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18 Best iPhone Apps For Kids To Entertain & Educate At The Same Time

Because it's important to do both.

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If, like most parents, you’ve found yourself handing over your phone or iPad to your child frequently in the last year, you may be looking for some new apps your kid will love. With this in mind, I’ve rounded up 15 of the best iPhone apps for kids, and they’re all safe, educational, and fun (like, so much fun kids may not even realize they’re learning).

New research shows that screen time is up 50% during the pandemic (per Axios) and it’s not hard to figure out why. With parents working from home and trying to facilitate virtual school without childcare, it can be impossible to get anything done without the help of a screen (and there’s no shame in that). Whether your child is into puzzles and numbers or they’d rather make and create, there’s an app that will support their interests and help them grow while feeling confident. From using STEM skills to build their own amusement parks, learning the basics of piano or Spanish, creating a never-before-seen creature or narrating their own comic strip, well, as they say, there’s an app for that. Read on for 18 of the very best apps that are perfect for children ages 4-7 (but you may love them too).

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1

An App to Teach Coding Basics

A coding app sounds intimidating and difficult but Lightbot isn’t at all hard to get the hang of. Appropriate for beginners or those with a bit of experience, users guide a robot through a series of challenges by using the principles of coding in a way that’s fun and engaging without being overly complicated.

2

An App to Learn Spanish

Give your child the gift of a bilingual education that’s taught via the Canticos app in a fun in engaging way. Developed by bilingual educators, the app helps kids master letters, numbers, and phonics in both English and Spanish with bilingual books, videos, and songs. It’s totally ad-free, you can try it free for seven days, then it’s $6.99 a month or $57.99 annually.

3

An On-The-Go Library

Epic! is basically a library your little one can access anytime and anywhere. It contains over 40,000 books, videos, and quizzes for kiddos to discover and they'll likely find some of their favorites on the virtual shelves. There are also plenty of audio book options if your littlest one isn't quite ready to read to themselves but still wants to hear a story. It's free for 30 days (and Epic! is always free for educators), then it's $7.99 per month, or you can opt for yearly unlimited access for $71.99 annually

4

An App That Teaches Geography & History

Kids may not have gotten to go very far from home this year, but the Barefoot World Atlas app allows them to fly around the globe learning about the history, the people, and the art from everyone in the world. Plus there’s a “surprise” option where kids can shake the phone or the iPad and the app will randomly pick a new place to discover.

5

Short, Educational Movies

The Brainpop app comes in both a free and a paid version, which is great if you want to try it out before committing (then it’s $5.99 per month, or $49.99 annually). Perfect for the curious child, the app offers tons of educational videos on all sorts of interesting subjects, and there is a Brainpop Jr. for grades K-3 covering anything from government to plants and weather, or even social topics like what to do with bullies, how to manage big feelings, or ways to cultivate empathy.

6

A Creative Collage Builder

If your kid always wants to play with their food, they'll love the Faces iMake iPhone app. It's a one time purchase of $3, and it allows for endless fun making collages. They'll create faces out of images of everyday objects (like vegetables, sea shells, and flowers) and it inspires creativity and thinking outside of the box.

8

Make Your Own Comic Book

Superhero Comic Book Maker lets little ones create their own comic book storylines and the accompanying illustrations. Kids can bring the comic strip to life using the animated stickers with sound effects, plus they can use the self-record function to actually narrate their own story. So cool, and if your child is more into princesses than superheros there's an almost identical app called Princess Fairy Tale Maker. Best of all, these apps are free.

9

An Amusement Park Builder

Superhero Comic Book Maker lets little ones create their own comic book storylines and the accompanying illustrations. Kids can bring the comic strip to life using the animated stickers with sound effects, plus they can use the self-record function to actually narrate their own story. So cool, and if your child is more into princesses than superheros there's an almost identical app called Princess Fairy Tale Maker. Best of all, these apps are free.

10

TV Fun For Kids

It's quite possible that your kiddo is already a PBS fan (Daniel Tiger, anyone?) You'll see familiar TV characters like Arthur, The Cat In The Hat, and the Sesame Street crew in these games which encourage learning through mazes, puzzles, dress-up, coloring, and more (there's even a food truck game featuring Cookie Monster which teaches counting and measuring in a fun way). PBS Games is free to download, and there are no in-app purchases which means you won't end up with any surprising charges.

11

An App for Learning Piano

Kiddos who love making music will also love Mussila Music School, an app that teaches the fundamentals of piano in an engaging way. It gets into the nitty gritty of reading sheet music, finding rhythm, and recognizing the sound of various instruments in a fun game setting that lets kids pick their avatar, dress it in funny costumes, and feel like they're really part of a game more than a lesson. You can try it free for a week, after which there are a few paid subscription models to choose from including a monthly subscription of $7.99 or yearly for $44.99.

12

A Dance Party App, Free

GoNoodle is the answer when your kid has tons of energy and can't run it off outside. The app includes over 300 dance videos, yoga sessions, and even mindfulness activities. There are constantly new videos being added, and you may even want to join your little one as they dance it out to some throwback tunes like Bye, Bye, Bye, or songs they may be more familiar with like Can't Stop The Feeling from Trolls (honestly, it's catchy). This one will spark a lot of joy, especially because it's free to download.

13

Logic Puzzles

If your family can't get enough of puzzles, you'll love the Winky Think Logic Puzzles app. The earlier levels start off easier, so kids ages 4 and up can get in on the fun from the start. The puzzles get increasingly harder so they may require a bit of parental help, which can be a fun way to spend time together. You'll slide the pieces and match colors to crack the code, and with over 180 puzzles to choose from, it's hard to get bored

14

A Matching Game

The classic memory game gets a virtual twist with the AniMatch app. The buttons are big so they won't frustrate little hands, plus the animals make sounds and do a little dance when there's a match. Kiddos can play on their own if you're occupied, but you may enjoy this one too (though it's also likely to illuminate how superior your child's memory is).

15

Build Your Own Creature

Plum's Creaturizer is a super silly and interactive free app where you can build custom creatures using over a hundred body parts from real animals. Using your real house or backyard as a backdrop, you and your little one will go on a photo-taking mission to snap photos of where your animal lives or things it eats. With simple technology built into the app, you'll actually be able to insert your creature into the photos, so it looks like it's really in your yard or house. It's novel and funny and you can share the pics with anyone.

16

An App to Learn DIY Skills

You can think of DIY Creative Challenges as a virtual craft and activity book with so many options to choose from. Your kiddo can watch how-to videos, do hands-on projects, and learn a ton of niche skills including how to host a Minecraft video show, build "anything" with LEGOs, or learn to cook. Kids earn badges so they can track the skills they've learned and see how far they've come. It’s free to try, then it’s $15-$25 a month, depending on how many people in your family are using the app, and whether you’re billed monthly or annually.

17

An App for Making Art

While Paper by WeTransfer isn't technically billed as a kids app, children ages 4 and up, especially those who love to doodle, draw, or paint will have fun using it.You’ll get access to easy-to-use features like drawing with different sized brushes and tools, and there are also more advanced features like the ability to add your own photos, then cut and rearrange them to make your own collage. Kids can also work within one of the provided Paper templates to practice their letters or number writing skills. All of the core features are available for free, while more robust options are available at different tiers from $1.99 to $12.99 per month.

18

A Fun Math App, Free

Even if your kiddo isn't a sushi fan, they'll still love the (free) Sushi Monster app. Designed for ages 4 and up, the app teaches reasoning, addition, and even multiplication which kids will master by feeding the hungry monster the right amount of sushi (or else).

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