iPad Apps for Early Years: a few ideas to get you started.

 Staple Apps for your iPad

My Story

This app is a simple book creator app and is great for making multi-modal texts. Children can insert photographs, clipart, saved images. They can also record their voice and there are a range of mark making tools for them to write and record their ideas. Read more about introducing My Story on this post here.

Puppet Pals


This is a puppet show app and children can quickly create a story with characters and backgrounds in 3 simple steps. The app records their voice and playback is instant. Puppet shows export as videos to the iPad’s camera roll.

Here is a good YouTube video which demonstrates the Puppet Pals App
Here is an example of children’s work from my class:

Puppet Pals is so versatile and can be used beyond story telling. It can support non-fiction, instruction texts, science and mathematics. Find out more about using Puppet Pals beyond story telling here.

Green Screen Movie FX, Morfo and iMovie
These apps are great for creating content on iPads making use of audio and visuals. I showcased the possibilities of these Apps when used with an iPad 2. You can read more about these on my blog here.



The beloved BeeBot which is common in most settings now has launched as a free App on iPad. The App works the same as the programmable toy, but progresses through a series of levels which increases the difficulty. After using the real toy, children can move back to the App to progress to the harder levels. Here are some more programming apps for early years. Read about computing in the early years here.

Toca Boca role play games

These are a series of great role play games than enhance talking and imaginative play beyond the screen.

These apps can be planned for in your role play areas. The Toca Boca Store puts children in to the role of shopkeeper and customer, they need to set up a shop and sell goods to their friends. Children count out money 1 at a time and then pack their bag for life. This can be used within shop role play, helping children to use the vocabulary for this kind of play. There is also Toca Boca Birthday which aids role play for a birthday party. These apps are multi-touch so children can play together.
Here are a few trailers for these apps:

Pocket Phonics


We enjoy this app as it is one of only a few which has a changeable font, the ability to increase/decrease the sensitivity of mark making for tracing letter shapes and it also voices our phonemes as we would following the Letters and Sounds guidance. The App also follows the Letters and Sounds phases and sets.



This App works like magnetic letters on a magnetic board. Child have access to all the graphemes and phonemes they will be taught across the phases and they simply scroll and select the ones they need to spell a word or sentence. It’s great because it can take a lot of time to set up your magnetic letters and then children might want to spell something you haven’t got the right digraphs or letters for, this app has everything ready for you. The authors of this app also has a letter formation app which allows you to record your own sounds for so your children hear the correct pronunciation. There’s a number and counting App from these guys too which is worth a look.

Sparkle Paint or Doodle Buddy.

This is simple mark making App which supports emergent writing just like any other mark making provision in our settings. The App creates a sparkly line as children trace their finger over the screens, this is accompanied by magical sounds too.

Apps for Topic Planning

Check out these featured collections of apps for themed learning:

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Be sure to check out my Recommended Apps page for more apps to use in your setting and if you have purchased multiple iPads, read about enrolling to the Volume Purchase Program and using mobile device management here.

Download Now:

dj.rqimcdlo.600x600-75Enabling Environments: iPads in the Early Years

This book has been designed to introduce you to iPads and how they can be used within Early Years. Marc Faulder is a practising Early Years teacher from Nottingham, UK. As an Apple Distinguished Educator, Marc offers practical advice in this book, with video tutorials and examples of children’s work straight from his classroom. The book guides you through a Portfolio of Changes, helping you to understand how each section can transform learning in your setting.


5 thoughts on “iPad Apps for Early Years: a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Hi Marc. I have tried to email you via your contact page but have been unsuccessful so i thought i would try via here! I am currently chair of a derby based play group, we have children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 4. I am a teacher myself too! We have secured ??2000 worth of funding towards ict equipment and are thinking of purchasing 2/3 iPads. Would really like some advice/guidance of the benefits? Having read your blog I like the sound of what you do and your obvious passion for this area. Would be great if you would contact me to discuss. Regards Fliss Moore

  2. Hi Marc.??<div><br></div><div>Thanks for getting back to me. Would be great if you could help us. We are a small playgroup, i chair the commitee not work at it. We have just secured ??2000 to spend on ict equipment but don't really know where to start. We were thinking iPads but the staff who will be using them do not have one and have had no training. Not sure of apps to use etc etc………in addition one or two of the members of the committee are in opposition to this, they have various different reasons for this but seem to need a little convincing.??</div> <div><br></div><div>We next meet to discuss this on mon June 25th in the evening, don't suppose you fancy coming along to give us some insight? We are a charitable organisation and funds are very limited I am afraid, so payment to you would be tricky….I'll buy you a beer if that is any good???</div> <div><br></div><div>Thanks??</div><div>Fliss??<span></span></div>

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