32 awesome steam education apps to help kids improve their grades

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Studycat Editorial Team

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Inspire your little one to become a scientist or an artist through the power of S.T.E.A.M. Read our list of hand-picked apps that your kids, and you, will love!

Have you heard of the STEAM educational framework before? It’s a concept that’s been gaining steam for about 15 years now. And if you have a young child in school right now, you should definitely learn about it. Here’s our list of 32 awesome STEAM education apps for students of all ages!

So, what is STEAM education?

S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

The founder of this newer version of STEM, Georgette Yakman, had a strong feeling that traditional STEM education was lacking in certain areas. She felt that even though STEM’s subject matters were fantastic — most students were learning mostly just sets of rules and not how to problem solve or think creatively. That’s why she set out to create a new framework incorporating the arts in addition to the other subjects.

She explains the idea behind her framework in this quote:

“Science and Technology, interpreted through Engineering and the Arts, all based in elements of Mathematics.”

— Georgette Yakman

The idea of being able to combine different subjects together to apply to other areas isn’t really new—but it’s not often practiced in the real world (yet). However, the more advanced our world gets technologically, the more the requirement for people with interdisciplinary skill sets will increase.

Autonomous vehicles will need programmers who know both the physics of how cars work and how to program them to be safe. Product managers need to combine artistic design with business and marketing skills in order to be effective in their roles. Multinational companies value workers who are able to speak more than one language as they can help cross cultural bridges that others can’t.

Diverse skillsets are becoming more sought after

The world is definitely well on it’s way to valuing multiple disciplines at a premium. Especially in the areas of science, technology, and math.

If your kid becomes an expert in any of those areas and also has incredible creative thinking skills from practicing different forms of art all their life—their chances of becoming the next Jeff Bezos will skyrocket.

And luckily for you (and your children), learning these subjects has never been easier!

There are now literally thousands of apps in the areas of STEAM—and many of them are purposely made for young learners.

What does that mean? Well, usually STEAM education apps intended for kids will have some of these additional qualities:

  1. They prioritise fun — with the goal of encouraging kids to learn through play (instead of treating it like dreaded homework)
  2. They’re gamified — Many of these apps will share aspects of popular video games while making sure STEAM learning is the outcome
  3. They are simple to understand and use — Professional educators are often involved in the creation of many of these apps, ensuring the lessons incorporated are suitable for every kind of child learner

There is one small problem with STEAM apps today, though. There’s too many of them! That’s why the Studycat team got together to showcase some of our favorite apps you can download and use at home in 2020.

Please have a look through this great list of popular (and useful) STEAM apps for kids. They’re sorted by each area for your convenience with relevant information below each one.


Science—STEAM education Aapps for kids

Start training the world’s next Einstein in the comfort of your own home! And what better way to achieve that aspiration than with educational tools your children actually want to use.

Here are some of the best apps for helping engage the scientists of the future!

1. Tappity

Tappity combines the art of storytelling with interactivity and knowledge. It was the #1 best seller under the science category in Apple’s App Store for a good reason—this app is amazing. Follow along with the app’s science tutor—Haley—to explore the universe one adventure at a time. The best part? The interactivity of the app allows your kids to do everything—from changing the weather on Venus to going back in time to see dinosaurs. The app also contains over 200 science lessons and stories in a huge variety of subjects. Their content is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards for K-5th Grade.

Ages: 4 – 11 Get it for: iPad, iPhone Cost: Free with in-app purchases Nuts and bolts: If you want your child to have an amazing time while learning about all aspects of science and the universe—this is the app for you. Read more about Tappity on their website

2. Britannica kids – solar systems

The people at Encyclopedia Britannica have brought together an amazingly thorough and amusing app to teach kids everything about space exploration and our solar system. The app includes quizzes, puzzles, and other games to keep kids engaged as they learn about the history of astronomy, astronauts, and our solar system.

