Top free apps for families and children to enjoy during school closure

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20th April 2020

Top free apps for families and children to enjoy during school closure

We asked computing expert and teaching consultant, Richard Smith from Amazing ICT, to recommend his top free apps for families to use and enjoy at home, during school closure and beyond. All are fun to use, while also helping children to develop their ICT skills and knowledge.

Top free apps for families and children to enjoy during school closure

Some of the apps will be familiar to schools and families already but are well worth revisiting to find out about their updates and new features 

Please note that the following information and the terms & conditions of the apps were accurate at the time of writingSome free apps may contain advertising and could later change their ‘free’ status.

Daisy the Dinosaur

Suitable for ages 36 

In this app, children can program a friendly dinosaur to jump, roll over and change size. It’s a great way to encouragyoung children to create a simple program and understand that instructions can be repeated. 

Available on Apple. 

Bee-Bot 

Bee-Bot app

Suitable for ages 36 

Many children will be familiar with Bee-Bot from using it at school. This popular bumblebee can be programmed to explore a garden. The app helps children to learn about directions and movement.

Available on Apple and Android. 

A.L.E.X

Suitable for age 5 and up

In this app, children can program a robot to explore moving walkways and avoid freefalling into space. The game encourages children to plan routes and visualise distances and direction. The first 25 levels are free, but you can purchase levels 2660.

Available on Apple and Android. 

Scratch Jr

Scratch Jr app

Suitable for ages 310 

Scratch Jr offers children a wonderful coding environment, in which they can program characters (called sprites) to move, change size and interact with each other. You can also add faces to some of the characters, using the camera on your device.

Available on Apple, Android and Amazon. 

CODE.org

Suitable for all ages 

This is a non-profit organisation that offers useful offline activities that support children’s computational thinking, a skill that’s at the heart of learning to code. The website also includes useful videos guides, including ‘How computers work’, with an introduction by Bill Gates. 

I Can Animate Lite

Animate it app

Suitable for ages 5 and up

This app enables children to create stop frame animations using 2D shapes or modelling clay. The animations are created from multiple still images, so its best to prop up your tablet to keep your camera stable. Please note that this free version of the app imprints a watermark at the bottom of your final video.

Available on Apple and Android 

Mozaik3D 

Suitable for ages 5 and up 

An impressive app offering a variety of 3D environments for children to explore and learn about. For example, you can walk around a Greek city, see inside the human body or move around a dinosaur.

Available on Apple and Android

Lightbot

Lightbot app 

Suitable for age6 and up 

Lightbot is an engaging puzzle, where children guide a robot through a range of challenges in order to turn on a light bulb. This app is one of a range of activities that are suggested by the Hour of Code campaign.   

Available on Apple and Android

Further home learning ideas

Keep up a love of reading during these extremely challenging times with our popular Love to Read reading guides available as free downloads.

You can also enjoy our free weekly Big Ideas home learning challenges.

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