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Best Apps for Grades K–5

18 of our favorite apps for kids in grades K-5

Introduction: According to the mobile attribution and analytics company, adjust, more than 200,000 apps were released in the first four months of 2014 alone. This ever-filling sea of technology can overwhelm parents who are fishing for the best apps for their children. Listed here are a number of great catches sure to provide quality educational entertainment to elementary-aged children.

1. Number Train (Kindergarten)

All aboard for lessons in developing number sense! Cute characters and colorful shapes roll down the tracks to introduce children to numbers one through 20. Kids unlock surprises inside train cars as they learn about number sequence and numbers' relation to quantities. In addition to multiple mini-games in its cargo, Number Train helps children learn to write numbers and perfect motor skills with a feature that has children trace numbers with their fingers.

2. Busy Shapes (Kindergarten)

The square peg won't fit into the round hole! Children will learn this as they drag basic shapes into virtual holes that also vary in shape. Besides circles, squares and triangles, objects with distinct shapes such as a star—must be put into their places, too. Busy Shapes challenges the reasoning skills of children. Sometimes a hole will need to be filled with multiple shapes. For example, a hole shaped like an arrow requires the shape of a large triangle and a small rectangle.

3. Sight Words by Photo Touch (Kindergarten)

With easy-to-read fonts, children learn to recognize words by sight, sound, and touch. Multiple words on flash cards fill the screen as a voice says the word the child must identify. To increase the challenge, more words are shown at a time. The voice on the app can be changed, as well. Not only can parents add their own voices to the mix, but they can also load their own pictures to go along with the lessons.

4. Splash Match (1st Grade)

This app uses pictures and models to teach kids addition and subtraction math facts. Happy characters and vibrant colors engage children as they work word problems and learn to identify coins and count money. This app even includes a learning activity for reading time and setting clocks in both whole hours and half hours. Growth charts can even be sent to parents' e-mail.

5. Phonics Awareness (1st Grade)

Cute bugs crawl about to merge letters that form words. Syllables of words are distinguished aloud and by sight for students. Parents who want to track their child's progress will find that capability in Phonics Awareness.

6. First Grade Learning Games (1st Grade)

Twelve wonderful mini-games challenge and fortify children's skills in spelling, fractions, contractions, compound words, and pattern recognition. Fun activities like word Bingo will delight children. All mini-games are easy to play and need few, if any, instructions.

7. Water Cycles (2nd Grade)

These 150 puzzles require children to use special reasoning and map reading skills as they send water through appropriate places in cities, farms and factories. Students will learn about topics such as evaporation, condensation, and filtration. Sound effects and music mimic an outdoor environment with the sound of downpours and sprinkles.

8. This Is My Food-Nutrition for Kids (2nd Grade)

Kids pick a character and learn about the food on that character's plate. The app includes narration and graphics that help teach food fun facts, how fruits and vegetables grow, and how one's body processes food. Kids learn about the eating habits of vegetarians, vegans, and ethnic groups. They will also be taught food groups and the relationship between food and energy. Kids can also grow a virtual garden and build virtual sandwiches.

9. Learn to Read NOK - Syllables (2nd Grade)

Early reading skills are strengthened with the help of alien-like creatures in a factory setting. Visual representations are shown with every word. Kids have to determine the number of syllables per word; they can also build words by using different syllables.

10. Sticker Story – The Storybook Creativity Kit for Kids

Kids become both writers and illustrators with this app. Great for reinforcing chronological order, Sticker Story has kids place pictures (or stickers) of settings, characters, objects and text on pages to create their very own story. When different backgrounds are chosen, the objects and characters' clothing change to fit the scene. These images are organized in logical groups to help youngsters easily find an image to fit their stories. An added bonus is the export function that allows young authors to share their work with friends and family.

11. Math vs. Zombies (3rd Grade)

Zombies are on the loose! The future of the world is at stake, but there is hope. In this app, players become scientists who can treat the zombies, but to do so, they have to solve math problems. Scientists advance through seven worlds, each with 21 levels that cover addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and inequalities. Reports to parents are available, too, so one can see how players rank on Common Core standards.

12. Reading Comprehension (3rd – 5th Grade)

This app provides reading practice with fiction and non-fiction. Twelve stories await readers, each with comprehension questions. Kids enjoy the high-interest reading selections, and they will learn the importance of re-reading for information. Activities in this app are aligned with Common Core standards.

13. SolarWalkTM Free – Solar System Planets, Orbits, and Moons with Pictures, Sounds, and Lessons (4th Grade)

Amazing graphics lift kids into space! Children explore celestial bodies including their trajectories, inner structures, geography and exploration history. Special features allow one to zoom in and out on 3D images. Kids are sure to be inspired with this app's award-winning content.

14. Tic Tac Math Trilogy (4th Grade)

Who doesn't enjoy a game of old-fashion tic-tac-toe? The rules are the same as you remember them, but to earn an X or an O, math questions must be answered correctly. Need scrap paper? Just use your finger to work out the math in the margin around the game board. Play solo or with a friend to solve problems using basic math, fractions, or algebra.

15. 4th Grade Frenzy (4th Grade)

The app quizzes kids in multiple subjects, each with multiple levels. Solitary play is an option, but what kids love most about this app is the ability to compete against others around the world. Parents might not consider it a game, but the kids sure do!

16. Roman Numerals (5th Grade)

Similar to addictive jewel swapping games, this app helps youngsters recognize the Roman equivalents of Arabic numbers.

17. Fractions – by Braining Camp (5th Grade)

Narrated lessons guide learners in understanding fractions. Identifying common denominators and equivalent fractions are discussed. Students are given practice problems in which they must add, subtract, multiply and divide with fractions.

18. Cell Defender (5th Grade)

Investigate how cells work within a living body! Students become a character on a mission: save the family dog! A great inventor has had a horrible accident with his experiment. Only his son will be able to restore the canine's health. While on the mission, students are introduced to new biology terms.

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