iPads for kids are fine, so long as child learning is involved. Shop our favorite educational apps for kids under five.
When our one-year-old mastered our iPad in minutes, we may have thought about calling Guinness to enter her as the youngest techie ever. But our little genius isn’t alone. These days, tots and kindergarteners alike are doing amazing stuff with technology that their own parents can barely understand—hence the reason we refer to it as “stuff”—and some of the coolest applications on iThingies can be fantastic early education tools.
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the games, music, and book apps are great for keeping kids entertained in waiting rooms, airports and restaurants from coast to coast too. Sure we’d prefer conversation to screen time, but if giving kids a tablet means mommy gets to eat a meal uninterrupted every now and again, who is it really hurting?
Since we believe that tech-toys make a good case for bringing them literally everywhere, we put together a list of the best educational apps for kids.
The Lonely Beast ABC, $3
Based on Chris Judge’s children’s book, this app features 26 interactive scenes that help kids learn the alphabet and new words through funny characters like dancing robots and laughing monkeys.
Cookie Doodle, $1
A total must-have for future top chefs. By mixing dough, cutting cookies, and decorating them, kids can bake up a batch of fun wherever they go. There are even letter-shaped cutters so kids can bake up their names.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App! $6
Just like the beloved children’s story, Mo Willems’ pigeon is brought to e-life with this adorable app. This one lets kids make their own stories up—hours of creative entertainment!
Dora ABCs: Letters & Letter Sounds,$3
Kid will be thrilled to have an educational adventure with their favorite Nick Jr. star. Dora teaches them letter recognition, writing, and proper pronunciation. Plus it’s Dora—as far as our kids are concerned, the little cartoon cutie can do no wrong!
Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers, $5
Some kids love math and some don’t, but all kids love learning with Team Umizoomi! To be honest, the characters’ enthusiasm for counting and basic introductory math skills is so contagious, we’ve logged a little time in Umizoomi land ourselves.
Cut the Rope: Experiments, $2
Just because it’s a fun game doesn’t mean it can’t be educational too. This app offers 175 levels of experiments that take a lot of brainpower to plot out—talk about a great way to teach actions and consequences to little guys!
Doodle Buddy, Free
What kid doesn’t love to paint, draw, scribble or sketch? Let them release their inner Picasso with this app, which will have them creating masterpieces at the touch of a finger.
Princess Dress-Up: My Sticker Book, $4
This app lets kids dress up their favorite Disney princesses, and they can even add photos of their own faces to turn themselves into digital royalty.
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, $5
Expecto patronum! This Harry Potter app is not to be missed. Little wizards can turn themselves into the story’s characters and explore Hogwarts and the world of wizardry like never before.
Nursery Rhymes For Kids, Free
Old MacDonald, Mary, and her little lamb are more than just classic nursery rhymes—they also serve as an intro to reading and wordplay for kids. This app lets pre-readers see the words as they sing along to some of their favorite nursery rhymes.