Coding and Programming


Drag-and-drop programming is an effective intro for budding coders

Bottom line: With a little adult help, this is a great platform for getting kids into programming.

Grades: K–2 Price: Free


Codeable Crafts

Animate stories with accessible drawing tools and coding blocks

Bottom line: Kids get a simple peek at computer programming principles by animating stories using code blocks.

Grades: K–3 Price: Free


Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots

Adorable robots teach hands-on coding skills

Bottom line: You can program robots with code blocks, with plenty of creative options and lots of fun.

Grades: K–5 Price: Free, Paid 


Cork the Volcano – Puzzlets

Fun elementary coding through hands-on puzzle tiles

Bottom line: Programming that combines engaging physical puzzle tiles with digital gameplay.

Grades: K–5 Price: Free, Paid 


Kodable – Coding for Kids

Fun procedural reasoning for kids; great curriculum for teachers

Bottom line: Kodable is a fun way for elementary school students to understand coding and contains impressive supports for teachers.

Grades: K–5 Price: Free, Paid

Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program

Bottom line: A well-planned, -produced, and -curated set of free resources bound to get kids hooked on learning to code.

Grades: K–12 Price: Free

Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues – Mystery Coding Game

Simple coding mystery fueled by fashion, friendship, and STEM

Bottom line: This girl-targeted STEM game is ambitious but shallow.

Grades: 1–3 Price: $3.99


Creation and Engineering

Faces iMake – Right Brain Creativity

Open-ended collage maker teaches symbolism and revs up creativity

Bottom line: Faces iMake – Right Brain Creativity is a don’t-miss art app that encourages creativity at the same time as modeling it.

Grades: Pre-K–6 Price: Paid 


Easy Studio Stop-Motion Studio

Ideal, easy-to-use way to help kids learn basic animation

Bottom line: This introduction to digital animation offers lots of opportunities for creativity for young students.

Grades: K–2 Price: $3.99


Toca Builders

Students not quite ready for Minecraft get a creative, fun alternative

Bottom line: Fun, engaging, open-ended play can work in a variety of content areas.

Grades: K–4 Price: $.99-$2.99


Minecraft: Education Edition

Stellar collaboration tools, controls make Minecraft classroom-ready

Bottom line: An excellent tool to engage students in learning, collaboration, and critical thinking is now more accessible than ever to teachers.

Grades: K–12 Price: Paid 

Busy Water

Solve, create, and share puzzles that gush with STEM learning

Bottom line: This challenging yet kid-friendly set of logic puzzles wonderfully allows kids to solve problems and experiment with light science concepts.

Grades: 1–5 Price: $3.99



Find and assign STEAM tasks with dynamic project-based learning hub

Bottom line: Dynamic resource for finding, creating, and rating lessons that support STEAM and PBL.

Grades: 1–12 Price: Free

The Infinite Arcade by TinyBop

Simple game-design app has endless creative potential

Bottom line: Design, play, and improve your own arcade games.

Grades: 2–5 Price: $2.99


littleBits Invent

Top-notch tool empowers kids to invent, build, and control wirelessly

Bottom line: Easy-to-use, versatile electronic invention set that works wirelessly with your hand-held device.

Grades: 2–8 Price: Free, Paid 


3D Slash

Minecraft-like 3D modeling (and printing) made super easy for all ages

Bottom line: This may be the fastest, cheapest route from idea to 3D printing out there, if you don’t mind low-res, pixelated designs.

Grades: 2–12 Price: Free, Paid 

Fundamentals and Problem Solving

Bugs and Bubbles

Fascinating graphics engage as kids practice pre-reading, STEM skills

Bottom line: Great bang for the buck with all the content and stages included.

Grades: Pre-K–K Price: $2.99


Peg + Cat: The Tree Problem

Fun games require spatial reasoning to help Cat jump out of a tree

Bottom line: Get kids problem-solving and thinking about basic spatial reasoning in a fun, welcoming setting.

Grades: Pre-K–K Price: $2.99



Fun physics platformer teaches, engages young elementary students

Bottom line: Highly engaging game packs in physics learning and puzzling fun.

Grades: Pre-K–2 Price: $2.99



Highly engaging, age-appropriate site with delightful games

Bottom line: Curiosityville is a great online learning tool for kids that addresses a range of topics.

Grades: Pre-K–3 Price: Free to Try, Paid

Crazy Gears

Highly applicable STEM-themed free play; easy appeal for wide audience

Bottom line: A clear, simple, and fun introduction to science and engineering topics that may otherwise feel unapproachable for some kids.

Grades: K–3 Price: $2.99


Simple Machines by Tinybop

Excellent elementary NGSS engineering practices embedded in fun games

Bottom line: Fun gameplay lets kids explore important physics concepts in a solid standards-aligned context.

Grades: K–5 Price: 2.99


PBS LearningMedia

Treasure trove of lesson resources will benefit from adaptation

Bottom line: For teachers with time to sift through and adapt materials, PBS LearningMedia has a lot to offer with some highly useful support materials.

Grades: Pre-K–12 Price: Free, Paid 

Science and Math

Pattern Shapes, by the Math Learning Center

Virtual pattern blocks with some extra useful teaching tools

Bottom line: If you don’t already have a bucket of pattern blocks, or you want a more portable option, this free version may be a great fit for your classroom.

Grades: Pre-K–4 Price: Free


The Earth by TInybop

Explore challenging concepts with beautiful, interactive free play

Bottom line: When used in conjunction with the handbook, this interactive model is a good way to help teach kids about Earth.

Grades: K–2 Price: $2.99


Tangram for Osmo

Fun hybrid puzzles with excellent classroom supports

Bottom line: Classic puzzler combines toys with digital play to engage and teach all ages.

Grades: K–3 Price: Free 


Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science

First-class site for science games and investigations

Bottom line: These well-designed and highly educational activities challenge and engage kids in all the right ways.

Grades: K–5 Price: Free

Mystery Science

Big questions, kids’ curiosity drive impressive science curriculum

Bottom line: These powerful science units capitalize on elementary school students’ natural curiosity.

Grades: K–5 Price: Paid 


Super STEM resource with highly accessible content

Bottom line: Making STEM content accessible to kids with different learning styles, CK-12 could be the key to mastery for some students.

Grades: K–12 Price: Free

Scroll back to top

Best Picks for Early Childhood STEM Learning | Common Sense Education
Tagged on:         
%d bloggers like this: