Ultimate List of the 50 Best Childrens Apps [Updated for 2020]

The best of the best apps just for kids

Our Team Reviewed Dozens Of The Best Childrens Apps So You Don’t Have To. Here Are Our Favorite Picks.

There are literally millions of children’s apps available, so picking just 50 greats is no small task. However, we’ve looked over tons of apps, old and new, to bring you this list of our favorites. We’ve tried to incorporate a huge variety of types of apps, as well as offerings that will appeal to older kids and to younger ones. They all have one thing in common: FUN!

The apps were chosen based on popularity, value for the buck, and kid appeal. Many also have great educational value, too. Check out this list of the best of the best!


CREATIVE

Art My Kid Made

iOS App Store

What parent hasn’t felt horrid about throwing away their child’s treasured art work? And yet, they are prolific, aren’t they? You could quickly drown in cut out creations if you’re not really careful. Now you can save your child’s art work somewhere other than on the fridge. Art My Kid Made gives you the option of digitalizing each creation so you can save it forever.

The artwork can be backed up to Evernote or to Dropbox. The app gives you options like rotate and crop, too. You can set up a separate account for each child. And share your art to social media whenever you want! There’s even a site for you to show off through the app, with a daily context that you just might win.

 

Color and Draw for Kids

iOS App Store

This award-winner offers four apps in one. There’s a drawing mode, a coloring mode, a photo decorator, and a letter/number tracing activity. It’s so much more than the typical drawing and coloring app! Developers have built interactivity into it. Kids won’t be able to sit passively and simply tap sections to fill them in. Instead, they have tons of choices to make and actions they can do with the app to make the artwork truly their own.

The app costs $1.99 and offers in-app purchases. For ninety-nine cents each, you can unlock several different thematic coloring and drawing activities, such as transportation, baby animals, dinosaurs, and more. It’s easy to customize this app for your child’s tastes for minimal investment.

 

Sago Mini DoodleCast for Kids

iOS App Store

For the very young, drawing is not just a visual-motor activity. If you have ever watched a preschooler or young elementary student make art, you know that there is always a running monologue going on at the same time. If you are watching, you’ll see that the picture goes through countless stages and phases that make perfect sense as you listen to the child explain things. This app records those precious utterances as the picture is made, creating a video record.

The app costs $3.99 and includes 30 picture prompts to get things started. The drawing tools are easy to use, and you can export the final videos to your camera roll to save or share.

 

 

Little Fox Nursery Rhymes

iOS App Store

This app features 3 popular children’s songs (Old MacDonald, Evening Song, and London Bridge) with over 100 interactive elements in a digital storybook. What lifts this app ahead of the pack, though, is the “little fox music studio” where kids can sing and record their very own songs.

This app costs $3.99 on the App Store. Kids can enjoy the songs, illustrations, and interactions, record their own songs, and even put the app into karaoke mode so they can sing right along with the music. It’s a great way to get children playing with sounds and music, and is well worth a peek!

 

Morton Subotnick’s Pitch Painter

iOS App Store

You couldn’t find a more creative use of your device’s capabilities than this! Children can paint music with this app. Choose from 12 different instruments (3 from each of 4 regions of the world). Use up to three fingers to paint and as the colors go onto the screen, musical notes go into the composition.

And that’s not all! Once a piece is created, children can play with it. They can “play” the music from left to right and top to bottom, the way that music is typically written. They can also see how it sounds backwards, upside down, and more. There are also a variety of effects to explore. The app is only $3.99, and is sure to get your child making music in no time.

 

PlayArt by Tapook

iOS App Store

Kids can play and be creative with elements from 8 art masters in this creative app. Using bits and pieces from artists including Katsushika Hokusai, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Henri Rousseau, Vincent Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee and Amedeo Modigliani, children can recreate masterpieces to see how the elements fit together, or they can mix and match the pieces to create their own unique works of art.

This award-winning app costs. $3.99 and offers over 160 elements and 48 canvases from famous artists. Various features allow youngsters to duplicate, move, arrange, rotate and manipulate the items to create their own masterpieces. Save the paintings in “My Museum,” or optionally share to Facebook. The social media feature can be disabled by parents if desired.

Magic Piano by Smule

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Follow beams of light to hit the right notes and play favorite songs almost effortlessly. Control the rhythm, note duration, and tempo to make each piece your own. The full version includes thousands of popular, classical, and hit songs. There are also several different keyboard instruments available to try out, including harpsichord and organ.

This app is free to download, and offers a number of in-app purchases. You can get several different “packs” of various types of music for prices ranging from ninety-nine cents to $9.99. You can also subscribe to get full and unlimited access to all of the songs. The subscriptions cost $7.99 per week, $19.99 per month, or $99.99 annually.

