We stay current on all the newest technology available as a parent of a toddler. Although challenging, it can be helpful. But, it’s crucial to be aware of any potential disadvantages as with anything else.
Children’s brains develop at different speeds depending on their age, as we covered in one of our most recent pieces about screen use. While kids are still growing, spending too much time in front of a screen can prevent them from directly encountering scenarios that would help them better learn social skills and problem-solving.
We have also covered The Best Educational Apps for Preschoolers .
The importance of other activities for good child development, such as outdoor play and reading, is also diminished by screen time.
Below are some great educational applications for kids to help you avoid these mistakes and make the most of your child’s tablet time.
How We test and Review apps?
We decided to create our list of the best educational apps for kids. The app reviews were done using two different approaches. We selected a long list of apps according to several criteria and then subjected them to qualitative and quantitative testing. The first phase included a detailed analysis of the description and reviews provided by the developer itself. The information was compared against similar apps available in the market. Any discrepancy found was resolved using customer support services offered by the developers.
The second phase included testing the performance of these apps on an iPhone and an Android device. The devices used for testing varied based on the device availability at that time, but it always comprised smartphones and tablets. An Android application downloaded from the Google Play store and compatible with multiple devices can be easily tested on different devices for comparison. We limited our review to free applications available for download from Play Store and App Store.
The third phase included a review from parents (team family) who have used some of these apps with their children. We did not use any questionnaire or survey to collect this data; instead, we relied on personal experience. Parents were asked to share which app they preferred most among those they have personally tried out and why they picked that particular app over others.
A few of the things we test each app on:
- Is the app educational? Is it fun? Or is it an excellent idea that wasn’t thought through?
- Is the content appropriate for young children? Are there ads or in-app purchases that could be dangerous or confusing?
- Will our children want to play with it again? Will they ask us to download another one like it? Will they like to learn more about their learning while playing?
- Does the app run smoothly or crash often? Are there other glitches that could frustrate my child and make them lose interest in playing?
Below are the 8 Best Educational Apps for Kids
|App Name||Price||Ages/Grades||Why We Recommend||Features|
|Stack the States||$2.99||4-12||Best U.S. Geography||The geography of the United States can be taught to children fun and engagingly with Stack the States. It instructs children about the locations, forms, and capitals of each of the 50 states. The software employs fun pictures and quizzes to make it easier for kids to remember the material.|
|Khan Academy Kids||Free||2-7||General Learning||Many arithmetic, reading, and social-emotional learning activities are available on Khan Academy Kids’ website. It instructs kids fun and interestingly using animated cartoons, engaging games, and instructional films. Also, the software is free, making it available to everyone.|
|Barefoot World Atlas||$4.99||4+||Best World Geography||Kids may explore the world’s geography, cultures, and fauna with the help of the interactive globe known as the Barefoot World Atlas. It provides interactive maps, 3D animations, and interesting statistics about many nations. Kids are encouraged by the app to explore various cultures and respect the diversity in their environment.|
|Peekaboo Barn||$1.99||2-5||Best Animal Learning||Children may learn about animals and their sounds with the help of the adorable and engaging app Peekaboo Farm. Youngsters can tap on the barn doors to hear an animal’s voice and discover a different animal. The software is straightforward and quick to use, making it ideal for young kids just beginning to learn about their surroundings.|
|ScratchJr||Free||5-7||Best for Coding||Kids learn to make interactive stories and animations with the ScratchJr coding tutorial software. Kids may explore many programming ideas thanks to the clear and colorful block code it uses. The software is a fantastic resource for children interested in computer science because it promotes creativity and problem-solving abilities.|
|Play and Learn Engineering||Free||4-7||Play and Learn Engineering||Kids may learn about physics and engineering concepts using the Play and Learn Engineering app. It provides engaging puzzles and games that promote analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities. The app encourages kids to learn about how things work by using entertaining animations and vibrant pictures.|
|Writing Wizard||$4.99||4-8||Writing Practice||Kids can practice writing with the aid of the handwriting app Writing Wizard. Kids can practice writing letters, numbers, and words with the help of various tasks provided. The app’s engaging and dynamic design keeps students interested and inspired to develop their writing abilities.|
|Write About This||$3.99||6-12||Best for Creative Writing||An app called Write About This encourages students to write imaginatively. It provides a variety of writing prompts and graphics that inspire children to use their imaginations and create their own stories. The software is a fantastic tool for kids who wish to express their creativity through writing because it also lets them record their voices and make their pictures.|
1 Best U.S. Geography: Stack the States
Why We Recommend It: Stack the States is a fun geography app that helps kids learn the 50 states and capitals. The app is divided into multiple-choice questions to test your knowledge, and you earn a googly-eyed state for every correct answer.
