The best apps for kids

School holiday boredom busters don’t have to be costly. With a smartphone or iPad, it’s easy to keep the kids engaged, entertained – and educated. To help, we’ve hunted down a bunch of stand-out free or low-cost kids’ apps to help make screen time productive – and loads more fun than homework. We’ve also included some less educational but very fun apps for good measure too, because sometimes you just need to keep the kids occupied for a moment.

 

Ages 5 and under

 

ABC Kids iView

ABC’s watch on-demand app is ad-free and geared towards pre-schoolers. Kids can view their favourite programs including PJ Masks, Go Jetters, Play School and Thomas The Tank Engine. Best of all, there’s a parental control setting so you can actively regulate their viewing.

Free with in-app purchases. 
Available on: Google Play & iTunes
Devices: Smartphone and tablet

Endless Reader

Watch as words come to life with Endless Reader. This app introduces ‘sight words’ to children through sound, animation and puzzles. Sight words are commonly used words in school and children’s books that often have unusual spelling or cannot be sounded out. 

Free.
Available on: Google Play & iTunes
Devices: Smartphone and tablet

Shape-O ABC’s 

This colourful game involves piecing together visual puzzles, which help build reasoning and analytical skills. Kids are given a host of individual shapes and asked to assemble them to reflect a given image. There are over 100 images to play with, from animals to landscapes and more.

$2.99. 
Available on: iTunes
Devices: Smartphone and tablet

Colour by Numbers – Animals 

Colour by number apps have become somewhat of a phenomenon. To adults, it’s a relaxing way to wind down, while for kids, it’s a satisfying and creative exercise. This digital colouring book app is suitable for kids of preschool age and above. As well as offering a bit of colour therapy, the app teaches children simple arithmetic.

Free. 
Available on: Google Play & iTunes
Devices: Smartphone and tablet

Ages 6-11

 

Bugs and Buttons 

Bugs and Buttons contains a dozen mini-games that require kids to count, fill in patterns, sort objects and work through mazes. Along the way, kids will strengthen their problem-solving skills through a series of simple, visual tasks. The app is one of the most positively rated in the i0S app store and is well worth the price considering the hours of entertainment it brings. 

$4.49. 
Available on: [iTunes App Store](https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/bugs-and-buttons/id446031868?mt=8)
Devices: Smartphone and tablet

Adventures of Poco Eco

This game will see kids navigate a dreamy, futuristic world to help curious explorer, Poco Eco complete his mission to save a beautiful world filled with sound. The game feels more like a story and will present a host of mini puzzles across twelve levels. 

$3.99. 
Available on: Google Play & iTunes
Devices: Smartphone and tablet

Smash Hit

Lobbing balls at things, what kid doesn’t enjoy that? At least with this app, you’ll keep the noise and destruction in the virtual world. This simple game of ‘smash the glass wall ahead’ is undeniably fun and boasts impressively surreal graphics. Not exactly education, but it will keep the kids quiet on long car rides.

Free. 
Available on: Google Play & iTunes
Devices: Smartphone and tablet

Flow Free

Here’s another simple but addictive game that’ll get the kids’ logic in practice. The mission is to join the coloured dots using lines, without any lines crossing over one another. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself playing this as much as the kids. 

Free. 
Available on: Google Play & iTunes
Devices: Smartphone and tablet

 

Ages 12+

 

Hot Dog Maker – Street Food Game (Maker Labs)

Give the kids a virtual taste of the kitchen with this fun hot dog making app. The goal is to become a top street food chef by cooking hot dogs to perfection and topping them off with the correct condiments. 

Free. 
Available on: iTunes.  You can find a similar game by Maker Labs called Super Hot Dog Food Truck on Google Play.
Devices: Smartphone and tablet

Swift Playgrounds 

Got a kid interested in coding? Get them into Swift Playgrounds, an app that helps kids learn Swift, a programming language made by Apple and used to create apps. The concept is simple enough for kids with no pre-existing knowledge of coding. Each level incorporates various puzzles and challenges, with cute alien-like characters to guide players through. There are also in-built lessons which explain the core concepts of programming with code.

Free. 
Available on: iTunes
Devices: iPad only

 

For more school holiday fun, check out Hyperdome’s Game On