Best Kids Apps

Can educational apps be fun? We think so


Whether you want your kids to learn phonics, memorize state capitals, or brush up on fractions, there are buckets of educational apps to choose from.


But for every learning app with that elusive kid appeal, there are hundreds without it.


How will you find the best ones?  Elementary!

Cartoon ABC

Just the right amount of interactivity for inquisitive toddlers
  • * * * * *
  • Age: 2+ |

  • $1.99

Cartoon ABC is an animated alphabet app that gently introduces kids to letters.

Recognizing that, to toddlers, the letters themselves aren’t inherently interesting, the app keeps things moving with lots of simple animations.

Why we like it:

This is a very open app.  Kids can explore the alphabet sequentially or they can hop around.  Also, they can end one animation and activate the next without having to wait, which is great for little attention spans.

If you’re the sort of parent who likes to see what your kid is up to — and who isn’t? — you can pull up the parents’ area to see how your child has spent her time.  This app has no ads and no integration with social networks, so kids’ privacy is safe.

Watch out for:

Nothing!  This app is pretty much solid gold for the short set.

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Kids Socks

Match the socks! Count the socks! Find the socks!
  • * * * * *
  • Age: 2+ |

  • $0.99

Kids Socks is a sweet counting, matching, memory app for very young children.  Kids aged 2-5 will love the bright colors and bold designs — it’s a great first app.

What we like:
In the easiest of the games (matching) a sock comes sailing across the line and stops at the center of the screen.   Kids select its match from the eight socks below and keep playing until the laundry is sorted.

There are also simple number recognition and memory matching games which are — you guessed it! — sock themed.

Great graphics, great sound effects, great buy.

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We tested Kids Socks on the Kindle Fire.  Developer: Mimoteo.  Read our disclosure policy.

Sound Touch

An sound recognition app for babies and toddlers
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  • Age: 1+ |

  • $2.99

Best iPhone and iPad Apps for Kids: Sound TouchSound Touch is the most addictive app my one and a half year old daughter has played since Itsy Bitsy Spider. There are six different themed menu screens, each holding clip art pictures of animals, household items, means of transportation, etc.

Touch an object and then the screen flashes over to a real life picture of the object as it plays the real life sound the item would make. From cows to a knock on the door, children can develop sight and sound recognition.

Why we like it:
I think it’s great that there are four different real life pictures and sounds for each object. So as the child keeps touching the elephant they get a different sound and different looking elephant each time.

(I would’ve given them a higher grade if there was also an additional screen that voiced the name of the object, thus teaching the child what it is by name and not just by sight and sound. For example, four screens of a cow mooing, but then a fifth screen where a voice said “cow”.)

It doesn’t look that fancy or fun at first glance, but it’s a great app for parents to get to know their son or daughter by paying attention to which animals/objects they like the most. I thought my daughter would love the kittens, but it’s the cows, xylophone and helicopters that make her the happiest.

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We tested version 1.5.1, which is compatible with the iPhone (OS 3.0 or later) and the 2nd generation iPhone touch. Developer Sound Touch Interactive. Read our disclosure policy.