Ages: 4 – 16 Download it for: Apple Products Cost: $1.99 Nuts and bolts: Don’t let the ‘kids’ description fool you for this astronomy app. It’s fun for all ages too!

3. WWF rivers

This great app comes from the charity World Wildlife Fund. They use the cool new technology called AR (augmented reality) to help kids learn about rivers, damns, and flooding—and how rivers are so important to the environment. A narrator guides the user along as they zoom in, focus, and explore the different aspects of the app from a top-down view. This is a very cool use of technology to help kids learn about nature!

Ages: 5-16 Us it on: Apple and Android devices Price: Free Learn more about their app on the website Nuts and bolts: The AR tech is super cool and an amazingly interactive way to teach your kids about the environment.

Honorable mentions for science educational apps:

NASA app

This free app is brought to you by the amazing team over at NASA. Ever heard of them? To say this app has a lot of content would be an extreme understatement. Your kid can explore absolutely everything they’d want to know about space exploration, astronomy, or space history. They also add new information almost daily from the main NASA sources and content channels. It even lets your kids keep track of NASA’s own launch schedules—just in case they want to watch the next blast-off!

The app is available on Android and Apple products and is suitable for ages 7 and up.

3D Brain

This interactive app is almost literally a map of the brain. Users can zoom in, rotate, and explore all of the many, many, parts of the human brain. The app explains how each specific area works, what happens during injuries and even touches on the subject of how the brain’s connection to mental illness works. The subject matter might be too difficult for most young kids, but if you have a 10 year old or over, they should be fine.

The app is available on Android and Apple products and is suitable for ages 10 and up.

National Geographic GeoBee Challenge

I’m sure you’ve heard of National Geographic and their long-running amazing educational magazine series. With GEOBEE, they delved into the area of teaching through trivia. The game contains more than 1,300 geography related questions combined with a highly interactive map covering just as many locations. If your child likes challenges, trivia, and geography, then this app is absolutely perfect for them!

The app is available on Android and Apple products and is suitable for ages 12 and up.


Technology—STEAM education apps for kids

Kids growing up in the modern age have a tendency to be glued to their phones and tablets. Without proper instruction or motivation, they’ll consume content for 24 hours—and most of it probably won’t be educational.

But what if you could flip the switch and have them learn instead of just consume. Programming has become one of the most prominent fields today, and will only continue growing in popularity and need. If your child already loves playing games, there’s a good chance they’ll love programming them even more! Especially if it’s taught in a fun and rewarding way.

Here are a few apps that do an excellent job of that.

1. Tynker

Tynker is an outstanding app that helps kids learn to program in a fun visual manner. It’s won multiple awards and already has over 60 million downloads! Kids are able to use the ‘Hour of Code’ section for free to make their own apps and games. They’re also able to share their games or download ones made by other kids just like them! The app also includes a paid instructional course for game design or an introduction to programming itself.

Ages: 8 – 16 Subject: Programming Available on: iPhone, iPad Price: Free with in-app purchases Check them out Nuts and bolts: Coding concepts made fun in an easy-to-use format and style.

2. Codemurai

This is a great introductory app for kids who want to start exploring the area of programming. It includes hundreds of mini-lessons that teach kids a wide variety of programming areas. Using challenges and quizzes, the app helps your child to start mastering web, app, and game development. Highly recommended for kids brand new to programming because of it’s simplistic explanations and learning style.

Ages: 8 – 14 Subject: Programming Available on: Apple & Android Price: Free with in-app purchases Nuts and bolts: A perfect app for children brand new to programming.

3. Kodable

The Kodable app does an amazing job of combining stories, adventure and fun with the art of learning programming. The cute and memorable ‘Fuzz’ family is the perfect guide for your child in this super fun programming logic-teaching adventure game. They even created a custom coding interface just for kids!

Ages: 4 – 12 Subject: Programming Get it for: iPad, iPhone Price: Free with in-app purchases Kodable’s Website Nuts and bolts: Your kids won’t even realize they’re learning while playing this educational programming app!

