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The best free educational apps for kids in 2022

Do you know what makes the back-to-school season exciting? All the new apps and ed-tech platforms kids get to use. Whether they’re still joining online classes or using ed-tech for in-person lessons, there are various free educational apps for kids that make learning fun. Most of these are completely free, but some of them also offer paid plans for more advanced features.

Ready to revamp the back-to-school curriculum? Here are the best free educational apps for kids.

Many subjects

Khan Academy and Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids App

Khan Academy has thousands of lessons in dozens of languages. You can do deep dives into cosmology, ancient civilizations, the branches of government, cryptography, and far too many more to mention. A progress tracker lets you know how far you’ve advanced in a particular topic. The app for younger kids has cute cartoon animals, music, and lots of activities. There are books (you can either choose to have them read to you or read on your own), coloring and drawing options, and videos about math and other subjects. There are also reading, math, and logic activities. Everything is accessible from the Library menu in the top corner, while the main screen is more focused on short games for kids. Khan Academy also has some additional resources, like suggested schedules for remote learning.

Ages: Khan Academy Kids is for ages 2 to 7; Khan Academy is for older kids in high school.  

Subjects: The kids’ app is focused on math, reading, and social learning. The older students’ app has math (everything from arithmetic to calculus), science (including biology, physics, and chemistry), economics, arts and humanities (like grammar and history), and computing.

Khan Academy Kids

Android iOS

Khan Academy

Android iOS

BrainPop and BrainPop Jr.

BrainPop app.

BrainPop and BrainPop Jr. are apps that cover a wide variety of topics. Its science videos showcase the life cycle of plants, temperature, hibernation (for younger kids) or potential energy, metabolism, or Jane Goodall. Follow-up activities, like quizzes, help reinforce concepts. Everything is well-organized and easy to navigate. It costs a subscription, but you can also access several free lessons and activities.

Ages: BrainPop Jr. is for kindergarteners through third graders; BrainPop is for older elementary and middle school students.

Subjects: Math, science, social studies, art and music, health, engineering and tech, and English.

BrainPop

Android iOS

BrainPop Jr.

Android iOS

PBS Kids Games

PBS Kids Games app.

Chances are, your kid is already familiar with at least a few PBS characters from shows like Molly of Denali, Sesame Street, or Clifford the Big Red Dog. Their faves can help them find shapes, learn to count, or go on a museum hunt for historic figures in the PBS Kids Games app. There isn’t a good way to narrow down the long list of games in this app by age or subject, but if you click on a show and then tap the Grownups button, the description will provide an age range and goals the game focuses on, like social and emotional growth, literacy, or science.

Ages: 2 to 8.

Subjects: Science, reading, math, social and emotional growth, creativity, music, social studies.

Android iOS

Math

Moose Math

Moose Math App

Duck Duck Moose is an education company that is now part of Khan Academy. In this math-focused app, kids help a burly moose and his friends do various tasks around town. They’ll use counting to help make juice or find hidden animals. There’s also a shape game and a couple of games that use addition and subtraction. The five games have different levels, but your child will have to progress through them instead of skipping ahead.

Ages: Kindergarten and first graders.

Android iOS

Prodigy 

Prodigy App.

The Prodigy app is a story mixed with math. You start by customizing your wizard, then move on to battling monsters (in a cute way). The types of math problems you need to solve are based on the level you select at the start. A fourth grader might be asked about trapezoids or tell time on a clock in order to successfully cast a spell.

Ages: First through eighth graders.  

Android iOS

Science

NASA

NASA app.

Aspiring astronauts will be thrilled with the amount of space content at their fingertips, thanks to NASA’s app. They can explore news, watch videos, and learn about past and present missions. They can also get a map of all the NASA visitor centers, enjoy augmented reality (AR) 3D models of various NASA orbiters and missions, and cast all their favorite content to Apple TV, Chromecast, and Fire TV devices. Audio fans will love the NASA podcast and radio stations that take you on an immersive journey. Naturally, there are lots of amazing images as well.

Ages: Older elementary school and up.

