Our Favorite Kindle Fire Apps

Do you have a Kindle Fire, or have you considered getting one? Here's a huge list of some of our favorite apps, organize by age and subject!

Ever since I posted about using the Kindle as a homeschool tool, I’ve gotten lots of questions about the apps we use and enjoy. I started collecting a list and even I was surprised at how many there are! These apps cover a wide range of ages. My two-year-old uses some of them. My tweens use others. And everyone in between has their favorites as well!

Do you have a Kindle Fire, or have you considered getting one? Here's a huge list of some of our favorite apps, organize by age and subject!{This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure. Thanks for supporting HSWOTW.}

This post is a full disclosure. I didn’t skip anything. Yes, there are some plain old “video games” on this list because, well, that’s part of how we use and enjoy our tablets! I didn’t want to “sanitize” the list to pretend that we are strictly “educational” with the tablets. Why should we be? Tablets are tools. We embrace all of the benefits and I’m going to be upfront about that. Do you have a Kindle Fire? Check out these resources!

Little People Language

Letter Sounds A to Z and Phonogram Sounds – We’ve been using these apps (especially the second one) to support my struggling reader, but the little people have used them to learn letter sounds, too. Letter Sounds A to Z teaches the one basic sound for each letter. Phonogram Sounds teaches not just single letters but combinations of letters. And in addition to the sound, learners are also reminded of the common rules about the use of the phoneme. For example, for ‘ai’ the app says “a: two-letter a not used at the end of a word”

Duck Duck Moose Reading – There are quite a few apps on this list created by Duck Duck Moose. It’s a fantastic company and has recently joined forces with Khan Academy (another favorite of our!) to offer free learning opportunities to kiddos who are too little for the Khan format. This program lets little people practice by dragging and dropping letters that make a sound or words that begin with a sound, rearranging (three) letters to make a word or clicking on pictures that begin with a sound. Simple interface, but beautifully done!

Super Why: ABC Adventures – Go on adventures with all of your Super Why friends to do things like learning to trace upper and lowercase letters, following a letter trail to practice alphabetical order,  and picking letters by name or by sound. There’s also a world map included. Learners can click on a continent to learn the name and see a picture. They can then add the “souvenirs” they’ve earned in various games to their maps.

Starfall – This is a huge app with many various sets of literacy and math activities included. Little people can listen to math songs, number songs, letter songs, learn about colors, listen to stories and letter rhymes, and much more! This is a membership-based program, so while there are things they can do in each area of the app, about 70-80% of the options are unavailable unless we subscribe.  However, there is still so much to choose from, my littles have thoroughly enjoyed this app with only the free-access portions available to them.

Little People Math

Elmo Loves 123s – Hosted by Sesame Street characters Elmo and Abby Cadabby, little learners explore one number at a time. For each number, children begin by tracing the number and watching a little animation about it (i.e. throw-backs to some of your favorite Sesame Street segments). Then they have access to coloring pages, games, puzzles and other activities about that number.

(There is also a companion Elmo Loves ABCs that I noticed when I checked for info on Elmo Loves 123s, but we haven’t actually tried it.)

Fish School – This is another winner from Duck Duck Moose that actually covers language and math skills. Kids can rotate through a variety of activities such as: listen to the ABC song while colorful fish shape the letters, pick a fish and see more fish of the same color, listen to the names of shapes as formed by the fish, and play a fish matching game! The interface is simple and intuitive even for pre-readers!

Moose Math – Duck Duck Moose is back with another great app. Help build Moose Town! Each building you add has another fun activity to practice counting and math skills. My favorite is “Moose Juice” – a little juice hut where you have to add the appropriate number of fresh ingredients to your blender, then blend and serve your drink!

Numbers and Counting – The title pretty much sums this one up! There are three games to choose from “Groups,” “Numbers & Groups,” and “Numbers”. In Groups, you match cards with pictures with the same number of items on each (two birds and two apples). In Numbers & Groups, you match a card with a groups of items to a card showing the correct number. In Numbers, you match two cards showing the same number (numeral).

For all three games you can choose “Flip It” (like memory) or “Show Me” (all the cards are face up). Also, the only levels available are “1 to 3” or “1 to 5”. In order to play the “1 to 10” level, it needs to be “unlocked” by a parent (i.e. purchased). You can also unlock “Pictures” but I’m not sure what that feature does as we haven’t paid for it!

