Something about the large, 3.5-inch screen and simple interactive controls of the iPhone makes it a magnet for toddlers’ sticky fingers. As parents all around the world have discovered, Apple’s smartphone isn’t just a useful tool for adults, but a handy toy for kids of all ages.

Thanks to the App Store, there’s also a massive selection of applications specifically designed with children in mind. Whether it is an educational game or an interactive book, iPhone apps for kids can not only keep the little tykes entertained, but also help them learn through engaging interactive experiences.

There are thousands of kids’ apps available for the iPhone. Here are ten of the best.

1. ABC for Kids

Price: Free 

The national broadcaster has been paving the path of excellence when it comes to entertainment programming for kids. This free iPhone app sets a new bar, with access to music and video content from the ABC for Kids TV station. And if you run out of free content, there are links to buy more video and music through iTunes.

2. The Cat in the Hat

Price: $4.49
Link: itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-cat-in-the-hat-dr.-seuss

The timeless Dr. Seuss classic, The Cat in the Hat, is given a whole new lease on life as an iPhone application. With the same gorgeous art styling as the book, the app offers different reading modes for different skill levels, including professional narration and background sounds. The universal app will also work on iPads.

3. Baby Piano

Price: $1.99
Link: itunes.apple.com/au/app/baby-piano

The iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen may seem a little small to play the piano properly with your large, adult-sized fingers, but toddlers have small fingers perfect for banging out notes on a touchscreen. With three different audio modes, from notes to animal noises, the ability to play along with ten classic tunes and recording functions for up to three songs, it’s much cheaper than a real piano and almost as much fun.

4. Pictureka

Price: $0.99
Link: itunes.apple.com/au/app/pictureka!-world

It’s fast, it’s fun, and it makes you think, which is exactly what you want in an iPhone game for kids, right? Based on the popular board game, Pictureka sees you search for particular objects amid masses of hand drawn cartoons. Available in single player or multiplayer, it’s challenging enough to keep your child interested for extended periods of time.

5. ColorPlay

Price: $0.99
Link: itunes.apple.com/au/app/colorplay

The app store is full of colouring-in applications designed to act as a virtual canvas for your child’s creativity. ColorPlay not only offers 20 different colouring experiences across multiple themes, but also animates the drawings once they’ve been coloured.

6. Wheels on the Bus

Price: $0.99
Link: itunes.apple.com/au/app/wheels-on-the-bus

If you’ve ever enjoyed singing the classic children’s song The Wheels on the Bus with your toddler, you’ll appreciate the joyful simplicity of this app. It lets your child engage with the bus, while listening to the classic song in five different languages. It even lets you record yourself singing the song for a more personal touch.

7. Cars 2

Price: $0.99
Link: itunes.apple.com/au/app/cars-2

All the joy of Pixar’s latest animated masterpiece has been packed into this side-scrolling platform racer. With the ability to choose from four different characters and three different locations to race, the game is simple enough for your young people to enjoy while recreating some of the movie’s magic.

8. Eric Carle’s My Very First App

Price: $1.99
Link: itunes.apple.com/au/app/eric-carles-my-very-first-app

Beloved children’s author Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has lent his distinctive artistic style to this new educational app. Based upon the artworks from Carle’s My Very First Books, the game offers three difficulty levels for advancing children through memory and association skills in six different languages.

9. Ocarina

Price: $0.99
Link: itunes.apple.com/au/app/ocarina

Another instrument app, this time one that uses the iPhone’s microphone to register users blowing in order to make sound. Based on the ancient woodwind instrument, the app offers simple controls to create music, as well as some advanced sharing features. Just make sure your kids know not to blow saliva into your iPhone’s port…

10. ABC Animals

Price: $1.99
Link: itunes.apple.com/au/app/abc-animals

Incredible in its simplicity, ABC Animals helps teach kids their alphabet with engaging animal illustrations, audio recordings of each letter’s name and sound, plus the ability to practice tracing letters on the iPhone’s screen. It also teaches the alphabet in German, French and Spanish for multi-lingual families.