway backdrop. The game gives off rewards often, so the child’s interest stays on the game.

Why we like it:
Kids get to learn with positive reinforcement. Even when the child chooses the wrong answer, the voice over would encourage to just keep on trying. For most kids, this is the most effective way of getting them to keep on learning.

According to some parents, their kids are just crazy over the game. A lot of them also love that the questions are mixed together so the kid gets to solve math problems and read at the same time.


App Recommendation #2:

2011: World Factbook

Cost: $0.99

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages: 8 and up

What it’s all about:

Imagine having an application compiled by the CIA? You’d expect nothing but the best, right? With the 2011 World Factbook, you’ve got all information you’d want to learn about a specific country. You want to know who compiled the national anthem for Argentina? Check. Want to know how the flag of Brazil looks like, and why it was designed that way? Check. The whole application provides you with these information:

  • Color Map
  • Flag with description
  • Introduction
  • People
  • Geography
  • Economy
  • Government
  • Communications
  • Military
  • Transportation

What we like most about this app is that it’s useful for both parent and kids. I’ve always been fascinated by the big world when I was a kid, and it sure helps learning about other countries and their culture. For the parents, this could be a real handy application when you travel. The information are updated every two weeks, and they are complete even for small cities such as Chad, Africa.



App Recommendation #3:

The Farm HD

Cost: $1.99

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages: 2 to 5 years old

What it’s all about:

The Farm uses a very simple concept. There are pictures of animals with their names showed under the picture, and the child can hear their sounds and their names, in four different languages. This means young kids can learn how the animals make the sound, and older kids can start learning other languages. The sounds the animals make stimulates the child’s mind, which is effective for preparing them for school. With over 26 animals such as chicken, cows, horses and pigs—this application will no doubt make your child want to play more.
The Farm has several features to make learning more fun:

  • Professional illustrations of a day and night farm environment with 26 animated animals and elements: bird, cow, sheep, horse, cat, pig, duck, rooster, chicken, chick, goat, dog, sky, tractor, frog, goose, butterfly, bee, barn, windmill, cloud, sun, moon, tree, windmill, fences.
  • High quality animal sound effects.
  • High quality images
  • 5 animal puzzles (day and night)
  • 5 animal colorings (day and night)
  • 1 tractor coloring
  • 1 tractor puzzle
  • Shaking iPad function to reset all the drawings
  • Saving option for any of your kid’s artwork
  • Nice music in background all over the navigation
  • Easy interface
  • Sharing option


App Recommendation #4:

Tic Toc Color

Cost: $0.99

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages: 3 and up

What it’s all about:

Learning how to tell time is quite hard for a lot of kids, but this top iPad app will surely make learning easier and more fun. Kids can choose from three different clock designs, which they can color and interact with. The application also features a learning game which teaches children to tell time. What we like most about this is that it uses a really simple concept, yet it was designed to be fun and it teaches kids a skill that they can use every day for the rest of their lives.

Features:

  • 3 fully animated clocks to color and interact with
  • A learning game that teaches kids to tell time
  • Colored clocks can be set to show current time
  • Fun sound effects
  • More clocks available soon


App Recommendation # 5:

Zoo Train

Cost: $1.99

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages:1 to 7 years old

What it’s all about:

Zoo Train is by far one of the best iPad apps ever. It has really great reviews in fact that a lot of consumers say this is their number 1 iPad application for the first half of 2011. Zoo Train uses the two things that kids love the most—animals and trains. These alone are enough for capturing kids’ attention, but wait until they get to play the games.
Zoo Train features five educational games that focus on word construction, alphabets and letters, shape recognition, pattern matching and note recognition. You’d these games are just games, but they actually develop your child’s thinking skills to prepare them for school and later on, for life.
When kids do well on the tests, they will be given a reward sticker to collect. This drives the kids to want to play more, which actually makes them learn more. Here are more Zoo Train features:

  • Colorful and playful animation
  • Fun background music
  • Friendly reinforcement as the child goes along the games
  • Compliments after every correct answer, making the child feel good about himself
  • Easy to navigate interface

Zoo Train is a very big hit among parents and kids alike. Why not? It was ranked as one of the top 20 games in iPad, and one of the top 40 games in iPhone. According to Geekasms, this application is a common favorite for the first part of 2011, and it would not be dethroned soon. For only $1.99, you get to buy an application that your will love to play while learning at the same time.



