Best Educational Apps for Kids

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.

July 26th, 2011|9 Comments

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  1. 19Matthew April 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Hi !

    Great selection of apps !

    I would also recommend as a great educational art app “The Goofy Gallerist” .
    It s a fun puzzle game and helps kids to improve their visual solving capacity and gives them a whole vision of history of art from renaissance to the beginning of 1900 !

    Thank you!

  2. Mary B April 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Great writeup Wendy, glad to see you only selected apps with educational value. It’s amazing how talented developers can really make learning fun and entertaining.

    I created a video review site to help parents get a better feel for the educational value by seeing the app in action. I also interview each developer so parents can understand the motivation behind each app.


  3. Mici April 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    For math drill and practicing checkout also the iTeacher application for iPhone. A lot of fun for kids and great summary reports for parents.

    iTunes link:

  4. Mara Shapiro May 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Great ideas for keeping the brain going during the summer months. I love the blend of apps that encourage art development, math skills, and literacy.

  5. Katie Long May 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Wow, One place for everything.

    A great list of educational apps. I am a big fan of iLearn and Toontastic.

    I am also using Spelling Tutor and Splash Math Apps from Studypad and they are awesome. They have series of apps for particular grades and covers the entire curriculum. Do check out those apps

  6. Bryan Sambrook May 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Nice website! Would you consider listing many a couple of our educational apps for kids? I started developing apps for my own 2 daughters and it took off from here. If you are interested, here’s my web site. Many thanks! Our Learn Elementary Sight Words has been on in the top 10 for many months.

  7. tablet laptop July 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than
    just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all.
    But imagine if you added some great visuals or video clips to give
    your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this website could certainly be one of the greatest in its niche. Excellent blog!

  8. MJ May 16, 2014 at 3:44 am - Reply

    Try It’s great for practicing Grade 1-7 CAPS curriculum, with loads of reference material.
    Available for Android tablets – will be available on iOS in the near future.

  9. Billy scooza May 29, 2014 at 4:39 am - Reply

    Math For Kids will make you math wizard in no time. It is fun way to master those boring additions and subtractions that used to take up lot of your time before.

    This is educational app for kids with three levels.

    iTunes link:

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