Children are able to use and understand technology at an early age. They know how to operate smartphones and tablets correctly and get into their favorite apps before they can speak. There are a sea of apps available for every platform, but not all of them are appropriate for children. We have compiled a list of apps for kids, some are silly games while others are educational, but all of them are completely child-safe and fun.
Many of these apps come with in-app purchases. If your children don’t understand that they are paying with real money every time they tap one of these, it can cause real problems. Before handing a phone or tablet over to a kid, make sure they don’t know the password for your account, and that they need to ask before they click. You can also avoid any mishaps by following our guides to turn off in-app purchases in iOS or disable in-app purchases in Android.
Tynker Coding for Kids (free/in-app purchases)
Tynker is quite simple to work with, as it’s very visual — you move the blocks to build your code. With Tynker, you can play coding games, take courses to learn to code, and you can even program drones. This app works with connected toys such are Sphero, Lego WeDo2.0, and even the Philips Hue and Lux lighting systems. You can download Tynker for free, but if you pay for the subscriptions, you will have access to mobile courses, more than 350 puzzle levels, a private Minecraft server, 18 online courses, and over 100 guided tutorials. If you want your kids to get serious about programming, then Tynker should be on your shortlist.
Nancy Drew Codes and Clues Mystery Coding Game (free)
This app is a great way to learn the basics of coding. Instead of just learning to code with out-of-context isolated commands, you will need to use the code to move along a story. It’s interactive, it builds reading comprehension skills, and kids will have a lot of fun trying to find the clues to solve the mystery. Some of the skills learned are sequences, loops, pattern recognition, and algorithmic thinking. Follow the story, find the clues, and collect the charms to finish a great adventure. The first chapter is free, and if you like it, you can unlock the entire game with a one-time purchase of $4.
Think & Learn Code-a-pillar (free/$4)
A little caterpillar, named code-a-pillar, needs your help to make it to the end of the maze. Can you help? The game encourages kids to think through obstacles that will get harder as you finish each level. It helps kids with learning things like planning and sequencing, problem-solving, and number recognition.
Bee-bot is very simple app that helps children develop skills in directional language and programming. Use directional arrows to move forward, backward, left, and right. The app has 12 levels that encourage you to get better and faster, as faster you can finish a level the more stars you will get. It’s suggested for children age 4 and up.
Kodable – Coding for kids (free/in-app purchases)
Educational (Math, Science, and Language)
Shapes Toddler Preschool (free)
This app gets kids ready for preschool with puzzles and games involving shapes, colors, numbers, and letters. The app is laid out so that a young child can click around without getting out of the game or ending up at a menu, and the controls are easy enough for anyone to use. There are four ways to play but all of them are educational and should help with development. Shapes Toddler Preschool features over 30 categories, which include shapes, colors, money, symbols, colors, and numbers. The game has puzzles, games, and flashcards to make learning easy.
Endless Alphabet (free Android, $9 for iOS)
Endless Alphabet is a unique, interactive, educational app that teaches kids their ABCs. The app uses adorable, colorful monsters to teach kids the alphabet and build their vocabulary. There are more than 50 words to explore and learn, each of which features an interactive puzzle with talking letters and short animations designed to illustrate the definition. Endless Alphabet is a fun and engaging way to teach your kids the alphabet without any pressures or limitations. The app allows kids to learn at their own pace, without any stress or pressure.
Rosetta Stone Kids (free)
Rosetta Stone Kids Lingo Letter Sounds is a fun, educational app that teaches preschoolers how to read and speak. This game is perfect for parents looking to teach their child more than one language, as the Rosetta Stone app reinforces English reading skills while simultaneously introducing Spanish. The app casts the child as a savior for trapped toys. Kids have to speak Spanish to control the actions of different characters on screen, matching the correct starting letter sound to release each toy. It’s a clever way to get them interested in speaking Spanish.
BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week (free/$3/$7)
This app brings you different animated movies every week with related quizzes and learning activities. The app is made for children ages 6-8, and the movies cover many topics from Science to Social Studies, Math, Reading & Writing, Arts, and Technology. The app aims to get kids to develop their critical thinking skills, ask questions, and make connections. For older kids, you can also download the BrainPOP Featured Movie app. You can pay $3 per month for an Explorer subscription which includes the Movie of the Week, plus unlimited access to all the movies and bonus features at any time. There’s also a Full Access subscription at $7 per month.
Ubooly, which can be described as a less terrifying Furby, is essentially a far more advanced version of a Teddy Ruxpin. But rather than cassette tapes, you can insert your iPhone or iPad into the Ubooly plush toy ($30), which will interact with your kids. It can learn names, birthdays responds when spoken to, and walks kids through various lessons and games. Kids can enter math problems into the iPhone/iPad and Ubooly will work with them toward the correct solution. Ubooly also teaches children science by walking them through easy at home experiments, which make hands-on learning at home easy and fun. The toy covers a range of lessons from the human body to Spanish and has enough content to keep a kid of any age interested.