Tablets are a regular part of most kids’ routines these days, and teachers and parents can use that to their advantage. There are a lot of terrific iPad games for kids that are designed for learning but disguised as fun! Here are some of the best that cover reading, math, science, social studies, and more for kids of a variety of ages.
Ages: Pre-K to Grade 2
ABCmouse is one of the most popular educational iPad games for kids who are learning to read, count, and more. They offer thousands of learning activities across the curriculum, including hundreds in Spanish. It requires a subscription ($12.99/month or $59.99/year), but you can try it for free for 30 days to see if you like it.
Ages: Grades 3 to 8
Adventure Academy is ABCmouse’s older cousin. Upper elementary and middle school students can learn math, science, language arts, and more. They’ll create their own avatar and make their way around a fully interactive school environment, learning as they go. It has the same subscription rates as ABCmouse ($12.99/month or $59.99/year).
Ages: Pre-K to Kindergarten
Everyone’s favorite caterpillar is now available in an app! Play games to match colors and shapes, put together puzzles, and learn to take care of plants and animals. The app is free to download, but it costs $4.99 to unlock all of the available activities.
Ages: Grades 2 to 6
Looking for a fun way to practice math facts? Check out this free app! Sushi Monster is hungry. Feed him the sushi plates to make the correct goal number and practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Ages: Grades 1 to 5
Solve math problems and try to get five Bingo Bugs in a row. Be careful, though, because wrong answers will affect your end score. High scores earn you your very own Bingo Bugs for your collection! There are five modes: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and mixed. Math Bingo costs $2.99 to download and play.
Ages: Grades 1 to 4
This is such a fun way to practice sight words! As various words appear on the screen, slice through the target word as fast as you can to score points. At only $1.99, this game is a terrific bargain and one that students will beg to play.
Ages: Pre-K to Grade 2
Wee ones will love helping Tim and his family as they learn colors and shapes. The game is available in multiple languages, so you can also use it to help kids learn basic words in Spanish, French, and more. Dino Tim is free to download and $1.99 to unlock all content.
Ages: Pre-K to Grade 12
Combine music with spelling and vocabulary in this charming game, enjoyable for anyone at any age. Listen to the sequence of notes, then play them back to spell the right word. You can also simply play around with the keyboard and synthesizer functions, composing tunes just for fun. Lyrical Letters is free to download and play; you can remove the in-game ads for $1.99.
Ages: Grades 3 and up
Everything you love about Mad Libs in an app! Kids will get sneaky practice in learning the parts of speech, while creating zany stories that make everyone laugh. You get a limited number of Mad Libs for free, with the ability to buy more packages starting at $1.99.
Ages: Grades 3 to 12
This isn’t one of those iPad games for kids full of animated characters and flashy graphics. It’s a straight-up geography quiz game and a very good one. Kids who are into maps and globes will enjoy checking their knowledge of flags, capital cities, statistics, and much more. The game is free to download and play; you have the option to buy “hints,” but they’re not necessary to enjoy the fun.
Ages: Middle and High School
iCivics has a suite of terrific social studies games that kids will truly enjoy playing. They’ll feel like they’re right in the action as they try to get a new law ratified, run in an election, or try a case in court. These apps are all free, and their website has lots of excellent accompanying resources for teachers.
Ages: Pre-K to Grade 3
Bedtime stories are a longstanding tradition, but what about bedtime math? That’s what this free app, along with its accompanying books, aims to do. Each day, the app adds a new fun math problem for parents and kids to do together. (Teachers could also use them as daily problems in the classroom.) Each math problem has three levels of difficulty, and many offer challenge questions too.
Ages: Grade 3 and up
Learn more about U.S. presidents while you battle aliens in this silly but informative game. As you answer the questions and beat each level, you add a new president to your collection. Then, you can fling these presidents at the aliens to help defend the planet! The app costs $1.99 to download but has no in-game ads and doesn’t require any additional purchases to play. Kids will need to be able to read to play on their own.
Ages: K to Grade 4
This subscription-based iPad games for kids promises to make learning math fun and engaging. Kids set out on missions to earn monsters by solving math puzzles. This is a game that can grow with any child, starting with very basic counting skills and building through to multiplication and division. After a 7-day free trial, the game costs $7.99 a month or $49.99 annually.
Ages: K to Grade 5
Math students go head to head in these math games, competing to be the first to solve the problem on the screen. Kids can share one iPad to play or each play on their own tablet if they’re not in the same room. Math Duel is subscription-based but not too pricey at $17.99 per year.
Ages: Kindergarten and Up
Swampy lives in the sewers under the city, but he loves to stay clean! His shower is constantly getting stopped up, though, so kids need` to dig through the dirt and avoid obstacles to guide the fresh water to Swampy. This game is a lot of fun, but it’s based on real physics and the movement of water, so they’ll learn while they play. This Disney game costs $1.99 to download and includes additional storylines for purchase.
Ages: Grade 3 and Up
Learn U.S. geography the fun way by answering questions and building your own collection of states. Kids master state capitals, cities, landmarks, flags, and more. The app costs $1.99 to download and play, with no ads or other in-app purchases to worry about.
Ages: Pre-K to Grade 1
They say the best way to learn something is to teach it to another. That’s the idea behind this popular iPad game, where kids “teach” a monster to read while learning the skills themselves. It covers early reading skills, from letter recognition through phonics and word-building. Download and play for $5.99.
Ages: Grade 4 and up
Kids who love to tinker will get a real kick out of this game. They can design and build their own inventions, then see how (and if!) they would work in the real world. There are 50 different missions for them to invent and conquer alongside their own monster avatar. At only $1.99 to download, with no in-game ads, this one is definitely worth a look.
Ages: Kindergarten and up
This game has been around for a while, but it’s popular for a reason. The concept is simple: arrange the objects on the screen and then cut the rope to release the candy into the hungry monster’s mouth. The laws of physics apply here, so kids will learn without even knowing it. The levels get progressively more challenging as you play. Cut the Rope costs $1.99 to download, with the ability to buy hints, solutions, and more puzzles in the app.
Ages: Grades 1 to 6
Learn fractions in an interactive environment as you slice through ice and lava to clear the mammoth’s path. There’s no reading involved in this game, so kids can focus purely on numbers and fractions. Cut the Rope costs $3.99 to download and play.
Ages: Grades 2 to 12
You don’t need any coding experience to play this game; you’ll learn as you go. Solve puzzles by guiding a robot to light up tiles with basic commands. Multiple players can save their progress on the same device, so this one’s great for classrooms or families. Some reading is required, but otherwise, even little ones can play on their own. Lightbot costs $2.99 to download and play, without the need for in-app purchases.
Ages: Grade 4 and up
Build vocabulary and work on spelling with this innovative word game. As you connect letters to make a word, they disappear from the board, collapsing others around them. New letters are always rising from the bottom, though, so you’ll have to think quickly to stop them from reaching the top and ending the game. The game is free to download, but many reviewers note that it’s ad-heavy; pay $4.99 to unlock the full version.
Ages: K to 12
Starting with just a few basic elements (air, earth, fire, and water), players mix these to create dozens of new items, both real and imaginary. For instance, mix water and earth to get clay, then mix clay and fire to make bricks, add brick to brick to build a wall, and so on. This robust free game is completely engrossing, and it encourages both creativity and logical thinking.
Ages: Pre-K to Grade 2
This well-reviewed app teaches basic reading and writing skills, starting with letter recognition and tracing. As their skills advance, so do the challenges, until they’re able to practice reading aloud using voice recording. Reading Raven is a one-time cost of $3.99 to download and play, with no in-game ads.