Honorable mentions for technology education apps:

Tommy the Turtle

Tommy the Turtle takes a different approach to teaching children how to program. It doesn’t use any code at all, instead it’s meant to teach the fundamental building blocks of how to program. It’s definitely meant for younger children—and it does a great job at simplifying such a complex subject as programming. The ‘code’ in the app is represented by various actions your child can have Tommy the Turtle perform. After the main bulk of the lessons are learned, the children can explore a custom mode where they can ‘program’ Tommy to make unique and interesting games.

The app is available on Android and Apple products and is suitable for ages 5 and up.

ScratchJr

Scratch Jr puts a fun twist on visual programming—and is also based on the hugely popular Scratch programming language built by MIT. Users combine different pictures and visual programming blocks to make characters jump, dance, and run around. These are all within the context of making interactive stories and games to give a sense of a goal for children to achieve. One of the best parts? Your child can add their own sounds, music, and photos to use in the games they create! This app uses a modified version of Scratch that specifically makes it easier for kids to use—and learn.

The app is available on Android and Apple products and is suitable for ages 5 and up.

Hopscotch

Hopscotch is another block-based visual programming app that tries to make the experience fun for kids to learn and create. An interesting part of this tool is that it allows users to not only share their own programs and animations, but to help or use other kids’ programs too! They can also start programming from scratch, use templates, or follow along in tutorials. One additional point, this app was built with a focus on mobility—it was created for use on mobile devices rather than on computers. Which is great for car rides, long lines, or anytime your child has some extra free time on their hands to learn and play.

The app is available on Apple products and is suitable for ages 9 and up.


Engineering—STEAM education apps for kids

Would you like to raise the next Elon Musk of Generation Alpha or Z? Engineers are always in demand, especially in a future where automated vehicles and production will require more and more advanced mechanics. Here are some amazing apps that can help instill the tinkering spirit in your young one at home.

1. Crazy Gears

Crazy Gears doesn’t include many instructions, on purpose. The app involves a drag and drop play-style that encourages kids to do what they do best—play! It includes over 60 levels packed full of puzzling challenges involving gears, wheels, pulleys, and many more core concepts of physical engineering. For those parents that want to be more involved in this subject and app, there’s a guide available as well.

Ages: 5 – 12 Subject: Engineering Use it on: iPad, iPhone Price: $2.99 Learn More Nuts and bolts: A great introduction to the logic of basic engineering physics.

2. Tinkercad

Have you heard of CAD (Computer Aided Design) before? It’s a complex coding system that engineers use to design everything from everyday products to entire buildings and freighter ships. This industrial art is incredibly important in today’s society but can be quite a challenge to learn for young people. Fortunately the team behind Tinkercad set out to create a child-friendly version of this software to encourage teaching of the fundamental building blocks of CAD. This app heavily relies on manipulating simple objects to create complex shapes and eventually their own creations. Users can also create their own custom objects and shapes to add to the program. An interesting aspect of this app—the parents can order 3D prints of the creations on the app, which is pretty cool in our books.

Ages: 8 – 16 Subject: Engineering/Design Devices: iPad, iPhone Price: Free Want to learn more about Tinkercad? Nuts and bolts: A very fun way to practice visual orientation and learn the basics of CAD programming.

3. World of Goo

The World of Goo is an incredibly popular game designed to teach fundamental concepts of engineering to kids. It involves a wonderful cartoony immersive world where the user has to help the ‘Goo Corporation’ solve many of its production problems. Users have to use cute balls of goo to build bridges, cannonballs, giant tongues, and so much more. Keep the goo flowing! Each level even has some helpful hints if your child gets stuck at any point. A very fun app for children to practice their problem solving skills and learn some basic tenets of engineering at the same time.

