The Best iPad Apps for Kids: Educational and Fun Picks

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Best iPad Apps For Kids
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Selecting the right iPad apps for kids can be a balancing act between ensuring the content is both educational and entertaining. In today’s digital age, iPads have become a popular platform for interactive learning and play, offering a myriad of applications that cater to children’s diverse interests and developmental needs. As a parent or educator, you aim to provide children with apps that not only capture their attention but also contribute positively to their development.

The multitude of apps available on the Apple App Store means there’s something for every young user, from toddlers to teens. It’s important to choose apps that align with your child’s age and learning objectives, whether that means practicing math skills, building language abilities, or simply engaging in creative play. The key is to find apps that are user-friendly, offer adjustable difficulty levels, and grow with your child.

Key Takeaways

  • iPad apps for kids should offer a balance of education and entertainment while meeting developmental needs.
  • It’s crucial to select age-appropriate apps that align with specific learning goals and enhance various skills.
  • Chosen apps should prioritize user experience, inclusive design, and the ability to adapt as a child learns and grows.

Essential Criteria for Selecting Kid-Friendly iPad Apps

When choosing iPad apps for your kids, considering several key criteria ensures that the apps are beneficial and appropriate.

Your first step is to consider the age range the app is targeting. Apps should match your child’s developmental stage and not expose them to content beyond their maturity level.

  • For Toddlers and Preschoolers: Look for apps with simple, intuitive gameplay and educational content.
  • For School-Aged Children: Seek out apps that challenge thinking and offer problem-solving tasks.
  • For Older Kids: Focus on apps that provide more complex educational content and reinforce school learning.

Parental Controls and Safety
The ability to monitor and control your child’s app usage is critical.

  • Check if the app offers parental control options to limit playtime or access to certain features.
  • Ensure that the privacy policy is robust, and your child’s data is protected.

Educational Content
Opt for apps that blend learning with fun.

User-Friendly Interface
Your child should be able to navigate the app without constant assistance.

  • Look for a clean, simple layout with clear instructions.
  • Make sure interactive elements are easily recognizable and accessible.

In-App Purchases
Apps should be transparent about in-app purchases (IAPs).

  • Opt for apps with no IAPs or ones that safeguard against accidental purchases.
  • Ensure any purchasable content is not essential to enjoy the full benefits of the app.

By scrutinizing these aspects, you empower your child with safe, enjoyable, and educational screen time on their iPad.

Education and Learning Apps

In this digital age, educational apps have become a resourceful tool in enhancing your child’s learning experience. From building literacy skills to exploring scientific concepts, these carefully curated apps offer significant educational value for your child’s development.

Reading and Literacy

For nurturing a love for reading, Epic! is a digital library for kids under 12, granting access to over 35,000 books, audiobooks, and learning videos to strengthen your child’s English and phonics skills. Similarly, Reading Rainbow, hosted by LeVar Burton, provides a wide array of storybooks and video field trips aimed at improving comprehension and instilling a love for reading.

Science and Exploration

Dive into science with Toca Lab: Elements, where children can experiment with different elements and learn about the periodic table in a playful setting. The Human Body by Tinybop allows kids to explore how the human body works through interactive activities, making science both fun and engaging.

Math and Problem-Solving

DragonBox Numbers offers a unique approach to understanding numbers and basic mathematics, transforming it into a fun game that teaches through play. Prodigy Math Game adapts to your child’s learning pace, providing math challenges that align with school curriculum, making math practice enjoyable.

Arts and Creativity

To spark creativity, Artie’s Magic Pencil teaches basic drawing skills while promoting problem-solving. Meanwhile, Toca Band encourages musical exploration where children can experiment with sounds and rhythms, empowering them to create their own music.

By integrating these educational apps into your child’s daily routine, you can boost their learning process and ensure that screen time is productive and beneficial. Each app aims to complement traditional education with tech-enabled tools tailored for children’s diverse learning needs.

Interactive and Engaging Gameplay

Interactive and engaging gameplay is crucial for kids’ apps, as it combines entertainment with educational value. The right iPad apps can enhance your child’s problem-solving skills and creativity through immersive puzzles, adventures, and strategic planning.

