Best Free Learning Apps for Kids

Best Free Learning Apps for Kids

13 May 2022 • Words by Karla Pretorius 2 mins

Technology and using devices can, at times, create a power struggle within families. We might feel that our children should not be on their devices for more than a set amount of time, which will help with self-regulation and impulse control. With the evolution of technology, from simple games to today, where the focus is more on educational activities, various ways of engineering within games have been created. An example of this is the game Roblox, a favorite for many children. But with the array of free games out there, how to choose which learning apps are the best for our kids?

Best free learning apps for kids:

  1. Breathe, Think and Do with Sesame. This is a beautiful way to teach a child to pause before deciding. This app helps children to do that. Suggested ages: 1-6 years. 
  2. Khan Academy Kids. This is a wonderful app to learn while having fun. They explore various topics and might inspire your child to expand their interests. Suggested ages: 2-8 years. 
  3. Hopster Coding Safari for Kids. This is an excellent way for children to learn pre-coding skills in a game format. Age recommendations start from 4-year-old children motivated to solve problems in a fun manner. 
  4. Moshi for educators. It is a fantastic tool for teachers to work on their students’ social-emotional well-being and mindfulness practice. Before I started writing for Moshi, I used the app in my home and thoroughly enjoyed the meditation and nighttime stories. Suggested grades: Pre-K to 5. 
  5. BrainPOP featured movie. This app encourages children to watch a short film every day and answer questions. The topics covered are educational in nature. Suggested age ranges include 8+.

Things to consider when looking for apps appropriate for your child include:

Your child’s specific interests

When considering which educational apps to choose or introduce to your child, look at what they like first. If they are interested in animals, there are many animal-themed apps. Suppose they enjoy transport stories, like “Thomas the Train Engine” you can find games that include this topic. Learning through our interests has been shown to help with children’s sustained attention and motivation. According to Ackermann et al. (2020), children will learn novel words within a category of interest easier than various topics and phrases within each category if less interested.

“If-then schedules”

Include “If-then” schedules, where you place the game on a visual schedule of “if you finish eating your food” (for example), “then you get to play (insert game’s name or a photo of the game). This way, you are helping your child learn that to engage in one activity requires completing the first activity.

Most importantly, remind your child that playing games are a time limit. Most of us are aware that we spend too much time on our phones or laptops. We can instill self-preservation in our children from a young age.

Ackermann L, Hepach R, Mani N. Children learn words easier when they are interested in the category to which the word belongs. Dev Sci. 2020 May;23(3):e12915. doi: 10.1111/desc.12915. Epub 2019 Nov 6. PMID: 31618505.

Karla Pretorius

A registered counselor with a MA in Psychology. Co-founder: AIMS Global & Leadership at: Augmental