Book Creator for iPad

iOS App Store

Kids can create professional e-books with Book Creator for iPad. The app allows them to input text, use pictures, photos, drawings, or other illustrations on each page, and more. Authors can even add audio files. The books are savable, sharable, and even publishable on iBooks. It’s the perfect opportunity for your young authors to strut their stuff.

Book Creator costs $4.99, and it opens up a huge realm of possibilities for young authors. So let them create, let them share, and let them revel in the sheer joy and power of creating their very own books.

 

 

Write About This

iOS App Store

This incredible collection of visual and verbal writing prompts will help your child or student get over and around writer’s block every single time. It includes 175 images and 375 text plus audio prompts. There’s something here to intrigue any child writer.

This award winning app includes prompts that will start kids off on all genres of writing, such as opinions, descriptions, and informative pieces. It’s intuitive and easy to use, and costs just $3.99.

 

 

 

INKredible

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

This app is designed to make writing on your device as much like writing on paper as it can be. Developers have eliminated distractions, and so have freed the writer’s mind for nothing but creativity. Young authors can write, doodle, illuminate letters, and do everything that they could do on paper with this incredible app.

The app is free, and there are in-app purchases available. For ninety-nine cents each, users can add a variety of writing tools (like calligraphy pens and various brushes), different types of papers (like graph paper and colored pages), and more.

 

 


EDUCATION

Farm 123-Learn to Count!

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

This great children’s ebook gives a realistic experience of a pop-up book in digital form. The gently progressive games give good foundation for counting 1-10 and for sorting. The book is charmingly illustrated, and allows users to view the pop-ups from different angles, just like a real-world book. Kids will love chasing the cheeky animals back to their pens, washing them, and more.

The app includes the book and two bonus counting games for free. There is an in-app purchase of $2.99 that unlocks 5 additional counting games.

Little Digits Finger Counting

iOS App Store

Here’s an app that takes full advantage of iOS devices’ ability to use multi-touch technology. Kids can put varying numbers of fingers on the screen and the app will respond by counting and showing them the corresponding number. They can learn to associate the numbers with the number of fingers touching the screen, and so learn to count. The app also includes games and interactions designed to teach simple addition and subtraction using finger counting.

It costs $3.99 and has no in-app purchases or outside advertisements. Concepts covered include counting, adding, subtracting, and number bonds.

 

Squeebles Multiplication

iOS App Store / Google Play

Squeebles multiplication features a training area where kids can practice their times tables before taking on any of the seven more challenging games. The app teaches as well as tests, and rewards players for rescuing the adorable Squeebles from the horrific Math Monster.

Some of the games even focus on the challenging math facts (like 6 x 7 and 8 x 9). Playing with the math facts earns turns in a fun mini-game, too, to keep kids coming back for more. The app costs $3.99 and is suitable for elementary students.

Around the Clock

iOS App StoreGoogle Play Store

If your youth or teen is into fitness (or needs a little less screen time and more exercise time), then this might be the app for you. It can help keep track of class schedules and fitness goals. It also links to other popular fitness apps, so you can access everything in one spot.

The app uses Healthkit to track progress with workouts and the like. That means you can use activity to meet your goals.

 

 

Barefoot World Atlas

iOS App Store

This interactive 3D globe and map set invites exploration. Kids of all ages will find fascinating facts, breath-taking photos, and clearly narrated commentary about countries they choose to zoom to. The app includes hundreds of mini-photos and hundreds of detailed and vivid photographs.

The app costs $4.99 and makes a great companion to the printed Barefoot World Atlas, but it stands on its own just fine. Give your kids a digital opportunity to see the world and learn about faraway places with the Barefoot World Atlas app.

Move the Turtle. Learn to Code

iOS App Store

This app harkens back to the old LOGO programming language that was popular years ago, and has exactly the same appeal for kids. The app teaches basic programming concepts, like loops and if-thens. Kids as young as five and six can learn to give instructions to computers using this simple app.

The app does so much more than helping children learn to code, though. It nurtures visual-spatial skills, teaches how to solve problems in an organized step-by-step fashion, and promotes persistence. All of these things are important skills whether your child becomes a programmer or not. The app costs $3.99 on the App Store.

 

Happy Face

iOS App Store

This app offers some great ways to put on that happy face. It focuses your energy and helps you think in positive ways using affirmations and fun exercises. It offers quotes, instructions, exercises and visualizations that will brighten everyone’s day.

