iPads are great tablets for kids, but they don’t come packed with apps for children. You can make your child’s iPad experience better with these apps for reading, language, creativity, watching, and relaxation.
Apps for Reading
The best access to free reading for kids on an iPad is also the best place in real life: the library. Most libraries have minimal requirements and online registration. Hoopla, Libby, OverDrive, and Kindle all work with most local libraries, while Sora is an app that focuses mostly on content from school libraries. When it comes to teaching kids to read, apps like Khan Academy Kids, Starfall, and Homer can provide lessons for kids working with a family member.
These library apps are some of the best places to look for free comics. There are also plenty of comic-specific apps out there that feature tons of kid-appropriate content, including Marvel Unlimited, DC Universe, and comiXology. Madefire’s proprietary comic book reading software syncs motion, sound, and 3D effects with the comics reading experience. The Madefire iPad app is a great resource for adults and kids to read exciting stories for free. ComicFlow is great if you want to upload your own .cbr, .cbz, and .pdf files for them to read.
Apps for Language
Kids and their spongy brains make for some of the most adept language learners around. Duolingo for Kids is a great way to refine their skills in English or to expand them to Spanish or French. If your little geek wants to learn languages for computers instead of humans, ScratchJr and Kano Code teach the basic principles behind computer science and programming. These apps give kids the tools to build their own games or stories in a format that’s easy for anyone to understand.
Apps for Playing and Creativity
The creativity, problem-solving, and cooperative social skills that video games develop in kids and adults cannot be underestimated. Minecraft has been the most popular paid game on iPad for years now, and with good reason. The freedom to create, build, and adventure lets kids bring their imagination to life.
Toca Boca is a series of award-winning edutainment games with apps aimed at creativity, design, engineering, science, and more. Sago Mini is a subscription-based collection of games for preschoolers who are still learning the basics of life, language, and interactivity. ABC Mouse is a similarly priced collection of thousands of engaging activities that cover most school subjects.
Apps for Watching
While the technology to inject Moana directly into the child is still under development, the iPad offers plenty of apps for kids to watch their favorite programming free from intrusive ads and inappropriate content. Disney+ and Netflix are the most popular paid subscriptions, though parental controls on the latter are highly recommended. PBS Kids Video, PlayKids, DisneyNOW, BrainPop, and Smithsonian Channel are some of the best of many apps with educational or otherwise kid-friendly content to watch for free on your iPad.
Apps for Relaxation
Excessive screen use can lead to restlessness and mental health issues for everyone, but most especially children. Help your kids regulate screen time, and use some mindfulness apps made for kids like Stop, Breathe & Think Kids, or Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories. Most mindfulness or meditation apps are of a kid-friendly nature to begin with, so setting them up in Calm, Headspace, or similar apps can help them cope with all the trials and tribulations of youth.
Kids often love finding their own ways of keeping busy with tablets. These apps can help you make the screen a healthier and more welcoming place for you and your kids.