Top Pick

Best Picks for Early Childhood STEM Learning

Don't let anyone tell you that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts can't be taught at an early age. Our youngest students have a natural curiosity that's perfect for harnessing real-world skills. Build on the potential of a young mind with these interest-driven STEM tools, which help students learn how to solve problems, engineer solutions, answer questions about the natural world, and make sense of numbers. 

Coding and Programming

ScratchJr Publisher: DevTech Research Group at Tufts University, Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab, and Playful Invention Company
Drag-and-drop programming is an effective intro for budding programmers
Grades K-2
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Codeable Crafts Publisher: Benesse
Animate stories with accessible drawing tools and coding blocks
Grades K-3
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots Publisher: Wonder Workshop
Adorable robots teach hands-on coding skills
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Cork The Volcano - Puzzlets Publisher: Digital Dream Labs LLC
Fun elementary coding through hands-on puzzle tiles
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Kodable - K-5 Coding Curriculum for Elementary Publisher: SurfScore
Fun procedural reasoning for kids; great curriculum for teachers
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Code.org Visit Website: http://www.code.org
Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues - Mystery Coding Game Publisher: Her Interactive
Simple coding mystery fueled by fashion, friendship, and STEM
Grades 1-3
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated

Creation and Engineering

Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity Publisher: iMagine Machine LLC
Collage-maker teaches symbolism and revs up creativity
Grades Pre-K-6
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 3
Easy Studio - Introduction to Animation Publisher: Les Trois Elles Interactive
Ideal, easy-to-use way to help kids learn basic animation
Grades K-2
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Toca Builders Publisher: Toca Boca
Students not quite ready for Minecraft get a creative, fun alternative
Grades K-4
Type App
Price $.99-$2.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating 4
Busy Water Publisher: EDOKI ACADEMY
Solve, create, and share puzzles that gush with STEM learning
Grades 1-5
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
The Infinite Arcade by Tinybop Publisher: Tinybop
Simple game design app has endless creative potential
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
littleBits Invent Publisher: littleBits Electronics Inc.
Top-notch tool empowers kids to invent, build, and control wirelessly
Grades 2-8
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
3D Slash Visit Website: http://www.3dslash.net
Minecraft-like 3-D modeling (and printing) made super easy for all ages
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated

Fundamentals and Problem Solving

Bugs and Bubbles Publisher: Little Bit Studio, LLC.
Fascinating graphics engage as kids practice pre-reading, STEM skills
Grades Pre-K-K
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
PBS KIDS Measure Up! Publisher: PBS KIDS
Fun mixes with learning in adventure-themed measurement activities
Grades Pre-K-K
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, Kindle Fire
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Peg + Cat: The Tree Problem Publisher: PBS KIDS
Fun games require spatial reasoning to help Cat jump out of a tree
Grades Pre-K-K
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Thinkrolls Publisher: AVOKIDDO
Fun physics platformer teaches, engages young elementary students
Grades Pre-K-2
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Curiosityville Visit Website: http://www.curiosityville.com
Highly engaging, age-appropriate site with delightful games
Grades Pre-K-3
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 3
Crazy Gears Publisher: Seven Academy
Highly applicable STEM-themed free play, easy appeal for wide audience
Grades K-3
Type App
Price $1.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Simple Machines by Tinybop Publisher: Tinybop
Excellent elementary NGSS engineering practices embedded in fun games
Grades K-5
Type App
Price 2.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
PBS LearningMedia Visit Website: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/
Impressive collection of classroom-ready, free digital resources
Grades Pre-K-12
Type Website
Price Free, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4

Science and Math

Pattern Shapes, by the Math Learning Center Publisher: Clarity Innovations
Virtual pattern blocks with some extra useful teaching tools
Grades Pre-K-4
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, Chrome
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
The Earth by Tinybop Publisher: Tinybop
Explore challenging concepts with beautiful, interactive free play
Grades K-2
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Tangram for Osmo Publisher: Tangible Play Inc
Fun hybrid puzzles with excellent classroom supports
Grades K-3
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Ready Jet Go! Space Explorer Publisher: PBS KIDS
Super cool to see real sky, yet astronomy info only scratches surface
Grades K-4
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science Visit Website: http://www.lawrencehallofscience.org/kidsite/
First-class site for science games and investigations
Grades K-5
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 3
Mystery Science Visit Website: http://mysteryscience.com
Big questions, kids' curiosity drive thoughtful science curriculum
Grades K-5
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
CK-12 Visit Website: http://www.ck12.org
Super STEM resource with highly accessible content
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Plum's Photo Hunt Publisher: PBS KIDS
Photo-finding missions get kids out to explore and enjoy their world
Grades 1-4
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4