Skill building apps for kids

Has your child ever wanted to create a game? Or maybe they want to produce their own music or discover the process of telling stories through comics. To help them use their screens for more than mindless scrolling, why not encourage them to learn these skills?

Below are different skill-building apps and games that will help children and teens learn unique skills to foster lifelong learning beyond the classroom.

Build skills using apps or games

Topics for children and teens to learn about

Maths apps

These apps help children develop their Maths skills in different areas to keep on top of numeracy and problem solving.

Lumosity

Suitable for: 13+ (with parental consent)

How does the app work?

Not just for Maths, Lumosity helps users train their brain with a variety of games in strategy, critical thinking, problem solving, memory, concentration and more.

How can it help your child?

  • In just a few minutes each day, children can increase the areas mentioned above
  • Games are engaging and competitive
  • Promotes goal-setting and reaching personal targets.

Available for: iOS and Android users
Cost: The basic app is free but additional features like unlimited play cost extra.

Brain training games for 13+
Prodigy

Suitable for: 6-13

How does the app work?

Prodigy is made up of quests, stories and adventures that children can go on while learning about Maths. They start by creating a character and battle opponents in these different worlds. As they learn more Maths, their character becomes stronger, unlocking new map areas to explore.

How can it help your child?

  • Children learn different Maths concepts while having fun
  • The adventure video game style is engaging for young children without taking away from the learning

Available for: iOS and Android users.
Cost: Free to download with in-app purchases.

Adventure-style game to teach kids Maths
SumQuest

Suitable for: 4+

How does the app work?

SumQuest helps children improve their mental maths skills with time games based on quick addition.


How can it help your child?

  • It improves mental math
  • Helps children think critically about their next moves
  • Improves addition skills

Available for: iOS users.
Cost: Free with in-app purchases.

Addition games to help improve mental maths

Reading apps

Whether your child is an avid reader, reluctant or just getting started, these apps help engage and encourage them to read more. With a larger vocabulary and ability to understand, children do better in all subject areas.

CBeebies Storytime

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

Designed to help young children learn to read, CBeebies Storytime has a variety of stories for different ages and abilities. Children can choose to be read to or read themselves. Additional activities help them practise their comprehension skills.

How can it help your child?

  • Children are exposed to different types of stories
  • They can practise comprehension
  • They can follow along with the stories if they are not yet reading.

Available for: iOS and Android users.
Cost: Free

A range of stories to help children read
Epic!

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

Epic is a free app that gives children access to over 40,000 books and audiobooks for different reading levels. Children who are just starting out and children reading chapter books will all find something for them to read.

How it can help your child?

  • With books at their fingertips, they are more likely to pick up a book
  • Children can read independently, listen to audiobooks or follow along with what is being read to help improve their vocabulary and comprehension
  • Children who read at least 15 minutes every day succeed more in all subject areas than those who don’t read at all.

Available for: iOS and Android users.
Cost: Free for one book per day, £8.99/month or £68.99/year for unlimited books.

Free ebooks and audiobooks for all ages
LongStory

Suitable for: ages 12+

How does the app work?

LongStory is a type of visual novel simulation suitable for teens. Users are taken through a mystery story and have to make choices to move the story forward. It is LGBTQ+ friendly and allows children to choose their own pronouns.

How can it help children?

  • Teens practise their reading skills and build their vocabulary by reading the scenarios and making their decisions
  • It helps reluctant readers practise their reading skills without needing to commit to a full book, which can help build their reading endurance and interest.

Available for: iOS and Android users.
Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

A visual novel for older kids

Language learning apps

If your child takes another language in school, these apps are a great way to help consolidate their learning. Or, they can learn to speak a new language just because they’re interested in doing so!

DinoLingo

Suitable for: 3-14-year-olds

How does the app work?

Designed for children, DinoLingo uses game-based learning to teach kids languages while gaining rewards. Each lesson and unit has age-appropriate and engaging activities, videos, games, songs, tests and more to help track children’s comprehension and improvement.

How can it help your child?

  • It uses the immersion method, which allows children to learn without the need for translation
  • The gamefied learning helps keep children interested and invested in their learning
  • A large range of available languages can serve most interests.

Available for: users on any browser.
Cost: $14.95 USD/month or $149 USD/year. Different subscriptions are available for schools.

