The 10 Best Apps for Kids

Once upon a time an application or an app was fairly straight-forward: check your email, look at a calendar, use a calculator. Today, anything can be an app. Entire companies are connected to one single app and that has certainly changed not only the world of apps but the world. The phrase “there’s an app for that” is not hyperbole. So what about the mind’s of kids? Is there a danger that they will be swept away by the sheer influx of apps? Yes, there absolutely is. Like we said, entire apps are companies and your child in many ways is just another customer. Just in September 2019 Youtube and Google were required to pay a record-breaking fine for violating children’s privacy. Why? Because the information was used to then create targeted ads right at children.

So we get it, it’s kinda scary out there. That’s why you’re here. You’re doing the necessary research to ensure that your kid has access to the best apps for kids. When we say best apps for kids we mean best to engage with and best standards of ethics. We looked for apps that parents love as much as their children because the parents felt more or less at ease about their kid’s use of the app. It’s impossible to dodge every advertisement out there, but these apps do a pretty good job trying. Not only that, but they are a lot of fun to engage with. We looked at some educational and some recreational apps for this ranking and considered the engagement level and the creativity that it took to dream up the app. We even found a BAFTA Award-winning app. Some developers created a true work of art within their app. So, not all apps are bad news for kids. Many are thought-provoking, fun, relaxing, beautiful, and educational. Take a look at how we kept score:
Methodology

  • Ethical Metric: Did this app do a good job avoiding ads and click bait?
  • Interactive Metric: Is the app designed in a way that is engaging and fun for the user?
  • Creative Metric: Did the developers of this app make something unique?

1. Lumino City


Lumino City is a game that is suitable for older kids and adults. The protagonist Lumi is on a quest to save her grandfather after he’s been kidnapped. She notices he has dropped something a “Handy Manual” that she will use to solve puzzles and advance through the game to find her beloved grandfather. The game itself is incredible to look at- entirely made of cardboard and other hand drawn pieces then animated.

If you have an inquisitive child who enjoys solving puzzles, you’re going to need to snatch up this game immediately. Yes, some of the puzzles are head-bending but with a little help from adults, they will be able to do this. We like to think of this game as a very fun challenge with a rewarding style of play. Even if your child isn’t inclined towards puzzles, this may be a good way (with help) to get them motivated. We think this game teaches persistence. Did we mention it’s a beautiful work of art to boot? Check out this link for more information on how this game was made.

Pros

  • Incredibly Intricate
  • Stunning Art
  • BAFTA Winner
  • Adventurous
  • Relaxing
  • No Ads
  • Great for Older Kids and Adults
  • Cons

  • Tricky
  • This Game is Not Free
    • Ethical Score: 100
    • Interactive Score: 100
    • Creative Score: 100
    • Overall Score: 100

    2. The Lorax App


    If you care about the environment and want your kid to care too, then the Lorax App is a no-brainer. The classic Dr. Seuss book comes to life with this app thanks to its interactive activities and exquisite animation. The app has won the Academic Choice “Smart Choice Media” award as well as the Parents’ Choice Award Silver Honor award. The story is about how industrialization destroys environments and this app teaches environmental awareness in a very approachable way.

    The book is completely interactive so kids are encouraged to drag their fingers across and tap on images to uncover some of the fun hidden secrets within. Kids will be able to collect stars and uncover activities. Kids can read along or allow for autoplay. Parents can track the amount of time their kids spend reading. There are over 30 games and 9 activities embedded within the book. Kids will love to play these again and again. We love that this app is educational and fun without being over-stimulating and addicting.

    Pros

    • Great Message
    • Fun
    • Interactive
    • Amazing Artwork
    • Classic
    • Develops Reading
    • Tons of Games and Activities
    • Parents’ Choice Award Recipient

    Cons

    • None that we can think of
    • Ethical Score: 100/100
    • Interactive Score: 100/100
    • Creative Score: 99/100
    • Overall Score: 99.6

    3. Garage Band


    Garageband is a music composition and production app for Apple devices. Apple describes it as a “fully equipped music studio” and it basically is. There are so many ways to interact with Garageband and the drag and drop style makes it highly intuitive. Anyone can compose music using Garageband which is why we selected this app for our Kids ranking, though adults love using Garageband as well.

