Younger generations have become accustomed to learning online through games and apps. Rather than dismissing smartphones and tablets as distractions, why not use these powerful tools to support your child’s education? This is exactly what teachers and developers are partnering to accomplish.

In addition to seeking out free tutoring in Toronto or free tutoring online, Torontonians and Canadians across the country are looking to apps to continue to engage their children in a passive manner. In order to capture the fleeting attention of a child with a tablet or smartphone, app developers are becoming increasingly creative in the ways in which learning and technology join forces. 


What is Gamification?

Educational apps are using game-like features to engage students. Source: Unsplash

Why can’t learning be as fun as playing a game on your phone? People actually experience a spike in their dopamine and serotonin, the “feel good” hormones when they interact with parts of a game. Companies have determined that using a reward system, like allowing people to collect points or achieve levels make them feel good.

Educational platforms and game developers are partnering to bring this “gamification” to school help and learning apps by allowing students to level-up and collect virtual rewards when they pass quizzes and tests. 

Interested in free tutoring? Check out our article on additional free tutoring resources in Canada.

Top 10 Educational Apps for Children

There are a selection of learning apps that specialise in different subjects for students. Source: Unsplash

Can we use applications instead of free tutoring online or private tutoring? There are a variety of new apps on the market that make learning fun. Many of these apps are affordable and even free. Free tutoring online is not always easy to find, so parents can turn to educational apps to support their child’s development outside of the classroom. These are some of our favourite educational apps available in Canada.

1. ClassDojo

What is ClassDojo?

ClassDojo is an educational application that connects teachers with students and parents to build amazing classroom communities. Their primary mission is to deliver next-level educational by doing the following:

  • Creating a positive culture for teachers and students
  • Giving children a voice to share and grow
  • Engage parents with photo and video accessibility

What are the key features of ClassDojo?

ClassDojo is a communication application that allows teachers and parents to share reports and access their child’s performance and conduct in real-time. The application uses interactive software technology to enable learning.  A few of these features include:

  • Digital portfolio builder for kids
  • Group maker that builds classroom communities
  • Photo and video sharing
  • Easy parent-teacher communication 

2. Duolingo

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is a popular application for language-learning online. The company believes that access to educational resources like learning a second, third, or even fourth language should be free and fun for everyone. Some of their core beliefs include:

  • Making learning fun and engaging
  • Offering flexible and accessible access to learning
  • Delivering quality learning for free

What are the key features of DuoLingo?

DuoLingo has been scientifically proven to be effective. How does it work? This app turns learning a new language into a game. Users complete tests, earn rewards from correct answers, and level up as they improve. Other key features include:

  • Personalised learning with custom exercises
  • Reward system that makes learning fun
  • Immediate grading on tests and quizzes

3. DragonBox

What is DragonBox?

DragonBox is a company that offers a series of learning apps for children of different ages. All DragonBox apps are related to mathematics, including basic numeracy, algebra, and advanced math. The DragonBox app aims to:

  • Make learning fun and engaging
  • Offer mathematics for every learning level
  • Incorporate powerful software for interactive learning

What are the key features of DragonBox?

DragonBox’s apps are created by skilled developers with background in gaming. As a result, every app incorporates game-like elements such as point collection, levels, and a creative learning adventure. A few things that make DragonBox apps different include:

  • Unique apps for every age group
  • Packages that offer basic to advanced math
  • Different avatars and worlds to keep kids engaged

4. IXL Learning

What is IXL Learning?

IXL Learning is an app that specialises in personalised learning. This educational app creates compressive curriculums for every grade and is used by families, teachers, and students. IXL Learning is a prescription-based model that is on a mission to accomplish the following:

  • Make online learning hyper-personalised
  • Make reporting easy and fast
  • Support instructors and teachers to succeed

What are the key features of IXL Learning?

IXL Learning hosts more than 8,000 skills across five core subjects. This app aims to fill the gaps to help students build on existing skills and acquire new skills. The app is equally concerned with making teaching easier for the instructors. The key features of this app include:

  • Real-time diagnostics for tracking student success
  • IXL analytics for reporting student success
  • Automatic personalised recommendations for teachers and students

5. YouTube Kids

What is YouTube Kids?

You’re probably familiar with YouTube, the popular video streaming site that hosts viral videos worldwide. YouTube had branched out and started distributing movies, games and even YouTube Kids for learning. YouTube Kids creates curated video playlists based on the viewers interests. This platform is designed to:

  • Entertain and inspire kids
  • Ease parents and caregivers with parental controls
  • Host educational videos and games 

What are the key features of YouTube Kids?

YouTube Kids helps parents and caregivers feel at ease with features that monitor the content their child is consuming online. Parents are able to add time limits and even create their own video playlists that include educational content. The notable features include:

  • Parental controls and content screening
  • Curated content for kids 12 and under
  • Timing and blocking features

6. Science360

What is Science360?

