Best iPad Apps for Preschoolers - I'm not bored mommy!

by: Rachel Maguire (Fabumom)

The iPad has entered the world of families by storm. This oversized iphone, and undersized laptop seems to be a perfect lightweight device for traveling families who don't want to lug around a full size laptop on their next trip.  Although there are lots of good reasons to unplugged on vacation, parents like a backup babysitter too.  Rachel Maguire of the Fabumom Blog adopted an iPad right when they were released and has assembled for us, her list of the best iPad applications for kids.  Go ahead and load up your iPad with an arsenal of boredem busters.

Looking for that perfect distraction for a long road trip or plane ride?  I’ve compiled a list of my top ten Favorite iPad Apps for children.  These apps are sure to hold your child's attention, provide hours of entertainment and they might even learn something in the process!  All iPad Apps were tested by myself and my two and a half year old daughter.  All the apps that made it to our top ten list offer educational value, have beautiful graphics and are entertaining for younger children.


Super Why!

The Super Why App is the grand daddy of our top ten list.  At only $3.99 this app is exceptional value for the money.   There are four interactive games, including: Fill in the blanks, letter tracing, and more. All while providing exceptional graphics and featuring the Super Why Characters authentic voices from the show.  Children are able to trace the letters with their fingers, fill in the blank on a story and more!  Your child will practice rhyming, letter recognition, spelling, reading and writing.  This app is perfect for those just learning their Alphabet or for school-aged children learning to read.  I would recommend this app for children between the ages 3 - 7 years of age.

Dr. Seuss ABC

Who doesn’t love Dr. Suess?  This iPad app comes complete with our beloved Dr. Seuss Characters and illustrations.  The recognizable artwork and fun audio is sure to be a big attention grabber.  There are three levels of learning including; ‘Auto Play’, 'Read to Me' and 'Read it Myself’ so it can grow with your child as they become a more proficient reader.  I would recommend this for children learning their ABC’s and also for those beginning readers.  You will definitely get your $2.99’s worth.  You will love it in your house and you will love it with a mouse!

Monkey Preschool Lunch Box

The Monkey Preschool Lunch Box App is quickly becoming a family favorite in our home.  The monkeys are just so darn cute!  There are about six different games that flow from one to the next.  Some highlights include; Puzzles, Counting, Letter Recognition, Matching games and more.  Children earn a virtual sticker for correct answers.  The fun sounds and colorful graphics make this one a huge hit!  I also love the ease of navigation geared for younger children.  It will be the best $.99 cents you’ve ever spent!

RedFish 4 Kids

RedFish 4 Kids offers over 50 interactive and creative play time for hours of fun.  This app is best suited for children aged 2 - 7 yrs old.  There’s something for everyone.  Your child will practice Musical Composition, Letter Number and Shape Recognition and more!  This app cost’s $9.99, but remember you get over 50 games!  Highlights include; learning exercises, creative activities and open-ended play.  Your child will enjoy Interactive Games and Activities.  

123 HD Talking Color HD

This award winning app is great for younger children as they just tap on the section they want to color.   Coloring is accompanied by fun audio that coordinates with the tapping.  Your child will develop their number and letter recognition.  Highlights include; vibrant graphics, adorable pictures, voice-overs when the numbers/letters are tapped and fun children's songs.  Great value for just $4.99!

Miss Spider's Tea Party

Do you have a Miss Spider lover in your home?  If so, this is a must have iPad app.  Offering some amazing graphics and audio, this is sure to become one of your child’s favorite apps.  Some of the interactive games include; Puzzles, Painting, Memory Cards and more!  Your child can Read-Along to this classic picture book and tap on the characters for an interactive experience.  Everything really seems to come alive.  Multimedia and Video are also included for the Price of $9.99.

Match & Learn

This is a great one for the animal lover in your home.  Match & Learn is a fun memory game that offers exceptional graphics and coordinating animal sounds.  Some of the animals include; The seals, cows, cats, dogs, polar bears and more.  You can play alone or against a team.  We especially loved the ease of use, perfect for younger children.  This app costs $3.99.

Preschool Playmat: Farm Fun

The Preschool Playmat is another fun app for the animal lovers out there.  This one is farm themed with three different activities to engage your child.  Shape Matching, Memory Cards and a cute ‘find the animal’ game are sure to big popular with the younger set.  Your child will develop letter recognition, sorting and counting.  We love the fun sound effects and adorable graphics.  This app will cost you $2.99.

Alphabet Fun

Alphabet fun is perfect for school-aged children.  It will help them practice their writing and beginning reading skills.  You’ve got to love the vibraint graphics and fun audio sounds.  This app will help your child with word, letter, colors and number recognition.  The page looks like actual school notepad where you can trace your letters and words.  Great value for just $1.99.  This one is rated for children four years and up.


Craft Finder

The Craft Finder App by Disney is more geared for mom.  Its chalk full of fun crafts for you to do with your child.  Highlights include; Step by step photos, and instructions.  There are Fun Seasonal Crafts and activities to keep the children occupied for hours of creative fun!  You can sort the crafts by time, age and theme.  This app is a must have for mom’s of children aged 3 – 13.  You’ve got to love that this app is currently free at the apple store!



About the Author:
Rachel Maguire is the voice behind Fabumom a resource for Southern California Family Activities, Day Trips, and Reviews.  For more articles like the one above, please visit the Fabumom Blog. or follow her on twitter: @fabumom.

updated: August 10 2010 by FabuMom

at 11/16/2010 03:56AM brendag wrote:
We also love Tozzle puzzles and Preschooler Memory Match. Tozzle has a free "light" version but our son loves it so much we coughed up a few bucks for the full version.

