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10 great summer learning apps for younger kids

It’s that time of year again, when the absence of organized learning activities can leave our younger kids bored and parents wishing for something more stimulating than another hastily-arranged playdate or more time in front of the TV.

But help is just a few clicks away! There are now thousands of apps dedicated to entertaining – and educating – our youngest kids. Whether it’s 10 minutes in the back of the car, or a more formal learning session, our smartphones and iPads provide the perfect platform for invigorating those inquisitive little minds.

Here are 8 of the best summer learning apps for younger kids – and a couple for their older siblings as well!

ABC Play

Another in the terrific Little Explorer’s ABC series, which includes ABC Music, ABC Go, and ABC Wildlife. In ABC Play, each new letter and word leads to a new sport, illustrated by hundreds of carefully selected photos and YouTube videos. ABC Play teaches letter and word recognition and is full of entertaining and fun facts.

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

Musical Me! – by Duck Duck Moose

Musical Me! helps your children explore the world of music, explaining basic concepts such as rhythm, pitch and notes. Popular children’s songs like Mary Had a Little Lamb and Pop Goes the Weasel are used to illustrate musical patterns, and kids are encouraged to play along with a drum, cymbals, triangle, egg-shaker or duck!

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

Al Yankovic: When I Grow Up

“Weird Al” brings his best-selling picture book to life with multiple reader interactions, challenging games, and lots of hidden surprises. Has your child ever wanted to become a sumo wrestler? Train a snail? Or shave a tarantula? Al Yankovic: When I Grow Up will take a detailed look at some occupations you didn’t even know existed!

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $3.99

World of Safari 123

World of Safari 123 helps pre-school and kindergarten children master the basic skills of counting, addition and subtraction in a colorful world full of exotic animals. Children are rewarded with new animals for completing a level, and the number and difficulty of the questions increases along with the children’s rapidly-improving skills. Shake and tilt features change the color of the sky and keep the animals moving!

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99

Montessori Crosswords

This award-winning app is ideal for ages 3 through 8 and helps kids develop their reading, writing and spelling skills through touch and natural phonetics. Montessori Crosswords features over 300 different word-picture-audio combinations and 3 levels of phonetic difficulty. The app is packed with sounds, animations and other visual effects to help kids learn by association.

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $2.99

Visual Math Level 1

Visual Math uses photographic images of everyday objects to help kindergarten and elementary school children figure out patterns, identify shapes, recognize numbers, read clocks and master important concepts of measurement like less, more, heavier and smaller. Players drag, move, select, listen and watch, and the exercises are broken up by funny musical interludes and games. Visual Math offers helpful hints and different levels to make sure every child learns at their own pace.

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $3.99


iWriteWords teaches your child handwriting skills as part of a fun and entertaining game. Help Mr. Crab collect numbers in sequence – and draw a letter at the same time. Once all the letters in the word are drawn properly, a cute drawing appears. Tilt your iPhone or iPad and all the letters slide into the hole, allowing you to advance to the next level. iWriteWords features 70 levels of upper case and lower case words and 20 levels of numbers.

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $2.99

Math Bingo

Players can select from 4 different games: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The object is to get five Bingo Bugs in a row by correctly solving various math problems. Math Bingo keeps track of up to 5 different player profiles, including the total number of games played and high scores. Scores are determined by the time taken to complete a game plus penalty points for an incorrect answer. You can play against other children or just try to beat your own high scores. Winning scores are rewarded with extra Bingo bugs.

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99

And two apps for older kids:

Rocket Math

In Rocket Math, you build your own rockets from the ground up. As you build your rocket, you earn money for parts by completing math problems. Once your rocket is complete, you can blast off into space on one of 56 different math missions.

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99

Britannica Kids: Dinosaurs

The latest in the highly-acclaimed Britannica Kids series, Dinosaurs explores the fascinating world of these historic creatures from evolution through to extinction. Kids can learn and play at the same time through a variety of games like Memory Match, Jigsaw puzzles, and the Magic Square.  Suitable for kids 8-12, Dinosaurs includes an A to Z of over 36 different dinosaurs, plus an interactive map of where they roamed the earth and where dinosaur fossils have been discovered.

Platform: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

Do you have a favorite learning app for younger kids? Share it with The Online Mom!

Comment by Renee, posted 7/12/2011, 4:09 PM:

Thanks so much for putting this together. My family loves the Britannica apps for kids. Great stuff!
Comment by Marcee, posted 7/5/2011, 5:15 PM:

Thanks for all the work you put into your site! I really enjoy it. The other day I was wondering what Al Yankovic was up to and today you have an app:) Now if I could just get rid of my Android and get an iPhone.
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