Unlocking Knowledge: The Best Educational Apps for Children
We all know how important it is to invest in a child’s education and development — and the earlier parents start doing so, the better. Fortunately for today’s parents, the kids are all technology-native now, so some of this massive effort can be left to educational apps.
It’s true, of course, that apps have limitations — they cannot teach social skills, and often, they shorten the child’s attention span.
Still, educational apps for kids can be very beneficial with a carefully balanced combination of online and offline time. Here are the top examples of educational apps for different age groups that can boost your child’s cognitive skills and, often, allow you that few spare minutes for yourself.
Top apps for toddlers
When is the right time to give your kid an app? Well, most top choices start with the age of one or two!
Age: 2-8 years
ABCMouse is one of the top educational apps for children, starting with toddlers and ending with a 2nd-grade elementary school. Designed by the Age of Learning company, the app has already won multiple awards, including Teachers’ Choice. It has over ten thousand progressive activities, spanning 850+ lessons and ten complexity levels.
The reading curriculum alone includes over 450 books for the elementary level. The Math section has all the basics, including addition and subtraction, along with basic geometry and time measurement. But perhaps the most exciting part is The World Around Us, which can teach a kid the basics about plants and animals, maps, and even the solar system — all in a colorful, comprehensive, game-like manner.
Age: 2-7 years
Kiddopia is another award-winning app with plenty of positive user reviews. It is not as advanced as ABCMouse, but it is an excellent start for the youngest learners. Its fun puzzles and memory games make learning the basics of ABC, spelling, and Math easy. The app also has an introductory science section and plenty of printable materials. Plus, the developers regularly add new content — for example, a few years back, the top age Kiddopia could accommodate was five. Now, it seems that the lesson plans are growing up along with the app’s students.
#3 Peekaboo Barn
Age: 1-3 years
If you have never used any educational apps and want to start with something really simple but useful for toddlers, Peekaboo Barn is a good choice. The app does not have any spelling or Math lessons, but it lists a pretty good selection of animal pictures (with sounds). It’s also available in several languages, which could be a great perk for bilingual families. Plus, unlike more advanced educational apps that usually run on a subscription basis, Peekaboo Barn is available at a single payment of just $1.99.
Preschool level apps
Most preschool apps are similar to those for toddlers, but they usually start at three or four and focus on preparation for the elementary school curriculum.
#1 Montessori Preschool
Age: 3-7 years
Today, the Montessori method of education is considered one of the best ways to develop a child’s natural abilities and inspire interest in further learning. And Montessori Preschool follows this principle perfectly! Besides plenty of valuable reading, writing, and counting exercises, this app also emphasizes autonomy and self-correction.
At the same time, Montessori Preschool does this in a game-like manner to make sure preschoolers do not lose interest, and it has a point-based reward system to keep encouraging them. It has a great feedback system and a parental dashboard for tracking your child’s progress without interfering with the learning process.
#2 World of Peppa Pig
Age: 3-5 years
Does your kid love Peppa Pig? Then, the app is a perfect choice for you. Besides engaging with the favorite character, the kid will have access to plenty of colorful matching and puzzle games that stimulate learning in a fun, game-like manner. Still, the main focus is not on gamification but on preparing kids for elementary school, especially when it comes to reading and counting. As a bonus, young learners can dress up Peppa (with her entire family) and watch videos.
#3 Teach Your Monster…
Age: 3-6 years
If Peppa is not your case, then your kid will undoubtedly appreciate a chance to create his own character while teaching the custom-made monster to read, count, and eat healthy! Teach Your Monster is a whole series of fun and colorful apps that include Teach Your Monster to Read, Teach Your Monster to Read for Fun, Teach Your Monster Numbers, and Teach Your Monster Adventurous Eating. All apps are available for a fixed price of under $5 and can help prepare young students for their first days in school.
School curriculum & beyond
Unlike preschool education apps that cover a broad range of subjects and focus on developing kids’ overall learning abilities, apps for elementary and middle school levels often narrow down the list of covered subjects and activities. But not all of them, of course!
#1 Adventure Academy
Age: 8-13 years
Adventure Academy is another app from the Age of Learning with plenty of colorful games, challenges, and materials that encourage learning through a fun reward system. Besides reading, math, and science sections for elementary and middle school levels, the app also features social studies with the basics of history and geography. The app has over 4,000 gaming activities perfectly tailored for their age and grade levels.
Age: 6-18 years
This is the most advanced app on this list, and not just because of the significant age span. As an educational developer, Kahoot! does an excellent job of tailoring its platform not only for students but also for teachers. Tons of fun challenges and printable materials can be very useful in the classroom. But this app is an independent product that students can use from first to twelfth grade, too.
Kahoot! has practically limitless subjects and quizzes that accommodate a vast range of interests. Besides collections of materials in science and banking, Kahoot! has Disney and Marvel-inspired games, along with quizzes about NASA and Henry Ford. Some of the content is free, while some collections are reserved for premium users (that is, paid subscriptions). But if your kid develops an interest in Kahoot!, its reasonably-priced subscription is totally worth it!
#3 Seek by iNaturalist
Age: 4-10 years
The best thing about this app is that it encourages kids to spend time offline. The game-like element of Seek by iNaturalist is to go outside and point a smartphone camera at living things. Seek can recognize plants, animals, birds, and even fungi. It also features game-like challenges to encourage young naturalists to submit their observations and learn more about their local flora and fauna. Plus, Seek is 100% to use and, to be completely honest, can entertain people older than ten, too!
Any of these apps or their combination can be helpful to your child’s educational journey. The final word of advice, of course, is not to rely on apps alone. They are incredibly useful additions, but still nothing more than additions. Schedule off-screen time, too — with parental controls if necessary and don’t ignore socializing!