There are tons of Disney books available as well, which is much easier on the back than lugging around a dozen board books!
at 11/27/2010 02:57AM jaybra wrote:
Each of my kids have an ITouch for travel, so while I haven't tried these apps on an IPad, I find they work great on an ITouch. Couple suggestions if giving an ITouch to a preschooler (or younger) - After a drop in the toilet without damage I am a big fan of silicone covers on backwards. Why backwards? Keeps gunk and little fingers out of the apple and earphone ports. Why silicone? If dropped they bounce instead of cracking.

Don't forget the cords and the AC adapter in the carry-on and plug in whenever you get a chance. Also suggest buying an outlet adapter that takes multiple USB connectors (we have a 4 port one that works great - I can plug in my phone and they can both plug in their ITouch to the same outlet).

Teach Me Kindergarten is the best educational app I have come across. Although targeting Kindergarten skills, a great way to introduce math and sight words to preschoolers. My daughter loves how you buy stickers with the coins that are earned.

Second on the Tozzle puzzles. The paid version is so worth it. I think there are hundreds of puzzles. Has enough puzzles and hints that a two year old to a kindergartner can play and find interesting.

Second on Super Why and Monkey Preschool. These have been two of the kids favorites for quite a while now (and they can be played by a toddler / new preschooler to kindergarten).

I also like the Monkey Preschool: When I Grow Up for the younger crowd. My son started on this when he was two and has a blast making an astronaut ballerina.

Trace is another good one, I find it may be a little advanced for a preschooler, but definitely fun to do together.

Memory Pro free will keep them busy for a while if they like matching. The paid version was a waste, my kids didn't care if they played the same levels over and over.

My kids also like Doodle Kids and Preschool Connect the Dots.

Hatch! Free is one I would recommend when first starting kids on an ITouch. When we first got the ITouch both of my kids wanted to push the icons instead of tapping. Although Hatch is targeted at 1-2 year olds I found it to be really useful to get the kids used to tapping vice pushing the buttons. This app is kind of cute, we made it a game to decide which critters really come from eggs (in the app everything hatches - cows, birds, pigs, lizards, etc). Wouldn't pay for this, but the free version is very useful.

As for paying for a coloring app - skip it. Just find the free coloring app of the week and grab it. We have bought a couple and downloaded a dozen or so freebies and aside from more pages, they are all basically the same. My older preschooler gets bored with these easy, but the two year old loves them. If the kids like coloring but want something harder, try PegLight Free (it's like a LightBrite).

And don't forget spawnglow (or one of it's sister apps - whichever one is free). These are great for those times when the littles are cranky and tired and need something to focus on without thinking.
at 01/30/2011 10:09AM diver1832 wrote:
Have you tried Preschool EduPlay? My 3 years old daughter just loves it ...
at 02/15/2011 07:27AM jodic wrote:
I am an early childhood specialist at a service center...Preschool teachers are getting excited about the possibilities with an ipad in the classroom. I have found that CookieDoodle is one that offers creativity and eye hand coordination! It is a .99 app. Ruby Repeat is great for listening memory! Preschool Memory Match offers levels of difficulty. Pattern recognition asks the child to continue the pattern...great for cognitive development!
at 06/08/2011 03:22AM mamatamas wrote:
I happened across an ap for our ipad called "Read Me." Basically it's a collection of children's stories that are read aloud to your child. The pictures are simple and the stories are simple. My boys love it because of the stories and every time we open the ap we get a new story. It's also totally free.
at 06/14/2011 11:36AM Thuong Pham wrote:
Introduce the scientific method to preschoolers with our app and lesson plan. Preschoolers instinctively observe and ask questions. They also think outside the box because they are unaware of what’s normal or obvious. Have you given a preschooler a toy and watched them use it in numerous ways it was never meant to be used? They are naturally creative and innovative. This is why we think this is the perfect time to introduce preschoolers to the scientific method. It encourages creativity and critical thinking.
at 10/22/2011 10:22PM ilovemybeautybaby wrote:
I just purchased Super why?, Monkey lunchbox, and tozzle for my soon to be 3 year old. She loves, loves, loves tozzle and monkey lunchbox. I think she is a little to young for super why because of the reading aspect. She liked the find the letter part, since she knows her letters. Thank you for all the suggestions and tips. I will be down loading some more suggestions tomorrow!
at 11/04/2011 07:50AM Darran Murray wrote:
We just created our first app, would love if you guys could check it out . "Farmyard is an interactive farmyard that will bring hours of fun to baby and parent .!/id476634438?ls=1&mt=8

at 12/13/2011 08:44AM Karen Barnes wrote:
This list is nice, but I found it lacking in the "learning letters" department. Preschoolers can have great fun *and* learn about letters with something like LetterSchool.
at 04/09/2012 02:15PM Blake Leftwich wrote:
I'm a teacher and app developer. My latest app teaches association through coloring in a fun farm setting!

Here it is on the App Store:

I would love to hear what you think of my app.
at 05/19/2012 10:54AM Maria Aniston wrote:
Don't forget the genius Bogga Alphabet!
Apps on Tapp has a great review of it here:
My five year old loves exploring the alphabet through painting, listening to and repeating letters that turn into fridge magnets :)
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