'Appy hour: 10 great apps for toddlers

With ever increasing numbers of parents letting our toddlers use our phone, iPad and tablets, it's never been more important to get some insight into which apps are actually any good - Fundamentally Children's director of apps and technology Lucy Gill picks the top apps for toddlers that are age-appropriate, educational and fun

As a mother of a two-year-old and four-year-old who spent a three-hour plane journey with my two recently I was once again singing the praises of the great apps! Not that I'm at all suggesting that screens are the only way to entertain children on planes (or elsewhere) but once you've tried everything else you have to hand from books, to colouring to i-spy, and they've tired of it all, apps really can be a blessing! Here are some suggestions that are sure to delight and even help them learn wherever you are:

Toddler with a tablet

Tiny Farm

At Fundamentally Children we're a big fan of Wonderkind's apps. For children as young as 18 months they provide such a range of amusing features to discover and keep them giggling! Our little testers particularly loved the boy sliding down the zip wire in Tiny Farm. They are great talking points too, if you're trying to increase your child's vocabulary or understanding of the world. If you're about to go on an aeroplane we also recommend Tiny Airport.

iOS, Android, £2.49

Tiny farm

CotBot City

This app from Divine Robot is like a virtual car play mat. Children choose their vehicle then can drive around the mat exploring all the various mini-games. This is aimed primarily at age three plus but some two-year-olds will love it too. There are endless areas to explore and wonderful graphics. We particularly like the recycling plant.

iOS, Android £2.29

CotBot city

Sago Mini Road Trip

While many people have heard of Toca Boca's great apps, their sister company Sago Sago is less well known and offers a lovely range of apps for younger children. Sago Mini Road Trip is one that our little testers particularly enjoyed and continue to go back to again and again. Choose your vehicle (from a tractor to a bath tub), load your suitcase into the back and off you go. If you're sitting alongside while they play, encourage them to talk about everything they see to help their language and observation skills, too.

iOS, Amazon, £2.29

Sago mini road trip

Fiete - A day on a farm

The mini games in this app are such a lovely way to explore life on a farm! You get to collect eggs, pull up carrots, shear sheep, clean the pigs, pick apples (and save the cat stuck up the tree) and more. Fiete's Spot the difference is another great option for slightly older children to develop their cognitive skills.

iOS, Android, £2.29



We were delighted to see this app combine favourite TV programmes with learning games, allowing your little ones to watch favourite shows like Thomas and Friends, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom and 20 others without any adverts. Children are then prompted to play one of a range of games between shows to encourage skills from sharing to learning their letters. You won't be able to watch the shows outside the UK or Ireland (or offline) though sadly, except the games and smaller range of titles available to download before you leave.

iOS (Android coming soon), Free to try, £3.99 per month


Busy Shapes

This app from Seven Academy is one of our all time favourites. Fabulous for supporting cognitive development including shape, size and colour matching and the difficulty level develops with your child. This is perfect from about 18 months / two years old. The whole range of Seven Academy apps are well worth a look.

iOS £1.49

Busy shapes

Duckie Deck Birdhouses

This is a sweet app for preschoolers to encourage their creative side. Let them design their own birdhouse and add accessories to their heart's content! Again, Duckie Deck have a lovely range of apps beyond this one particularly aimed at preschoolers.

iOS, Android, £1.69

Duckie deck birdhouses

Tiggly Safari

One of very few apps to receive full marks from our Good App Guide review, this app (one of three free apps available to play with or without the Tiggly Shapes product) is great from around 18 months to help children to recognise and name their shapes (potentially in multiple languages).

iOS, Android, Free

Tiggly Safari

Little Builders

From Fox & Sheep, Little Builders provides a fun way to learn about being a builder. Suitable from about three years old, there are seven activities including mixing cement and building a wall, building the roof, sweeping the road and even painting a finished house.

iOS, Android, £2.99

Little Builders

Raccoons Treehouse

Another fabulous app from Tiny Hands - makers of a wonderful series of apps for toddlers that particularly engage cognitive/maths skills. This app includes 12 different educational activities.

iOS, £2.99

Raccoon Treehouse

Other great brands for toddlers include StoryToys, Hippotrix, Dr. Panda, Monkey Preschool - have a look at the Good App Guide for ideas of ones we at Fundamentally Children have tested and approved.

Lucy Gill is the director of apps and technology at Fundamentally Children. Fundamentally Children is a website dedicated to providing expert independent advice to parents on apps, toys, tech and parenting.

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