Puzzles and Critical Thinking

  • Cut the Rope 2: This game sharpens your child’s critical thinking as they navigate physics-based puzzles to feed candy to a little monster, Om Nom.
  • Problem-Solving Puzzles: Look for apps that challenge young minds with pattern recognition and logic puzzles, building the foundation for advanced problem-solving skills.

Adventure and Exploration Games

  • Minecraft: Encourage your child’s imagination and creativity while exploring endless worlds and building anything from simple homes to grand castles.
  • Exploratory Gameplay: Choose games that allow kids to embark on virtual quests and solve mysteries, fostering curiosity and a love for adventure.

Creative Drawing and Animation

  • Animation Apps: Seek out apps that let your child bring drawings to life through animation, which nurtures their artistic abilities and understanding of motion.
  • Drawing Tools: Introduce your child to apps with intuitive interfaces designed to spark their creativity, whether they’re doodling or creating digital masterpieces.

Strategy and Brain Games

  • Strategy Challenges: Engage your child with games that require careful planning and strategy, enhancing their cognitive abilities.
  • Brain Teasers: Brain games that are specifically crafted for kids can help develop their memory and attention span through fun and interactive challenges.

Entertainment and Video Content

When considering iPad apps for entertainment and video content for kids, it’s essential to focus on age-appropriate, engaging options that combine fun with educational elements.

Kid-Friendly Streaming Services

Netflix offers a robust Kids section with plenty of shows and movies tailored for younger audiences. With a dedicated profile for kids, you have peace of mind knowing that the content they access is suitable for their age. Additionally, PBS KIDS Video provides a variety of educational videos for free, featuring popular characters from the PBS KIDS lineup, ensuring that entertainment is both fun and informative.

  • Netflix: Safe watching with a dedicated kids profile.
  • PBS KIDS Video: Free educational content; no subscription required.

Interactive Storytelling and Books

Interactive storytelling apps turn an iPad into a vibrant book that not only tells a story but also responds to your kid’s touch, voice, and even facial expressions. These apps often blend traditional narratives with engaging activities.

  • Interactive storytelling: Engages children with narrative and activities.

Apps that fall into this category often include video content as well, weaving stories that come to life on the screen, offering an immersive reading and viewing experience that can captivate children’s imaginations.

Mental and Physical Development

In this section, you’ll discover apps that are instrumental in your child’s language and communication development, as well as those that promote health, wellness, and fitness through focused physical activities and mental wellness strategies.

Language and Communication Skills

Duolingo ABC is designed to teach children how to read and engage in effective communication. In easy-to-follow lessons, your child will build language skills while enjoying interactive fun.

  • Social Skills: With Khan Academy Kids, your child can engage in activities that foster collaboration and sharing through peer-to-peer learning modules.

Health, Wellness, and Fitness

Finding apps that support both mental and physical well-being is essential.

Calm provides mindfulness exercises and sleep stories that can improve your child’s mental wellness and sleep patterns. Encourage daily use to establish a routine that enhances calmness and focus.

  • Physical Activity: Look for applications that incorporate movement-based games and challenges. Engaging in physical activity is not only fun but also crucial for healthy development.

Apps for Preschoolers

When selecting apps for your preschooler, look for ones that balance educational content with fun. PBS Kids offers a variety of age-appropriate learning apps that focus on reading, math, and social-emotional skills. They’re often free and feature familiar characters from PBS shows.

Sago Mini includes a series of apps ideal for young minds. With intuitive interfaces, these apps encourage playful interaction and creativity. Your child can explore imaginative worlds and build fundamental skills through engaging activities.

Toca Boca specializes in colorful, interactive apps that foster open-ended play. These applications let preschoolers role-play different scenarios, from running a store to taking care of animals, supporting both social development and critical thinking.

The HOMER Learning app provides a personalized learning experience tailored to your preschooler’s interests and skill level. It includes drawing apps as part of its curriculum, which not only improve fine motor skills but also offer a creative outlet.