Learn languages while having fun
Duolingo

Suitable for: 13+

How does the app work?

Composed of hundreds of bitesized lessons, Duolingo makes learning a new language easy while keeping it engaging and fun. Users not only learn the standard ‘how are you?’ questions but also strange and quirky sentences to help make the learning memorable. Along with the ability to learn at your own pace, there are also competitive and gamefied aspects to interest more reluctant users.

How can it help your child?

  • Encourages daily minimum use to progress well with the language
  • Uses a variety of scenarios and stories to show the language in different perspectives
  • Uses translating as the main source of learning to help users make connections to what they already know.

Available for: iOS and Android users.
Cost: Free with in-app purchases.

Consistent daily lessons
Learn Languages with Amy

Suitable for: early years

How does the app work?

Designed for toddlers and children in early years, Learn Languages with Amy is a basic learning platform that uses pictures and audio. It teaches 7 languages, including English, which is helpful for young children who may not speak English yet.

How can it help your child?

  • Young children will engage with the pictures
  • The topics are relevant to what they might be learning in their stage of schooling or development, including numbers, animals and body.

Available for: iOS users
Cost: Free with in-app purchases

Engaging activities for early years

Science apps

Engage their curiosity about the world around them with science apps that encourage experimenting and exploration.

Cosmic Watch

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

Using a mobile devices, Cosmic Watch lets users explore the skies above them and learn about constellations, planets and more. It uses augmented reality (AR) to allow children (and adults) to explore the cosmos in the present, past and future.

How can it help your child?

  • Children interested in astronomy will love the immediate connection the skies
  • They not only learn the names but the location, rotation and history of their movement
  • It’s a great bonding activity for parent and child and encourages them to get outside and learn.

Available for: iOS and Android users.
Cost: £5.99

Help children explore the night sky
CuriosityStream

Suitable for: all ages (Kids Mode is available)

How does the app work?

CuriosityStream is a streaming service for non-fiction topics like science, nature, history, biographies and more. With programs and information from David Attenborough and Brian Greene, children can spend their usual streaming time consuming content that will help them learn about their world.

How it can help your child?

  • Encourages them to watch content that helps them learn something new
  • With a range of topics, there’s something for every interest
  • Using Kids Mode will make sure they can access content that is appropriate for their developmental age.

Available for: iOS and Android users.
Cost: From $2.99 USD/month to $69.99 USD/year.

Documentaries to learn about the world
DNA Play

Suitable for: ages 6-8

How does the app work?

With DNA Play, children learn about DNA through monster creations. By completing basic DNA puzzles, children gain a starting understanding of how the science behind our appearances work. They can then play with their monsters, adding to the fun of monster creation!

How can it help your child?

  • Gets them interested in the biology behind DNA
  • Introduces them to basic scientific concepts to start them on a path in science or exploration
  • Makes science engaging and fun.

Available for: iOS and Android users.
Cost: £2.49

Fun monster creation learning game

Coding apps

From website development to creating new games and so much more, children are becoming more interested in coding. Help them learn the basics with these apps and games.

Dreams

Suitable for: all ages

How does the platform work?

Dreams is a game for PlayStation 4. It encourages users to create content that other players can interact with. This content can be in the form of games, audiovisual ‘experiences’ and game assets that others can use. Dreams also has developed related games including VR (virtual reality) experiences.

How can it help your child?

  • It introduces them to the concepts of game design. Edit mode introduces them to elements to help create ‘Dreams’ with attention on sculpting, painting, creating effects and more. If they’re interested in game design, this could be a starting point for them.

Available for: PlayStation 4
Cost: £34.99 (free trial available)

Introduction to game development
Hopscotch: Coding for Kids

Suitable for: ages 10-16

How does the app work?

Available on mobile, children can create anything they can imagine, including games and animations. They can then share their creations or play work created by other kids.

The app introduces children to programming and encourages them to get messy, make mistakes and, above all else, be creative.

How can it help your child?

  • They gain a basic understanding of coding and programming
  • It allows them to be creative and learn technical concepts in easy ways.

Available for: iOS users.
Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

Create games, animations and more
Game Builder Garage

Suitable for: ages 7+

How does this app work?

Game Builder Garage helps children make their own games in the style and genre of their interest. It gives step-by-step instruction for the basics of programming that can then be used in the game to create.

