TOP PICKS | 36 TOOLS

Educational Games for Preschool and Kindergarten

While play is an essential way we learn throughout life, it's especially important for young kids. In early childhood education -- specifically in preschool and kindergarten classrooms -- play is an indispensable learning tool because it allows kids to explore and begin to make sense of their world safely. These playful, educational apps and games run the gamut of school subjects and leverage the core qualities of play to get kids to wonder, experiment, and discover while building social and emotional skills, cultivating their creativity and critical thinking, and acquiring key math and literacy skills.

Multi-Subject Games

Khan Academy Kids

Creative, smart mix of activities for pre-K to 2 is a breath of fresh air

Bottom Line: This early-learning standout offers scaffolded, creative learning of foundational skills.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Free

Picture Dots

Kids connect the dots with multisensory, interactive media creator

Bottom Line: Kids will love playing with this one, but it needs more developed features and additional support to be effective for classroom use.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Free

Science, Math, and Coding Games

MarcoPolo Ocean

Young explorers discover oceans through puzzles and free play

Bottom Line: This fun app helps kids gain an appreciation for the waters that cover much of the Earth's surface.

Grades: Pre-K–K
Price:
Free

Funexpected Math!

Creative games gently introduce basic and complex math concepts

Bottom Line: Teachers may want to be close by to help explain some of the more complex concepts.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Free to try

MarcoPolo Weather

Adorable sandbox tool lets kids safely explore, experiment, observe

Bottom Line: A fun, cheerful way for kids to explore weather while appropriately touching on more serious issues like safety.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Paid

PBS KIDS ScratchJr

PBS and Scratch mash-up offers nice wrapper for rock-solid coding tool

Bottom Line: Storytelling and artistic creativity meet programming code blocks for interactive design fun.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Free

RelationShapes

Great visual-spatial practice balanced with imaginative free play

Bottom Line: Includes both play and skill-building that develop important spatial and fine-motor skills.

Grades: Pre-K–3
Price:
Free

DNA Play

Adorable open-ended genetics app gives students mutation power

Bottom Line: Engaging DNA app will keep younger students' attention while they build a foundation of biology knowledge.

Grades: Pre-K–5
Price:
Paid

Toca Builders

Students not quite ready for Minecraft get a creative, fun alternative

Bottom Line: Fun, engaging, open-ended play can work in a variety of content areas.

Grades: K–4
Price:
Paid

Toca Nature

Create, explore, and enjoy realistic (but G-rated) virtual forests

Bottom Line: Virtual world is wonderfully calm, inspiring, and strangely addictive, but the range of its exploration is limited.

Grades: K–4
Price:
Paid

Cork the Volcano - Puzzlets

Fun elementary coding through hands-on puzzle tiles

Bottom Line: Programming that combines engaging physical puzzle tiles with digital gameplay.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Free, Paid

Star Walk Kids: Astronomy Game

Virtually step into the night sky with this stellar space resource

Bottom Line: Interactive tool is an excellent resource for kids who are curious about space.

Grades: K–6
Price:
Paid

Tinybop Schools

Collection of STEM simulations that students will love to explore

Bottom Line: Tinybop Schools offers meaningful scientific exploration to students, particularly when partnered with good teaching and discussion.

Grades: K–8
Price:
Free to try, Paid

Arts, Music, and Creativity Games

SesameStreet.org

Everything you love about the TV show, customizable and on demand

Bottom Line: In an online version of the TV show, Sesamestreet.org offers on-demand and personalized access to its marvelous video content.

Grades: Pre-K–K
Price:
Free

Draw and Tell HD - by Duck Duck Moose

Kids' drawings come alive with stickers, color, and voice recordings

Bottom Line: Lots of art tools and voice recording help kids unleash their visual and verbal storytelling.

Grades: Pre-K–1
Price:
Free

Mac, Izzy & Friends

Engaging stories, prompts, tools encourage exploration and creation

Bottom Line: An engaging assortment of activities encourages creative exploration and expression.

Grades: Pre-K–1
Price:
Free to try

Superhero Comic Book Maker

Leap tall buildings with creative audio and visual storytelling

Bottom Line: Kids create comic book-style stories and color pages on this easy app.

