Picture this: You’re having to catch up with work from home, but your kids are driving you nuts. You’ve tried everything to distract them from the lack of attention from you - you’ve tried turning on the TV, you’ve tried getting them to read a book, you’ve tried encouraging them to play a board game. Nothing seems to be working. We’ve all been there.
And then your kid has done the thing that sends shivers down your spine in fear - they have grabbed your phone or tablet. Sure, you could allow them to watch videos on YouTube or take silly photos, but what if there was a way to distract them in a fun and potentially educational way?
Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered. Game apps get more negative representations from non-parents than you’d think, but the reality is that game apps for kids can be a real lifesaver for parents.
Not only can these apps distract your kid and keep them in one place for at least 5 minutes, but they can also educate and motivate kids in a variety of ways.
Here are the best game apps for kids, from the best educational apps to the best
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The best kinds of educational apps are the ones that educate kids without them even realizing it. Kiddopia is ideal for this - filled with adorable and exciting interactive animations and a variety of games, this is the best educational game app on our list.
Kiddopia is designed for preschoolers who are about to move to kindergarten. This app is all about creating a safe, fun, and educational approach to game apps.
It’s not all about answering questions about the alphabet, instead, this app is all about creative and exciting games that get kids motivated to learn. Half of the time, they might not realize they’re actually learning something beneficial to their education - from the alphabet to identifying shapes and colors.
The range this app has in terms of education is what makes it so appealing. Instead of downloading separate apps for separate subjects, this app covers it all (ABCs, adding, subtracting, colors, shapes, and patterns).
These are all taught through jigsaw puzzles, dot-to-dots, paint by numbers, mazes, and more games. There’s even role-playing games about salons that teach kids about creativity and basic customer service.
This app is free to download and comes with a short free trial before an inexpensive monthly subscription fee is introduced.
- Educational - Teaches preschoolers about the ABCs, colors, addition and subtraction, and shapes in preparation for kindergarten
- Interactive - Filled with exciting and colorful interactive animations
- Variety of games - Range of creative games with a hidden educational twist
- Fees - Some (albeit inexpensive) hidden fees for locked games are included
It’s no secret that kids love animals - especially the cute cartoon kind. Animal game apps are among some of the most popular apps on the market, with kids being the primary demographic.
Toca Pet Doctor is a game app that puts the child in the position of a vet. The game features 15 animated pets that all require help in different ways, such as a bird with a head injury and a dog who is just a bit poorly.
Not only is this app entertaining for the user, but it teaches them valuable lessons about kindness, compassion, and how to treat animals. The theory of this app is that the child will take these lessons away from the screen, where they might treat animals and pets with a similar tenderness as shown in the app.
The best thing about this app is that it is non-competitive. So many game apps include levels of progression, which can lead to a burn out of the game once every level has been completed.
Toca Pet Doctor, however, doesn’t force kids to believe they must progress to be successful. The one downside is that this app doesn’t offer as many games as other apps.
- Educational about animals - Teaches kids about tenderness, kindness, compassion, and how to treat animals who need help
- Fun visuals - Adorable interactive animations can excite a child
- Leading child app developer - App is designed by experts and has undergone kid-testing prototypes
- Repeats - No progression means that games are likely to be repeated in this app
If your kid is like every other kid in America, odds are they are obsessed with Peppa Pig. What better way to feed that obsession with the popular World Of Peppa Pig app?
The World Of Peppa Pig has everything your kid could possibly want and more - from interactive games and activities to the option of downloading and watching their favorite episodes.
As with the real Peppa Pig show, every game and activity comes with some sort of educational teaching behind it. Whether it’s Peppa teaching kids about the alphabet or teaching them how to be kind to their friends, every activity is meticulously planned to be beneficial to your child.
There is an abundance of room for creativity in this app. Some games include dressing your kid’s favorite characters and coloring in pages. There are even problem-solving games that come in three difficulty levels to make for a personalized experience, all of which are designed to challenge your child’s memory.
Content is regularly updated in this app, so the lifespan of the app is almost indefinite. Plus, when you download an episode of Peppa Pig, it can be watched from the app offline for up to 30 days. Ideal for long road trips!
- Popular character - Every kid loves Peppa Pig, so this app is the best way to further dive into Peppa’s world
- Hundreds of games - Regular content updates allows for a plethora of games and activities
- Download offline episodes - Watch episodes offline for road trips and journeys
- In-game purchases - While the app offers a 7-day trial, there is a subscription fee and in-game purchases to be aware of
Not every parent has the funds to buy an array of musical instruments for their kids. Likewise, not every parent has the tolerance to listen to their kids bashing against musical instruments all day. Still, you don’t want to restrict your child from the brilliance of music.
That’s where this app comes in. Baby Piano provides children with the opportunity to learn how various musical instruments work all on the same screen - from pianos to xylophones.
Kids can learn what each instrument sounds like as well as develop an understanding of rhythm and volume in the comfort of their own home. If it gets too loud, make them wear headphones!
This app includes various games and activities that are designed to improve hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, creativity, and a keen ear for music.
It is designed for kids aged 2-8, and is especially suitable for those with developmental issues such as autism who may struggle with listening to more than one instrument at a time at home or in a classroom.
The best part about this app is that kids can practice their games and instruments to show their parents what they have achieved. These skills can then be replicated in the classroom with the real instruments!
- Explores musical instruments - Encourages kids to learn how different instruments sound without having to buy them all in real life
- Provides educational games - Each game and activity helps to improve motor skills and creativity with music
- Doesn’t have to be loud - If you’re sick of hearing instruments, just plug in headphones to the phone or tablet!
