Best Educational Apps for Kids

Khan Academy is the best educational app for kids of all skill levels

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Kids love screen time, but if you want your child to do a little less Pokémon chasing and a little more learning, there’s good news. Many of today’s apps for kids are combining technology and education to make learning more engaging, interactive, and—dare we say—fun than ever before.

Whatever skills or subjects your child is interested in, there are a wide variety of educational apps available. Ahead, we’ve highlighted the seven best learning apps for kids loved by both parents and youngsters.

The 7 Best Educational Apps for Kids in 2022

Best Overall : Khan Academy


Khan Academy

Khan Academy

Key Specs

  • Price: Free
  • Ages/Grades: 4 Years and older
  • Apple/Android: Both

Why We Chose It: Suitable for beginner and advanced students, Khan Academy offers learning opportunities for students of all ages across many subjects, including math, economics, and history.

Pros
  • Totally free

  • Offers a wide variety of subjects

  • Suitable for foundational or supplemental learning

  • Includes introduction math classes for preschool and up

  • Available in more than 36 languages

Cons
  • Self-paced design might not be right for everyone

  • Lacks foreign language courses

Khan Academy is the gold standard for educational apps, particularly considering the wide range of courses it offers for students of all ages and because it’s free. Khan Academy’s YouTube videos cover a range of levels for most subjects: math, science and engineering, arts and humanities (including history and social studies), economics, AP courses, and test prep.

English language arts (ELA) seems to be one notable weakness of Khan Academy courses, though it has some work-in-progress offerings for second- to ninth-grade students. There also are no foreign language courses, though Khan Academy instruction is available in dozens of languages, with varying numbers of course offerings.

Khan Academy is popular among students, parents, and educators because its videos are engaging and targeted at visual learners, using photos, maps, and other illustrations, and because it allows students to work at their own pace.

The courses include quizzes to test students’ comprehension. Khan Academy also has shifted toward developing materials in conjunction with Common Core. A junior version, Khan Academy Kids, targets young learners from toddler to five years old. It’s a mobile device app that covers math, ELA, logic, and socio-emotional learning by using books, games, songs, and videos.

Best for Toddlers : Busy Shapes


Busy Shapes

Busy Shapes

Key Specs

  • Price: $10
  • Ages/Grades: Ages 3–7
  • Apple/Android: Both

Why We Chose It: Your toddler will love moving the shapes around in this app, and you’ll love that it’s secretly teaching them spatial recognition and object awareness.

Pros
  • Easy for little hands to use

  • Gradually becomes more challenging

  • Encourages problem-solving skills

  • Available in 8 languages

Cons
  • Doesn’t display or say the name of the shapes

  • Some users reported glitchy or “unsolvable” levels

Busy Shapes is an app aligned with the Montessori method of self-directed, hands-on learning. As such, it’s perfect for young kids just starting to interact with technology. The app is designed to develop young children’s logic and reasoning skills by learning about how objects relate to each other and how they can manipulate them.

Busy Shapes is simple to play. Kids drag an object into a hole—they are challenged to match the shape of the object with the corresponding hole—and eventually, another object and hole will appear in a new setting.

Most importantly, there are no instructions, which is something toddlers can’t really handle—it’s all child-directed.

The challenge increases over time, with multiple objects and holes of different shapes. Busy Shapes costs $2.99.

Best for Preschoolers : ABCmouse.com


ABCMouse.com

ABCMouse.com

Key Specs

  • Price: $10 per month
  • Ages/Grades: Ages 2–8
  • Apple/Android: Both

Why We Chose It: ABCmouse.com has more than 10,000 activities available to play on its app or website. There are games for traditional subjects, like math, science, and language arts, as well as art activities, songs, and puzzles.

Pros
  • Designed by educators and experts in early learning

  • One account can have up to three profiles

  • Includes school subjects plus games and puzzles

  • Highly adaptable to age and skill levels

  • Advertisement-free website

  • Free 30-day trial

Cons
  • More expensive than other options

  • Only available in English and Spanish

More than just an app, ABCmouse.com is essentially a well-rounded curriculum for preschoolers. It’s designed for children aged 2 through 8 but is best for younger kids who haven’t started kindergarten.

It includes hundreds of interactive games, activities, and videos related to reading, math, science, and art. It’s also a multi-platform program that can be used on a computer or mobile device. 

Because it’s a full-fledged curriculum, ABCmouse isn’t cheap—it costs around $10/month. However, if your child doesn’t attend preschool, the app is a great substitute to get them ready for elementary school, as parents can track their progress.

