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Of iPhone Apps for Kids and Learning through Gaming – II

March 26, 2010

Casual Learning with iPhoneIf you are a proud (smart?) owner of a smartphone, or an iPhone to be more specific, chances are that you aren’t the only user of the device in the family. Your kids probably use it just as much as you do – and for good reason! Whether it’s to silence the rear row passengers of the minivan, or prevent that late morning meltdown in the shopping mall, that clever iPhone app can be a savior.. And boy, are we spoiled for choice these days! Just to get a sense for just how big the apps market is – “educational games” alone number over 2000 now in the App Store and “educational apps” run into many thousands, and there is a newly launched “Apps for Kids” section in the App Store that is dedicated to the booming new audience of toddlers and preschoolers. Clearly, the potential of this device and medium, that kids have access to anytime and anywhere, is HUGE – not just for entertainment and engagement, but for learning as well.

The first part of this 2-part series shared recent research on learning through well-designed games. In this (part deux) we will list some of the most popular iPhone and iPod Touch apps for kids from 3 to 13 years.

To compile this list we have drawn from our own faves, winners on mommy blogs, articles in newspapers and trusted blogs such as GeekDad, and winners on magazines such as Wired and Parenting.com. We also received some suggestions from our fans on facebook. We were disappointed by the Math apps which seem to be mostly of the drill and practice kind. We decided to exclude from consideration the hundreds of run-of-the-mill apps for teaching the ABCs and 123s.

Note that this is by no means the last word on iPhone Apps for kids, and there may well be some great apps that we’ve missed for one reason or another. Please feel free to comment and suggest. We do hope this points you to at least a few good ones you were not aware of :)

Art & Doodling

ScribbleScribble Create a Cartoon faceCreate a Cartoon face BrushesBrushes ColorSplashColorSplash Kid ArtKid Art Doodle BuddyDoodle Buddy

Word Games

book worm for iPhoneBook Worm Word CrashWord Crasher WurdleWurdle Word WarpWord Warp Word SearchWord Search


EnigmoEnigmo Rush HourRush Hour TrismTrism Flood-ItFlood-It TanZenTanZen Labyrinth 2Labyrinth 2

Basic Skills

iWriteWordsiWriteWords Curious George Coloring BookCurious George Coloring Book Shape BuilderShape Builder AniMatchAniMatch Connect the DotsConnect the Dots

Language Learning

iSign AlphabetiSign Alphabet FlashCards for KidsFlashCards for Kids LanguLangu (Chinese) I See EweI See Ewe abc Pocket Phonicsabc Pocket Phonics


GearedGeared Electric BoxElectric Box ImplodeImplode MitosisMitosis Touch PhysicsTouch Physics


Math MagicMath Magic Cute MathCute Math Pop MathPop Math Mathemagics - Mental Math TricksMathemagi cs Mental Math Tricks Math RefMath Ref Graphing CalculatorGraphing Calculator


tappy tunesTappy Tunes Tap Tap RevengeTap Tap Revenge MooCowMusicMooCowMusic Wheels on the BusWheels On the Bus BebotBebot

Storytime – Audiobooks & eBooks

Tales2GoTales2Go The GraveyardThe Graveyard Dr. Suess iPhoneDr. Suess eBooks iReadandLearniReadandLearn iStoryTimeiStoryTime

Facts, News, Information

The Chemical TouchThe Chemical Touch NASANASA Nature.comNature.com Dictionary.comDictionary.com US PresidentsUS Presidents

Just Plain Fun

ScoopsScoops Dizzy BeeDizzy Bee Face MelterFace Melter Mad LibsMad Libs RunStickRunRun Stick Run
Doodle JumpDoodle Jump Slide-a-ma-jigSlide-a-ma-jig My MonkeyMy Monkey I SpyI Spy Feed MeFeed Me
The FingerThe Finger SneeziesSneezies Atomic FartAtomic Fart iSeismometeriSeismometer Where's GumboWhere’s Gumbo

iPhone Versions of Classic Games

ScrabbleScrabble ReversiReversi Tic Tac ToeTic Tac Toe Connect-4Connect-4 iChessiChess

iPhone Versions of Retro PC Games

(Parents, do these bring back memories?)

TetrisTetris Pac-ManPac-Man Dig DugDig Dug Space InvadersSpace Invaders Pole-PositionPole Position


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  1. Of iPhone Apps for Kids and Learning Through Gaming – I – SmartBean 

    [...] toddlers and preschoolers. We list some of the most popular apps for kids from 3 to 13 years in the second part of this article. Clearly, the potential of this device – and medium – that kids have access to anytime [...]