The app is completely free and can be set up to send push notifications to help users maintain their positive outlook. It’s a quick and accessible way to brighten anyone’s day.

 

 

 

Kahoot!

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

This app is ideal for older students who need to study content areas. Users can create their own trivia games with questions and answers. You can also find quizzes created by others on almost any topic. The app is great to set up as a study guide, and can even be assigned as homework.

The app is free for teachers and students to use, and has a variety of subscription plans for various settings that range from $35.99 to $449.99 annually. There is also a “family and friends” option for $4.99 per month or $35.99 annually.

Hologo

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Hologo merges AR with learning. Your phone’s camera plus Hologo’s huge AR library combine to project objects on the real world seen through the camera lens to help students learn. The possibilities are endless- look at a person and see the image of internal organs or bones. Look at a rock and see information about how it might have been formed.

The Hologo models are designed to be walked up to, to be assembled and disassembled, and inspected closely. It adds a whole new dimension (or two) to learning.

 

EPIC! Kids’ Books and Videos

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

EPIC is a huge digital collection of children’s books and videos. Subscribers have access to 35,000 books, videos, audio books, and several other types of digital media. The offerings are primarily designed for elementary aged children.

A monthly subscription to EPIC is $7.99, and can support up to four separate children’s profiles. There are also subscription plans for educators, so be sure to check those options if you are a teacher.

 

 


PLAY

Cause and Effect Sensory Light Box

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Cause and Effect Sensory Light Box uses abstract animations and sounds to attract your baby’s attention and help them become more aware of their world. Parents can customize visuals and sounds, but the app comes with 30 different scenes that range from soothing to exciting.

The app costs $3.99 and is fabulous for older kids with special needs, as well. It can be used to stimulate children with low vision, and can also be useful as a calming “cool-down” for children who struggle with emotional control.

The LEGO Movie 2 Movie Maker

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Now kids 8 and older can build their own scenes for LEGO movies, film them, and share to a community online. If desired, there are real-world LEGO toys that let users recreate scenes from the recent LEGO movies, but young directors can make any sort of movie they wish.

Movies can be shared online to a moderated community. Inappropriate content or personally identifiable information will cause movies to be rejected. The app also includes tools to edit creations.

Moshi Monsters: Buster’s Lost Moshlings

iOS App Store

This great game offers all the fun of video games for the big kids, but is quite appropriate for younger children too. It includes seven incredibly detailed city scenes where the action of the story takes place. Achievements in the game unlock new content, so there’s always something fun to do.

The game costs ninety-nine cents and includes a helpful hint and tracker system to assist younger players with game play as needed. There’s a timed and an untimed mode, and even hidden animations to discover.

 

 

Toca Kitchen 2

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Toca Kitchen 2 opens up a world of creativity for young children. They can make any recipe they want (even if it’s wildly improbable, like boiled salad. There are five different kitchen tools to try, and loads of food to try them on. Make a mess as you cook-clean up is a breeze!

The app costs $3.99, but there are no in-app purchases or outside advertisements. Players not only get to cook, but they also can feed their creations to virtual guests. It’s great fun for the preschool set.

 

Toca Train

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Little ones, especially those that have been bitten by the train bug, will love this app where they get to control their very own train. The controls are intuitive, too, so they are perfect for little ones who are not yet able to read. There are six different stations to visit and many characters and pieces of cargo to load and unload.

The app costs $3.99 and is recommended for children ages 3 to 7. It’s like having a toy train set in your device! Your little one will have hours and hours of fun.

 

A Day at the Circus LITE

iOS App Store

This great story has a narrator, so your youngster won’t need to read. Want to meet crazy clowns, friendly lions, and dancing snakes? This app will be right up your child’s alley. Everyone loves a circus, and this is a great way to experience a virtual one.

The app is free and ready to use. And if your child is intrigued, there is a full version that also includes 20 minigames.

 

 

Cut the Rope

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

This award-winner features Om-Nom, a little space alien with an insatiable desire for candy. The physics-based game is addictive as players work their way through the 425 levels.  Players can collect stickers, find power-ups, and even discover animated shorts starring Om-Nom himself.

The app is free to download. There are multiple in-app purchases available. Subscription packages range from $4.99 to $19.99, and you can also purchase various packs of items and hints for prices ranging from $1.99 to $29.99.

Art of Glow

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Create glowing masterpieces, fireworks, twinkling stars, and more with this unique drawing app. Use the colorful, animated pieces to make your own unique art. It’s relaxing, it’s unusual, and best of all, it’s fun!

The app is free to download and it’s ready to play. Kids will have hours of fun. Think of it as a digital Light Bright!

