The Best iPad Apps for Kids in 2021

Best iPad Apps for Kids BadgeWhen reviewing the best iPad apps for kids, we chose PBS KIDS Video as our top pick due to its wide selection of free educational video content. With no in-app purchases, the app is completely free to use and provides access to countless episodes of PBS KIDS shows. But if you’re looking for something else, we found nine other iPad apps for kids that offer unique features and benefits for all ages.

Top 10 iPad Apps for Kids to Try

How We Chose the Best iPad Apps for Kids

To create our list, we chose apps that have certain key features like interactivity, sharing, video content, and reading-based content. We prioritized apps that include educational and family-friendly content for all ages.

Choose the iPad kids app that’s right for you

Choosing the best app for you depends on what features you value. Our list includes streaming services for kids, games, puzzles, and learning apps to give you a wide selection. While there are a few completely free apps on our list, the majority of them are paid apps with in-app purchases, so it’s important to consider which apps fit your budget. You should also be sure to read Google Play and App Store reviews to learn more about how these apps perform and which features users find beneficial.

Keep an eye on in-app purchases

It is important to be mindful of in-app purchases as your kids may unknowingly make purchases while using these apps. If you want to be proactive in preventing your children from making purchases without your permission, both Google and Apple offer guides on how to turn off or require authentication before making a purchase.

Our iPad Apps for Kids Reviews

PBS KIDS Video — Top Pick

PBS KIDS Video App feature

Download: Android | iOS

PBS KIDS Video is our top pick for the best iPad app for kids. As the only streaming app on our list, it provides hours upon hours of entertaining and educational content for children and families. The content library is updated weekly, providing access to new episodes of your kids’ favorite shows. With no price tag or in-app purchases, the app is completely free, making it more child-friendly than other apps that contain costly in-app purchases. Users can download episodes from a selection of shows for offline viewing. The app provides information for every show regarding the intended viewing age and learning goals, making it easy for parents to find programming suitable for children of any age.

Notable features:

  • Free version available
  • In-app purchases: None
  • Support available: FAQs, Tickets
PBS KIDS Video Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
No in-app purchases Limited customer support options
Video library is updated weekly Only available in the United States
No subscription or account is required  

Trucks — Best Free Game

Trucks App feature

Download: Android | iOS

Trucks is an interactive, educational app designed for children interested in cars and trucks. The app is designed for ages two through six and includes engaging activities for children, including a carwash, driving a garbage truck, and driving a tow truck. The music includes instrumentals based on popular nursery rhymes to keep children engaged. Perhaps the best feature of this app is that, while most apps require an upfront cost or in-app purchases, it is completely free. The app is provided by Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free educational tools and content for people of all ages.

Notable features:

  • Free version available
  • In-app purchases: None
  • Support available: Email, Tickets, FAQ
Trucks Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
App is completely free to use Only five activities to choose from
Features a child-friendly soundtrack  

Toca Kitchen — Best for Learning to Cook

Toca Kitchen App feature

Download: Android | iOS

If your child is interested in cooking but is not ready to handle real tools and ingredients, Toca Kitchen is a great choice. The app lets kids cook and prepare food in an interactive environment. Users can choose ingredients and prepare them in any way they choose, allowing kids to exercise their creativity in an engaging and stimulating way. Unlike many of the apps on this list, there are no in-app purchases or third-party advertisements, and the simple, easy-to-use interface makes it even more kid-friendly. With no time limits or high scores, children can play the game however they want. At only $0.99, the app is very cheap and offers an accessible way for aspiring chefs to start learning kitchen skills at a young age.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • One-time purchase: $0.99
  • Support available: Email
Toca Kitchen Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
No in-app purchases Support only available via email
No third-party advertisements  

BUBL Ice Cream — Best for Toddlers

BUBL Ice Cream App feature

Download: Android | iOS

BUBL Ice Cream is a great option for toddlers as it is designed for ages 1.5 and up and features a fun, interactive learning environment. By selecting different ice cream flavors and toppings, children can create different musical compositions while learning colors and how to say “ice cream” in 18 different languages. As the only app on our list that features music-making capabilities, this app is great for helping children interested in music exercise their creativity. The app features several different game worlds and musical styles, helping to keep users engaged over time. It only requires a one-time purchase of $2.99 and does not contain any in-app purchases.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • One-time purchase: $2.99
  • Support available: Email, Tickets, Help
BUBL Ice Cream Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
No in-app purchases Not suitable for older children
Great interactive learning environment  

Sago Mini Village — Best for Preschoolers

Sago Mini Village App feature

Download: Android | iOS

Sago Mini Village is a Minecraft-inspired game designed with preschool-aged children in mind. Kids use colorful building blocks to create their own unique worlds. While other apps often require an active internet connection to play, Sago Mini Village does not, making it an ideal way to keep kids entertained while traveling. The app features hundreds of unique blocks, fun animations, and characters for users to interact with. The app does not include any in-app purchases or third-party advertising in favor of a one-time $3.99 purchase fee. This game serves as a great way for young children to develop their creativity.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • One-time purchase: $3.99
  • Support available: Email, FAQs, Help Center, Tickets
Sago Mini Village Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
No in-app purchases Not focused on educational content
No third-party advertising  
Several options for support services  

