Best Apps for Android Devices
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I love my Android devices. And, there are a number of great educational apps for Android. So if you want to set up parental controls on an Android device for your child, you’ll find lots of great options for apps in the Google Play Store. I typically like to feature apps available for all devices, but I thought it might be fun to recommend my favorite apps for each platform.
Here are the best apps for Android devices on my list of favorite educational apps for kids:
#1 Dragon Box Algebra 5+
Recommended Ages: 5-9
With Dragon Box Algebra 5+, kids as young as five can easily begin to grasp the processes of solving linear equations. Best of all, they don’t even realize they are learning. Dragon Box Algebra 5+ is intuitive and fun.
Players learn how to solve equations in a game environment where they are encouraged to experiment and be creative. By manipulating cards and trying to isolate the Dragon Box on one side of the game board, the player gradually learns the operations required to isolate X on one side of an equation. Over time, the cards are replaced with numbers and variables, revealing the addition, division, and multiplication operators the player has been learning throughout the game. Kids can play this game on their own; however, this is a game you can play along with your kids. You might be surprised to find yourself brushing up on some valuable math skills in the process.
- Gold Medal – 2012 International Serious Play Awards
- Best Educational Game – 2012 Fun and Serious Games Festival
- App of the Year – GullTasten 2012
Get Dragon Box Algebra 5+ in the Google Play Store
#2 Stack the States
Recommended Ages: 8 & up
Stack the States is a great app for history that makes learning about the 50 states fun for kids and adults! Kids won’t grow tired of this app as they learn about the states with 5 colorful and interactive game options. They’ll learn state capitals, shapes, geographic locations, flags, and more. Game options include:
Stack The States: Build tall piles with states and try to reach the checkered line.
Map It: Tap the location of the selected state on the map. Try to complete the whole country.
Pile Up: The states are piling up! Tap them quickly to get rid of them before they pile too high.
Puzzler: Sit back and relax as you slide the states around and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Capital Drop: Match states with their capitals in this fast-paced bonus game. Don’t let a state fall!
There are no 3rd party ads or in-app purchases.
- Best Kids App for iPad! – Best App Ever Awards
- Best Educational Game App – iEAR.org
Get Stack the States in the Google Play Store
#3 Squeebles Spelling Test
Recommended Ages: 6-8
Squeebles makes learning fun. Squeebles Math Bingo made my list of 10 Best Apps for Math, so I was happy to see the same level of education and fun in their spelling app. In Squeebles Spelling Test, kids rescue Squeebles. They win stars to trade for better squeeberangs to use in the game by spelling words correctly.
Parents or teachers can set up personalized spelling tests for kids, using words you want them to learn. The app lets you set up tests, enter words, and then record audio versions of those words for kids to listen to before they spell them. You can also select one of the 150 pre-recorded tests available within the app. (These were originally created to fit with the UK National Curriculum, but they are completely customizable. Spellings or recordings can be changed to suit US English or regional accents.) Unlimited players can be registered. This makes Squeebles ideal for families with kids of multiple ages or for classroom use.
While kids earn stars and have fun playing with Squeebles, parents and teachers can view stats on each kid. This lets you know how your child (or individual kids) are doing and which words they’re struggling with so you’ll better be able to assist them. One of my favorite features is the ability to set a personalized congratulations message when your child scores full marks. This means your own rewards can be worked into the test.
There are no in-app purchases, advertisements, or links to the Internet.
Notes: For optimal audio recording functionality, Android version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or above is recommended. This app does not work with Fuhu’s Nabi 2 device. The app requires that your device has a built-in microphone as it relies on recording audio.
Get Squeebles Spelling Test in the Google Play Store
#4 Thinkrolls 2
Recommended Ages: 3-9
Thinkrolls 2 is a clever game of logic that keeps kids on their toes. Players navigate through 235 levels of increasingly complex mazes. Along the way they’ll meet 28 spunky characters and use properties of matter and basic physics to make their Thinkrolls roll, float, glide, and teleport through a series of themed chapters. Each chapter gradually introduces a new scientific concept in a way that’s kid friendly and easy to understand. Thinkrolls 2 is COPPA compliant.
There are no 3rd party ads and no in-app billing.
- Editor’s Choice – Children’s Technology Review (A+)
Get Thinkrolls 2 in the Google Play Store
#5 YouTube Kids
Recommended Ages: 12 & Under
Kids love YouTube. But allowing them to browse the platform on their own can be dangerous. Luckily, the developers saw that and created a platform designed with kids in mind. YouTube Kids uses a variety of filters to keep all the videos on the app kid-friendly. In fact, the app features a variety of family-friendly features, including:
- Kid Profiles: Create up to eight different kid profiles, each with their own viewing preferences
- Parent Approved Content: You control what your child watches by handpicking the videos, channels and collections your child is allowed to watch.
- Young Child Profiles: The young child version of the app includes an array of educational videos aimed at preschool to school aged kids.
- Older Child Profiles: The older child version of the app allows content for kids ages 8 to 12. In addition to educational content, older children can also view kid-friendly music videos and gaming videos.
