The Best Learning Apps to Keep Kids Engaged All Summer

by Keith Meacham

Photo credit: LWA/Dann Tardif, Blend Images/Getty Images

We’ve all been there. Those last frenzied months of the school year leave us sprinting toward summer and dreaming of long lazy days reading on a screened porch with our kids, playing heated games of family Scrabble, making homemade ice cream.

Then summer hits.

Those unstructured months of June and July that once seemed so dreamy can become a major source of stress for parents with young children. We want to keep our kids stimulated, active, and learning all summer long, but there are only so many parent-directed activities a family can do in any given day.

Here’s some good news. Help is at hand this summer in the form of apps that are fun for kids and guilt-free for parents. So give yourself a break for half an hour. Let your child learn to code while you do your own summer reading. Download a learn-to-read app to keep your 5-year-old sounding out words on that long drive to the beach. Teach your child the fundamentals of meditation (a lifelong gift), or have some fun getting your bodies moving on a rainy day!

We’ve pulled together a list of apps for kids of all ages and stages that can help them learn math, apply critical thinking skills, learn about meditation and healthy living, develop important reading and phonics skills, or simply delight in stories.

  • Homer

    Homer’s learn-and-love-to-read app delights kids ages 2 to 8 while building reading skills and confidence. Shown in a recent study to increase early reading scores by 74%, Homer motivates kids to love reading and learning by building on what they already know and tapping into what interests them most, while teaching them to read from start to finish.

    Homer is available at home and on the go through iTunes and Web.

  • codeSpark

    codeSpark Academy is the most effective and engaging coding app for kids ages 5 to 8. Used by over 20 million kids worldwide, codeSpark’s project-based learning encourages kids to be technology makers — coding and sharing their own games, automating the care of silly pets, and taking on new challenges every month.

    codeSpark is available on iOS and Android.

  • SplashLearn

    SplashLearn is an adaptive, fun math program for Pre-K to Grade 5 and a reading program for Pre-K to Grade 2 that has benefited over 40 million kids. The math program goes grade by grade to help kids gain confidence and key skills. The reading program starts kids off by having them learn letter sounds and tracing letters, and then moves on to sight words and spelling.

    SplashLearn is available on iPad and web (mobile web friendly).

  • Headspace for Kids

    Grown-ups everywhere are talking about the benefits of meditation in helping increase focus, happiness, productivity, and longevity. The Headspace meditation app has a special section just for kids (ages 5 to 12), to teach them early about meditation in a quest to keep them healthy and happy now and in the future. Available at

  • GoNoodle

    Keep kids moving on rainy (or steamy) summer days with this delightful app developed to use technology to champion health, fight obesity, and promote mindfulness. Available through iTunes.

  • Tinybop

    Tinybop has two series of apps, built to change the way kids experience the world around them. The Explorer’s Library apps let kids explore the invisible and awesome wonders of our world — from The Human Body to The Earth. Digital Toys apps let kids build, test, and play with anything they can imagine — from robots to fantastical creatures.

    On the App Store: Buy an app bundle and save or get the Tinybop Explorer’s Pass at the Google Play Store.