5 Apps for the Traveling Toddler

Plus, Learn How to Toddler-proof Your iPad.

albert mollon

Whether you're gearing up for a long road trip or boarding a plane with your toddler in tow, determining how you will keep your young child entertained while traveling is top of mind for most parents. 

While iPads and tablets have been a game-changer for many traveling families, it's important to keep in mind general guidelines about young children and screen time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, screen time -- including iPads, computers and television -- should be avoided as much as possible for children under 2.

For toddlers and preschoolers, one to two hours of screen time a day should be the maximum allowed. 

Traveling does present a special circumstance for many families when it comes to screen time, but a good rule of thumb is to exhaust all non-screen options with your toddler before turning to the iPad or tablet. Keeping your child entertained with screen time toward the end of trip will likely help you manage his or her increasing restlessness. These apps offer educational and fun options perfect for engaging your traveling toddler. 



A great app to keep even the youngest toddlers busy for a few minutes in the car, Peek-a-Zoo will help your child learn animal sounds and names with fun, colorful graphics and silly sounds. The easy-to-use app features all of your favorite zoo animals: lions, a peacock, bears and more. You can also check out other Peek-a-Zoo apps: Peek-a-Zoo Underwater, Peek-a-Zoo Train and Peek-a-Zoo Moo.


Endless Alphabet 


While it may not actually be “endless,” the Endless Alphabet app features animated words that can help your older toddler or preschooler master letters and sounds. With fun characters, this entertaining app includes more than 50 words to learn. 

PBS Kids 


You’ll need an Internet connection (a cellular data plan or Wi-Fi) to use the PBS Kids, but this app is great for kids under the age of 5.

It includes video shorts as well as full episodes of your toddler's favorite PBS children’s programming, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Curious George, Peg + Cat, The Dinosaur Train, SUPER WHY!, Wild Kratts, Sesame Street and more. And, it’s free!



Tozzle is an easy-to-play app that mimics traditional wooden jigsaw puzzles. The app currently comes with 41 colorful puzzle pictures — like a farm scene, numbers, letters, zoo animals, trains — and updates include new puzzles. Toddlers can drag and drop the shapes and when they solve the puzzle, the app makes sound effects by touching the pictures. 

Little Stars


Five friends embark on a journey to catch stars in Little Stars, a fully interactive storybook app for toddlers. The app includes 30 illustrated pages with interactive features that match the action in the story as well as two bonus games. 

My Coloring Book Free 

Free ($.99 in-app purchase to remove ads)

With nearly 300 coloring pages, the My Coloring Book Free app is fun and engaging for kids of all ages as well as adults.

The coloring app lets you zoom in and out, choose colors from a color wheel and automatically saves work. You can even set your toddler's masterpiece as wallpaper on your iPad or iPhone. 

How to Manage Your Toddler's iPad Access

You're not alone if you've ever handed your iPad over to your toddler and crossed your fingers that he doesn't accidentally email your boss or download pricey games from the App Store. Toddlers are also great at pressing random buttons, forcing mom and dad to continually reset the show or app your little one was supposed to be playing with.

There are ways to manage your child's access. Guided access on your iPad is controlled with a password and allows you to limit access to one app, as well as turn off and on features of that app. Follow the directions to enable guided access on your iPad or other Apple device. 

You can also enable restrictions on your iPad, and turn off access to photos, email, the iTunes store and more. This will allow your child to toddle between apps if needed. 

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