- Blocking: If you find a video or channel you don’t think is appropriate, simply block it inside the app.
- Video Reporting: If a video isn’t appropriate for children, you can easily report it for review.
- Timer: Make sure your child’s YouTube time is regulated by setting a timer within the app.
- Watch History: Keep track of the videos your child has watched.
The free version of YouTube Kids contains paid ads. To remove the adds, you can upgrade to YouTube Red.
Get YouTube Kids in the Google Play Store
#6 Endless Alphabet
Recommended Ages: Under 5
Originator, Inc. is another company that makes great educational apps. (I included apps from them on my list of best apps for reading.)
Get your child ready for reading success with Endless Alphabet. Preschoolers will love learning their ABCs and building vocabulary with this interactive app. Each word features a puzzle with talking letters and a short animation illustrating the definition. The adorable monsters make learning fun. What I love most about Endless Alphabet is the fact that it was designed specifically with young children in mind. There is no high score or sounds for failures. There are also no time limits which can cause stress for young children. Do note the free app comes with 7 word puzzles and animations. A one-time in-app purchase will unlock the additional 93 puzzles, giving your child a total of 100 words to explore and learn.
If your child loves this app, and you want to continue the series, you can move on to Endless Reader after completing Endless Alphabet.
Get Endless Alphabet in the Google Play Store
#7 Writing Wizard – Kids Learn to Write Letters & Words
Recommended Ages: 5 & under
Oh, how I wish Writing Wizard was available when my son was in preschool. I would have saved a fortune on shaving cream (and that sensory table we used for letter practice couldn’t be transported everywhere). Not to mention, many days we had a huge mess to clean up. I’m not saying get rid of sensory tables, but this is a great app to add to your handy bag of learning options.
Writing Wizard is designed to help children learn how to trace letters and words. Kids can trace letters using 26 animated stickers complete with sound effects. Once they’ve completed their tracing, kids can go on to play 4 games that reinforce the letter they just traced.
What I love most about Writing Wizard is that it is customizable. You can tailor it to fit the needs of your child and you can even add your own word lists. You can see how your child is progressing because there is a detailed report with information on what your child has done, including the ability to replay and export the tracings to view your child’s progress. Once your child begins to gain skills, you can set the app for 5-Stars play mode. Worried that your child’s fine motor skills won’t translate to paper? Create PDF worksheets from your word lists when it’s time to practice on real paper. Then you can directly print them from the app or email them.
I rarely include videos in my reviews. But I’m doing so here because I really feel this is a must-see-to-believe case.
There are no 3rd party ads or in-app purchases.
Get Writing Wizard in the Google Play Store
#8 LEGO Creator Islands
Recommended Ages: 6-12
Sometimes your kids just want to have a little fun playing on their Android device. If you’re looking for a fun free-play app that still has some educational value, look no further than LEGO Creator Islands. This app allows your kids to use the same STEM-inspired creativity they put in place while playing with their blocks, but in a digital environment. The app features some of your kids’ favorite 3-in-1 Lego creator sets in an island filled with a variety of building activities.
Get LEGO Creator Island in the Google Play Store
#9 My Incredible Body
Recommended Ages: 9-11
Children and adults will have fun learning all the pieces and parts of human anatomy with medically accurate 3D models and animations of anatomical structures. Learn the location of body parts and how they function as you zoom inside the skeleton, muscles, organs, nerves, and blood vessels. Take rocket rides through the human body to experience how blood flows, what lungs look like when breathing, and how the body does its swallowing and digesting. Watch short movies that show you how your brain works, how your muscles work together, and how your heart functions!
Note: An in-app purchase gives you the option to purchase a bank of quizzes to test your kids (or yourself) on what they’ve learned. The Reproductive System is also an in-app purchase. It shows basic male and female anatomy and introduces the concepts of puberty and human reproduction at just the appropriate level.
- Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award
- Best App for Teaching & Learning – The American Association of School Librarians
Get My Incredible Body in the Google Play Store
#10 Reading Trainer
Recommended Ages: 13 & up
Reading Trainer improves your reading speed and retention rate with 12 challenging and fun exercises. This reading app is for anyone reading more than half an hour a day. So, it’s perfect for your high school student who might need a brush up on reading skills as they prep for the ACT or SAT. Heck, it’s perfect for college students and adults who struggle with finding themselves rereading passages because something was not clear. Or, find themselves easily distracted while reading. Reading Trainer can help.
A few things I love about Reading Trainer:
- The eye exercises are said to boost your mental capacity. I’m sure that’s true. What I notice is that for those of us working in front of a screen for long periods, eye exercises are a needed daily exercise to avoid eye strain and fatigue.
- The app takes around 15-20 minutes to go through a full cycle. It then lets you know it’s time to rest and gives you a countdown before you begin again.
- Questions about the text are used as a secondary test to assess your retention ability. So, it’s not checking to see if you can read quickly but if you can read and comprehend the material. That’s important!
- The software immediately recognizes your strengths and weaknesses and begins giving exercises based on your needs.
