Editor’s Pick: Top 10 iPad apps for kids under 3

I get asked what apps my kids are using all the time. All. The. Time.

Isn’t it amazing how our children, even babies, gravitate towards technology? When I say ‘hello’ to my 14-month-old, he immediately holds a pretend phone up to his ear and mouths ‘hey-o’ back. But what my kids are really attracted to is our iPad. Those chubby fingers are born to swipe!

Here are my top 10 iPad apps for kids under the age of 3 years old. They are a mix of educational, musical, story-telling and just plain entertaining apps. Some are free, and some are paid, and even though I have all boys, I’ve tried to keep this list gender-neutral.

Old McDonald

1. Old McDonald by Duck Duck Moose
Simple and entertaining. Swipe through 12 different farmyards scenes, while the tune of Old McDonald Had A Farm plays in the background (warning: it can get annoying). Touch different objects and animals, and see them leap, squeak, squawk and even be beamed up by UFO! We love the colourful imagery of all the award-winning Duck Duck Moose apps.
Price: R29.99
Download it here

Toca Kitchen Monsters

2. Toca Kitchen Monsters by Toca Boca AB
Feed two hungry monsters. Select food from the fridge, then prepare it by chopping, blending, boiling, pan-frying or microwaving. Then feed it to them. We love the happy growls the monsters make when you feed them something yummy. If you like this app, shell out an extra R36.99 and buy the full version (sans monsters) called Toca Kitchen.
Price: Free
Download it here

Toy Story

3. Toy Story Read-Along by Disney
A while back my boys were obsessed with Toy Story, so I was thrilled to find this storybook – and free, no less. (At 179MB it’s quite a big download, so make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi.) Page through the story by swiping; the text is highlighted as you read along. Some of the pages have activities like colour-in.
Price: Free
Download it here


4. PianoBall by 4baam
Turn your screen into a rainbow-coloured keyboard. It’s well priced for a music app and will amuse even kids under 12 months. The “balls” set in the keyboard introduce other instrumental sounds (i.e. trumpet, drum), colours and songs. Shake the iPad to spin the balls – it’s an interesting twist.
Price: R11.99
Download it here

Drawing Pad

5. Drawing Pad by Murtha Design Inc
One of the first paid apps we ever downloaded, Drawing Pad is great fun, with a pull-out drawer (on the right of the screen) where you can choose from a massive selection of crayon and pencil colours, paints, stamps, stickers and paper colours.
Price: R24.99
Download it here

Endless Alphabet

6. Endless Alphabet by Originator Inc
Drag and drop coloured letters to spell interesting words. And by ‘interesting’ we mean ‘gargantuan’ and not ‘apple’ and ‘cat’. If you’re the kind of parent who wants their child to fall in love with language, this is for you. Probably the most expensive kids app you’ll ever buy, but worth every cent. Just wait until you see how the words spring to life after you’ve completed it – spellbinding, engaging animation!
Price: R89.99
Download it here


7. Peek-a-Zoo by Duck Duck Moose
No doubt about it, animals are a common theme with kiddie apps. What I love most about Peek-a-Zoo is that it doesn’t just teach you their names and sounds, but it also helps young children identify emotion i.e. “Who is crying?” (Yes, another app by Duck Duck Moose – trust me, just buy them all.)
Price: R29.99
Download it here

Bamba Burger

8. Bamba Burger by Mezmedia
Make your own burgers. Choose a bun and toppings (bacon, egg, cheese and even… octopus!) The best bit: you have to flip the patties by mimicking the movement with the iPad. Add to the town stores: Bamba Ice Cream costs R11.99, and Bamba Pizza costs R36.99. I know, I know – they hook you in with the first one being free, but I haven’t regretted buying extra Bamba Town stores.
Price: Free
Download it here

Hungry Caterpillar

9. The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends by StoryToys Entertainment Limited
No children’s bookshelf is complete without this classic. If your kids loved the book, add to the experience and splurge on this app. It features the original artwork of Eric Carle, and there are puzzle games, stickers, mazes, hide-and-seek and more.
Price: R49.99
Download it here

MarcoPolo Ocean

10. MarcoPolo Ocean by MarcoPolo Learning, Inc.
Activities under the sea. Build your own ship or submarine puzzle-style, dive into the depths of the oceans to sea what lives in the deep, and create your own aquarium. The narrator tells you interesting facts about different types of fish. Not a huge game, but will keep a two-year-old busy for a few days.
Price: Free
Download it here


What are some of your favourite iPad apps for toddlers?

Share your suggestions in our comments section or our Facebook wall, and we’ll round them up in a “Reader’s Choice” feature next week.



If we like your choice, you could win an App Store voucher worth R300 from the iStore! If you haven’t stumbled across this fantastic website yet, check out iParent – a resource for all things iPad and education in South Africa. Did you know that there are over 10 million iPads in the education system, with 300+ South African schools having rolled out iPad in their classrooms? You would if you followed iParent.


* Remember, with toddlers, tweens and even teens, it is your responsibility as a parent to monitor their screen time (including watching TV) and balance it with outdoor exercise, and other types of entertainment and education.

** The prices of these apps might change.

Stacey Vee

Stacey Vee is one of South Africa’s top mommy bloggers, and a technology journalist who has written for Vodacom, Sports Illustrated, FHM, Incredible Connection, Girl Guides, Afropolitan, OnRoute, FNB’s internal magazine Siyasiza and more. She also founded the #iPadsforLionhearts charity, which encourages people to donate their 2nd-hand iPads to families... Read more

Anthony Egbers

My kids have both used CAndy Count, counting, sorting and colours in 1 educational apphttps://itunes.apple.com/za/app/candy-count-learn-colors-numbers/id454950461?mt=8


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