Ages: 6 – 15 Subject: Engineering Get it on: Apple & Android devices Price: $4.99 Check out 2D Boy’s website to learn more Nuts and bolts: An addictive game with a great foundation for learning the fundamentals of basic engineering principles.

Honorable mentions for engineering steam apps:

Minecraft

Minecraft has been a pretty popular game amongst kids over the last decade. Selling over 200 million copies and having almost 150 million monthly players certainly proved that point! In fact, it’s the most sold game in the history of video games—not an easy feat.

If you haven’t come across it before, Minecraft is an ‘open-world’ game where users can explore, mine, and build everything from complex circuits to beautiful castles—or even cities. One of the game modes also has night-time monsters for a bit of added fun and action. The game is the perfect creativity booster. Almost every aspect of the game encourages problem solving and learning—how to use ingredients, how to build things, how structures work—it’s like LEGO on steroids.

So if you’re kid is going to play video games at home anyway, Minecraft is a great way to make sure they’re learning something while doing it.

The app is available on Android and Apple products as well as on Microsoft Windows and is suitable for ages 6 and up.

The Robot Factory

The Robot Factory is a great app for learning how to design and test creations. Players start by creating their very own robot using the app’s intuitive drag and drop style. User’s can also add their own sounds for the robot to say in different situations. After each robot is finally created, kids take the robot out into different in-game worlds and environments to see how it stands up to testing. They can then go back and modify or fix the robot to try to overcome each new challenge (or start from scratch with a brand new one).

The app is available on Apple products and is suitable for ages 5 and up.

Inventioneers

Inventioneers takes an interesting angle when teaching engineering skills to children. The first part of the game involves creating inventions for the character to use. They can also share these with other users (or borrow some too). The next part of the game is a series of unique puzzles where the kid’s character has to use a set of tools and helper characters (inventioneers) to solve the problems. It strives to teach the practice of trial and error by having children critically think and plan how to solve each puzzle, then press play. If the puzzle isn’t solved (ex. a cat falling into a basket from out of a tree), then the user must start over and replan. A great way to learn logic-based thinking!

The app is available on Android and Apple products and is suitable for ages 7 and up.


Arts—Educational apps for kids

STEM was recently expanded to include another hugely important field of learning—arts! This includes everything from language, music to drawing and creating videos. Inspire the next Picasso with some of these cool apps and let your kids explore their creative side!

1. Studycat

Ages: 3 – 8 Subject: Language learning App description: Studycat brings a fantastic gamified learning environment to languages. The apps start out with simple but fun vocabulary memory games to establish the basics and then lead into fun songs, games, and challenges to continue learning in a natural way. Studycat’s series of apps offer language learning for many different languages too.

So if you’re interested in helping your child learn English, French, Spanish, German, or Chinese—this may be the app for you! The Studycat series have 15 million users and have won multiple awards for their unique approach to language learning for children. Note, this is one of our own apps!

OS: Apple and Android Devices: iPhone, iPad, and Android devices Price: Free with in-app purchases Website Nuts and bolts: An amazingly playful way to learn English, French, German, Spanish or Chinese for any kid out there!

2. Memrise

Memrise is a great mechanical app for practicing language learning. People are also able to upload and download custom lists of text—so if your child needs some extra practice for any textbook, chances are that Memrise will have that list available in their collection. Languages include English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Russian, and many others. It’s been downloaded over 50 million times and has several different programs to use. It may be appropriate for older children as there isn’t much gamification with this app. But it’s a great study aid to help reinforce’ long-term vocabulary memory for any second language being pursued.

Ages: 8 – Adult Subject: Language Get it for: Apple and Android devices Price: Free with in-app purchases Find out more Nuts and bolts: A perfect supplementary tool for reinforcing vocabulary and phrases when learning a language.

3. Kids Learn Languages by Mondly

The Kids Learn Languages is another great tool for assisting kids in their language learning journey. It focuses on simple games and flashcards to reinforce memorization of important words and phrases. The app uses a combination of native English words, pictures, and simple games to help users understand words and practice forming sentences. They have programs for more than 30 languages and the app has been downloaded more than 50 million times.

