The IPad can be an invaluable tool for educational purposes, especially for upper elementary, middle school, and even older students. The wealth of educational apps available for an IPad is incredible, but it can also be overwhelming at times. Here are some of our favourite IPad educational apps for elementary and middle school students, with a few that even adults love!
Educational Apps On The IPad
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NOTE: This started as a list of free apps, but we have added some incredible paid apps now too. These are apps we feel are well worth the money for their educational value and quality educational experience provided to kids.
So I am going to share a little secret. I’m an Android girl. I love my Android phones and tablets. Then, about a year ago, I got an IPad for work. Little did I know how much I would come to love and use the IPad not just for work, but for teaching and learning. Especially for my kids that have such an insatiable thirst for knowledge. The variety and quality of some of the apps I have used on our IPad is just exceptional, and it opens the way to some amazing multi-sensory learning.
Is An IPad Worth It For Kids?
I am often asked if it is worth investing in an IPad. Face it, there are far cheaper options in tablets, and when we are talking about products our kids will be using, it can often be wise to save money. Especially if you have kids that are not careful.
Up until last year I would have said no, an IPad is not worth it for kids. It’s simply too expensive to risk in little hands. But now my kids are older and more responsible (and far less destructive!) my tune has changed.
I would say if you have responsible children who understand how to treat a tablet with respect and care, plus have a desire to learn, and IPad is an exceptional tool.
The main reason is because so many educational apps that we have come to love, are IPad specific. And I honestly believe that my youngest, with his special needs, has seriously had his educational enriched through the use of educational apps on the IPad.
Wondering what apps we love the most? Here are our top picks for upper elementary and middle school students.
Educational Apps For The IPad
Tappity – Science App
This is the app that started it all for me in using an IPad. And for this one app alone I would say the IPad has been worth it. It uses an incredible, multisensory approach that is extremely effective at helping children learn and retain information and facts. The app is always being updated not only with new content, but new features and refreshing designs. Highly recommended!
Tappity has generously offered a 33% discount for STEAM Powered Family readers. Sign up here to save!
The Osmo educational systems are exceptional. They do require some additional hardware, so you need to make a physical purchase, but the integration of the hands on manipulatives with the app is incredible. We have used it to learn things like:
- Money sense (my son loves running his pizza shop!),
- to make Math simply magical with their new math wizard games,
- Coding, including a brilliant program called Coding Jam in their Coding Starter Kit which teaches coding through music,
- Plus so many other really cool educational games!
Hoopla is a free program available through your local library. It provides instant access to a massive digital library of resources including ebooks, audiobooks, videos, movies, tv shows and more.
We have a huge collection of Sphero! It is one of our favourite robotic kits. We hook all of them up to our IPad and the kids are off in moments programming and controlling their robots’ activities. Starting with simple line drawing for younger kids, the complexity grows with the child as they start block programming and eventually scripting. Most of all, the robots are a ton of fun! Even years after we brought them home, our Sphero robots are a favourite of everyone.
We are space lovers around here, so our IPad features a few space apps that we love. The biggest of them all is NASA. With their app you can access to all the latest information, images and videos from NASA.
If you enjoy this app, there are others from NASA, including one specific to the ISS.
Cosmic Watch is like having a planetarium in your hands. This powerful educational tool provides your space lovers with stunning images of the earth and space in real time.
How many times have you anxiously awaited a major comic event, only to have it be cloudy? With Cosmic Watch you can travel through time and space to important astronomical events so you never miss the next cosmic phenomena.
Solar Walk – Planets Explorer
Another great app for your space science lovers, this one takes them through our solar system as they explore and learn about our neighboring planets, moons and even satellites.
The Elements by Theodore Gray
We love this book so much, we were so excited to discover they have an app! It’s a wonderful way to explore the periodic table and learn about all the elements and how they are used on a daily basis.
I’m still quite new to Netflix. I can’t believe how much we enjoy it. The number of unique educational programming features is incredible. Especially in the science and STEM genres. The best part is that we can take our shows on the road with the Netflix app on our IPad. The learning never ends!
Khan Academy is a leader in educational programming. Whenever we are teaching something and I have a child struggling, Khan Academy lessons are one of my go to options to provide them with a new presentation of the information. Often, with the help of Khan Academy my kids can gain a better and deeper understanding of the topics.
There are many more amazing apps for the IPad that we have yet to explore, but these are our favourites right now with our STEM education goals. We can’t wait to find even more great opportunities with the IPad!