Below is a list highlighting these options:

  • PBS Kids
    • Age-appropriate content
    • Focus on social-emotional skills
    • Familiar characters
  • Sago Mini
    • Playful and creative activities
    • Intuitive design for preschool users
  • Toca Boca
    • Variety of role-playing games
    • Encourages imagination and social skills
  • HOMER Learning
    • Personalized learning journeys
    • Educational content including drawing apps

Choose based on what aligns with your child’s interests and your educational goals for them. Each app offers a unique way for your toddler to learn and have fun at the same time.

Enhancing Creativity and Expression

In the digital age, your child’s creative skills can flourish with the right apps. These tools encourage the use of imagination in music and arts, providing platforms for both visual and auditory expression.

Music and Sound Apps


  • For exploring music-making, GarageBand is a comprehensive choice. Yours can simulate a variety of instruments and record their own songs, honing their musical skills and creativity.

Toca Kitchen

  • Although not solely a music app, Toca Kitchen sparks creativity as youths play with food and sounds, mixing an auditory experience with imaginative play.

Drawing and Painting Apps


  • A premier drawing pad app, Procreate offers a vast array of brushes and tools. It allows for detailed artwork and nurtures drawing talent through a user-friendly interface.

Adobe Fresco

  • Adobe Fresco caters to budding artists with a mix of vector and raster brushes. Your young artist can simulate watercolor and oil painting, enriching their drawing and painting skills.

Skill-Building and Educational Gaming

In selecting iPad apps for your children, it’s crucial to focus on those that not only entertain but also enhance skills in areas like problem-solving, coding, and STEM. Educational apps can provide challenging puzzles and immersive coding experiences that are both fun and instructive.

Educational Puzzles and Games

BrainPOP: This interactive app engages your child with a variety of subjects while promoting critical thinking through fun quizzes and educational games. BrainPOP covers a wide range of topics, building knowledge and problem-solving skills. Its content is continually updated, ensuring fresh challenges.

Khan Academy Kids: With thousands of educational activities, this app helps children improve their reading, writing, math, and problem-solving skills. Khan Academy Kids is a free resource, offering a range of puzzles and games designed to adapt to your child’s learning pace.

DragonBox Numbers: Designed to enhance young children’s understanding of numbers, DragonBox Numbers introduces mathematical concepts through playful puzzles. Your kids will gain number sense while enjoying the process of learning basic math.

Coding and STEM Apps

ScratchJr: Specifically created for younger children, ScratchJr enables them to learn the basics of coding using a simple, intuitive interface. Through the creation of stories and games, they grasp the fundamentals of logic sequences and coding blocks, which are foundational to more advanced programming skills.

Lightbot: Lightbot is a programming puzzle game that teaches your child the concepts of sequencing, overloading, procedures, recursive loops, and conditionals through solving fun and challenging puzzles. It’s a great starter app for future coding enthusiasts, giving practical insight into how code translates into action.

STEM Apps: Look for applications that are explicitly labeled for STEM learning. These apps often incorporate puzzles and problem-solving activities tied to coding, technology, and other STEM fields, fostering an interest and proficiency in these areas from an early age.

Incorporating these apps into your children’s playtime can support their educational growth while keeping them engaged with interactive and thought-provoking content.

Practical Life Skills and Experiences

Your kids can gain essential life skills and have fun at the same time with iPad apps designed for cooking and kitchen activities as well as travel-themed educational experiences.

Cooking and Kitchen Fun

Toca Kitchen offers a vibrant way for your children to explore cooking without the mess. Your little chefs can experiment with different ingredients, cooking methods, and combinations, all while learning the fundamentals of meal preparation.

  • Explore food combinations: Learn which foods go well together and create unique dishes.
  • Understand meal preparation steps: Simulate cooking processes like chopping, blending, and cooking.

Travel and Learn New Skills

Travel apps encompass geography, culture, and language in an engaging way that motivates your kids to learn new skills. They provide different scenarios where children can simulate travel experiences from the safety of their home.

  • Virtual trips: Visit landmarks and explore global cuisines.
  • Language skills: Practice basic phrases used in various countries and enhance communication abilities.

Apps focused on practical life skills teach children valuable lessons that extend far beyond the screen.

