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Best Educational Preschool Apps for the iPad

Open Wide Snap                              

Rhyme and Repetition

Ages 2-4
Why I like it: A Great story about helping a friend.

A young child will learn about friendship and helping others. Open Wide Snap incorporates literary elements of rhyme and repetition along with character building skills. Open Wide Snap contains a “read to me” or “let me read” option, along with games that include memory and jigsaw puzzles. This is a charming book that is great for a young child building vocabulary and imagination.

Nighty Night!                                                          

Bedtime helper                                                

Ages 2-4
Why I like it: Perfect bedtime ritual       book for your 2-4 year old.
Have a child who won’t go to bed at night? This app might help. Nighty Night is a beautifully designed book to help your little one get ready to go to sleep. As you touch each part of the farm, your child will get to say goodnight to each animal and then turn off the light to tuck them into bed. You even get to turn off the light in your child’s “room” and then off to bed they should go. The narrator’s voice is soothing and calm. The app even shuts itself off, so your child understands that it is bed time when the story is done. Genius! This book can be read in 12 languages too.


Practice makes perfect                                  

Ages 3-5
Why I like it: An engaging letter writing practice app

LetterSchool is so simple, but so much fun. It would be a great addition to your home or classroom. Help your child get in the habit of writing letters the correct way with this app. LetterSchool forces them to really work hard while working on hand-eye coordination. Superb graphics, unique colors, crazy caterpillars, and sounds praise your child as they learn to write letters and numbers!

Bugs and Bubbles

Fun teaching tool                            

Why I like it: Everything is high quality – even the music!

You want it, you got it – Bugs and Bubbles covers it all. This app works on so many things including visual tracking, fine motor skills such as the pincer grasp, balance, sorting, counting, size differentiation, patterns, shapes and colors, and more. The app includes 18 imaginative games that take kids through beautiful adventures (flying bumble bees through flower gardens, for example) and learning exercises that are fun and engaging (trace letters on a foggy window – who doesn’t love to do that?!). The creators of Bugs and Bubbles really out did themselves with this one.

Bugs and Buttons                          

Cognitive development                 

with bugs

Why I like it: Realistic bugs and a vast assortment of activities assist in teaching skills.

With over 18 educational and fun games to entertain, Bugs and Buttons can help kids develop foundational skills such as sorting, counting, patterning and number and letter recognition, as well as improve eye-hand coordination and fine motor speed. This app is incredibly realistic, and visuals and audio work in unison to deliver a valuable teaching experience. The increasing difficulty provides for multiple skill levels.

ABC Food                                   

Play with your food

Ages 2-7
Why I like it: Interact and discover new foods and old favorites

The ingenious series from Peapod Labs features engaging photography and hand-selected videos. With ABC Food, kids explore the alphabet through related dishes and ingredients (A is for Asparagus, H is for Hamburger). Interacting with the food by swiping their fingers (“Split the Orange” or ”Help me make Popcorn”) is surprisingly satisfying even after many repetitions. Equally fascinating is watching the related albeit randomly sourced YouTube videos like  “How to Make Cupcakes” (for C) or ”Mango Song” (for M).


Your very own                                


Ages 2-4
Why I like it: A simple math game for the very youngest of learners
Play Lab incorporates the look of a preschool classroom in an app. Shapes and letters are made to look like felt pieces and the background music is wonderful. The child’s voice gives your child the feel they are playing with a friend. The math skills gained are sorting, shape and color recognition, counting and number recognition. The color  mixing game allows a child to place one color in a cup of colored water to make a new color. Play Lab has enough variety and activities to keep your child learning day after day.


Learning letters                                                           

Why I like it: Clear and slowly spoken instructions make this early learning app very appealing.

Play 123 is an app that feels organizing and calming. It works on fine motor skills, pre-writing skills (such as drawing simple shapes and lines), and shape recognition. Developmentally, kids need to master shapes before learning letters, and this app targets that stage of development perfectly. Instructions are clear and spoken slowly, making it perfect for kids with special needs.

Shape-O! ABC’s

Words, colors, sounds                    

Ages 3-5 
Why I like it: A remarkable shape and letter puzzle app that keeps your young one engaged

This creative game combines shapes, letters, and puzzle-making all in one app.  Practice upper or lowercase letters with over 100 puzzles in this very colorful and positive 

Eric Carle’s 

My Very First App

Eric Carle goes digital                    

Ages 2-4
Why I like it: Great interactive memory style game

This app uses the artwork of beloved children’s book creator Eric Carle, such as, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” My First App allows kids to develop their memory skills by finding pictures and making matches. Pairing this with reading some of Carle’s books would be a great activity. The game has 3 levels of difficulty so your child can practice with several or many memory cards. There is an option to buy more memory cards, however there’s enough fun packed in to the ones that come with this version.