 

 

 

Barnyard Games for Kids

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

This game collection is perfect for toddlers through kindergarteners. The free version includes two games designed to build readiness skills such as matching, sorting, and sequencing. Other games help with color identification, counting, ABCs, following directions, and more.

There are a total of 21 games available through multiple in-app purchases, or you can unlock everything for $3.99. This app will keep your young child busy for hours with productive learning fun. It also includes a parent dashboard so you can keep an eye on the progress of up to four children.

Racing Penguin Slide and Fly

iOS App Store

Have an awesome time keeping your penguin safe from the hungry polar bear in this chilly cool racing game. It works just like the games for older kids, where speed scores more points. You need to slide or fly when needed to make the best time through the course.

The app has 6 worlds and 48 racing levels. It’s free to download, and there are in-app purchases. Turn off the ads for ninety-nine cents, or purchase additional points and bonuses for prices between $1.99 and $24.99.

 

 

 


SCIENCE

Cat Physics

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Kids will have a ball (literally) passing the ball from one cat to the next, as they avoid or go around obstacles like glass windows and trap doors. There are 250 puzzles to solve and some have multiple solutions to find, which increases the app’s play value.

There are badges to unlock and much more to this game. It costs just $1.99 and will keep kids busy playing (and learning) for hours and hours.

 

Fractals

iOS App Store

Move and pinch fractals in real time. Change numbers in the equations and see the effects in real time. Save the fractals you create and share them on social media. It’s relaxing, amazing, and fun! This highly-rated app has a lot to offer both as science and as art.

The app costs $2.99 and will fascinate older students for hours. They don’t even really need to understand what fractals are to appreciate their beauty.

 

 

Star Walk- Explore the Sky

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Use your device to help you map out the night sky wherever and whenever you may be. Star Walk offers an augmented reality view of the night sky. You can see the stars above you, and push out into deep space to “see” beyond them. The app helps you track night sky objects too.

There’s an astronomical calendar to recreate (or predict) celestial events, and a stunning Picture of the Day that will knock your socks off. Learn about meteor showers, moon phases, and more with this detailed app.

 

 

Sound Uncovered

iOS App Store

Here’s a free interactive book for older kids and teens. Enjoy auditory illusions, acoustic phenomena, and other great info about sounds. The app answers questions that pique kids’ curiosity, such as can there be messages in music played backwards? Why do small sounds sometimes drive people mad?

The app will let you test your hearing, make recordings and modify them, and more. Best of all, it’s from the Exploratorium, a nationally-known science museum. You’ll want to look for other apps from this series, as well.

 

3D Brain

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Do you know an older kid or teen who aspires to medicine? This app would be perfect for him or her. It’s a detailed study of the human brain, the kind that medical students could use. Use the device’s touch screen to rotate and zoom around 29 structures in an interactive format. Find out about functions, the consequences of brain damage to the region, and more.

The app is free to download and offers one in-app purchase for ninety-nine cents. You won’t find a more economical way to get interactive information about the brain and put it at your youngster’s eager fingertips.

BrainPOP Featured Movie

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

This app will help your elementary, middle school, or high school student become more curious and self-directed with science learning. The free featured movies rotate daily, covering current and important topics from the field of science. All the movies are paired with an interactive quiz, and all feature closed captioning so kids can read along as they learn.

The app is free to download and offers one movie per day. If you’d like to unlock all of the movies so your child can explore, you’ll want a subscription for either $3.99 or $9.99. These are available as in-app purchases.

 

Prof Brian Cox’s Universe

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Take a fantastic 3D tour of the universe, narrated by Professor Brian Cox, courtesy of the BBC. Start with the microscope (and submicroscopic) and work your way outward to the stars themselves. There are also over 200 articles pinned to the various stars and features in the app, so there’s a wealth of content.

The app costs $1.99 and offers a huge amount of multi-media content, from text to videos. You’ll also be able to enjoy some of the best stellar photography available anywhere.

 

Bobo Explores Light

iOS App Store

This app is designed to fascinate your elementary school-aged child with facts and analysis of things related to light. Whether your kid is interested in lasers, lightning, or starlight, this app has information for them. There are over 100 interactive pages, interactive 3D holograms, and even real-world experiments to try and gadgets to build.

The app is absolutely stunning in its detail, and has more information than most kids can consumer in an entire course. It costs $4.99.

 

 

Astro Cat’s Solar System

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Play your way through the solar system with this game combined with learning app. Build rockets and “unzip” planets to see what’s inside. And best of all, win up to 11 medals for learning about the solar system.

