The 2021 holiday season is already upon us! Can you believe it? In a year that has been full of unexpected and challenging events, I think we could all use a little bit of the comfort and joy that comes with the holidays. As an Occupational Therapist (OT) working in both clinic and community settings, […]
25 FREE Educational Apps for Kids
Tablets and smartphones are part of our daily lives and they have become a window to learning for the little ones if the right applications are used. Several studies have shown that many of the educational applications designed for children stimulate the development of the brain and cognitive functions. In addition, they are a very useful strategy to introduce children to new areas of knowledge, while helping promote some everyday skills and habits.
Here you can find 25 apps for Apple and Android that will keep your kids entertained:
1. Lazoo: Squiggles (2+)
Preschool-age children will enjoy drawing squiggles on pictures and then watching their creations come to life.
2. PBS Kids Video (2+)
Ad-free access to 14 of the most popular preschool shows aired on PBS.
3. Baby Bus Magical Seeds (2+)
Preschoolers will plant a magical seed and then go along for an adventure as it sprouts.
4. Fish School (2+)
Fish School exposes your preschooler to important concepts like letters, numbers, shapes, colors, matching, and more. Brightly colored schools of fish form letters, shapes, and the numbers 1–20, and your child can make the fish swim and do funny things with a simple touch and drag. Fish School is the winner of a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and a Children’s Technology Review Editor’s Choice Award.
5. ABCmouse Early Learning Academy (2+)
ABCmouse is offering the first month of online learning free. After the first month, subscriptions start at $9.95/mo. On ABCmouse, your child can play educational games and puzzles and partake in a curriculum of reading, math, art, music, and science for ages 2-8.
6. Spanish School Bus for Kids (3+ )
With over 60 levels, this game is sure to keep your kids occupied. The app covers 300 of the most commonly used Spanish nouns, verbs and adjectives, broken down by different themes, such as animals and colors.
7. DuckDuckMoose (3+)
Designed for preschoolers and kindergarteners, DuckDuckMoose is an app featuring puzzles, maps, and interactive music games.
8. Sesame Street Go (3+)
This app contains hundreds of clips of the popular kids’ show Sesame Street. Parents can choose specific subjects that they’d like to focus on and then save them to a list for their kids to watch. The app also includes educational games.
9. Dela Kids – Learn English (3+)
This is a free alphabet app that helps young children who are just starting their journey into learning the English language. The apps aim is to aid children in knowing the letters of the alphabet, being able to form the letters correctly and to gain confidence in their first steps into the English language.
10. Teach Your Monster to Read (3+)
Teach your “Monster” to Read is an award winning app that teaches children to read in a fun and simplistic manner. The app covers the first two years of reading, from matching letters and sounds to enjoying books.
11. Phonics Ninja (4+)
Your preschooler can slash her way through letter sounds, blends, and digraphs with this cute ninja. The game uses sight, sound, and touch to help your child learn important phonics skills, and with three difficulty settings, the game advances as she does. You can even record your own audio clues, so your child can hear your voice — or even her own — in the game.
12. Pet Bingo by Duck Duck Moose (4+)
Pet Bingo is a fun and cute way for your kids to develop math skills through play. The problems slant toward an older audience, with bingo games designed to test math skills through primary school (e.g. 4-digit addition and subtraction). There is a free and premium version for this app.
13. Vocabulary Spelling City (4+)
Vocabulary Spelling City is a great app for kids learning how to read or build up their budding vocabularies. The free version of the app offers 10 learning games and 10 word lists to help keep your child challenged and focused.
14. Scratch Jr. (5+)
Scratch Jr. teaches children as young as five the basics of coding. Designed by researchers at Tufts University and MIT, the app was inspired by the Scratch programming language, redesigned for a younger audience. Your child can make the app’s adorable characters move, jump, and even dance and sing by snapping together different programming blocks. In addition to learning how to code, he’ll also be learning problem solving, design, and how to create his own story.
Awesome Eats is a fun, simple app that teaches kids healthy eating, pattern recognition and sorting. Players have to sort fruits and vegetables into baskets before they reach the end of the conveyor belt and hit the floor. Between levels, the app displays fun facts about eating right.
16. Poptropica (6+)
Poptropica is a story-based game that has kids create their own characters and complete educational quests. When a quest is accomplished, kids get a prize!
17. GoNoodle (6+)
GoNoodle offers movement and mindfulness videos that are the perfect substitute for your child’s regularly scheduled school gym class. The app aims to provide children with physical, academic, and social-emotional tools and overall wellness. GoNoodle has videos for children of all abilities.
18. Pizza Fractions 1 (6+)
Does your elementary-aged kid need some extra help with fractions? What more delicious way to illustrate the concept than with pizza? Pizza Fractions 1 gives your child a visual approach to fractions with denominators 1–12 (excluding sevenths and elevenths), and adjustable difficulty levels let beginners start with the basics and progress as they learn. Math has never been so tasty!
19. NASA Visualization Explorer (7+)
NASA Visualization Explorer, or NASA Viz, is the coolest way to explore the latest news and stories about the Earth, the sun, and the universe. The app features stunning images and video from space and animations that can make challenging concepts easier to understand. Older kids will love diving into everything this app has to offer on their own, and your younger ones can begin learning about the planets and stars with your help.
20. Lobster Diver (9+)
Developed by the Learning Games Lab at New Mexico State University, Lobster Diver was designed by educators and researchers. Kids play as divers looking for lobsters, and along the way encounter numbers, number systems, number lines and fractions.
21. Middle School Math Planet (10+)
Does your middle schooler need to brush up on important math concepts like geometry, fractions, and mixed numbers? Middle School Math Planet teaches these and other math skills through over 30 games that support Common Core State Standards. Fly spaceships and help aliens complete tasks in these out-of-this-world games designed by learning scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.
22. HudsonAlpha iCell (11+)
HudsonAlpha iCell is a free science app with cool, interactive graphics that help kids learn about animal, bacteria and plant cells at their own pace. The ability to manipulate the cell structures, enlarging them and rotating them, as kids learn about different parts of the cell is engaging and provides great interactivity.
23. SkyView® Free – Explore the Universe (11+)
SkyView app is one of the free astronomy apps that allow kids to see what’s in the sky above them. They point the device in any direction and see what planets, constellations, and even satellites are in the sky. When they see something, they can tap on it, and then read a bunch of facts about it.
24. Science360 (12+)
The National Science Foundation’s Science360 app (for tablets only) brings cutting-edge science and engineering news, images, and video right to your child’s fingertips. All content is either produced by the NSF or gathered from scientists and universities around the world, so you can be assured that your child is receiving the best quality information out there, and new content is added every week. Your kid will love the cool 360-degree view that lets him explore images from every angle.
25. Coolmath Games (13+)
Coolmath Games features math activities and games for anyone ages 13 to 100. Coolmath Games is a brain-training app, where logic & thinking meet fun and games. These games have no violence, no empty action, just a lot of challenges that will make you forget you’re getting a mental workout! Escaping pigs, flying zombies, a bear who loves riding scooters, and much more!