We all know how hard it is to hand over your brand new tablet to your wide-eyed kid or younger sibling, but when we do, why not make sure there are age-appropriate applications on the device? Instead of having them stare mindlessly into a game of Angry Birds, why not have them play something educational?
Fortunately there are plenty of great apps for kids available on the Play Store, and many are even free. Whether you’re looking for an enjoyable experience learning to read or an exciting game to teach your kids math, these apps open up a new world of learning through technology.
To help you weed out the apps that won’t entertain and enrich kids, we’ve created a list of my top five educational apps and games that kids are sure to enjoy. Be sure to let us know about what apps your kids enjoy in the comments!
Previously featured at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, “Kids Reading Preschool” by Intellijoy provides an enjoyable and educational experience for preschoolers learning to read for the first time. As the fourth app in the developer’s Alphabet Curriculum Series, this app will teach your children to blend sounds into words and form them together to read simple words.
In each of the game’s three sections, children learn to blend letter sounds into words by moving a character in the game named ‘Tommy the Turtle’ across a ‘letter bridge’ as each letter is sounded out and a word is formed. Kids can even speed up the game as reading skills improve, so there are certainly ways to keep the app useful as your child begins to get better at reading.
The paid version of the app, titled “Kids Learn to Read,” includes an extra 15 words in both the first and third sections of the game if you think that’s worth paying the extra $2.99. Also included in the paid version is a child-lock functionality, which I suppose you could use if your child is “learning too much.”
Each section is designed to let kids enjoy their success and receive positive reinforcement, so your child will be incentivized to continue learning.Whether you download the free or paid version of the app, it’s absolutely perfect for preschoolers learning to read.
Don’t have your child’s coloring book on hand? Well this app can help save the day.
“Coloring Book,” a free app, offers over 340 different coloring pages in a multitude of different categories, including animals, nature, airplanes, people, cars, Christmas, Halloween, winter and more.
Pinch zoom functionality for filling in those small details is available, and there’s even an undo function if your kid ever makes a mistake — no more crying!
There’s even an advanced color picker to help your child select the perfect color for the perfect picture, as well as a share feature to send pictures to relatives and friends.
We must admit, however, that the app’s user interface is a bit outdated and there are ads, but it won’t interfere with your child having a great time coloring in more pages of a virtual coloring book than they could ever imagine.
This multiplication-teaching application will surely get your kid addicted to learning math in no time.
“10monkeys Multiplication” features an arcade-styled gameplay similar to Fruit Ninja, providing users with the task of swiping at the correct product of a multiplication problem as several possible answers fly by on the screen.
The objective is to solve enough multiplication problems in order to free the trapped monkeys. Users will master their 2-10 times tables throughout playing the game.
The interface is very polished and extremely easy to use, especially for the youngest of users. 10 mini-games are also included, as well as a global leaderboard and high scores to motivate kids to do their best.
It’s completely ad-free and comes in both English and Spanish, and can make learning math just as fun as any other game.
This is the one app on this list that I can truly have never seen anything like it before.
“Carnival of Animals” is a virtual pop-up book of sorts that teaches your children different (basic) aspects of music theory and gets them to start thinking of the different elements that go into creating a musical piece. These aspects include rhythm, note duration, pitch and more.
The music used in the app is Carnival of Animals by Saint-Saëns — because the piece features multiple movements (about a 25 minute work), it’s perfect for this kind of application.
Pop-up facts appear throughout the app to teach kids extra details about the music as well.
The app is targeted for 2-6 year olds, the perfect age for children who are most responsive to musical learning.
If you want your kids to get a nice introduction to music through technology in an interactive way, definitely consider downloading this app. It’s free, so go give it a try!
“Kids Shapes” is definitely for the younger ones still learning how to identify shapes in different objects.
It certainly appears to be useful, but I’m also not a toddler so I may not be the best judge.
This app is unlike others in that it shows different shapes in a real-world context instead of simply showing different colored squares, triangles and circles and having users identify them, like other apps do.
For example, the app may show an image of a clock on a cube, and your child will have to identify the circle shaped clock and the cube it is placed on. It’s both entertaining and interactive and will keep your kids busy.