Choosing the best learning apps for kids (and eight great ones to start with!)  

by | Apr 29, 2024

Find the best learning apps for kids
Enjoyed this? Spread the word to your friends.


Most parents know the captivating pull that kid-oriented mobile apps have on their children. Kids always seem to want more—more games, more screen time, more devices, and more fun. As parents, we often struggle to find a balance that satisfies our kids’ cravings but doesn’t consume every waking moment of the day. Add to that some tension between your child’s pursuit of fun and our desire for their activities to have educational value.

There’s an overwhelming array of content produced for children that straddles that line. We’re here to help you stay current on some of the top apps for kids and share ideas about how to keep kids safe while they’re having fun learning.

The digital playground for toddlers and kids

There’s a bottomless well of games and digital content for children that includes all sorts of paid and free learning apps for kids. The space breaks down into three main categories: websites, video games, and apps for mobile devices and tablets. Each is full of activities and titles intended for specific age groups, and there’s plenty of crossover between categories. We’ll focus on Apple and Android apps for both toddlers and older kids between the ages of four and nine. Before we get there, here’s a brief overview of the other two categories.


The best websites (and their associated apps) with educational content for kids seamlessly blend learning and fun. It’s like a zucchini-chocolate-chip-muffin—a treat filled with chocolatey goodness that also sneaks in some healthy veggies under the radar. is a great example. It’s a kids’ entertainment hub that offers loads of games and videos inspired by PBS programming, downloadable apps, and resources for parents. All content on the website is suitable for kids of every age. No matter what game or activity, there’s always a dose of reading, math, logic, or social skills included. Other sites worth checking out include:

  • National Geographic Kids: Content around nature, culture, and history for elementary school-aged kids
  • Sesame Street: Brought to toddlers and young kids by the letter L for learning
  • Scholastic Kids: A fully moderated site from the educational magazine and book publisher

Video games

Video games for systems like Microsoft’s Xbox or Sony PlayStation include logic games and puzzles, adventure themes, and simulations. Choices are limited for toddlers and young kids. With the prevalence of more mature action-oriented games, parents of younger tots often wait until their kids are older before adding gaming systems to the entertainment menu.

Learn about esrp ratings

Ratings of apps and games

ESRP ratings are the best place to start when determining if an app your child wants is suitable for their age or developmental level. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board assigns the ratings and displays them on a familiar graphic icon that’s usually present on app stores and product packaging. Ratings include:

  • EC: Suitable for children 3+
  • E: Designed for everyone over 6
  • E 10+: Safe for anyone over 10
  • Teen, Mature 17+, Adults Only 18+, and RP (Rating Pending): Content parents of kids under 10 need to watch out for

Parental controls

Most devices have parental control settings that give parents control over how they get used. Both the Apple and Android app stores provide comprehensive information about the tools offered to parents to keep their children safe. Specific settings vary by device. In general, parental control functions are designed to help parents:

  • Block content, apps, and games based on age ratings or other factors
  • Limit screen time
  • Restrict online communications
  • Disable in-game purchases

Screen time and childhood development

Most parents are concerned about how much time their kids spend using electronic devices. When is it appropriate to introduce devices or change how they get used? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents wait until their children are at least two before allowing them to use an iPad or device and restrict use to no more than an hour or two per day.

According to Dr. Bradley Frank, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and co-author of The Edge of The Sticker, parents can become reliant on devices as digital babysitters. He cautions that there can be developmental implications. “We all want our children to be competent in the digital world, but too much screen time at key developmental times can negatively impact their ability to develop social skills, read social cues, and deal with failure. It can set a child up for problems with anxiety, depression, and isolation.”

According to Dr. Frank, parents shouldn’t try to prohibit screen time; instead, they should set limits to ensure kids have a life outside their screens. “Games and apps are built to keep people engaged and focused, and they all provide some psychological reward. Too much use can prime young kids to depend on the dopamine boost games provide as their source for pleasure.” Frank recommends following three simple steps for keeping screen time under control: 

  1. Moderation is key: Think of screen time as dessert, not the main course.
  2. Stay vigilant: Kids develop an understanding of the world and how they fit in based on what they consume, so use parental control settings and other tools to monitor and control content and communications.
  3. Model the behavior: Your behavior significantly impacts what your kids do. If they see you constantly reaching for your phone at dinner, expect them to do the same.

