Downtime in the busy summer months probably consists of the kids playing some sort of game like Smurfs Village or Angry Birds on your smartphone. But did you know there are fantastic educational apps for kids out there as well?
The apps listed below earn high marks when it comes to combining learning with fun.
Unless noted otherwise, all apps are compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Best Apps for Kids: Best Reading Apps
abc PocketPhonics ($2.99) – This app feels much like a private tutoring session for early readers with emphasis on letter sounds and writing. Lite version available. Preschool-Kindergarten
Cinderella – Magic Ink Books (Free) – Classic fairytale storybook with the “magic ink” twist–swipe over black & white pages to magically reveal the next page in full colour. Preschool-Grade 1
Shake-a-Phrase ($1.99) – Cleverly disguised app that encourages older children to read by way of silly sentences that will help teach vocabulary and parts of speech. Grade 3+
The Cat in the Hat ($3.99) – Beloved Dr. Seuss classic comes to life through skilful narration and picture/word association. Lite version available. Preschool-Grade 1
Toy Story Read-Along (Free; iPad) – Based on the original blockbuster, this is a fun and interactive storybook with activities on each page that will surely keep the kids entertained. Preschool-Grade 1
Best Apps for Kids: Best Math Apps
Jungle Coins ($2.99; iPad) – Teach kids currency at varying levels such as finding coins, counting money, comparing coins and correct change. Currently the only app that includes Canadian currency (in-app purchase). Kindergarten-Grade 4
Jungle Time ($0.99) – With its easy to use interface, varying difficulty levels and built-in lessons (24 hr clock, time zones, etc), this learn to tell time app is high on replay value. iPad version includes double clock problems. Kindergarten-Grade 4
Park Math ($1.99) – Early math concepts are introduced with the help of cute animated animals with plenty of activities to keep kids interested and entertained. Preschool-Grade 1
Rocket Math ($0.99) – Answer math equations to earn money to build a rocket that when launched, will enable varied leveled math missions such as counting, shapes/patterns, fractions, decimals, telling time and U.S. money. Lite version available. Grades 1-5
TallyTots Pocket ($0.99) – With 20 activities, younger children will have fun learning numbers 1-20 in this interactive and fun app. Preschool-Kindergarten
Best Apps for Kids: Best Science Apps
8 Planets (Free) – Young astronomers will enjoy learning about the planets and earning ribbons in games testing their knowledge. Preschool-Grade 1
BrainPOP Featured Movie (Free) – Features a different animated, short film each day on topics such as Science, Social Studies, Technology, Engineering, Health, English, Art & Music and Math. Grade 2+
iLearn with Poko: Seasons ($1.99) – Preschoolers learn about the weather and seasons in this interactive and preschool friendly game. Preschool-Kindergarten
Leafsnap (Free) – An app with huge potential, budding botanists can identify plants by taking a picture of their leaves. All Ages
Best Apps for Kids: Best Art Apps
123 Color: Talking Coloring Book ($0.99) – Kids won’t even realize they’re learning their ABCs and 123s (available in several languages) in this “colour by number” theme app. Premium version includes all colouring books and 10 world maps. Preschool-Grade 2
Doodle Buddy (Free) – Future Picassos of all ages will enjoy creating their next masterpiece using a variety of tools including, paint, chalk, stencils, stamps, backgrounds and photographs. All Ages
Faces iMake-Lite ($0.99) – Let your imagination go wild by making silly faces using common everyday objects. Premium version includes more than 200 items. All Ages
Toontastic ($0.99; iPad) – Take storytelling to the next level by creating cartoons from start to finish, using your own voice to narrate the story. Kindergarten-Grade 4
Best Apps for Kids: Best Spelling Apps
Licking Letters ($0.99) – Learn to spell 150 words and play mini-games along the way to earn coins to dress Hoppy the Frog. Preschool-Kindergarten
Montessori Crosswords ($2.99) – Based on the Montessori method which includes the phonics-enabled Moveable Alphabet, kids can develop their spelling, reading and writing skills by completing crossword puzzles. Preschool-Grade 2
Sight Words by Little Speller (Free) – On the surface this may appear to be a no frills app, but what makes it unique is that parents can fully customize the list of words, add their own voice and images. Preschool-Grade 1
Word Wagon ($1.99) – With over 100 words in 7 categories, kids learn spelling, letter recognition and phonics by progressing through 4 difficulty levels. Preschool-Kindergarten
Editor’s Note: Thinking of getting a tablet for your child? Checkout our article Technology and Kids: Tablets for some things to consider before making a purchase.