Turning five is a huge milestone for any child - and a pretty big deal for parents too!
It can be a strange transition, moving from preschool to kindergarten, and can be quite overwhelming adjusting to all the new emotions and experiences that come with growing up.
For many kids, the new faces and interactions that they encounter at kindergarten, as well as the longer days and physical development they start to do through, can be exciting and challenging in equal measure.
The main thing to remember is that all five year olds are different, and however your little one reacts and behaves at this time is individual to them.
Some five year olds really come out of their shells and start to socialize with classmates immediately, whilst others can feel shy and reticent.
Some five year olds will have great vocabularies, love the challenge of more focused class work, display very active and creative imaginations and become curious about the world around them.
Others may find classwork intimidating or boring and struggle to concentrate, or may become very tired and out-of-sorts due to the change in routine. This is completely normal.
Whatever stage your five year old is at, there are a great many apps out there that are especially designed to encourage social and emotional development, and will also keep your child entertained and engaged.
Whether you choose to use these apps as a reward for good behavior, as a regular developmental aid, or as a bit of fun diversion, there really is something for every occasion.
We have put together a list of some of the best apps for five year olds on android, so you can download the best choice for you and your child.
OUR TOP PICK
First up is an app that will get your five year old energised and moving. GoNoodle is actually used by kindergarten teachers as a classroom aid to help give kids a burst of physical activity to break up their learning.
The app has a library of over 300 song and dance videos for kids to follow along with, and the songs are very catchy too!
The benefits of physical exercise are incredible, and a quick boogie can help to refocus your child if they are distracted, reinvigorate them if tired, and even lift their mood if they are feeling low.
What’s more, GoNoodle has mindful yoga videos that can help with anxiety and even help to settle kids before bedtime, so this app really does cover all bases. The videos are short and easy to follow, and the app is designed to be accessible even to youngsters, so you won’t have to supervise.
Better still, you can get on with your daily chores without feeling guilty that your child is sitting on the coach!
- Over 300 great movement videos to choose from
- Encourages physical fitness and mental wellness
- Easy to use, even for five year olds
- Completely free - with no ads or in-app purchases!
Next up is a great app for encouraging your five year old’s creativity. Bimi Boo Drawing and Coloring is packed with coloring and drawing games and tools perfect for five year olds. It has a library of over 128 pictures for your child to choose from, which they can color using the great array of paints and brushes provided.
The colors are bright and the images are divided into nine categories for clarity. Kids can learn about color and chat about whatever animal or object it is they are working on too, so the developmental benefits are plentiful.
What’s more, this app detects where the lines are so that the colors stay inside them, but this easy mode can also be switched off for more freedom and creativity as your child becomes better at controlling their own touch.
The app has multi-touch functionality, which means that more than one person can color at the same time. This is great if you have more than one child as it avoids arguments, and it also allows you and your five year old to color together for some bonding time.
Painting helps with fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and creativity, and this app allows your child to enjoy all those benefits without making a big mess at the same time!
- Over 128 pages to color
- Great range of tools and paints to choose from
- Multi-touch function so you can play together
- Creative, fun and helps with motor skills
- Free to download and free from ads
Thinkrolls is a multi award-winning app that aims to encourage problem solving and logical thinking in children aged 3-8.
There are a cast of 26 quirky characters to play with, and your child has to steer these characters through various crazy mazes and around obstacles using hands-on manipulation and lots of trial and error.
The app is divided into 8 chapters, with varying levels of difficulty that kids can progress through as they improve and grow.
Each level has a fun theme, and the artwork and design are superb. What is more, the games involve lots of educational value and introduce kids to scientific ideas like force, buoyancy, speed, elasticity and much, much more.
The games require reasoning, observation, problem solving, timing, memory and spatial awareness, yet they are so fun and cool that kids won’t realise they are learning.
Thinkrolls is perfect for five year olds as they will be able to progress from the easy levels to the harder levels and feel a great sense of achievement as they do. This isn’t a free app, but it is definitely worth a few dollars considering all the great benefits it brings.
- 26 characters, 8 chapters and over 200 fantastic games!
- Helps with problem solving, observation, reasoning and memory
- Can hold up to 8 player profiles on one app
- Teaches kids about simple science
- Encourages hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness
This next app makes maths and counting fun for five year olds through a host of zany and innovative games and activities. As well as number recognition, counting and matching games, Sababa also introduces kids to addition and subtraction, but in a way that won’t make them feel confused or intimidated.
There are even pricing games, which help kids to understand the concept of money. The fun dino characters have loads of appealing features that really draw kids in, and the app design and artwork is brilliant.
The games come in a range of difficulty levels so whether your child finds maths difficult, or absolutely loves it and craves more challenges, there is something for everyone on offer.
What is great is that this app is full of positive reinforcement, and there are even confetti cannons when you complete a game, so kids feel a great sense of achievement as they play and there are no negative consequences for mistakes.
The correct answer is always revealed in the end, meaning kids can learn and improve, and there is even a parent zone so you can keep track of your little one’s progress.
