Educational mobile games and learning apps for children have skyrocketed in popularity. We’ve all heard that learning should be fun, but did you know that there is plenty of pedagogical research that shows that game-based learning is highly effective? When kids enjoy education, it can help to foster a lifelong love of learning.
The global turmoil of recent years has disrupted educational practices around the world. Many children are being at least partially home-schooled, and busy parents around the world are struggling to meet their children’s educational needs. When you need a bit of peace and quiet but you’d rather your children were learning rather than being zombified by the TV, then why not keep their young brains active, challenged, and inspired with educational, fun and family-friendly mobile games?
As any adults who’ve learned a language on Duolingo or trained their brains with Elevate know, the gamification of learning is compelling – it keeps us coming back for more. Whether you’re one of those time-stretched parents or you just want to give your child an extra advantage, these award-winning educational mobile games for kids are some of the most popular, safe, and well-regarded around.
Peppa Pig is the hyper popular, charming, and slightly bossy little piglet who should need little introduction. Children who are already a fan of Peppa Pig and her friends will no doubt be delighted to delve into her world in a more interactive and immersive way.
Tailored towards pre-schoolers, The World of Peppa Pig, is designed to be more than just fun. It contains hours of educational content, including learning to count with Mummy Pig, playing memory and puzzle games, and completing reading exercises. it also contains full length episodes and exclusive video compilations of Peppa and her friends. It is designed to be a safe, ad-free environment where young children can get lost with their beloved characters.
LEGO is a toy that unites generation after generation. Now toddlers and pre-schoolers can enjoy those iconic blocks without any of the choking-hazards, and parents can enjoy watching without any of the stepping-on-a-bloomin’-corner-piece hazards.
Through the beloved brand’s iconic blocks, kids can explore world locations, practice building and construction, go on underwater adventures, solve puzzles, and conduct all manner of fun activities. As well as encouraging children’s creativity, LEGO DUPLO WORLD also boasts a close alignment to the educational Headstart Early Learning Outcomes Framework.
Kiddopia is a collection of children’s learning apps designed to help children build a strong foundation in core subjects such as maths and science. It also has over one thousand activities to help toddlers and children grow their vocabularies, grammar, reasoning, art, self-expression, general knowledge, and social skills.
Its problem-solving and learning activities have been praised by experts; and it has unsurprisingly earned an array of awards and certificates such as a Mom’s Choice Award, a National Parent Product Award, and numerous safety certifications.
With a challenging array of puzzles for children of all ages, with Kiddopia, screen-time need not always be guilty time. While some of the other educational mobile games in this list concentrate more on the game aspect, Kiddopia, while fun, is primarily an educational experience. If learning is the main goal, you won’t do much better than Kiddopia – and it even features a seven-day free trial.
Teach Your Monster to Read (Android, iOS) (Ages 3-6)
Teach Your Monster to Read is not, as one might first think, an insult to your children. It is instead a UK-government approved, BAFTA-winning, phonics and literacy learning app for children enjoyed by over 22 million kids.
Before playing the three extensive mini-games, kids design their own adorable monster. Then, through a series of magical adventures, they become the teachers and help their own little monsters learn through play.
It’s for good reason that so many teachers have adopted Teach Your Monster to Read in the classroom. The literacy lessons start from the true basics (recognizing letters, sounds, and phonics); as they build up their skills and meet a host of colourful characters these lessons evolve into reading full stories.
There are strong arguments to say that we should let our children colour outside of the lines; we should encourage them to explore their creativity and individuality rather suppress it. That said, when your house becomes so scrawled with crayon pony drawings and fire-breathing dragons that you’re changing the wallpaper every month, then perhaps it’s time to give Disney Colouring World a try.
Featuring all your kids most beloved Disney characters from animations past and present, Disney Colouring World is bound to be a popular download. While it doesn’t quite boast the other pedagogical credentials of the other children’s apps on this list, colouring does have benefits in creativity and concentration for children.
And suffice to say, with characters ranging from Buzz Lightyear to Frozen’s Elsa, your children will love it.
What the future looks like is uncertain, the skills that would have given children an advantage in their parents’ era are not the same as now. One of the greatest gifts that parents can give their children in order to safeguard their future careers is the ability to code – a skillset with uses that will only grow in our no-doubt increasingly digital future.
When many of us think of coding, we think of impossibly complex jumbles of nonsensical numbers and letters; it needn’t be this way. Coding is, at its heart, a satisfying problem-solving activity that both relies on and encourages creativity and logical reasoning.
Thanks to ingenious initiatives like CodeSpark Academy, which delivers colourful, animated, bite-size learning chunks complete with hilarious characters (The Foos), children can develop these skills without ever realizing they’re learning. What’s more, thanks to the word-free interface, children can learn to code before they learn to read.
Who knows, perhaps in twenty years it will be your children designing these educational apps with millions upon millions of downloads. In this humble writer and teacher’s opinion, coding and computer literacy is an extremely important skill for children of all ages and genders.
Another award-winning children’s app, Animal Jam, is bound to delight animal loving children. And let’s face it, that’s most of them. In Animal Jam, kids choose and customize an animal avatar and take it on educational adventures jampacked with fun trivia and dedicated educational e-books.
Animal Jam also has a social aspect where children can make friends online. Which, understandably, might worry some parents. The publisher WildWorks says that safety is a top priority, so Animal Jam features secure logins, filtered and monitored chats, live moderation, and the ability to instantly block and report other players. Offline, downloadable content is available too.
If your child just can’t get enough of our adorable furry companions, they’re bound to enjoy learning with Animal Jam.
Few things are more precious than a child’s imagination. Where other types of visual media can blunt it, Toca Life: World is designed to encourage it. Toca Life: World turns the child into the storyteller and allows them to see their imaginative characters and whacky adventures come to life.
Toca Life: World actually combines other Toca Boca titles such as Toca Life: Office and Toca Life: Hospital which are individually designed to help young players learn about life’s different experiences in a safe, colourful, and fun way.
We hope you enjoyed reading this list of educational mobile games for children, and we’re confident that your children will enjoy playing the games even more. Remember to always balance playing these educational mobile games with other types of learning, and a healthy splash of the great outdoors. These educational apps are excellent supplements to other methods of learning, but they are not intended to replace them.
A note on safety and privacy: The world of online data privacy is constantly shifting. This list has been compiled with the intention of sharing fun and safe educational apps for kids. While many apps make money from ads and data sales, by charging for an app’s download and use, some of these apps monetize in a safer way. For full details on these apps’ privacy and pricing, it’s recommended you do your own research too.
A note on in-app purchases: Some of these apps contain in-app purchases. Don’t forget to disable these in the settings unless you want to risk your child accidentally spending hundreds of dollars on monkey hats and virtual hoverboards for their monsters.