The only reservation some reviewers, such as Common Sense Media, have with ABCmouse, is that it rewards children’s progress with tickets, which can be used to purchase virtual items. While this feature is sure to be successful in keeping kids using the program, some would argue it encourages consumerism instead of learning for learning’s sake.

Best for Elementary School Kids : Prodigy


Prodigy Math Tutoring

Prodigy Math Tutoring

Key Specs

  • Price: Free for basic; premium memberships cost $60 to $75 per year
  • Ages/Grades: Grades 1–8
  • Apple/Android: Both

Why We Chose It: Prodigy helps students learn math while having fun by providing interactive games that align with the curriculum they’re learning at school.

Pros
  • Features math curriculum standards for grades 1–8

  • Play online or via app

  • Can be used for practice or initial learning

Cons
  • Ads encourage membership and in-app purchases

  • Fantasy theme might not be for everyone

Prodigy is one of the most popular math games on the market, largely because it’s set up like a video game. It’s a fantasy-based web and app game that covers math topics for kids from first through eighth grade.

Prodigy is more designed to test kids’ knowledge rather than introduce them to math topics for the first time. Kids earn spells by answering questions correctly and get to do monster battles as they move through different fantasy worlds.

The basic app is free, but a paid premium subscription offers more features and costs about $60 annually. Despite the fact that Prodigy is widely loved by kids, one drawback for parents is that there seems to be significant pressure within the game to make in-app purchases.

Best for Tweens : Google Arts and Culture


Arts and Culture
Google

Key Specs

  • Price: Free
  • Ages/Grades: Ages 12 and older
  • Apple/Android: Both

Why We Chose It: Google’s interactive Arts and Culture lets students explore art, history, geography, and cultures from all over the world by allowing them to tour museums, learn about international foods, and much more in the palm of their hands.

Pros
  • Designed for project research or just for fun

  • Transform your own photos into artwork

  • Virtual tours of museums around the world

  • Lots of information on art and culture

  • Entertaining and educational for tweens and adults

Cons
  • Database isn’t very user-friendly

  • Some content is restricted by location

A free mobile app has been developed to accompany the well-known website, which offers a treasure trove of virtual travel and sight-seeing. The app lets you search by keyword or category and read relevant editorials about the art collections. 

While Google Arts and Culture became famous for its selfie feature, which allows you to compare your face to great works of art, the site and app contain a wealth of information on museum collections, artists, theater and performing arts, historic figures, and events.

Google Arts and Culture is an invaluable resource for tweens who are assigned research projects, as it can provide in-depth information that goes far beyond the written word to include images and videos. While the app truly can be enjoyed by people of many ages, the amount of information available can be overwhelming for younger kids who may not know how to use search terms efficiently.

Best for Teens : Quizlet


Quizlet

Quizlet

Key Specs

  • Price: Free
  • Ages/Grades: Ages 4 and older
  • Apple/Android: Both

Why We Chose It: Quizlet makes it easy to prepare for tests by letting you create as many flashcard sets as you want on your phone or computer. It offers different testing methods, such as multiple choice and true/false questions, plus it has millions of sets available that students already have designed.

Pros
  • Offers flashcards, games and study guides 

  • Can be used by students or teachers 

  • Seven study modes allow for personalized instruction

  • Millions of flashcards sets available

Cons
  • Users say that editing flashcards can be difficult

  • Interface can be hard to organize

Self-directed study is an important skill for high schoolers, and Quizlet is one of the most effective apps on the market for reviewing material a student will be tested on. Teachers and students can create study sets/flashcards on many topics—from the periodic table to U.S. presidents to vocabulary words and more.

The Quizlet Learn feature provides different types of testing, such as true-and-false and multiple-choice questions. Quizlet is particularly good for foreign language study, and its audio pronunciation is better than many other apps.

Quizlet has more than 500 million archived study sets already created by users, so new users can search within those to see if a study set already has been created that matches up with their needs.

Note that the study sets aren’t fact-checked, so users need to be aware that they may contain errors. However, it’s a free resource, so users should weigh the benefits with the drawbacks.

Best for Teaching Kids Coding : Hopscotch


Hopscotch

Hopscotch

Key Specs

  • Price: $8 per month or $80 for annual subscription
  • Ages/Grades: Ages 9-11
  • Apple/Android: Apple 

Why We Chose It: Ideal for beginners, Hopscotch is a great way for kids to explore the world of computer programming. Kids learn coding, problem-solving, and logical and mathematical skills while having fun creating projects.

