The 7 Best Apps for Toddlers of 2019

Give yourself and your toddler a much-needed break

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Most parents know it’s not a great idea to keep your little one glued to a screen all day. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends no more than one hour a day of quality programming for kids starting around age two. Sometimes, however, a situation arises where giving your toddler a smartphone or iPad provides you with a few crucial moments of quiet.

How do you know which apps are safe for your toddler? We’ve done the research and rounded up several of the top apps for toddlers to get you through those moments when your toddler (and you) deserve a much-needed break.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse

Courtesy of Apple App Store

ABC Mouse, an educational app with a subscription-based service, gets our vote for the best overall app for toddlers. Although it isn’t free, it certainly goes the distance if you’re looking for a great educational app for kids. It begins in a virtual classroom where your kids can select from a number of different adventures. There are many lessons to choose from that teach reading, math, coloring, counting, and music skills. ABC Mouse allows you to add your child's age in the settings so it can create a customized experience for kids from as young as two all the way through third grade!

Do you have lots of little ones? Add as many siblings to your subscription as you’d like for the same monthly fee. It’s easy to switch between users so all your kids can get in on the learning action. The content gets more difficult as your child enters school and progresses through the early elementary grades. ABC Mouse has lots of fun rewards, too.

Best Budget: PBS Kids

PBS Kids

Courtesy of Apple App Store

Who doesn’t love PBS? It’s been a staple in child entertainment for decades now, from Sesame Street to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood—and it’s still going strong today. With the free PBS Kids app, your kids can play games and watch videos based on today’s most popular PBS shows like Daniel Tiger and Cat in the Hat. Suitable for kids as young as two years old, the PBS Kids app has something for everyone, teaching early science and math skills in fun and full-color games.

Best for Airplane: Busy Shapes 2

Busy Shapes 2

Courtesy of Apple App Store

Sadly, you can’t assume that your toddler’s favorite app will work the same way when you aren't connected to WiFi. That’s why it’s a good idea to download some apps that work in airplane mode before hopping on a plane with your toddler. Our pick for best airplane app for toddlers is Busy Shapes 2!

This updated offering from one of the most popular toddler apps is a fully functional app, even in airplane mode. Here, your toddler will learn shapes by dragging and dropping shapes into matching holes. The activity is brought to life by stunning visuals and beautiful, calming background music your kids will love. The shapes are made of real-life objects like fruit, helping your kids to associate shapes that are part of their daily lives.

Best Educational: Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

Courtesy of Apple App Store

Your toddler won’t even realize she’s learning when you download the fun toddler app, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox. She’ll learn colors, shapes, and counting in an effortlessly fun interface led by the adorably loveable monkey, Milo. Each activity that’s successfully completed comes with an immediate reward where your toddler will get to choose a sticker to add to her collection.

Best on iPad: Toca Boca

Toca Boca

Courtesy of Apple App Store

The Toca Boca suite of apps has become one of the most popular brands out there. Through fun, engaging apps full of bright colors and great sounds, Toca brings to life a host of activities like cooking, taking care of pets and sick patients, hairstyling, and even chemistry. For the youngest set, try a role-playing app like Toca Doctor (more on this one below) or a simple app like hairstyling (kids can’t get enough of the hair dryer). And as they grow, your kids can design and build their own city with the Toca Life apps.

Best on Android: Balloon Pop

Balloon Pop

Courtesy of Google Play Store

This free app is part of a group of apps from AppFamily. Only available on the Android platform, they're fun for a variety of ages. The puzzles make a great choice for older kids. Toddlers will be instantly drawn to the game that allows them to pop balloons as they rise from the bottom of the screen to the top. It’s simple enough for even the youngest of players to grasp, and it’s fully customizable too. Change the size of the balloons and the speed at which they move, making it easier for beginners and more challenging as your child masters the game.

Best Role-Playing: Toca Doctor

Toca Doctor

Courtesy of Apple App Store

Spark your toddler’s empathy or pave the way for a future in medicine with the Toca Doctor app. Part of the ever-popular suite of Toca Boca apps, this full-color app boasts a number of educational games for toddlers, set against a medical theme. This is one of the most simple Toca apps, suitable for kids as young as two. Kids can cover boo-boos of different sizes with bandages, they can “erase” scratches with cotton balls, brush teeth to chase away germs, or squirt eye drops into eyes. This game is sure to keep your little ones occupied for more than just a few minutes!

Our Process 

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular apps for toddlers on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 19 different apps overall, screened options from 8 different brands and manufacturers, read over 25 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 5 of the apps themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

Was this page helpful?