I’ve been using apps with my kids for about four years now. My husband bought me my iPad for my birthday one year because I was dying to get one in order to use apps to help my then 4-year-old, severely language-delayed daughter with speech therapy. Since then we’ve used iPad apps for kids for all kinds of things, but my very favorites are those that combine learning with fun. Here are my top favorite iPad apps for kids that do just that.
Toca Tea Party by Toca Boca
is a cute little way for your child to have a virtual birthday party. You can play alone or with mom, dad, or siblings and friends. This app lets you choose from 3 types of cake and themed plates so you can set what kind of party you are having. You can set the iPad on the floor and place your favorite friend or stuffed animal on either side of it so that you are serving real-live guests your virtual treats. I love this app because it encourages pretend play and it’s great for kids to play alone or with a parent. If you are working on learning and intentional play (like I was for speech therapy), you can use it to work with your child on following directions (“Please pour me some more tea”, etc.) or on answering questions: ask your child either what they are doing, what they just did. It’s also great for working on sequencing; you can have them walk you through the tea party sequence of events verbally. (“First, I set the plates out, then I cut the cake, then I poured the tea”, etc.) They will have so much fun, they won’t even know they are working on speech!
iWriteWords by giggle lab
This is one of the very best handwriting apps for kids aged preschool and younger. You simply trace letters with your finger using the guided prompts, and are rewarded when you’re done by a cute drawing that kids love. Both of my kids loved this from age 3 and they loved it for a long time. It really helps kids to learn to form letters with their fingers before they are ready for a writing tool, so that the letter shapes are already cemented in their minds. It’s a great little app – simple and sweet!
I Like Books by Grasshopper Apps
This a set of 37 gorgeous picture books in one app. These are great for kids because the pictures are real photographs of real people and things and the narration is simple and easy to understand. These entertain kids but also help young children to learn vocabulary. Plus, you can customize the books if you want to by recording your own narration, which is really fun! As kids get older, they can choose the “read by myself” option and silence the narration as they learn to read on their own.
Toca House by Toca Boca
This is one of my favorite apps for kids because it teaches kids that housework can be FUN! Every mom wants her kids to be eager to help with the chores, right? Toca House features some fun, colorful characters that kids loves and makes a game out of each chore that they must complete. It teaches some concepts that are great for young kids to learn such as sorting and matching shapes. I love to use it with my kids for speech as well, teaching them to follow directions and asking questions about what they are doing. Toca Boca has a tons of great apps for kids, that they can learn concepts like these on but also play independently, so I will list a few here that I highly recommend: Toca Store, Toca Hair Salon, Toca Pet Doctor, Toca Lab, Toca Kitchen and Toca Robot Lab – but there are many, many more so check them all out!
Sago Mini Pet Café by Sago Sago
Sago Mini Pet Café is one of my favorite iPad apps for kids because it teaches them great concepts like matching and sorting in a really fun way. Kids love dishing up meals for some of their favorite pets and don’t even realize they are learning. This is another great app that kids can play on their own but you can also direct their play intentionally if you have a certain skill you are working on. It’s very simple but so fun, and my kids love to keep playing it months after we’re done working on the language skills I was teaching them with it. Sago Mini also has a lot of other great apps, and Sago Mini Road Trip is another favorite in our house!
These are some of the best iPad apps for kids that we’ve used in our 4+ years of playing and learning with apps, but I’m always looking for more great ones – what are your favorites?