Math - There are an abundance of math apps out there, but I was able to narrow it down to three winners and an honorable mention.
Zap Zap Math - This is a FREE app with 19 games covering math topics from PreK to sixth grade. It lists the common core math standards that relate to each game. This makes it very easy to select a game that matches what your child is learning in school. It focuses on nine topics: addition/ subtraction, multiplication, geometry, measurements, angles, ratios, fractions, expressions and coordinates. It has a space theme and the music and graphics feel fun and fresh. Most games are short - about 5 problems and the pace is fast. Hard to find a more robust math app for free. No social media connection and no in-app purchases or 3rd party ads.
Times Table Galaxy - This is exactly what I was looking for to help my kids memorize their times tables. You can select the times table to focus on. It's timed and starts in order, but then randomizes as the child increases in skill. It's easy to use and the music and graphics are enjoyable without being distracting. It's pretty simple, and yet my kids really enjoy playing it. This game is free to download, but requires a recharge time period after running out of lives that can be removed with an in app purchase of $2.99. There is no social media connection and no 3rd party ads.
Monkey Party Learn Algebra - This app feels the most like a game and the least like a math game. Kids may not even realize they are learning the fundamentals of algebra. Monkey is throwing a party and needs your help making the fruit smoothies. The games get harder as you play and introduce concepts such as balancing equations, combining like terms, using negative numbers, multiplying fractions and graphing equations. It is well worth the $2.99 price tag. You can save the progress of up to three players. There are no in app purchases, no social media tie ins and no 3rd party ads.
Math Rocks - Honorable Mention. I disliked that this app costs $1.99 for only two games. I did like that you can choose addition, subtraction, multiplication or division to focus on and select a level of easy, med or hard. My younger daughter enjoyed the silly rock characters and the music, but it drove me nuts! She also liked the math bingo. It was a concept that she was familiar with and easy for her to pick up and get started playing.
Reading - I had a harder time finding reading and science apps that I thought my kids would enjoy and actually play. I did select two that I think are worth the download.
Planet Lettra - Planet Lettra is a fantastic place with many alien species that eat words. Only certain aliens will eat certain words and figuring that out is half the fun. Players bump letters together to build words and then drag them to feed the aliens. Some aliens will dress up when fed their favorite type of bubble, or spit other bubbles back out at you. The letter bubbles are smart - if you select one, others that can combine with it will light up (This feature can be turned off). While this might be too easy for some kids, it is wonderful for kids that struggle with spelling and phonics. I recommend you watch the tour of the app before starting to play. This fun app is worth the $1.99 download fee and includes no social media tie-ins, in-app purchases or 3rd party ads.
Trybie Journey - This is the most expensive app on my list at $4.99. I hesitated to include it, but it really is a wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon. At $4.99 it's cheaper and more educational than going to the movies. Trybie Journey is an interactive story book that includes 13 hands on chemistry and physics experiments that can easily be completed at home. My child found the stories and explanations that accompanied the experiments wordy, but I found them interesting and educational. I also enjoyed the well done illustrations (see image at top of post). This app has no social media tie in, no in-app purchases and no 3rd party ads.
Other - Ever get tired of watching your kid sit around glued to that device? Ever say - "Put it down and go out and play?"
Space Agent - In this highly engaging app, players use sound alone to locate and capture invading aliens. You are a space agent and must save the earth from destruction. Holding your ipad in front of you, you must turn to face the sound and quickly catch the alien by pulling the ipad in towards yourself. This game does require headphones. It has superb graphics and sound effects. The story line is engaging. It can take a few tries to master the movement needed to capture the aliens, but in no time you will find yourself out of breath and laughing. This was a favorite with all my kids and I enjoyed watching them get moving! Kids must concentrate, follow directions and read most of the story line. This is a free app with in-app purchases such as shields. There is no social media tie in and no 3rd party apps.
I hope you enjoy trying out these apps. Do you have a favorite child friendly app? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.