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The best iPad apps for toddlers

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April 28, 2013

We take a look at some of the best iPad apps for toddlers

We take a look at some of the best iPad apps for toddlers

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If you've got both an iPad and a toddler in your home, you'll know that your chances of keeping them apart are slim to non existent … no matter how much you liked the idea of minimizing screen-time before they were born. But, rather than let them send random emails to your entire contact list and Like inappropriate posts on Facebook, it's probably best to load your iPad with a few apps to keep them busy. Here's our selection of some of the best iPad apps for toddlers.

Endless Alphabet

The Endless Alphabet app sees users learn the alphabet by sliding 'talking' letters into p...

Endless Alphabet is a huge hit in my house, especially first thing in the morning. It sees users learn the alphabet by sliding "talking" letters into place to spell various words. Think "Gargle" and "Quarrel" rather than "Cat" or "Dog". They are then rewarded with an amusing animation illustrating the definition.

App Store: Endless Alphabet (Free)

Petting Zoo by Christoph Niemann

The Petting Zoo by Christoph Niemann app introduces little ones to 21 animals, including a...

An animated picture book from illustrator Christoph Niemann, Petting Zoo introduces little ones to 21 animals, including a break-dancing dog and an elephant in a bath. The marvelously quirky hand-drawn style makes it almost as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids.

App Store: Petting Zoo by Christoph Niemann (US$0.99)

Press Here: The App

The Press Here app is based on the Hervé Tullet book, Press Here – which gave children ins...

Based on the Hervé Tullet book, Press Here – which gave children instructions to follow involving printed dots and swirls – the Press Here app is more of the same. However, this time there's less imagination needed for the wonderfully simple games and animated activities.

App Store: Press Here: The App ($1.99)

Wee Alphas

In the Wee Alphas app, kids are encouraged to find the first letter of the animal in the a...

As parents and their children read about the likes of Charlie the Chipmunk and Eli the Elephant, kids are encouraged to find the first letter of the animal in the animations. They also get to practice drawing letters on an interactive sketchpad.

App Store: Wee Alphas ($2.99)

Peek-a-Zoo

The Peek-a-Zoo app aims to educate them about emotions, actions and positions

Rather than simply trying to teach kids the names of the various animals featured in this stylish app, Peek-a-Zoo also aims to educate them about emotions, actions and positions. Examples include trying to identify the character in an image who is crying or hiding.

App Store: Peek-a-Zoo ($0.99)

DRAWNIMAL

The DRAWNIMAL app gives instructions of shapes to draw around the iPad, which then become ...

One for parents who wish their kids would play with paper and crayons more! DRAWNIMAL is another alphabet app … but with a physical world difference. Users are given instructions of shapes to draw around the iPad, which then become parts of the animated animal on screen.

App Store: DRAWNIMAL ($1.99)

Sound Touch

The Sound Touch app shows photographs and plays sounds relating to illustrations pressed o...

When children tap illustrations in Sound Touch, they're played a corresponding noise as a photograph of the pressed object appears. To keep it interesting there are five images and sounds for each of the 72 objects, which includes animals, vehicles and musical instruments.

App Store: Sound Touch ($4.99)

Rumble In The Jungle

The Rumble In The Jungle app is animated version of the Giles Andreae classic picture book...

An animated version of the Giles Andreae classic picture book and read by Hugh Laurie (Dr. Gregory House or Bertie Wooster depending on where you know him from) this is another often requested app in my household. In addition to the story there's also a basic jigsaw puzzle game.

App Store: Rumble In The Jungle ($2.99)

Intro to Math

Intro to Math does exactly what its name suggests, it introduces children to the numbers 0...

Intro to Math does exactly what its name suggests. It introduces children to the numbers 0-9 through a series of games and activities that include things like arranging rods from longest to shortest, or learning to draw numbers by tracing them on the screen.

App Store: Intro to Math ($4.99)

Eric Carle's My Very First App

Eric Carle's My Very First App is a digital version of his My Very First Books

Eric Carle is probably best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but his My Very First Books are also very popular and this app is the digital version of them. Complete with his distinctive illustration style the app consists of interactive games that teach about things like colors, animals, shapes and numbers. In-app purchases add additional games.

App Store: Eric Carle's My Very First App ($1.99)

Bloom HD

Bloom HD is a an instrument/composition/artwork from Brian Eno ... which is also hit with ...

While this app is not specifically aimed at toddlers – it's an instrument/composition/artwork from Brian Eno – it has proved very popular with some young children. That's because music can be played by simply tapping the screen, which also produces pleasing visuals.

App Store: Bloom HD ($3.99)

Little Digits – Finger Counting

Little Digits uses the iPads multi-touch screen to teach children about numbers

Little Digits uses the iPad's multi-touch screen to teach children about numbers. In its most basic mode it will display and say the number of fingers which are making contact with the screen. There are also addition and subtractions games in which older children answer sums with their fingers.

