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I hesitated to write this post about the best learning apps for kids because my iPad is generally off-limits to my kids. Just keeping it real, I use my iPad to keep my toddler occupied during quiet time since she ditched afternoon nap time like she was getting paid to stay up and party instead. One of our favorite family activities is listening to audiobooks, and in fact, we have audiobooks playing more often than not while we do chores or puzzles or…anything, really. But sometimes the iPad and computer are very useful tools.
My iPad belongs to the company I work for, so if anyone in my house uses it it's under close supervision. We use the iPad to reinforce school subjects that one of the kids is having a hard time with (although we have to be careful, because I don't want them to feel “rewarded” if they're just being lazy about schoolwork), and I usually let each kid have a turn with an app once every two weeks or so just for fun. I'm very thankful for the iPad's Guided Access feature, which keeps the kids locked into whatever app we set up and disallows them from a) breaking it, b) looking at things they shouldn't, c) send reply emails to the Prince of Who-Knows-What-Country who wants to deposit money into my account if I'll only provide my banking information.
Here are our faves:
1. Stack the States – my 8-year-old's favorite! Stack the States is a game that teaches capitals, geography, state flags, and shapes. It was voted the best kids app for iPads, and I seriously have to keep an eye out to make sure my kids don't snatch my iPad to play this constantly. It's fun and easy to play.
2. Barefoot Atlas is one of the coolest apps out there, and it was even rated as one of the best apps EVER. Interactive and immersive, this app is a huge plus for any geography lesson. All of my kids use this app.
3. I Write Words is a great resource for teaching letter formation and simple spelling. My 3 and 6-year-olds are fans, as my 3-year-old is just learning some letters and my 6-year-old needs the practice and reinforcement.
4. Bitsboard has tons of fun puzzles and mini-games encompassing hundreds of subjects. I love the colors and the ease of use o this app. The recommended for ages 4+. I would say that my 11-year-old is too old for it, and my 8-year-old is just growing out of it.
5. Grammar Pop HD is a great addition to any grammar curriculum. We use the Institute for Excellence in Writing, which naturally teaches a lot of grammar, in addition to the First Language Lessons series, and Grammar Pop is a fun way to reinforce the parts of speech and other grammar necessities. My 11-year-old will use this one for practice, although it seems geared towards a slightly younger audience.
6. Scratch and Scratch Jr. – Coding and computer programming for kids! This is awesome, and a great way to get your kids' creativity flowing. Scratch is for kids 8+, and Scratch Jr. was made for kids ages 5-7. Kids can program different pieces, then put them together to make their own stories and games.
7. President's Challenge – great practice for memorizing the Presidents! This has been best for my older-elementary daughter.
8. Splash Math – you can get a free trial for a month, and this program is great – very customizable, with games, etc. Another app geared towards a younger audience, but great for practice and review.
9. Body Organs 4 Kids – this year we are studying the human body with Apologia, and this app is a perfect match! The kids all want to play this one, teaching the locations of each organ and how they work. We love this one!
10. Freefall Spelling – I have one kid who needs all the spelling practice she can get, so Freefall Spelling is a big help! This is a Parent's Choice recommended award winner, and very easy to use. Kids can use three different activities to learn over 150 words.