As a parent, you know that your child is growing up fast. You want to give them every opportunity to succeed in school, and it’s never too early to start preparing.
Of course, there are many different ways to help your child learn and grow. But what’s the best way?
We’ve put together this list of apps for 1st graders so that you can find out what works best for your child—and get started on some fun learning right now!
Top Apps For 1st Graders 2020
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Home Entertainment And Activities 21 Free Educational Apps For Kids
21 Free Educational Apps for Kids
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Charise Rohm Nulsen
Updated: January 21, 2022
Looking for a way to make screen time more productive without breaking the bank? We’ve compiled a list of the best learning apps for kids.
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Best Free Kids’ Apps
Educational apps are a great and fun way to keep your kids learning outside of the classroom, but the cost of all those apps can add up fast. Luckily, there are plenty of free apps for kids that are both educational and fun but won’t break the bank.
More: 40 Educational Shows for Kids You Can Stream Now
The learning apps for kids on our list are engaging with options for kids of all ages. Kids can learn at their own pace, and better yet, they do so efficiently in ways that prevent the need for too much screen time. The best learning apps inspire curiosity, educate, and bring the fun with many of them being used in the classroom by elementary school educators.
Check out our choices for the best educational apps for kids below!
- Thinkrolls Play & Code
kid playing the educational app Thinkrolls Play & Code
In today’s digital world, teaching your kids pre-coding and problem-solving skills will set them up for success early! Created by the educational app experts at Avokiddo, Thinkrolls Play & Code is an award-winning educational entertainment app for kids ages 3-8.
Thinkrolls Play & Code allows young kids to solve puzzles, work through complex challenges, and create their own adventures with a wealth of pre-coding concepts baked into every move! Young ones will build their critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills by playing their way through over 1000 Arcade Logic Puzzles and maze courses. Kids will work out solutions to math and physics challenges as they roll and bounce their way through different mazes.
The app also offers a collection of Brain Games that will entertain your child while building their reasoning skills, memory, and fine motor skills. Brain Games include options like “Find the Odd One Out,” “Sort A Lot,” and many more games designed to help kids recognize patterns and shapes.
Thinkrolls Play & Code encourages kids to never give up and think a few steps ahead as they guide different creatures through obstacles and challenges. If at first, your kiddo doesn’t succeed at a puzzle, Thinkrolls lets them experiment with multiple opportunities to try out different solutions until one fits!
Beyond the countless games and logic puzzles to experiment with, Thinkrolls Play & Code also lets kids bring their own puzzle ideas to life. Players can build their own Thinkrolls with an easy-to-use drag and drop interface, and customize their creations with accessories they earn during gameplay.
Kids will learn spatial awareness, discover the importance of planning multiple steps ahead, and be well on their way to becoming coders all while immersed in a bright, captivating cartoon world. Unlike other basic educational apps, Thinkrolls Play & Code includes collaborative play options that let them safely share the puzzles they make with others in the community. Your child will gain confidence and feel like a real-life inventor by challenging others to try out their puzzle!
Unleash your child’s coding and creative potential today with Thinkrolls Play & Code!
- Fact Monster
Fact Monster App
Fact Monster is an excellent option for educational games. Learning games and videos range in topics, from science to language arts to math and so much more! Fact Monster also combines essential reference materials, flashcards, fun facts, and homework help for kids. Kids 5 years old and up will love how Fact Monster makes learning fun. Check out Fact Monster to learn more.
This free story-based game allows kids to customize their own characters, complete quests and play with friends in a safe environment. Kids love creating their avatars and finishing quests for prizes. This app is best for ages 6 to 12, and it is for Android and iOS.
- Coolmath Games
Coolmath Games features math activities and games for anyone ages 13 to 100. Coolmath Games is a brain-training app, where logic & thinking meet fun and games. These games have no violence, no empty action, just a lot of challenges that will make you forget you’re getting a mental workout! Escaping pigs, flying zombies, a bear who loves riding scooters, and much more! This app is for iOS and Android.
- Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy Kids
Khan Academy Kids is one of the most popular math apps providing a free, fun educational program for children ages two to eight. It was developed in collaboration with learning experts at Stanford and aligned with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and Common Core Standards. It also focuses on the whole child and incorporates social emotional learning skills. Learn more about Khan Academy Kids here. You can find it in the Apple App Store, on Google Play, and in the Amazon Appstore.
- Fish School
Fish School App
Fish School exposes your preschooler to important concepts like letters, numbers, shapes, colors, matching, and more. Brightly colored schools of fish form letters, shapes, and the numbers 1–20, and your child can make the fish swim and do funny things with a simple touch and drag. Fish School is the winner of a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and a Children’s Technology Review Editor’s Choice Award. This app is best for ages 2 and up, and it is for Android and iOS.
- PBS Kids Games
PBS Kids Game App
PBS has created hundreds of games based on their popular children’s shows. The games for each show fit in with their learning theme. Learn math with Peg + Cat. Explore creature powers with the Kratt Brothers. Or go on a space adventure with the kids from Ready, Jet Go! If your child loves PBS shows, they’re going to love learning with their favorite characters. This app is best for ages 2 and up, and it is for Android and iOS.
- Pizza Fractions 1
Does your elementary-aged kid need some extra help with fractions? What more delicious way to illustrate the concept than with pizza? Pizza Fractions 1 gives your child a visual approach to fractions with denominators 1–12 (excluding sevenths and elevenths), and adjustable difficulty levels let beginners start with the basics and progress as they learn. Math has never been so tasty! This app is best for ages 6 and up, and it is for iOS.
