The 14 Best Educational Apps for Kids to Use in LearningAll Posts
Written by Maria Kampen
- Teacher Resources
Did you know there are more than 1.96 million apps available on the Apple App Store?
With the overwhelming options for different learning apps for kids out there, it can be difficult to know which ones to pick and which to skip. That’s why we’ve done the work for you, with a curated list of 14 essential apps to educate and entertain kids from preschool to high school.
We dove deep into the features and benefits of every app on this list to bring you the best ones for learning. Students, teachers and parents can be confident that they’re getting a high-quality and fun educational experience.
Plus, we’ve done our best to find apps that offer free versions or a substantial trial period so you can make an informed decision before you buy — because at Prodigy, we believe learning should be accessible for all.
Most of the apps on this list are available through Google Play, the Apple App Store or Amazon, but some also have desktop versions for children that prefer to use a computer.
Keep reading to find out which one is right for you!
1. Prodigy Math Game
Age: 1st - 8th grade
Pricing: Parents, teachers and students can register for a free account and access all of Prodigy’s educational features. Premium Memberships unlock additional in-game features and parent tools, starting at $4.99 USD/month.
Created for students in elementary school and up, Prodigy Math Game harnesses all the power of a fun fantasy role-playing game to encourage kids to answer more math questions.
To win battles, complete epic quests and earn rewards, students must answer curriculum-aligned questions. Prodigy Math Game’s adaptive algorithm works to keep students learning at a level that’s just right for them, so they’ll stay engaged and not get frustrated by tough questions.
Teachers can create a free account and send students questions aligned to their lesson plans. Parents can also create their own free account to track and support their child’s progress.
Find out how you can get started with Prodigy today:
2. Khan Academy Kids
Subject: ELA, Math
Ages: 2 to 8
If you have older kids or students, there’s a good chance they (or you) have turned to Khan Academy’s simple-yet-effective math tutorials for help with tricky concepts.
Khan Academy Kids takes that same engaging approach to learning for pre-schoolers and up with learning games and lessons reviewed by early-childhood education experts. Aligned with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, it can help kids develop foundational literacy and math skills, while also promoting social emotional learning in a fun, safe environment.
Teachers can register for a free account to find lessons aligned to classroom work and track student progress as they learn. Parents can sign up to support their child at home, or use a teacher account to help with distance learning.
3. PBS Kids Games
Subject: ELA, STEM, problem-solving
Ages: Pre-K to 6
Available on: pbskids.org
If you have kids or students that love PBS Kids shows, this is the resource for them. PBS Kids Games is a hub through which students can navigate to individual show’s sites and play games that cover a variety of topics, including:
Parents and teachers can use PBS Kids to access smaller apps centered around kid’s favorite TV characters. For added mobility, kids can also play on a tablet.
PBS Kids for Parents offers caregivers resources for learning and playing at home, plus the ability to search for games by age and topic.
Students might require a little direction to start working on the right games, but they’ll be having a blast in no time.
Subject: Math, Chess
Ages: 4 +
Pricing: DragonBox apps can be purchased individually on the Apple and Google Play app stores starting at $4.99 USD, or in bundles at dragonbox.com.
Instead of just one app, DragonBox offers six games that cover different math concepts in a fun, engaging way.
Elementary students can explore addition, subtraction and the basics of chess, while middle school and high school kids can try their hand at algebra and geometry. Not only does DragonBox teach math skills, it helps kids understand the why behind the what.
Pricing: Duolingo is free to use, but upgrading to a Plus account removes ads and provides additional features.
In today’s global world, it never hurts to be able to say “hello” in a few extra languages.
Duolingo helps kids — and adults — go beyond the basics to master any of the 19 languages it currently offers. Immediate feedback keeps kids learning and engaged, and clear lessons guide them through learning at their own pace.
Parents can use Duolingo as a way to supplement at-school learning, or even start speaking a new language themselves! Duolingo also offers a Schools version to help teachers track student progress and align lessons with what’s happening in the classroom.