Pros
  • Kid-friendly programming

  • Provides play-along video tutorials

  • Can create games, stories, and art

  • Values kids’ privacy

Cons
  • Not available on Android devices

  • Not suitable for seasoned programmers

Hopscotch is a coding app designed for kids 9 to 11 years old. It’s built much like Scratch, one of the first programs developed to introduce kids to computer programming, but Hopscotch is built specifically for mobile devices (only iPads and iPhones), while Scratch is web-based.

Hopscotch is free with in-app purchases available. 

Kids can drag and drop commands and instructions into a script to create their own programs. They can customize their programs by choosing characters, save and share their creations with the Hopscotch community, and comment on and play others’ creations.

It’s a great way for kids to be creative and start learning how computer programming works without worrying about difficult, technical coding language. It’s also a good starter coding app from which kids can move on to more complex programs like Scratch on a desktop or laptop.

Final Verdict

Khan Academy is the best education app because it’s free, easy to use, and works well for every age group. It provides informational videos and online exercises to help kids excel in a variety of subjects, including math, science, and language arts. Students can go at their own pace, which allows them to take their time to learn about each topic.

For toddlers and preschoolers, Busy Shapes and ABCMouse.com are equal parts entertaining and educational. For older kids, we recommend Quizlet, Hopscotch, and Google Arts and Culture apps. Quizlet is the perfect tool for studying; Hopscotch is ideal for beginner programmers; and Google Arts and Culture is an excellent app for those interested in art, history, culture, and travel.

Compare Apps

Company Price Ages/Grades Skills/Subjects Taught Apple/Android
Khan Academy Best Overall Free  Grades K-14  Varies: math, science, reading, life skills, and more Both
Busy Shapes Best for Toddlers $3 Ages 0-5 Logic and intelligence Both 
ABCmouse.com Best for Preschoolers $10 per month Ages 2-8 Reading, math, science, art and colors Both
Prodigy Best for Elementary School Kids Free for basic; premium memberships cost $75 per year Grades 1-8 Math Both
Google Arts and Culture Best for Tweens Free Ages 12 and up Art, history, geography, culture Both
Quizlet Best for Teens Free Ages 4 and up Varies: languages, science, arts and more Both
Hopscotch Best for Teaching Kids Coding $8 per month or $80 for annual subscription Ages 9-11 Computer programming and coding Apple

FAQs

What Are Some Pros and Cons of Educational Apps for Kids?

Educational apps help kids acquire the skills they need to perform everyday tasks and future job duties. They also can help to spark kids’ interest in topics they otherwise might find boring. Teachers can use apps to vary and customize their teaching methods and styles, so students can take advantage of their strengths and learn at their own pace.

On the other hand, educational apps can result in too much overall screen time and may lead to distraction and overstimulation. While most of these apps have been around for several years and are highly valued as learning tools, they aren’t a substitute for person-to-person instruction and free play. Too much screen time might interfere with your child's ability to learn social skills.

APA Screen Time Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) recommends no screens for children younger than 18 months, and up to one hour of high-quality screen time for children older than 2 years. Ideally, parents should engage with media alongside young children.

How Much Do Educational Apps for Kids Cost?

Some educational apps are free to download, but those versions usually offer limited features. You’ll likely need to pay a fee to access all of the app's features. To purchase an educational app for kids, the one-time download cost usually ranges from $3 to $10.

Other apps are available for a monthly or yearly subscription fee, which can range from approximately $5 to $20 per month. These types of apps usually include features such as an extensive curriculum, diagnostic tools, progress reports, and personalized recommendations.

How Can I Monitor Apps on My Kid’s iPad?

Parental control apps can be used to see what your kids are doing on their smartphones and tablets. The apps can monitor app usage, set limits on screen time, and block kids from using certain apps. Although there are some free parental control apps, most require buying a monthly or yearly subscription for approximately $5 to $10 per month.

How We Chose the Best Educational Apps For Kids

We consulted dozens of editorial reviews by relevant publications—like parenting and tech magazines, as well as reviews by nonprofit organizations like Common Sense Media, the National Educational Association, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

For this category, we aimed to provide app recommendations for children aged 2 through 18, and also highlight a few unique categories that have become important in the field of education recently, such as social-emotional learning and coding. In addition, we tested out some of the apps to become familiar with their features.

A Word From Verywell

The best educational apps have features that allow children to be actively engaged, not get distracted, and connect the app content to their existing knowledge. Finally, open-ended, choose-your-own-adventure-style apps are more likely to be educational than linear ones, because they are child-led instead of app-led.

 

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2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Psychological impacts of “screen time” and “green time” for children and adolescents: A systematic scoping review. Plos One Journal.

  2. Council on Communications and Media. Media and young minds