10 Best Educational Apps for Kids

in Research   Posted on November 23, 2020  Author: Imed Bouchrika,

It has been known for a fact that some teachers find it difficult to get children to pay attention to a lesson or discussion in class. And most parents are also having a hard time keeping young kids engaged in learning, especially when classes are suspended. But there are ways for learning not to stop after school. Educational apps on different gadgets and devices have given a new face and trend in learning.

Studies suggest that educational technology could be an effective tool to support the education system and that its incorporation could play a major role in a vast range of educational designs and modern trends of learning when applied methodically. Further, the application of educational technology in various classroom settings is developing as more elaborate and creative forms of this technology are improved and integrated into the modern K-12 system (Pierce & Cleary, 2016).

In the same regard, Morgan (2013) stated that when students are allowed to use devices with an array of features, they are inspired and engaged to learn using their visual and auditory senses, and even those apps with kinesthetic images are tremendously benefitting for them. Education has greatly transformed with time and technology. And with the help of these learning apps for kids, knowledge is not just enhanced, but studying is made fun and easy for kids as well. 

Some children complain that they have nothing to do, or that they have boring and difficult lessons. Those are the reasons why most of the time, students cannot focus on learning a subject or even keep up with their lessons. Then there is no need to chase after kids to get them to study. In this article, we will showcase the features of the best 10 educational apps that will keep children glued to their seats. 

educational apps

10 Best Educational Apps for Kids

  1. ABCmouse.com
  2. Quick Maths
  3. Duolingo
  4. YouTube Kids
  5. Epic!
  6. ClassDojo
  7. Science 360
  8. Spelling Stage
  9. Lightbot: Code Hour
  10. Starfall ABCs

Children perceive information and learn in different ways. Some use their auditory sense more while others tend to be more visual learners. There are educational apps that focus on helping children to read and improve their comprehension ability, and it can be said that these apps are in parallel with the evidence suggesting that these electronic versions do help children learn better and enhance student engagement and comprehension.

For example, in previous studies, Matthew (1997) compared comprehension levels among 37 third-grade students in two experiments who read either a print text or the electronic version and found that when pupils used the electronic version, they had notably higher comprehension scores during the story retelling session. It was also found that in experiment 2, 30 children that read stories in the print version from the previous experiment read an addition of two more stories when reading the electronic version compared to when they just read the print version. Pearman’s (2008) study proves to be of the same findings with Matthew’s study, in that the former also found suggestive higher comprehension scores among 54 second-graders who read both electronic texts and print texts. Pearman found that more students were more excited and focused to read with the electronic texts than with the print texts.

Additionally, Pearman (2008) noted how students who read the electronic storybooks were able to be more focused on understanding content, with the use of features that makes reading a lot easier than if they had to recognize and interpret every word in the process. Moreover, she found that when sound effects are utilized in reading, it significantly improved their ability to understand as a result of the sound effects being able to convey the mood of the setting of the story and how the action takes place, thus the readers’ understanding of the story is enhanced (Matthew, 1997; Pearman, 2008, as cited in Morgan, 2013). 

electronic vs traditional reading

Further, other significant studies have shown how educational apps help students acquire achievement. In one such study, Lopuch (2013) found that the use of iPad apps as a part of their education program for elementary and middle school students resulted in a better achievement when a national assessment of Common Core domains was administered. In just a span of three months of using iPads, students were able to raise their performance at 9%, showing such remarkable improvement from the 51st to the 60th percentile (Lopuch, 2013, as cited in Loveless, n.d.).

As a result of technology now becoming more mainstream, students find class lectures and presentations less interesting and these apps tend to be more appealing to the younger ones. Utilizing educational apps in class or even at home is a way to get children interested in topics that they might complain of as difficult or boring, thus enhance learning. Indeed, the incorporation of various educational apps and technology in K-12 education are becoming more widely used and popular, and it would be a shame to miss out on these fun and engaging trends in learning.

Here are the 10 best learning apps for kids that will keep them at the edge of their seats and their minds active even at home.

