There are so many apps out there. To make your search a little easier, I’ve compiled a few of my kids’ favorites. As a former teacher, I look for apps that have some educational qualities, and the best way to find great apps and media in general is by searching Common Sense Media. It’s an independent nonprofit and chock full of great reviews on all types of media. When I find myself in a predicament (stuck at the doctor’s office, standing in the checkout line, etc.), I break out these apps for my little ones. They are entertaining while at the same time educational.
If you’re not familiar with the Montessori method, it teaches basic concrete concepts and then moves onto more abstract concepts. The app is very visually appealing, clean and modern, with a soothing narrator. In order to move through the app, your child completes drag and drop games by following audio and visual clues. Each section provides various ways to connect abstract math concepts to real world examples such as basic counting, number lines, visualizing quantities using dots, and sequencing by segment rods. For ages 4 and up. Cost: $4.99, iOS only.
This daily math app provides learning resources for students of various abilities. There are several free levels, but parents can access a full upgrade for a fee. There are a variety of skills covered and it uses verbal and visual cues. It’s visually quite busy, but the interactive cues make it easy to maneuver through the various games. For ages 5 and up. Cost: Basic version is free, iOS and Android.
A friend introduced this app to my oldest son. It’s a fun app for toddlers and preschoolers because it entertains through visual and audio scenes. It presents letters in different ways for visual and audible learners, and is very interactive. At the onset, it opens with the full alphabet. Your child chooses a letter and will watch a delightful animated introduction followed by words and animations. Lots of games and puzzles for your child to interact with in this colorful app. For ages 3 and up. Cost: free, iOS, Android, and Amazon.
You may be familiar with the Bob Books Series, which teaches basic language and literacy skills. You can use this app in connection with the books or just by itself. The illustrations are the same as the books. Each section reads the sentence and your child must spell words with a drag and drop movement. There are different levels of difficulty that include the basic drag and drop to the more difficult version in which there are no letter hints at all. Levels can be reset in the settings. For ages 4 and up. Cost: free, iOS only.
This popular app drills kids on math and spelling skills. Students will practice addition, subtraction, sight words, spelling, and writing letters and numbers; the app provides feedback when needed. For correct answers, your child receives rewards. Those rewards can be used in a virtual aquarium. At the achievement screen, you can change the level if it is too difficult or too easy for your child. For ages 5 and up. Cost: $1.99, iOS only.
This colorful and fun app builds on your child’s basic reading skills. Your child is given various categories, such as colors or transportation. From that, they are asked to build words by letter or sounded out with phonics. Each screen reveals the object with the word to spell, so it builds vocabulary and letter recognition. For ages 4 and up. Cost: $4.99, iOS only.
This interactive app encourages exploration while teaching cause and effect. By using a drag and drop interface, your child places animals, characters, and objects within the scenes and sees the effects. It’s fun to see the scene transform with each object. There are twelve adventure scenes in which your child can view the images and written words for each item. For ages 3 and up. Cost: $2.99, iOS, Android, and Amazon.