- States are placed on a map in the order they’re earned.
- Kids get to stack and collect each state they win.
- The game teaches US geography, state capitals, shapes and locations.
- Another fun part of the game is that you can collect trivia facts about each state.
Stack the States is a geography app that asks kids to place states on top of each other, ensuring they’re in the right place. The goal is to build a tower of states. There are multiple-choice questions about each state, and if you answer correctly, you can move on to another question.
For example, if you get the question right about which state has an abbreviation that begins with LA, you stack Louisiana on top of Alabama, which is already in your tower. If you get the answer wrong, you have to take a state back off.
There’s one mode where the app only lets you pick the correct states; another enables you to play around and see what happens when you put a state in the wrong spot. The app also gives fun facts about each state and quizzes about flags and capitals. Kids can use their knowledge or look up answers by tapping on any state. It’s a fun way for kids to learn about US geography in a simple but entertaining way.
2. General Learning: Khan Academy Kids
Why We Recommend It: Khan Academy Kids is an app to help children learn, grow, and have fun. The app comprises a series of videos and interactive games divided into “books,” which emphasize different subjects like math, reading, art, and science.
- Kids have fun while learning
- Adaptive and personalized learning
- Parents can follow their children’s progress
- This app includes a library of more than 5,000 activities and lessons that are organized by children’s developmental stage.
- The app is organized around personalized learning, meaning the more it’s used the better it gets at determining where a child’s strengths and weaknesses are and tailoring the learning experience to fit their needs.
The activities are divided into five categories: play, learn, experience, grow, and explore. Children can choose from hundreds of interactive books on topics like dinosaurs, fairy tales, and planets as well as play games, engage in art projects and experiments, listen to stories read aloud by a narrator or recorded by family members in the “read along” feature, and even watch yoga videos or nature videos.
The title screen of Khan Academy Kids is a miniature cityscape with colorful characters representing each category. As kids click through the classes, they will see whimsical animations and personalities representing the activity they are about to begin. For example, “learn” is represented by a green woman dancing around her apartment while preparing for work. The animations are fun to watch over and over again.
The activities are broken up into simple tasks with instructions presented through text or illustrations. Sometimes kids must drag items into place to complete a task; other times, they tap on anything that catches their eye to make something move or change color.
3. Best World Geography: Barefoot World Atlas
Why We Recommend It: With the help of an entertaining selection of games and quizzes, users of the Barefoot World Atlas app may learn about various nations, locations, and historical details. For instance, users attempt to count the number of balloons hidden in a picture in one game. It’s an excellent method for kids to learn about geography and world cultures, and it even includes a feature that sends them to a “surprise” location when they shake their tablets.
- In-depth information on each country
- Audible pronunciations from native speakers
- Amazing photographs and video content
- 3D interactive globe
Kids can shake the gadget to be brought to a “surprise” location, anywhere from Maine to Egypt, and there are activities and quizzes to keep them learning. In addition to teaching kids about geography, it introduces them to different cultures and historical periods.
One of our favorite features is the ability to change the language settings for various languages, allowing youngsters to study those places in their language. We adore how this app encourages curiosity in the world around us by demonstrating to children how exciting exploring our planet can be.
4. Best Animal Learning: Peekaboo Barn
Why We Recommend It: We endorse this application because it’s easy to use and entertaining for younger users who enjoy learning about animals and their environments with their fingertips. There are several possibilities for your children to name animals when they get past some practically incomprehensible words by a child narrator.
- Kids will love the bright colors and cuddly animals.
- Each time you open the app, one of the 12 farm animals is randomly chosen.
- You can record a voice for every animal, so if you tap on the green button in the upper right corner, you can record your voice saying the name of each animal.
- If you keep pressing the screen, it reveals each animal’s sounds and its name.
Children between the ages of 1 and 3 should use the app Peekaboo Farm.
The app’s main screen features a barn with doors that open to show an animal and its sound.
