Best Learning Apps for Kids

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on October 6, 2014, App Guides

It’s a rare child these days that doesn’t have access to a mobile device, even if it’s only borrowing mum or dad’s smart phone. But giving kids a mobile to use doesn’t just mean playing games and watching YouTube videos. There are a whole host of excellent education apps around, which means that your child can be learning even while they’re being entertained. If you find yourself handing your phone over to the little one on a regular basis, then you might want to consider downloading some of these awesome learning apps!

Best Apps for Little Kids

Even the smallest of kids these days can use a smart phone, and there’s a bunch of apps that are designed for the very smallest of children. These kids need a category of their own, since you’ll have special requirements for younger ones. So, if you’ve got a kid from the age of around twelve months or so up to about three, then here are great starter apps for numbers, colours and even letters.

The Lonely Beast 123 is a simple counting app that introduces kids to the numbers one through twelve with the help of a cute little monster. Writing Wizard lets kids trace the outlines of letters, giving them the building blocks they’ll need to start writing for themselves. This might seem like a young age to start, but Writing Wizard combines writing with fun games, bright colours and jaunty music, meaning kids love it.

If writing isn’t quite the goal yet, then check out Mini-U: Zoo Alphabet, which provides a nice introduction to letters using all the animals in the zoo. Pepi Doctor is also one of our favourite learning apps, teaching health and hygiene through cute characters. There’s no text involved, so it’s perfect for young learners (especially those that need to remember to wash their hands and brush their teeth). Finally, Goodnight Mo is a great bedtime book available as an app, with interactive features and soothing music, it’s the perfect way to send your little one to sleep.

Now, what about those older kids? Here are some of our favourite apps for bigger children:

Hakitzu Elite: Robot Hackers

Hakitzu Elite

Hakitzu Elite

Let’s start out with an unusual learning app. Hakitzu Elite: Robot Hackers aims to teach kids to code. Yes, as in computer programming. By teaching simple JavaScript rules, the app lets kids build a warrior robot which they’ll then need to programme so that it can fight. Fights can be single-player, or they can battle against friends. You might not have thought about teaching your kid to code, but schools are rapidly adding programming to their curricula, so why not give your kid a head start? Oh, and Hakitzu is fun too (even for grown ups!).

Mystery Math Town

Mystery Math Town

Mystery Math Town

Face it, maths can be pretty boring, and getting your kid to play with maths can seem impossible. Not any more though, Mystery Math Town is one of the best (and most fun) maths apps that we’ve seen so far. You’re exploring a spooky old town, and along the way you’ll collect numbers. You can use these numbers to solve sums that will allow you access to different areas of the town. Simple, right? Also, very, very addictive. You can change the settings to suit different age groups, as well as specifying which maths operations you want to include (making it addition only, for example). Mystery Math Town really is a great example of a maths app done right.

Astronaut Trainer

Astronaut Trainer

Astronaut Trainer

If you want your kids to learn all about space, the planets and even asteroids, then there’s no better app than Astronaut Trainer. Through a series of small mini-games kids collect information about the solar system without even realising that they’re doing it! One of the reasons that this is our favourite of the many space themed apps available is that it’s accessible to both older and younger children. There’s a built in narrator for kids that are too young to read yet, and older kids can go it alone. Future astronauts (and astronomers and rocket scientists) will love Astronaut Trainer!

Great British Chefs Kids

Great British Chefs Kids

Great British Chefs Kids

Another thing that you might not have thought about teaching your child is cooking, but with great British Chefs Kids you might find that you’re bringing up a mini Jamie Oliver. This app separates recipes into different categories and then gives each recipe simple step by step instructions, including pictures and even videos. There are plenty of recipes that don’t involve actual cooking (for those that are too young to use the oven). And there’s even a handy link in so that you can order all the ingredients online to be delivered to your door (thanks to Tesco). This is one way to not only educate your kids, but also to make them useful around the house!

Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island

Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island

Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island

Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island is one of those learning apps that kids love, mostly because they don’t realise that they’re actually learning anything. Placed in charge of their own island (which they can design and landscape themselves), each of this game’s eighteen levels presents an environmental problem that kids need to solve. From oil spills to scarce natural resources, kids will need to think outside the box and really consider ecological problems. There are even songs, as well as a bunch of alternative missions. Your kid will be playing this one for ages, and won’t even know how much he’s learning about ecology.

Spell With Pip

Spell With Pip

Spell With Pip

Finally, Spell with Pip is one of the best spelling games that we’ve seen. It’s competitive (always a good thing in a kid’s app) and allows you to keep multiple profiles on the same account (so siblings can each have their own game), but most importantly it’s scientific. The game is based on the latest research from the Oxford Dictionary group, which has identified the 3,000 words that kids are most likely to have problems spelling. It’s bright, fun, kind of addictive, and very educational. What’s not to love about that?

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