Recommended kids apps for the iPad, approved by my kids

Updated: Nov 21, 2012 – 13 featured apps now!

A friend of mine just got himself an iPad (finally!). And just like any other father who owns an iPad, installing some apps to keep our kids entertained is pretty much a default task to do. And so he’s asked me what are some of the recommended apps he could download on to his iPad. Thus, this post to put it all down in a page which I could regularly update too when I find new apps that my kids takes a keen interest on.

In no particular order, here’s the list of apps that my kids has come to enjoy thoroughly.

Quick tip: An easy way to get these apps on your iPad is to just view this page on your iPad and hit the links. It will bring you directly to the App Store to purchase and download it directly! :) – Here’s a short link to this page: http://j.mp/apps-kids

1. The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore – $4.99

This is a book app that my 2 year old loves to bits. And when I say love, he literally would have this app running all day long when I first got it for him. The story is great, appealing even to adults like my wife and I, and even more so if you are a book lover. The art and animation is just gorgeous and is truly a gem to have on your iPad. For $4.99, it’s actually a lot cheaper than getting a physical book of similar quality, and the added bonus of it being an iPad app: It’s an interactive book! There’s even an accompanying short film of the same title – The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore which won the Academy Award for Animated Short Film! So for only price of $2.99 for the HD version, it’s a real steal!

2. Numberlys – $5.99

From the same creators of The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore, Numberlys is also a nice interactive story book app that my kid adores. Although not as charming as Morris Lessmore’s story, Numberlys takes on an interesting spin on the origin of alphabets.

3. Jingle All the Way – Free

Hallmark has a bunch of pretty nice book apps. These book apps are actually the digital version of the story books that comes along with their Interactive Story Buddies toys. Still, even on their own, these iPad book apps are pretty nice. My kid particularly enjoys Jingle All the Way.

4. Sesame Street’s The Monster at the End of This Book…starring Grover! and Another Monster at the End of This Book…Starring Grover & Elmo! – $4.99 each

Here’s yet another interactive book app that my kids love. Both Grover and Elmo are always fun to watch and in this book, they are pretty funny and is sure to put a smile in your face. Yes, even to us “young at heart”. It’s a simple yet fun story about Grover being scared of the monster at the end of the book, but you and Elmo (in the second book) being ever curious pushes through all the obstacles that Grover puts up to prevent you from proceeding to the end of the book. Definitely a keeper if you have kids using the iPad.

5. Wee Sing & Learn ABC – $2.99

If you have toddlers who are still discovering alphabets, this is one of the better ABC apps you can find in the App Store. One of the great and fun fact about Wee Sing & Learn ABC is how it blends both music into the learning of the alphabets. And the lines it uses for each letter of the alphabets is also rather clever and will help build up your child’s vocabulary.

6. Toy Story Read-Along – Free, Toy Story 2 Read-Along – $3.99, Toy Story 3 Read-Along – $5.99

If your kids loved Pixar’s Toy Story franchise (who doesn’t???), you might want to consider getting these book apps too. It’s basically a condensed version of the movie, but it’s filled with photos and clips from the movie. My take is that instead of buying the physical non-interactive version of these books which I’m sure you’ve seen in the bookstores, why not be the forward-thinking parent and expose your kids to the digital interactive version instead? Plus, it is actually cheaper than buying the physical one, and you don’t have to worry about them tearing out the pages!

It also includes extras like colouring, games and even the full versions of some of the songs featured in the movie. And if you want, you can even record you own narration too!

7. Winnie The Pooh Puzzle Book – $0.99

This puzzle book app is really cute. My elder kid loved this app to bits when he was about a year old. The illustration are nice, has a very professional narrator, has a great background tune and simple interactivity for your young toddler. Overall, it’s a very pleasant puzzle book app to allow your toddler to explore and learn from. This app was where my kid first learn how to put puzzles together, a little after one year of age!

Update: It looks like this app is no longer available on the App Store unfortunately. It’s a share since it was quite a good one!

Disney also has some other puzzle books on the App Store, such as Finding Nemo: My Puzzle Book – $0.99 and Lightning Was Here: My Puzzle Book – $0.99 which uses the same format but is more suitable for your older kids.

