If you liked our picks for best apps for preschoolers and best reading apps for kindergarteners, you’ll love this list for best apps for five-year olds. These games and activities are not only popular with kindergarteners, they also teach a variety of skills that’ll set them up for success at school and in life.
Check out our choices of best educational apps for 5-year-olds below!
1. Endless Alphabet
Endless Alphabet teaches vocabulary by challenging kids to deconstruct words and put them back together in the right order.
The way it works: your child picks a word from the monster’s mouth, sounds it out phonetically and puts it together. Then they can watch a video to learn the word’s meaning.
This app teaches kids unique, more advanced words that aren’t commonly found in apps for five-year olds, like “gargantuan” and “quarrel.”
The name may be a bit misleading, as it’s more focused on vocabulary than teaching ABCs.
2. Toca Life: After School
Toca Life: After School lets kids try out a wide variety of after-school and extracurricular activities through virtual play.
Your child can simulate each activity by moving their characters around the screen to different rooms to try activities like dunking a basketball, riding a skateboard and painting a picture.
This open-ended play app offers kids an exciting overview of afterschool activities they can take part in, including sports, dance, music and art. The parent portal offers advice on how parents can join in on the fun, too!
Some kids who struggle with fine motor skills might have difficulty moving the characters around on the screen.
3. Flashnote Derby
This interactive flashcards game introduces kids to musical notes. Kids can choose which notes they want to practice and answer questions about each one. A correct answer moves the derby horse forward. Incorrect answers are saved for future study.
This game is super simple and even includes a short instructional video to help young kids quickly grasp the concepts. The app also offers customizations so older kids can learn more complex note sequences.
The graphics are a little old fashioned, so might not be as exciting to some kids.
4. Busy Water
Uh-oh! A mischievous cat has unplugged the fish tank, and someone needs to save the fish!
Kids will have a ton of fun coming to the fish’s rescue, solving simple physics problems to help return it to safety.
The app offers 100 levels of play, with challenges like repairing pipes and using wheels, rotating planks and other simple machines to help get the fish back into the tank.
previous levels to brainstorm new solutions, and even build their own levels. With multiple solutions in this game, there are few wrong answers.
This is a great app for learning cause and effect, as well as cognitive reasoning and fine motor skills.
The first few levels aren’t very difficult, which may bore kids looking for more of a challenge early on.
Available on iPhone or iPad
5. codeSpark Academy
codeSpark Academy is a coding app that’s both visual and story-driven. Little monsters roam city streets avoiding hazards like police officers, garbage trucks and construction sites. Kids must drag and drop code and commands to help the monsters pass. Kids advance to the next level once they successfully and safely reach their destinations.
With amazing graphics and an engaging story, this app challenges kids to solve puzzles by finding the best possible solution, rather than just one correct one. While kids are encouraged to solve them on their own, codeSpark makes a solution guide available in the parent portal to guide kids when they feel stuck.
While empowering for some kids, the emphasis on solving puzzles for themselves might be frustrating for other kids.
6. DIY.org – Creative Challenges
DIY.org is a STEAM-approved app chock-full of instructional videos, featuring topics on simple machines, coding, crafting and building. On the app, kids can learn how to draw, cook, build simple machines, create science experiments and more.
Kids can choose from dozens of projects, ranging from photography to cooking and science experiments. Each project includes an introduction, a how-to video and a challenge.
While strictly kids only, it does offer an internal social media component, encouraging kids to upload photos and videos of their creations and comment on those of others. Not necessarily a “con,” but as with anything online, you’ll want to be mindful of your child’s activity.
Available on iPhone or iPad or Android
7. Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens
The smart problem-solving fun of Thinkrolls takes on a magical note with Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens. This app teaches kids strategic thinking and science skills through a fantastical fairytale themed narrative.
Your child can solve challenges in eight scenes and hundreds of levels using flying potions, ghosts and mirrors, magical harps—and of course scientific thinking.
This app lets kids try out different strategies and come up with their own solutions to solve problems, without penalizing them for wrong answers.
Some kids might get frustrated over the lack of instruction and hints.
8. Gimble the Happy Tree Frog
Gimble the Happy Tree Frog teaches kids math in the form of an interactive digital storybook. The story follows Gimple as he uses math to plan a pizza party, and your child can choose to either have the story read to them or read along on their own.
Through challenges like counting guests and estimating the cost of the pizzas, they’ll be introduced to a wide variety of math concepts.
What makes this app stand out is the use of applied learning through storytelling to help young children “learn by doing” to pick up math fundamentals.
Some parents have reported design flaws (such as inconsistent use of animation) that can take some kids out of the experience.
9. Who Am I?
Who Am I: The Race Awareness Project is an app that helps kids develop an awareness of race, ethnicity and culture. Developed by a Harvard professor and an award-winning producer, it introduces kids to themes like tolerance and diversity ahead of their first day of school.
It’s also a great conversation starter for parents and kids talk about multiculturalism and gender ambiguity.
This app provides a safe place for parents to launch important conversations about diversity that they may not have had to before. Parents can learn how to talk to kids about these subjects while examining their own attitudes. Kids also learn how to ask parents tough questions they might not feel comfortable asking their classmates or teachers.
Some parents may not feel their kids are ready for the subject matter covered in this app.
Available on iPhone or iPad
You can’t have a kid’s app list that mentions Thinkrolls without including the original! In this app, kids explore the galaxy with the help of an alien or robot themed Thinkroll character. To get to intergalactic dimensions, kids must solve logic and physics puzzles and maneuver through mazes, wind tunnels and, yup! Even cheese.
Tasks include flipping crates and dragging objects to complete puzzles.
As kids advance to higher levels, they use trial and error to work their way through more and more difficult challenges, keeping them on their toes from start to finish.
This app doesn’t offer hints, so young children may get stuck on more difficult levels.
Available on iPhone or iPad
uKloo is a reading scavenger hunt game that lets kids choose scenes and follow clues to reach new levels.
Your child can watch animations, read prompts and complete challenges to advance to new scenes.
When they have trouble reading tough passages, they can ask for help and a narrator will read the clues for them.
This app is perfect for beginner readers because it walks kids through each step of the reading process.
None, as far as we can tell!
12. Breath, Think, Do With Sesame
This modified meditation app can teach your child to calm down, and cope with and work through feelings and everyday frustrations in a way that’s fun and engaging.
Kids learn the skills and tools for dealing with emotions in any environment or situation.
Meanwhile parents can track their child’s progress and identify which challenges they need the most help with (anxiety, bedtime or taking turns, for example).
It may not appeal to children 6 years and older.
Age Range: 2+
Want to find more educational apps for kids that encourage both learning and fun? We’ve got a list for that too. Discover more of the best educational apps for 5-year-olds, and all ages!