Preparing kids for the 21st century means exposing them to technology. And for many kids, that means spending some time on an iPad. But what iPad apps are best for kids?
With so many iPad apps on the market for kids these days, it can be hard to know which ones are age-appropriate and purposeful, so I went on a hunt to gather together my favorite 20, teacher-approved suggestions.
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The list includes favorite math games, building apps, reading activities… loads of ideas that will keep kids entertained and learning at the same time!
Whether you’re looking for ways to incorporate iPads into your classroom or you need a quick way to entertain the kids on a long flight, these 20 teacher-approved iPad apps are sure to do the trick.
iPad Apps for Kids: Ages 3 to 5
Learn with Homer is one of those multi-purpose apps. It includes storybooks, learn to read games, drawing… but my favorite feature is its post office. Children can send and receive digital postcards from pre-approved family and friends. It’s a brilliant and easy way to encourage long distance communication with far away relatives.
I’m a big fan of the Words Their Way Spelling Program because of how nicely it identifies what kids already know and what skills they need to work on next. So I was thrilled when This Reading Mama developed an Alphabet Sounds Word Study app based on the series. It’s a perfect combo of motivating and developmentally-appropriate!
Another great iPad app for kids? One of the most popular preschool apps on the market is ABC Mouse Early Learning Academy and there’s a good reason why. The engaging games take the guesswork out of teaching kids how to read – leading them through alphabet sounds, word families, sight words and more.
When kids are ready to learn about numbers, Kids Academy free apps are a great way to go. The preschool-friendly lessons include games, stories and songs that help kids grow a strong number concept.
And speaking of math, kiddos will love learning about shapes and counting with Preschool Math · Basic Skills School. It won a Parent’s Choice Award so you know it’s good!
PBS KIDS offers a free app giving you access to their most popular kid-appropriate shows including “Curious George” and “Wild Kratts.”
Work on writing alphabet letters with a playful round of Trace it, Try it – Thomas Wilson. The program practices letter names, letter sounds and (of course!) letter writing at once. It’s a three-in-one!
iPad Apps for Kids: Ages 5 to 8
Once kids tackle letter sounds, they’re ready to move on to reading short, three-letter words. This Reading Mama’s Short Vowel Word Study app is a motivating way to practice sounding and spelling CVC words. My kids could sit and play the games for hours if I’d let them!
Learn with Homer focuses on helping kids learn to read by providing entertaining storybooks, learn to read games and drawing activities. But what sets it apart is its digital post office where children can send and receive cards from pre-approved family and friends. It’s a genius way to get kids reading and writing!
Make building vocabulary a blast with Ellen Degeneres’ high energy game, Heads Up!
Practice reading sight words and writing alphabet letters with Ollie’s Handwriting & Phonics, a two-in-one app developed by a teacher.
Kids who love puzzles will go crazy for Free Flow – a pipe building game that challenges kids to connect matching dots with pipes to create a flow.
And speaking of building, Block Craft 3D gives young iPaders practice creating and growing cities. (My six year-old is obsessed with gaining villagers and adding to his virtual town!)
Sushi Monster makes math fact practice fun by having kids gobble plates of numbered sushi to make a target addition sum or multiplication product.
Work on memorizing multiplication facts as you play “Show Me” and “Peek” in the Multiplication Flashcard Quiz and Match Games App for 2nd graders and up.
For hours of entertainment on the go, play That’s Baloney! a kids’ quiz game filled with out of the box facts. Is the largest living spider a camel spider… or is that baloney?!
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