Apps for toddlers

I have to admit I’m new to this world of apps for toddlers and it’s a wild west out there; from AMAZING to so bad they are almost good (like amazing bus puzzle it’s free and won’t disappoint in awfulness!). Plus, my main tester isn’t all that into apps yet. At 18 months he gets frustrated quickly. The phone is too small for his unsure fingers and switches off easily. And the iPad is more fun to scrap around on the floor… I’ll have that thank you.

That said, he is getting the hang of using “Peter Pointer” and the apps we’ve tried can certainly entertain for the time it takes to change a nappy, so that’s good enough for me! With that in mind, here are some educational toddler apps that I like and my tester is warming to, this isn’t a ‘definitive’ list (money and time being an obstacle!), it’s a ‘getting you started’ list so additional recommendations are welcomed nay, encouraged in the comment section below!

1. Forest Flyer and Ocean Swimmer by Sago Mini (both £1.99)

Those Sago Mini people know what they are doing. The apps look good and are appealing to mama for sure… Forest flyer is a little bird that flies where you want, stopping at points to do funny little things like read a paper or pull a worm out of the ground. Ocean swimmer is much the same but this time the fish explores the sea. They’re both darn cute.

Forest Flyer

Forest Fly

2. Bug Builder by Sago Mini (£1.99)

We also have Bug Builder by Sago Mini, which is a simple, design-your-own bug game. You then feed, clean and take a picture of it. It’s a bit complex so a toddler would definitely need your help but that’s all part of the fun (right?).

Bug Builder

Bug Builder – my bug, Mr Bugsie

3. Musical ABCs by Jamaroos (£1.99)

This is an entertaining introduction to the alphabet with animals that play musical instruments (I particularly dig “Val the Vulture plays the Vibraphone”!). It is American though, so it’s ‘Zeee’ instead of ‘Zed’!

4. Playtime by Cbeebies (free)

Apart from the “grow-ups, press and hold” button, which threw me a bit (it contains tips for how to play it with your child), this app is great. There are lots of things to do from exploring to painting to learning the alphabet.

If you look up your children’s channel of choice you can normally find something for free but it isn’t as extensive as the CBeebies one (we have a Thomas app that was free and a big hit).

5. Lets Count by Fisher Price/Laugh & Learn (free)

The music is annoying but Reuben loves this – it introduces both counting to 5 and zoo animals with their sounds (the penguin is dubious). There’s also a song after counting to 5, which is equally thrilling for my tester, and then it restarts the counting but with farmyard animals. Fisher Price also do a bunch of other free apps, there aren’t as good in my opinion but they are free…(although the Giggle Gang will drive you to distraction).

6. Vehicle Sounds for Babies by Fabio Bassan (£0.69)

This has naff graphics of squat vehicles that make a sound when you press them. That’s it and Reuben LOVES it! It is simple and doesn’t seem to be over sensitive, so great for little clumsy fingers. The free version has the vehicles pictured below but we liked it so much we upgraded to the full package (!).

vehicle sounds for babies

Vehicle sounds for babies

7. Alice in Wonderland by Atomic Antelope (£5.99 for the iPad)

We’ve had Alice in Wonderland for years and it’s been a firm favourite of Gabby, my stepdaughter who’s 7. We love making the traditional illustrations come to life. This video is a bit manic but you get the idea.



8. Other apps you might consider are by Toca Boca, who create a range of successful apps aimed at children over 4. Gabby would love the hair salon 2 (£1.99)

What do you think?

I hope this helps any new-timers navigate the wilds of app world and for anyone with recommendations, please do comment below.

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About Hannah Parker

Hannah is an ex-city girl turned wife, mum and step-mum living in a North East seaside town with a bad reputation. Hannah has been blogging for 2 years at Mums’ Days, where she documents her triumphs and tragedies of daily life trying to be a good mum. She has recently started a Directory of Giving Birth with over 30 stories all donated by members of the Mums’ Days community on Facebook. She will be carrying the baton in the TeamHonk relay from Newcastle to Alnwick in March!


  1. 03 March 2014 / 19:45

    The cbeebies app is great and keepsour 4yo entertained. We havnt paid for an app yet…not sure if we will!

    • 12 March 2014 / 10:25

      The only reason I can see myself paying for an app in the future would be to avoid adverts! But they had better be worth their weight in gold πŸ˜‰

  2. 04 March 2014 / 10:04

    These are great tips – I only have a couple of apps downloaded (for plane/train journeys mostly) so haven’t explored too many. The main problem is that she’d rather press all the buttons so almost every time I set something going on the iPod, within seconds she’s returned the screen to the homepage…

    I’ve got a Little Learners one, which she likes and which she first tried when she was 16 months – you make toys bounce and rock, get animals to eat food. All quite simple and fun. Another Old MacDonald app from Duck Duck Moose (recommended by a friend) which is a bit more complicated – not such a fan but it’ll keep her amused for a little while.

    • 12 March 2014 / 10:27

      Reuben is exactly the same – switches it straight to the home screen! He’s getting the hang of not doing that as much but it’s still the place he spends most of his time (deleting my apps!!).

      Thanks for the recommendations – will hunt them out πŸ™‚

  3. 04 March 2014 / 13:28

    I agree that Cbeebies app is a real winner – though our 2 year old is starting to get angrily obsessed with it.

    Other great apps (on ipad at least):
    Toca Band (99p) – create music with crazy characters

    Sneak (1.50) – Sneak across the room (literally) to catch monsters

    • 12 March 2014 / 10:29

      Sounds like fun (for me, Reuben probably won’t care still!). And I know what you mean about ‘angrily obsessed’ I have a much younger brother who is still angrily obsessed. That started at a fairly young age. And my step daughter can get cross with a dressing up game! Will check out your suggestions.

    • 12 March 2014 / 10:30

      That’s incredible!! I will certainly be downloading some of the apps you’ve listed – interesting read too xx

      • 07 April 2014 / 12:44

        Would love to hear what you think of them.

  4. 07 April 2014 / 12:26

    heading on our first flight with a one year old on Thursday so this is SO well timed! Thank you!

  5. 08 April 2014 / 10:14

    Just seen your article… I’m a mum & kids app developer, and yes I agree, it is horribly like the wild west in app world :/ Is Reuben into nursery rhymes?? I’d be happy to send you promo codes for our two apps – you get to be the star in Wheels on the Bus & Old MacDonald. At 18 months he’s still on the young side, but being able to see his face in the app might make up for that? Just email me at hello (at) okiplay (dot) com if you’d like the codes.

  6. Mary
    01 August 2014 / 16:09

    Being teacher and parent, I recommend smart toddler puzzles pro++ (iphone/ipad) app. It teaches kids in fun and relaxed way what all they need prior to kindergarten. Puzzles too are 3D designed. Kids are more involved and learning faster.