Top Five Educational Apps for Preschoolers

Photo credit: William Prost

Last month we wrote about what makes a quality, developmentally appropriate app for kids. To summarize, some key considerations are:

  • Purposeful interactivity (bells and whistles for entertainment or quality engagement that helps kids build on their knowledge of the world around them).
  • Trusted developers committed to involving educators in the development of the app.
  • Privacy and kid-safe certification, alongside good reviews from education experts and parents. Keep in mind that reviews will often conflict (an educational site might offer different reviews than a parent site).
Many of us at Papumba are parents, too! And we use the same standards that you do to choose great apps for our own kids.

It was really hard to select only 5 apps! But I did it. Here is my list of suggested apps for preschoolers.

Fuzzy Numbers: Pre-K Number Foundation

One of the best things about this app is that the developers actually based it on scientific research to support early childhood learning. The second best thing is the combination of fairy tales and math - something bound to hold kids' attention. With a 4-star rating from Common Sense Media, you can't go wrong.

Montessori Numberland

There are lots of lists going around about apps, but I've noticed that Montessori, a popular teaching method, often gets overlooked. This app teaches kids the numbers 0–9 the Montessori way - with tracing - but also via different activities and scenes that include counting, writing and other activities.

Leo's Pad Enrichment Program for Preschoolers

You can tell that Stanford researchers and an Emmy Award-winning creative director are behind the scenes in developing this app. One of the standout features is that the researchers used a peer-reviewed field trial to test the effectiveness of how well the app learns from your child's challenges and offers up new activities based on performance. This means that there is a sophisticated engine serving up activities and challenges based on how your child interacts with the app, creating a uniquely personalized learning experience.

  • Price: Free (in-app purchases for each chapter or the series) (iPhone/Android)
  • Visit the developer's site.
  • Download the app (iOS).

Pango Storytime

This interactive storyboard app was on Scholastic's list of 15 great reading apps. Kids learn to read and engage with stories by engaging with the characters themselves via prompts to continue the story. The "lite" version of this app is has one free story, and a paid version offers more features.

  • Price: Free with in-app purchases for more stories (iPhone/Android)
  • Visit the developer's site.
  • Download the app.

And last but not least...

Papumba Academy

This is a perennial favorite with parents, and it's no coincidence that this app was featured as "App of the Day" on iTunes store, and has been downloaded by more than half a million parents in just a few months. Use this app with your own little one without feeling guilt over "screen time." It's a perfect way to compliment play time with learning time, especially during the summer months when we prepare kids for preschool. The entire experience, from warm, inviting illustrations to funny, kid-friendly characters and narrators, is designed to gently bring kids along the journey of learning the concepts of literacy and numbers. This high-quality app is one of the best examples of what happens when kid-focused developers partner with early childhood educators to create great apps! The fact that this is a subscription-based service means that the developers add new activities each month, so the fun won't get old for the little ones.

This article was authored by Carla Uriona, a US-based mom, blogger, lover of technology, and enthusiastic collaborator with the Papumba community.