App Recommendation # 6:

Math Bingo

Cost: $0.99

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages: 4 and up

What it’s all about:

Math Bingo is a very fun game, and is considered one of the best iPad apps of 2010. There are two goals to this game. One is to answer each math question correctly, and to form a pattern on the board to win bingo.
Once the player logs in, he can choose a character and play the game with it. The application would be showing a math problem at the top of the screen, which the answer is one of the numbers on the board. Choose the correct answer, form a bingo pattern and win!
The real challenge comes when there are the same numbers all over the board, and one would need to decide on which way to go to form a pattern.
The bug markers are real fun, and add charm to the game. They’re animated and cute, and I’m sure children would love them!
If you have a kid who is a little challenged at math, or can’t get enough of math then this is the perfect application for you!
According to reviews, most parents love the fact that their kids are enjoying a math game. To find a math app that kids genuinely love is not that easy to come by.

Here’s Math Bingo at a glance:

  • Choose from 4 games: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division
  • Choose from 3 different levels of difficulty: Easy, Medium and Hard
  • Create up to 5 player profiles
  • Choose from 8 different fun cartoon avatars
  • Keep track of number of games played by player profile
  • The Scoreboard keeps track of scores for each game and level
  • Collect and play with BINGO Bugs when you earn a high score!


App Recommendation # 7:

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

Cost: $0.99

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages: 2 to 5 years old

What it’s all about:

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox just shows that even very affordable apps could rock! My kids just love, love this educational game. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is fronted by a monkey (of course!) who guides kids through the different games of choosing objects based on color (touch the RED fruit), counting and even child- challenging drag n’ drop puzzles.
What we like most about this is that the games are very diverse, which means the kids don’t easily get bored with it. It also uses a reward system (kids get stickers after passing 3 challenges) which pushes kids to finish goals.

Here’s what Monkey Preschool Lunchbox has to boast:

  • 6 different games that teach kids about colors, letters, counting, shapes, sizes, matching, and differences (NEW!).
  • Lovable animated monkey helps kids along as they play the games.
  • Dozens of sounds and voice recordings of colors, letters, fruit names, and more.
  • Animated Stickers! Kids get a sticker reward after every other game they win.
  • Designed for preschoolers — no confusing menus or navigation.
  • Unlimited play! Each game flows right into the next.



App Recommendation # 8:

Fish School – by Duck Duck Moose

Cost: $1.99

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages: 1 to 7 years old

What it’s all about:

Kids love fish! More so, when they play this really great educational game! Let me tell you, there’s nothing fishy about this—just endless hours of fun and learning.
Fish School consists of 8 fun and educational activities for kids. They’ll learn about letters and as the fishes groups together and form the alphabets while a voice over would teach that “A is for apple..”; numbers as kids are taught to count the fishes on the screen; and shapes as kids watch the fishes form different shapes.
Kid would also get to learn more about the alphabets as the ABC song is played while the letters on the screen changes as the song goes along. What we like most about this is that it doesn’t only teach kids, it also makes the kids think through really challenging activities such as figuring out which fish doesn’t belong in the group and find matching fishes in a game of memory.
According to USA Today, playing Fish School is a “magical experience” and gives it 4 stars out of 4. iLounge also says it’s highly recommended, and to borrow the words from The iPhone Mom: “extremely well done… an interactive, learning app that is also a lot of fun”
For only $1.99, this is one of the most packed applications for iPads available.



App Recommendation # 9:

Toddler Counting

Cost: $1.99

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages: 2 years old and up

What it’s all about:

Counting is one of the most important skills a child can learn, and they can do so in a fun way with Toddler Counting. This application uses a very simple system, but one that kids can really benefit from. A picture is shown on the screen (5 cows, perhaps) and your child could count them as the voice over also counts. An image turns to gray once your child touches it, teaching them that they shouldn’t count the same image twice. The digits are also displayed along with the voice- over so your child could learn how to read numbers.
After each set of picture, a screen with another image is shown and your child could count them again. There are applauses and word of encouragement after the child finishes a stage, providing them with positive reinforcement for better learning.
Moms of young kids say this app is a savior. Got a raging terrible- two at home? No problem, entertain them with this app and they’re sure to retreat into their own little (iPad) world. Even kids with short attention span were reported to fall in love with this game and parents are just thankful for the rest they get to have.


