Best Learning Apps For Toddlers and Preschoolers

Updated March 2020

If you are wondering, ‘What are the best learning apps for toddlers and preschoolers?’ then look no further as we have tried and researched this guide for you! Whether you are at home, waiting at an airport or trying to educate your toddler and buy yourself a few moments to get a few chores done, these educational and learning apps for toddlers and preschoolers will help.

Included, is also a comprehensive list of the best free educational apps for toddlers to use at home or when travelling. (There may be some in app purchases for a few).

toddler with a Learning App on a tablet

If you are planning on flying with toddler at some point, many major airlines on long haul flights have a dedicated children’s channel and sometimes games channels on board, but these are not always age appropriate for your child or available throughout the flight. For some airlines, you may need to download their airline app using reliable WiFi, before you travel in order to access any of their inflight entertainment.

Even some large scheduled airlines do not provide any in-flight entertainment system for short-haul flights, so it is best to be prepared and bring your own back up, plus you never know when you might need to avert a meltdown at the airport or elsewhere. Below you’ll find some recommended best apps for your techno savvy baby/toddler for any situation!

Google Play and Amazon are a good alternative if you are using an android tablet or phone. If you are looking for some screen free ways to entertain a toddler or pre-schooler, I’ve also a bumper guide on age appropriate travel toys, which are equally usefully to use at home or in a hotel room. There are also some great indoor toddler activities where a lot of the mess-free fun can be made from items you may have ready have at home or in the kitchen cupboard.

Setting Limits on Screen Time

When we are traveling with kids, our screen time rules go out of the window, especially on long haul flights to Australia. If you are reading this because you need to work and homeschool, then again you may wish to use screen time for over the one hour screen limit recommendation for this age group. Screen time is helpful in moderation and sometimes a necessity to get things done, so don’t feel judged or stressed about it and use the hour as a guideline. A balance of other activities and moderation of screen-time is fine in an ideal world, but sometimes real life situations don’t warrant that.

Baby View is great for younger babies with black and white images.

Listed below are some general recommended apps for toddlers and preschoolers followed by best educational apps, best for kids aged between two and four, best reading apps and a round up of the best free apps for kids. Whether you are searching for the best iPad apps for toddlers or Android, there is a good choice to keep your little one engaged below.

Best Apps for Preschoolers and Toddlers

  • PBS Kids (Free) All of your child’s favorite characters on PBS’s kid-friendly programs (including Arthur, Sesame Street and WordGirl)
  • Disney Junior Appisodes is full of educational games, videos and colouring, and it’s free!
  • Mr Potato Head (£3.99) The classic game .
  • My First 101 Words (£1.49) – This educational app helps to teach first words, with video clips which help to engage your little one- iPhone / iPad by Blueprint.tv
  • Fun For Toddlers (Free) Fun for toddlers is a fun sounds and puzzle game. Each puzzle have 7 items that make funny sounds over 80 different sounds play it as a puzzle game or like a sound game – by Weedo.
child using a Learning Apps on tablet by a window at home

Best Educational Apps for Toddlers & Pre-schoolers

Here are a few favourites which get our vote as the best apps for toddlers and pre-schoolers. They have been tried and tested by myself and fellow mums. Please feel free to suggest in the comments below any of your recommended best educational apps for kids that work for you (bonus if they are STEM apps), and please mention the age of your child, so I can add it to this growing list.

Best Apps For 2 year olds – 4 year olds

These educational apps for preschoolers are ideal for play, fun and prepping kids for real life activities. The best learning apps for toddlers or the best educational apps for 2 year olds are ones that don’t demand a lot of screen time and are helping to cement knowledge.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced children between the ages of two and five should be exposed to only one hour of high-quality media per day. Quality apps should be engaging, fun and educational. If they have a strong link to Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM) then they fit this bill as a good examples of quality educational apps for preschoolers.

  • Lego Duplo series (free toddler apps for Google Play and iOS) I especially like the train and ice-cream app, both a toddlers dream which they can recreate with play with Duplo Lego bricks.
  • Toca Boca. (Some are free with in app puchases, others are about $3.99)This series is a huge favorite in our house. Choose from a wide variety of scenerios such as: Kitchen, Doctor Pets, Farm, Vacation, Stable. Toca Boca captures the power of play but virtually. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to play and kids get to explore these virtual worlds of make believe and role play and learn different names and how things work.
  •  Breathe, Think, Do A free Sesame Street app for teaching kids “chill skills” and how to think their way through a tough situation.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (Free demo or £5.99/$5.99) If your toddler loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar book then they will love the app too. Using the familiar images from Eric Carle’s books, early learning skills are taught in a simple and fun manner.
  • Scribbaloo Train
  • ABC Mouse – a subscription based educational fun app. It begins in a virtual classroom where your kids can select from a number of different adventures. There are many lessons to choose from that teach reading, math, coloring, counting, and music skills.
  • Moose Math – (free Android and iOs) A USA app for early numbers and math learning.
  • Gruffalo Games, £2.99, iTunes and Google Play. This is another firm favourite of ours with the popular Gruffalo characters. The mini-games in this educational app for kids has no in – app purchases and is designed to develop logic and problem solving.
  • Toca Life:City (£3.99/$3.99) Kids visit different locations around the city and interact with everything.
  • My Town – (free) this is just brilliant and immersive where kids can explore different lands and environments, including the farm, under the sea, the airport, the dentist and so many more.