Android iOS Amazon

NSF Science Zone

NSF Science Zone app.

The National Science Foundation created this app, which is a collection of impressive images and interesting videos on scientific topics. Kids can learn more about new discoveries, watch informative videos on the latest innovations, and conduct deep-dive searches into their favorite topics. There’s a broad range of categories to choose from, including biology, astronomy, chemistry, physics, and even nanoscience.

Ages: Older elementary school and up.

Android iOS

Plum’s Creaturizer

Plum's Creaturizer app.

This fun augmented reality app lets kids dream up all sorts of creative critters. The creatures are a mashup of body parts from several animals, so you might end up with a whale tale, kangaroo appendages, and butterfly wings. Once you’ve created the creature, you can use your phone’s camera to send it on missions, like finding food or creating a home for its babies. You can also watch a slideshow describing how your creature lives. The quizzes are helpful to put your kid in a thinking mode about what the creature needs to survive.

Ages: 4 and up.

iOS

Play and Learn Science 

Play and Learn Science app.

Yet another PBS app, the Play and Learn Science app focuses on science games. The topics include water, motion, shadows, and weather. Though the games are engaging, they also teach problem-solving in addition to scientific concepts. For example, in Thirsty Doggie, you have to use a variety of objects to direct the flow of water into a pup’s bowl. It gets progressively harder as you move up in levels. While it’s a favorite among kids, parents love it as well, considering it provides parent-child engagement tips and activities so you can strengthen your relationship with your kid while helping them learn new things.

Ages: 2 and up.

Android iOS

Coding

ScratchJr

Moose Math App

Scratch is a programming language from MIT, and this app introduces kids to it in a fun, intuitive way. Coding blocks help them make connections between a command and its outcome. They can create animations, decorate backgrounds, and add their voices and photos. Older kids might want to start with regular Scratch, which offers more advanced projects.

Ages: 5 and up.

Android iOS Amazon

Hopster Coding Safari

Hopster Coding Safari app.

This logic-building app has adorable visuals and an easy-to-grasp premise. Create a path from pieces with different twists and turns so cute woodland creatures can get from one spot to another. The path gets more complex the more levels you do. This is excellent as an introduction to computational thinking and learning the foundations of how coding works. Kids can choose between cute themes to make everything more fun.

Ages: Kindergarten through second grade.

iOS

Encode: Learn to Code

For kids who are interested in a variety of programming languages, Encode is a good place to start. It has lessons for JavaScript, Swift, Python, and Bash. They start with the basics and move on from there. They can set their own pace and learn with bite-sized lessons so nothing feels too overwhelming. It will help kids become proficient in the lingo for when they’re ready to move on to creating their own projects. To make the transition easier, Encode lets them run real code to test their skills.

Ages: Older elementary school and up.

iOS

Reading

Kindle

Child reading the Kindle app.

Kindle is the first app that comes to mind when you think of reading. It’s free to download and use, and you also get several free books without needing to buy a subscription or pay for any purchase. The kids’ section is pretty robust, and you get free access to titles like Ara the Star Engineer, Kevin and the King of Karate, Denny and Penny, and many more. You don’t even need to buy a Kindle for this, since the app works on phones and tablets. You can sync the downloaded books to various devices and take your reading anywhere with you.

Ages: 3 and up.

Android iOS

Libby

If your kid has assigned reading at school, it helps to have books handy. Libraries are the best for this, but not everyone has access to one. If you have a library card but live far away from your local branch, you can still access your branch’s digital resources, including movies, audiobooks, and even digitized picture books. The app was made by OverDrive, so if your library uses that system for e-book and audiobook lending, you should have access to Libby. While this app doesn’t actually teach kids how to read, it will hopefully give them plenty of material to read or listen to.

Ages: 2 and up.

Android iOS Windows

Language

Droplets

Simple graphics and a focus on the basics make this a good choice for beginning language learners, especially because you can’t set your level beyond beginner or intermediate. Plus, there’s a good mix of tasks that will keep kids entertained. There are a few dozen languages to choose from, from French to Portuguese and many more. A word of warning: The free version only lets you play for five minutes before locking you out for 10 hours.

