7 of the Best Learning Apps to Keep Secondary School Children Busy Over the Summer Holidays

During the long summer break from school, it’s easy for children to push all thoughts of learning to one side in favour of hanging out with friends, hours spent on YouTube, and battling siblings on the Switch.

This can mean valuable information and lessons learned over the past year get forgotten, making starting school in September far more difficult.

To keep your child’s brain ticking and thinking, we’ve spent time trialing a range of educational apps, from problem-solving and resilience to ones with an emphasis on learning and key skills needed for their lessons. Most importantly (for your child at least) they’re also fun, so you shouldn’t have to nag them to log on!

All apps listed are for Apple and Android unless stated otherwise.

1. Khan Academy

This free app covers pretty much every subject and has a personalised learning library where your child can pick and choose the areas they want to learn more about.

There is a range of different options available, including interactive lessons and exercises, videos, and articles. Kids can sharpen their skills by taking part in practice tests and quizzes, which receive instant feedback and hints about which areas they can improve on and how.

There are over 150,000 interactive exercises, which will give them plenty to keep them busy and their minds sharp over the summer.

2. Duolingo

If your child is studying a particular language (or if they want to pick up a new one just for fun) then this app is a must.

Covering more than 35 languages, this clever app helps them to memorise words and phrases and is very easy to follow with interactive lessons designed by language experts. The lessons are all bite-sized and are in game-form so it doesn’t even feel like learning.

This app is free but it contains in-app purchases to unlock certain features.

3. Kahoot!

This is a really fun educational app that turns learning into exciting trivia quizzes. It’s a great way for kids to learn facts and lessons without even realising it across a huge range of subjects and topics.

To prepare them for the quiz, they can study by using the interactive flashcards and practice sessions, giving them time to revise in order to win. There are quizzes that are hosted live, they can create their own quizzes (including adding images and effects), and they can compete with friends using SharePlay. If the whole family wants to join in the fun, the quiz can be shared on the big screen via Apple TV.

This app is free but it contains in-app purchases to unlock certain features.

4. Sketchbook

Great for arty and creative kids, this digital sketchbook allows you to create incredible masterpieces and stretch your imagination.

The app is purpose-built to sketch and allows you to build layers and blend with hundreds of different brushes, pencils, markers, airbrushes, and so much more. Your child can customise their tools and build and blend colours with a variety of different techniques. It’s also extremely responsive to a stylus, which gives the authentic feel of drawing on paper

5. Hopscotch

This is an excellent programming app with a great user-friendly interface that makes coding easy to learn.

Its open-ended learning algorithm stimulates logical thinking, and your child can experiment with different functions to personalise their program and create their own projects. The animation in the app and range of avatars keeps children engaged and entertained and they can even interact with friends on the app, as well as other members of the community by sharing their programs.

This app is free but it contains in-app purchases to unlock certain features.

6. Luminosity

This compelling brain training app aims to help your child develop their memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving skills, and much more. It’s a fun and interactive way to not only train their brain but learn more about how their mind works.

The games are based on common and neuropsychological tasks that challenge core cognitive skills such as information processing and spatial orientation. We particularly like the Mindfulness category, which includes a selection of calming meditation sessions.

This app is free but it contains in-app purchases to unlock certain features.

7. BBC Bitesize

Great for kids who are studying for their GCSEs, this app is one of the most helpful revision tools available.

The app contains a number of educational information broken down into smaller chunks to make revision easier and more fun. If the thought of revising gives your child the heebie-jeebies, then the easily digestible chunks of information will help make things a lot less stressful. They can choose the subjects relevant to them and feel confident using the flashcards with summaries, glossaries, videos, infographics, quizzes, and quotes to brush up on their knowledge.

8. Quizlet

Create study sets and flashcards on lots of different topics and choose from several different modes of testing, such as true or false and multiple-choice. Based on your child’s performance, the questions increase in difficulty over time.

There are over 500 million study sets already created and your child can test themselves with practice problems that could make them feel more prepared when lessons resume in the autumn.

This app is free but it contains in-app purchases to unlock certain features.

We hope these suggestions have given you some inspiration for the kind of apps that can help your child’s learning thrive over the summer break.

Remember, it’s best to let them enjoy these apps little and often to keep screen time down. To keep their minds sharp, encourage them to keep up with the basics of learning such as reading, writing (they could create a journal for example of what they got up to over the summer), and maths.