How can it help your child?

  • Helps them learn in-depth basics of programming that could ignite a lifelong passion
  • It encourages them to think both logically and creatively to help them build something entirely their own
  • Gives them pride in themselves for creating something from nothing.

Available for: Nintendo Switch
Cost: £26.99

Learn to program detailed games

Learn about engineering

These apps help children discover how things work while using their imaginations to create something new. For any children curious about the world around them.

Crazy Gears

Suitable for: ages 6-8

How does the app work?

Crazy Gears is a puzzle game that lets children play with gears, chains, rods and pulleys in a digital setting. They need to use logic and creativity to get through each level all while learning about the different mechanics and how they affect each other. It’s sure to ignite a curiosity in how everything in their real world works too!

How can it help your child?

  • Engages their creativity and critical thinking skills
  • Helps them learn about the basics of physical engineering
  • Allows them space to figure out how each element works and affects other elements.

Available for: iOS users
Cost: £2.49

Learn about the basics of engineering
Technovation Families: Design Challenges

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

Technovation Families, previously called Curiosity Machine, is browser-based and provides children and families with free instructional videos and challenges to teach them about different concepts like artificial intelligence (AI), civil engineering, food science and more! Children learn about experiments they can do or things they can create to solve everyday problems that are important to them.

How can it help children?

  • Connects the online world with the offline world by encouraging children to create and experiment (with adult supervision)
  • Has a wide range of activities for them to explore whatever their interest is
  • Encourages STEAM learning that could ignite lifelong interest and learning.

Available for: any browser
Cost: Free

Experiment and create with design challenges
World of Goo

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

World of Goo is a puzzle game that starts with users playing with and stretching balls of goo, which turn out to be little creatures. With strange levels and challenges that require a different kind of engineering (like building towers, bridges and vehicles with this goo), it keeps kids engaged and curious to explore how it all works together.

How can it help children?

  • Promotes curiosity — in what happens next in the game as well as what the goo balls are and how they work
  • It’s fun and engaging
  • Helps promote creative thinking.

Available for: iOS and Android users
Cost: £2.99-£4.49

Use goo to build all sorts of things

Apps to learn about video production

If your child is interested in creating their own videos — from streaming on YouTube to animating their own stories — these apps can help get them started in learning the ins-and-outs.

GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine

Suitable for: ages 4+

How does the app work?

Kids can create their own animations and videos to submit to the fictional Bloxtown film festival in the app. They learn the basics of animation with a variety of different features to draw. Finished creations can be shared via email or text when they’re done.

How can it help your child?

  • Encourages creativity
  • Kids who are interested in movie-making or animation will learn the basics to help them explore this interest.

Available for: iOS users

Cost: Free

Learn the basics of animation and movies
Shadow Puppet

Suitable for: ages 5+

How does the app work?

Shadow Puppet lets children make videos and presentations about things they’re interested in — what they did on holiday, their favourite animal or stories of their own creation. With a variety of editing, music and narration tools, children get an introduction into video production. Shadow Puppet Edu is also available for teachers and schools.

How can it help children?

  • Children can share their interests with you and other family or friends
  • Allows them to be creative in how they create their videos
  • Offers a variety of options to create exactly what they see in their minds.

Available for: iOS and users.
Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

Create and narrate videos about anything
Stop Motion Studio

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

Stop Motion Studio is a movie-making app that helps children create stories using stop motion animation. They learn the intricacies of the medium through easy-to-use tools and editing options that make it a great choices for kids and adults alike.

How it can help your child?

  • Introduces them to a different type of video creation
  • Encourages patience and the process of creating stop motion movies
  • Lets them create whatever they want using whichever ideas they have swirling around their minds.

Available for: iOS and Android users.
Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

Create fun stop motion videos

Drawing & art apps

Whether your child draws endlessly or wants to learn how, these apps will encourage them to develop their abilities.

ArtWorkout

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

Designed to improve users’ techniques, ArtWorkout helps children and adults alike practise skills in doodling, sketching, drawing, painting and handwriting. It’s designed for and works best with iPad.

How can it help your child?

  • Step-by-step guides help them learn how to draw both simple and complex images
  • The tools allow them to put their own creative spin on their artwork
  • It builds habits and techniques to help the improve as artists.

