No More iPad Guilt: 9 Speech Pathologist Recommended Guilt Free Apps for Kids

The kind of pressure parents are under to create this completely organic, non-technological, enriching environment all the time for their kids is insane. We are human, and it’s ok for our kids, and other parents, to see us as such. As humans, we need a break. At least once a day, realistically, multiple times a day. When you need that break, you may hand your child an iPad. This is fine, you shouldn’t feel guilty, or be made to feel guilty by anyone. You need a break before you have a breakdown, and if anyone says anything about it, you tell them, while I’m taking a break my kid is learning, then you pretend to drop an imaginary bomb while saying “booooom” really slowly. Trust me on this one, it’s effective.

To help you feel even better about your break, I have recommended some apps that you can download for your kid while you get things done, or do nothing at all.

1.    All about sounds

I’ve used this app for kids working on a variety of different sounds. It’s a matching game. You can pick a phoneme for your child to work on and have them say the names of images out loud while finding the match.

Cost: Free, although the HD version is $2.00

Works offline: Yes

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Recommended ages: 2+


2.    Preschool and kindergarten learning games free for toddler

I recently downloaded this app, I like it because it’s more like an activity center with all of the options that it offers. It’s great for practicing or introducing phonics and general pre-reading and writing skills. Check out their website for more apps,

Cost: Free, although many features are locked until you pay for the upgrade.

Works offline: yes

Compatibility: iPhone and iPad (iPad recommended)

Recommended ages: any child at a preschool/kindergarten reading/writing level


3.    Toonware categories for speech and language therapy

This app was recommended by a colleague. It teaches kids how to categorize and is divided into different levels (easy, medium, hard). I haven’t used this with clients yet, but it looks like fun and it’s easy to use. It also comes in Turkish and Spanish.

Cost: $4.99

Works offline: yes

Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad

Recommended ages: 3-7 years

4.    Speech with Milo (verbs)

Fun app that teaches kids new verbs and how to use them. The child can go through Milo’s different actions and hear the new verbs used in a phrase. There are two additional versions of this app which teach kids prepositions and sequencing. This is an animation heavy app, so it may take a while to download.

Cost: $2.99

Works offline: yes

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Recommended ages: 1-7 years


5. Felt Board

An electronic version of a traditional felt board where you arrange cutouts to create different scenes. I like this because it’s a new version of a classic pastime. Let your kids have fun with this and discuss the scenes they’ve created after they done.

Cost: $2.99

Works offline: yes

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad

Recommended ages: 4+


6. Berts Bag

Kids get to shake Berts bag and count the number of items that fall out. The items are random (bottlecaps, marbles etc.), so children learn to label things while counting.

Cost: $1.99

Works offline: yes

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Recommended ages: 1-5 years


7. Now Louie

This is a story about a mischievous cat who always does the opposite of what his owner tells him to. Children can turn the pages of the story at their leisure and listen to all of the cat’s naughty behavior. In my experience, kids want to go through this story at least twice by themselves.

Cost: Free

Works offline: yes

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Recommended ages: 2-6 years



This isn’t a game so much, it’s short clips of old trains riding down tracks and pulling into stations. I used this as a reward with one of my autistic clients who loved trains. One word of advice if you’re using this with kids who may perseverate on activities, use this in combination with the sand timer (I’ll explain that below). It’ll help ease the perseveration.

Cost: Free

Works offline: yes

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad,

Recommended ages: 1+



Kids learn to identify words that sound the same. It’s a great way to introduce rhyming which is important for pre reading skills. I’ve suggested this app to parents and have had good feedback.

Cost: $0.99

Works offline: yes

Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Recommended ages: anyone learning to read



This is not an activity, it is a timer that I use to keep track of length of activities. I like it because you can pick different songs to play when time is up. It also works while you’re on other apps. It’s a good way to keep kids on track while playing these games.


Things that I’m into…

I didn’t want to only focus on the kids, moms and dads need to relax too! So here are some relaxing activities that I’m into at the moment.

Wheel of Fortune App: Yes, playing Wheel of Fortune on my phone conjures up an image of a woman surrounded by cats. That is not me…even though I love cats. However, when I’m home, and have nothing to do, (or when I have 193,295 things to do) I break open my Wheel of Fortune app on my phone and play for big money!…ok it’s pretend money, but it’s still really fun.

Books: I am currently reading Without You There is no Us by Suki Kim. It’s a memoir about this woman who taught in an elite North Korean school. It’s good, although I feel like she is dragging some of the content out to create a book out of what could have been a long article. It’s entertaining though, and a quick read.

TV: I may lose readers after I say this, but I’m not ashamed, I watch reality TV! The worst kind….The Real Housewives series. Go ahead, close your browser in disgust….and then secretly watch all of the episodes you have saved on your DVR 😉 While I wait for RHOBH to come back on, I’ve been watching this show called Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce on the Fuse network. Take a look at it, it’s heartwarming and interesting, but you will be required to keep an open mind. Tell me what you think after! **this is not a show to watch with your kids.

Briana Evans, CCC-SLP is a licensed, certified speech language pathologist and owner of Speech Quest Speech and Language Therapy. She specializes in articulation, reading skills and early language development. She graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. In addition, she is working toward certification in PROMPT therapy, a kinesthetic articulation technique. She currently provides in-home or at-school services for children and teens. She believes in a lifestyle approach to speech therapy, which includes embedding support throughout the client’s daily life.

Twitter: @speech_quest

About the author

Briana Evans

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