Look & Learn: Animals Vol. 1     

National Geographic little kids

Ages 2-4
Why I like it:  Learning from a trusted source with great photos

Look and Learn is a challenging game about animals.  It has three games and many levels to choose from.   This game encourages kids to learn animal names, sounds and incorporates beginning phonics.  It uses real photographs that beautifully depict animals in their natural environment.

Stewie The Duck 

Learns to Swim                           

Swim safety

Ages 2-5
Why I like it: Swimming Safety in a fun book!

Stewie is a young duck that just wants to swim! Read and play in this app as Stewie learns water safety. His “easy to learn water safety song” sticks with your child after just a few times playing. The authors of the story wanted to help young children so that they are safe around pools. This is accomplished with an adorable little duck named Stewie. Go on a swimming adventure and teach your child good rules for around a pool.

iTouch iLearn Feelings for            Preschool Kids

Identifying solutions

Why I like it: Helping learn emotions is so important
Children can be guided through the lesson of identifying emotions by creating faces from food, matching feelings with situations and other various games.  This app aims to help children learn feelings through songs games and puzzles. A great solution for developmental challenges.

Things That Go Together              

Learn associations

Ages 3-5
Why I like it: An entertaining way to help children learn the concept of “go-together” and critical thinking.

Try this app to get your young child’s brain power pumping!  The colorful picture cards are easily moved by a touch of a finger as kids put together concepts that “go-together.” As your child advances, the game challenges critical thinking.  The picture names are said out loud as they are touched, reinforcing answers as you move through the game. It is a great vocabulary builder as well.

Counting Caterpillar                      

Number games

Ages 2-8
Why I like it: A visually gratifying way for your child to learn basic counting

Visual feedback is key to early childhood learning, and this number counting game provides it in spades. For learning basic counting up to 100, this app’s 3-D visuals make it enticing to interact with the screen. As you feed the caterpillar with cute aphids carrying numbers on their backs, the caterpillar’s body grows and eventually transforms into a beautiful butterfly. The game tests counting skills in intervals of 2, 5, and 10. Each butterfly collected can be viewed in an ever growing collection, enticing players to collect more and challenge their counting skills in a multitude of ways.

The Lorax

Pip needs help                                

Ages 3-6
Why I like it: Who doesn’t like playing with Marshmallows!

Think you have the strategy skills to play with marshmallows? The Lorax uses the same vibrant colors the movie displays. Critical thinking helps Pip, the Bar-ba-loot get marshmallows down safely to the ground. There are countless levels of this game, so your child will be entertained for hours. You’ll have fun getting through each challenging new level.


Drawing comes to life                    

Ages 2-4
Why I like it: Encourages little ones to draw things on their own+

Your child will watch their drawings come to life as they create lines and squiggles and press go. Squiggles! helps nudge your child and boosts their confidence in drawing. It is silly and makes you laugh too. A simple colorful squiggle becomes a beard on a face and watch as it comes to life with the touch of a button. After making your crazy creations, print or send the drawing off via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

Dynastid Beetle

Make nature interesting                                       

Ages 3-7
Why I like it: Who knew beetles were this interesting

The Dynastid Beetle comes to life in this dynamic app. Learning about bugs from the point of view of the actual bug can be fascinating, especially when the 3d images of the bug actually speak. Play with the beetle, help him eat tree sap, and even fly. Learn about all the stages of growth and then take a fun quiz to see if you are an expert on beetles after playing the game. There are even great videos in the voice of the beetle designed just for kids.


Educational techniques                    

Why I like it: Create custom lessons using picture cards

Picture cards are an integral part of learning for young children and are frequently used among special education teachers. The app uses the latest technology for you to create lessons for you preschooler to teach new vocabulary and concepts that foster self expression. Picture category cards can be purchased as your child learns and grows. Preschool parents and teachers alike will love seeing vocabulary and knowledge develop with this app.

Animal Alphabet HD

By Fish The Mouse Media            

Ages 2-4
Why I like It: This alphabet app is an exceptional interactive alphabet game where almost every part of each letter canvas moves, sings, or talks when touched!
The images used in this app are very unique and absolutely beautiful. Each letter looks like a painting and comes alive when touched. This is a great choice for children learning the alphabet. Each letter contains unusual critters – touch and unveil the hidden magic. It is a good choice for toddlers all the way up to kindergartners.