This app is a great example of how gamification can take important information and make learning more palatable. It costs $3.99, but that’s the only fee. There are no other in-app purchases, and no outside advertisements.

 

 

Coaster Physics

iOS App Store

Motion physics comes to life for elementary and secondary students with this app. Design and ride realistic roller coasters and see how force, acceleration, G-force, and other attributes affect your ride. The powerful track creator lets users make nearly any kind of track, then experiment with the coaster to see what happens.

The app costs $1.99 and will make your eyes pop when you ride your creation in 3D glory using any pair of 3D movie glasses. You may just find out if a person can get sick simply from watching the coaster ride!

 


Animals and Nature

Meet the Insects: Forest Edition

iOS App Store

This encyclopedic collection of forest insects is just one installment of this series. It features information, close-up photos and fabulous videos of dozens and dozens of different kinds of forest insects. Learn about their habits, their habitat, their diets, and their anatomy.

The app costs $4.99, but it will open a huge world up for your child. The app will also provide information and experiences that just will not be accessible in other ways.

 

 

 

 Marco Polo Ocean

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

This app is playfully narrated and designed to help children learn vocabulary and concepts related to six ocean topics. Kids can steer their very own submersible through several different biomes in the ocean and learn all about the habitat and the animals and plants that live there.

Best of all, the app is free! It’s hard to find a better combination of fun and learning under the sea (or anywhere else for that matter!).

 

 

Ranger Rick Magazine

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Ranger Rick was one of the first nature magazines for kids, and now it’s available in digital form. The magazine is known for encouraging literacy as well as offering great information about the natural world. It includes nature adventures, new discoveries, and great articles, as well as jokes, riddles and other nature-related content.

The app is free to download, and you can purchase individual editions of the monthly magazine. You can also subscribe for $3.99 per month, $9.99 for six months, or $15.99 for a year.

 

Ocean Forests

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Kids will enjoy exploring the underwater environment as they learn about oceans, develop academic vocabulary, and complete STEM activities. They’ll revel in the accurate information that will take their curiosity beyond places that it has never been before.

This app is recommended for children from 5 to 8 years of age. It is free to download, with no in-app purchases or outside advertisements.

 

 

Plum’s Photo Hunt

iOS App Store

Here’s a child-friendly nature journal from the developers at PBS Kids. The app sends kids on actual missions out of doors to photograph various items and scenes that will help Plum, the space alien from the television show, Plum’s Landing, learn about the world.

The app is completely free to download, and is designed for the entire family to enjoy. It will certainly get everyone off their chairs and outside, so it’s a hugely important app.

 

 

 

Amazing Amphibeans

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Bet you never thought you’d see a clean way for kids to catch and play with frogs, right? Kids will enjoy the games and stories while they get exposed to STEM ideas and academic vocabulary in this fun app.

The app is designed for kids from kindergarten through grade 3. It’s free to download. The app offers immersive learning that kids will enjoy for years to come.

 

 

Toca Nature

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

Don’t leave the littlest learners out of the fun! Toca Nature is another in the collection from Toca Boca, a developer known for high quality apps for preschoolers. This app is no exception. It offers hands-on experiences with planting flowers, feeding animals, collecting nuts and berries, and more.

The app costs $3.99. It features a wealth of nature-related activities that will help preschoolers learn more about the world around them. It’s awesome, and you should take a good look if you have young children that need a dose of nature.

 

Virry Game: Learn Wild Animals

iOS App Store / Google Play Store

This interactive app is the perfect pastime for children who love wild animals. Play 28 unique games with real wild animals. Watch real animals in real time on the live stream. Give water to the giraffes by shaking the device, or see the lioness come when you call.

This app is free to download. To access all of the content, you’ll want a subscription. Six months costs $14.99, and one year is a bargain at $19.99.

 

Care for Our World

iOS App Store

This animated adaptation of the children’s book, Care for Our World, takes users on a journey around the world to different habitats to meet the animals that live there. There are also interactive activities, like animal coloring pages and a minigame where you can create your own habitats.

This five-star app costs $2.99 to download, and is great for preschoolers and young elementary kids. The message is important, and the presentation is outstanding.

 

Animalia Education- Family

iOS App Store

This interactive literacy tool is geared for all levels of young children, from preschool through about grade 3. For younger children, it’s an amazing alphabet ebook. For older kids, it’s a vocabulary builder and more. It’s based off of the print book Animalia by Graeme Base, so the illustrations are out of this world. There’s also a bonus animated story included called the ABC of Flying.

Animalia costs just $2.99. Since it’s an Australian publication, it focuses on the wild life of that continent, making it extremely interesting for children from other parts of the world. This one is definitely worth a look!