Available for: iOS users

Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

Learn to draw with step-by-step guides
Draw.AI

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

With Draw.AI, users choose a picture they want to draw and follow the instructions to complete and colour it in. The guides can be accessed for free, but the app contains ads that users can subscribe to remove.

How can it help your child?

  • Fun drawing tutorials make it easy for kids to follow along
  • It helps children relax
  • They will develop their drawing skills and techniques.

Available for: iOS users

Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

Guides and tracing to improve drawing skills
SketchAR

Suitable for: older teens (with parental guidance)

How does the app work?

SketchAR is designed for creators who want to build items for augmented reality (AR) on social media (such as filters), non-fungible tokens and more. Older teens who understand the platform and finances behind it would benefit most from its creative features. These features include drawing with AR, courses, canvas art and more.

How can it help your child?

  • It introduces your teen to digital art forms widely used in popular culture across social media
  • Helps them develop their skills in AR and general art abilities.

Available for: iOS and Android users.

Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

Digital art creation for the modern age

Develop storytelling

For children with grand imaginations, storytelling is a great way to share their ideas with the world. These apps help them do that in a variety of visual ways.

Make Beliefs Comix

Suitable for: all ages with supervision

How does the app work?

MakeBeliefsComix.com is a website dedicated to helping children tell original stories through comic strips. The site is filled with writing handouts and tutorials that teachers and parents can access for free. If you share any content publicly, however, you must reference the site.

How can it help your child?

  • Budding storytellers love creating comics, and this takes it to the digital space, which helps to engage children
  • Kids can learn all sorts of writing and comic techniques that will not only help them in their personal creative time but will also reflect in their abilities at school.

Available for: web browser.

Cost: Free

Create comics for free to tell stories
Imagistory

Suitable for: ages 3+

How does the app work?

Children of all ages and languages can use Imagistory. Its picture-based format means that it’s easy to use and accessible for everyone. The app lets children create picture stories and record them to revisit later. Imagine bedtime stories as told by your child!

How can it help your child?

  • Helps them practice being creative
  • Lets them tell stories and learn how storytelling works
  • Provides and sense of pride when stories are recorded and retold.

Available for: iOS users

Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

Help children become storytellers
Strip Designer

Suitable for: ages 9+

How does the app work?

Another comic creator, Strip Designer lets children use photos to create comics about anything they like. These comics can retell happy holidays or fictional stories with their siblings about anything they can imagine. Stories can be saved as PDFs and in other formats, and can be shared with friends and family to enjoy.

How can it help your child?

  • A fun way to hold onto memories of something they enjoyed
  • Encourages them to get creative with the photos they take to add to the comic, allowing them a taste of what it might be to collaborate with or direct others
  • Helps them think creatively about each part of their story and comic.

Available for: iOS users.

Cost: £3.49

Storytelling with real pictures in a comic format

Learn how to create music

If your child likes to create songs or wants to know what it takes to produce and make music, these apps are a great place to start.

Figure

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

Figure is an intuitive music creation app that lets users create melodies and beats in minutes. With controls that help users stay on time and in key, the app helps anyone feel like a pro.

How can it help your child?

  • Introduces them to the world of music production
  • Lets them express their creativity with a variety of different tools and ‘instruments’
  • Helps them understand the basics of songwriting.

Available for: iOS users.

Cost: Free

Learn how to layer beats
GarageBand

Suitable for: all ages

How does the app work?

GarageBand is a detailed app for iPhone and iPad that lets users create music using a variety of virtual and, if they have them, physical instruments. With different tools to layer instruments and beats along with the ability to record it all, this is a fun app to get kids interested in music.

How can it help your child?

  • Makes learning instruments and music exciting
  • Gives them full creative controls of their music
  • Helps them learn the basics of music production.

Available for: iOS users

Cost: Free

Create amazing and complex songs
Music Maker JAM

Suitable for: ages 13+

How does the app work?

Using the app tools or your own voice, Music Maker JAM lets users dive into music production and songwriting in all genres. You can then share your creations with the community and listen to others’ creations.

How can it help your child?

  • Beyond just creating music, it also encourages users to write their songs, including lyrics
  • Helps them express themselves through music, which can be a relaxing act.

Available for: iOS and Android users.

Cost: Free (in-app purchases)

Create and share music in different genres
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