Featured Parenting Technology

The best iPad apps 1 – 2 years on the UK iTunes store

Ariella ipad

Ariella isn’t even two yet and she has been “upgraded” to our old iPad mini 2. I say upgraded because she is was using the even older iPad. We bought the mini in late 2013, so it’s three years old now and we really don’t use it anymore as we have other mobile devices.

As a toddler her needs are very basic, her previous iPad covers them just fine. It’s really just bigger which is a pain to carry around and seeing as we had the mini floating unused it seemed the most sensible option. Ariella has a locked down children’s account which is tied to the family, all purchases have to be approved by one of us. I wasn’t sure how useful it would be to her but it’s been truly engaging.

You can limit quite a lot, I’ve turned off access to Safari so she cannot use the internet and she also has a children’s version of youtube. There were a lot more options too but I don’t feel at this stage they are required, options like time limits and content limits.

There are lots of educational apps available for the iPad on the UK iTunes Store. I’ve summarised a little list of our favourites for her current age range below.

The best iPad apps for 1 year to 18 months

You’ll see a theme with the apps below, with a child who is under one they will find challenge enough in concentrating for long durations. These apps are basic, they allow you to turn off certain buttons so that apps can’t be exited and allow the children very limited options so that it’s similar to any kind of toy they might engage with. I’d recommend that you start with free apps and if your child likes them move on to paid versions or look for similar ones that are paid.

Our favourites in this category are below.

Fisher Price – Laugh & Learn Animal Sounds (Free)

Category: Animals and Speech

“Babies are encouraged to learn animal names and the sounds animals make through interaction with engaging animations and sound effects! Baby can tap, tilt or shake to set a learning world in motion! Designed for babies 6 months and up.”

I think this was one of the very first apps I downloaded for Ariella, it’s very basic and you have the option to limit the buttons that show. When Ariella was younger I would turn off the return to home button so that Ariella only had left and right buttons to switch to the next animal. It’s rich in content and helps children learn how to say the animals name, the noises they make and a little animation to show what kind of movements they might do. In between these interactive “flash cards” are little musical rhymes with more advanced navigation once you complete a few.

Link App Store

Fisher Price – Laugh & Learn Let’s Count Animals (Free)

Category: Numbers

“Babies are encouraged to learn about numbers and animals through interaction with engaging animations and sound effects! Baby can tap, tilt or shake to set a learning world in motion! Designed for babies 6 months and up.”

This would be the second app I downloaded for Ariella, it’s the same concept as the above but instead it has an animal with a number. Each card increases in size and the animals are duplicated on the screen. I do believe this has helped Ariella learn to count to ten so well, it’s been backed up with number books and games too but repetition is key with her and the iPad enables this under her own terms.

Link App Store

Fisher Price – Laugh & Learn Shapes & Colours (Free)

Category:  Shapes and Colours

“Babies are encouraged to learn about shapes and colors through interactions with engaging animations, sounds and sing along songs! Baby can tap or tilt the screen to set a learning world in motion! Designed for babies 6 months & up.”

Link App Store

Childs Play (Free some content paid for)

Category:  Interactive Play

“Child’s Play is an app that is literally bursting at the seams with fun games for the under fives. They will delight in tapping the screen to join in with the simple and colorful games, whether they be popping bubbles, tapping open a piñata, or launching beautiful fireworks above a storybook village at night. There is no reading required, and young children will love being able to join in without any help from mum or dad. There’s no violence, no failure and no tears – just fun games that pre-schoolers can pick up and play.”

Ariella enjoys this still even though it’s in the earlier age group, short mini games which are designed to just be picked up and left easily.

Link App Store

These were our first basic starting apps, she mastered these quickly and easily navigates them now. Once ready I downloaded the following more advanced apps.

 The best apps for 18 months to 2 year olds

You might notice there is a gap between 18 months and two years, I really think it depends how your child interacts. Ariella was ready for

BBC CBeebies Playtime – Free


Category: Multiple

This app has so much potential and content within in, this is currently the favoured app for Ariella. Many of her most loved Cbeebies characters are involved like The Teletubbies, Swashbuckle pirates, The Furchester Hotel, Mr Tumble. At first I thought it was probably too advanced but she’s picked up on what the app asks her, there is a lot of interaction available with hands, voice, shaking and tilting the iPad. The best part is it’s all free, we really love this app. Inside are many mini games and this is just one example of Ariella playing the Something Special Mr Tumble game below, Jamie adjusted the size and speed of the bubbles as Ariella was finding it -too- easy! Look at her go! I think this is great for her fine motor skill work and I’m so pleased she enjoys it too.

Link App Store

Edit – CBeebies have now released another app called CBeebies Playtime Island, the original Playtime app will no longer recieve updates as of December 2016. We won’t be moving onto the new app until Ariella has completed the first, but I’ll install the new Playtime Island app ready for the plane trip next month.

Youtube Kids – Free

Category: Media
Youtube offer a app which enables parents to restrict the content their children can access. You can set time limits, stop “searching” options and also generally speaking the content is aimed at children. If you find a video which isn’t suitable listed you can report it easily, it’s not fool proof but it does offer an alternative.

Link App Store


Peppa Pig: Holiday

Category: Holiday Prep!

“Back by popular demand and relaunched for 2015. Peppa is going on holiday and she wants you to join her travels in this official app.”

We downloaded this one for my niece years ago but it’s come round and is still great for Ariella. She loves George from Peppa Pig, but if you were going on holiday this is a great one to prepare them for it. The app features the airport, ice creams, photo cards on the beach, going on an airplane.

Link App Store £2.29

KidloLand – Free limited content

Category: Educational

Full of interactive nursery rhymes, phonics, shapes and activities. You can download this for free but if you want full access it’s subscription based, it’s definitely become quite a favourite so we may have to shell out for the full blown version. Ariella has picked up lots from the nursery rhymes many of which we’ve never taught her!

Link App Store Free (Paid subscription of 4.99 USD a month for full access)


CBeebies Story Time – Free

Category: Educational reading

The CBeebies Storytime app is filled with free story books for young children and is a great way to enjoy reading books with your little one. Open the book to discover a world of stories featuring much-loved CBeebies characters; turn the page to find your favourite story and visit the library to choose new stories such as CBeebies classics: Topsy and Tim, Peter Rabbit, Something Special, Charlie and Lola, and many more.

Link App Store Free


Kids Doodle Games and Free drawing for toddlers

Category: Drawing

“All the kids love coloring books, don’t they? Recall yourself in the childhood: back then wasn’t coloring one of your favorite activities? Let your kid enjoy this great joy of coloring. Bimi Boo Drawing – is not just a funny game, but also a lesson of drawing! The app will guide kids in drawing awesome cartoons and aid them in coloring them.”

Link App Store Free

There is a huge amount of applications available for toddlers to use but these are some of the ones that have kept Ariella very happy and that I’ve found particularly useful for this age group.

Check back for our next age group 2 – 3 years shortly!




You Might Also Like

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.