Recommended Apps for kids ages 5-12
During the year, YDL librarians carefully review apps that promote learning for our school-aged patrons, so we can recommend them to parents.
We maintain another list of apps for kids ages 5 and under.
Criteria we look for in educational apps:
- Have high-quality, age-appropriate educational content
- Do not have in-app purchases (or that feature can be turned off)
- Do not have links outside the app
- Do have age-appropriate content
- Do have opportunities for creation and safe sharing
- Do encourage or inspire activity beyond the device
- Accommodate different languages and abilities
- Available for both Android and Apple devices
- Alien Assignment ages 6-8 A fun game that encourages problem solving and discovery
- Amazing World Atlas ages 9-11 Play your way around the world
- Balloony Word ages 6-10 Broaden vocabulary and improve spelling
- Dinosaurs: American Museum of Natural History ages 6-8 100 dinosaur images from the museum’s collection
- Inventioneers ages 9-11 An outstanding tool for learning about real-time physics
- Kodable ages 6-8 Introduction to programming concepts and problem solving.
- MiniPiano ages 4-10 Two octaves, many instrument effects, learn standard tunes
- MoMA Art Lab ages 8+ Kids explore techniques made famous by specific artists
- Numberosity ages 6-9 Addition, subtraction and multiplication practice through play
- Pocket Zoo ages 3-12 Information on animals, live zoo cams and educational videos
- Ripped Apart: A Civil War Mystery ages 8-12 Solve puzzles to unlock clues as a Smithsonian intern
- Shadow Puppet ages 7+ Create custom videos
- Tinkerbox ages 7-12 Solve engineering puzzles; use tools to build
- Toontastic ages 6-8 Teaches storytelling principles and animation
- Touch Van Gogh ages 6+ A multi-layered art history app that examines six paintings by Vincent Van Gogh
- Weird but True ages 9-11 National Geographic app that shares cool, bizarre facts
- Cut the Rope ages 5-8 Innovative game demonstrating basic physics
- Weigh the World ages 9-11 Weigh different objects and learn about estimation
- Bats! Furry Fliers of the Night ages 6-11 Explore 3-D bat habitats to learn all about these mammals
- Gro Recycling ages 5-10 Feed the recycling bins and make new stuff out of garbage
- iBomes: Wetland ages 8-11 Explore three different wetland biomes.
- Lightbot ages 9-11 Use programming logic to solve levels in the game
- Piiig Labs ages 6-8 Explore science concepts through hands-on project building
- Rom and the Whale of Dreams ages 6-8 An interactive book app
- Stack the Countries ages 6-12 Learn capitals, landmarks, geographic locations
- Starwalk Kids ages 6-8 Astronomy guide designed just for children
- State Bingo and Road Trip ages 7-9 Explore beautiful maps on a fictional drive while playing bingo
- Toca Band ages 5-10 Put “band members” on stage and create original music or use beats
- Toca Builder ages 6-12 If you can imagine it, you can build it with the Toca blocks
- Toca Lab ages 6-8 Learn the elements from the periodic table from monsters
- Magic School Bus: Oceans ages 4-8 Ms. Frizzle leads kids through ocean exploration
- Monument Valley ages 6+ Guide princess Ida through hidden monuments and paths
- Numbers League ages 6-8 Superheroes defeat villains in original, creative math game
- Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System ages 6-8 An interactive book app that teaches about the solar system
- Reckless by Cornelia Funke ages 10-14 An interactive book app
- The Unstealer ages 5-10 Follow along as a stealthy thief turns an unhappy day around and makes an unconfident girl confident again
- Adventures of Captain Underpants ages 7-10 An interactive book app
- Algodoo ages 8-13 Experiment with physics concepts and build in 2D
- Bobo Explores Light ages 6-8 View 3-D holograms and participate in experiments
- Book Creator ages 8+ Kids easily create their own books
- DragonBox Algebra 5+ ages 8-12 Games that teach concepts relating to solving algebraic equations
- Loose Strands ages 8-10 An interactive book app for fans of the Choose Your Own Adventure series
- My Incredible Body ages 8-13 Learn about the human body and dissect 3D models
A note about screen time
Screen time means how long a child is looking at a screen. The television, computer, tablet, and cell phone all count as screens.
We remember these recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- For children 2-5 years, limit screen use to one hour a day of high-quality programming, and co-view with children.
- Avoid using media as the only way to calm a child.
- Keep bedrooms, mealtimes and parent-child playtimes screen-free. Stop using screens an hour before bedtime and remove devices from bedrooms before bedtime.
- Avoid fast-paced programs, apps with lots of distracting content and violent content.