107 Favorite iPad Apps for K-8

ipad apps

Great iPad apps for K-8

Tablet computing and mobile devices promise to have a dramatic impact on education. A growing number of schools across the world are jumping on the digital bus and embracing  iPads (less often, other tablet products) as the latest tool to teach literature in multimedia, history through games and simulations, and math with step-by-step animation of problems.

Not surprisingly, student scores improve when they use iPads and their interest in school soars. I say not surprisingly because students love digital toys and in my experience work harder and longer if given the opportunity to do so with any of the digital offerings (ipods, laptops included).

In my school, we have been rotating one set of Pads this year through K-8. I’ve collected quite a few apps on a variety of subjects. I’d like to share the favorites of teachers and students with you, see what you think:


  • AirSketch Free–Turn your iPad into a wireless whiteboard! Project live sketches to a local computer.
  • Drawing Box (free)–Drawing Box is the most suitable app to learn and practice drawing and painting. With reponsive smooth pencil and brush strokes, graphical and intuitive interface, you can use it to make a quick sketch or a detailed study on the go.
  • How to Draw–Listen, follow the instructions and draw on your screen. See how easy it is.
  • PS Express–Phtoshop Lite–Adobe’s free app for editing photos on your iPad, iPhone, or iPad touch.
  • SketchBoard–Like to draw your own ideas? Want to keep them all in one place for further search? sketchBoard is simple yet powerful,


  • Atlas–Barefoot World Atlas is an interactive 3D globe for iPad that invites children to explore the regions and countries of the world, discovering hundreds of fascinating features and immersing themselves in the rich wonders of our planet.
  • Stack the Countries Lite Terra–Stack the Countries Lite makes learning about the world fun! Watch the countries actually come to life in this colorful and dynamic game!
  • Stuck on Earth–A new kind of travel app that brings you the best places in the world to visit, photograph, and experience. It’s the ultimate app for explorers, photographers, and daydreamers.


  • Human Atlas (lite)–With this free download you can experience just some of the power of the Blausen Human Atlas. Turn the 360 degree rotatable Human Body figure, see narrated 3D animations of five common medical conditions
  • SRN Client–Student Response Network (SRN) is a powerful “virtual Clicker” student/audience response system designed for use in wired school computer labs or with wireless laptop groups.


  • Early Jamestown–interactive textbook exploration of the early days of the Jamestown settlement and the state of Virginia.
  • Pass the Past–educational game to help students prepare for Virginia’s Standard’s of Learning (SOL) exams with a focus on World, United States and Virginia history, civics, and geography.
  • US History–McGraw-Hill Education’s American History Time Line is a fun and informative way to navigate the history of the United States.


  • Kids Maps–What are the major deserts of the world, the highest mountains, or the longest rivers? The Kids World Maps app will help you answer these important geographical questions.
  • LandFormer–Raise and lower terrain to solve puzzles in this unique and challenging game.
  • Stuck on Earth–A new kind of travel app that brings you the best places in the world to visit, photograph, and experience. It’s the ultimate app for explorers, photographers, and daydreamers.
  • TapQuiz Maps–Play TapQuiz™ Maps for an easy and quick way to master geography. Learn the countries of the world through a fun and engaging game!


