Great Apps for the Under 5s

These days, smartphones and tablets aren’t just for adults.  I’ve seen children as young as 12 months adeptly manoeuvring around the touch screen.  Many an iPad has been purchased for the adults of the family, only for it to be commandeered by the little ones in the roost.

Well, in light of this growing trend, I thought I’d turn my attention to the apps that have been designed specifically for the younger generation.  There is a plethora of apps available for children, so I’ve restricted my choice to the ones that I would be happy for any little ones in our lives to use.

The decision on whether to let your children use electronic gadgets is such a personal one, and not for one moment am I advocating that you should be allowing your children to use smartphones and tablets.  It’s your choice, and your choice alone.

The focus of my most favoured apps, is definitely more educationally orientated than games focused, as most children are already more than familiar with the games available, such as Angry Birds etc.  However, most of the educational apps, are structured as a game.

I’m splitting today’s post over four posts (yes there’s extra posts this week!), as I was struggling to only select one or two per age group.  So today will be apps appropriate for 6mths – 5 years and tomorrow will be for the 5 – 9 year olds.  With the 9 – 12 and 12+ age brackets following on Friday and Monday.

Peekaboo Barn – £1.49 from iTunes and £1.89 from Android

This is a very sweet app, aimed at the 6-month+ age group.  It’s a cause and effect app, whereby the child touches the screen and something happens.  The premise of the game is for the child to touch the door of the red barn, which opens the door revealing an animal inside that then, barks, moos or quacks etc.  It’s a pretty simple app, but is great for helping little ones hone their fine motor skills.  There are other “Peekaboo” apps that use different animals:  Peekaboo Wild, Peekaboo Forest.

Peppa Pig’s Party Time – £2.99 from iTunes

As Clare mentioned in her post on Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers, her two little ones love Peppa Pig, so I’m sure they’d enjoy this app.  The app offers either single player or multi-player mini-games.  Your little ones will get to help Peppa design the party invitations, create the party bags, bake and decorate cakes and play traditional party games.  A must for all Peppa Pig fans!  Peppa Pig’s Party Time isn’t available on Android, but Peppa Pig – Polly Parrot is available from Google Play for £1.99.

Wheels on the Bus – £0.69 for iPhone & iTouch and £1.49 for the iPad; £1.27 for Android

This is a great entertaining and very interactive app, based on the popular nursery song and created by parents.  Each screenshot shows a different part of the song.  The child touches the arrows at the bottom of the screen to move forwards and backwards through the song.  They get to swish the wipers, open and close the doors, spin the wheels and so much more.  One of the great features of this app is the ability to record your child signing the song and then play it back. 

My Very First App – £1.49 from iTunes

This app is based on Eric Cale’s artwork from his series “My First Books”.  I love Eric Cale’s books, especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so when I discovered this app, it absolutely had to feature on the list!  The app is separated into three levels of difficulty:  Easy (ages 1-3yrs), Medium (2yrs+) and Difficult (3yrs+).  The Easy level requires the child to match the colour to the items of the same colour.  The Medium level is a memory game where the child turns over to cards to match-up colours.  The Difficult level combines the two previous levels, whereby you have to match the colours on the cards with the objects.  A great app, showcasing Eric Cale’s gorgeous artwork.  Unfortunately My Very First App isn’t available on Android, but a good alternative for the memory element of the app would be Animals Memory Game available for £0.60 from Google Play.

Pop Out! The Tale of Peter Rabbit – £3.17 from the US iTunes store and £3.09 from Google Play

I adore the charming Tale of Peter Rabbit, which is so reminiscent of my childhood and was thrilled when I found out it was available as an interactive book on Apple and Android products.  It takes the beautifully illustrated original book and brings it to life in digital form with brilliant clarity.  Your little one may find wheels to spin or tabs to pull and some images seem to leap out at you.  There are over 50 pages of text in this app; nothing has been omitted from the original story and the narration fits perfectly.  Definitely worth buying in my opinion!

A tip from the Domestic Prince:

The Domestic Prince has an app called Free App Magic on his iPad that gives you the option of downloading three free apps everyday.  It’s hit and miss with regards to the quality of the app, but some have proven quite good.

Have you got any of these apps?  Is there a fight in your household over the use of your smartphones and tablets?  What are your children’s favourite apps?  And do you agree with children using smartphones and tablets?  I’d love to hear from you.

With much love

The Domestic Princess




  1. This post is full of great information to help parents choose apps that will interest and motivate young minds and surely contribute to their development.

  2. Domestic Prince says:

    The FreeAppMagic app works by promoting apps that are free (and make their money from in-app purchases) or newly launched apps that are trying to build some reviews and downloads and charge a fee later. I don’t look at it every day, but I have downloaded some interesting puzzle games.

  3. Marysia McDonnell Smith says:

    Thanks Em !! I have been looking for some more good apps for Henry – keep them coming !! :o))


  1. […] 5 to 9 year olds May 24, 2012 Leave a Comment Yesterday, I wrote about my five favourite apps for the under 5s, so today, I’m moving up an age group to the 5 to 9 year […]

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