I am often asked what apps I have for my boys on my iPad and Samsung Phone. I thought I’d collect together a great big list of our favourite apps and producers. Below I have listed (with App Store affiliate links) a categorised and annotated list of what I think are some of the best educational apps for 2-5 year olds. Most are also available for Android. I hope you find this helpful!
Before we get to that however, I have a few simple tips to help childproof your device.
Firstly, get a suitable case. We have a foam case with a handle that cost next to nothing from ebay. It’s hideous but very helpful.
Secondly, on Apple devices turn on Guided Access which allows you to lock your child IN to an app and turn on restrictions for In-App Purchases. Even if your iTunes account is password protected sometimes things glitch and you can get charged $400 the next time you put your password in. (This I know from experience! Thankfully the lovely people at Apple refunded me.) Click here for instructions on setting up Guided Access and here for how to set up in-app restrictions.
For my Android device, I use a third party app called AppLock by DoMobile Lab which enables me to lock my children OUT of the apps and functions that I choose by putting a password on them.
Best Educational Apps for 2-5 year olds
Bible App for Kids by Life.Church (You Version) This FREE app is beautiful and incredibly interactive. Each Bible story has pages of interactive pictures and questions to go with it. It is an absolute favourite for both our boys.
Best Maths Apps
DragonBox Math Starter Pack by WeWantToKnow AS. DragonBox Numbers is the bee knees of Maths Apps. It is delightful, fun and uses the strength of manipulatives to help form fundamental number skills. Algebra 5+ is a fun and easy way to start introducing the concept of linear equations. It helps get kids thinking mathematically.
Endless Numbers by Originator. The Endless Learning Apps by Originator are simple and stunning. They are so well designed. My (almost) 2 year old can use them and giggles at the monsters.
Kids Easy Shapes, Counting, Math, and Time by Intellijoy. This bundle includes some of our most used Maths apps. We have these on my Android phone through a yearly subscription and we have recently renewed it for the third year in a row. The apps are simple to use, cute and effective.
Duck Duck Moose Maths Apps. Duck Duck Moose recently partnered with Khan Academy and have released their wonderful educational apps for free! We have tried and loved almost all of these.
Fish School (for ages 2-5)
Park Maths (for ages 2-6)
Moose Math (for ages 3-7)
Pet Bingo (for ages 5-10)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Shapes and Colors by StoryToys Entertainment. This app provides a delightful, hands on, introduction to are range of topics including shapes and colours with the well-known caterpillar as your companion.
Quick Math Jr by Shiny Things. This is one of my 4 year old’s favourite maths apps. He loves putting the monsters on the bus! Quick Math Jr moves beyond counting to start to build an understanding of addition and subtraction etc.
Turtle Logic by Alexandre Minard. This game is AMAZING!! It’s so simple and easy to use for young children and yet it is so rich in the way it gets them to think. A fantastic introduction to mathematical coding and logical thinking. My 4 year old loves it. Thankfully, there’s a number 2.
Best Science and Technology Apps
Field Guide to NSW Fauna by Australian Museum “What bird is that?” This app is easy to use and covers the most common animals, birds and bugs that we come across. I have this app on my phone and often when we go on an adventure we stop and look something up when we spot it. Similar apps are available for each state and territory.
TinyBop Apps. TinyBop have a range of science and technology apps designed specifically for young children. We have not tried all of these by my eldest son has spent quite a bit of time exploring the Human Body app and finds it very intriguing. We will be gradually exploring the rest as he is interested.
Best Literacy Apps
Get Ready for Kindergarten and First Grade: Preschool ABC Reading Curriculum Bundle and Kids ABC Letter Trains by Intellijoy. Again, the Intellijoy apps are well used here. The are simple and effective and both boys have enjoyed and learned from them. The ABC Trains app is particularly popular with my train loving boys.
ABC Phonics by Pink Fong. This was the first app that I ever purchased. My eldest was loving the first letters so much that I bought the entire alphabet. Now my second son also loves it. Both boys have learnt to recognise so many letters through this app and its fun songs. In fact, some of the song lyrics have even snuck in to our family language. Each letter has a fun and high quality song and clip, a simple game and a tracing card. It is easy to use even for littlies just learning how to use devices.
Endless Learning Apps. After buying ABC Phonics and realising how amazing it was I took the plunge and bought another. We have Endless Reader and it is simply wonderful. It teaches so flawless that letters build words, that words build sentences, and that sentences tell stories. My little one will often be sitting there chuckling at the clips. My big one knew a bunch of sight words before he started reading. I cannot recommend these apps highly enough.
Endless Alphabet by Originator
Endless Reader by Originator
Endless Wordplay by Originator
Duck Duck Moose Apps. Again, these are a FREE range of apps released by Duck Duck Moose in partnership with Khan Academy. They are fun, ad free and educational. What more could you want?
Word Wagon (ages 2-6)
Duck Duck Moose Reading (ages 3-7)
ABC Kids by RV App Studios. This is a great little app that is FREE and has no ads. It’s a simple tracing and letter app.
rED Writing – Learn to Write by Rogue Mobile. This is a very well put together app that focuses on teaching children how to correctly write their letters. If you want top quality content, this is the app to choose.
Teach Your Monster to Read by Teach Monster Games. This app has been, without a doubt, the most useful app for us since it is through this app that my big boy learnt to read. Teach Your Monster to Read is a full phonics curriculum provided by the Usborne Foundation. The game is free on the computer but costs for devices. I found that my son could control and move his monster about a lot easier on the iPad. It has been discounted a few times for special events so keep your eye out for that if you don’t want to spend now. The course is divided into three stages. Stage 1 focuses on simple alphabet phonics.
Bob Books #1 – Reading Magic HD by Bob Books Publications. This is a simple app that aligns with the books series and teaches word building and beginning reading skills through manipulation.
Best Nursery Rhymes and Story Apps
Itsy Bitsy Spider by Duck Duck Moose
Old MacDonald by Duck Duck Moose
PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Loud Crow Interactive
The Very Cranky Bear by We are Wheelbarrow
My Very Hungry Caterpillar by StoryToys Entertainment
Eric Carle’s Brown Bear Animal Parade by StoryToys Entertainment
Best Apps to Inspire Creativity
Musical Me! (ages 2-6) by Duck Duck Moose
Draw and Tell (ages 3-9) by Duck Duck Moose
Princess Fairy Tale Maker (ages 3-9) by Duck Duck Moose
Superhero Comic Maker (ages 3-9) by Duck Duck Moose
BeBop Blox by Originator
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Creative Play by StoryToys Entertainment
Play School Art Maker by Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Best Apps that are Just for Fun
Peek-a-zoo by Duck Duck Moose
Trucks by Duck Duck Moose
More Trucks by Duck Duck Moose
Build a Truck by Duck Duck Moose
Lego Duplo Animals by Lego Systems
Lego Duplo Train by Lego System
Lego Duplo Food by Lego Systems
Lego Juniors Create and Cruise by Lego Systems
ABC Kids Play by Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Car Town by Pink Fong (Note this does teach 911 not 000)
Dino World by Pink Fong
Play School Play Time by Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Phew! If you made it all the way to the bottom, well done. I hope you have found something here that is helpful. I’d love to hear your favourite educational apps for preschool aged children. Or, if you know any that I should be looking at for the future years, I’d love to hear about those too!