Top Pick

Fun Foundations for Pre-K and Elementary School

Here's a handpicked assortment of top-rated, seriously fun early learning apps, games, and websites. At the younger end, you'll find tools to help kids master the fundamentals of ordering, counting, and reading, as well as introduce them to STEM and social and emotional learning concepts. Older students will engage more in complex problem-solving and decision-making as they continue to develop these essential skills. 

ELA

Endless Wordplay: School Edition Publisher: Originator Inc.
Rhymes, phonetic approach, silly animations help kids construct words
Grades Pre-K-K
Type App
Price $14.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Name Play: a name reading and writing practice kit Publisher: Edoki
Simple but fun games cleverly let prereaders explore familiar names
Grades Pre-K-K
Type App
Price $1.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Reading is Fundamental: Leading to Reading Visit Website: http://www.rif.org/kids/leadingtoreading/en/leadingtoreading.htm
Teachers and kids explore the wonderful world of reading together
Grades Pre-K-K
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Alpha Writer, by Montessorium Publisher: Montessorium, LLC
Well-crafted app lets emerging readers and writers develop reading skills through word building
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read Classroom Edition Publisher: Hooked on Phonics
Research-based curriculum adapts beautifully to fun, easy-to-use app
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $49.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Learn with Homer Publisher: Homer
A captivating, comprehensive beginning reading resource
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price Free to Try
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Montessori Letter Sounds - Phonics in English, Spanish, French & Italian Publisher: Les Trois Elles Interactive
Thoughtfully designed, self-paced games bring letters, sounds to life
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Writing Wizard - Kids Learn to Write Letters & Words Publisher: L'Escapadou
Vibrant, playful tracing practice offers unique rewards, fab support
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Oh Noah! Visit Website: http://pbskids.org/noah/index.html
Comforting character makes second-language mistakes no big deal
Grades K-3
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Reading Rainbow Publisher: RRKidz, Inc.
Kids can "go anywhere, be anything" with vast book and video library
Grades K-4
Type App
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Toontastic 3D Publisher: Google Inc
Flexible tool hands kids the reins for creative animated storytelling
Grades K-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
SpellingCity Publisher: SpellingCity
Charm kids with custom spelling games certain to engage
Grades 1-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
News-O-Matic, School Edition, 2014-15 Publisher: Press4Kids
Flexible, interactive daily stories for elementary school students
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price $6.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4

Math

Elmo Loves 123s for iPad Publisher: Sesame Street
Sesame Street sets the standard for teaching numbers
Grades Pre-K-K
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Gracie & Friends Lemonade Stand Publisher: First 8 Studios at WGBH
Interactive games thoroughly address small, focused learning goal
Grades Pre-K-K
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
DragonBox Numbers Publisher: WeWantToKnow AS
Explore the concept of numbers through puzzles and fun gameplay
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $7.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Love to Count by Pirate Trio Publisher: Next is Great
Hundreds of tasks and swashbuckling fun for new math learners
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Montessori 1st Operations Publisher: Edoki
Montessori tools and fun rewards help kids learn math concepts
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Quick Math Jr. Publisher: Shiny Things
Cute and clever games teach young learners fundamental skills
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Todo Math: School Edition Publisher: Locomotive Labs
One arithmetic app fulfills the needs of many learners
Grades Pre-K-2
Type App
Price Varies
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Lumio - math games for the Common Core classroom Publisher: Lighthouse Learning
Cool games boost math basics, support multiple users
Grades Pre-K-3
Type App
Price Free to Try
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
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
Motion Math: Hungry Fish Publisher: Motion Math
Six games build mental math skills and promote fact fluency
Grades K-4
Type App
Price $1.99-$5.99
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
ST Math: K-5 Visit Website: http://www.stmath.com/elementaryschool
Game-based, visual activities get below the surface for deep learning
Grades K-6
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
DreamBox Learning Math Publisher: DreamBox Learning
Individualized, game-based math adapts to kids' needs
Grades K-8
Type Game
Price Paid
Platforms Mac, Windows
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4

Character & SEL

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame Publisher: Sesame Street
Sesame Street winner teaches kids how to keep calm and carry on
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Four Little Corners - An interactive storybook app about friendship Publisher: DADA Company
Simple story about shapes showcases problem-solving and inclusion
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Fire phone
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Kid in Story Book Maker Publisher: Locomotive Labs
Easy-to-make personalized stories can help boost social skills
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $6.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
Toca Tea Party Publisher: Toca Boca
Pretend play meets social skills at this cute interactive gathering
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price $2.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Super Stretch Yoga HD Publisher: The Adventures of Super Stretch, LLC
Appealing videos inspire kids to move their bodies in new ways
Grades Pre-K-2
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Big Kid Life Vet Publisher: Fingerprint
Gentle feedback helps kids learn empathy and some ABCs
Grades K-1
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
Social Adventures
Expert-approved activities nurture students' social skills
Grades K-3
Type App
Price $7.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3

STEAM

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
Leo's Pad: Preschool Kids Learning Series Publisher: Kidaptive Inc.
Imagination and science intersect with famous kid scientists as guides
Grades Pre-K-K
Type App
Price Free to Try
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
PeepandtheBigWideWorld Visit Website: http://peepandthebigwideworld.com/en/
Pre-K science games, videos shine; related curriculum truly sparkles
Grades Pre-K-K
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Curious World Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Engaging stories, prompts, tools encourage exploration and creation
Grades Pre-K-1
Type App
Price Free to Try
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
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
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 Stop-Motion Studio Publisher: EDOKI ACADEMY
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
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
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 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

General

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
Thinking Time Pro - Cognitive Skills for Early Learning Publisher: Kiko Labs Inc.
Challenging games stress memory, logic, impulse control, flexibility
Grades Pre-K-K
Type App
Price $4.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Brainzy Visit Website: http://www.education.com/games/info/
Handy, engaging early reading and math topics in fun, inviting package
Grades Pre-K-1
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
Grades Pre-K-2
Type App
Price $6.99
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3
Todo Telling Time Publisher: Locomotive Labs
Top-notch tool for teaching time, from minutes to months
Grades Pre-K-2
Type App
Price $3.99
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 5
PBS KIDS Lab Visit Website: http://pbskids.org/lab/
Explore outstanding new math and language additions to PBS KIDS family
Grades Pre-K-2
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Skill Champ Publisher: Infiniteach Inc
Foundational-skills-practice tool supports specific learning needs
Grades Pre-K-3
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating Not Yet Rated
BrainPOP Jr. Visit Website: http://www.brainpopjr.com
Top-notch educational videos a boon for elementary school teachers
Grades K-3
Type Website
Price From $175
Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating 4
Fizzy's Lunch Lab Visit Website: http://pbskids.org/lunchlab/
Professor Fizzy and crew make it fun to be healthy
Grades K-4
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
One Globe Kids - children's stories from around the world Publisher: Globe Smart Kids
Beautiful photos and stories build cultural knowledge, self-awareness
Grades K-4
Type App
Price Free to Try
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 4
GoNoodle Visit Website: https://www.gonoodle.com/
Brief bursts of physical exercise add classroom fun, build brain power
Grades K-5
Type Website
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating 3