Language Play

Alpha Betty Saga – When my oldest daughter isn’t knitting or crocheting, she loves playing word games on the tablet. Alpha Betty Saga is one of her favorites. Think of it kind of like a virtual version of Boggle – letter tiles are arranged in a grid. Swipe from one letter to the next connecting adjacent tiles in a string to make words. When the tiles included in the word disappear, new letters fall into the puzzle. The grids get more complex (non-rectangular) and bonus letters appear for extra points.

Word Search Pro – This is really just a digital version of the age-old, tried-and-true word search! Find words from the word bank in the puzzle and drag your finger across the letters to highlight them. Conveniently, the words in the bank at the bottom disappear as you find them. You can also choose “blitz” mode – find as many words as you can in a limited time.

Words with Friends – This is the familiar app you may have played on your tablet or through Facebook. It’s very similar to two-player Scrabble, but you needn’t be in the same  In order to play, users need an account with an email address. My daughter is logged in through my account and plays against her grandmother and a few of my friends.

There is a messaging function within the game where players can text each other, so I don’t allow my daughter to accept game requests from strangers. (There isn’t a way to block or turn this off in the app, so it would need to be something you could trust your child to refrain from using, if that’s what you wanted them to do.)

Reading and Audiobooks

Audible – Truthfully, this is one of the main reasons we got the kids Kindles – so that they could enjoy the audible audio books that I had purchased for them. This app comes already installed on your Kindle Fire tablet. But please be aware that you won’t be able to access it at all through the “Free Time” user interface. It is only available through the primary user profile.

You can use this app regardless of whether or not you have an Audible membership. However, membership is only $14.95 a month and includes one credit for a free audiobook. Best bang for your buck is to grab some high-dollar titles – like this one or this one – for your credit and save the lower cost ones for out-of-pocket. Members also recieve 30% off on any additional purchases.

epic! – There are very few apps on this list that we paid to download. And there are no apps on this list that we pay for on a monthly basis, except this one! Generally, I turn up my nose as paid and especially pay-per-month apps, but this one is only $5 per month and my youngest ones have gotten so much out of it.

Membership includes up to four reader profiles and unlimited access to over 20,000 titles – lots of fiction, but also lots of non-fiction. And many of the titles are read-to-me enabled, which means that the pre-readers can listen and follow along as the app reads to them! You can try epic! free for a month in order to see if it works for your family.

(Note: Just so you know up-front, there is no official Kindle app for epic! however, they do include instructions for downloading the Android app to your Kindle. This will only work on the main user profile, however, and will not be available in the “Free Time” interface.)

Overdrive – Our library subscribes to Overdrive, which means that with our library cards, we can borrow all of the ebooks and audiobooks they have in their catalog. Since Amazon makes quite a penny off of Audible and Kindle books, I didn’t figure they’d want to make an Overdrive app available for the Kindle.

Not only is there one, but it turns out that some of the titles I borrow are actually borrowed right from Amazon! Of course, then Amazon suggests you purchase them after your loan period is over. If your library doesn’t use Overdrive, they may use OneClick Digital or  hoopla. Amazon also has an app for Freading, but it isn’t compatible with our Kindle version and seems to be pretty buggy, according to reviews.

Math Play

Fruit Ninja Academy: Math Master – If you’re familiar with the original Fruit Ninja (if not, it’s listed below under Games) this one is very similar. The main difference is that you need to slice fruit that matches certain specifications, all of which are math-related. Slice a fruit that has a certain shape or a certain fraction. Slice a given number of fruits. Same fun ninja-style interaction, with a math twist!

Pet Bingo – This is another great title from Duck Duck Go. Though this game could be played by early elementary school students, it does cover addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, so some aspects are more appropriate for older-elementary students.

As the title suggests, this game is a variation on the Bingo theme. Students solve a problem and then click the answer on the bingo chart. A wrong answer disappears from the chart and isn’t a choice going forward. Also, there are often multiple squares with the same number, so answering the question correctly is only the first step. Choosing the most strategic copy of the answer is the second part!

Games and Mind Benders

Minecraft – On one hand, I hardly feel like I need to add this to the list. It seems that Minecraft is so pervasive that certainly everyone knows about it. On the other hand, if you haven’t tried Minecraft with your family (perhaps because it is so popular and just seems like a fad or a tween/teen obsession?) let me encourage you to give it a go.

It’s almost like virtual Legos – building worlds out of regular-sized blocks. However, you would be amazed at how much there is to learn and discover inside the game. My son’s interest in the game and how it works has now led to an exploration of Java programming so that he can design his own mods! If you’d like a sneak peek into all that folks are doing with this platform, check out The Minecraft Project, a Facebook page by Catina Sweedy, a fellow homeschool mom!