    Users have the option to plug in an actual guitar or keyboard or simply select a virtual instrument from Garageband’s ever-expanding library. Loops are a great way to pull in young or less advanced musicians. Garageband has a free library of loops, a wide variety of percussive styles and even something for the classical musician. So if you are looking for a way to introduce your kid to music-making, you can’t beat Garageband.

    Pros

    • Easy to Use
    • Scales Up for Advanced Musicians
    • Great for Music Making and Production
    • Lots of Fun Libraries
    • Exciting Effects
    • Can Create Nearly All Common Genres of Music
    • Works Well On Phones and Tablets
    • Have Fun Creating Podcasts as Well

    Cons

    • Not For Android (try n-Track Studio)
    • Some of the Add-ons can be pricey
    • Ethical Score: 99
    • Interactive Score: 100
    • Creative Score: 100
    • Overall Score: 99.6

    4. Monument Valley


    In 2014, the game Monument Valley won the Apple iPad Game of the Year award. There is good reason. The worlds look like interactive and moveable M.C. Escher paintings featuring surrealist architectural puzzles. You navigate princess Ida through the brain benders which are whimsical and completely capture the imagination. This game never gets dark or scary so we think it can be enjoyed at a young age through to adulthood. In fact, it’s quite relaxing to play- almost meditative.

    Parents love that this game is good for the whole family and the welcoming challenges that each level brings. Check out their beautiful expansions once you’re done as well as their latest game Ida’s Dream. If you are looking for something completely different, this magical kid-friendly puzzle game must be added to your list.

    Pros

    • Great for Almost All Ages
    • Incredible to Look At
    • Relaxing
    • Brain-Teasers Great for Problem-Solving

    Cons

    • This App is Not Free
    • Not The Best for Very Young Children
    • Ethical Score: 99
    • Interactive Score: 97
    • Creative Score: 100
    • Overall Score: 98.6

    5. Stack the States


    Stack the States 2 is a fun quiz app that teaches kids all about the 50 states. The process of learning is entirely gamified so no boring drills and rote memorization here. Kids are asked increasingly complex questions about each state- which you collect over the course of the game. Each round cleared is another state earned. To clear a round, kids must answer the questions about the states and stack them to meet the checkerboard line.

    The latest version includes a new 3D interactive map, new questions, and some new bonus games. There are 4 bonus games included with this app. Kids love it because it’s fun and they get to learn interesting facts about states as well as the states themselves. Parents love it for the exact same reason. You may find yourself playing along.

    Pros

    • Fun
    • Educational
    • Interactive
    • Great for All Ages
    • Great Graphics

    Cons

    • It’s Not Free
    • Ethical Score: 98
    • Interactive Score: 99
    • Creative Score: 97
    • Overall Score: 98

    6. DuoLingo


    DuoLingo is a language-learning platform that teaches over 20 languages. The company has over 300 million subscribers and along with it a plethora of data. The second language acquisition (SLA) data is used to improve its programming. The app utilizes quick and effective lessons so essentially time spent on the app is in short bursts but regularly throughout the week. The site claims that 34 hours of time on their app is the equivalency of 1 semester of a college foreign language class.

    Kids are sponges which makes the younger years an ideal time to learn a second or even a third language. Do not hesitate to start even young children on this program- even without reading skills it is possible for a child to pick up with language. Though reading skills are an absolute bonus. That being said, visual aids make even reading acquisition possible! What’s more, the engaging quizzes and games are fun enough to keep a child engaged but not over-the-top addictive. What more could you ask for in an educational app?