Science360 is an app sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that provides the latest videos and information from scientists, colleges, universities and other cutting-edge research. This is a hub for fascinating, educational, and relevant science and engineering-related content. Science360 was created to achieve the following:

  • Offer open educational resources for everyone
  • Share scientific discoveries in inspiring ways
  • Allow people to engage with content in a visual way

What are the features of Science360?

This app is a giant database of the best stories, images, and videos related to science and technology. This is a great way for science lovers to stay up-to-date and a great way for kids and adolescents to get excited about scientific discoveries. The app primarily educates and inspires its visitors with the following features:

  • High-resolution images and videos
  • Breaking stories about the latest scientific discoveries
  • Easy-save feature so you can archive your favourite photos and videos

7. Crossword Puzzles

What are Crossword Puzzles?

Crossword Puzzles have evolved from the back of a newspaper to the smartphone. Crosswords are fun, and they can also be educational for learning everyday facts and spelling. These games are sometimes referred to as “brain exercises” and aim to:

  • Relieve stress
  • Improve vocabulary
  • Guard against brain disease 

What are the features of the Crossword Puzzles app?

The Crossword Puzzle app is fairly simple and easy to use. It has been refined over time to provide basic crosswords in a functional and aesthetic way. The main features include:


  • Puzzles for different vocabulary levels
  • Different themes available
  • Easy vocabulary modes for children


8. Nimbus Tutoring

What is Nimbus Tutoring?

Nimbus Tutoring is an application that helps connect students to online tutors. It’s available in Canada and can be downloaded on any smartphone or smart device. The app aims to enable easier learning through cutting-edge technology. The company primarily tries to:


  • Connect students to awesome tutors
  • Provide the utmost flexibility for tutors, parents, and students
  • Help students improve their grades and grow quickly


What are the features of Nimbus Tutoring?

Nimbus Tutoring is built on advanced technology and as a result, their app is packed with features that make communication, data storage, and accessibility easier than ever. Nimbus Tutoring offers the following features:


  • Easily search subjects and university codes
  • Simple online scheduling
  • Instant messaging for fast communication


9. Spelling Stage

What is Spelling Stage?

Spelling Stage is an app specifically created to mimic a traditional spelling bee and test children on their literacy in a fun and interactive way. The app allows children to create a character and occupy a virtual stage where they can tap out the correct spelling of the words verbalised. This app is designed to:


  • Teach children spelling in a fun and engaging manner
  • Appeal to audio and visual learners 
  • Remake a traditional teaching model in a virtual setting


What are the features of Spelling Stage?

Spelling Stage has integrated a few special features to make the app more enticing for children. Although Spelling Stage is primarily aimed toward a younger audience, they also help with more complex vocabulary building for all ages. The features that make Spelling Stage different include:


  • Build a custom character
  • Create unique vocabulary lists 
  • Audio and visual integrations for all learners


10. My Molecularium 

What is My Molecularium?

My Molecularium is a game that allows users to build complex molecular bonds in a fun setting that makes learning easy. Rather than teaching molecular building on paper, the app lets users build three-dimensional models and learn as they go. This game aims to accomplish the following:


  • Introduce “Next Generation Science” which is interactive and tech-first
  • Gamify learning models with gaming functionality
  • Make science fun and engaging


What are the features of My Molecularium?

My Molecularium is not just a game. This app was funded by the National Science Foundation and created to support the learning of basic chemistry and molecular building through a fun “aim-and-shoot” game. The settings are meant to balance learning with entertainment. A few of the notable features include:


  • Arrangements for over 30 different types of molecules
  • Different levels that increase in complexity
  • Developed as an education project by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Explore a complete list of free tutoring associations in Canada.

Can we use applications for online tutoring in Canada?

Will online applications replace online tutors in Canada? Source: Unsplash

Applications are useful but they should never replace certified teachers. A gamified vocabulary app may be engaging and helpful for a child learning English, however, without a teacher, it’s difficult to track the success and literacy of the child over time. There are many tutoring associations in Canada and online private tutoring resources that do a better job of connecting students to the teachers and curriculum they require to excel.


Is a private tutor necessary? Learn more about the benefits of private teachers in Canada.


Educational applications should be used within the context of an in-depth lesson plan and coupled with additional online resources and a certified teacher that can track and review the success of the student. A website like SuperProf is a useful tool for students to connect with a tutor and start their learning journey with clear guidance.


SuperProf allows students to access a hub of thousands of certified teachers in specialised subjects and immediately view their biography, reviews and schedule a call from anywhere in the world. Nowadays, accessing high-quality education online is just as easy as downloading an app. Students should treat their education as a puzzle that can be completed through various pieces of learning technology including, basic schooling, school help or online tutoring and fun educational apps.


For more information, check out our article Should we turn to free tutoring? 


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Teri is a freelance writer based in Toronto. She enjoys travelling to new corners of the globe, unwinding in a yoga class, and focusing on self-improvement through continued education and learning.