Try the NEW Participate Learning!
$4.99 Download
Beautifully designed app that teaches early American history by tracing Paul Revere's ride
$0.99 Download
Interactive timeline of U.S. history that covers all major events and themes
$2.99 Download
Virtual newspaper headlines provide lessons about important Civil War events
$4.99 Download
Thoroughly researched app that accessibly introduces kids to ancient Egypt
$6.99 Download
Starting with the Big Bang, this app details most important events in recorded history

About the Apps


We are still in the dark ages as far as quality iPad apps that can teach history to elementary school students.

For starters, there are comparatively fewer apps that teach history to younger children than exist for other subjects like math, reading, science, and even geography. The best of the bunch dive deeply into a particular event or era rather than covering multiple periods of time (although there are a couple of that variety worth a look).

Our favorite, Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride, does a masterful job making one moment in history extremely compelling through beautiful animation and clever gameplay. While the app doesn’t cover the entire Revolutionary War (much less the rest of U.S. history), it serves as a perfect primer for the period, and will inspire students to learn more.

Two other apps we recommend have a similar approach. Britannica Kids: Ancient Egypt draws upon the enormous heritage of a century-old encyclopedia company to bring to life an exciting era in human history via tutorials, engaging games, and comprehensive quizzes and assessment. The Civil War Today uses the metaphor of a newspaper to deliver headlines, pictures and stories of events in chronological context. Parents will likely enjoy this one as much as their kids.

There are at least two serviceable apps that survey large swaths of history by recording and detailing events via interactive timelines. Developed by textbook publisher McGraw-Hill, American History Time Line is most applicable to 3rd graders and above. It includes separate sections on topics ranging from inventors, to politics, to famous women.

Timeline Eons, while a bit pricey, has easy-to-digest information about physical and human history going all the way back to the Big Bang.

Comments & Suggestions Have a suggestion for an educational app for this category you think we should feature? Let us know.

  • JudyJ:

    I get nervous about teaching war history to such young kids. How do you explain why people keep killing each other? Do any of these apps do a good job with that?

  • Leslie Morris:

    Many history apps for children do a good job of teaching the content without teaching the gore. Apps posted here like The Civil War Today do not focus on the casualties of war. They tend to focus on the events leading up to the war, major events during the war, and the outcomes of the war.

  • Erika Kerekes:

    Leslie, do you find that when you're teaching about war the kids ask about the violence and killing? (either classroom or self-directed as with an app)

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