Screen Time

Keep your kid entertained and learning during the pandemic with these 29 best educational apps for t...
Firmansyah Goma / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

29 Educational Apps For Toddlers To Stay Busy

Keep them entertained and learning with these apps.

Originally Published: 

As most parents have learned in the past year and a half, a little extra screen time here and there for your kids through the course of your day is bound to happen. Instead of watching TV for hours on end, these educational apps for toddlers to use will encourage your little one to learn and keep them busy.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting screen time to one hour of "high-quality programming" per day for kids ages 2 to 5. But in the reality of day-to-day life, despite your best intentions and a slew of indoor activities on tap, more than an hour's worth of screen time will probably happen from time to time. Even if you and your tot stick to the one-hour recommendation, you can install a variety of educational apps on your tablet or phone to meet the AAP's high-quality programming recommendation and keep your toddler occupied.

Whether you’re working from home, need your hands free to make (or eat) a meal, or just really need a few moments of peace and quiet without a toddler begging you to play, educational apps can provide a welcomed reprieve for parents. I don't know about you, but I'm willing to do just about anything at this point to keep Frozen II from playing on an endless loop on my TV.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.


Breathe, Think, Do With Sesame

This free app by Sesame Street can help little ones learn valuable lessons about problem-solving, planning, and self-control. In true Sesame Street fashion, activities like learning how to practice deep breathing are led by a friendly monster on screen to keep your toddler engaged. This type of educational app could prove extremely handy if your child experiences any anxious feelings.


PBS Kids Games

If the PBS Kids Game app isn't already your go-to educational app, you're definitely going to want to download it. In this free app, your toddler can play learning games to practice their problem solving skills related to math, reading, and science alongside their favorite PBS Kids show characters.


Noggin Preschool Learning App

Your toddler can learn from their favorite Nick Jr. characters in the Noggin Preschool Learning App. Brain-boosting games, eBooks, puzzles, and interactive activities provide the perfect mix of entertainment and learning for your toddler. This is a subscription-based app, but parents can also utilize a free seven days before committing to a monthly fee.


Learn & Play

This app by Fisher Price allows kids ages 6 months and up to learn about shapes and colors by tilting their device or tapping the screen to sort and slide different shapes. Two levels of play are available depending on your toddler's skill level. Also included in the app are songs to dance and sing along with in between game play.


Fish School

The Fish School app is a free resource for toddlers to practice counting, letter recognition, shapes, and colors. The app features plenty of music and interactive games to keep your toddler engaged and learning as they count, sort, match, and play with colorful fish on screen.


ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse provides kids ages 2 to 8 with a full online curriculum in reading, math, science, and art tailored to your child's age group. This educational app is typically only available as a paid subscription-based service, but the app can be accessed for free right now if a representative from your local school district fills out a form on the app developer's website.



If your kids love playing with shape sorters where they manipulate different types of shapes into their respective slots within the toy, they'll love this interactive app. The Shapes! app is suitable for kids ages 2 and above. Toddlers can practice their color and shape sorting skills as well as fine motor skill development as they engage with the app.


Reading Train Starter Books

After a while, your kids might get bored with the books in your home library, but this app can help. You and your toddler can read new books with the Reading Train Starter Books app. Beginning readers can listen and look at guided stories sorted by three reading levels, as well as play games to enhance their learning experience.


Little Stars Toddler Games

With topics like first words, letter names and sounds, counting, shapes, and colors, the Little Stars Toddler Games app gives toddlers the opportunity to learn through space-themed games. Parents can use toggle controls to turn certain topics on or off depending on which areas of learning they want their toddler to focus on at any given time.


Musical Me!

The music-based app Musical Me! introduces toddlers to musical concepts like rhythm, note reading, and pitch. If you have little music lovers at home, they can do more than just listen to music during lockdown — they can learn about how it is composed as well.



Educational apps aren't limited to just math, science, and reading — art counts, too! Your toddlers can take advantage of the art-based app Scribbaloo to learn about colors and make their very own masterpieces within the app. You can also take a screenshot of their creations to share with family and friends to brighten their day.


Leap Frog Academy Learning

Toddlers can learn through more than 2,000 activities in the Leap Frog Academy Learning app. Subjects like basic math, early reading skills, and simple science are taught through puzzles, eBooks, and games, perfect for little learners. This app is subscription-based but free to download, and parents can take advantage of a free month.


Bugs & Buttons

Toddlers can practice pattern recognition, color sorting, and counting in the Bugs and Buttons app. Each of the 18 activities within the app helps toddlers learn while engaging their fine motor skills by pinching, tapping, and dragging colorful bugs and buttons across the screen to sort and count.