- Over 70 innovative maths games and activities
- Fun Dino characters and great artwork
- Wide range of difficulty levels for all abilities
- Parent zone for tracking progress
- Offers in-app purchases that can be distracting
Although nothing beats a traditional bedtime story, the Monkey Story app is a brilliant resource to have on your smartphone or tablet because it allows you to access stories no matter where you are and also allows your little ones to interact with those stories through games and activities.
The app has a huge library of over 1000 stories, suitable for children aged 0-10, and with so many to choose from there really is something for all kids no matter what their interests may be.
New stories are added weekly so that the library doesn’t stagnate and they are all sorted into categories according to level and theme, which makes the app very clear and easy to use.
Every story has sound effects, beautiful illustrations and even animation! And your five year old will love clicking on the characters and activating sounds on every page.
There is also a highlight function to help early readers follow the words, and over 300 guided reading lessons to choose from. This app really does have it all, and is a great bargaining chip if you have trouble getting the little ‘uns to bed.
- Over 2000 audiobook recordings
- Over 300 guided reading lessons
- Over 1000 interactive stories to choose from
- Games, activities, illustrations and sound effects
- Requires a subscription
And Finally, If you are looking to download one app that covers all your five year old’s learning and development needs, Kindergarten Kids is a great option for you. This app contains literacy, numeracy and creativity games so there will be something for your child no matter what mood they are in.
There are alphabet and number tracing activities which help with early writing and fine motor skills, as well as ABC and counting games to encourage memory, reading and simple math.
The app has lots of great learning charts which teach kids about fruit, shapes, planets, vegetables, insects, sports and much, much more, and it also offers over 100 coloring pages that can be printed out once your child’s masterpiece is complete!
Another brilliant feature of this app are the social and behavioral games, which teach things like dental hygiene and healthy eating. This is ideal for kids who are struggling with these elements in everyday life.
The only downside to this app is that it requires in-app purchases to unlock some of the games and this can frustrate some little ones if they can’t access what they want to.
However, this app has been designed by child specialists and has loads of short and simple games that will have your five year old learning subconsciously without them losing concentration.
- Huge range of subjects covered
- Counting, reading, coloring and science games
- Fun, interactive learning charts
- Short games designed for little attention spans
- Great audio and visual design
- In-app purchases can cause frustration
Best App for Five Year Olds - Android Buying Guide
There are so many incredible apps available for android that it can be difficult to decide which will be the best for your five year old.
Hopefully the recommendations above have been helpful, but we have also put together a Buyer’s Guide so that you can get an idea of what features to look out for when making your choice.
When choosing the right app for your five year old it is good to consider what educational value it offers and whether the learning benefits are overt, or more subtly integrated in the content.
It is often better to download an app with more subtle educational content, such as a basketball game which encourages the player to count, or a storytelling app which highlights words to gently aid reading and comprehension.
You will be surprised how many learning benefits apps can offer whilst feeling like a fun game to those playing them. Kids will often enjoy learning more, and use an app more readily if it doesn’t feel too much like school!
It can be very annoying for five year olds who are playing on a new app, if they find they cannot access characters or levels unless they pay for them. Equally, it can be very annoying for parents who have to keep getting the credit card out to pay for said levels and characters!
Unfortunately in-app purchases are a common feature of many apps and are hard to avoid. Parental locks can help to prevent kids from accidentally purchasing things without your permission, and it is often better to pay for a full version of an app rather than stick with the free download but be plagued by pop-ups.
In the same way, adverts can really interrupt the flow of a game and impinge on your child’s enjoyment, so look out for ad free apps where possible.
Layout and Design
When it comes to apps for five year olds, the simpler the better is a great motto to keep in mind. If an app has too many options available, or too many functions and commands, it will confuse your child and they will end up requiring your assistance more regularly.
To avoid this, look for simple apps with well designed interfaces that are accessible even to tiny fingers. Also, look for apps with a range of skill levels available so that your child can branch out as they gain confidence and don’t outgrow the app too soon.
A great feature offered by many of these apps is a parental tracker that allows you to see your child’s progress. Not only do these keep you informed, but they also give your child a great sense of achievement when they get to show you how well they have done!
Parent trackers also allow you to limit what your child has access to, which is great for tackling the problem of in-app purchases and pop-ups.
Music and audio
It sounds daft, but a really good tip is to check out the sound design and music on any app before letting your child become too attached.
Many apps for five year olds have incredibly annoying and repetitive musical scores, so vet them first and be prepared to activate the mute button if necessary!
Many of these apps don’t require wi-fi to run once they have been downloaded. This is an excellent advantage because it means your child can play on the app no matter where you are.
Apps are often most useful for entertaining your kid when they are becoming fidgety and bored, so being able to access them in a traffic jam or check-out queue is incredibly handy. Look out for the ‘no wi-fi necessary’ sign before you download.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I let my five year old play on an app?
Little kids benefit most from apps if they don’t play on them too much or for too long.
Short bursts of app time can be a great way of encouraging kids to do other things when offered as an incentive, and are a great way of rewarding good choices and behavior when used as a treat. App sessions should ideally be limited to no more than 15 minutes.
Are apps bad for five year olds?
If you choose the right app that has child-friendly content, and don’t allow your child to spend too long playing on it in any one sitting, then apps are a perfectly safe, fun and educational tool that your five year old will love.