Elmo Loves ABCs — Best for Learning Letters

Elmo Loves ABCs App feature

Download: Android | iOS

If you’re looking for a way to help your child learn new letters and words, Elmo Loves ABCs is a great option. It is the only app on our list designed to help kids learn basic literacy skills and does so via a variety of in-app games, videos, and activities. Users will learn letter identification, sounds, and tracing to improve their oral and written language skills. Compared to other options on the list, this app is relatively costly at $4.99, and in-app purchases are required to unlock additional letters and their associated activities. However, if the cost isn’t an issue for you, Elmo Loves ABCs is one of the most accessible and entertaining ways for young children to learn letters.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • In-app purchases: $0.99 – $4.99
  • Support available: Email, Phone
Elmo Loves ABCs Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Interactive learning environment Limited customer support options
Includes video- and reading-based activities Costs extra to unlock all letters

Thinkrolls Space — Best for Learning Problem Solving

Thinkrolls Space App feature

Download: Android | iOS

Thinkrolls Space offers an accessible, entertaining way for children to develop logic and problem-solving skills through a collection of over 200 puzzles. The app offers several child-friendly advantages: it is COPPA-compliant, has penalty-free retries, does not have in-app purchases, advertisements, or timers, and includes puzzles of various difficulties to accommodate children of different ages. No internet connection is required, making it a great way to keep children entertained while on the go. For privacy-concerned users, Thinkrolls Space is one of the only apps on this list that promises to not collect, store, or share any personal or location data.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • One-time purchase: $3.99
  • Support available: FAQs, General Questions, Tickets
Thinkrolls Space Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Does not collect personal data Not suitable for children under five
No in-app purchases  

Sizzle & Stew — Best for Collaborative Play

Sizzle & Stew App feature

Download: Android | iOS

As the only app on our list to offer two-screen, collaborative play, Sizzle & Stew is a great option for families and parents who want to share screen time with their children. The game is based on experimenting with food in unique and fun ways. Users can prepare meals with a variety of ingredients, tools, and appliances. You can start a food fight, cook food in a washing machine, or take advantage of any of the game’s other countless options. There are no goals or objectives. Instead, the game offers sandbox-style gameplay that lets users do whatever they want.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • One-time purchase: $2.99
  • Support available: Email, Help Center
Sizzle & Stew Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
No in-app purchases No support tickets
Two-player capability  
Available offline  

Cut the Rope 2 — Best for All Ages

Cut the Rope 2 App feature

Download: Android | iOS

The sequel to the incredibly popular game Cut the Rope, Cut the Rope 2 offers a fresh set of puzzles and new gameplay mechanics. The game’s puzzles are based on real-life physics and serve as a great opportunity for children and adults alike to exercise their logic and problem-solving skills. Parents should be mindful of the app’s expensive in-app purchases, some of which cost as much as $49.99. As such, it’s recommended that you disable in-app purchases or require a passcode to make purchases before handing this game over to your children. The app is free with in-app purchases on Android, but iOS users will have to pay $1.99 to download this game.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • In-app purchases: $0.99 – $49.99
  • Support available: Tickets
Cut the Rope 2 Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
More than 160 levels Expensive in-app purchases
Suitable for all ages iOS version costs extra

Drawing Pad — Best for Drawing

Drawing Pad App feature

Download: iOS

As the only drawing app on our list, Drawing Pad is a great option for children interested in art, drawing, and coloring. The app costs $5.99 and gives users access to various coloring books, drawing tools, and a blank drawing pad. You can draw custom pictures, import photos to draw over, and export pictures to your device’s camera roll for easy sharing. While the blank drawing pad and drawing tools are included in the $5.99 purchase fee, users will have to pay extra for additional coloring books. The app is only available on iOS, so Android users searching for a child-friendly drawing app will have to look elsewhere.

Notable features:

  • Free version not available
  • In-app purchases: $0.99
  • Support available: Email
Drawing Pad Pros & Cons
What we like What we don’t like
Inexpensive in-app purchases Only available on iOS
Great selection of drawing tools Support only available via email

iPad Apps for Kids: Features Summary Table

iPad Apps for Kids Comparison Table
App In-App Purchases Features
PBS KIDS Video — Top Pick   None ✓ Interactive
X Reading Based
✓ Watching Based
✓ Sharing
Trucks — Best Free Game None ✓ Interactive
X Reading Based
✓ Watching Based
X Sharing
Toca Kitchen — Best for Learning to Cook $0.99 one-time purchase ✓ Interactive
X Reading Based
✓ Watching Based
X Sharing
BUBL Ice Cream — Best for Toddlers $2.99 one-time purchase ✓ Interactive
X Reading Based
✓ Watching Based
X Sharing
Sago Mini Village — Best for Preschoolers $3.99 one-time purchase ✓ Interactive
X Reading Based
✓ Watching Based
X Sharing
Elmo Loves ABCs — Best for Learning Letters $0.99 – $4.99 per item ✓ Interactive
✓ Reading Based
✓ Watching Based
X Sharing
Thinkrolls Space — Best for Learning Problem Solving $3.99 one-time purchase ✓ Interactive
X Reading Based
✓ Watching Based
X Sharing
Sizzle & Stew — Best for Collaborative Play $2.99 one-time purchase ✓ Interactive
X Reading Based
✓ Watching Based
X Sharing
Cut the Rope 2 — Best for All Ages $0.99 – $49.99 per item ✓ Interactive
X Reading Based
✓ Watching Based
X Sharing
Drawing Pad — Best for Drawing $0.99 per item ✓ Interactive
X Reading Based
X Watching Based
✓ Sharing