The Best Educational Apps for the iPad

Great iPad apps for classroom learning

The iPad is increasingly being used for education, whether by parents hoping to jumpstart their kid's education with apps aimed at pre-Ks or schools rolling out iPads in the classroom. This list of apps contain some great choices for early learning, with apps focused on learning letters, reading and math. Most of these educational apps are free, though some include in-app purchases to unlock additional lessons.



The Best Free Apps for Toddlers

Khan Academy

The most comprehensive educational app available for the iPad, Khan Academy covers K-12 subjects that range from math, biology, chemistry, finance, and history among many others. The iPad app includes over 4,200 videos designed for kids just starting their path to learning all the way up to preparing for the SAT. Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization focused on providing free education. While not as entertaining as some of the other apps on this list, it is the only one that compiles all subjects and all learning levels into a single free app.

Price: Free More »

BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week

Focused on a variety of subjects for children K-3, BrainPOP Jr's Movie of the Week provides an entertaining look at reading, writing, math, social studies and other subjects. The free movie also includes bonus materials such as quizzes and other activities. The app also offers two subscriptions: Explorer, which includes three related videos (and their bonus material) in addition to the movie of the week, and Full Access, which allow unlimited access to all content.

Price: Free More »

Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Games

Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Games is the first in a series of educational apps offered by Kevin Bradford. These basic apps can be great learning tools for basic alphabet, numbers, language and math skills. Each app comes with a few free games to let you try it out, with the remaining games available through an in-app purchase. One nice feature in the games is the slide-to-close mechanic for exiting out of a game. This is great for toddlers and small children who otherwise might accidentally exit from the activity.

Price: Free More »

Motion Math: Hungry Fish

The Motion Math series turns learning math basics into a fun game. The Hungry Fish addition features a game with labeled bubbles, allowing kids to add bubbles up to a certain number in order for the very hungry (but very selective) fish to eat them. It's a great way to start out on addition and attraction. Other apps in the series expand on these lessons and feature other creatures and activities.

Price: Free More »

Geoboard

Do you want a visual way to learn geometry? The Geoboard allows for the drawing of different shapes from a triangle to a square to various other polygons. This allows for visual learning to help conquer subjects like perimeter, area, angles, etc. The Geoboard features pins that let students create the various shapes, with the iPad version including the standard 25-peg board and an expanded 150-peg board.

Price: Free More »

Virtual Manipulatives

Virtual manipulatives are intended as a teaching aid rather than a mini-game or complete lesson on the iPad. The app is great for elementary math teachers looking for a visual way to help teach the concept of fractions, including turning fractions into percentages and decimals. This is not intended as a learn-on-your-own app.

Price: Free More »

Math Bingo

While ABCya's Virtual Manipulatives needs a teacher, Math Bingo turns basic math into a fun game. Rather than wait for letters and numbers to be called out in the right combinations to grant a square, Math Bingo challenges kids to solve a math problem. The app includes games based on addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or an all-inclusive game.

Price: $.99 More »

ABC Magic Phonics

This simple app is an audio-visual set of flash cards that teach basic phonetics by going through the alphabet and sounding out the first letter of words. Kids can go through the flash cards in sequential order by swiping a finger across the screen or hit the random button at the bottom for a random card. This app is a good start along the path of acquiring reading skills.

Price: Free More »

Numbler

Another great math learning game, Numbler turns basic math skills into a game of scrabble. Instead of letters, the tiles are made up of numbers and basic mathematical symbols like the plus sign, minus sign, and equal sign. While in Scrabble the object is to create words out of your letters, Numbler puts the focus on creating "math words" like "7 9=16". The basics of the game is played similar to Scrabble, including adding on to existing equations math words or using a single number or symbol in a new math word.

Price: $.99 More »

Bill Nye

This really cool app takes a sandbox approach to learning science. After signing in via the fingerprint scanner, kids are encouraged to play around with objects on Bill Nye's desk. These objects lead to various lessons about science and mini-games that kids can play and learn.

Price: Free More »

Elmo Loves ABCs

One of the most expensive apps on this list, Elmo Loves ABCs might be better for parents wanting to kick start their toddler's ability to learn the alphabet rather than a classroom setting. Kids love Elmo, and in Elmo Loves ABCs, their favorite Sesame Street character will introduce them to the letters in the alphabet.

Price: $4.99 More »

Learn With Homer

Learn with Homer features a variety of different interactive lessons, including a phonetic-based learn-to-read activity that kids can follow along to learn the different sounds and lessons about nature and the world. The app offers a signup and works best with Wi-Fi turned on to download new lessons. It recently added new lessons available as in-app purchases.

Price: Free More »