Kids are natural scientists. They love to explore the world around them, and there’s always something new to discover and more questions to ask. Your smartphone or tablet is just waiting to show them our incredible universe, thanks to these 13 brilliant science apps.
If your budding astronomer or chemist longs to drill down through the details, if you just don’t want to clean up the mess after your little experimenters are unleashed in the kitchen, or even if you want to find an experiment to perform together, you guessed it:
There’s an app for that.
Kids can dive into the science of photosynthesis, holograms and more in
Bobo Explores Light. This app is a science storybook covering 21 topics all related to light, and it includes videos and mini-games hosted by the energetic robot Bobo.
If your kids aren’t readers yet, the app isn’t narrated, so it’s not an easy one for younger kids to play alone. But, it is fun enough that you’ll enjoy settling in together to read aloud and explore light together.
$4.99; recommended for ages 9–11; available on iPad.
Force, speed and kinetic energy are all physics concepts that might sound boring to your kids at first — until they get their hands on
Coaster Physics. Kids who love zooming through the air at amusement parks will be crazy about designing their own roller coaster tracks in this innovative app. Coaster designers must learn and apply physics concepts like kinetic energy, speed and acceleration in an easy-to-use interface in order to really make their coasters fly.
$1.99; available on iPhone/iPad.
This free app is a must-have for any kid who loves science. Not only is there a ton of great information about the sun at your kids’ fingertips, this app is a fantastic one to pick up and browse through for activities any time you hear that lament of bored kids, “There’s nothing to do!”
DIY Sun Science provides science experiments and activities for school-age kids on both sunny and cloudy days, and the ideas are easy to set up and fun to do together as a family.
Free; recommended for school-age kids; available on iPhone/iPad.
An app suited to the smallest of scientists,
GazziliScience gives toddlers and preschoolers basic lessons in the water cycle, the seasons and more. Completing each activity unlocks the next one, encouraging kids to explore each topic thoroughly before moving on to the next. Clear narration and cute characters make this app practically irresistible to curious kids ready to start exploring the world.
$1.99; recommended for ages 5 and younger; available on iPhone/iPad.
Space is fascinating as it is, but throw an endearing grandpa in a rocket up there, and you’ve got an app that will keep kids coming back for more.
Pick a planet, build your own rocket ship, and blast off into learning about space exploration with videos, rhyming and reading games plus more activities. Kids who can’t read yet will appreciate the intuitive design and extensive voice narration.
$1.99; recommended for ages 6–8; available on iPhone/iPad.
Kids ages 9–11 can get their fingers on over 65 moving parts to invent their own wacky machine and see it in action with
Monster Physics. Not only does the app let young engineers’ imaginations loose, it also provides 50 missions that get them building with a specific goal in mind. Learning physics concepts and terms has never been this much fun.
$0.99; recommended for ages 9–11; available on iPhone/iPad.
Packed with an unbelievable amount of detail and information,
My Incredible Body is a must-have for any kid who has questions about what goes on inside our bodies (which is just about every child).
Kids can explore different body systems and tap bones, organs and more to hear about how they work. Short animated videos take kids on a personal tour of the body without losing their interest. The immersive app is so captivating that you might find yourself taking a peek at the way the bones of the skull fit together when the kids aren’t around.
$4.99; recommended for ages 9–11; available on iPhone/iPad and Android.
There’s no need to fish through the pantry for baking soda and vinegar — tackle science experiments without the mess in this app geared toward preschoolers and kindergarteners. Kids can experiment with classics like baking-soda volcanoes and other chemical reactions, learn how to complete a circuit and more.
And even better, the app just might inspire your kids to go ahead and make that mess IRL in order to get to the next level conducting science experiments.
$2.99; recommended for ages 6–8; available on iPhone/iPad.
A free storybook app for kids that follows the lives and accomplishments of three scientists,
Shout Science teaches history and scientific concepts with uncomplicated but informational illustrations.
Free; recommended for ages 9–11; available on iPad.
Ever find yourself stumped when your child points to the night sky and asks, “What’s that star?” put
Starlight on your smartphone and you’ll have the answer at your fingertips.
The app quickly creates a real-time map of the night sky, with constellations labeled with lines and illustrations to help you and your kids see the big picture. Planets and other objects of interest are also mapped in the sky. Tap any object to get more information about the constellation’s history or fact about the stars and planets.
$0.99; available on iPhone/iPad.
This might be a pricey app, but if your teens love chemistry and exploring the elements in depth, it’s worth every penny. To begin, simply tap an element in the periodic table to see high-resolution photos and a list of facts about it. Dive even deeper into the element’s properties and history, including its uses in the past and present, with compelling text and even more stunning photos.
And if your teen doesn’t love chemistry, this might be just the app to spark an interest.
$13.99; available on iPhone/iPad.
Toca Boca makes a multitude of fun and educational apps, and
Toca Lab is one of their most robust. Kids can experiment on over 100 “elements” with heat, ice and more to create something new to examine in the lab.
While the game isn’t scientifically accurate, it does encourage experimentation and discovery, as well as introduce the names of the elements, making it suited for kids who are too young to understand more complicated chemistry concepts.
$2.99; recommended for ages 6–8; available on iPhone/iPad and Android.
If your kids love spouting little-known facts,
Weird But True is the perfect e-book for them. The free app doles out science facts and other trivia in bite-sized tidbits. Kids start learning with the facts included in the free download, and you can use the in-app purchases to unlock hundreds more.
Free; recommended for ages 9–11; available on iPhone/iPad.
More awesome app roundups