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Using Common Sense: Best Apps and Videos for Learning

As your students settle into the school year and their routines at home, it’s important to remember that learning opportunities shouldn’t be relegated to the classroom alone. With families in mind, Common Sense has developed a series of trusted reviews and ratings for learning apps, videos, books and more to help parents select quality media for your kids. 

Our “Best of” lists offer handpicked, carefully reviewed titles grouped by category. Topics range from skills essential to life and work in the 21st century, to traditional academic subjects, to recommendations for particular settings or types of kids. And these titles are FUN! After all, excited, engaged kids are primed for learning.

While we have compiled lists of the best of the best for all ages, here are some great learning apps and games that Common Sense staffers have gathered and reviewed for kiddos to keep them engaged:

  • Dora the Explorer Movies, Games, and More: Play, sing, and learn with kids’ favorite bilingual explorer.
  • Podcasts and Audio Apps for Kids: Podcasts aren’t just for grown-ups, so find one like Fruit Punch Music, Tales Untold or Sparkle Stories that your whole family can enjoy.
  • Cool Online Museums for Curious Kids: Explore art, science, and history from around the world with apps such as Civilisations AR, Smithsonian Education Students, Exploratorium or Google Art Project.
  • Fun Apps That Don’t Need Wi-Fi or Data: Sometimes you can’t stay connected, but these apps will let the fun continue! Check out codeSpark Academy, Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens and Jump Numbers.
  • Apps and Sites for Kids Who Hate Math: Things just don’t add up when your kid can’t stand math, but these tools can help. Some of the best include: Bedtime Math; Kahoot! Algebra by DragonBox; MathTango; or Mystery Math Town.
  • Apps for Kids Who Think Reading Is Boring: For some kids, picking up a book is like torture. Take the sting out of text and find a fun inroad with apps like uKloo, SwapTales: Leon, Marvel Hero Tales and Weirdwood Manor.
  • Apps to Help Kids Stay Focused: From little kid to teen, all youngsters get distracted, so consider using some tech to keep them on track like KazuTime, ChorePad, Focus Keeper Pro or Streaks.
  • Quirky Apps That Can Help Your Kid Learn: These apps are bizarre in the best ways — and they offer learning opportunities. Some great ones are Busy Water, WindoSill and The Robot Factory by Tinybop.
  • Apps and Sites for Gifted and Talented Kids: Though these tools are great for all kids, they have special appeal for kids who need an extra challenge. DIY.org: Creative Challenges, Dotopedia, Storybird and The Foolish King are a few to get them engaged.
  • Best Math Games for 2nd Grade: Keep your kid’s love of numbers alive with these super-fun tools with apps like Math Bakery 2, Math Wizard for Kids, Hexologic and Rookie Maths.
  • Games That Support Kindness and Compassion: Step into others’ shoes with great games such as A Bird Story, Social Adventures and Chuchel.
  • Best News Sources for Kids: News websites designed for a young audience that we like are Newsela, News-O-Matic: Reading for Kids, NewsForKids.net and Time for Kids.

For more tips and resources, go to commonsense.org. You can also sign up for our bilingual texting program, Tips by Text for families with children aged 3 to 11. Parents and caregivers can get entertainment picks and tips for healthy tech use, sent by text message. Just text the word “kids” to 21555 for English and “familia” for Spanish to sign up for this free service.


Ilana Lowery is the Arizona director for the nonprofit Common Sense Media. She can be reached at ilowery@commonsense.org

Ilana Lowery
Ilana Loweryhttp://commonsense.org
Ilana Lowery is the Arizona director for Common Sense Media. She can be reached at ilowery@commonsense.org.

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