8. Flashcards for iPad – $3.99

Trust me when I say that there are tonnes of flash cards app in the App Store. I’ve had my fair share of them on my iPad and I’ve found Flashcards for iPad by INKids to be one of the better ones out there. My kid loves this app and he’s also learnt quite a fair bit of his vocabulary and even his shapes (hexagon!) from this app too. The navigation of the app is so simple that my then 1-year old could get about this app easily. I’ve also seen him going through the word matching game himself and here’s me hoping he will soon understand spelling from that interaction with the app. :)

9. Disney Junior appisodes – Free (In-App purchases applies)

If you kids likes the Disney Junior shows like the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show, then go ahead and grab this free app! It’s basically the interactive version of popular Disney Junior episodes. As starters, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally episode is available for free, where your kid will be involved with helping Mickey Mouse and his friends along the road rally race! It cleverly uses the touch interface and even has parts where your kids will need to answer to Mickey’s questions. Overall a fun experience, and what more can we ask for from a free to download app! Other appisodes will require you to purchase them in-app.

10. Little Fox Music Box – Kids songs – Sing along – $2.99

It’s hard to describe this rather fun but quirky app. And I’ll put this out up front, there are only 3 songs featured on this app, namely London Bridge, Evening Song, Old Mac Donald had a farm. However, my kid (as all the apps feature on this page) currently enjoys this app thoroughly. The songs are sung in a very adorable tune and there are tonnes of interactivity in each of the songs. Little parts of the illustrations will respond to your touch and it can be rather cute to watch. There’s also the music studio section in the app where “Birds, Frogs and dishes sing and jingle! Mommy Fox is knitting to the rhythm and the little fox is dancing. Almost everything in the studio makes a noise, be ready to explore every little corner.” My kid absolutely love this part of the app, and best of all, the sound it produces isn’t annoying at all (especially great for the parents).

11. Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol. 1: The Far Away Island – $0.99

Bartleby’s Book of Buttons is a pretty cool book app for your kids indeed. It’s highly interactive and is really engagingly fun! The book portrays the story of an interesting man called Bartleby who loves collecting buttons (what else!) And to move the story along, you would have “Flip switches, press buttons, slide sliders, rotate the ipad, turn in a circle, and carefully read along in this “digital pop-up book” adventure.” What’s also really great about this book is that it is designed to be parent-led reading for your younger child, like my 2 year old. But it’s also great fun for your older kids who can read on their own. For $0.99, it’s a steal. Really.

12. Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol. 2: The Button at the Bottom of the Sea – $3.99

As any good book app out there, there should always be a sequel right? So here it is for the Bartleby’s Book of Buttons series. With volume 2, what’s even more interesting is it’s use of a second screen via AirPlay in how it presents the story and how you would interact with the book. But of course, you would need to have an AppleTV or use an App like   Reflection to make your Mac or PC into an AirPlay receiver. What happens then is that the story would present itself on your TV (or Mac/PC) and your iPad would basically look like Bartleby’s Book of Buttons! Ingenious indeed.

The only complain I have? It ends in a cliffhanger! For a kids app? Seriously? But despite my disappointment on that note, it’s still a really fun book app to get for your kids. Just like the first volume, it’s highly interactive and a really fun read too.

13. Goodnight Moon – $4.99

Goodnight Moon is a classic storybook that’s really charming. I can see now why this 65-year old children bedtime book is such a great hit. Both my kids loved reading the physical book that I recently borrowed from the library. So it was a great delight to me when I found this also available as an interactive book app on the App Store!

For the base price, you get the full bedtime story book. And with an additional $2.99 in-app purchase, you can also purchase the ABC and 123 book based on the story. These two additional books provides more activities which helps your child learn the ABCs and count 123s in the charming setting of the story.

There are also 2 sticker packs costing $1.99 and $0.99 which in my opinion is optional.

Share your favourites too!

If you find any other apps that your kids love, do drop me a comment below and share them with me! My kids and I will also check it out ourselves and I’ll update them here on this page if we too find it enjoyable.

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