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summer reading

40 Educational iPad Apps to Download this Summer

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Busy this summer and don’t have time to entertain your children?

Grab the iPad and download one of these 40 educational iPad apps to keep them busy and their brain sharp during the break, curated for you compliments of our friends at Onlineclasses. This is a repost of a list created a while ago so hopefully most of these are still active links. Let us know if you encounter any duds!

Language and Vocabulary

Here you’ll find apps for learning the alphabet, using the dictionary, reviewing grammar rules, and more.

  1. ABC Animals: Help young children learn the alphabet and phonics with this cute, illustrated app.
  2. Word Magic: Kids fill in the missing letter to form words, accompanied by bright pictures.
  3. Clifford’s BE BIG with Words: In this game, kids spell out words so that Clifford and his friends can think of things to paint.
  4. Dictionary.com – Dictionary and Thesaurus: This easy-to-use app features a search bar, thesaurus, search history and word of the day.
  5. Free Spanish Tutor: Introduce or help your kids review Spanish with this app that features native speaker audio, puzzles, written tests, flash cards, and a multiple choice quiz.
  6. Textropolis: Kids have to find and piece together words in order to build up their “textropolis” in this game.
  7. iWrite Words: Small children learn to write by tracing words with this game.
  8. Spell and Listen Cards: Kids rearrange letters to form basic words, improving their vocabulary and sight reading.
  9. TypeFast: If your kids don’t have time to take a typing class, they can use this app to learn how to type faster and more accurately.
  10. Grammar Up: Help kids learn adjectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs, infinitives, gerunds, conjunctions, and other grammar basics.



These American and world history apps involve your kids in making decisions that determine the success or decline of whole civilizations.

  1. Manual for the United States of America: Kids can learn about and read the Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers, biographies of Supreme Court justices, and a lot more.
  2. Oregon Trail: This classic game is now available on the iPad and helps children of various ages practice problem-solving and decision-making skills as they learn about history and try to survive the great trek West.
  3. Civilization Revolution: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution teaches kids about world civilizations, including Japan, Germany, China, Spain, America, and others, as they lead their people to victory.
  4. On This Day: Help your students learn more about history with this trivia-like game that lists important events each day.

Math and Science


These apps use flash cards, games and interactive displays to teach your kids about math, astronomy and more.

  1. Math Cards: This grade-as-you-go game teaches subtraction, division, multiplication and addition in a touch-screen game.
  2. Kids Math Fun – Third Grade: This app is devoted to third grade math skills, including basic arithmetic. Games like Double Dare and Minute Math keep it fun, too.
  3. The Math Master: Practice math drills and learn math facts on this app, which features a numeric touchpad.
  4. KidsCalc 7-in-1 Math Fun: This app teaches young children number recognition, and older kids arithmetic. It features a birthday party theme, and includes flash cards, puzzle game, running timer, and more.
  5. PopMath Basic Math: This level-based math game is supposed to be non-stressful but still effective.
  6. Pocket Universe: Virtual Sky Astronomy: This app displays the night sky just as you’re seeing it, but with more detail and descriptions of constellations and stars.
  7. Mathematical Formulas: This app serves as a great reference and review tool that catalogs and explains math formulas for geometry and more.
  8. The Chemical Touch: View the periodic table and learn about chemical properties with this app.
  9. Brain Tuner Lite: This free app is a great tool for getting your kids to practice math skills each day.
  10. Mathemagics – Mental Math Tricks: More advanced students can practice multiplication, square numbers, and more.


Help your children learn to read and get excited about reading the classics with these apps.

  1. Learn Sight Words: Help your children learn the expected high-frequency words they need to know by the end of 1st grade with this cute app.
  2. Newspapers: Encourage your children to read about the rest of the world by linking them to newspapers from different cities.
  3. Free Books: This app costs $1.99, but you’ll get to read over 23,000 classic books like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and plays by Shakespeare.
  4. iLibrary+audio: Download whole chapters and then listen to them read aloud with this app. Books include The Call of the Wild, Emma and Treasure Island.

Art and Music


Encourage your children to explore art and music with the help of these apps.

