It can be difficult to keep your kids occupied sometimes, especially when schools are closed. Th good news is that there are lots of fun-filled educational apps that can keep little ones engaged while you’re working from home or simply when you need some well-deserved me-time.
While many parents have a no-screens policy or they’re limiting the amount of time their kids spend in front of screens, allowing your kids more screen time may feel like a necessity when school is out and you’re working from home.
Below you’ll find some of the best educational apps for kids, grouped by ages. If your kids seem to be glued to their iPads, you might as well have the learn something in the process. The list of educational apps below has something for each age range, and your kids are sure to love them.
Let’s dive in!
Best Educational Learning Apps for Toddlers (1-3 Years)
1. Hungry Caterpillar Play School
This app is ideal for toddlers because it teaches them the skills they need for starting school. With the Hungry Caterpillar Play School, kids learn from five main areas, including the alphabet, numbers, shapes and colors, art and puzzles, and book reading.
The Hungry Caterpillar Play School has lots of 3D details to make learning engaging, and the design is beautiful and realistic. The design is based on the beloved “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” book by Eric Carle, so little ones who are fans of the book are definitely going to enjoy it.
- Children encounter appropriate instruction through meaningful play and exploration
- Certified by the kidSAFE program
- App is constantly updated
- A subscription is necessary to get access to all activities
Most parents who installed The Hungry Caterpillar Play School for their kids mentioned that the app is thoughtfully designed, but also mention that the dree version is very difficult to use because of the ads.
2. Montessori Preschool
An app designed for very young children, Montessori Preschool has a beautiful design that introduces little ones into the world of math, music, phonics, and even early coding. This app features hundreds of colorful exercises so the kids won’t get bored. Montessori Preschool is designed by certified Montessori teachers and is updated regularly so little ones can continue to find it captivating.
- Ideal for introducing young children to the alphabet, math, music and even coding
- A valuable resource when Montessori schools are closed
- Interface is highly interactive and easy to unerstand
- Monthly subscription is expensive
The vast majority of the reviews for Montessori Preschool are positive, with parents mentioning that the application is highly intuitive and suitable for small kids. Most of the negative reviews are not about the app itself, but the expensive subscription model.
3. Busy Shapes
This app is aligned with the Montessori method of hands-on learning, which makes it ideal for toddlers who are just starting to interact with technology. Busy Shapes helps to develop young children’s’ reasoning skills and logic by learning about how to manipulate objects and how they relate to each other. What makes this app special is the fact that it’s all child-directed, and there are no instructions needed.
- Helps young children improve their ability to handle objects via engaging puzzles
- Inspired by the pioneering work of intelligence expert Jean Piaget
- No free version
Parents who reviewed the Busy Shapes app mentioned that the challenges are fun and kids are learning seamlessly as they play. Some reviews note that the app has some glitches and it freezes, particularly after updates.
Best Educational Learning Apps for 3-5 Years
Available both as an app and a website, ABCmouse.com uses fun storyline videos, activities, and quizzes to keep kids engaged. This is a reading and math app suitable for kids ages 2 to 8 and features no less than 10,000 exciting learning activities. A virtual map outlines the kid’s learning path so parents can check on their progress. The app offers a one-month free trial, then the cost of the monthly subscription is $10.
- Highly engaging app for both reading and map
- Intuitive design
- Free trial available
- Poor customer support
The majority of the parents who reviewed the app describe it as an excellent learning resource. Negative points include some glitches in the app and poor customer support.
2. Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy Kids is a fun, educational app that features thousands of activities for children, related to reading, language, social-emotional development, math, and problem-solving skills. Kids can choose from games and open-ended activities such as storytelling, drawing, and coloring. This is an app that’s also suitable for teachers who want to use intuitive and fun tools in the classroom, as it allows them to set up a class quickly, assign lessons, and monitor progress.
- Well-paced lessons
- Adaptive learning path allows kids to learn at their own pace
- Created by a team of experts
- No subscription necessary
- The app occasionally freezes on iPad
Parents who reviewed the app are overall delighted with the quality of the design and the way it introduces new concepts to children. Some users mention that even when the app is set for a specific age, the modules and games are quite advanced.
3. Starfall ABCs
This is one of the best apps out there for children to learn the alphabet. It offers them an engaging, animated introduction to vowels, letters and words. One of the features that many apps of this kind don’t have is the inclusion of the sign language alphabet. The free version offers lots of features, being pretty impressive for a free app, but you can also upgrade to a premium version to get some extra perks such as lessons on social skills and math.