6. YouTube Kids
Subject: General Education
Ages: 2 to 12
Pricing: YouTube Kids is a free app, but shows paid ads and videos with commercial content from YouTube creators.
YouTube Kids takes the fun, educational videos kids love and lets them watch in a safe and secure environment. They’ll get a fun educational experience, and you’ll get peace of mind.
Parents and teachers can sort by age-appropriate content, block content their child isn’t ready for and set a time limit to control the amount of screen time children have. Whether it’s cartoons, science experiments or silly stories, there’s something for every family or classroom.
Ages: 2 to 12
Pricing: Epic Free gives students access for two hours a week after school hours, while Epic Unlimited offers anytime access and unlimited book selection. Teachers can sign up for Epic School for free and access the library during school hours (7am - 4pm, Monday to Friday).
Epic is the perfect app for budding bookworms and word whizzes! With access to over 35,000 books for kids up to 6th grade, there’s sure to be something for even the most reluctant of readers.
Parents and teachers can use the free app to sort resources by grade level and subject. Epic also features audiobooks and read-alouds for those who prefer to listen or are too young to read on their own.
Plus, a free Epic School account lets teachers assign books and track reading progress. Teachers can assign books and track reading progress with a free Epic account, and parents can support their child’s reading at home.
8. Montessori Crosswords for Kids
Ages: 3 to 10
Available on: Apple Store
Pricing: $2.99 USD
Montessori Crosswords for Kids helps students develop phonics skills at their own pace with fun, engaging crosswords. Using a drag-and-drop crossword interface, young learners can practice the basics of reading, writing and spelling.
It’s a simpler app than many on this list, but kids will love the satisfaction that comes with solving puzzles and expanding their vocabulary. The theories behind the concept match up to Montessori learning fundamentals, but your child doesn’t have to be a Montessori student to reap the benefits!
9. Swift Playgrounds
Ages: 10 +
Available on: Apple Store
Pricing: Free, but only available for iPad and Mac
If kids want to try their hand at creating their own apps, Swift Playgrounds is a great app to start with.
Swift Playgrounds teaches older kids the basics of creating apps with Swift, the programming language that all Apple apps use.
As they create, kids have to solve puzzles and test code to move on. Not only is it educational, parents and teachers report that it’s also fun for students and thoughtfully designed to offer a beautiful and effective learning experience.
10. Seek by iNaturalist
Ages: 8 +
Created by iNaturalist, a joint project between the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, Seek helps young explorers interact with the natural world around them.
With just the snap of a picture, kids can identify plants, wildlife and fungi, plus earn badges as they explore and learn all about nature.
Whether you’re exploring in the backyard or on a class nature walk, Seek is a great way for kids to appreciate the complexity of nature and learn more about the world. Plus, Seek doesn’t collect user information, so you know your kiddos are staying safe while they explore.
Ages: 7 +
Encourage kids to shoot for the moon as they learn with NASA’s official app! Daily updates and out-of-this-world photography are just some of the ways this app encourages kids to get excited about space exploration.
- Astronomy facts
- Pictures and videos
- Interactive explainers
- NASA’s public television channel
- Current space exploration updates
Lots of in-depth information makes this app better for older kids, but be sure to encourage them to explore and find what interests them. Consider linking current space topics to your daily lessons, or use a sci-fi movie night to spark conversations about the final frontier!
Ages: 6 +, with help from teachers or parents
Available on: Apple Store
Rock on in the classroom and at home with GarageBand, one of the most well-known apps for audio recording and music production.
Although the interface might take a bit to master, kids can use GarageBand to practice composition, hone engineering skills or just let their creativity loose. Whether it’s learning the fundamentals of musical theory, recording podcasts for a class project or recording their own musical efforts, GarageBand gives kids space to explore and get creative with their sound.
