Best Free Educational Apps For Young Kids
Written by Julia Loten
In the evolving world of online learning, kids’ education apps are becoming more and more relevant. Young children have had to learn remotely for the past year, adapting to classroom settings that are entirely, or at least partially, online. Even as schools consider returning to fully in-person teaching in the fall, there’s a fair chance that kids will hop on the iPad as soon as they come home. Your kids might not be inclined to sacrifice their after-school screens for extra learning, so here are some FREE apps that might help you disguise educational time as playtime.
[Educational apps can run a high price, and while they might be worth it, free ones that are just as high-quality and immersive are also out there. You might as well try these out before spending on a subscription.]
For kids learning the alphabet, Starfall ABCs offers a colorful interface for learning letters, vowels, and full words. Made possible by supporters of Starfall.com, this app is entirely free. It focuses on letting children see, hear, and interact with the letters they are learning in order to master them. It even offers the opportunity to learn the sign language alphabet!
This free app is an “interactive math journey” for kids aged 3 to 7. Kids can customize a character and progress through over 100 levels of games relevant to their math curriculum. All answers are written onto the screen (as opposed to pressing a button) so kids can practice fundamental math concepts and writing skills at the same time. Quick Math Jr.’s fun graphics and visible progress bar will surely help keep kids engaged and make the math fun.
BrainPOP typically makes videos for older students, but this junior version provides videos for kids ages 5 to 9. The app offers a free animated movie each week on topics like science, social studies, reading, writing, math, health, arts, and technology, each delivered by characters Annie and Moby. The app aims to help kids work on thinking critically and asking questions, while watching the videos and then taking topical quizzes. There is an optional subscription to gain access to all of the videos in the BrainPOP junior library, but you can try signing in with your child’s school ID first to see if you can gain access for free.
PBS is always a great resource for educational content for kids, so it’s no surprise that this app has won awards for its school-subject-based games. Characters from popular PBS KIDS shows guide your child (recommended ages 3 to 8) through mazes, puzzles, and coloring games. While playing with their favorite characters, kids will also learn about science, engineering, math, art, and even social skills. The app is entirely free and the library of 200+ games is added to every week.
Inspired by the Scratch programming language (for ages 8 up), Scratch Jr. is a more cognitively appropriate app for kids ages 5 to 7. As a non-profit, Scratch offers the app entirely free. Children can learn code by putting together digital blocks and making characters move in different ways. This helps them learn the foundations of code in a fun way, working with numbers and letters to solve the problems. Scratch Jr. claims that with their app, “children don’t just learn to code, they code to learn.” Who knew little ones could learn to code so young!