I love having my kids home with me, but I can’t pretend that I’m as good at educating them as their teachers in school. And frankly, trying to do and be everything is making me a little crazy. In times like these, I turn to free learning apps for kids — with no hidden in-app purchases. Because it’s too easy to wrack up $20+ in charges for Minecoins when Mom has her back turned for like, five minutes.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed but don’t want to sacrifice your kids’ education, consider supplementing their regular coursework with one or more of these age-appropriate learning apps. These tools have no hidden in-app purchases, so they are all truly free.
Keep in mind that many of these apps can be downloaded to your computer browser, tablet, or smartphone.
1. Mix playtime and learning for your preschooler with the Sesame Street app.
Your little one will have fun learning their ABCs and 123s on the free Sesame Street app — plus pronunciation, how to follow directions (to prep them for group learning experiences), and much more — by singing along to music videos, watching tutorials from Elmo, and playing games. What’s not to love? The whole process is pretty cute.
2. Download Quizlet to help your high school student to stay sharp on nearly any subject.
As long as your high schooler has a phone or laptop, they have no excuse not to be studying one of Quizlet’s millions of flash cards, tests, and games. (Next time they’re scrolling Instagram mid-day, try and redirect them to this app. They’ll love it.)
Much of Quizlet’s material is generated by its more than 50 million monthly active users and covers nearly every subject under the sun, from language and art history to biology and calculus —there’s even a hobbies section! According to their website, Quizlet is used by two in three high school students and one in two college-aged students.
3. Hear your kids say “whoaaa” when you show them the NASA app.
The NASA app is awesome, because space is awesome. Who doesn’t want to learn about galaxies, constellations, planets, and stardust? In NASA’s free learning app, you will find more than 18,000 NASA photos, plus videos, NASA Television, podcasts, a Solar System Exploration feature, news stories, and more.
4. Use Duolingo to keep foreign language skills fresh.
When it comes to learning a new language, nothing beats actually hearing and speaking the language with another person. But considering the hurdles, Duolingo does a pretty good job of teaching the basics of new languages to beginners, and keeping vocabulary and sentence structure at top of mind for those who already have a baseline.
Duolingo currently has 12 languages, including Spanish, French, Mandarin, German, and Russian. Recommended for kids aged 13 and up.
5. Learn math, science, reading, and more with Khan Academy.
You can learn almost anything with Khan Academy in almost any language, too. They have thousands of exercises, books, and instructional videos, which have been translated into more than 30 tongues! Khan Academy (for middle school and high school students) and Khan Academy Kids (for ages two through six) have the conventional classes you’d find in school: science, art, reading, and social sciences, all of which are free — and have excellent reviews from parents and teachers alike.
6. Kids can learn from their favorite characters with PBS Kids Games.
The PBS Kids Games free learning app is full of games that help teach kids ages two through eight about science, math, and art. The games use favorite characters from PBS’s TV series in their games, which is adorable and will also definitely lengthen the attention span of your toddler or elementary-aged learner.
7. All-ages Kahoot keeps school fun with millions of ready-to-play educational games.
Your kid won’t even realize they’re “in school” when they’re playing a “Kahoot” — one of the apps’ millions of games, many of which were designed by teachers as a complement to their curriculum.
There are paid versions of Kahoot, but the free Kahoot membership allows for up to 10 players (in person or by video) for each game. If you’re stuck at home alongside your children, why not make the games a family activity?
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