The animal will make its sound when a youngster knocks on the barn doors, and then a portion of the barn will come away to reveal another area of the scenario where a different animal will arrive.
When every barn door has been opened, the app restarts with a new barn and new animals, but with the same action sequence:
- Open the doors to reveal one animal.
- Tap on it to hear its sound.
- Watch as a portion of the barn collapses to disclose another animal.
5. Best for Coding: ScratchJr
Why We Recommend It: We recommend this app to parents of kids age 5 and up who are interested in learning to code. It’s a good example of learning a skill in a fun way without realizing it.
- The app teaches coding, which can be a great skill for kids to learn.
- It also teaches programming and that may be helpful for them to learn later in life.
- Lifelong learning is one of the best things that kids can learn from the app.
- Kids who are five are generally just starting to read so they need something that is easy to use and this app is good at that.
There are many mind-opening kid apps out there, but the ScratchJr app is made with the MIT educational team’s help. The app allows you to program interactive stories and games using a drag-and-drop interface (with some preloaded sprites and backgrounds) and text commands.
Technology is often used as a substitute for real learning, but this app is explicitly designed to encourage kids to get involved in problem-solving, debugging their code, and even creating their programming language to share with others. “It’s a good example of learning a skill in a fun way without realizing it,” said the parent of a 5-year-old tester.
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The app includes basic programming instructions and three projects: One game involves catching falling fruit, while another focuses on identifying and expressing sounds through music. A third project lets kids create their animations. It also has 12 projects, including ones involving sequencing events or taking turns between two characters. The app also connects to computing platforms like Amazon Web Services to easily share ScratchJr creations.
6. Play and Learn Engineering
Why We Recommend It: Play & Learn: Engineering, which has been tried by over a thousand parents, teachers, and kids, is a hit in our home. This app has it all: bright, slightly silly characters that are wonderful for keeping kids entertained, entertaining sounds and music, and a terrific mix of exercises that let kids use their imaginations and problem-solving skills while also learning Scientific concepts like gravity, speed, and force.
It’s also been a major hit with my 6-year-old nephew, who is currently really into robots, and her 11-year-old sister, even though it’s intended for toddlers (who are more interested in roller coasters).
- Design a marble run for your classroom
- Choose from an array of tubes, funnels, and other tracks to roll marbles through.
- Children can build a contraption and experiment with different types of shapes and materials.
- Watch your classroom comes alive with new inventions and experiments.
Gravity, force, air pressure, momentum, and speed are the five concepts each activity builds around. Youngsters can create their roller coaster or construct a functional robot from the ground up. They will learn how to use pulleys and levers to move objects up and down as they play through each activity or connect ramps and wheels to make automobiles drive quicker down hills.
Children in the exam acquired concepts that they could easily explain later by measuring angles and lengths with simple tools like a ruler and protractor or guiding a robot through a maze with an eraser (much more quickly than they could have explained) beforehand).
7. Writing Wizard
Why We Recommend It: We think your little one would love our recommended app, Writing Wizard. Its features include adorable sound effects, fun stickers, and cool rainbow designs along with the writing practice.
- Write, trace, and learn with an interactive art pad with many features to keep kids engaged.
- Playful sound effects, stickers, and rainbow designs make this app an excellent environment for kids to trace capital and lowercase letters.
- The Writing Wizard is an excellent app for learning to write letters.
8. Best for Creative Writing: Write About This
Why We Recommend It: We’re all about encouraging kids to express themselves, and sometimes that happens best with a little help from technology. Write About is a writing app that encourages creativity and storytelling through words, photos, and illustrations.
Photographs—inspired by daily life (vacations, family, pizza) or special occasions (birthdays, holidays) that brought out the storytellers in our testers (ages seven and up). Sibs or friends can even work on a piece together. The app also allows kids to start with their picture or idea.
The prompts are easy to use and intuitive, as they can be found in text boxes that users type into or as pictures in which they can add their text. The images are straightforward enough that young kids can easily add text boxes to them if they wish.
As for the stories, we found the writing apps produced by Write About to be well-designed for visual learners: kids who might not like traditional writing products may find more success with a format where they aren’t limited to just words on paper. Write About encourages creativity and storytelling through words, photos, and illustrations, regardless of your medium.
Parvinder Singh is a seasoned IT developer and network engineer with over 5 years of experience. He is also a skilled tech columnist, offering insights on the latest trends and developments in the tech industry.