Ages: 3 – 8 Subject: Language Downloadable for: Apple and Android devices Price: Free with in-app purchases Nuts and bolts: A great beginner’s app to help supplement everyday foreign language learning.

4. Sketchbook

The Sketchbook Pro app is a perfect tool for you kids to get creative and play around with design and drawing. The app comes with a wide range of tools like mirroring, rotation, layers, and plenty of brushes and colors. Users are also able to save and export their creations for later. This is a great introductory app to help your child learn digital sketching and drawing. Think of it as a precursor to more advanced programs like Photoshop and InDesign.

Ages: 8 – Adult Subject: Drawing & Design Use it on: Apple and Android devices Price: Free Check out Sketchbook’s website Nuts and bolts: An awesome open concept app to help your kid practice being creative and imaginative with drawing.

5. Simply Piano

This is the perfect app for students brand new to playing piano. Simply Piano is a very structured learning style where students will have to practice each step of the way in order to advance. It even forces users to play slower if they keep making the same mistake repeatedly. This helps reinforce the proper method (and makes things easier in the long-term). Students can expect to have a good grasp of chords, music reading, and several songs under their belt by the time they finish the app.

Ages: 4 – 12 Subject: Music Get it for: Apple and Android devices Price: Free Nuts and bolts: A great beginner’s app for kids wanting to learn piano.

Honorable mentions for art education apps:

DIY.org

The DIY app is a platform of do-it-yourself projects in a huge variety of subjects. Users can choose to learn any of the over 100 different skill categories—so it’s a perfect tool for parents to be involved with their children’s learning. They have a massive amount of projects to choose from—such as astronomy, cardboarding, cooking, gardening, and hardware building. The app serves as a companion to the DIY.org website. If you’re already using that website and community, be sure to download this tool to make things even easier.

The DIY project is also quite community intensive, with moderated comments and feedback. If parents choose to allow it, their kids can post updates, track their progress, and ask for feedback from other kids who have already completed their projects! This is an excellent tool for working on hobbies as a family outside of the normal classroom environment.

The app is available on Apple products and is suitable for ages 8 and up.

iOrnament

Have you heard of ornamental design? It’s a concept that combines art, science, and math to create absolutely wondrous artwork. The iOrnamental app takes that concept and simplifies down to its basics. It includes over 50 teaching tips that explains to users the concept behind how ornamental design works, as well as guiding them through the app’s functions. The app also includes galleries of famous examples and more information to learn about the subject. In addition, it lets users export all of their beautiful creations to social media or email for future storage and sharing.

The app is available on Apple products and is suitable for ages 8 and up.

LEGO Movie Maker

What kid doesn’t love playing with LEGO’s? The company behind the classic toy has also ventured into the app world with many different games and tools. LEGO Movie Maker 2 is one that stands out if you’re trying to teach your child the joy of film creation. This app takes place in the movie world of LEGO Movie 2 and features famous LEGO characters Lucy and Emmet (and many more). Your kid will be able to build a movie scene, record it, and edit with a series of very simple tools. Feel free to check out many of the other LEGO apps they’ve released—many of them are also STEAM oriented.

The app is available on Apple and Android products and is suitable for ages 8 and over.


Mathematics—Educational apps for kids

Math can be a challenging subject for even the smartest of kids out there. Fortunately, technology and teaching methods have advanced to bring them a better way to learn. Use these gamified math apps to spark an interest in the often dreaded-by-kids subject.

Make math fun for kids again!

1. Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids is an award winning app that is based on the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and Common Core standards. Parents can set up different accounts for multiple children, with unique lessons and learning paths for each user. The app includes several animal avatars to help children along their way. Kids can choose any of the suggested games, videos, books, songs, and activities to follow or choose from a database of hundreds available. The topics cover mathematics, logic learning, and arts. It’s a great app for both learning and practicing creative expression.