Skinseed Pro – This is an app that works well as a companion to Minecraft. It allows players to design their own skins (i.e. how the player figure looks, what he wears, etc.) and then import that skin into the Minecraft app and play as that character. My son used this app to design skins for me and himself for our Minecraft date!

Can You Escape – This was a game that I enjoyed and I claim full responsibility for getting my kids hooked! Each game has about ten levels. On each level, you have to solve a number of puzzles in order to be able to open the door and move to the next level. Find a key. Decipher a code. Understand the secret meaning in the placement of objects.

It’s so fun, you’ll want another version as soon as you finish this one! Good thing there are also Can You Escape 2, Can You Escape 3, Can You Escape – Tower, Can You Escape – Tower 2 by MobiGro and Empire Escape and Fantasy Escape by Trapped. (You can probably find even more by searching “escape room” on Amazon under Apps.) Which apps are free and which are paid (usually only $1-3) seems to vary.

Flow Free – This is another game that my kids discovered by way of Mama. The concept is simple, but the execution can get pretty complex! You begin with a small grid and three or four pairs of colored dots. You must draw lines between each pair of same-colored dots. But you must also make sure that none of the lines cross each other AND none of the squares in the grid is left open. It’s a great visual-spatial challenge! If you love it, you can also try Flow Free Bridges and Flow Free Hexes!

Fruit Ninja – Another game for happy swiping. Slice the fruit as it is tossed in the air. But be careful – don’t let any of the fruit drop unsliced, and definitely don’t slice a bomb by accident! Good performance can earn you extra blades and other powers-ups.

Jigsaw Puzzle – This is just what you would imagine: a virtual jigsaw puzzle! The actual app my children own is no longer available on Amazon, but there are tons of highly rated puzzle apps such as this one or this one.

Mahjong Village – Gameplay here is very similar to the non-virtual version of the game. Tiles are laid out in various patterns and/or stacked. The goal is to remove all tiles from the play board by tapping pairs of matching tiles. However, some tiles which are covered or surrounded by other tiles are not available, so strategy and order of play are important!

Simple Solitaire – This is just your basic Klondike solitaire game for the Kindle. One or three card draw. Regular or Vegas scoring. Similar to the app that comes with most computers these days.

Simple Sudoku – If you’ve played Sudoku in a book from the grocery store, this will feel very similar. One of the features I love about virtual Sudoku are the opportunities to “undo” and use “draft mode” (i.e. fill in a square with a tentative guess, reminding yourself that it’s subject to change if you find later that it causes a conflict.

Temple Run – The concept is simple. You’re running through a temple, collecting coins and other treasures while avoiding pitfalls, beasts and other dangers. Most of the game play is conducted by swiping. If you enjoy it, you can also grab Temple Run 2.

Paper Toss – Another simple swipe-based game. Toss balled up paper towards a wastebasket in a variety of settings. Be careful not to hit the boss or drop your paper in the fish tank. Sometimes you’ll have to calculate to offset the breeze coming from the office fan.

Other Fun

BrainPOP Featured Movie – BrainPOP is a paid membership site. However, though most of their videos are members-only, there are quite a few that they offer for free. Through this app, you have constant access to all of their free videos and then each day you can view one of their member-only videos (a different one each day). There’s also BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week (a different movie every week) and those who prefer Spanish can get BrainPOP Pelicula del Dia. In addition to the videos, you also have access to the corresponding quizzes.

Explore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – I love this interactive app. Even my two-year-old has lots of fun going to the park and into different buildings in town. Each location has areas you can tap on to discover things, hear sounds, or see animation.

Daniel Tiger’s Grr-iffic Feelings – If your preschoolers are in love with Daniel Tiger’s songs about feelings, this is a great app. It’s essentially just the music and animation for each of his catchy tunes. On the other hand, if you find those songs annoying, this is not the app you want on continual replay!

Daniel Tiger’s Stop and Go Potty – This is actually NOT a game we decided to get for the tablet. So why am I listing it? My older kids noticed that this game existed (along side the other two Daniel Tiger apps we already have) and were dying to know how it played.

I wasn’t interested in paying $2.99 to satisfy their curiosity, but I was able to find a YouTube video that gave a pretty good overview. Yes, you get to lift the potty seat for Daniel, listen to him pee, hand him some toilet paper, and flush the potty. In case you have kids who are curious to know what a preschool app about going potty looks like, here’s a peek! (First potty break at about mark 1:30.)