  • Algebra Intro–Free. Have you forgotten most of your algebra? Algebra Touch refreshes your skills using techniques only possible on your iOS device.
  • CalcMadeEasy–Free–One of the Best Calculators for iOS devices. CalcMadeEasy FREE version comes with fully functional Scientific Calculator and Notepad with automatic note taking capability.
  • Elevated Math–Elevated Math provides initial instruction or intervention on math topics that cover place value, estimation, large digit addition all the way through Algebra I (two years of math instruction!)
  • Egberta’s Equations–Egberta the macaw has a nest full of tasty eggs that Cliff the climber wants to eat. Unfortunately, the eggs are on top of a tall cliff. Help Cliff reach the top and get the eggs by completing equations.
  • Flash to Pass–easy-to-use, elegant program designed to facilitate mastering the basic math facts learned in Elementary School.
  • Fraction Basic–free video app provides a quick and simple way for you to learn and understand the basics behind fractions.
  • Free GraCalc–A powerful, flexible graphing calculator . . . and it’s free!
  • Grade 1 Math–Simple and easy to use math drill app for your 1st grader!
  • Grade 2 Math–Simple and easy to use math drill app for your 2nd grader!
  • Grade 3 Math–Simple and easy to use math drill app for your 3rd grader!
  • Hungry Fish–Practice mental addition and subtraction with Motion Math
  • iFormulae–simple library consisting of various formulae, equations with their example.
  • Math Bingo— If you need a way to break the tedium of repetitious math fact practice, get your students and iPad and let them have at Math Bingo
  • Math Board Addition–good basic addition practice
  • Math Drills Lite–Graphically rich and fun environment allows a single student to learn basic math skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Math Glossary–MathTerms is an illustrated glossary of mathematics terms in English and Spanish.
  • Math Puppy–Bingo Challenge Educational Game
  • Math Ref – Free
  • Math Zoom–An animal adventure through the world of numbers!
  • Mental Math–Amaze and delight others as you multiply, divide, and square at lightning fast speed.
  • My Math Flashcards App–My Math Flash Card App is for mastering basic elementary math facts. Its an easy to use and customizable application to enable focused learning.
  • Pearl Diver–Collect all the pearls, avoid the crocodiles. Play the Willie Creek pearl diving game, great for kids aged 2-12
  • PercentageOff–Easy to use and accurate
  • Quick Graph–a powerful, high quality, graphic calculator that takes full advantage of the multitouch display and the powerful graphic capabilities of the iPad and iPhone, both in 2D and 3D.
  • Ruler–With a single touch your iPhone turns into a top accurate ruler.
  • SoundBuilder–most powerful heart sounds and murmurs app ever designed for a mobile device.
  • Undersea Math–Learn Addition Visually – Solve all levels on the treasure map to find the treasure chest.

Mind Mapping–Thinking

  • iBrainstorm Project–Capturing and sharing your inner most creative genius has never been easier. Introducing the first multi-device collaboration tool from Universal Mind.
  • Popplet–Great for work. Great for school. Popplet is a platform for your ideas.


  • Easy Beats–free version of our drum sequencer built from the ground up to be the quickest and easiest way to create great sounding 4 bar beats.
  • GarageBand–turns your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio
  • Guitar–tudioShare allows the novice or professional musician to record, mix, and share your music with friends, fans, and fellow musicians anywhere in the world.
  • Soundrop–Draw lines and watch as Soundrop uses them to create music!
  • Toontastic–you and your kids can start your own garage band
  • Virtuoso–play the piano



  • Note Lite–To-do/Diary
  • Jots–acts like a piece of paper
  • Notability–Notability powerfully integrates handwriting, PDF annotation, typing, recording, and organizing so you can take notes your way
  • Note Taker HD–the iPad app for professionals in need of note-taking software
  • Paper Desk — Leave behind your paper notebook for your next class lecture or meeting. PaperDesk is a simple, easy-to-use notebook replacement made specifically for the iPad
  • ShowMe–Turn your iPad into your personal interactive whiteboard!


  • SonicPicsLite–the easiest way to turn your images into custom slideshow movies to share with your family and friends


  • Audio Books–apps for books purchased through Audio Books (and free ones)
  • Cat LITE — Dr. Seuss
  • Free Books–download any of our 23,469 classic books, and read
  • Kindle App–optimized for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
  • Murky Reef–Murky Reef is a series of thematic educational apps that encourages critical thinking through contextual game play
  • StoryKit
  • StoryLines–award-winning game of ‘telephone’ with pictures.


