Today I’m sharing my favorite iPad apps by age. When your kids have trashed the entire house, have played with all the toys and have eaten all the snacks….
In the summer: “go outside!”
In the winter: “want to see the iPad?”
Anyone else? I’m going to be totally honest: my kids don’t love the iPad and honestly, sometimes when I ask them “want to see the iPad?” (you know so maybe I could shower now and then) I wish they said yes more often. We don’t have rules about limiting screen time in our house because none of the 4 have enough interest in it for me to need to limit it. They all like it, no one loves it. I’m sharing this, because I do research apps a lot and keep the best/ delete the “not so great”. I am not a pro when it comes to iPad apps but I am pretty strict with what we use. For the little ones, I don’t like apps that are difficult to use/ frustrate them and for the bigger kids, I don’t like apps that they can connect with other people (ever). We use the iPad most when we travel, which means they’re either on school break or taking days off of school, so I like to have some apps that are educational but also fun. So, here are my favorite apps by age!
First off, my favorite for any age is ABCmouse. I saw the commercials and ads for years before actually signing up. Then I found out that the computer club teacher at the preschool uses it to teach preschoolers how to use the computer and was sold. I used it a few years back for Maggie and Alex and then cancelled when I thought they got too old for it. I recently re-joined for the boys and to my surprise there is a ton for 1st and 2nd grade too. My girls now use it ALL the time. So honestly if you asked me my favorite app for each age, I would list ABCmouse as #1 for my toddler, preschooler and school aged kids. It has a fee but is SO worth it. It’s cool that you can easily set up a classroom per kids and track how they do. There’s also SO much packed into 1 app. It takes the place of getting multiple apps for different subjects/ activities. You can try the first month free here: ABC MOUSE FREE MONTH
I would highly recommend at least trying it out. I was pretty surprised how much all 4 kids liked it. If I had to delete everything off the iPad and keep one app for the kids, it would definitely be ABC Mouse that I kept. It also can be accessed on the computer. Now that the girls do a lot on the computers at school, they ask to use our desktop at home. The ABCmouse site is one they are comfortable navigating and think is fun. Plus I know it’s a safe thing for them to do on the computer. Personally, I liked setting it all up on my laptop and then downloaded the app, but you can do it directly on the app too. Click here for a free month of ABC Mouse.
As for free vs paid apps. We use both and you’ll see both below. I prefer the paid apps for 2 reasons: 1. no ads: not only are the ads annoying but sometimes we’ve seen some “not so appropriate” ads while playing free kids games. 2. There are so many in app purchases and often the free versions of the games are limiting and therefore frustrating to the kids.
Ok, so now the list of favorite iPad apps by age:
Favorite iPad Apps for Toddlers (age 2-3)
- ABC Mouse
- Going to Bed Book
- Tally Tots
- Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You
- Sago Mini Road Trip
Favorite iPad Apps for Preschoolers (age 3-5)
- ABC Mouse
- Letter School
- The Monster at the End of the Book
- Tiny Pirates
- Think and Learn Code
- Sago Mini Puppy Preschool
- BOB Books App
- Very Hungry Caterpillar Creative Play
- Very Hungry Caterpillar Shapes
- Curious George Train Adventures
Favorite iPad Apps for School Age Kids (ages 5+)
- ABC Mouse
- Daisy the Dinosaur
- Splash Math
- Moose Math
- Sand Draw
- Martha Speaks Word Spinner
- One Globe Kids
- American Girl Apps
- National Geographic Kids & National Geographic Weird But True
- Mussila (music)
Many of the apps listed for school aged kids are apps recommended by the girls teachers. They are in 1st and 2nd grade. Also, my “school aged kids” play some of the preschool apps for fun – especially the coding caterpillar and the Tiny Pirates. Many of the apps listed have stayed on our iPads because multiple kids in the house like them.
Fun Apps for Siblings:
Fun on the Farm: for $1.99 you get 5 board games that are all 2 player. This is great for travel! My kids love the air hockey. It’s for ages 4+ but I think as young as 3 can play most of the games and they are entertaining to play with a partner, so even my 8 year old loves them.
To note: While I recommend these all for fun, I am a firm believer in still reading real books and writing with pen & paper!
I was not compensated for this post. These are just our favorite apps to use. There are ABC Mouse affiliate links within the post. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting our site.