Interactive Educational Resources

When selecting iPad apps for your child’s education, consider the following highly regarded options:

  • Khan Academy: Offers a personalized learning experience with a vast library of activities covering various subjects for different ages. Your kids can access practice exercises and instructional videos to support their school curriculum.
  • PBS Kids: This app provides child-friendly content with an emphasis on learning and creativity. Your kids can enjoy interactive games along with video content from PBS Kids shows, which are designed to be both fun and educational.
  • Starfall: This platform focuses on reading, phonics, and math. Starfall’s activities are engaging and perfect for pre-K through 3rd grade. Games and songs make learning to read a playful experience.
  • Tailored for children aged 2-8, it offers an online curriculum with over 9,000 activities in reading, math, science, and more. It encourages progressive learning with a step-by-step approach.
  • Khan Academy Kids: With thousands of interactive activities, books, and videos, this app targets children 2-7 years old, offering educational content that spans various subjects, promoting a comprehensive learning environment.
  • HOMER: HOMER specializes in early learning for kids aged 2-8, with personalized learning plans that adapt to your child’s interests and skills in reading, math, and critical thinking.

Here’s a quick overview table of these resources:

App Name Target Age Group Subjects Covered
Khan Academy 4+ Multiple Subjects
PBS Kids 2-8 Creative Learning
Starfall Pre-K – 3rd Grade Reading & Math 2-8 Reading, Math, Science
Khan Academy Kids 2-7 Multiple Subjects
HOMER 2-8 Reading & Math

Choose wisely, as interactive educational apps on your iPad can be a powerful tool to enhance your child’s learning experience and support their schoolwork at the same time.

Inclusivity and Accessibility in Apps

When choosing iPad apps for children, consider those that prioritize inclusivity and accessibility. These features ensure that all kids, regardless of their abilities, can engage and learn. Here are key elements to look for in family-friendly apps:

Educational Value:

  • Look for apps that adapt to different learning styles and needs.
  • Select apps offering multiple difficulty levels or customizable content to accommodate various skill sets.

Inclusive Gameplay:

  • Opt for apps with character customization where kids can see themselves represented.
  • Ensure the app has assistive features for children with physical or learning disabilities.
Feature Description
Voice-Over Narration for visually impaired users.
Subtitles For hearing-impaired users to follow along with audio.
Touch Accommodations Help for those with limited fine motor skills.


  • Apps with simple, intuitive interfaces work best for young users.
  • Use apps that support screen readers and dynamic text resizing for better access.

Remember, the best apps are those that your child can use independently, fostering their sense of autonomy while providing a robust learning experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, you’ll find concise answers to some of the most common questions regarding the best iPad apps tailored for kids.

What are the top educational apps for children aged 5-8 years on iPad?

For children aged 5-8, apps like “Endless Alphabet,” “DragonBox Numbers,” and “Quick Math Jr.” are highly rated for their interactive and educational content that makes learning fun and engaging.

Which iPad apps are best for students’ note-taking and learning in 2023?

Students benefit from apps like “Notability” and “GoodNotes 5” for note-taking, offering a range of tools for handwriting, drawing, and annotating. For learning, “Khan Academy” and “Duolingo” continue to be favorites for their comprehensive lessons and interactive exercises.

How do I set up an iPad to be child-friendly and safe for use?

You can make your iPad child-friendly by utilizing the built-in “Screen Time” feature. This allows you to set content restrictions, manage privacy settings, and control app usage times, providing a safe environment for your child to learn and play.

What are the most engaging and fun learning apps currently available for kids on iPad?

Apps like “Toca Boca” series, “PBS Kids Games,” and “The Human Body by Tinybop” offer a blend of entertainment and education, captivating children’s interest with interactive elements and fun facts about the world around them.

What are the best free iPad games that are suitable for 7 to 8 year olds?

For 7 to 8 year olds, free games like “LEGO® Creator Islands” and “Toca Kitchen Monsters” are ideal. They provide kid-friendly gameplay that fosters creativity and problem-solving without any in-app purchases.

Can you recommend any good kindergarten-friendly iPad apps that are free?

For kindergarteners, “Fish School by Duck Duck Moose” and “PBS Kids Videos” are excellent free options. These apps offer a variety of educational activities focused on letters, numbers, shapes, and more, in a format that is accessible and engaging for young learners.

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