Jazzy ABC – Music Education      For Kids

Learn your instruments

Ages 2-5
Why I like it: A vivid musical app that teaches jazz instruments

Jazzy ABC incorporates sounds, phonics, and music in a learning game to teach children about Jazz instruments. Children will be intrigued by the bright colors and great use of the alphabet. This app entertains and it teaches. Each letter of the alphabet introduces a new instrument along with a tune with darling illustrations. Definitely one of the most creative ways to combine letters and learning about instruments. Great for musical entertainment and learning.

Itsy Bitsy Spider HD                     

By Duck Duck Moose                   

Ages 2-4
Why I like it: Delight in this childhood favorite

Great for those fidgety moments spent waiting, the Itsy Bitsy Spideris a interactive song that is sure to engage. With interactive illustrations, follow the spider to collects eggs in a scavenger hunt throughout the app. You can even make music with the eggs as the classical violin and cello play the song. Lots of fun.

Fish School HD                      

Counting alphabet

Ages 2-4
Why I like it: A vibrant aquarium of fish school learning

Another great one by Duck Duck Moose, children are enraptured by the changing shapes of the tropical fish as they explore learning new concepts. Kids are introduced to letters, numbers, colors, shapes and songs. “Which of these fish does not belong?” is our favorite category. The child-recorded voices make this app all the more endearing.

Letter of the Day Interactive Activities                                        

Learn the sound of letters

Ages 4-6
Why I like it: This is what learning letter sounds is all about

Lakeshore Learning has created a simple and fun way to use an app for letter sound learning. Each letter is isolated so that children can really work on the sound and look of each individual letter. Colorful pictures and sound sentences help reinforce the lesson. Then kids can practice writing (and erasing) on the letter pad.

Kid Videos and Entertainment – Kideos HD                                     

Kid-friendly youtube selections

Ages 2-8

Why I like it: Pre-selected answer to… “Can we watch a video?”

Kideos allows kids to search and watch video clips by category or by age. Videos are selected by child-appropriate content like popular PBS characters or funny homemade Youtube videos about pets and babies. The clips are great for less-than-time-for-a-full-video moments and the variety is satisfying for short attention spans. We are not totally crazy about the fact that a lot of the videos are actually ads (Evian, Pizza Hut, etc.), but the humor and budgets that go into the commercials make them irresistible to watch. And it’s certainly safer than open-ended Youtube browsing.

Scribble Press                             

Write and illustrate your

own book

Ages 3-10
Why I like it: Start from scratch or fill-in the blanks Mad-Lib style, then illustrate

This multifaceted app encourages kids to create stories about themselves: “If I were a Superhero,” their friends: “My School Year” and family: “All about my Mom.” The app let’s you fill in pre-populated story ideas or create your own from scratch. It is fully loaded with drawing tools, stamps, and a unique hand drawn sticker collection. You can even add photos! When completed you can print or share with family and friends.

Even Monsters Get Sick

An educational story with a           

great message

Ages 4-9
Why I like it: A lesson in empathy within an educational story

What’s wrong with Harry’s monster? Kids will love exploring the story and 6 interactive games related to it as they solve the mystery and learn about kindness and caring for others.

Lulu In Australia                          

Kangaroos and 


Ages 3-8
Why we like it: A story that will take your child on an Australian adventure.

All aboard as we take a trip to Australia with Lulu and Zazou! This is one of a collection of interactive books to give your child an adventure to the amazing country Australia. Young readers will enjoy traveling and experiencing the sounds of a didgeridoo while traveling in an old school camper though Australia. Children will sing, play games and more as Lulu goes to the desert, the beach, the Eucalyptus forest, and even to Sydney. This is a great multicultural adventure you will want to play along with your child.

Hello Oil Painter

Exercise your creativity                       

Ages 5-8
Why we like it: Let’s you feel like you are really painting

With Hello Oil Painter, easily paint with your fingers – there are realistic sound effects too. It offers a wide range of colors in the pallete and various painting tools and techniques similar to real oil paint. Blank canvas, as well as coloring book pages are included. Save pictures and email or send them via Facebook or Twitter. They could easily be printed out and framed with the vibrant color palette.

I hope  that all of these apps are fun for your preschooler or in your classroom!  I spent a long time this summer searching for them and trying them out on my own twin 4 year olds!  I spent many hours looking for very educational and fun apps for preschoolers!  I think enjoy you will enjoy all of them!