Educational apps for early learners see huge jump

When broken down by age category, the mention of apps intended school use is lowest for toddlers and pre-school students and is highest among middle school students.

While both devices follow similar age trends, data revealed that apps for toddlers and pre-school students are more prominent as iPad apps than as iPhone apps. Apps for elementary students peaked among iPhone apps.

The report includes several important recommendations:

  • Address the “app gap”
  • Create standards for products marketed as educational
  • Project children from digital-age commercialism
  • Consider emerging market dynamics in an update to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
  • Enable sustainability and profitability
  • Set a research agenda


More than 80 percent of the top-selling paid educational apps in the Education category target children (toddler through high school).

In 2009, 47 percent of the top-selling apps were aimed at pre-school or elementary school children. That number since has jumped to 72 percent. The market has seen an increase in the percentage of apps for children in every category, and it has also seen a decrease in apps for adults.

Early learning educational apps for toddlers and pre-school children are especially prominent, and the report advises developers to consider potential saturation of the this market.

Of the top 25 best-selling apps, 60 percent target toddlers and pre-school children.

The App Gap

While apps hold much potential for education, recent studies, including a 2011 Common Sense Media study, note that more than one-third of low-income parents do not know what an app is.

Laura Ascione

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