  • BrainPOP–Bring learning to your fingertips™ with the BrainPOP® Featured Movie app
  • Chinese Pad–Only touch the panels, you will be instantly good Chinese speaker. Over 400 word & phrases are available for speaking, hearing, and seeing the Chinese character spelling
  • Dictionary–Dictionary.com app
  • Heritage fotopedia–With 30,000 awe-inspiring photos, this much loved app has been called the world’s largest photo book, an inspiring travel guide
  • iLearn Chinese–introduces Chinese characters to non-native speakers or young kids in a fun and intuitive way: to understand their origins as pictures of the objects they represent.
  • Merriam Webster Dictionary
  • Khan Academy–unofficial app for Khan Academy, a non-profit video channel covering topics ranging from high school math and science to banking and venture capital
  • KT Dictionary–English Chinese
  • SparkVue–collect and display live data from iPhone etc to the iPad
  • TED app–TED’s official app presents talks from some of the world’s most fascinating people


  • 3D Brain–Use your touch screen to rotate and zoom around 29 interactive structures.
  • 3D Cell Simulation and Stain Tools
  • Elementals–A fun periodic table where every element has its own unique personality.
  • EMD PTE — periodic table
  • Explore the Animal Kingdom–Let your kids go on a safari and discover the animal world anytime!
  • Google Earth App
  • GoSkyWatchP–Easily and quickly identify and locate stars, planets, constellations and more by simply pointing to the sky
  • LeafSnap HD–he first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution
  • Molecules–Molecules is an application for viewing three-dimensional renderings of molecules and manipulating them using your fingers.
  • Murky Reef–Murky Reef is a series of thematic educational apps that encourages critical thinking through contextual game play.
  • Rocket (free)–official app for the PEI Rocket
  • Science 360–The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Science360 for iPad provides easy access to engaging science and engineering images and video from around the globe and a news feed featuring breaking news from NSF-funded institutions.
  • Science Glossary–A glossary of scientific terms and short biographies that support our science education website
  • Science House–growing library of over 80 hands-on Science lessons that are great for home and the classroom.
  • Simple Physics



  • Bluster–word matching game develops vocabulary and word understanding for school-aged children
  • Futaba–fantastic multiplayer game AND a fun way to help children learn new words
  • Quickoffice
  • Sight Words–Help Your Child Learn to Read
  • Spelling Test–FREE* version of My Spelling Test


  • Educreations–turns your iPad into a recordable whiteboard; share your ideas with others
  • Tangram
  • Vault Breaker–Train your brain with our cool logic and memory game, by guessing the secret code for the vault in as few attempts as possible.


  • Color Uncovered–Explore the surprising side of color with Color Uncovered, an interactive book that features fascinating illusions, articles, and videos developed by the Exploratorium.
  • Letter School–for handwriting
  • PBS Kids–Watch videos from your favorite PBS KIDS television series anytime, anywhere (in the USA).
  • Puppet Pals–Create your own unique shows with animation and audio in real time; popular with my play-acting kids
  • Scan–fastest, simplest and most user-friendly QR Code and barcode scanner available

What are favorites at your school?

Follow me

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman.  She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersIMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

Categories: classroom management, teacher resources, Tech ed | Tags: , | 83 Comments

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83 thoughts on “107 Favorite iPad Apps for K-8

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  7. I realized I left one app off–called Murky Reef. This is a suite of apps for K-5 that encourage critical thinking and contextual game play. They vary by grade and subject (i.e., science, reading, language) and are aligned with common core standards. If you try out the free version, you’ll probably want the paid version.

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  15. Troy

    You need to add Evernote. Best note taking app hands down.

  16. Pingback: 107 Favorite iPad Apps for K-8 | Fred's Blog

  17. Pingback: 107 Favorite iPad Apps for K-8 | greggfesta | Scoop.it

  18. Pingback: 107 Favorite iPad Apps for K-8 from Ask a Tech Teacher | UM Mobile Users Group

  19. Another great one, but this one usually for preschooler. A storytelling feature “a jazzy day” I find it very educational when you are holding a class of 10 students in a nursery. Check them out! http://www.themelodybook.com/a-jazzy-day/

  20. Nicole

    Sparklefish – like mad libs, but students record their voice, Slice It – have to figure out how to slice all kinds of shapes into a certain number of equal sizes, Rocket Math – build a rocket and answer math questions, Action Words – great for English Language Learners, Math Games – answer math questions and then get to drive a race car, Mini Catch – good for beginning K. students to work on shapes and colors, Vocab 7 and Math 7 – answer questions while driving a race car

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  23. This is AWESOME, as our school will be implementing 1:1 in the fall. As a junior high Science teacher, I was pleased to see so many apps for my subject area. Thanks!!!!!

