Best Android, iPhone and iPad games and apps for kids and toddlers (2016 edition)

The most magical and pristine period of the year is upon us! Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa are just around the corner, which means that the time has come for the entire family to gather and celebrate in joyful bliss.

While each individual family may have its own unique way of commemorating the holidays, the focal points of our festivities largely remain the same – we spend some quality time with our loved ones, enjoy a special meal or two (or more!) and exchange some great gifts.

Kids in particular are crazy about that last part... you know, the gift related one, which is hardly surprising considering that they usually end up receiving the best goodies.

Knowing our readership, we can safely assume that anyone who is a parent or has a little relative that is special to them has at least entertained the thought of getting them a smartphone or a tablet for the holidays. To those of you that went ahead and bought such a device – congratulations! We're sure the little rascal(s) would be ecstatic. But if you really want your kids and toddlers to make the most out of them, you're going to need more than just the gadget – you have to provide them with some great games and apps that must be entertaining, engaging and, most importantly, educational at the same time. We have prepared a collection of apps that are designed with these thoughts in mind and will keep the little ones entertained for long. 

Our selection features a total of 10 apps, which we've distributed into three age groups – for ages 5 and under, 6 to 8 and 9 to 11. Both Google Play and Apple's App Store offer a tremendous amount of these titles, and we have done our best to pick some quality apps that will keep your child engaged and amused for a long time! 

#1 Kids Learning Puzzles PUZZINGO

Price: Free ($14.99 full version, individual puzzles $2.99)
Category: Educational puzzles
Best for kids ages: 5 and under

Fun? Check. Educational? You bet. PUZZINGO is a very entertaining puzzle game that also improves your kids' vocabulary, memory and cognitive skills. It supports several languages, including British and American English, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin. Unlike a normal jigsaw puzzle, every puzzle piece in PUZZINGO has a name which is voiced by professional voice actors. 

#2 Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen

Price: Free ($2.99 full version)
Category: Alphabet
Best for kids ages: 5 and under

Chef Elmo and the Cookie Monster team up to help your child with learning vowels and new words by creating letter cookies. Kids can use their imagination to color their creations, “eat” them afterwards or share them with Elmo and the Cookie Monster.

#3 Artie's World

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
Category: Drawing
Best for kids ages: 5 and under

Artie and his magic pencil go on a world tour of sorts. The app has nice visuals and is very straightforward but entertaining at the same time – the main character goes around the world and you have to help him draw different animals and items by connecting the dots. Once you connect all the dots, your creation springs to life with cute animations and high-quality audio. 

#4 Storypanda Books

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
Category: Interactive stories
Best for kids ages: 5 and under

This app is pretty neat – it lets you read interactive stores with multiple choices and even edit and customize them to create completely new ones. You can then share and exchange your creations with other families to enjoy.

#5 Wuwu & Co. 

Price: $2.99
Category: Interactive story
Best for kids ages: 6 to 8

Wuwu & Co. provides a very unique way of storytelling. You can either read or listen to the story while your phone/tablet is facing down, but when held upright, the devices becomes a “magical window” into the world where the story unfolds.

#6 Toca Lab 

Price: $2.99 
Category: Educational game
Best for kids ages: 6+

Toca Lab is a fun game that even adults can learn from. All of the 118 elements from the periodic table are made into characters with different traits and can be experimented with different lab tools. 

#7 TeleStory

Price: Free
Category: Creative app
Best for kids ages: 6 to 8

Telestory is an app that gives kids a background scene, costumes, cue cards, and special effects to create their own TV shows. These shows can be recorded on the camera roll for the entire family to enjoy.

#8 Music4Kids

Price: $2.99
Category: Composing/Creative
Best for kids ages: 6 to 8

Music4Kids can inspire your child to become a little composer. Kids can write and play music at the same time and can also go through 140 challenges which were created by a professional composer. 

#9 Weird But True

Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
Category: Educational
Best for kids ages: 9+

A solid educational app from National Geographic with more than 900 interesting facts that are delivered in a fun way through multimedia. A must-have for curious children and parents.

#10 Middle school Confidential Series

Price: $6.99 for 3 book bundle or $2.99 per book
Category: Collection of books
Best for kids ages: 8-14

Most people that went through middle school will tell you it's a pretty weird experience. Your world is changing thanks to the first signs of puberty, friendships can disappear in an instant and bullies lurk at every corner. Written by teen expert Annie Fox, The Middle school Confidential graphic novels aim to guide your pre-teen through these chaotic times.

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