Ages: 7 to 16.

Android iOS

Duolingo

With over 30 languages, Duolingo has lots of educational games, whether you want to learn Hawaiian, Greek, or Spanish. To start, you’ll take a placement test, so the app can serve up content tailored to your knowledge level. Then you’ll practice listening, reading, vocabulary, and pronunciation. There are lots of levels to progress through and a variety of ways to practice the ins and outs of a language. Please note that the free version is ad-supported.

Ages: 13 and up.

Android iOS

Art

Superhero Comic Book Maker and Draw and Tell

Superhero Comic Book Maker.

Two apps from Duck Duck Moose have similar functionality but different themes. Draw and Tell is more general, while Superhero Comic Book Maker has monsters and caped crusaders. Both let kids scribble away with digital markers and crayons but also use stickers and color in drawings. They can save any creations they’re particularly proud of and share them with family and friends.

Ages: 3 and up.

Superhero Comic Book Maker Draw and Tell

Google Arts and Culture

Google arts and culture app.

If you’ve always wanted to explore the museums of Moscow, Vienna, and New York, the Google Arts and Culture app is a good place to start. It has collections from hundreds of museums, from Japan’s Ohara Museum of Art to The Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa. There are lots of other activities in the app as well, whether you want to take a foodie tour of Spain, learn to strike a pose like Misty Copeland, or get Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons from The British Library.

Ages: Older elementary and up.

Android iOS

Gym

GoNoodle

GoNoodle app.

With a deep catalog of all sorts of high-energy videos, GoNoodle can keep active kids entertained for weeks. Some videos are just a couple of minutes long, while others (like Indoor Recess) string together several clips for 15 to 20 minutes of movement. One of our personal favorites is Blazer Fresh, who is self-described as nerdy by nature and will teach your child how to sing the alphabet backward.

Ages: 5 to 12.

Android iOS

Super Stretch Yoga

Super Stretch Yoga app.

If you want your kids up and moving but in a tranquil way, Super Stretch Yoga is great for younger kids. Instead of introducing them to complicated yoga poses, the app has videos of tots doing modifications based on things found in nature, like mouse pose or eagle pose. The video snippets don’t last long, but they could help with flexibility and balance.

Ages: 2 and up.

iOS

Sworkit

Sworkit app.

This is actually an all-ages app, but there is a kids’ section with lots of types of exercise for strength, agility, flexibility, and cardio. You can customize a routine by swapping in different moves and adjusting the workout’s timer. The moves are all done by kids, with a voice-over explaining how to copy them. Sworkit has workout mixes through the app or on Apple Music and Spotify, including a kid-friendly mix.

Ages: Older elementary and up.

Android iOS

Video resources

PBS Kids Video

PBS Kids Video.

This app is full of episodes and clips from shows like Peg + Cat, Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Molly of Denali, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and more. The grown-ups tab at the bottom gives age ranges for each show, as well as goals, like science for Wild Kratts.

Ages: 2 and up.

Android iOS

CuriosityStream

Curiosity Stream.

CuriosityStream is a great resource for all kinds of documentaries. It has thousands of them for science, history, nature, and more. There’s also a special kids’ section with lots of David Attenborough, dinosaurs, and space-themed videos. The history category has movies about Chambord, the Silk Road, the Apollo Mission, and tons in between.

Ages: Older elementary and up.

Subscription required? Yes, after the 30-day free trial (through Amazon), it’s $20 a year.

Android iOS

Kanopy for Kids

Kanopy app.

This app actually has a ton of movies for everyone, with a special focus on kids’ content. It has both movies and TV shows, including many PBS shows. If you’re not sure what you want to watch, you’ll find things arranged in useful collections, like classic tales, explore science and math, and stories from around the world. Once you get into the kids’ section, it takes some clicking to get back out, which is useful if you don’t want your little ones accidentally watching Midsommer.

Ages: 2 and up.

Subscription required? Available for free through your library, and you can log in with your library card. Also open to students and professors.

Android iOS

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