App Store: Little Digits - Finger Counting ($1.99)

Maily: Your Kids' First Email

Maily is a parent-controlled email account which makes it easy to create images and messag...

Though it might still be a while until your toddler needs to send emails, it can be a nice way for them to keep in contact with family members. Maily is a parent-controlled email account that makes it easy to create images and messages and then share them.

App Store: Maily: Your Kids' First Email (Free)

Bebot – Robot Synth

The Bebot app is multitouch synthesizer … but for kids it's a great way to make noise with...

This is another app that wasn't created just for toddlers, but try telling them that! Bebot is a multitouch synthesizer which, in the hands of a musician, can be used to create music … but for kids it's a great way to make noise with a cute robot.

App Store: Bebot – Robot Synth ($1.99)

Toca Kitchen

With the Toca Kitchen app toddlers can learn about preparing and cooking meals without hav...

Letting your toddler loose in the kitchen probably isn't a good idea, but with Toca Kitchen they can learn about preparing and cooking meals without have to touch a sharp knife or hot oven. Users cook food for one of four characters and then feed them to see if they like the meal.

App Store: Toca Kitchen ($2.99)

PianoBall

PianoBall turns the screen of your iPad into a colorful piano with toddler-friendly sized ...

PianoBall turns the screen of your iPad into a colorful piano with toddler-friendly sized keys. Users can also select instrument sounds and even play along with basic tunes by pressing the key highlighted by sparkling stars.

App Store: PianoBall ($0.99)

Peekaboo Barn

In Peekaboo Barn, young users press on the doors of a barn to discover who is inside

In Peekaboo Barn, young users press on the doors of a barn to discover who is inside. They then get to meet a variety of animated barnyard animals as they hear the noises they make and how to say their names. There's also the option to record your own (or your child's) voice saying the names of the animals.

App Store: Peekaboo Barn ($1.99)

Balls

Balls is a deceptively simple app in which a number of colored balls bounce around the scr...

Balls is a deceptively simple app in which a number of colored balls bounce around the screen making wind-chime-like noises as they hit each other. Kids love changing the directions of the balls by touching them on the iPad screen.

App Store: Balls (Free)

Drawing Pad

Drawing Pad gives children easy access to a digital art tool-kit including markers, paint ...

More than just an iPad version of paper and crayons, Drawing Pad gives children easy access to a digital art tool-kit including markers, paint brushes, colored pencils and stickers. What's best, creations don't have to take up all that space on your fridge, they can be shared online or saved to the iPad.

App Store: Drawing Pad ($1.99)

Elmo Loves ABCs for iPad

Toddlers love Elmo, and this app uses that to teach them about the alphabet

Toddlers love Elmo, and this app uses the furry red monster to teach them about the alphabet. While learning how to identify letters, their sounds and how to draw them, users get to watch 80 Sesame Street clips including the classic alphabet song and discover 75 Sesame Street coloring pages.

App Store: Elmo Loves ABCs for iPad ($4.99)

Summary

There are simply loads of great iPad apps out there for toddlers. And although we've tried to include the best that we know of, we'd love to hear what other apps your little ones are enjoying, so please let us know in the comments section.

While some people will shudder at the idea of handing a $500 iPad to a toddler, it's important to note that many of the apps we've talked about are best experienced with a parent. However, if you are going to leave you're precious one alone with your child, you might want to invest in a suitable case to protect it from accidental drops and slobber. Oh yeah, and don't forget to disable in-app purchases!

About the Author
Simon Crisp Simon is a journalist and photographer who has spent the last ten years working for national UK newspapers - but has never hacked a mobile phone - and specializes in writing about weird products and photography technology. When not writing for Gizmag, Simon is often found playing with LEGO and drinking far too much coffee.   All articles by Simon Crisp
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22 Comments

I never knew there were so many apps for kids for your ipad!!

DeVaughn Burke
29th April, 2013 @ 06:44 am PDT

DuckyCam is a fantastic video recording app for creating and capturing fun moments with your toddler. You can record video and at the same time play animal sounds. It's easy to edit and clip the video or select a specific frame from the video to use as a photo for sharing.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/duckycam-video-recorder-for/id594171894?ls=1&mt=8

btw. they are giving away an iGuy toddler proof case too: http://www.duckycam.com

Rusty
30th April, 2013 @ 11:42 am PDT

The Eric Carle app looks stunning!

Edward Buchanan
1st May, 2013 @ 12:50 am PDT

These look great. I'm going to get lots of them for my little grand daughter. Another good addition to the list would be the Sandra Boynton books such as Moo Baa Laa and Blue Hat. They are highly interactive with lots of humourous surprises.

