We’ve been hustling all summer to bring you great online educational resources, from coding camps to homeschooling websites. And now, with what we’re calling “back to schooling” we’re bringing you a trove of educational apps for kids of all ages.
Next on the list? These cool math apps for preschoolers and little kids, whether they’re mastering simple arithmetic or still learning to distinguish between a 6 and a 9. I tested them all (with a little help from my 3-year-old) to make sure they’re up to par, and I can vouch for all 10 of them.
Because wherever you are in your decision-making process about school, we want you to have options.
This app guides kids along a set learning path, rather than letting them choose games at random like most of the other apps, which I think could help them have more of a learning trajectory than if they start favoring only one mini game, for example. And this game definitely brings the fun factor — one game featured a yak snowboarding down a mountain, asking kids to helping grab the numbered flags in order. Irresistible!
This one’s similar to Elmo loves ABCs in format, but features Abby as well as Elmo. Kids can toggle through different tasks, like tracing, coloring, completing a puzzle, and watching a video about each number. I love that this app features real Sesame St. video content but also requires a little more participation from your kid than the show. This app also has great parental customization — choose exactly which skills your kid already knows and which you’d like them to work on.
($4.99 for full version, Lite version is free)
I wanted to make sure to include a couple of free apps — as in, truly free, without in-app purchases or ads — and this one fits the bill. It’s a little simpler than the other paid apps, but it still gets the job done with mini games for number tracing, identifying quantities, and more. Just know that you can’t choose a number range for your kid; instead, the game defaults to 1-50, which may be a little advanced for younger kids.
We’ve been fans of Duck Duck Moose for years, so I knew their math app wouldn’t disappoint. Duck Math features several storefronts that kids can wander into, each with mini games in each teaching different skills. My personal favorite was the moose juice bar, where kids had to practice number recognition to follow a smoothie recipe (“add 4 oranges!”). Best of all, this app’s completely free!
This was probably my favorite of all the apps I tried with my son. The games teach kids without feeling educational in the least. One game feels like old school Mario Brothers, making kids press the correct number to jump to the corresponding level and collect stars. Another has them practice addition and subtraction by stacking monsters into taller monsters. My app was set to a 3-year-old’s learning level, but I can’t wait to see what they have in store for big kids.
This app features a fun fairy tale setting, with a castle, an ocean, a farm, and even a beanstalk. Kids can explore the different games as they amble around the kingdom, and though they may need a little help understanding the games, they’re a lot of fun once little learners get the hang of them. This app offers several games that help kids estimate quantities, so it’s a great place to start if that’s where your child is developmentally.
We covered two of the Endless apps in our reading apps for kids post, but it turns out Endless is also great at math. And this app features the same adorable cartoons, this time teaching number recognition and simple arithmetic. And there are some very kid touches that my son loved, like how after adding 1 and 1 together, the number 2 burps onto the screen.
(Free with in-app purchases)
I like that this app lets you choose your child’s competency level before they start, rather than letting them get frustrated by games that are too advanced or too easy. It’s also designed to be used 10-15 minutes a day for a totally manageable learning pace. It includes sections on counting, tracing, tallies, and patterns, even for younger learners. I did have a little sticker shock with this game, but I think it could be a good investment if your kid loves the trial period or if you’re mostly learning from home this year.
($41.99/year after free trial)
I was skeptical after reading this app’s clunky title, but this game is actually a great option for younger kids. The first set of games just has kids drag a certain number of passengers into a plane to fill all the blank spaces. After that, they learn to estimate quantity by using apples on a tree. I think you could start kids on this app as early as two for a little math jumpstart.
(Free with in-app purchases)
If you’re looking for an app that lets you easily track your kid’s progress, check out Quick Math Jr. Parents can access a report card to monitor exactly what their kid is learning, and even opt in for notifications about what they’re up to. The app starts with having kids design their own monster avatar, and then moves into a series of fun and deceptively educational games. For example, kids have to watch how many monsters go inside a house and how many exit (they’re not visible once they’re inside) then click a number. They won’t even realize they’re learning to add and subtract! I also like that this game manages to be self-explanatory; there’s no narration but my son still picked this app up quickly and without assistance.
($9.99 for full version)