The best learning apps for kids

Let’s look at some of the most popular apps for toddlers and kids up to nine years old. Some are free reading apps for kids, and others charge you to download or subscribe. All the apps mentioned are available for Apple and Android users.

  • ABC Mouse: This is one of the most popular educational apps for kids as young as two. While it’s a great toddler learning app, ABC Mouse features thousands of games, puzzles, activities, and books that are appropriate for kids of all ages. ABC Mouse costs $12.99/month, but you can try it for free for 30 days.
  • Games from Originator Kids: Originator Kids produces a variety of excellent learning apps, including the Endless series. Each app in the series focuses on a topic like learning the alphabet, numbers, and reading. All the children’s game apps from Originator Kids are vibrant, engaging, and educational.
  • Splash Learn: This is another critically acclaimed app with thousands of games and activities combining math and reading lessons with fun. Everything is organized by age range, so finding appropriate activities for your child is easy. Splash Learn is free to download, but there are in-app purchases.   
  • PBS Kids: PBS Kids offers dozens of apps based on familiar characters from the network. These apps teach everything from letters and numbers to social skills and potty training, making them some of the most popular parent-approved apps for kids.
  • Homer: This comprehensive learning app covers the fundamentals of reading and math, along with activities to inspire curiosity, creativity, and social and emotional learning. The app is organized by age. Subscriptions are available for $12.99/month or about $80 when you pay annually.
  • Hungry Caterpillar: Based on the familiar book by Eric Carle, this popular free-to-download app has been around for several years. It’s updated regularly with new content and activities that capture the attention of kids two to six years of age.
  • Kahn Academy Kids and Kahn Academy: These educational powerhouses span the complete learning continuum from pre-K through high school. Kahn Academy Kids is the place to start before graduating to Kahn Academy when learning gets more rigorous and less disguised. Both are entirely free and loaded with games and activities meant to inspire a lifetime of learning.
  • Apps from Lego: Enjoy all the fun of Legos without the risk of stepping barefoot on a brick. Lego Duplo offers games that encourage creativity, problem-solving, and socialization. Apps include Lego Duplo World, Connected Train, and others featuring characters from Marvel, Disney, and Peppa Pig.
Find free learning apps for kids

How to get the most from your learning apps

Whether you’re downloading free games for kindergartners or playing along with your toddler, a great way to experience any connected game or app is with a fast and stable WiFi connection. Fiber internet from Quantum Fiber offers speeds up to 8 Gbps in some areas, so you’ll have enough bandwidth for gaming, streaming, and video calls. Every subscription includes the latest WiFi equipment to create a secure network that will help keep your family and valuable personal information safe online. There are no annual contracts, so you can cancel or change your service anytime. Learn more by visiting our website.

Content Disclaimer - All content is for informational purposes only, may require user’s additional research, and is provided “as is” without any warranty, condition of any kind (express or implied), or guarantee of outcome or results. Use of this content is at user’s own risk. All third-party company and product or service names referenced in this article are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement or affiliation with Quantum Fiber. If Quantum Fiber products and offerings are referenced in the content, they are accurate as of the date of issue. Quantum Fiber services are not available everywhere. Quantum Fiber service usually means 100% fiber-optic network to your location but, in limited circumstances, Quantum Fiber may need to deploy alternative technologies coupled with a non-fiber connection from a certain point (usually the curb) to your location in order to provide the advertised download speeds. ©2024 Q Fiber, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Quantum, Quantum Fiber and Quantum Fiber Internet are trademarks of Quantum Wireless LLC and used under license to Q Fiber, LLC.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Enjoyed this? Spread the word to your friends.
author avatar
Quantum Fiber
Fast fiber internet built for your life and small business.
Quantum Fiber
Fiber Internet
Business Fiber
360 WiFi

Streaming TV

Streaming Services
Connected Voice


Harness the power of Multi-Gig internet. See if speeds up to 8 Gig are available in your area.

Limited availability. Service and speed in select locations only.

Blog Categories
All Things Fiber

Connectivity & Security


Gaming & Streaming

Routers & WiFi
Small Business

Harness the power of Multi-Gig internet. See if speeds up to 8 Gig are available in your area.

Limited availability. Service and speed in select locations only.