Updated November, 2017
Here are some awesome puzzle and problem-solving apps to keep little minds learning! Our roundup of some of the best puzzle and problem-solving apps for little kids will help your young ones put on their thinking caps and engage their brains. These are not your typical, put-the-pieces-where-they-go puzzles, but more of the creative, problem-solving kind.
Originator, Inc. / Free
Endless Wordplay will quickly become a favorite. Brought to you by the team at ORIGINATOR, the same team behind Endless Alphabet, Endless Reader, and Endless Numbers, this app sets the perfect stage for spelling, word-building, and rhyming.
It will teach children how to recognize spelling patterns and phonograms, which are crucial skills for learning to read and write. There are 3 spelling lessons (9 words) to try for free, and additional lessons available as an in-app purchase. The animations and graphics are top-notch. Be sure to share this fun word puzzle with your child!iTunes Google Play
Puzzingo Toddler Kids Puzzles
77 SparkStudio, Inc. / Free
Puzzingo offers loads of jigsaw puzzles with a twist: each piece is named and helps your young child build vocabulary skills while they play. The app supports learning in a multitude of languages, as well. Let your child exercise motor skills, visual-spatial skills and more as they play. Best of all, adults can easily play with children to expand the learning experience in ways recommended by experts.
The free version of the app comes with ten puzzles, and users can purchase additional sets or an all-access pass. The purchases are protected by a parent gate, so no worries about your child accidentally accessing something that costs money, though.iTunes Google Play
Building Readiness Skills
Shiny Picnic- Sorting & Matching
Shiny Things/ $1.99
Come along with Charlie the Monkey and his friends as they prepare for a picnic in the jungle! With Shiny Picnic, kids can enjoy a problem-solving app that features both a story to read along with and three educational puzzle games. This app is geared towards children from 2 to 4 years old.
There are three types of games: matching, sorting and one-to-one correspondence. The matching game will help children gain the ability to classify and pair like objects. With the sorting game, kids will learn to sort matched items into new groups. The one-to-one correspondence game will help children learn the concept of quantity, as they learn to share items “one-to-one” among the characters. If you would to share a fun matching and sorting app with your child, be sure to check out Shiny Picnic!iTunes
Shape Gurus – Teach Shapes for My Preschooler
Colto / $1.99
This app uses shape and color puzzles to teach 2-5 year olds basic readiness skills such as matching, sorting, classifying and more. These readiness skills are crucial to later reading and school success.
Shape Gurus features 27 interactive puzzles with 4 shapes and 9 colors. It supports play in twelve languages, too. The app is very child-friendly, with no advertisements or in-app purchases so it’s perfect for young players.iTunes Google Play
Logic and Thinking Puzzles
Winky Think Logic Puzzles
Spinlight Studio / $2.99
Winky Think features 180 puzzles presented in order of difficulty. Players must not only match, but solve problems, use tools, figure out patterns, and much, much more. This app provides hours of fun that will build problem solving skills, coordination, basic readiness skills, logic and memory.
Developers did an outstanding job of finding the right balance for each puzzle, so that players’ skills are challenged, but they will be able to make progress in the game. The puzzles are completely nonverbal, so there’s no need for reading skills or even following directions. Everything is very hands-on, figure-it-out-as-you-go.iTunes
Where’s My Water?
Disney / $1.99
The Where’s My Water? App has previously won the Game of the Year award. Meet Swampy the Gator; he needs your help guiding water to his broken shower. Each level of this game features challenging physics-based puzzles with amazingly life-like water mechanics. In this kids’ puzzle app, children will cut paths through the dirt to guide fresh water, dirty water, toxic water, steam and ooze to their proper places.
Every drop counts! Can you get enough clean water to Swampy’s shower? There are four original characters, each with their own scenario. Along the way, kids can collect special items they find in the dirt, as well as complete challenges and bonus levels.
If you would like to share a new game with your preschooler, be sure to check out this physics puzzler! And if your child finds this one enjoyable, there are several sequels and related apps, including “Where’s My Water? 2”, “Where’s My Perry?” and “Where’s My Mickey?”iTunes Google Play
Cut the Rope: Experiments
ZeptoLab UK, Limited/ Ninety-nine cents
Here’s another great kids’ problem-solving app! Meet Om Nom, the adorable little candy eating monster. With Cut the Rope: Experiments, kids will experiment to feed Om Nom candy throughout 200 challenging levels. The little green monster is hungrier than ever, and kids can team up with the Professor to study Om Nom’s candy-eating behavior through a series of experiments.
There are 8 level packs with 200 levels; all of the levels feature innovative physics gameplay. Kids will use suction cups and lots of other funny devices to feed Om Nom, while collecting shiny gold stars, uncovering hidden prizes and unlocking new levels along the way. If your child enjoys this fun app, look for Cut the Rope 2 and other great sequels.
Filimundus AB / Free
Inventioneers allows kids to create their own crazy, fun inventions! With the help of the Inventioneers – tiny helpers with unique characteristics – kids can create fun, creative and quirky inventions. This problem solving app allows children to learn about physics while exploring with inventions in realtime and learning the science behind different features, including: air, fire, magnetism and jumping.
In the free version, kids can explore the first chapter with 14 inventions, as well as hang out with the first Inventioneer, Windy; there are 40+ different objects to use in the inventions. With the full version (purchase: one time fee), kids can explore 6 chapters with a total of 84 inventions, 40+ new objects, 10 characters that you can help, and 6 Inventioneers – Blaze, Sporty, Zappy, Bunny, Magneta and Freezy. If you would like to check out a fun creative app, be sure to share Inventioneers with your little inventor!iTunes Google Play