GamesBeat

16 great educational apps to get kids ready to go back to school — handpicked by the experts

Lego Movie Maker

Who it’s for: Ages four and up (younger kids may need help)
Pricing: Free
Available from: Google Play, iTunes
In a nutshell: Make movies with your Legos

Lego Movie Maker

Above: Make the next great Lego movie at home.

Image Credit: Lego

Lego Movie Maker lets kids unleash their inner Spielberg, turning their Lego bricks and figures into stop motion animations. The app lets you add soundtracks, color filters, dialog cards, and sound effects to your animation.

“I have several students who love using it for Genius Hour [time set aside for kids to pursue their own passions in the classroom],” said teacher Terri Eichholz.


Write to Read

Who it’s for: Ages 6-8
Pricing: $6.99
Available from: iTunes
In a nutshell: Kids and parents create books together

Write to Read

Above: Parents and kids can “co-author” books with Write to Read.

Image Credit: Dan Crawley

Write to Read is a “co-authoring” tool for parents and children to share. Children can take pictures and write or talk about their content, making up their own books to read and share. You can print, email, and post these books directly to social media from the app.

“Children can easily create their own books at their own level,” said Teaching with iPad founder Steve Lai. “Parents can choose to add a ‘corrected’ version, so the children can learn to correctly spell the words to the stories that they created.”


Klikaklu

Who it’s for: Perfect for adults and kids to share
Pricing: Free (with an optional paid upgrade)
Available from: iTunes
In a nutshell: Turn the everyday into a treasure hunt

Klikaklu

Above: Klikaklu lets you build photo hunts for your family and friends.

Image Credit: Dan Crawley

Kliaklu (pronounced Click-a-clue) is a photo hunt game that makes use of your phone’s GPS, camera, and image-matching technology. Take pictures of the environment and get others to hunt them down — matching an image will unlock a clue and trigger the next image to find. It could be a great way of turning a familiar place into something a little more exciting this summer.

Terri Eichholz picked out Klikaklu, saying it “could be used by parents to create fun scavenger hunts for their kids.”

Eichholz used the app last year to make finding Christmas presents into a treasure hunt for her 11-year-old daughter: “I did a simple one using images from around the house. For each image, I input a clue with a letter. After seven images and clues, my daughter had to unscramble the letters to find her gift.” Apparently, it was a great success.


Alligator Apps: Sight Words

Who it’s for: Ages 3-9
Pricing: Free
Available from: iTunes
In a nutshell: Learn to recognize key words

Sight Words

Above: Sight Words is minimalistic but effective.

Image Credit: Dan Crawley

If Sight Words looks simple, that’s because it is. But this simplicity is perhaps its main strength.

Sight Words contains 315 of the most commonly used words in the English language, helping children learn to recognize these by sight.  Add your own words, customize the word sets, record your own voiceovers and sounds, and change fonts and colors. All for free.

“From preschool to third grade, students can practice their sight words and can even customize cards by adding their own categories and flashcards,” said Steve Lai.


Hopscotch

Who it’s for: Ages eight and up
Pricing: Free
Available from: iTunes
In a nutshell: Inspired by Scratch, designed for iPad

Hopscotch

Above: Hopscotch uses a range of cute characters to help teach coding.

Image Credit: Hopscotch

Another well-respected coding app, Hopscotch lets kids use simple, colorful building blocks to create apps, animations, and games.

“Hopscotch has a great tutorial video [embedded below],” said teacher Terri Eichholz, “and that’s what really helped me. I have messed around with Hopscotch but never really knew what to do with it or how to break it down for the students.”

Watching and coding along to the video offers kids a great introduction to Hopscotch, which is free to download.

View All

Mobile developer or publisher? VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Fill out our 5-minute survey, and we'll share the data with you.
11 comments
ParrotFish Studios
ParrotFish Studios

Nice list! Sight word apps are really great for children. We have also developed one. An educational App, developed by a Special Ed teacher that can be used for any child learning sight words. The app is available on Google Play, Apple iTunes and Amazon.


A set of six games, 10 levels that use sound teaching techniques that develop skills that can be applied to all reading and learning situations. The games develop auditory and visual discrimination, auditory and visual memory, fine motor skills, one to one matching, fluency, and confidence to apply reading strategies in a non-threatening environment.

Please visit and download here to try: 
http://parrotfish.com.au/

Angela Eller
Angela Eller

My class loved learning through music with Common Core Rap app.  They were featured in the Orlando Sentinel, West Orange Times, and Daily Commercial.  16 educational song videos that  are perfect for all students – Content is built around Common Core concepts and provides unique, engaging learning experiences for all types of learners (audial, visual, kinesthetic).

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/common-core-rap/id880498165?mt=8

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/blogs/gone-viral/os-common-core-rap-20140710,0,4380663.post

Robert Scoble
Robert Scoble

That assumes we use iPads for anything but babysitting!

GamesBeat is your source for gaming news and reviews. But it's also home to the best articles from gamers, developers, and other folks outside of the traditional press. Register or log in to join our community of writers. You can even make a few bucks publishing stories here! Learn more.

You are now an esteemed member of the GamesBeat community. That means you can comment on stories or post your own to GB Unfiltered (look for the "New Post" link by mousing over your name in the red bar up top). But first, why don't you fill out your via your ?

About GamesBeat