Apple introduced a kid's section to the App Store years ago, but it can be difficult to wade through thousands of apps to find those with educational value.
To help you out, we sifted through a bunch of kids apps to find the best, focusing on ones that were highly rated and recently updated.
The following seven apps will teach your kid about the human body, math, spelling, music, numbers, and the world in general.
YouTube is full of incredibly educational content, but it can be tough to find in all the noise. YouTube Kids strips away any videos that have been flagged as being "inappropriate" and simplifies the interface in a kid-friendly way. Soothing music plays while searching for videos, though you can disable search if you'd prefer your kids only watch videos suggested and curated by YouTube. The app's smart suggestions are also kid-focused — the top result when typing "why is" is "Why Is The Sky Blue," for example.
Endless Numbers is a light game that teaches kids how to count from one to one hundred. Each number is a "level" with three distinct parts. The first requires you to tap a number-shaped character and drag it to the number-shaped hole in the middle of screen.
The second requires the same technique, but with two numbers and a mathematical symbol (+ or -), to solve a math problem. Finally, with the math problem solved, a small animation involving that level's number plays. Endless Numbers' gameplay is intuitive and repetitive, and the animation is a nice reward once the proble is solved.
The Human Body
Tinybop's model of the human body gives kids a chance to choose an avatar and gain insight into the major systems inside all of us. The entire model is interactive, but tapping on a specific area like the mouth or brain will give you even more information on that part and more ways to interact. Selecting the mouth, for example, will let you see the effect food has on teeth if you don't brush them. Tinybop also has worksheets to go along with the information in the appavailable on their website.
Winky Think Logic Puzzles
Spinlight Studio's logic puzzle app replaces the big bulky books of logic puzzles people used to carry around. The app has 180 logic puzzles focused on building observational and spacial cognition capacities and basic reasoning. This is accomplished by moving shapes from one area to another while overcoming environmental obstacles like walls and narrow gaps, or switches that only work with a certain shape.
Loopimal teaches kids about music by letting them create 8-bar song snippets. The app has 9 screens, each of which has a cutely drawn animal, and a series of colored boxes, and a line full of slots on it. By dragging the shapes into the slots you're able to sequence different sounds into a custom sound loop.
The songs you can create aren't complex, but the process of creating them is intuitive and the feeling of making something original is confidence building.
Gappy Learns Reading
Gappy Learns Reading is a light game that teaches kids how to spell. Gappy, a cartoon rabbit, wants to get home. Unfortunately, his path there is full of gaps that need to be filled with letters. You must use the letters to spell a three-letter word to fill the gap so that Gappy can cross, all the while collecting pieces to customize Gappy's house. Although the gameplay is light and repetitive, there are over 200 stages across four different worlds.
Learning a second language can be difficult, and although Duolingo isn't an app specifically aimed at children, it's definitely child friendly. After choosing which of the 27 languages offered you'd like to learn, DuoLingo breaks the language down into bite-sized lessons.
What makes Duolingo kid friendly is its interface. You learn by answering multiple choice questions that are asked in English like "Which one of these is 'the girl.'" The answers are accompanied by both a giant picture and an audio clip of the answer in the language you're trying to learn.
Price: Free (iOS)