- In-game purchases - This app is free except for some locked games that can only be unlocked by an in-game purchase (albeit inexpensive).
One of the most annoying things about game apps for kids is the in-game purchases and subscription fees.
This Nick Jr. app, however, is totally free to download and play with no in-game purchases. Despite the fact this app is free, it comes with a huge variety of gaming and streaming options.
The Nick Jr. app is kind of like the Nick Jr. kid’s TV channel with the extras, such as games, activities, and silly surprises all to do with your child’s favorite TV shows. From Paw Patrol to Dora the Explorer, every kid can explore and play games to do with their favorite shows and characters.
These games include coloring books, dress up, racing, firefighters, mermaids, and far more. Each game is embedded with some sort of educational lesson to benefit your preschooler or kindergartener.
Not only does this app offer hundreds of games and activities, but kids can also stream their favorite television shows (either live or shows that have been previously aired). If you’re subscribed to the Nick Jr. channel already, you will have access to exclusive content, too.
- Free - No subscription fees or in-game purchases to enjoy all the benefits of the app
- Hundreds of TV-inspired games - Kids can play with their favorite characters and TV shows in educational activities
- Watch the TV shows - Kids can watch their favorite shows either live or from previously aired episodes
- Requires Wi-Fi - Episodes cannot be downloaded to watch offline
Best Game Apps For Kids Buying Guide
No parent wants to spend hours downloading and deleting countless apps for their kid. There are several factors to consider when choosing the right game apps for kids, so here is our handy buyer’s guide!
What to look for in a game app for kids
Unfortunately, most apps nowadays require some sort of in-game purchases or subscription fees. Game apps for kids don’t cost too much monthly, but it’s still an investment that you’ve got to consider making.
We recommend making use of the free trials to see how your kid responds to the apps, so you can cancel the upcoming subscription fee if you don’t think your child will make the most of the app.
It’s less easy to find free game apps for kids, but there are still some free games available! You might want to play test these first yourself, however, to see how annoying any potential adverts are. It’s also wise to keep an eye on any pop-ups for in-game purchases that your kid might accidentally buy.
Game apps for kids aren’t just about distracting your kid for 10 minutes a day - they’re designed to provide your kid with educational skills. Each app and each game in an app will have been tested by kids and experts and teachers alike to ensure that there are educational benefits.
It’s worth looking into your child’s strengths and weaknesses - if they struggle with the alphabet, then opt for an app that has games revolving around the ABCs. If they struggle with math, then choose a game app that involves numbers.
The best thing about game apps for kids is that the educational benefits are so subtly introduced into each game, that the child won’t even realize they’re learning valuable skills. These skills include kindness, fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, patience, and sharing - especially with siblings!
It’s not wise to download an app that isn’t suitable for your kid’s age. Game apps for kids are designed to educate your child depending on their age and education level, which means that some kids will find some apps either too hard or difficult if the age suggestion is unsuitable for them.
If in doubt, look at the user ratings and reviews from other parents who have downloaded the game app for their kid! Ratings and reviews will give you the best understanding of the app from the experience of parents.
These reviews could warn you of in-game purchases that weren’t stated in the advertisement for the app, as well as answer any concerns you might have. On the other hand, ratings and reviews might give you confidence in knowing the app will be beneficial for your child!
This is mostly for the benefit of the parents, admittedly. Most game apps for kids are very noisy - whether it’s from annoying sound effects to background music - which can be a nightmare for parents who are trying to work from home or do things around the house.
It might be worth finding a good pair of headphones to plug into your phone or tablet when your kid wants to play on game apps so you don’t have to suffer from the annoying sounds!
The Benefits of Game Apps for Kids
Game apps often get a negative rep among some parents - and for good reason. Kids shouldn’t have their faces pressed up against screens constantly when they have the whole world at their fingertips.
However, game apps aren’t about creating addictions to screens. Game apps are meticulously designed to benefit children in an abundance of ways - from developing fine motor skills and hand eye coordination to improving their educational skills.
Not every parent has the time to tend to their children’s needs. Parents have to do work around the house, they might have to work from home, they might have an important call to take, or they might have to take care of one of their children while the other kid is bored out of their minds.
Instead of asking them to do something that might not interest them anymore, allowing the child 15 minutes of play time with a game app can be a lifesaver for parents.
No - these apps won’t drain your child of their intelligence or imagination. If anything, game apps will help to develop their intelligence and imagination by teaching them valuable skills they might not be able to learn in a classroom. Just remember that game apps for kids are meant for supplementary learning rather than to replace a classroom!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Minecraft good for kids?
Minecraft is an excellent game app for kids! This app is all about problem-solving, memory, patterns, creativity, and developing other life skills.
Minecraft is possibly the most popular gaming app for these reasons alone, with adults and kids alike playing it frequently. Sure, Minecraft might not teach your kids their ABCs, but it’s one of the best games for creativity on the market.
How do I keep my 3 year old busy?
Every parent has experienced the struggles of trying to keep their young kids busy and distracted. You don’t want them to stare at a television screen all day, after all. The key is to get their bodies and minds moving. Here are some ways to keep your 3 year old busy:
- Invest in an educational and entertaining game app
- Let them help you in your daily chores such as cooking and cleaning
- Make a creative box for them to make art with scraps of clean rubbish
- Creative a treasure hunt around the house or yard
- Encourage them to design their own cartoon with characters and a plot line