21 Free Educational Apps for Kids

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by: Colleen Hughes

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.

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PJ Masks Time to Be a Hero
PJ Masks Time to Be a Hero

PJ Masks needs you! It’s Time to be a Hero and suit up as your favorite PJ Masks character. Play games and help capture the villains Romeo, Luna Girl, Night Ninja and the Ninjalinos, all while learning valuable social lessons. It’s Time to be a Hero! Practice your super powers and help save the day!

This app is perfect for your preschooler. It's free, but there are in-app purchases, including the option to buy new levels.

Download for Android or iPhone.

Flow Free App
Flow Free
This puzzle game is just as much fun for adults as it is for kids. Match colors and cover the entire board to solve each puzzle — but be careful, because the pipes can't cross over each other! There are over 2,000 puzzles available for free and a new Daily Puzzle every day, and you can purchase additional expansion packs (and hints for when you're really stuck).

Ages 8 and up
For Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Fish School App
Fish School
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.

Ages 2 and up
For Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

LumiKids App
LumiKids
Free apps for kids can still be high quality and reputable. LumiKids Park has won multiple awards, including a National Parenting Publications Gold Award, a Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice Award for Excellence in Design, and a Best iPad Apps for Kids Award from The Guardian. The app introduces sorting by color, shape, and size, visual-motor coordination, and more to toddlers and preschoolers. Your little ones will take to this app with ease because it has no complicated text or voice-over instructions, and the game constantly adapts to your child's ability level, keeping him challenged but never frustrated.

Ages 2 and up
For Android and iPad

Phonics Ninja App
Phonics Ninja
Your preschooler can slash her way through letter sounds, blends, and diagraphs with this cute ninja. The game uses sight, sound, and touch to help your child learn important phonics skills, and with three difficulty settings, the game advances as she does. You can even record your own audio clues, so your child can hear your voice — or even her own — in the game.

Ages 4 and up
For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Pizza Fractions 1 App
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!

Ages 6 and up
For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Science360 App
Science360
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.

Ages 12 and up
For Android and iPad

NASA Visualization Explorer App
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.

Ages 7 and up
For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Toca Kitchen Monsters app
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.

Ages 3and up
For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Middle School Math Planet app
Middle School Math Planet
Does your middle schooler need to brush up on important math concepts like geometry, fractions, and mixed numbers? Middle School Math Planet teaches these and other math skills through over 30 games that support Common Core State Standards. Fly spaceships and help aliens complete tasks in these out-of-this-world games designed by learning scientists at Carnegie Mellon University.

Ages 10 and up
For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

ColorBand app
ColorBand
ColorBand lets your toddler or preschooler explore art and music as she paints a picture with sound. Over 80 colors each have their own unique corresponding sound, and when your child is done painting, she can hear the music her artwork has created. Sounds can be played in mid-air via the iPad's built-in camera or by simple touch, and the cute little bunny mascot Lalabee dances to the music. A set of colors are available for free, and additional color packs can be purchased within the app.

Ages 3 ad up
For iPad

Vocabulary Spelling City app
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.

Ages 6 and up
For Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Todo Math app
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.

Ages 5 and up
For Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Scratch Jr. app
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.

Ages 5 and up
For Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Thinking Blocks Multiplication app
Thinking Blocks Multiplication
If you have an elementary schooler who's a visual learner, this app shows her how to visualize multiplication word problems in a step-by-step process to arrive at the correct answer. While so much of multiplication involves rote memorization, this app actually helps students understand the process of multiplication and when to use it.

Ages 7 and up
For iPad

Quizlet app
Quizlet
This app lets your older child create his own flashcards or choose from sets uploaded by other Quizlet users on thousands of subjects. Whether it's for studying vocabulary words, learning a new language, or memorizing definitions for a science class, this app lets students quiz themselves with fun games and even offers audio pronunciation support for 18 different languages.

Ages 10 and up
For Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Grammaropolis app
Grammaropolis
Welcome to Grammaropolis, where grammar lives! The inhabitants of Grammaropolis are the different parts of speech, whose personalities mirror the functions they serve in a sentence. The sneaky pronoun always wants to take the noun's place, while the conjunction just wants everyone to get along. The free download includes Noun Neighborhood, with your guide Nelson Noun, and additional parts of speech can be unlocked for $1.99 each (or $12.99 for the entire package). Among its awards, Grammaropolis has won a National Parenting Center Seal of Approval and a Parents' Choice Approved Award.

Ages 7 and up
For Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Endless Numbers app
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).

Ages 3 and up
For Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

Endless Reader app
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).

Ages 4 and up
For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Duolingo app
Duolingo
Your youngster will be speaking Spanish (or French, German, Portuguese, or Italian) 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.

Ages 6 and up
For Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

SAT Word Slam, free app
SAT Word Slam Free
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 pneumonic hints in the form of rhymes, audio, and signature "Remember This" clues that help users recall word meanings for years to come.

Ages 12 & up
For iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch