Educational apps for toddlers

Kindergarten teachers give tips on how to make the best use of kids' screen time

It's nearly impossible to keep young kids away from phones and tablets these days, so might as well make make the most of screen time with educational apps and games. We asked Beijing pre-school teachers to share their favourites.

Pigs and dragons

Suggested by David Parra, English specialist, Etonkids

Peppa’s Activity Maker


This app actually encourages kids to put down their devices! Get active and creative by following the app’s suggestions for fun activities, from indoor play (such as bubble painting) to outdoor fun (such as a bug hunt). You can also indicate how much time you have to complete each activity. Skills involved include fine motor skills, imagination, interacting with colours and hand-eye coordination. Available on iTunes and Google Play, free

The Joy of Reading


This app has a ready- made set of fun exercises for children who are learning to read. It uses different activities that help kids with early reading skills and basic symbol recognition, as well as letter sounds, rhymes and vowel sounds. Available on iTunes, USD3.99



With this app children can build their own bio- domes that represent different wetland habitats, and learn about the plants and animals that live in it. It’s a fun and interactive way of finding out more about nature, an important pastime for children growing up in a city. Available on iTunes, USD2.99

The Story of Dracolino


This app is an interactive storybook about a little dragon who is trying to understand his feelings and how to respond to them. By helping the dragon develop his emotions, children gain a better understanding of important emotional concepts and skills, including how to handle embarrassment and develop the confidence to achieve goals that are not in line with normal expectations. Available on iTunes, USD3.99

Monsters Behave!


This app teaches children about good manners in an entertaining way. The monsters are so ugly that they are cute, and their bad manners are the only scary thing about them. With the help of Mama Monster, kids teach the monsters to behave better, all the while laughing and enjoying themselves. Available on iTunes, USD1.99

Learn Chinese the fun way

Suggested by Nana Zhang, kindergarten teacher, House of Knowledge, Quanfa campus

Fun Chinese


This app is a Mandarin course for children, presenting lessons in the form of little games that teach Chinese words to kids across an age range of three to ten. It uses songs, sound effects and cartoons, and each lesson focuses on core vocabulary with instant feedback on how well you did. Available on iTunes and Google Play, free

Magikid Pinyin


Specifically made for older kids between six and eight years old, this app teaches pinyin through games and challenges. Every consonant and syllable combination has its own original animation and games, and engages the young learner with a variety of fun reading, writing, singing and pronunciation exercises. Available on iTunes, free

Monki Chinese class


Is your child ready to learn Chinese writing? Then let them loose on this app, which will start them off on some basic Chinese characters over three levels of difficulty and three tracing speeds. To help absorb meaning, each word is represented by an illustration and accompanied by colourful animations and engaging sound effects. Available on iTunes and Google Play, free

Mandarin Flash Cards


This app makes flash cards fun for kids who are three years old and older, covering over 450 important beginner words in areas of food, animals, numbers and colours. It uses large fonts and buttons, and has the option of playing on question mode which allows parents and children to interact and learn together. Available on iTunes and Google Play, USD1.99

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