Recommended Apps for Little Ones Under Age 5
During the year, YDL librarians carefully review apps that promote learning for our school-aged patrons, so we can recommend them to parents.
We maintain another list of apps for kids ages 5 to 12.
Criteria we look for in educational apps:
- High-quality, age-appropriate educational content
- No in-app purchases (or that feature can be turned off)
- No links outside the app
- Opportunities for creation and safe sharing
- Encourage or inspire activity beyond the device
- Accommodate different languages and abilities
- Available for both Android and Apple devices
- Daisy the Dino ages 4+
Learn the basics of computer programming with Daisy!
- Fish HD/Fish School ages 2-4
Learn ABCs, 123s and shapes with colorful fish friends
- Musical Me ages 3-5
Music based games teach pitch, rhythm and instrumentation
- Park Math ages 2-6
Learn numbers, counting, addition, subtraction, sorting and patterns
- PBS Kids ages 3-6
Live stream educational videos and TV shows and play games to help your child learn
- Toca Kitchen Monsters ages 2-5
Practice kitchen skills as you feed two silly monsters
- Trucks by Duck Duck Moose ages 2-6
Learn sequencing, sorting and problem solving
- Wheels on the Bus by Duck Duck Moose ages 2-4
Interactive songs, record yourself singing!
- Word Wagon ages 2-6
Award-winning app teaching letters, phonics and spelling
- AniMatch ages 4+
Fun and easy to use matching game for little ones
- Cookie Doodle ages 4+
Follow the instructions to make and decorate virtual cookies
- Little Writer ages 4+
Fun way to practice letter and number tracing
- Little Robot Shapes and Colors ages 4+
Practice sorting different shapes and colors, an important early math skill
- Ookii Squiggles ages 4+
Squiggle away and then hit the PLAY button and watch your drawings come alive!
- Kapu Blocks ages 2-5
Teaches physic concepts and gravity rules through free play
- Alpha Tots ages 4+
“A” is for action in the fun app that uses 26 action verbs to help toddlers learn the ABCs
- Busy Shapes ages 4+
Learn about visual perspectives, coordination, agility and critical thinking
- Moo Baa La La La ages 2-5
Fun, interactive Sandra Boynton book
- Hat Monkey ages 2-5
Help Hat Monkey accomplish some big tasks
- Eric Carle’s Brown Bear Animal Parade ages 2-5
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”, Brown Bear is brought to life in a stunning 3D interactive app
- Hoopa City ages 4+
Combine different materials to build roads, houses, and much, much more
- Sago Mini Forest Flyer ages 4+
An open-ended play experience loaded with exciting animated surprises
- Thinkrolls ages 2-5
Puzzle games that encourage logical thinking
- Endless Alphabet ages 3-5
Letter recognition and vocabulary builder
- The Monster at the End of this Book ages 2-5
An interactive storybook app starring Grover
- My Very Hungry Caterpillar ages 2-5
Play with the caterpillar from Eric Carle’s well-known story
A note about screen time
Screen time means how long a child is looking at a screen. The television, computer, tablet, and cell phone all count as screens.
We remember these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- For children younger than 18 months, discourage use of screen media other than video chatting.
- For parents of children 18-24 months who want to introduce digital media, select high-quality programming/apps (see our list) and use media together with children.
- For children 2-5 years, limit screen use to one hour a day of high-quality programming, and co-view with children.
- Avoid using media as the only way to calm a child.
- Keep bedrooms, mealtimes and parent-child playtimes screen-free for all. Stop using screens an hour before bedtime and remove devices from bedrooms before bedtime.
- Avoid fast-paced programs, apps with lots of distracting content and violent content.