The Best iPad Apps for Traveling With Toddlers

The days of peacefully sleeping in the car are becoming few and far between, and now your toddler is longing for entertainment while they’re strapped in that carseat or straddling your lap on the plane. Fortunately, there are a wealth of iPad apps that make traveling with toddlers easier by offering a new distraction and interaction when the backpack of toys has run out.


Preschool 15 in 1 Kids Pack
Price: $0.99
Preschool 15 in 1 Kids Pack is a great tool for parents to keep kids occupied with a little learning on those trips. With, you guessed it, 15 different activities parents can work with their kids to recognize and teach colors, numbers, alphabet, days of the week and more. Beyond learning, there is a section for children to draw and sketch, and combined with the killer price tag on this app, there’s no reason for this one not to be in your toddler traveling arsenal.

Baby Vibes
Price: Free
This simple, yet classically-styled app will give tots a little musical inspiration. Because what baby doesn’t love things that make noise? The simple interface is set up like a xylophone, with brightly colored keys. Kids simply tap away to hear the sounds come out. Sit your one year old in front of this app and they’ll figure out how to work it on their own in no time flat.

Laugh & Learn Shapes & Colors Music Show
Price: Free
Fisher Price has a whole series of apps for babies and young toddlers that help familiarize them with simple concepts like shapes. The app is simple, with bright shapes and colors, as well as engaging music and happy characters. However, my one year old will sit and giggle with it for 20 minute chunks at a time as he discovers moving the tablet causes the shapes to slide back and forth and giggle as they do. Fortunately, the music isn’t so annoying that it will cause any interruption if used in the car, either.

Elmo Loves ABC’s HD
Price: $4.99
While this is a little more expensive iPad app, it does feature everyone’s favorite red monster, Elmo. The app features a large selection of activities involving the alphabet ranging from tracing letters to watching Sesame Street clips or coloring in drawing pages. Swiping the letters from side to side reveals interesting letter-facts, while Elmo helps you navigate the way. The nice part is that this app is entertaining and engaging for young toddlers, yet offers something for Kindergarten age kids happy, too, making it useful for perhaps more than one kid in your travel group.

Mom Maps
Price: $2.99
Have you ever been on the road, or in a new city, and desperately needed a place to let your little one out into the fresh air to just play? Yet, you had no idea where the nearest swing set was? Mom Maps is an awesome resource app for moms which helps locate parks and other kid-friendly activities near you. Although the vast majority of locations are centered in about 30 major geographic areas, there’s also some international spots marked, making this app a score for moms traveling just about anywhere with tots.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Dr. Morris Lessmore
Price: $4.99
Need a good interactive book to wow your tots? This book is full of interactive activities. While the plot is a little wordy for most 1-3 year olds to really grasp and understand, they will still love reading with you, or listening to the book read itself. The real gems of this, app, however, are the interactive portions. A piano pops up to play, you can make messes with virtual food and even swipe little fingers across the page to color on drawing pages. Not to mention, the interface is visually just plain cool to look at.

I Hear Ewe
Price: Free
This animal based app will surely keep little ones entertained. A selection of cards with cartoon animal faces simply play an animal noise when the card is touched. With  a set of vehicle cards, there’s lots for little ones to learn here. We love that the interface is simple enough for your child to use on their own, and it doesn’t take long before they remember that the cow goes “moo” and the frog says “Ribbit!”

NightyNight HD
Price: $2.99
Getting kids to go to sleep in an unfamiliar place can be a struggle. However, this adorable app may help with the bedtime routine. With a bedtime storyline, each scene of Nighty Night is beautifully illustrated, depicting animals headed off to bedtime – but somebody has to turn out the lights! Each scene has a hidden light switch that readers can switch to make the scene go dark. And why not have a finale with the lights going out in your hotel room?

Drum Kids HD
Price: $0.99
Toddlers love to make noise – it’s inevitable. Drum Kids is a great app for toddlers to tap the screen like a crazy person and make some fun music. The app interface has all sorts of musical drum instruments set up in a park-like setting. Kids can tap and touch different instruments to hear different sounds, as well as learn about the history and specific sound of each instrument – a neat feature for those 3 year olds who like to ask “why?”. It’s easy to use, and the noises aren’t nearly as intrusive as that Fisher Price piano sitting in your play room, so it’s not so bad in the car!

So there you have it! What are your favorites?