10 Best Educational Apps for Kids

1. ABCmouse.com – Best Overall App for Early Learning

This app can be a crowd favorite. It is downloadable on any iPad, iPhone, and most Android phones or tablets. With a wide range of learning activities and videos that teach math, science, art, reading, and so much more, it brings “everyday” things and basic concepts to life that will keep kids’ curiosity up while learning and having fun.

This app does wonders for early learning education for children ages 2-8. It is on a considerably low-cost subscription basis. Users may opt for a one-month free trial, then $10/month subscription. 

2. Quick Maths – Best App to Improve Mathematics Ability

Yu-Hui et al. (2018) suggested that different avenues of learning such as toys and board games to be instrumental to critical solving ability in young students as supplementary for traditional methods of learning. Quick Maths features fundamental arithmetic skills and concepts, and new challenges with every difficulty level as the child’s skill and ability advances and develops. What makes it more exciting and challenging is that kids can practice their math skills against time.

This innovative app is best for students in grades 2-6, and added to its perks is handwriting recognition, which makes it helpful and fun for kids to practice handwriting as they can draw and write their answers. The cost is free and it’s available on the App Store for iPhone and Ipad. 

3. Duolingo – Best Language Learning App

Duolingo offers free language courses for over 30 languages through fun lessons where you can practice speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Language and interactive games on computers provide learners with real and creative avenues of learning, thereby creating opportunities for learners to enhance their skills and knowledge (Senel & Akman, 2016).

Indeed, Duolingo proves to be a fun and interactive app where users can practice through audio, word identification, and short, easy exercises. Most suitable for kids aged 10+, but take note, it is not just designed for children—it is also for anyone who wants to learn any foreign language be it French, Italian, Spanish or any language that one finds interesting.

It is totally free on iOS or Android, but it comes with an optional ad-free Duolingo Plus for $6.99/month. 

4. YouTube Kids – Best App Made Just For Kids

This app only shows age-appropriate educational videos and is great for kids ages 2-12 as it screens YouTube content. It is created for kids to explore on their own with a wide collection of shows and topics that will surely entertain and enhance their learning skills as well. Parents and guardians can set up controls or customize the child’s use with Parental Controls.

You can get it for free on iPhone, iPad, or any Android devices. 

5. Epic! – Best Unlimited Learning and Reading App

Epic! is an e-book library that offers over 40,000 children’s books—absolutely an amazing library that any child can have access to any time, anywhere. It includes a vast collection of books from audiobooks and eBooks to read-along books. It is the best app for children to explore their reading interests and develop a love of reading. It is appropriate for kindergarten as well as for kids aged 6-12.

You can get it on iOS or Android and start a free 30-day trial. The app costs $7.99 per month. 

6. ClassDojo – Best Educational Communication App

Education is not just about studying and learning. Communication among teachers, students, and parents is also instrumental in learning. That is why ClassDojo was created, to make learning more fun and interactive. It is a communication app where teachers can easily keep track of the students and update the parents of their performance or inform them of any announcements, class activities, photos, videos, or any other educational content within this app. Students can also add their completed activities, such as homework and projects, and share them with the class and with their parents as well.

This app is well-suited to younger learners as it features cute characters for classroom decorations and cute monsters to monitor behavior. It is free to download on Android. 

7. Science 360 – Best Science App for Kids

Science 360 is an amazing educational app that lets students explore science content, such as the latest science images and videos from around the globe. With this information-packed app, science and engineering are brought to life on the small screen with its high-quality videos, news, and information on all major branches of science gathered from different scholars and accredited higher learning institutions.

This app is most appropriate for K-12 students as it provides tips and notes for rigorous courses and examinations. Smyrnova-Trybulska et al. (2017) emphasized that students, especially those in elementary, need to be strongly prepared with skills that the 21st-century demands through advanced learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Science 360 is produced by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is available on Ipad and Android for free. 