  2. Touchoo 

    Ah! what a shame… The post is great, but as you say – you overlooked a few really good apps.
    You should have a look at the interactive storybooks made by Touchoo.
    See the demo of the first storybook app to be available on the AppStore – 1 Little Boy: http://touchoo.com/books/1-little-boy

    Another great StoryBook app soon to be released – Thumbelina, finalist at the App Star Awards for great apps that are soon to come! http://touchoo.com/books/Thumbelina

  3. shuchi  3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    Thanks for letting us know about Touchoo! Looks like your first story became available only a month or so ago. It appears to have only one customer review on iTunes. We will check it out though, and if we find that it deserves a spot on our list, we’ll be sure to add it :)

  4. Jodi Ropert 

    Hi! I love this post and believe passionately in the power of games for learning. The company I founded – Barefoot Explorers – is dedicated to creating ‘Play 2 Plant’ games where kids can learn about conservation through super fun gameplay, and have a real world positive impact because we plant 3 live trees for each download.

    After a year of development, our first game – Panda Hero – launched last week and so far has all 5-stars! The game play and graphics are amazing – kids go on missions to rescue adorable endangered pandas, take care of their pandas, and plant real live trees! I’d be delighted if you checked it out. Thanks!!!

  5. shuchi  3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    Jodi, thanks for letting us know about Panda Hero. We’ll be happy to check it out.

  6. Jodi Ropert 

    Thanks Shuchi!

  7. Andrew Short 

    What about learning how to tell time? Jungle Time is GREAT for this. Kids can customize the jungle animal that roars and smiles at you when you solve a clock problem.

    See http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jungle-time-learn-how-to-tell/id366422129?mt=8XXXXX

  8. Jennifer 

    Hey! GREAT choices . . .so many to choose from. If you get a chance, check out the kids apps from http://www.onceuponanapp.com

    Two of our apps have been listed as a top choice in iTunes Store: “Tale of Peter Rabbit” was recently a “Staff Favorite” for iPad; and “Twas Night Before Christmas” was a “What’s Hot!”

    Stay tuned . . . we have several more ready to launch!

  9. Lunchbox Writers 

    Hello, hello! Great list! May we humbly also suggest taking a look at LunchboxReviews.Com when looking for the best iPhone and ipad apps for kids. We focus on educational, age-appropriate apps for toddlers, preschool and early elementary kids. Lunchbox is dedicated to collecting apps and reviews to save parents time when mulling over the purchase of the best iphone apps for kids. New apps are reviewed and added daily. :)

  10. Thara Visvanathan 

    Great post. I think Punflay’s apps also deserve to be on this list. Our PeTA award-winning app, Frog Dissection is a great teaching tool in the classroom. Kids can perform a virtual dissection of a frog without the mess. We also have other great kids’ apps that educate and entertain. Do check the iTunes store for our offerings.And be sure to visit http://punflay.com/ for details.

  11. Dan Russell-Pinson 

    Great list. Another great educational app is Stack the States. It teaches kids all about the 50 states including capitals, state shapes, geographic location and more. Kids have so much fun playing that they forget they’re learning! http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stack-the-states/id381342267?mt=8

  12. Patri Friedman 

    I would love to see this list by age instead of type – I’m not sure what apps are appropriate for my 5 year old, don’t want to have to click a zillion apps to find out.

  13. weluv2learn 

    Hi! Love your list so far! I’d also like to recommend Smarty K and Smartyshortz 1st for educational apps. This one has six subjects with four mini lessons each, followed by 4 mini games that help reinforce what was just taught. My children, 6 years and 8 years love Smarty Shortz!

    http://itunes.apple.com/app/smarty-shortz-1st-grade/id381016340?mt=8 for the iPhone and
    http://itunes.apple.com/app/smarty-shortz-1st-grade-hd/id381016340?mt=8 for the iPad

  14. anon 

    Kids deserve the best . Interactive learning has enhanced their abilities.
    My kids Likes this app – Lazytown . Its very great one
    I downloaded it from here

  15. Kevin Christy 

    Great list, also for English tenses check out:;


    for the iPhone and iPad

    As well as for English Basic Level :;


    or other apps at



  16. Karen 

    A good one for educational coloring is http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/school-coloring-book-by-thecolor.com/id450408417?mt=8

  17. Leila 

    I also really liked Trunky Learns Letters for spelling.. plus it’s cute!


  18. Stephen 

    My kids enjoyed learning to count with AquaNumbers. Great animation and learning numbers becomes a lot of fun.

    Here is the app Aqua Numbers – Kids First Numbers Counting Game http://itunes.apple.com/app/aqua-numbers-kids-first-numbers/id476451620?mt=8

  19. Edin 

    Here is couple of iPhone/iPad Apps great for practicing math skills:

    Math Samurai



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