    Pros

    • Educational
    • Language Learning
    • Cute Graphics
    • Gamified Learning

    Cons

    • You May Need to Prompt Your Child to Engage
    • Ethical Score: 97
    • Interactive Score: 97
    • Creative Score: 96
    • Overall Score: 96.6

    7. Angry Birds


    Angry Birds is a fun puzzle game that has so many fun spin-offs. The last time we checked there were 17 Angry birds games. The game works great on a phone but watch out- it is highly addictive! The birds are angry because the pigs stole their eggs. So the initial premise is that this is a game of revenge. That being said the cartoons are just so cartoony that it doesn’t really feel that violent at all- think the roadrunner and the coyote. This puzzling game is sure to be one the entire family will enjoy.

    No Angry Birds is not an extremely educational game, though your kid will learn to problem-solve. Angry Birds is more of a game for downtime, but we wanted to include it here because it is okay to let kids just chill out some times. Like with all of these addictive games it’s a good idea to put a time limit on it and to monitor to make sure your kid isn’t sneaking on. That’s probably the game’s biggest downfall- it is addictive. It is sure to be one of your kid’s favorite apps.

    Pros

    • Fun
    • Problem-Solving
    • Interesting and Unique Graphic Style
    • Lots of Ages Can Play This
    • Easy to Use

    Cons

    • Addictive
    • Tons of Advertisements
    • Can Be a Time-Sink
    • Parents May Need to Monitor The Use of This Game
    • Ethical Score: 89
    • Interactive Score: 100
    • Creative Score: 99
    • Overall Score: 96

    8. DragonBox Elements- Geometry


    This is an educational app that is an excellent example of play-based learning. Even young children will be able to play these fun geometry games. It starts with simply tracing the shape and rapidly progresses to the full-blown theorems. Parents beware that you may even find yourself stumped as the game becomes more advanced. This means that DragonBox Elements-Geometry is a great app for a wide range of kids.

    There are over 100 puzzles to solve so no chance of boredom here. Parents, tutors, and teachers all like to make use of this app to boost their child’s or student’s understanding of the subject. We also like the integrity of the company. If you are looking for other quality math apps, you can’t go wrong with any of DragonBox’s games.

    Pros

    • Educational
    • Teaches Through Games
    • Great for Parents and Teachers
    • Fun Animation
    • Engaging Games

    Cons

    • Some Kids May Get Frustrated
    • Ethical Score: 100
    • Interactive Score:92
    • Creative Score: 94
    • Overall Score: 95.3

    9. Epic!

    Epic! Is a reading app for kids ages 12 and under. Just pay a monthly subscription and you have access to over 25,000 titles. Kids, parents, and teachers all love using this app. It’s a great way to inspire reading and exploration through books with technology. You start with a 30 day free trial and have access to books, games, quizzes and more all ad-free. Let’s face it, kids just should not be subjected to advertising. We think the cost of the package is a fair trade off for the resource.

    Parents love that you can read the books online or offline which is great for long road trips or any situation where your child has to wait. Teachers love that they can line up reading lists and quizzes and that there are a number of bilingual texts available. With more titles added weekly, we are certain your child will always have something to explore on this app.

    Pros

    • Endless Titles
    • Inspires Reading
    • A Lot of Extras

    Cons

    • Subscription Costs
    • Difficult to Restrict Content
    • Ethical Score: 98
    • Interactive Score: 98
    • Creative Score: 89
    • Overall Score: 95

    10. Geocaching


    Geocaching is a fun family game that gets you and your family outside treasure hunting. Older kids may be able to do this one alone or with friends, but this is really useful when adults get involved- especially when driving would come in handy.

    Like you would imagine with a treasure hunt, to find the cache, you and your family will have to solve puzzles, interpret clues, and go exploring. The community uploads folders, logs hints and is available to help you as you search for your treasure. There are many features to the app including maps, intelligent search capabilities, and more. If you are looking for something different to do with the family this weekend, why not try Geocaching?

    Pros

    • Lots of Fun
    • Great Community
    • Gets People Outside
    • Who Doesn’t Want to Find A Treasure?

    Cons

    • You Have to Pay a Monthly Fee
    • Not As Visually Pleasing
    • Ethical Score: 92
    • Interactive Score: 94
    • Creative Score: 90
    • Overall Score: 92

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