July 17, 2015

10 FREE Apps for Kindergarten that Students Love

I love incorporating technology into my whole group lessons and center time. One way I let students work with technology is by having an iPad center for my literacy centers and my math centers. I only have 1 iPad with 3 kids at a center, so they have to learn how to share. Here's a list of 10 FREE apps I used in the classroom and tips of how to organize them on an iPad.

To help younger students navigate to the correct games, I divide the games into 2 folders: reading & math. This way your students know which folder to open up, depending on what center time it is.  I didn't add them to the folder until we had learned that skill. We also play the game a few times whole group (projected on my Apple TV) so students know how to find the app, skip over the ads, and navigate the app.  Most of these apps have a paid version if you don't want to mess with the ads or you want the extra levels.
Literacy Apps
At the beginning of Kindergarten, learning the alphabet and forming letters is crucial! This app Phonics Island helps students learn how to trace letters correctly and it gives them "green light" and "red light" hints of where to start and stop. If they don't trace it exactly, it makes them start over. After they trace the letter, it makes the letter sound and says the name of the animal that starts with that sound. 
My students actually really enjoyed this Beginning Phonics app. It simply has them match the picture to the correct beginning sound. It tells them the name of the picture as well, in case they can't figure it out. I like that this app uses real life images. I think they like watching the fun animation go across the screen when they get one right. :)
How cute is this penguin? This Spelling with Cimo Sound Out app helps students build words. It has the letters mixed up at the bottom of the screen and students have to move each letter in the correct order, so the penguin can walk across the ice. The app has 6 levels of play with more difficult sounds such as bossy r, long vowels, irregular vowels, etc. We stick to level 1 until we are ready to move up. Here are more apps by this same developer (PlaySmart Kids). They have quite a few FREE apps that look really great!!
Futaba is by far one of their favorite games. WARNING: it has annoying music in the background :) (teach them how to turn the volume down). Students simply look at the picture in the middle, then try to be the first person to find the word. The free version is for 2 players, the paid version, allows up to 4.
When we are working on sentence building, I use the app Sentence Maker. This app can be customized so that you can provide picture, word, and sentence clues. As your students get better at sentences, you can hide those gray boxes so they have to build the sentence all by themselves. You can also set how many words you want in a sentence.
Math Apps
Just like learning letters is so important, learning numbers is another beginning of the year skill that we work on A LOT! This Number Quiz app is very similar to the letter app where students work on tracing the numbers.  This app also has students work on 1-1 correspondence and find the correct numbers. 
Learning Gems- Colors N Shapes helps students work on colors and shapes at the very beginning of school. Not all students have preschool, so some students do not come to Kindergarten knowing their colors and shapes. This app tell them the color and shape to find, and they have to click on it. It starts off with just a few shapes, then gradually gets harder adding more shapes and colors for them to choose from.
For beginning addition and subtraction, I like the app Addition and Subtraction For Kids. It provides a visual as well as the number sentence to help students add and subtract. Only level 1 is unlocked on this FREE app. 
Another really fun app is Teaching Number Lines. It works on a variety of math skills such as number lines, addition, subtraction, skip counting, and sequencing. The students enjoy making the frog hop along the number line. When I use this whole group, my students use a teddy bear and number line at their seat, while once person gets to do it on the iPad that is projected onto my Apple TV.
This app, Number Pieces Basic, can be used when learning about base 10 blocks and place value. Students drag over the base 10 blocks and then use the marker/pen tool to write down the number. I like how the blocks are different colors to distinguish between hundreds, tens, and ones. They can then "trash" it and do another number. I let students work together in pairs to give each other numbers because they love trying to come up with a HARD number their friend may not know.; )

There are many apps out there that are engaging and educational for little learners, but I hope you found a few that might be useful to you. What are your favorite apps?


  1. Love this list. I'm always looking for new apps for my kiddos so thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the list. I have some of them and some I hadn't heard of. Can't wait to get back into my classroom and start downloading apps on our iPads

  3. Thanks for sharing these. I'm always looking for ideas and love hearing what other teachers find that works.

  4. Thanks for this, we have a roadtrip coming up and I was looking for some new apps to freshen up our ipads. Thanks for the new ideas and letting us know the good with the bad. For my tips on roadtrip with kids, check out: http://www.hopepostkids.com/roadtrip-planner/