The National Science Foundation’s Science360 app (for tablets only) brings cutting-edge science and engineering news, images, and video right to your child’s fingertips. All content is either produced by the NSF or gathered from scientists and universities around the world, so you can be assured that your child is receiving the best quality information out there, and new content is added every week. Your kid will love the cool 360-degree view that lets him explore images from every angle. This app is best for ages 12 and up, and it is for Android and iOS.
- NASA Visualization Explorer
NASA Visualization Explorer, or NASA Viz, is the coolest way to explore the latest news and stories about the Earth, the sun, and the universe. The app features stunning images and video from space and animations that can make challenging concepts easier to understand. Older kids will love diving into everything this app has to offer on their own, and your younger ones can begin learning about the planets and stars with your help. This app is best for ages 7 and up, and it is for iOS.
- Toca Kitchen Monsters
Toca Kitchen Monsters
Toca Kitchen Monsters is the free version of the popular Toca Kitchen app. Cook up food for two hungry monsters using eight different ingredients combined in various ways. But be careful not to season the food too much, or the monsters just might spit it back at you! Like other Toca Boca games, the emphasis is on free, open play, where your child’s imagination can run wild. Note that while Toca Kitchen Monsters is available on iOS only. Toca Kitchen 1 and 2 are available for free on Android devices. This app is best for ages 3 and up.
- Vocabulary Spelling City
Vocabulary Spelling City
Spelling tests can be stressful at any grade level, but Vocabulary Spelling City makes learning vocabulary and spelling fun with games like Word Unscramble and HangMouse. Students of all ages can use the free app to play nine games with 10 of the app’s most popular word lists. You can even upload a customized word list to Vocabulary Spelling City’s website for your child to use in the app. For families who want a more expansive experience, a premium version of the app with five student accounts is available for a yearly subscription. This app is best for ages 6 and up, and it is for Android and iOS.
- Todo Math
Designed for kids in pre-K through second grade, Todo Math takes your child on a daily math adventure. There is a 10–15 minute practice drill available each day, a Mission Mode for tackling early word problems, and a Free Play mode. The app has won multiple awards, including a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and a five-star rating on Common Sense Media. The free app contains a basic version of every game, and the full version is available on a subscription basis. This app is best for ages 5 and up, and it is for Android and iOS.
- Scratch Jr.
Scratch Jr. teaches children as young as five the basics of coding. Designed by researchers at Tufts University and MIT, the app was inspired by the Scratch programming language, redesigned for a younger audience. Your child can make the app’s adorable characters move, jump, and even dance and sing by snapping together different programming blocks. In addition to learning how to code, he’ll also be learning problem solving, design, and how to create his own story. This app is best for ages 5 and up, and it is for Android and iOS.
- Endless Numbers
A follow-up to the popular Endless Alphabet, Endless Numbers helps preschoolers learn number recognition, patterns, sequences, and more with the help of adorable monsters. Five numbers are included in the free app, and you can purchase additional number packs for numbers up to 100 ($6.99 for numbers 1–25 and $11.99 for 26–100, or $14.99 for all numbers 1–100). This app is best for ages 3 and up, and it is for Android and iOS.
- Pet Bingo by Duck Duck Moose
Pet Bingo is a fun and cute way for your kids to develop math skills through play. The problems slant toward an older audience, with bingo games designed to test math skills through primary school (e.g. 4-digit addition and subtraction). There is a free and premium version for this app. This app is best for ages 4 and up, and it is for Android and iOS.
- Endless Reader
Endless Reader, by the makers of Endless Numbers, uses nifty graphics and fun word puzzles to bring sight words and short sentences to life for early readers. The app offers a pack of six words for kids to learn, with additional “Reader Packs” available to buy within the app ($4.99 per pack; $11.99 for a bundle of packs). This app is best for ages 4 and up, and it is for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Your youngster will be speaking Spanish (or French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and much more) in no time! PC Magazine awarded this app the Editors’ Choice for Language Learning. It’s full of bite-sized lessons geared toward visual learners. Kids (and adults) win badges for words learned and other achievements. Some languages even include conversation exercises with Duolingo’s bots to help learn speaking skills. This app is best for ages 6 and up, and it is available as a website and for Android and iOS.
- SAT Word Slam Free
SAT Word Slam
Gearing up for the SATs can be tricky! Help build her SAT vocabulary with this interactive app based on the popular book The SAT Word Slam. It provides helpful mnemonic hints in the form of rhymes, audio, and signature “Remember This” clues that help users recall word meanings for years to come. This app is recommended for ages 14 & up, and it is for iOS.
Epic does have a cost, but many families can access it for free through their school systems. Educators can also access the app for free. Epic helps to personalize daily reading with age and level appropriate recommendations fueled by kids’ interests. There are endless books, videos, and more to fuel their curiosity and love of reading. This app is for kids 12 and under. You can use it as a website or you can download it on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play and Explore
The Very Hungry Caterpillar App
The beloved characters of Eric Carle are now available in The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Explore, a stunning 3D pop-up app featuring games and activities for tablet and mobile phone. Younger kids will love seeing all of their favorite characters from the Eric Carle books, and they will also learn counting, sorting, and memory skills. This app is for little ones, and is available on iOS.
Parenting and learning can sometimes be tricky, but luckily there are all these free apps out there! Looking for more free parent-approved content? Check out 10 Podcasts for Kids that Parents Will Enjoy Too.
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About the author
Charise Rohm Nulsen
Charise Rohm Nulsen is a writer, social media influencer, activist, and perpetual volunteer.
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