Our kids live in a world inundated with technology and they have immense access to information. As parents, we often worry about the dangers of video games and the long-term effects of being plugged into the computer for too long. If you want to ensure that your kids are getting the most out of their screen time, why not load up their computers and mobile devices with educational apps and websites? This way, your kids can still play, tap and swipe to their heart’s content, but they’ll also be learning something along the way. Here are 10 awesome apps your little ones will love.
Teach kids ages 6 and up to put on their creator caps with this free app that engages children in animation techniques. GoldieBlox is a great avenue for learning how to make one-second animated GIFs with the help of tutorials. iPhone, iPad, download on iTunes
Wee ones can practice their letters, numbers, shapes and colors in this under-the-sea adventure geared toward kids ages 2 to 5. This award-winning app will help your child brush up on number recognition, counting from 1 to 20 and music appreciation, putting them ahead of the game when they head to preschool. iPad, $2, download on iTunes
Children ages 9 to 11 will love this geography app that teaches them to recognize the shapes, names, capitals and abbreviations of the United States. Stack the States is set up like a game; once your child builds the stack of states, she’ll be able to reach the finish line and move on to the next level. iPhone, iPad, Android, $2, download on iTunes or Google Play
This is a fantastic literacy app designed to help kids under 5 learn how to recognize, read and write up to 320 important sight words that are building blocks toward reading fluency. Your kids will move through the colorful pages on this app and develop cognitive listening and memorization skills. iPhone, iPad, $2, download on iTunes
What parent wouldn’t like a free app that teaches fire safety? Sparky & The Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms, produced by the National Fire Protection Association, is an interactive eBook that engages children ages 6 and up thanks to a great story, games and a music video. iPhone, iPad, Android, download on iTunes or Google Play
This do-it-all app will really inspire your child to practice and learn basic math, develop money skills and learn how to tell time – all important educational milestones for kids ages 6 to 8. The app also allows parents to track their child’s progress. iPad, Android, $5, download on iTunes or Google Play
PBS Kids has an amazing website full of videos, games, eBooks, music albums and links to a plethora of apps, utilizing all of their popular characters that kids know and love. Kids can dress up Elmo, race a cheetah with the Wild Kratz or design their own machine invention with the Cat in the Hat. Hundreds of fun games are available in many different categories: numbers, vocabulary, nature, coloring, science, music, language and more. iPhone, iPad, download on App Store, Amazon, Google Play, nook app, Windows Store
BrainPOP, available on all major platforms, has easy-to-use content that works with teachers, schools and parents and is mapped to Common Core. Parents can select content based on state standards, grade and topic – math, art, language, health, technology, social studies and science. If schools haven’t subscribed to the content, parents can select “family access” on the website to purchase the content. $85 – $115, available on all major platforms
Cooking with your kids is a great way to not only teach them about fractions and measurements, but also to spend some old-fashioned quality time together. Check out Spatulatta for basic recipes that little ones can master and understand, as well as for cooking-skill education, creative food projects and virtual tours. This website encourages children to learn and apply what they read and see online to the real world. Kids can also click on links to food-centered vocabulary and play part-of-speech word games that are a bit like like Mad Libs for little chefs.
As you’d expect, National Geographic Kids has a wealth of free information designed to teach kids about nature, animals, different cultures and conservation. Through quizzes, games, videos and stories, kids will learn about the world they live in and be inspired to protect it. The search bar at the top of the page is an ideal way to find specific content that piques your child’s interest. For premium website access, purchase the one month subscription for $5; the one-year subscription for $30; or the one-year bundle pass, which includes premium web access for one year, one-year subscription to the print magazine and iPad accessibility for $40.
More from Make It Better:
- Preschool Guide: Ease the Transition for You and Your Child
- Hedda Sharapan on Kids and Creativity
- Expert Tips to Make Your Child a Better Reader