My daughter was a mere year old when the first iPhone hit the market, and she was quite capable of operating my phone better than my husband by the time she was two. The phone became our default device if she was bored in public, so I soon loaded my phone up with apps for kids. But we didn’t select “fun” games; while 90% of American kids are gamers (according to the Kids and Gaming report by NPD Group), we wanted her to use it as a learning tool instead of simple entertainment (at least until she’s on to us), so we chose educational apps instead.
Four years (and three generations of phones) later, there are so many great teaching apps for kids that my kid has learned counting, spelling, and basic math with my phone. A number of gaming hubs and websites offer a variety of iPhone games and Android games, many of which happen to offer a fun “edutainment” benefit to kids. It’s just a matter of whittling down the choices.
So what are the best educational apps? Here are just a few that are all available as both iOS and Android.
- Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, $.99. This fun game app is perfect for the preschool set, helping them learn numbers, letters, shapes and more with the help of a rather adorable monkey.
- First Grade Learning Games, free. This simple app popular with teachers is a great first step for a whole suit of skills for kids five to six years old. It covers reading, spelling, math, fractions, compound words, contractions, and plenty more. Plus there are version of this game for older kids as well.
- Math Bingo, $.99. This game is popular both in the classroom (one game log in can support up to 30 profiles) and at home, and is a cute and fun way for kids to learn basic math functions, starting around 3rd grade and up to 5th grade.
- Middle School Vocabulary Prep, $1.99. I won’t go so far as to call this app fun, but it comes highly recommended by middle school teachers to help elementary school kids get a jump on the stuff they’ll need to know in 6th grade. It’s also much better than the mimeoed vocabulary drills I got in school.
- Creatorverse, $4.99 for all age groups. This amazing app teaches physics by allowing kids to make monsters and robots and anything else they can come up with, and then set them in motion to see what happens. The best part is the way this game embracing ALL ages, because the older a kid gets, the more complicated they can make their designs. Amazing tool for budding inventors and engineers!
The best news is that more great educational apps enter the market each day. As nearly 11% of all apps fall into the educational category – the second most popular type of apps created, according to Statistica – there’s no doubt that there is money to be made in this branch of the app industry. So keep your eye out for the next great app for your little genius!