Kids love electronic devices so much they can spend hours just playing the same game over and over. However, like with any media, you want to make sure that your children are only exposed to things that are both age-appropriate and educational. With so many apps on the market, it’s difficult to know where to start to ensure you are only allowing apps that will help with your child’s development. So we have put together a guide for some great kid-friendly, educational apps for children of any age. Whether your child has their own smartphone or tablet or just likes to play with yours, you can trust these apps are safe and fun for your kids.
Best Apps For Toddlers
It is amazing how technologically adapted toddlers are nowadays. These tykes are quick to understand how to interface with smartphones and tablets and are always eager to learn and play more. The following apps are designed for children between the ages of 1-3 and focus on helping them develop their motor skills, cognitive abilities, and language and social skills.
Busy shapes is based off the classic wooden shape sorter toy we all grew up with. Toddlers basically go through adaptive levels to move shapes into holes with finger swiping. Busy Shapes helps toddlers identify shapes, use their critical reasoning, and develop their fine motor skills. The app has a toddler-friendly design that includes “passing swipe control” so the intended object is always grabbed even if their little fingers are on other parts of the screen.
Toddler Flashcards are simple flashcards that include a picture of an object, the text, and will read the name of the object out loud. The app is available in 13 languages so it is great if you are raising your toddlers to be bilingual. This app helps with both cognitive development and language skills. This simple to use app allows you to choose a category like animals, food, or colors, so you can guide your toddler’s learning based on their needs.
Five Little Monkeys is a musical app based on the popular children’s rhyme. The app helps toddlers learn how to count, read, and understand opposites while engaging kids with fun, silly characters. The app is great for improving cognitive development, language skills, social skills, and motor skills, as well as introducing your toddler to math. This colorful, interactive app is available in both English and Spanish.
Best Apps For Preschoolers
Preschoolers need educational apps that help prepare them for school. Apps that focus on language and math skills are great for kids at this developmental stage. The following apps are good for children between the ages 4-6 to help them succeed when they begin preschool or kindergarten.
AlphaTots is an award-winning app that helps use verbs to teach preschoolers the alphabet. The app contains puzzles and a catchy song to help preschoolers learn the letters of the alphabet. With this app, preschoolers with go through the alphabet learning how to pronounce and spell words a variety of related to each letter. The apps is also great to help introduce preschoolers to a larger vocabulary.
Published by the award-winning PBS show, the Reading Rainbow app has hundreds of books. Preschoolers can read along with books, take guided tours with beloved Reading Rainbow host Levar Burton, or explore unique theme islands. The best part is that there is a section where parents can check up on their preschooler’s progress and see how many books they have read and which books they have loved. The Reading Rainbow app is great to help get preschoolers get interested in reading.
The app featuring Sesame Street’s favorite character Elmo and helps preschoolers learn how to count from 1 to 20. There are plenty of fun games and stories to help engage preschoolers in learning their numbers and to set up a lifelong interest in mathematics. There is also a feature in the app so parents can see how their children are progressing and help them improve their fundamentals.
Best Apps For School-Aged Children
Once children begin school you want to find them apps that help develop their logic, foster their creativity, and accumulate knowledge. The following apps are perfect for school-aged kids between 6-10 years of age to help them continue to learn and develop outside of school.
Thinkrolls 2 is a fun logic puzzle that uses finger swiping to navigate funny characters through different logic mazes. Each maze requires children to use deductive reasoning and critical thinking to figure out how to pass the level. This colorful game is fun for children and parents, so it’s a great app to play together to help your child develop their critical reasoning skills.
Mathmateer is an app that uses rocket ships to teach kids about elementary math. There are 56 different missions your children can go on that teach a range of skills from addition and subtraction to telling time and counting money to even hard subjects like fractions and square roots. The best part about the Mathmateer app is it grows with your child’s development, so they will have endless hours of play regardless of what math skill they are currently learning.
Ansel and Clair is a great puzzle game that helps kids learn about pollution and green energy. The app is a world building game where children have to clean up oil spills and build energy farms. This is a fun and challenging interactive game that also helps children learn important lessons about the environment and think about how they can save the planet. Also, if your children enjoy this app there are two other coordinating science based apps featuring Ansel and Clair available to download.
Best Apps For Tweens
Tweens are at a difficult age. They are too old for some of the more colorful games of their youth but not mature enough to tackle some of the more difficult apps that teenagers love. So it can be difficult to pick out acceptable apps at this developmental stage. Here are our picks for the best apps that are just right for children aged 11-13.
DIY App is an app that gets tweens off their device and to start doing things. Tweens pick their interest areas from 140 skills including things like backyard farming, fashion design, and even gymnastics. Then they are presented with challenges for each category. Once they complete the challenges they will upload their accomplishments to the website for feedback. They can also rate other tween’s projects. DIY is a great way for tweens to hone their skills and share what they love to do with like-minded tweens.
Let’s Create! Pottery is a really fun app that tweens who love art will enjoy. The app features a 3-D pottery wheel to throw clay to create beautiful pots. Tweens will go through challenges and sell their finished pieces to earn coins to buy brushes, designs, and accessories to create more complex and beautiful pots. This is a great app for letting your tweens do something a little more adult that is still age appropriate.
Geography Drive USA is a fun interactive game that helps tweens learn about the United States of America. With over 800 interesting facts to learn, Geography Drive USA takes children on an educational tour across the country. The game uses interactive maps and trivia to test tween’s knowledge on cities, states, and national monuments. It’s a great app for tweens who are interested in travel and American history and geography.
Best Apps For Teenagers
There is a little more freedom with what apps you can let teenagers play. However, you still want to make sure that they are doing important things like preparing for college admissions or learning important life skills. The following apps are great for teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18.
Kahn Academy is the ultimate educational app for teens. It features 10,000 different videos and articles on every subject you can imagine. The app also has over 150,000 different exercises to practice and test your teenager’s knowledge. The app is great for teenagers at all educational stages and interests but is especially helpful for teens preparing for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, and other pre-university testing. Khan Academy is the must-have educational app for teens.
Duolingo is one of the best apps on the market for learning a second language. The app features a choice of 10 different languages and includes exercises in small lesson blocks to learn key phrases and words. This fun, educational app teaches all the important words along with some fun slang, so it will keep your teens interested. Duolingo is great for teenagers because mastering their second language skills will give them an advantage during college admissions time.
Instructables is a great DIY app for teens. It features videos and articles for a range of DIYs, how-to’s, and hacks. Instructables is great for any teenager who wants to learn new life skills before entering adulthood or just likes to create. The app’s interface is easy to search and features a range of categories for when they are just looking for something to do when they are bored.
So no matter whether your children are toddlers just learning how to identify shapes and refine their motor skills or they are teenagers preparing for college, there are some great age-appropriate apps you can feel confident letting your kids play. These apps are both fun and educational and will guarantee that your kids are using their time on their smart devices wisely.