- You always know your progress. The statistics function lets you see and track your progress. And, the results of each training exercise are charted.
Get Reading Trainer in the Google Play Store
#11 Todo Math
Recommended Ages: 3 to 8
With more than 700 fun activities aimed at helping your elementary school student get better at math, Todo Math is an amazing educational app for a student at any level. The app features tons of great learning options, including daily math challenges, skill-based math missions, and comprehension quizzes. An OpenDyslexic font option is available for students with special needs and the app is available in eight different languages. The app covers a variety of math concepts in each of its activities, including:
- County and cardinality: number tracing, counting, and tallies
- Number operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and word problems
- Mathematical reasoning: pattern recognition, math memory, and numerical ordering
- Time and money: days and weeks, telling time, and differentiating between coins
- Geometry: shape recognition, identification, and tracing
This app is great for young learners. It adheres to Children’s Online Privacy standards and does not contain any third party advertising.
- 2018 Parents’ Choice Gold Award
- Ranked #1 in Education App Stores
- Five-Star Quality Rating on Common Sense Media
- 2016 SII CODie Award Finalist
- Best Design Award Winner at Launch Education & Kids Conference
Get Todo Math in the Google Play Store
#12 Toca Lab
Recommended Ages: 6 to 10
Give your elementary schooler a chance to explore an electrifying world of science in Toca Labs, where they’ll get a chance to meet all 118 of the elements on the periodic table. This fun game-style app has tons of learning opportunities, all centered around chemistry concepts. Your child can spin an element in the centrifuge, warm it in a Bunsen burner, cool it with a cooling agent, mix elements using test tubes, or make them magnetic with an oscilloscope. This app gives kids a safe place to experiment and discover the various properties of the elements, which could be a jumping off point for further scientific exploration. Toca Lab is created by Toca Boca, an award-winning app developer which creates fun apps that spark kids’ imaginations while they learn.
Get Toca Lab in the Google Play Store
#13 Band Blast – The Music Education Revolution
Recommended Ages: 5 & up
This curriculum-based educational app makes it easy for any child to learn how to play an instrument. This unique app has a variety of fun rhythm and pitch games, on top of an awesome real-life recoding studio. The instructional videos available feature some of the top Philharmonic and studio musicians in the world. Using this app, you child has the option to learn violin, flute, cello, tenor sax, alto sax, viola, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, guitar, and double base. The app is made up of four different elements:
Step-by-step lessons on how to play an instrument through a selection 250 instructional videos that cover playing your first note, reading music, and playing popular songs.
A rhythm game, which teaches students how to count beats, follow the beat, learn notes and rests, and develop coordination skills.
A pitch game, which helps students improve their ability to learn notes on an instrument and train their ear to detect different pitches.
A recording studio that allows your child to record their own music using one of 40 backing tracks from some of the world’s best musicians.
There are no in-app purchases or ads in this app, making it great for younger kids.
Get Band Blast from the Google Play Store.
Recommended Age Range: 7 & up
Learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the stars with this amazing app. Simply point your device at the sky and Sky View will identify the stars, planets, satellites, and constellations above you. Using your device’s camera, this wonderful app spots and identifies celestial options in the sky – day or night! This amazing science app includes a ton of wonderful educational features, including:
- Simple: Point your device at the sky to instantly identify constellations, planets, and satellites above you at that moment.
- Night Mode: Use night vision to easily identify more celestial objects in the night sky at your location.
- Augmented Reality: Travel through the galaxy using your device’s camera to identify and learn about a variety of celestial objects.
- Sky Paths: Follow an object’s track in the sky to see its location on any date and time.
- Time Travel: Travel through time to see how the sky looked on different dates throughout history.
- Google Editor’s Choice 2017
- App Zone Best Android App 2014
Get SkyView® in the Google Play Store.
#15 EPIC! Books For Kids
Recommended Ages: 4 to 12
Known as the “Netflix of Books,” Epic! Is a digital library that will give your kids access to 25,000 books, educational videos, and quizzes. Help nurture a love for reading in your kids with this app, which offers unlimited access to a variety of books for kids up to 12 years old. Whether they’re interested in non-fiction books, graphic novels, or popular picture books, your young readers are sure to find a ton of awesome books to keep them reading for days. In addition to traditional books, this wonderful app also offers “read-to-me” versions and leveled readers for younger kids. The $7.99 monthly fee includes:
- Up to four reader profiles
- Personalized recommendations for each user based on what your child has previously read
- Unlimited access to every book, video, and educational tool available in the app’s database (in both English and Spanish)
- No ads or in-app purchases
- Teachers’ Choice Award 2017
- Parents’ Choice Gold Award 2016
- 2014 Top App of the Year from Creative Child Magazine
Get Epic! Books for Kids in the Google Play Store.
If you love Android devices, don’t fall for the “there are no parental control options” myth. There are parental controls options for parents who want to use Android tablets and cell phones with their kids. And, there are a number of great educational apps for Android.
Do you have a favorite educational app for Android devices? I’d love to know about it. Share it with me in the comment section.
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