  24. Pingback: 107 Favorite iPad Apps for K-8 | iKnow | Scoop.it

  25. Maria

    Do you have any for Spanish?

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  35. Here’s another comment from my extended network:

    Wolfram Alpha Mobile Apps works great on ipad, iphone and androids. There are course assistant apps for math & science and reference apps that cover topics like US states, US presidents, words, stars, planets, tides.

  36. Here’s another app from my network:
    Jacqui. The British Safety Council are producing The Missing – A Dangerous Truth, a
    visually stunning interactive web and mobile app story based game.

    I understand this is part of the British Safety Council’s Speak Up, Stay Safe campaign to build awareness and understanding of work-related risks with young people
    (13-25years), the app is a cutting edge intervention in cause-related
    entertainment. They say its difficult to reach young people but the app is a great
    opportunity to get important information into their hands. Players will be
    steered to access important health and safety messages, tips and films as
    part of the game experience.

    This is one to keep an eye on as it really could be an app that saves lives !

    The Missing – A Dangerous Truth will be launched in July with the support of
    London 2012’s Inspire Programme.

    Visit http://www.the-missing.biz/ for a preview of the app and to register for updates
    via Face book and Twitter

  37. Where’s your drama section -?!

    I wrote it for teachers and students, K-12.

  38. I don’t have a drama section yet, but would love to add one. If you’re the developer and would like it included in the list, please check out this link–https://askatechteacher.wordpress.com/product-reviews/. All apps on the upcoming list must be active in schools, reviewed by teacher. Yours looks great. What a boon to school productions.

  39. Pingback: 107 Favorite iPad Apps for K-8 | iPads in the classrooms | Scoop.it

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  43. Storia is from Scholastic Magazine. This free iPad App has some ebooks for First through Eighth grade levels. Some ebooks have a lightning bolt that indicates a related game or quiz for that page. Some ebooks have a human reading aloud. Wonderful App for elementary schools.

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  49. Bridget

    Are these apps free? I am new to the whole app thing? I cannot afford an iphone but our school has purchased a few ipads to try out? How does you school handle teachers wishes for apps and purchasing them?

    • Some are free, some not so. The criteria for the list was effective. In our school, we established a reasonable budget for apps and then used it up. I think because iPads are so new, you could get away with spending very little. That’ll change shortly, when they aren’t so novel. For my personal use, I still haven’t paid anything for an app.

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  61. Good afternoon! Your blog was suggested to me and I found it very informative. I am a creator and developer of curriculum enhancement tools for educators to help curve and end childhood obesity. I co-created Charles the Chef and character whose focus is to help children everywhere eat better to live better and be fit. A new ipad app featuring Charles has just launched. I would love for you to take a look and offer feedback. It’s available on itunes here… https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/charles-the-chef/id572605732?ls=1&mt=8

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  64. Helen

    I am looking for an app that will scribe for a student. Is there one available?

    • DragonSpeak has an app, but I don’t know anyone who’s used it. It’s free, but might be worth a try. Let me know if it’s effective.

      Siri scribes, but only in pre-arranged circumstances.

      I am preparing an article on apps and special needs that should be out toward the end of January. I may have more information by then.

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  71. Sarah Dean

    Hi Jacqui,

    I have an iPad provided by my school district for my use in the classroom, and so far I’ve only found it to be truly useful for my own personal use (notetaking, pictures of students, etc.). I would love to hear of other ways that my iPad could be implemented to increase student learning for the whole class. Which apps do you recommend to help increase collaboration among students through the use of an iPad?

    Thank you,

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