- Very fun and engaging app to learn the alphabet
- Free to use
- Motivates children through positive reinforcement and exploration
- Reports of the app freezing
Reviews for Starfall ABCs are mostly positive, with users frequently mentioning that that the app is highly engaging and kids love it. There are some negative reviews mentioning that the app freezes sometimes and some sounds are sometimes buggy.
Read also: 10 best kids games for iPhone and iPad!
Best Educational Learning Apps for 6-8 Years
1. Quick Math Jr.
One of the best apps out there for kids in elementary school, Quick Math Jr. transforms learning math into something interactive and creative. Kids can choose from 12 different math games that feature fundamental concepts and skills. The app allows kids to build their own characters and the unique graphics are sure to keep them engaged. Kids can also practice handwriting with this app, as all answers are drawn or handwritten.
- The app is free to use
- Makes math concepts fun and easy to learn
- More features available in the paid version
- The app crashes sometimes, especially after iOS updates
Reviewers praise the intuitive design of the app that makes it easy for kids to practice their math skills. The only downside that frequently appears in reviews is the fact that the app crashes sometimes and becomes unusable.
Download Quick Math Jr. for iOS
2. BrainPOP Jr.
This app delivers new animated movie every week, which is coupled with related educational activities and quizzes. Suitable for kids in Kindergarten through grade 3, the app includes topics such as reading, writing, science, math, arts, health, technology, and more. Two relatable characters, Annie and Moby guide the kids through the topics to help them develop critical thinking.
- A fun way for kids to learn across different topics
- Lots of material available for each section
- All movies are thoughtful and engaging for kids
- Subscription is expensive
Parents praise this app because it’s intuitive and actually manages to keep kids interested for a long time. They also mention that the videos are fun to watch, but some note that the app may have some glitches on iPads.
3. Number Run
Number Run is a cute math practice app that offers a fun alternative to flash cards and number drills. If includes 52 level that cover addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Kids can choose the operations they want to practice or test their skills in Endless Mode.
- Great way to practice number drills
- Suitable for use at home or in the classroom
- Mathematical problems are surprisingly addictive
- Some reports of the app crashing
Parents typically mention that the app is challenging and exciting and they love how it encourages productive learning. The few negative reviews are about glitches and crashes, with the app seemingly freezing from time to time.
Best Educational Learning Apps for 9-12 Years
Kids who are interested in learning a new language are going to have lots of fun with Duolingo. With the help of this beautifully designed app, kids can practice through word identification, audio, and oral exercises in over 30 languages. Duolingo is an excellent app for sharpening language-learning skills and parents can definitely use it too to refresh their knowledge of foreign languages.
- A very fast way to learn a new language
- Quick and fun lessons keep kids engaged
- Designed by language experts
- Ads are annoying in the free version
Most Duolingo reviews are positive and users note how easy it is to learn new words effectively with this app. Some of the drawbacks reviewers mention include the slow progress for different levels and the fact that it could use more languages.
2. Quick Math – Mental Arithmetic
This is a well-designed app that is bound to improve general math skills for students in grades 2 to 6. Kids can practice arithmetic and improve their mental strategies by racing around the clock. Quick Math – Mental Arithmetic is also great for strengthening muscle memory and improving handwriting skills.
- A great app to practice math skills at multiple levels
- Free version available
- Effective and easy to use
- The app can’t read certain numbers
Users love how the app makes it super easy to practice math skills at all levels and they also have good things to say about the handwriting system. Some of the downsides some people mention include the app’s inability to read certain numbers and different handwritings.
Download Quick Math – Mental Arithmetic for iOS
3. Stack the States 2
This app is one of the best to help kids learn geography and sharpen up their knowledge of different states through a game. Every correct answer means that you’re winning a state to add to a stack, and the ultimate goal is to reach a stack of a certain height. Kids can unlock different rounds as they progress, and a version for countries instead of states is also available.
- Beautiful graphics and highly engaging
- Great for children and adults alike to refresh their geography knowledge
- Free bonus content available once you progress
- Some compatibility issues with older phones
Most reviewers like the way the app is designed and the fact that they can play with their children and have fun while learning together. Some users note that the app is sometimes glitchy, particularly on older phone models.