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free educational ipad appsWhether you support the use of iPads and tablets in schools What Device Should Be Available For Children At School, If Any? [MakeUseOf Poll] What Device Should Be Available For Children At School, If Any? [MakeUseOf Poll] Each generation had access to different classroom devices while growing up. In my school, we had Windows 3.11 desktop clients running on a network. Nowadays, many schools offer laptops, or even tablets. Which do you... Read More or not, you can’t ignore the fact the they are amazing educational tools. Equipped with the right apps, the iPad can become a treasure trove of learning experiences, disguised as fun games kids are dying to play.

There are wonderful free educational iPad apps out there, many of which cost $10, $20, or even more. I’m not here to say they’re not worth it – you’re going to pay much more for a textbook – but it’s also possible to find cheaper apps that nonetheless provide a great learning experience for kids of all ages. For the list below, I tried to stick to apps that cost $5 or less, and all except one offer a free version too.

Note that the ages in brackets next to each app is the app’s official recommended age range. This does not mean it won’t suit other ages as well, as each child develops in a different pace. Check them out and see what’s best for your child. Who knows, you may enjoy them yourself too!

TinyHands Sorting [Ages 2+]

Unlike the rest of the apps which I had to test on myself, this is one I could test on a real customer – my 2 years old niece. You may remember her from my previous post on educational Android games for toddlers Let The Games Begin! 5 Extremely Cute & Educational Games For Toddlers [Android] Let The Games Begin! 5 Extremely Cute & Educational Games For Toddlers [Android] There’s nothing cuter than a toddler playing a game on a smartphone. I used to think letting toddlers play with phones is a bad sign of the times, kids playing with screens instead of balls... Read More which she helped me write when she was 17 months old, and this time she helped me recognize the one really good game out of all the toddler apps I downloaded. TinyHands Sorting was a huge success.

free educational ipad apps

Aimed at toddlers ages 2.5 and up,  you can safely assume that your 2, 3, and even 4 year olds will enjoy its magic. TinyHands Sorting requires no English skills whatsoever – it’s all about pictures – and is therefore perfect for children who don’t speak English. The goal of the game is to sort all the objects into their correct places. Each screen has a different theme, and requires slightly different skills. The sorting is based of shape, color, size, and other subjects such as seasons, on land/under water, etc.

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educational apps for ipad

The free version comes with four different boards, and you can unlock the remaining 9 boards for a $2.99 in-app purchase. This may seem a bit steep for only 12 boards, but your kids will enjoy each board over and over again. Note that younger kids may need to be told what to do on each board at first, especially on the more complicated ones, but they’ll catch on quickly and start playing by themselves.

LetterSchool [Ages 3-7]

LetterSchool is the kind of app I wish I had around when I was younger. It resembles the way I learned how to write, but would have saved my older sister the trouble of creating whole notebooks full of letters for me to trace. In three easy steps, it teaches kids how to write letters and numbers, using just the right gradient to make it super easy to learn.

educational apps for ipad

After choosing a letter or number and seeing how it’s used, kids first get to watch how the letter should be written. In the second step they trace the letter over the existing example, and in the third step they get to write it all by themselves. When all three steps are completed, the child gets a star for that letter. The process includes different amusing effects for each letter, which makes the whole process fun and interesting.

The app comes with three different profiles, so up to three kids can play and keep track of their own achievements. You can also choose between several different fonts.

The free version comes with letters A-E in upper and lower case, and numbers 1-5. $2.99 will get you the full version with all the numbers and letters.

Native Numbers [Ages 4-7]

Math is an important skill, but it can easily become a hated subject due to misunderstanding of basic concepts. Native Numbers takes children through the simple elements of math, starting with rods and moving on to pictures and numerals. Slowly but surely, kids can understand what these numbers are all about, and that there’s more to numbers than just symbols – they actually stand for something.

educational apps for ipad

Native Numbers takes kids through the basic concepts, followed by how numbers relate to each other, how numbers are ordered, and counting. As with LetterSchool, multiple children can play the game on the same iPad with the ability to track progress and achievements for each child separately.

You can even create an online account on and link it to the app, which will let you add names, avatars, and other information to each child. While signing up for an account, you can choose to have a parent account or a teacher account. The latter lets you track multiple children more easily.

ipad educational apps

The free version of Native Numbers comes with the first 5 activities. To get access to all of them, $4.99 will get you the full version. Yes, it’s a bit much, but you’ll end up paying much more for a private tutor if your child has a hard time with math, so it could be worth it.

The Opposites [Ages 7+]

For $0.99, The Opposites can provide hours of educational fun for children who know how to read bigger words. The goal of the game is to find pairs of opposites and match them, reaching the level’s goal number of pairs. If the screen fills with word balloons, its game over.

free educational ipad apps

The game comes with 10 levels of increasing difficulty, and can be used by children and adults of any age to expand their English vocabulary. It includes a dictionary for every word that appears in the game, so if you don’t know a word, you’re not left with a mystery – you can define it so you know what to do with it next time.

The only downside is that the game sort of revolves around sibling rivalry. The girl and boy each say a word in turn, and it’s clear they’re always angry at each other. This was sort of a downer for me, bu other than that it’s a fun little game, and a great way to learn new words and their opposites.

Your Turn

This is just the tip of the iceberg for beautiful, free iPad educational apps. It was a hard choice, and there were many that were left out. If you’re trying to get your kids to read, I recommend that you check out these great interactive eBooks Two Great Interactive eBooks For Kids [Android / iPad] Two Great Interactive eBooks For Kids [Android / iPad] Are you one of those geeks with dozens of awesome gadgets and a secret passion for books? Did you love reading as a kid and want your kids to enjoy books as well? Despite the... Read More . Alternatively, you can look into making your own, personalized iPad game with TinyTap.

Do you have excellent free educational ipad apps your children can’t put down? Do you use certain apps in class to help children grasp the concepts you teach? Share your recommendations in the comments.

Image Credit: Child with tablet image via Shutterstock

  1. Rick Brown
    June 15, 2013 at 5:45 am

    I am still wondering how new generation kids are so smart in handling sofisticated devices, now i got my answer after reading this post these devices and apps are so easy to use even my 5 year old daughter handle it with so ease.

  2. Jacob
    May 21, 2013 at 2:36 am
    • Yaara Lancet
      May 22, 2013 at 6:27 am


  3. Geni
    May 18, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    This is new app from Melody Book. It's Jazzy World Tour.
    Your kids will learn music from all over the world by using this with fun.
    It's free version.

  4. P2 Games
    March 30, 2013 at 2:55 am

    These sound fun! You should check out P2 Games (, they have lots of great apps for kids.

    • Yaara Lancet
      March 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm


  5. Michael Heffner
    March 29, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Better have your ipad in a mil-spec case..

  6. Abhijith R
    March 29, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Education in a fun and interactional manner.Good.............

  7. macwitty
    March 29, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Nice - I wish I was a kid again and could explore them in their right way

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