 

Wheels on the Bus – This is actually an “interactive book”. On each “page” there are things you can click and interact with. In addition, you can choose to turn the sound off, listen to the narrator sing a verse of the song, listen to the audio with violin, or listen to the verse in French, Spanish, Italian or German. You can even choose to record your own voice singing the verse and listen to it as you look at the picture! (This is another game by Duck Duck Moose.)

Itsy Bitsy Spider – Another interactive book from Duck Duck Moose based on the Itsy Bitsy Sipder song. Click to send the spider up the water spout. Watch him get washed down. Interact with lots of items in each scene. Sing along while you do it!

Trucks and More Trucks – Duck Duck Moose strikes again. What little person doesn’t love trucks? If you have an expert school bus or dump truck spotter in your home, they will love these apps. Visit different scenes. Click on the bulldozer or car carrier to see them in action. Change the stoplight from green to yellow to red and watch the traffic slow and then stop.

Build a Truck – This is a truck racing game from Duck Duck Moose. But before you begin your race, you have to build your truck. You can customize all kinds of things from the body to the paint color to the fun decals and accessories. Then take your truck racing. Winning races unlocks new opportunities for truck customization and track choices. (This is another Duck Duck Go winner.)

Minecraft Stop Motion Movie Creator – This is a free app. We found out about it when my son received a Minecraft Stop Motion Movie Creator kit as a gift. The kit provides a “stage,” backdrop, props and characters. But you could actually download and use the Movie Creator app and use it with … Lego figures, Barbie dolls, army men, etc. to make stop motion movies. The only limit is your imagination! The app also provides sounds and background tracks that you can add to your animations.

Piano Free – Virtual Piano – Kids all along the spectrum of ages in our home have enjoyed this app. It can function simply as a keyboard where you can play your own tunes. Or you can use “magic keys” or “magic tiles”. For either of these options, you need to pick a song from the tune library. Most tunes have to be “unlocked” by watching a short ad (usually for another app) but this is only a one-time requirement and then the tune is perpetually available.

With “magic keys” you can hit any key on the keyboard to play the next note in the song. The challenge is to learn to use the correct rhythm for the song you are playing. With “magic tiles” the keyboard fills the bottom half of the screen and tiles fall from the top above each of the keys to be played in the song. In order to play the song, you need to tap the correct key before the tile falls to the keyboard. My oldest daughter has learned to play several songs this way and then transferred her knowledge over to our full-sized (non-virtual) keyboard!

Useful Tools

(I’ve written more about these tools in my first post “Add Some Fire to Your Homeschool“)

Chore Monster – The app that assigns and tracks chores for each child. When they complete chores, the earn points towards parent-created rewards. Each completed chore is also worth one ticked for in-app monster purchases!

Multi-Stopwatch and Timer – This has been great for helping kids to keep track of time and stay focused to complete a job or assignment in a specific period of time. Because it’s a multi-timer, they could track laundry in the dryer while also timing silent reading! (Multi Timer is another version that I’ve used on my own tablet and loved and is just recently available for the Kindle.)

Draw Pad – Yes, this is fun for artwork and includes a variety of tools from backgrounds, patterns, and stamps to various drawing tools like markers, paints and pencils! This tool has been especially useful, however, has digital scrap paper. The kids work out math problems on it!

Bible Memory: Remember Me – You can choose from pre-loaded verses or enter your own. Then use a variety of activities to test your memory. Cover more words each time. Give you only the first letter of a word. Have you fill in the verse word by word using a word bank. Test yourself flash-card style. You can even archive verses for review later!

Do you have a Kindle Fire (or several) in your home? What are some of your family’s favorite apps?

3 Replies to “Our Favorite Kindle Fire Apps”

  1. Hi, Lynna! Thanks for this list!
    We appreciate our Fires, too. One of my homeschool favorites is Squeebles Spelling— it’s a pay-for app, but worth every penny for my 10 year old who HATES spelling drill. 🙂

    I do have a question for you, though. Are you (or anyone else reading this?) having trouble with the Fires randomly shutting off? Two of our four Kindles do this despite factory resets and sideloaded wake-lock apps. I’m curious to see if others are also having this issue.

    Thanks for your site!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Tess! We’ll give that one a look. I’m sorry to say that we haven’t run into that trouble, so I don’t have any suggestions for you. Perhaps another reader will have an idea.

  2. […] if your family has Kindle Fire tablets, here’s a list of some of our favorite apps. One of my favorite aspects of digital math is the drag-and-drop interaction. I’ve watched it […]

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