22 OF THE BEST EDUCATIONAL APPS FOR CHILDREN
By Jo McCarthy
Whilst its vital to set boundaries with screen time and the use of mobile apps, there is no doubt that educational apps can play an important role in children’s learning and development.
We have rounded up 22 of the best educational apps for children by age, and since there are new apps available every week, this list will keep growing!
EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE (age 0 to 5)
Between birth and five years old, your child will mostly learn through games and play. The rate at which they learn is astonishing – it might be hard to keep up!
These learning games apps are designed to help little ones enjoy developing new skills.
1. Fish School
This app includes 8 fun educational activities to help children learn about letters, numbers, shapes, ABC song, colours, differences, matching and playtime.
Colourful fish transform themselves into different letters, numbers, shapes, colours and more.
The team here create a huge range of apps for little ones, including Old MacDonald Had a Farm.
In this free app, traditional songs are given a funky twist – check out the resident cow who is reading the ‘Moo Yorker’.
Created by Australia-based Giggle Up, this free, no-fuss, simple counting game can be adjusted to increase the difficulty levels - ideal before your child starts primary school.
Kids will learn the names of animals, toys, household objects and more, with positive feedback along the way.
Brought to you by the BBC, the app includes everyone’s favourite CBeebies character Bing and the townsfolk of Biggleton.
There is also a Den area that you can visit to discover the games your child has been playing.
KEY STAGE 1 (5 to 7 years old)
1. onebillion is a non-profit organisation based in London who have built comprehensive, scalable educational software for children in and out of school.
With a focus on teaching reading and numeracy in the child’s own language, the organisation work around the world to help the most vulnerable children.
The ‘onecourse’ app has been developed for tablets and smartphones, both iOS and Android and classes are available in Swahili (Tanzania), Chichewa (Malawi) and English (UK).
2. Help your kids to improve their memory with the simple, quick and fun Monster Hunt app. The perfect game to play whilst the kids are waiting for their tea.
3. Collins have created a huge range of educational resources, including the free Big Cat Reading Assessment Tool.
It has been designed to help teachers assess and analyse children’ progress in reading, but parents will find it useful too.
4. Word finding games seem to stand the test of time and PopWords! is one of the most popular free word search apps available.
Kids need to find words as fast as they can from an endless stream of letters. Longer words will earn more points; kids will feel stretched and progress is tracked to make the learning measurable.
5. It’s never too early to start learning maths skills – including algebra!
DragonBox Algebra is an award-winning app that makes one of the more difficult maths subjects a little easier.
Designed for age 5+, the app presents algebra problems through fun interactive games that cover addition, division and multiplication.
KEY STAGE 2 (7 to 11 years old)
Keep up with your child’s learning as they work through the challenging last years of primary school!
1. iMovie is one of the most popular movie-making apps, and for good reason. Kids love to experiment with their photos, videos and audio clips and create professional looking videos. You will need MacOS to use this app.
2. For children who find handwriting tricky, Dexteria helps with fine motor skill development.
Available for £5.99, the app has been developed in consultation with Occupational Therapists and aims to increase co-ordination and motor control in the hands and fingers (and can also be used to help a person recover from strokes and injuries).
3. Marvel is king of the playground right now and with Marvel Hero Tales from Kuato Games, kids can join Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man and Captain Marvel (Member exclusive stories) and discover a new way of experiencing Marvel adventures.
They get to run, swing and fly their way across New York City as you they the power of words to defeat the bad guys and tell their very own stories, with new adventures being added all the time!
Marvel Hero Tales uses a unique system that lets players control the story through the power of language. Developed with experts in language development, the system is mapped to UK Key Stage 2/US 2nd Grade reading skills to help with vocabulary development.
4. Key Stage 2 is an ideal time to introduce another language and DuoLingo is a brilliant free app to start developing those language-learning skills.
Bite-size lessons means your child won’t feel overwhelmed with learning new words (and it is common for teachers to use this app in the classroom!).
5. Brain Pop is a learning resource created over 20 years ago that covers all core subjects with different apps for different age ranges with an emphasis on self-paced learning.
The app covers subject like Science, Humanities, English, Maths, Art, PHSE & Citizenship, and Design & Technology - and the music apps are especially fun and interactive.
Material can be reviewed more than once so your child won’t feel rushed. Movies, quizzes, animations and games make learning fun.
KEY STAGE 3 (11 to 14 years old)
By now, kids might have their own devices. Load them up with these fantastic apps:
1. Garage Band turns your iPad or iPhone into a collection of touch instruments and a full-featured recording studio.
Kids can create their own music and record performances, which can then be shared with family and friends!
2. For comic-book lovers, the Comic Book app will be fun to use. Kids can use their own photographs to make comic strips with a range of effects and speech bubbles. This could be a great app to engage reluctant readers. It costs £2.99 in the app store.
3. The Human Body by Tinybop lets children explore the human body in a frank and fun way with sound-effects and interactive activities.
Although many younger kids will enjoy this app, it's also good to remind teens of what is going on in their ever-changing bodies!
4. For budding artists, AutoDesk Sketchbook is an easy to use free app that will help your child build confidence as they experiment with quick sketches and more developed artworks.
The camera on your child’s phone can be used as a scanner so line art can be imported with a transparent background, ready to build on. The app is free.
KEY STAGE 4 (14 to 16 years old)
At this age, apps are useful for organising school work and staying on top of assignments as well as learning skills that might not be taught in the classroom.
1. Evernote is a popular note taking app that allows users to share information – perfect for homework assignments. Android alternatives include Google Keep where you can store notes, lists, photos and audio files.
2. If your child has an iPod touch or iPhone, why not download the Kindle app? Your child might find it easier to keep up with reading if they can simply do it on their phones rather than lugging books around.
3. Learning outside of the classroom knows no limits with the Skillshare app.
Online lessons include design, illustration, business, technology, photo and film, entrepreneurship and writing but be warned that you do need to purchase many of them.
There are options to get together to learn with friends by creating a ‘team’ and the app has offline access to avoid chewing up data on your devices.
4. According to app developers gohenry, “Not only is the youth economy booming, but their in-store shopping habits, sensible approach to saving and preference for using cards over cash give us a valuable insight into the future of money”.
Gohenry has created a ‘parent account’ which is then connected to accounts for each of your kids. These accounts can be managed through an app and the best bit is that kids can only spend money that has been deposited on a card.
Educational, practical and fun! The first month is free and costs £2.99 thereafter but you can cancel at any time.
What are your favourite educational apps for children?