Best Reading Apps for Toddlers

These are some of the best reading apps for kids that myself and other parents have used.

  • First Words UK, Free, Google Play This is for the UK readers. It has UK spellings and pronunciations that are clear for your little one to understand. It also includes a quiz mode to test their learning and even autoplay so your tot doesn’t have to worry about navigation. There is the option to turn off background colours and animation if it is too distracting.
  • Epic! is an app for kids with an e-book library that contains over thousands of children’s books (and it includes a read-to-me feature for little ones who are still learning to read).
  • ABC Kids Tracing & Phonics, Free, Google Play This is a simple education game that will help your toddler how to learn phonics and trace letters of the alphabet. It’s suitable for ages 5 and under.

Best Story Apps for Toddlers

  • Pango Lets readers drive the story by shaking and touching the characters. There are stories as well as other games.

Round up of the Best Free Educational Apps for Toddlers

These free educational apps for kids are full of fun too!

  • Breathe, Think, Do A free Sesame Street app for teaching kids “chill skills” and how to think their way through a tough situation.
  • My Town – (free) this is just brilliant and immersive where kids can explore different lands and environments, including the farm, under the sea, the airport, the dentist and so many more.
  • PBS Kids (Free) All of your child’s favorite characters on PBS’s kid-friendly programs (including Arthur, Sesame Street and WordGirl)
  • First Words UK, Free, Google Play This is for the UK readers. It has UK spellings and pronunciations that are clear for your little one to understand. It also includes a quiz mode to test their learning and even autoplay so your tot doesn’t have to worry about navigation. There is the option to turn off background colours and animation if it is too distracting.
  • Disney Junior Appisodes is full of educational games, videos and colouring, and it’s free!
  • ABC Kids Tracing & Phonics, Free, Google Play This is a simple education game that will help your toddler how to learn phonics and trace letters of the alphabet. It’s suitable for ages 5 and under.

Have you any more suggestions to add to this best free learning apps for toddlers list?

Best Apps for 5 year olds

  • Dr. Panda’s Restaurant. My two adore this game and the whole Dr Panda series. The restaurant game allows kids to choose what dishes they want to prepare and how they like to cook it.

Even More Toddler Apps

The majority of these are free toddler games apps:

  • Candy crush
  • Color drops
  • Peekaboo Barn
  • ABC Toddler
  • Mouse Maze
  • Duck Duck Moose apps
  • Piano band

Remember lots of shows are on Netflix too and available to download before you go and watch at your leisure.

Have I missed any of your favourite or recommended best learning apps for kids that have worked for you? Please do comment below so I can add them.



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9 Comments

  1. We have not let our infant have any screen time yet but with a 14 hour flight from the states to China we plan to let her watch some shows and maybe play with some apps. Are there headphones designed for babies that we can use? I don't want to bother people around us with kids music and sound effects from games but I worry about having headphones on an infant and the level of noise right at their ears. Any advice or ideas?

  2. Hi- I've not seen any for babies- but I haven't looked specifically for them. The couple next to us had a 8 m old baby watching a show or two and they didn't use headphones, and it didn't disturb us. Hope that helps a little.

  3. Aleisha I'm not sure about babies per se, but many places such as Kmart sell reasonably priced childrens headphones which are volume limited to a 'safe' decibel range so it can't accidentally be turned up too loud. We used these previously with our then 16mo son & just ensured we also used a low volume setting on the device.
    I will be getting another set before we fly Aus to Eur in June with our now 3yo and his 20mo sister!

    PS Carrie I love this blog, so so helpful. We are regular travellers with a few tips/tricks ourselves these days but you are nailing it here – every little concern I would have and more is here in fine detail, it's very comforting 🙂

  4. I have bought Em’s for kids audio headphones they are noise cancelling headphones so block out the engine noise and have the child safe reduced volume of 85 decibels. Most headphones at this volume are hard to hear over the engine noise but because they are noise cancelling its not a problem and can be used from 12 months upwards.

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