Learning the 'fun'damentals: Educational apps and games for kids

Keep the little monkeys occupied and productive!

When it comes to kids, the online world doesn’t all have to be about Pokémon Go and YouTube videos.

There are plenty of apps and websites that can be enjoyable while contributing to their education.

We’ve rounded up a few options for you to try out with your school aged child. These incorporate a range of activities that can help them to learn and develop life skills.

Younger kids 

Alien Assignment - Free 

Image courtesy: Fred Rogers Center YouTube channel

Award winning iPad and iPhone app Alien Assignment encourages problem solving and discovery.

Young children are sent on a scavenger hunt by the Gloop family, who have crashed their spaceship into planet Earth. In order to help them get home, players have to seek out and take photos of everyday household items.

The app requires an adult to review your child’s photographic choices and is a great way for parents to engage with their kids.

Popular children's review site Common Sense Media gives Alien Assignment five stars, calling it a “must have for family fun.”

Kids Learn to Read - $3.99 

Image courtesy: Kids Learn to Read on the Google Play store

With millions of downloads, Kids Learn to Read on Android teaches early learners to blend sounds into words and take steps towards reading.

It introduces them to ‘word families’ and basic spelling with the help of cute animated characters and gamified activities.

Toca Lab - $4.99

Image courtesy: Toca Boca on YouTube

Available on iOS, Android and with an accompanying website for parents, Toca Lab introduces children to science and lets them experiment with different chemical solutions without blowing your house up!

Every element on the periodic table has the chance to introduce itself and describe its qualities and functions.

While not 100% based in reality, Toca Lab is a fun way to experiment, discover and develop curiosity in the world of science.

ABC Kids - Free 

Image courtesy: ABC KIDS Play on the Google Play store

Many of the shows that air on the ABC have accompanying games on the ABC Kids website.

Children can play along with Babar, Ben and Holly, Tree Fu Tom and perennial favourite Peppa Pig.

These simple games introduce concepts like matching shapes and learning to tell the time as well as helping children learn to follow basic instructions.

Older kids 

The Ultimate Dinopedia: Complete Dinosaur Reference - $7.99 

Image courtesy: Ultimate Dinopedia on the Apple App Store

Another iPad app that gets the big thumbs up from parents as well as kids is The Ultimate Dinopedia.

Budding palaeontologists can read up about a huge range of dinosaurs, accessing well-presented fun facts and full illustrations about the biggest, fastest and scariest dinos that ever roamed the Earth.

The images can be quite realistic, so this app is aimed at older children who don’t get put off by scary fangs!

Barefoot World Atlas - $7.99 

Image courtesy: Barefoot World Atlas on the Apple App Store

Go on a geographic journey from your lounge room with Barefood World Atlas, an interactive and visually stunning twist on the traditional atlas.

With each destination that they visit, children are able to view drawings and animations representing the people, animals and buildings of the area.

The music that plays changes as you travel and the iPad app is accompanied by a narrative that helps them learn about the many different locations.

Dust Echoes - Free 

Introduce older children to Indigenous Australian culture with this interactive website.

The Dust Echoes platform shares legends of the Dreamtime in whimsical video form and then invites children to test their memories with a quiz.

They are also able to create a one minute ‘mashup’ of the story and access a glossary that explains Indigenous names and terms.

National Geographic Kids - Free 

Packed with information about animals, the environment and the human body, Nat Geo Kids is entertaining as well as educational.

The site has a cheeky sense of humour and presents loads of fun facts, like “Cows form close friendships – but they may also hold grudges for years.”

There are games to help kids learn and lots of images of creatures of feather, fur and fin.

When shared with them in moderation, the internet can be a wonderful tool to allow children to learn basic skills and pique their curiosity about the world around them.

Online apps and services are great when you consider all of the educational tools that can be at your disposal, just remember to kid-proof your tech - make sure your little ones get the best possible experience, while keeping your wallet safe from in-app purchases!