  1. Preschool Music: Kids can create their own songs and play a virtual piano as they play along with sheep and birds on this app.
  2. Ultimate Guitar Tabs: Kids can read guitar chords and tabs to learn about music.
  3. Art: Your kids — ages 12 and up — will learn about important artists like da Vinci, Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollock and more with this searchable app that features quizzes, a slideshow, newsletter, and more.
  4. Instruments in Reach Basic: Learn the fingerings for instruments like the flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, bassoon, oboe and trombone.

General Education and Life Skills

These general education apps help to improve critical thinking skills through games, matching, puzzles, and more.

  1. Monster Mix & Match: Kids practice critical thinking and problem solving skills with this game that lets them create monster cartoon characters.
  2. Preschool Arcade: Preschoolers can learn numbers, the alphabet, and capital and lower case letters while developing critical thinking and matching skills.
  3. Highlights Hidden Pictures: Highlights Magazine designed this game that includes eight puzzles filled with hidden pictures your kids search for while using clues and hints.
  4. I SPY Spooky Mansion: This is a great app for helping kids think critically as they solve riddles and puzzles while collecting keys in a spooky old mansion.
  5. TeachMe: Kindergarten: Review or help younger children get a head start on kindergarten lessons in reading, math and spelling.
  6. 10,500+ Cool Facts: This app provides an easy way to add random tidbits of knowledge to your kids’ brains. Shake your iPad to get a new cool fact.
  7. 2010 World Factbook: With this app, your children can learn about different countries, their flags, languages, government, economy, and more.
  8. Flashcards Deluxe: Customize your own flashcards with this app, which integrates with Quizlet.com, features audio and text, and can hold over 5,000 flash cards.

Keep Your Kids Learning Through the Summer

No student remembers every single thing she learns in school. Even over the course of a school day, many things will go in a child’s ear and out the other. And as any parent who is active in the educational process knows, kids are wildly inconsistent with their learning. They learn some things with little effort, while other things require endless repetition and instruction.
In any case, it is only natural for some of the things a child learns during the school year to be lost during those three to four summer months. Much that is lost will be
reiterated in subsequent school years, but other lost knowledge might go away and never come back if the information is not kept fresh.
That is where parents come in. You are not required to essentially give your child summer school. Summer is supposed to be a time for children to play and experience the world. But there are things you can do to make sure what your child has learned does not go away. And in the process, you can also help them learn new things.
Encouraging summer reading
The last thing your child is going to want to do during the summer is read the types of books used in school curriculums, but there is nothing wrong with encouraging your child to read widely and often, and even to read some books intended to be educational.
While books read in the summer will not necessarily pertain directly to the subjects your child covered during the school year, well-chosen books will build upon your child’s existing knowledge and internalize it in the process.
The best practice for encouraging this sort of summer reading is to make it an everyday routine. Just as you probably had a homework routine during the school year, in the summer you can set a time in the evening that is devoted solely to books and other learning activities. You can even take the weekends off, if that routine works well for you.
Active learning
Another way to build on your child’s previous school year is to engage in outdoor activities that related directly to things your child has learned in the past year. But you do not have to worry about having an exact correspondence between school learning and summer learning. Just try to engage in things that your child will enjoy while also learning things. Wilderness hikes and visits to the zoo are perfect examples.
Visiting the library
Over time, it is only natural for the collection of books you have at home to become boring, and your child will reach a point when they are no longer learning from those books. That is why it is a good idea to visit the library regularly, both for reading time at the library and to check out books to read at home. Though technology is changing the way young people engage with books, libraries are still warm and welcoming places where children can be exposed to a wide variety of subjects and imaginary worlds.
During the summer, also make sure to sign your child up for activities. Physical activities such as sports are very healthy and productive, and children actually learn a lot from them, but you can also take classes, go to one-time events, and take your child to day camp (and of course, there are also sleepaway camps for children who are old enough). As long as your child remains active and continues engaging in new learning activities, he or she will continue making educational leaps forward during these important months.
Lisa Pecos contributes regularly to The Parenting Journals. She is a believer in natural medicine, and thinks that gripe water is an essential item for any new parent.

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