8. iPads for Toddlers and Preschool Students



Blog Post Agenda:




iPads may encourage and facilitate a wide variety of activities. I will list below some great apps you can use with your toddlers; for more apps, just download (4) My Collection of about 100 Apps.

a)      Facilitate conversations– the great variety of multimedia files which can be access on an iPad may facilitate great conversations. The little ones are extremely motivated to browse through to endless collection of programs which can generate rich discussions on a multitude of topics. To improve communication skills, parents must be a part of their child’s interactions with the iPad in order to guide the communication.

EXAMPLES: all of the apps listed below if guided by parent.

b)      Enrich vocabulary– there are plenty of apps that focus particularly on vocabulary development. You will be amazed to realize that your 2-year old knows words like “hexagon” or recognize number ‘12’ just because he or she got the chance to manipulate vocabulary apps. Also, listening to reading facilitates vocabulary development. Students are in charge of turning the pages of their favorite e-books and they can freely listen over and over again to their favorite part.

EXAMPLES: My First Words, Learn Object, Toddler Color, Shapes, Cute Cards, Alligator Apps, etc.

c)      Develop literacy skills– today, more than some years ago, I would say, due to a wide-spread access to technology, children learn the letter names and sounds at a very early age; they start building a strong literacy foundation in a fun, entertaining manner.

EXAMPLES: ABC Fun/Letters/Phonics, Learning A to Z, Elmo Loves ABCs (Lite) for iPad + all the apps listed for Engage with Literature

d)     Engage with literature– children are extremely fascinated by having the opportunity not only to listen to their parents reading static books, but also to listen to reading and interact with their favorite digital books and with their favorite characters who are most of the time surrounded by extremely appealing graphics.

EXAMPLES: MeGenius, Read Me Stories, StoryBots, Toy Story, My First Books, Joy Tales, Bedtime HD, iStoryBooks, Storia, Astrid and Siri, etc.

e)      Open up great opportunities to learn

EXAMPLES: Bugsy PreK, Playrific (replaces TV screen time with curated content), etc.  

f)       Provide virtual field trips

EXAMPLES: Pocket Zoo, which streams live video of animals at zoos around the world, can give kids a virtual trip to the zoo.

g)      Stir imagination and creativity– the inviting design and interface of the apps makes the iPad an excellent tool to foster creativity within a child. Children can be readers and writers along with their favorite cartoon characters; the books they create can be published; they can create music and art; etc.

EXAMPLES: Coloring4Kids, Drawing Box, etc.

h)      Interaction– by simply touching the screen of the iPad, children can interact with the device in a variety of ways. The touch screen generation, will definitely explore this possibility each time they feel the need to see more than just a motionless picture. They can mark their answers, they can move things around, or they can unveil hidden mysteries.

EXAMPLES: Peekaboo HD, puzzles: Animals Puzzle, Animal Puzzle, AnimalPuzzle, Fairy Puzzle, 3D Puzzle, TP shapes, Families 2, Phone4Kids, Speak Colors, etc.

i)        Engage with Music

EXAMPLES: Bus HD, Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Star, Famous Nursery Rhymes, Popular Nursery Rhymes, Kinds Song 2, Kinds Song 1, Kids Songs, Magic Piano, etc.

j)        Entertain– children as well as adults can be easily entertained by having instant access to almost anything they want (music, movies, books, cartoons, games). It was literally never easier to have everything, from news to virtual games, right at your fingertips. Remember that the iPad was designed primarily as an entertainment device.

EXAMPLES: Disney Junior, PBS Kids, Talking News, Talking Tom 2, Talking Pierre, Talking Gina, Seek & Find, Baby Finger, PlayHome Lite, Talking Rabbit, Families 1, 3D Zoo, Angry Birds, Minecraft, etc.



I am not going to debate what the right age is to introduce digital tools to young children. It’s totally up to the parent to decide whether or not they want to use iPads with their kids. As a parent, I could definitely see the benefits of using them as a tool for learning. While some experts see them as developmentally inappropriate, others see some benefits to the technology. My advice would be: keep a balance and make sure your young ones have access to apps that suit their developmental needs.

Check below some articles that disseminate the pros and cons of using iPads with preschool students or even younger children.

Chicago Tribune

USA Today

ABC News

Washington Post

The Telegraph



Toddlers’ minds are like sponges – they absorb everything. They need to be entertained and engaged all the time. The iPad is an ideal platform for all learning styles. But with so many apps available, how do you choose? Toddlers love music, color, rhymes, interaction, and repetition. There’s something so intuitive and simple about touching things on the screen that they just dive in without needing to be shown how it all works.

