One day over Christmas break my daughter was telling me about why she loves animals.
She used some pretty big words for a six year old. Bioluminescence, nocturnal, oviparous! I stop and kneel down.
Mabel, where did you learn those words? Are they teaching you that at school? “I learned it from the Wild Krattz mom!” Next time this happens she tells me it was on The Magic School Bus.
These shows are SO good. They are nothing like the lame, vapid cartoons that I grew up with. Sorry He-Man, sorry Hong Kong Phooey (yes, I am that old), you were fun, but you didn’t have this substance.
I’m super happy to let my babe watch the Krattz brothers and Ms. Frizzle as they’ve introduced her to many concepts in a fun and adventurous way. These shows are both on the PBS Video app.
When she begs me to let her go on my phone I am happy to have some of these handy apps cued up for her. I try to have something enriching over the Panda Pop or Angry Birds fun.
Art Educational Apps
- Crayola Create and Play
Your little Basquiat or Manet will delight in creating, coloring, drawing, stamping, painting, designing and interacting with animated pets, experimenting, discovering, playing, sorting, matching, and mixing colors. Free, Ages 4+
- GoldieBlox Movie
With this app you can draw and animate images or put yourself in your own movie and then send to a friend. Your little girl could be the next Kathryn Bigelow or Ava DuVernay! Free, ages 4+
- Paper by Fifty Three
It allows kids to create art on their handheld devices and sketch cartoons like how Todd Parr created his bestselling books. So fun! Free, ages 4+
- PBS Photo Factory
My five year old liked to take pictures of her baby sister and add a heart frame to and rainbow graphics to it before sending it to daddy at work. Free, ages 4+
English Educational Apps
The more words kids hear the faster they learn and understand new words. The books in the Harry Potter Series, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, or even Llama Llama Red Pajama will help your babes to love literature all their lives. Plus father daughter and mother son books clubs are always fun. Ages + Audible subscription $14.95 a month
- Baloony World
This cute family friendly hangman type game is fun for little to pop balloons as they choose their letters wisely. Pop, sinister laugh, happy leg kicks, woo! Free, ages 4+
This eBook library with educational videos has really neat and catchy endangered animals songs that remind me of some of my favorite bands like They Might Be Giants and Bare Naked Ladies. $7 month, age 0+
- Sight Word Adventure
Play ten fun games like hide and seek or slingshot balloon pop to master 320 site words (words that are used in 50% of words that appear in printed text)! Awww yeahh! Cost: $2.99, ages 4+
Foreign Language Educational Apps
This has a neat progress tracker and a lot of languages to choose from. Choose from 85 languages to read, listen, and speak (even Klingon!). I like the streak count for my Spanish lessons because every day you play you get a flame icon and it is fun to try to keep the streak going. Free, 7+
Math Educational Apps
- ABC Mouse
The very popular early learning program teaches math, English, art, science, and music. My girl enjoys the learning path and the fact that as she completes activities tickets will rain down on her screen and she can redeem those for things. She can get clothes, or furniture for her virtual bedroom, but she likes to purchase food for her virtual pets and feed them and give them water. FREE trial available, Ages 3-8
- Puzzle World
Kiddos can attain awards by learning about what wonders of the world, animals and flags and which countries are known for them without time pressures or scores. Free, ages 5+
- WinkyThink Logic
Where addictive games can be productive play as levels become more challenging more common core math skills are cultivated. Free, 7+
- Goldie Blox
Teaches kids how to code via female empowered storytelling. Strong and Smart is the New Cool, dudes. Ages 7+ $2.99
Physical (Spiritual/Personal Well Being) Educational App
OK, this one is pretty special. It cost me sixty dollars a year, but I believe it was worth it and there is a free trial available. (It was rated #1 App of the year by Apple in 2017.)
There are guided meditations, which I believe every child, as well as adult can benefit from, guided stretches (ditto), natures sounds soundtracks to enjoy, and my favorite sleep stories to fall asleep to.
You can fall asleep to Ben Stein droning on reading the 1776 classic ‘The Wealth of Nations’ and let your son or daughter drift off to the sleep stories of magical mermaids and teddy bear picnics. $59.99, free trial available, 4+
Science Educational Apps
- Classify It
Pick your avatar and start classifying organisms. Are they poisonous? Do they migrate? Yay, move up a level you sweet brainiac! Free, ages 4+
- Habitat the Game
Save the polar bears from the comfort of your minivan/car seat! Free, 4+
- Magic School Bus
Interactive storybook filled with sounds and dialogue. Kids can do fun activities like arrange animals in the proper order for a food chain or create breezes of varying intensity before watching the resultant waves affect a small fishing boat. Cost: $7.99, ages 7+
This gorgeously animated app will let your kiddos peek into the innards of tigers, bats, elephants, kangaroos, and sloths. Watch their littles babies grow inside them. My daughter liked the feature where you pick an animal and you “see” how they see (in sepia/black and white/night vision or vision like ours). Cost $3.99, ages 4+
- PBS Video
PBS KIDS, the #1 educational media brand for kids and this app will give you access to live streaming of the Wild Kratts, Peg + Cat, Super Why, Daniel Tiger, and other beloved shows. I truly love these sweet, wonderful shows.
- Real Scary Spiders
This is the stuff of my nightmares, but some kids will get a big kick out of this game where you grow spiders from baby spiderlings to adult. Feed them, and the creepiest part make them crawl on your friends on your screen! Free, 4+
- The Human Body by TinyBop
Anything by TinyBop is good. This one will allow your kid to feed the body a feast and then watch for burps, barfs, and farts. If you hear flatulence coming from the other side of the room and laughing you might be able to smile if you see TinyBop on their screen. Free, ages 4+
Social Studies Educational Apps
- Wombi Detective
Challenge and encourage the kid’s logics. Kids will receive 3 hints about the burglar, witness interrogation, a suspect lineup. Free, ages 4 +
- Explain Everything
Sketch over videos, collaborate on school projects, and share videos. Cost $13.99, ages 4+
- Google Earth
Orbit the statue of liberty, see a street view of your house, and get a tour from National Geographic of faraway terrains. Free, ages 4+
- Stack the States
Timed game. Tap when you see California! Which state’s capitol is Santa Fe? Learn state’s shapes, nicknames, and abbreviations with fun state shaped cartoons – 4+ $2.99
Time spent with kid’s is so very precious and sometimes it’s ideal to play twenty questions, I spy, or some other screen-free game with your littles, but sometimes a little screen time can be a good thing and there are many great apps out there that you can feel good about giving your sweetie to use for a bit!
To stay up to date with all the newest apps for kids follow Common Sense Media. They will help you steer your kids in the right direction when you are deciding what apps, movies, and television shows to let your sweet, sugar, honey, baby, loves to ingest.
Keep up the amazing, amazing work moms, dads, all of you looking for ways to help the little in your life grow into amazing, empathetic, creative, caring, responsible, thoughtful, funny, intelligent people. Happy apping! (I just made that word up.)
Related: Best Apps for Moms
Hello! I’m Clare. I’m a kindness blogger from San Luis Obispo, California. I help people, especially overloaded moms (and their children) bring love, fun, beauty, and kindness into the world with fun and free ideas.
I give ridiculously doable ways to be kind to yourselves, your families, your neighbors, community, brothers and sisters around the world, and our Mother Earth.
I am a happily married mother of two sweet, darling babes, started a kindness club at the office I work at, am a Dining for Women Chapter leader, and am always working on my adulating skills.