I have a 3yo and an 18 mo; Little boy gets up early so we usually go downstairs and hang out on the couch and play on the iPad. I am consistently amazed at how FAST he “gets” the apps in terms of vocabulary, numbers, matching games, etc.
Little girl is older so gets it even more — she grew up with Mickey Mouse and Elmo on the iPad and is smart as a whip.
At one point I even contemplated getting another iPad so the kids would each have one to play with but realized it’s better if they learn to take turns and share. iPad apps have come a long way IMO.
Trust me though they still play with pens and paper and glue sticks and bubbles, blah, blah, blah. The iPad is just another tool in their educational arsenal.