Grades: Pre-K–1
Price:
Free

Easy Music - Give kids an ear for music

Music-exploration app offers great balance of play and guidance

Bottom Line: Great, easily accessible approach to building the foundations for musical literacy.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Paid

Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity

Open-ended collage maker teaches symbolism and revs up creativity

Bottom Line: Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity is a don't-miss art app that encourages creativity at the same time as modeling it.

Grades: Pre-K–6
Price:
Paid

LOOPIMAL by YATATOY

Dip a toe into DJing with drag-and-drop music app

Bottom Line: The intuitive design strikes a nice balance between ease of use and a feeling of unique creative expression.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Paid

Language and Reading Games

Beck and Bo

Drag-and-drop adventure great for learning new words in context

Bottom Line: Your wee one will enjoy animating Beck and Bo's world while developing creativity and logic.

Grades: Pre-K
Price:
Paid

Endless Wordplay: School Edition

Rhymes, phonetic approach, silly animations help kids construct words

Bottom Line: Good, holistic approach to the nitty gritty of constructing words.

Grades: Pre-K–K
Price:
Paid

Montessori Early Reading - Phonics & Rhyme games

Fun with simple words, language sounds best for emerging readers

Bottom Line: This app may be best for quick learners who need little help to push them over the reading horizon.

Grades: Pre-K–1
Price:
Paid

Sesame Street Alphabet Kitchen

Fun, cute word-building with Cookie Monster; vowel toys are optional

Bottom Line: Beloved character and versatile word-building approach help kids become successful word builders.

Grades: Pre-K–1
Price:
Paid

Poio by Kahoot! Learn to Read

Kid-centered early reading game leans into discovery and delight

Bottom Line: This is a smart spin on phonics with a deep commitment to a kid-driven, fun-first experience.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Paid

HangArt: Play Hangman, Draw Pictures, Tell Stories

Games, creative activities give 360-degree view of common sight words

Bottom Line: Combination of guided games and open-ended activities give kids a great opportunity for digging deep into words.

Grades: Pre-K–3
Price:
Paid

Play and SEL Games

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Play at Home with Daniel

Fun exploration for kids; learning relies on grown-up input

Bottom Line: Kids will enjoy exploring and playing, as well as talking with a grown-up about what they can learn.

Grades: Pre-K
Price:
Paid

Dr. Panda & Toto's Treehouse

Open play encourages empathy, critical thinking, imagination, wonder

Bottom Line: Toto's Treehouse invites kids to play and explore -- just the way they learn best.

Grades: Pre-K–K
Price:
Paid

Dr. Panda Toy Cars

Role-play fun puts kids in the driver's seat

Bottom Line: While not a substitute for off-device role play, Dr. Panda Toy Cars is an empowering and educational activity for young learners.

Grades: Pre-K–K
Price:
Paid

Toca Town

Kids run the world with perfect mix of fantasy and reality

Bottom Line: Impressive open-play town lets kids explore and learn.

Grades: Pre-K–K
Price:
Paid

Toca Tea Party

Pretend play meets social skills at this cute interactive gathering

Bottom Line: Beautiful, imagination-provoking app is so easy to use, kids will likely want to return for many more parties.

Grades: Pre-K–1
Price:
Paid

Hoopa City

Delightful, discovery-based worldbuilding encourages critical thinking

Bottom Line: Offers kids endless hours of fun as they explore, discover, and plan to create an original world.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Free to try, Paid

My PlayHome

Create a family and let imagination rule the house

Bottom Line: Engaging, interactive free play sets the bar for the genre.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Paid

My PlayHome Stores

Free-play virtual shopping experience is full of surprises

Bottom Line: Available shops are fun to explore, but more would offer a richer experience.

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Paid

Homes by Tinybop

Explore homes -- and cultures -- around the world in exquisite detail

Bottom Line: Offers a delightful and accessible way for kids to learn about the world's cultures.

Grades: K–3
Price:
Paid

Sanford Harmony Game Room

Low- to no-prep activities for community-building SEL

Bottom Line: Simple SEL integration with conversation starters and team building.

Grades: K–8
Price:
Free

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