8. Spelling Stage – Best Spelling Challenges for Kids

According to Yesilel (2017), there are a number of advantages that Technology-Enhanced Language Learning provides; software that enables the use of voice help students to develop skills in vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, and comprehension as well. In that case, Spelling Stage may be an ideal app for the aspiring spelling bee wiz and champion! It comes with a paid subscription that gives access to a wide selection of words from simple to complex with audio and visual cues. The game imitates a spelling bee contest that young and older students will surely enjoy. Features also include creating your own content to practice.

Purchase a 1-month subscription for $1.99, 3 months for $5.99, and 12 months for $7.99.  You may also try the free trial and see for yourself what the app has to offer. Available on iOS.

9. Lightbot: Code Hour – Best Coding App for Kids

Learning programming at an early age does not have to be hard. Lightbot: Code Hour offers a fun way to learn programming for K-12 students by using videogames to solve puzzles. Players and users can save their own slot, and compete on different levels. Challenge stars are collected to level up. Coding has never been this easy as this app introduces basic programming logic and structures that one will find it interesting and easy to code in no time. This app is available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad for free. 

10. Starfall ABCs – Best Alphabet App for Kids

This fun and exciting learning app is designed for kids ages 2-5. Starfall ABCs features an animated introduction to learning words and letters in the English Language Arts. Children will love to explore and learn the alphabet for it also features a wide variety of games and songs. It has a free version but it can be upgraded to a paid version where you can have more access to learning and exciting offers. It is available for free download on Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, as well as on Amazon.

Bridging the Gap with Technology

The fast-changing advancements in the world of education and technology have left some traditional teachers behind. They simply do not want to embrace change as they are not really comfortable with it and tend to stick with their own, old teaching styles. But in this modern age, students are always connected online and want innovation and more exciting ways to learn.

Suffice to say, acquisition of knowledge can come from different sources, and teachers and students alike can become more flexible and modern by going with the in-demand flow in education and embrace the realities that trends in education have been changing. The appropriate educational app can always help teachers and even parents in educating children by bringing a fresh and more appealing approach to a particular subject. With the use of modern technology and these educational apps, a more modern way of learning and teaching has never been this fun and effective.

 

References:

  1. Pierce & Cleary (2016). The K-12 educational technology value chain: Apps for kids, tools for teachers and levers for reform. Education and Information Technologies, 21 (4), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-014-9357-1
  2. Morgan, H. (2013). Multimodal children’s e-books help young learners in reading. Early Childhood Education Journal, 41, 477–483. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-013-0575-8 
  3. Senel, M., & Akman, D. (2016). Fun teaching! Fun tech-ing ! Interactive educational games for young learners. Participatory Educational Research, Special Issue 2016-I, 12-21. https://doi.org/10.17275/per.16.spi.1.2
  4. Ching, Y., Hsu, Y. & Baldwin, S. (2018). Developing computational thinking with educational technologies for young learners. TechTrends, 62, 563–573. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-018-0292-7
  5. Smyrnova-Trybulska, E., Morze, N., Kommers, P., Zuziak, W., & Gladun, M. (2017). Selected aspects and conditions of the use of robots in STEM education for young learners as viewed by teachers and students. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 14 (4), 296-312. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-04-2017-0024
  6. Yesilel, D. (2017). Technology-enhanced language learning for digital natives. Participatory Educational Research,
    Special Issue 2016-IV, 97-111. http://www.perjournal.com/archieve/spi_16_4/per_16_spi_4_14.pdf
  7. Matthew, K. (1997). A comparison of the influence of interactive CDROM storybooks and traditional print storybooks on reading comprehension. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 29 (3), 263–277. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20204639
  8. Pearman, C. J. (2008). Independent reading of CD-ROM storybooks: Measuring comprehension with oral retellings. The Reading Teacher, 61(8), 594–602. https://www.learntechlib.org/p/102320/
  9. Lopuch, M. (2013). The Effects of Educational Apps on Student Achievement and Engagement. Chicago, IL: eSpark Learning.
  10. Loveless, B. (n.d.). Are learning apps helping or hurting education? Education Corner.