Many years ago, before I had children, I was an elementary school teacher. With the birth of my first child, my career came to an abrupt halt. When I sent my youngest off to Kindergarten, I realized I missed teaching and went back to work as a substitute teacher. That’s what I do when I am not traveling. I love my job because I interact with children in our community on a regular basis (including my children’s friends), get to know the teachers in our school district, have hands-on experience with the curriculum, and never have to bring work home with me (which is truly the best part).
I am constantly searching for tools that make learning fun. As technology advances, our children want more. I realized a while ago that I was fighting a losing battle, insisting they learn everything from books and hands-on experiences. My kids want technology and if I’m going to give it to them, I want them to learn something along the way. I downloaded the following apps to my iPhone and iPad and had my kids (ages 7, 10, and 12) test them out. Here are their favorite geography apps that we plan to keep.
I am not a fan of spending money for apps, but this one seemed to have a lot of positive reviews, and since many of the other games I downloaded are free, I decided to take a chance. It was money well spent.
The game is actually two games in one, a Bingo game and a road trip trivia game. There are three levels to choose from, Easy, Medium, and Hard. My youngest son (age 7) needed help with some of the questions: “I am the state located west of Ohio”, but others were much easier, “My abbreviation is FL” and the only choice that fit was Florida. Hopefully you get the idea. The kids are given riddles and clues about states, capitals, and famous landmarks as they make their way through the game. As kids complete an individual game, they earn “Statehoods” and the goal is to collect all 50 states.
My kids were hooked, and I think this game will be one they ask to play for a long time.
This game allows kids at different learning levels to enjoy the same app. There are six different games, puzzle maps, flag games, flashcards, and even World Heritage Sites across the world. Start with the free version to make sure the kids enjoy it before investing in the program, as kids need to be able to read to use this app.
I call this the technology version of the wooden puzzle. Players grab each state and drag them to their proper location on the United States map. However, if the state is in the wrong place, it falls off the map! Easy for younger kids and can be challenging for older ones when you remove the state boundaries (level 2). The app even pronounces the name of each state as you touch it. I wish they had this ages ago! All of my kids had fun with this app, and enjoyed competing to see who could complete the most states. Available only on iPad.
I am not going to lie, this is a challenging app. My oldest child used this app last year to prepare for the National Geography Bee and it was an invaluable tool. I would say it definitely works better on an iPad than on an iPhone because you have to identify places on a map using your finger and the iPhone struggles to identify the exact location because of its size.
The app features multiple choice National Geography Bee questions that honestly, I found quite challenging, but I think that is part of the fun. There is a timer, constantly pushing the user to beat their previous scores. My older two are hooked and if it helps them advance this year in the Geography Bee, I will let you know. Available for iPhone, iPad (preferred) and Android.
This app allows players to match flags, landmarks, and capitals to different countries around the world. Each level has three rounds, once completed, an alien eyeball “validates” your answers. Successful scores advance you to another level. The characters are cute and the graphics will keep the attention of most younger children. There are also mini games in between that the kids thought were “cool”. Available on both iPhone,iPad and Android.
This app is based on the Barefoot book of the same title, and features the same detailed illustrations you find in the hard copy. Barefoot World Atlas features an interactive 3D globe, and fascinating facts about countries around the world. Many of the descriptions have the option for read aloud if children can’t read, which makes this perfect for kids as young as 5.
If you are familiar with the top-selling app Stack the States, then you should definitely know about Stack the Countries. Kids learn all about geography. Learning the shapes of countries, landmarks, languages, flags, capital cities, and other geography facts make this game fun for kids and adults alike. Players are given a multiple choice question with four countries to choose from. The object is to balance countries on a platform, one on top of the other until they reach the line across the middle of the screen. Once a stack is complete, the player earns a new country. A player must earn every country in a continent before advancing. The kids could (and do) play this game for hours. I highly recommend. Available on iPad, iPhone, and Android.
This is a straight-forward, simple quiz game that tests your memory for flags, capitals, landmarks, and currencies. There is a way to have multiplayer games with people around the world, but I would make sure this isn’t available to your children. There are 200 flags, 200 capital cities, 5 game types and 11 levels which will get progressively more difficult in this flags quiz game. Available on Google Play.
Geo Walk World Facebook shares fun information about historic events, famous places and people, animals and plants. The app has cards with pictures and text, and a 3D globe where kids can choose a region to explore. After spending time learning facts, the app allows them to take a quiz covering what they learned. Beautiful photos make this engaging for all ages.
This app allows children to learn geography facts as their in app car drives across the US. It’s a trivia game with the ability to score multiple players, making it a fun app for a family road trip. There are 600 American geography questions and internet is not required to use it. A great tool for learning geography facts!
In this game, users are first asked to choose a region of the world, and then they can choose a quiz method. For example, if a player chooses Europe, next they might choose Flag to Country, which means they have to match the flag with its country, and then they have to choose the length of the quiz (from 15 questions to a timed quiz), after this the game begins.
Users can build their knowledge of flags, maps, capital cities, states, countries, and territories. The choices seem endless! The graphics aren’t as exciting as some of the other games, but it definitely builds a solid geography foundation for kids. Available on iPhone and iPad.
Younger kids will love the idea of completing missions to rescue the world from the grips of an evil rooster. It is the goal of the game player to help Tiny the Chicken stop Dr. Evil from making a rooster shaped world. Such a fun premise for an app. Kids will learn about countries, monuments, flags, and capitals and forget they are learning. There are two modes, learn and challenge to help children improve their skills. Available on iPhone and iPad.
I hope this list of apps is useful for teaching your kids about geography. I know my kids certainly enjoyed playing these games and I hope yours do too!
*This post was originally written in October 2014, but updated in March 2020.