It can be tough to pull kids away from their computers and mobile devices these days. While they’re playing games, wouldn’t it be great if they could be learning at the same time? Good educational apps offer fun challenges that teach specific grade-level skills. Here are 12 that combine fun and learning.
GazziliScience ($1.99; iOS)
GazziliScience introduces children to basic science concepts such as the five senses, seasons, and parts of a plant through six activities that build foundations for science learning in future grades.
Reading Raven ($1.99 and up; iOS)
Reading Raven offers games that teach the basics of phonics and early reading skills. The self-paced lessons and colorful activities focus on skills like tracing letters and identifying, reading, and tracing words.
SpellNow Year 1 (free; Android, iOS)
It takes more than strict memorization to keep most kids engaged and excited about spelling. SpellNow Year 1 features six different types of games. By progressing through words and games, a child practices each spelling lesson thoroughly.
Understanding Math—Addition and Subtraction ($3.99; iOS)
Understanding Math—Addition and Subtraction goes beyond basic comprehension to instill a deeper understanding of the whys and hows of math. The app tracks your child’s progress to determine strengths and weaknesses in different skill areas, and you can customize your child’s learning experience to suit her needs.
Crazy Gears ($1.99; iOS)
It’s never too early to learn about physics and mechanics. Crazy Gears introduces children to these concepts through 60 increasingly challenging puzzles that teach physical science while encouraging logical thinking.
Manic Math ($0.99 and up; Android, iOS)
Manic Math is a Tetris-style game that teaches your child how to think on his feet and improve the speed of his basic math comprehension. Players tap the numbers and function symbols on the screen that create a formula for the result shown at the bottom of the screen. Numbers and symbols continue to fall on top of each other until they build to the top, when the game ends.
Spelling Monster ($1.99; Android, iOS)
While many spelling apps have their own word lists, Spelling Monster enables you to import your child’s list from school. The games are colorful and interactive, such as Word Traffic, in which your child must guide a car through lanes of letters to spell a word while dodging incorrect letters.
Word Creativity Kit ($2.99; iOS)
Word Creativity Kit aims to make creative writing fun while also reinforcing grammar rules. The app presents a series of words from seven categories, such as space or fantasy, as prompts to form sentences. Kids add their own words to finish the complete thoughts that these words have inspired.
Barefoot World Atlas ($4.99; iOS)
Barefoot World Atlas helps kids learn about geography and world cultures with a touch of the screen. Each region features an array of subtopics, from wildlife and natural features to native people, landmarks, and architecture. These facts and illustrations are delivered in photographs, sounds, and hundreds of mini videos.
Hakitzu Elite: Robot Hackers (free; Android, iOS)
iTooch Middle School (free; Android, iOS, Windows)
With a wide range of math and language arts activities, iTooch Middle School offers your child more than 10,000 exercises to choose from. The lessons and summaries, examples, figures, hints, pictures, and detailed explanations are all geared toward keeping education fun for middle schoolers.
My Grades & Homework ($0.99; iOS)
A combination of a grades and homework tracker, My Grades & Homework can help your child stay organized and on top of her progress in school. A convenient calendar and course list format offer a glance at your child’s assignment schedule that she might not normally get from standard homework planners.