The Best Free Android Apps for Kids

These apps won't cost you a dime

You don't have to spend a lot of money on fun and educational Android apps that are perfect for your kid. You can get an amazing amount of cool content without spending a dime. Whether your kids are into math, learning another language, or just plain fun, there are great Android apps waiting for you.

Some free apps have in-app purchases that can end up costing more than a paid app for the unsuspecting. The apps shown here are completely free apps, ad-supported apps, and apps that use the freemium model of a free download and in-app purchases, but none of them uses unsavory practices to trick kids (or adults) into buying them, and all of these apps offer great content without you spending money on any in-app purchases.

If your young child is going to be the primary user of the device, you may want to look at Applock or similar apps to childproof your Android device.

01
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PBS Kids Games

Screenshot of PBS Kids Games

PBS Kids Games

What We Like
  • New games often.

  • No ads.

  • Closed captions.

What We Don't Like
  • Can't delete individual games.

  • App reviews suggest that some parts of the app can be buggy.

Young children enjoy the PBS Kids Games that contain many of their favorite characters, such as Daniel Tiger and the Sesame Street gang. As you might expect from PBS, many of the games have an educational theme, so your kids are learning while they are having fun.  

  • Best for ages: 3 to 6
  • Parents should know: PBS Kids Games is free with no in-app purchases or advertisements, so you don't have to worry about what your young one is getting into while playing the games.
02
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Kids Doodle

Doodle Joy Studio screenshot of apple trees drawing made with a rainbow marker

Doodle Joy Studio

What We Like
  • Easy to learn.

  • Great for all ages.

  • Diverse options.

What We Don't Like
  • Includes ads.

  • Missing some standard features.

Don't overlook old-fashioned creativity. Kids Doodle is what you would expect from the name: An app that lets kids doodle on their tablets to make their own drawings. Children can pick from a variety of pencil types capable of drawing straight lines, dashed lines, dotted lines, and lines made up of stars, among other variations, all in a variety of colors. While the app is ad-supported, the advertisements aren't as in-your-face as with some other apps.

  • Best for ages: 3 to 8
  • Parents should know: Great for younger kids. Older kids that love to draw may be more interested in Draw Something Classic, which is a multiplayer guess-what-I-am-drawing game that is fun for kids and parents alike.
03
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Moose Math

Screenshot of Moose Math kids game

Moose Math

What We Like
  • Multiple math activities.

  • Rewards system.

  • Parental monitoring.

What We Don't Like
  • Occasionally stops working.

  • Infrequent app updates in Google Play Store.

One of the great things about younger kids is their ability to be entertained by things that are educational. This combination becomes tougher to pull off as kids get older, but for younger kids, games are a great way to learn subjects such as math. Moose Math provides entertaining characters and fun games combined with basic math questions to let your kids laugh their way toward learning arithmetic.

  • Best for ages: 4 to 6
  • Parents should know: Moose Math contains Common Core Standards and includes a parents' section to see how well your kid is doing.
04
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YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids screenshot
Google, Inc.
What We Like
  • Parental control settings.

  • Very easy to use.

  • Lots of content.

What We Don't Like
  • Shows advertisements.

  • Not available in some countries.

YouTube is an excellent source for both educational and entertainment videos, but it isn't exactly kid-friendly. Not by a long shot. That's what makes YouTube Kids so great: Your child can get the best parts of YouTube without you worrying about what they are watching. The app includes a search feature that has voice support, so younger children can say what they want to watch. You can turn off search completely to limit what your kid is watching.

  • Best for ages: 5 to 12
  • Parents should know: YouTube Kids contains "unpacking" and "let's play" videos that feature kids playing with toys. This can lead to your kids begging for toys, so if you are looking for an alternative to kids programming because of commercials, YouTube Kids might not be the right fit.
05
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Duolingo

Screenshot of Duolingo app

Duolingo

What We Like
  • User-friendly.

  • Suitable for a wide age range.

  • Unique features.

  • Comprehensive language support.

What We Don't Like
  • Displays ads.

  • Subscription model seems designed only to remove ads, not to add additional functionality.

Schools are introducing foreign languages at increasingly early ages, with some schools adopting dual language immersion programs for kids as young as kindergarteners. Whether your child is learning a language in school or you want them to learn one at home, Duolingo is the perfect app. It may also be the perfect app for you to learn a new language alongside your kid, as Duolingo is great for almost any age.

  • Best for ages: 6 to 99
  • Parents should know: Duolingo requires some reading, but for level 1 and 2 readers, this may prove an opportunity to practice both English and a second language. Duolingo displays an advertisement between lessons to help pay for the service, and it also offers in-app purchases.
06
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Roblox

Screenshot of ROBLOX game

ROBLOX

What We Like
  • Huge user base.

  • Doesn't require an email address.

  • Built-in tutorials.

  • Lots of customizable settings.

What We Don't Like
  • Cluttered interface.

  • In-app subscriptions can get expensive, with items worth as much as $200.

Roblox is Minecraft for kids who have grown bored with Minecraft. Heavier on the social side, Roblox can be a challenging game for parents and young kids to understand. Essentially, it is a massively multiplayer game of user-created games that range from puzzle games to social simulation games. The game is free with an in-game currency that can be purchased for real-world dollars to buy accessories or additional perks.

As you might expect, Roblox comes with a lot of parental controls, including chat restrictions for children younger than 13 and the option for parents to turn off chat completely. 

  • Best for ages: 8 to 12+
  • Parents should know: Children as young as 6 can enjoy the game, although they may not understand how to play the more difficult games. As a social game, parents may want to monitor what younger kids are doing in the game.
07
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Pokemon Go

Pokemon GO game on a cell phone

Pixabay

What We Like
  • Gets you outdoors.

  • Encourages social interaction.

  • Unique gameplay.

What We Don't Like
  • Easy to become physically harmed while playing.

  • Dense storyline.

  • Occasional ads.

The Pokemon Go craze ensnared both kids and adults and helped put augmented reality on the map. Augmented reality has been around for years, but it was mostly used in apps like stargazers that use a device's camera to point out the location of stars. Pokemon Go combines the idea of collecting Pokemon with real-world locations where you can only "see" the Pokemon by using a smartphone or tablet. While the craze has died down a little, it is still going strong.

  • Best for ages: 8 to 12
  • Parents should know: Pokemon Go is played away from home in places like restaurants and parks. This free app contains in-app purchases.
08
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Khan Academy

Screenshot of Khan Academy

Khan Academy

What We Like
  • Relevant for all ages.

  • Lots of topics.

  • Offline access.

  • No advertising.

What We Don't Like
  • Missing in-video captions, but there are transcripts.

  • Heavily geared toward science, technology, and math more than the humanities.

This app is no doubt more exciting for parents than kids, but it can definitely be put in that must-have category of free Android apps. Khan Academy is basically free education. The app contains videos and lessons ranging from elementary school math to physics and beyond.

Perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks when helping your kid out with homework is understanding the work. Let's face it; it's been a while since most of us were in school. So as the kids get into more advanced stuff, it is helpful to have a helping hand. Khan Academy can help teach your child lessons and help teach you lessons so you can teach your child.

  • Best for ages: 4 to 18+
  • Parents should know: Khan Academy is a free education initiative that is available as both an app and on the web at KhanAcademy.org.