Ages: 3 – 7 Subject: Math Use it on: Apple and Android devices Price: Free Khan Academy Kids Nuts and bolts: Khan Academy Kids is famous for a reason—they make great math apps for kids!

2. DragonBox Elements

This colorful app aims to teach children many different aspects of geometry in a fun and engaging way. With over 100 puzzles, kids are able to practice the core concepts through drag and dropping, drawing, and simple tap gestures. They can even select a difficulty level to match their skills—but the program does get progressively harder to encourage learning and practice. The occasional puzzle can be quite challenging and as there are no hints, parents might have to lend a hand from time to time. This app is great for teaching the concepts of geometry and problem solving.

Ages: 8 – 15 Subject: Math and geometry Get it on: Apple and Android devices Price: $4.99 Nuts and bolts: A super fun way for your child to learn the core concepts of geometry.

3. Toon Math

Toon Math brings the concept of teaching through gamification to the next level. Think of it as a modern day Sonic the Hedgehog—-only the games actual purpose is to teach children math! It features a plethora of fun animal characters the user has to save by running through unique levels and using math to overcome obstacles. The game encourages speed as a motivation tool to get faster and faster at solving math problems. This is an amazing way to help your child become ultra-fast at solving math questions in their head! Perhaps the best part is, the gameplay itself is so fun your kid won’t even realize they’re becoming a math wizard while playing.

Ages: 6 – 12 Get Toon Math for: Apple and Android devices Price: Free, with in-app purchases Nuts and bolts: Your kids will love this game for the gameplay, you’ll love it because they’ll become Math Wizards.

Honorable mentions for mathematics STEAM apps:

Bugs and Numbers

Bugs and numbers is a cute bug based game perfect for helping younger kids learn essential math skills. The app consists of 18 parts, with 6 games in each part focused on pre-school to early elementary skill levels. Children are able to learn cool concepts in math such as counting, sorting, matching, addition, subtraction, money, time, and fractions. There’s also a fun reward system here—bugs! Every time children win games in the app, they earn more and more little bugs which they can zoom in to watch at any time.

The app is available on Android and Apple products and is suitable for ages 3 to 8.

King of Math Junior

The King of Math Junior app takes aspects of other famous games in the app store that focus on building up a character to higher and higher levels. In this case, the user starts off as a farmer and advances higher and higher through a medieval kingdom by learning and completing different math challenges. Kids start off with each section (books) and have to pass through 9 different lessons in each one. The concepts covered include addition, subtraction, counting, multiplication, division, and simple fractions. There is a free but limited version of the app which only includes the counting, addition, and subtraction lessons. Feel free to try it out before you buy the full version.

The app is available on Android and Apple products and is suitable for ages 4 to 10.

TouchMath Counting Basic

This app takes a unique approach to teaching kids about core concepts of numbers and equations. The team behind this app uses a proprietary method called the ‘TouchMath’ system and has been using the method for decades. TouchMath aims to drill a sense of association between actual objects and the written numbers themselves. The app tries to get away from the concept that a number is just some writing on a piece of paper—it teaches math in a way that ‘2’ becomes a concept of 2 things and isn’t just a symbol. As such, it’s a great way to assist young children that have learning difficulties in the area of mathematics.

The app is available on Android and Apple products and is suitable for ages 4 to 8.


Start using STEAM education apps today

I hope you enjoyed this list of some of our favorite STEAM education apps! No matter what interests your child may have today, finding ways to nurture and encourage them in these pursuits is always incredibly important.

And these days, there’s an app for everything. Fortunately for STEAM education, teachers and innovators have come together to make a huge amount of great apps to make learning more fun than ever before!

So go read the list, find out which subjects interest your child, then download and have fun. And you never know, maybe these fun learning apps will help mold the world’s next Nikola Tesla.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!