App Recommendation # 10:

Brain Tuner Lite

Cost: FREE

Where to get it:: at the iTunes app store via this link.

Perfect for kids ages: kids (and adults) of all ages

What it’s all about:

Brain Tuner Light is a favorite game in our house, not just by the kids but even by us. The objective of the game is quite simple. Answer as many correct questions as you can in the shortest time possible and you get to score high points. Questions include really basic math problems, but then again you have to answer them quickly in order to win the game. You’d be surprised how much it makes that rusting brain of yours work again.
Unlike most apps for kids, this one does not use any reward system but the feeling of satisfaction every time you finish a stage is more than enough.
People are just going gaga over Brain Tuner Lite! It’s such an entertaining game, and it’s free.
We took a look at reviews, and a couple of people have comments about this application. Some say they’d like to turn the sound off while watching TV, but the game has no option to do that. Some also says the game kinds gets redundant after a while which makes it kinda boring, but says the game is still very challenging no matter how long you’ve been playing it.
Brain Tuner Lite is free (which you can download online) but you can also get the amp’d version for only $1.99

SEE ALSO: This audio lesson will forever change the way you interact with your kids

14 Responses to 10 of the Best iPad Apps for Parents with Toddlers and Young Children

  1. Frank Jensen March 18, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    Please also check out our fine motor skill development app for the iPad. Dexteria helps kids improve their fine motor skills. Available now in the app store; let me know if you want to review it and we’ll send a promo code.

    • Chris Thompson April 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

      Hi Frank – that sounds really cool. I’d love to try it out and report back.

    • Nina December 24, 2011 at 2:00 am #

      WouLd love to use dexteria promo code if still available. I’m an OT in schools and just got an iPad.

  2. Stef Robins March 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this with us! I’m a fan of family-friendly apps that help my kids, and me as well. By the way, if it’s alright, I’d like to recommend one of my current favorite apps, Intuition. Tagged as mom’s personal assistant, it’s a task management app that has many features designed to help us moms. It’s really easy to use and it looks cute, too. Plus, it’s free! You can check it out on http://www.iconapps.com/product.htm

  3. karen June 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    There’s a really sweet app I use with my baby – its called Music For Baby, and the quality of the nursery rhymes is really good. I don’t know who the musicians are but the female singer is just really cool. anyway, its a simple app, just 6 songs but they keep my baby’s attention and he can press the buttons himself so its a godsend when I’m driving!

  4. Vincent Corry August 4, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    Preschool app review submission. We would be happy to send a promo code for a free review copy.

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/letters-numbers-and-shapes/id449191902?mt=8#

    Letters, Numbers and Shapes is a fun and challenging interactive review of Capital and lower case letters, Numbers, colors, patterns and shapes all in one game. Letters, Numbers and Shapes brings workbook learning to a new level with motion and sounds. Children will enjoy these review exercises that make learning effortless and fun.

  5. francine September 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Who Says Moo is an awesome game that allows your toddler to record his/ her own voice in an educational and fun storybook about farm animals.
    Check it out on Kneebouncers.com

  6. GooGoo January 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    My son really Likes “GooGoo”. It’s an interactive book for toddlers and young kids. Direct link is http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/googoo/id485282209?ls=1&mt=8

  7. Stacy February 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    For toddlers I recommend GooGoo. My son loves it:

    http://itunes.apple.com/app/googoo/id485282209?ls=1&mt=8

  8. Kerrie February 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    My nieces love The Alphabet Game. It aligns with the standards they are learning in preschool and it was fun to play with them. And it’s FREE! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alphabet-game/id487295736?mt=8

  9. katie March 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    We love Squiggles! Pictures come to life with Squiggles!, a revolutionary new educational drawing app for for toddlers and it’s FREE.
    itunes:
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/squiggles%21/id498599631?ls=1&mt=8

  10. Theo Kingston March 16, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    Our son loves playing this animal app called MiniPlaces on our iPad http://goo.gl/iXY6so. Games like these helped to stimulate his interests in animals and going to the zoo as he got older.

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  1. Favorite Apps: Top Recommended Apps « Kate & Aly - September 16, 2011

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