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Digital brain food

Entertainment can be packed with learning using these 10 kid-friendly apps

Mathures Paul Published 14.11.21, 12:09 AM

Toca Nature

Almost every app from Toca Boca, the Swedish development studio, is a hit among children. On Toca Nature, kids will get their hands messy only with digital dirt while building hills and digging channels for rivers and lakes. And then collect berries, mushrooms or nuts to feed animals, learning who eats what, and then walk through different landscapes and become friends with a fox. It’s a perfect world for toddlers.


Pok Pok Playroom

Soon after launching, Pok Pok won an Apple Design Award and the app has been launching regular updates adding new engaging toys and features. On the app is a collection of toys and activities that encourage cognitive and socio-emotional development and there is no winning or losing involved. Meant for ages two to six, the app seeks to empower kids to take risks and feel accomplished when things come together for them but the reward is more play rather than prizes. Activities include a mix-and-match block game where kids can build dozens of different characters, a drawing pad, and a Busy Board packed with buttons, switches, bells and musical blobs. It’s truly a visual delight.

Bedtime Math

Instead of a bedtime story, kids can use math as a bonding tool during bedtime… actually anytime of the day. Each exercise revolves around a short narrative and poses questions at four difficulty levels, from pre-K through elementary school. The questions are such that an adult needs to facilitate the discussion. Perfect to get kids jazzed about numbers, which rarely happens on other apps.


There are two versions — Lightbot and Lightbot Jr — and instead of teaching you an actual coding language, these introduce kids to the basics of commands, conditionals, loops, and nested statements. Patience is key when it comes to coding, and that’s something Lightbot instills in children. After the first few puzzles, which just get the kid interested, things slowly get tougher, requiring patience to solve problems.


Sure, ‘A’ is for ‘apple’ but does it always needs to be that way?! Winner of an Apple Design Award, Metamorphabet brings alphabets alive. Tap on ‘A’ to make it grow antlers, which then becomes an arch that goes on an amble. ‘B’ is for ‘bushy beard’ and ‘beak belching’. It’s insanely creative and perfectly usable for pre-school children.

Khan Academy Kids

As spectacular as anything from Khan Academy, the kids version of the app covers things like reading, language, writing, math, and some extra stuff like social development and problem-solving skills. Free to use, new content — books, songs, videos and so on — gets added regularly to keep kids engaged.

Stack the States 2

A game rolled into an educational tool, the app helps kids learn geography and brush up on general knowledge. Answer correctly to add to your stack, and the ultimate goal involves having a stack of a certain height.

Tiny Orchestra

Create your unique orchestra and listen to a melody on your favourite musical instruments from all over the world. The first of its three mini-games highlights a range of musical instruments and then comes “ear training” (a multiple-choice quiz in which children try to identify what’s playing) and then comes create an orchestral performance.

Brainpop Jr. Movie of the Week

Founded in 1999 by Dr Avraham Kadar as a creative way to explain difficult concepts to young patients, Brainpop Jr. Movie of the Week is an app that gives younger kids access to videos, plus short quizzes on them. There is a free version but to access the full library, a subscription is needed. Brainpop also has a version for older kids too.

Archeology: Dig Up History

More like a museum in your pocket, kids will go dino-mad, transforming them into palaeontologists using the power of AR. Wherever you are, point the iPhone’s camera at the ground and the app will allow you to tap away and unearth fossils.

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