iPad apps for toddlers, pre-schoolers & beyond

We are very lucky here to have an iPad, I will start to clarify we don’t need one, no one actually NEEDS an iPad. But once one comes to live with you then it will be love.

I have had an iPhone for a few years and Ben has played games on that and watched things and it has saved many a boring waits.

He calls the iPad ‘The Big Phone’ ūüôā ¬†He only gets to use it with me next to him as I do not fully trust him with it, he is nearly 4 but still it is too delicate to allow him to have on his own.

I find searching for apps on the iPad much harder than the iPhone on the app store, I do know I can search online and via google but it is still a struggle. But I have found some great ones that have been a real hit so I thought I would share.

My Playhome Р£1.99





I warn you, this is one that you will find yourself playing too, it has been a huge hit here and I also know a 7 year old and 13 year old girl who have happily played with it.

The app is a dolls house on your iPad, it has 5 family members and you can be interactive with them.

You control everything in the 4 rooms, turn the tv on and off, open the fridge and give the children some milk, turn the shower on and use the shampoo to wash their hair.  It really is wonderful and pure play, they have recently done an update so it is now available on the iPhone now too.

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox Р69p

First of all, don’t hate me for recommending this as the music and american accent are both fairly¬†hideous! ¬†But Ben has loved it and it is more educational than just another game. ¬†There is counting, shape names, colours, matching,¬†spotting¬†the difference, the player gets a sticker to reward them.

abc PocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words Р£1.99


This was the app I was so happy to find. ¬†I wanted a phonics app but that was with an English accent. ¬†there are plenty of ones with American, but that obviously wouldn’t work in teaching Ben (and me) the right sounds. ¬†This app is rather clever, it combines teaching the sounds and then it lets them trace the shape of the letter with their finger. ¬†A technique that Ben uses at his Montessori nursery with sand letter boards. ¬†It allows you to change the writing style, upper and lowercase choices and several other settings you can change to make it suit the age and level of your child. ¬†This is a ‘game’ that Ben chooses to play and I certainly encourage as a soft way to introduce phonics at home.

Montessori Matching Board Р69p

This is another app that has lots of customisable (it IS a word) settings, allowing you to choose shapes. number, colours and lower and upper case letters to drag and match. ¬†It is also a good introduction for how to use the iPad screen. ¬†But I’ve not met a child yet who doesn’t get how to use on in less than 5 minutes.

Jelly Bean Count – Free

this is a counting app with a difference, you have to use the right amount of fingers on the screen for the different coloured jelly beans that are shown.  I had to show Ben how to do it but he then quickly got it.  Oh and it is free!

Tozzle Р£1.49

This is an iPhone app but is so good and works well on the iPad at the x2 size that I had to mention it.  It is a simple idea, drag and drop parts of a puzzle onto the picture, but it really keep the toddlers attention.  And there are lots of different pictures to choose from of varying degrees of difficulty.

Toy Story Read-Along – Free

This was the first read along type book I got for ben on the iPad, the graphics are great and you can choose for it to auto-play where it turns the pages itself to tell the first story. ¬†You can also record your own version, reading the story to be played back with the pictures and words. ¬†It highlights the words ont he ‘pages’ too.

There are also 3 pages that you can paint using your fingers, selecting colours and 2 games.  Really good for a free app.


Also worth a mention are the Cat in a Hat and Green Eggs and Ham¬†apps, Ben really likes there, I have to say I don’t but well I can’t always win these things!


1 Comment

  1. 10 April , 2012 / 9:56 am

    My PlayHome is one of the top apps in our house too. We were actually just playing it yesterday afternoon. I think it’s even better lately since they added the back garden to it. I just love all the little details – watering the carrots and picking them, and then feeding them to each of the characters. It’s a really well thought out game.

    Must check out the others you’ve recommended.

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