My collection of iPad apps for toddlers and preschoolers can be downloaded here: iPad apps TODDLERS and PRESCHOOLERS. It includes about 100 free or low-cost apps. Feel free to download it and choose the ones you like. 🙂

Although the iPad was not designed specifically for special education, in my opinion it has become a powerful tool for those who love technology and see its major impact when used strategically. Besides the fact that it provides users with opportunities to go beyond the horizons of their homes, it presents content in a dynamic manner, allows them to be more than just receivers of content, it is environmentally friendly, and the list can continue on and on. There’s just not enough room here to list all its benefits!


Do you want to avoid facing the cruel reality of realizing that your favorite apps just disappeared or that you have to make mortgage payments as a follow up to your toddler using your iPad? Make sure you use your iPads settings to your advantage. Your iPad’s “Settings” has the solution to these kinds of problems.

Making the iPad childproof

Briefly, you can restrict access to certain apps such as Safari, You Tube, and the AppStore in your “Settings.” Choose “Settings,” then “General,” followed by “Restrictions.” You will have to choose a passcode, and then you can choose which apps to restrict access to.

a)      To turn on Guided Access follow these steps:

  • Go to      “Settings”
  • Go to      “General”
  • Scroll      down, choose “Accessibility”
  • Scroll      down, Under “Learning” chose “Guided Access”
  • Turn      it on and set your Passcode

b)     Restrict Deleting Apps:

Guided Access helps a lot with the deleting App issue. A second option to prevent your Apps from being deleted:

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Go to “General”
  • Go to “Restrictions”
  • Choose “Enable      Restrictions”
  • You will set a Passcode
  • You will see a list of      items you can restrict. If the restriction is “OFF” that item will      disappear from your phone. So, if Safari is restricted you will no longer      see the icon.
  • To restrict deleting your      apps, scroll to “Deleting Apps” and turn it “OFF”
  • Be sure to adjust your      other restrictions.

c)      Prevent In-App Purchase:

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Go to “General”
  • Go to “Restrictions”
  • Choose “Enable Restrictions”      (if you haven’t already)
  • You will set a Passcode
  • Scroll down to “In-App      Purchases” turn it “OFF”


To cover the whole spectrum–from toddlers to university students—I am dedicating this end-of-blog post section to iTunesU. iTunesU was first designed for the university level, but currently it has a growing section for K-12, too. Consequently, states and districts have started to provide content for students, parents, and teachers.

iTunesU is a free service hosted by Apple Inc. which allows everybody to have access (manage, share) to the world’s largest online catalog of free education content (courses, lectures, videos, books, and other resources) from leading institutions like Harvad, Yale, Stanford, or Oxford.

Note that you can be more than just consumer of content. Teachers can create their own courses using iTunesU. You can download the iTunes_U_User_Guide (1), and here the iTunesU_CourseCreation_0812 Guide.

On the main page, you have the option of browsing selections by education level (University & Colleges, Beyond Campus, K-12), school (by accessing one of the three aforementioned education levels), subject (using the top horizontal tab), most downloaded (top charts- bottom of the main page), or noteworthy courses (top charts-bottom of the main page). For a preview of the categories you can select from, click here.  The content is then delivered directly to you (it can be a series of lectures, videos, PDFs, or an entire book). Afterwards you can manage it the way you want and delve into it at your own pace.

You can download a Guide to iTunesU here.

My school district just stated using it. If you want to see what they already have in iTunesU, just choose K-12, then browse through the school districts which are in alphabetical order, find Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and you’ll see great resources that will definitely help you grow as a tech savvy teacher (the itWeekly series, the App of the Week series, and soon probably, you’ll see more teacher and student created content).

Trick: if you use Chrome, and you install REDIUM, you will be able to view and access iTunesU from a Desktop computer!!! 🙂

You can access here a short YouTube clip which explains iTunesU from the learner’s perspective.

If you are the kind of person who likes to learn more from the experts, you can also watch here the Full Keynote from the Apple Education Event, January 2012 (Full Keynote), 1 hour, which disseminated the use of iTunesU and the iBooks Textbooks.

Until next time get creative, be inspired, and grow! 🙂

If you liked this post, remember that you can follow me via email. 🙂
To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I share with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.


This entry was posted in 21st century skills, Educational Technology, iPad, Video Tutorials, Web 2.0 tools. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s