Lesley Robinson
14th May, 2013 @ 12:49 am PDT

I made an iPad app, called Toddler Taxonomist, for my 2.5 year old daughter. It's only $0.99. She loves it and I love watching her play with it! :) Here's the link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toddler-taxonomist/id642387016

Clay Heaton
15th May, 2013 @ 06:20 am PDT

WriteReader. You should really look into this new app for IPad. Highly acclaimed. Scientifically based learning program

Kim K
24th May, 2013 @ 11:48 pm PDT

Great article! My younger son enjoys playing Sound Touch.

And both my sons love Toca Boca apps and Igrecway Xylophone.

Peter Sutherland
13th June, 2013 @ 04:02 pm PDT

You will also like this app to teach your kids music form all over the world with lots of fun.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jazzy-world-tour-free-musical/id574909527?mt=8

Malkesh Rao
15th June, 2013 @ 03:13 pm PDT

Good article and lots of choices. We're seeing lots of benefits in our kids using interactive mobile apps for learning. Definitely makes learning more engaging.

Amplify
21st June, 2013 @ 07:52 am PDT

Good list!

(Disappointed that the Press Here App is U.S. only!)

To which I would add...

> Toca Band - it's great - I find myself joining in more often than not. Toca Boca make great apps.

> The Lonely Beast ABC, developed by my friends here in Dublin and featured in many recent Apple iPad ads.

> Curious George Shapes, also developed here in Dublin for HMH, and a big hit with my twins.

> The Nosy Crow books are very good - 3 Little Pigs and Red Riding Hood - the former for younger kids and the latter maybe for older.

> The Noisy Book app is also a big hit - and it's bilingual in English and French, so you can sneak in a language lesson as well...

> The Monster At The End Of This Book, and its sequel are very popular - Grover and Elmo are the business

Simon Doyle
26th June, 2013 @ 11:58 am PDT

Excellent choices! I would also add FarmYard Piano

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/farmyard-piano/id537768014?mt=8

Mike Timothy
27th June, 2013 @ 06:07 am PDT

My younger son enjoys Preschool Fun and I like it as well. Educational and engaging, exactly what you want from an app for toddler.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/preschool-fun./id570547334

Jeff Faubel
29th June, 2013 @ 12:51 am PDT

I love to tell stories to my son. I just found My bedtime stories for the iPad. It is great fun. My son loves that he can choose a name for the mail character and how he should look. There are stories about knights, bears and princesses. Every now and them you choose what happens next, this is really fun. We have read the same story more than 5 times now, and it´s never the same.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-bedtime-adventures/id664809160?l=da&ls=1&mt=8

HeidiHL
3rd July, 2013 @ 03:25 am PDT

My two year old loves palying with the ipad so much he actually started playing puzzles that aren't just for kids like flow. But one of our favorite kids app right now is this cute game called The popbits. The characters are cute and it's a really good game that helps him learn some cause and effect. Cute graphics and the music is actually nice instead of annoying like other ipad/iphone kids games.

https://itunes.apple.com/app/the-popbits-free/id666832423?mt=8

Daryl Lazaro
5th July, 2013 @ 01:10 pm PDT

Hello

You have to check this, awesome app for kids, a very professional app to help in learn to read, just see the videos in YouTube looking for "AvrilSoft" or go directly with the following links:







Freddy
5th July, 2013 @ 06:57 pm PDT

I love books from http://www.teamich.com/books/

Stas Ustimenko
11th July, 2013 @ 05:56 am PDT

Fantastic choices.

All Toca Toca games are wonderful.

Argemi Costa
13th July, 2013 @ 07:05 am PDT

Our son has been using an iPad since before he could walk, and there are a lot of great apps out there for learning. His latest favorite for letters and numbers is "Just the Basics"

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/just-the-basics/id667632934?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

codave
20th July, 2013 @ 03:16 pm PDT

My two toddlers love their ipad and so far their favorite apps are Toy Store Truck Delivery and Park Ranger Zoe. I highly recommend checking this out for your little ones too.

Sandy Hutchinson
29th August, 2013 @ 07:44 am PDT

This is a fantastic list - I'm looking forward to trying out Drawnimal and Wee Alphas!

My kids really love the Peppa Pig apps. They're really enjoyable - http://playwithpeppa.com/mobile.php

elehealey
30th October, 2013 @ 04:43 pm PDT

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 andgoing to the zoo as he got older.

Theo Kingston
27th February, 2014 @ 03:05 pm PST

Word Match - The Language Game: I developed this game for preschoolers learning their first words. Its a memory match game with just over 200 words in English and French, more languages coming soon. I appreciate any downloads and constructive reviews, Thanks!

Word Match - The Language Game:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/word-match-the-language-game/id821926685?mt=8

Majid Moghadam
6th May, 2014 @ 08:21 pm PDT
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