13. Hopscotch — Programming for Kids
Ages: 9 +
Available on: Apple Store
Pricing: Free to use, but optional subscriptions to unlock more customization starts at $7.99 USD/month.
Hopscotch — Programming for Kids uses a drag-and-drop editor to help kids create programs with colorful characters.
Through a relatively simple platform, kids can program fun characters to move, change appearance and respond to commands. When they’re done, they can even share their creations with classmates and friends for extra learning opportunities.
For more classroom-aligned learning, teachers can create a free Hopscotch to access lesson plans and help students start learning quickly.
14. Droplets: Drops for Kids
Ages: 8 +
Pricing: Free for 5 minutes a day, subscription needed to unlock non-consecutive content and unlimited learning time.
A kid-friendly version of the language learning app Drops, Drops for Kids makes mastering a new language easy with short vocabulary drills in 37 languages.
With playful illustrations and an approachable interface, young language learners will focus on words they’re likely to use, with colorful pictures and audio for pronunciation.
Teachers can use Droplets in the classroom as a supplemental tool, while parents can help reinforce lessons like Spanish language learning at home.
Benefits of Educational Apps for Kid's Learning
Want to use learning apps for kids in your classroom or at home, but aren’t sure if they’ll work for you? Every child is different, but there are some common benefits to using educational games and apps.
Game-based learning works
Several studies have shown that digital game-based learning (DGBL) can help students stay engaged with learning and reduce anxiety.
DGBL gives students an opportunity to practice concepts in a fun, low-pressure environment and improves their overall understanding of fundamental concepts.
One study found that DGBL kept students on task for 93% of class time, compared to just 72% without it. And when kids in the classroom spend more time engaged with the material, it’s a win for learning!
Shifting screen time toward education
According to a 2020 poll from Pew Research, 71% of parents are concerned their child is spending too much time in front of screens. And with the recent shift towards online learning, that’s especially understandable.
But learning apps turn screen time into education time. They’re a way for parents and educators to ensure that while students are playing, they’re also developing skills and building a lifelong love of learning.
Parental controls and oversight
Learning apps can help close the gap between home and school in a couple different ways:
- Teachers can communicate more regularly with parents
- Parents can see what their children are learning in the classroom
- Learning apps provide easy and fun ways to supplement classroom learning at home
Not only that, but many educational apps offer parental controls, or in the case of some of the entries on the list above, offer child-friendly versions of apps parents already know.
Supplemental to classroom learning
When students are in the classroom, educational apps provide students and teachers with more ways to practice concepts, express themselves creatively and plan engaging lessons.
Lots of apps offer teacher resources and lesson plans to make the most of the app’s unique features and track student progress. Plus, learning apps give parents a concrete way to support their child’s learning at home.
More diverse subject areas
Got a budding horticulturist or a music prodigy in your classroom or at home? Parents and teachers don’t always have the time or resources to tailor activities to the unique interests of every student.
According to one study, 75% of parents with a child ages 11 or younger who watches YouTube videos believe the platform does a good job of exposing their child to different cultures.
Learning apps encourage curiosity and self-directed learning in a fun, safe way! New languages, skills and creative projects are never far off once you find the right app.
Trusted by educators
As a parent or a teacher, you want to make sure kids are getting the best resources available. That’s only natural!
Learning apps are quickly becoming an everyday part of classrooms and evening routines. One study found that 65% of teachers use digital communications to engage with parents, and over half use practice work apps, websites and digital games with their students.
The Best Learning Apps Can Make a Difference in Children’s Education
With the right learning app, high-quality education is always at your fingertips.
Learning apps can help students, parents and teachers:
- Track student learning progress
- Support classroom education at home
- Explore new topics they’re interested in
And take learning to the next level!
Prodigy Math Game is a learning app and desktop game that makes learning math an adventure! Players can complete quests, earn rewards and collect pets — all while answering curriculum-aligned math questions personalized to their learning. Sign up for your free parent or teacher account to support their learning today!