Elmo Loves ABCs

For toddlers, there is almost no better educational instructor than Elmo. In this Sesame Street app, Elmo teaches the ABCs through a collection of songs, games, and coloring pages. Once your toddler has had their fill of learning about letters, the Elmo Loves 123s app teaches basic counting and math skills.


Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

Toddlers can learn shapes, counting, and more in the Monkey Preschool Lunchbox app. Fun games are led by a an adorable monkey, and kids can help pack his lunch by interactive play. Animated stickers motivate toddlers to keep learning through game play and songs.


Funbrain Jr.

The free Funbrain Jr. app helps encourage learning for kids ages 2 to 6. Toddlers can practice counting, fine motor skills, patterns, and number recognition with games that involve popping balloons, memory flash cards, and more.


Little Writer

Toddlers can practice their tracing skills without wasting any paper with the Little Writer app. Using their finger, your tot can trace the entire alphabet, numbers, and shapes, as well as learn how to write their own name and basic words within the app.


Dr. Seuss's ABC Read & Learn

If your kids love the whimsical stories of Dr. Seuss, they'll love learning through the Dr. Seuss's ABC Read & Learn app. Developed to promote early literacy, the app features narrated books, letter sorting games, letter recognition practice, and more.


Talking ABC

The bright and colorful interface and clay art animation of the Talking ABC app keeps toddlers actively learning by introducing the sights and sounds of all 26 letters of the alphabet. Catchy songs, puzzles, and interactive game play reinforce learning for your little one.



This educational app for toddlers won’t just help them with the recognition of different animals, but it will allow them to hone in on cues to learn about emotions. In the free Peek-A-Zoo app, your tot will be prompted with questions like “Which animal is happy?” or “Which zebra is dancing?” to help identify different actions, feelings, and sounds.


Starfall ABCs

One of the most user-friendly apps for toddlers to help them learn the alphabet is Starfall ABCs. This easy-to-navigate app is colorful and bright to keep toddlers engaged while they learn about the sounds that each letter makes through games that encourage early reading skills.


Hungry Caterpillar Play School

If your toddler is already familiar with Eric Carle’s beloved Very Hungry Caterpillar character, this interactive learning app with plenty of puzzles, games, stories, and songs will be their new favorite. The app is free to download but does offer in-app purchases to upgrade the games and add new features as your toddler plays.


Toca Doctor

While ABCs and counting are monumentally important for toddlers, they can also learn about science and the human body with the Toca Doctor app. From the importance of hand hygiene to what germs are, this app is a toddler-friendly way to keep kids engaged in science topics by letting them play doctor on your phone or tablet.


Canticos Bilingual Preschool

Your toddler can play and learn the basics of Spanish with the Canticos Bilingual Preschool app. Designed for kids ages 2 to 5, this award-winning app has sing-a-longs, coloring pages, and games, some of which can be downloaded and enjoyed offline as well. The app is free to download and comes with a free seven days of the program. After that, parents will need to pay a $6.99 monthly or $57.99 yearly membership.


Goodness Shapes

Toddlers can learn shape and pattern recognition, practice their matching skills, and play shape-related games with this shape-sorting app. The easy-to-use app is super simple for little learners to use, free to download, includes no in-app purchases, and best of all the app can be played without wi-fi, so your toddler can play anywhere.


Duckie Deck Collection

This adorable app for toddlers lets them play interactive games to encourage healthy life habits and skills. Intended for kids ages 2 to 5, they’ll learn how to take care of pets, eat fruits and vegetables, keep their rooms tidy, and even not be scared of the dark.


Montessorim: Intro To Math

This educational app for toddlers is about as basic of an introduction into the world of mathematics as there is. They’ll learn to read, write, and recognize numbers zero to nine through a series of guided activities. The app is a great way to set your toddler up for future success in counting, addition, and more.


ShapeBuilder Preschool Puzzles

This interactive puzzle app will keep your toddler engaged and learning as they manipulate colorful puzzle pieces to form basic shapes. Each puzzle features five to 10 pieces that fit together to form shapes like houses, fruits and vegetables, and other simple shapes to help your toddler develop their fine motor skills.


Cosmic Kids

Your toddler can learn meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques with the Cosmic Kids app. While it’s not educational in the traditional sense, there is so much knowledge your toddler can glean from guided practices featuring fun themes they know and love like Frozen, Moana, and more.

This article was originally published on