The best mobile games to learn

It can be hard to find quality games on mobile, especially in the educational genre, which contains a large number of low-quality shovel titles designed to trick kids and parents alike into making a quick buck.

Related: The best mobile games to help you relax

On the other hand, the mobile gaming market has grown to become the largest media industry with its accessible control scheme and mass adoption of smart devices globally. There are many apps with gamified elements designed to teach in an accessible way, but there are also dedicated games that educate through the active gaming mindset.



10 Touch (Series)

A collage showing three mouth games, a hairdressing simulator and an engineering game with a roibot and a sports-themed life simulator.
  • Available on Android and iOS (recommended for ages 3-8)

Anyone familiar with educational games on mobile has probably heard of Toca Boca. But for those unfamiliar, this studio creates job simulator games for kids to live out their fantasies in a safe environment.

In addition to advertising a wide spectrum of job opportunities, overlapping mini-games throughout each experience help build critical-thinking, reading, and social skills. Each series also has a unique art style and allows for expressive character customization options that make learning appealing to a younger audience.

9 zoombinis

Zoombinis' game in a mushroom forest showing the little creatures solving a rune tile puzzle
  • Available on Android and iOS (recommended for ages 3-12)

While there were plenty of flawed edutainment titles created in the past to capitalize on the toy nature of video games, the sheer number of related releases gave way to some bona fide classics that hold up surprisingly well.

Zoombinis is a point-and-click adventure revolving around a race of little blue furry creatures trying to overcome logical puzzles to get back home. Remastered visuals, quirky dialogue, and strikingly impressive animations make Zoombinis’ simple math problems a joy to play.

8 Cooking Mama: Kitchen

Cooking Mama Cuisine game showing steak flipping in a skillet in a cozy house, instructions are listed at the top of the screen
  • Available on Apple Arcade (recommended for ages 3 and up)

On the surface, this collection of cooking-themed minigames may look like any other arcade game, but Cooking Mama initially pioneered a niche subgenre with its unique art style and ability to create food based on real-world recipes.

Related: Most Downloaded Mobile Games

The act of ‘swiping down’ to slice onions for a stew does a good job of replicating the prep work, so much so that people have been able to create delicious dishes based entirely on Mom’s instructions. Unfortunately, Let’s Cook, the free alternative that’s also available on Android, veers away from these educational roots in favor of addictive mobile game design.

7 minecraft education

A screenshot of a teacher teaching a science lesson in Minecraft Education, there is a blackboard with instructions and periodic table blocks.
  • Available on Android and iOS (recommended for ages 3+)

Minecraft’s hands-on approach to creation has satisfied the often overlooked minds of kinesthetic learners in a digital gaming space.

This educational edition of the indie hit doubles down on the game’s unique inherent teaching qualities by letting you experiment with impressive new features like a fully-functioning chemistry set and a node-based programming tool. This experiential approach to teaching has been embraced by classrooms for a while and includes many accessibility options for players of all ages.

6 Professor Layton (Series)

professor layton and the curious town hd for mobile key art
  • Available on Android and IOS (recommended for ages 7+)

The mobile platform is home to some of the best puzzle games on the market, but a surprisingly low number of these quality titles contain logic puzzles. Originally released on DS along with Brain Age and Big Brain Academy, Professor Layton stood out among its peers with an enchanting story set in a fascinating steampunk world.

Make no mistake, these games will test the wits of even the most hardcore mathematicians and word makers with a plethora of brain teasers. But the beauty of Layton’s games is that audiences of any skill level can still make it to the end of these exciting mysteries.

5 HR machine

Screenshot showing a simple level of the Human Resource Machine game, there is a young character who adds blocks and moves following the instructions that a player has written
  • Available on Android and iOS (recommended for ages 7+)

Coding has become one of the biggest job prospects of late, with almost every modern workplace needing a dedicated suite of programs to run productively.

Related: The best mobile games you can play for free

Programming is a tricky thing to teach for educators who didn’t grow up with a computer, but this quirky puzzle game teaches basic programming functions using comprehensible and attractive visuals. Workplace setup that shows automated jobs in action helps introduce code fundamentals for anyone unfamiliar with the topic.

4 Kahoot

A Kahoot game in action, showing the perspective of both the participant on mobile and the quiz master on PC.
  • Available on Android and iOS (recommended for ages 3+)

Kahoot is essentially Jackbox for kids, but with the added ability to create your own quizzes. Players connect to the game through multiple smart devices and compete against each other for a high score.

It should be noted that this quiz creation comes at a fairly high cost due to the game’s primary implementation as a classroom teaching tool. But there are plenty of built-in games created by well-known educational entities like National Geographic and PBS to help develop minds of all ages.

3 Word

A word game is being played, showing the words, stand, feats, toads and today, which is the correct answer.
  • Available on Android and iOS (recommended for ages 3+)

Of all the mobile gaming trends, Wordle might well be the most productive mass-adopted free game on the market. The game’s simple code-breaking game could easily be used to teach English to people who find the language difficult to understand.

Keeping brains sharp during lockdown, Wordle’s ever-changing responses to simple linguistic problems continue to have people addicted. During its heyday, the app was updated to include additional modes that add quick thinking and word association challenges to test the brain.

2 smart money game

A small collage of Money Wise Game scenarios including two scenarios where someone is tempted not to save money and a scam call in progress.
  • Available on Android and iOS (recommended for ages 10+)

The Internet is a haven for scams and addictive practices designed to extort money from unsuspecting victims. The subtle and confusing tactics that these methods employ fool many adults on a daily basis.

Related: Mobile games with the best stories

Navigating the online space can be particularly tricky for kids, but Money Wise Game teaches online safety and money management skills through a stylized and accessible visual novel. The story goes through realistic situations and comparisons that break down these complex issues into a digestible format for all ages to enjoy (although it does require the ability to read proficiently).

1 civilization revolution 2

A screenshot from Civilization Revolution 2 showing German city building with a focus on networking
  • Available on Android and iOS (recommended for ages 12+)

One subject that video games have always taught well is history. Whether it’s experiencing warfare in Call of Duty or learning about historical figures in Assassin’s Creed, there has always been a close relationship between history and big-budget games due to the amount of research these titles require to develop.

The Civilization series pushes this boundary by showing how real world settlements were formed over hundreds of years. This tactical strategy game uses historical figures to teach about the diplomatic relationships that shape the societies we live in today. While it would be hard to recommend it to kids, Civilization is much more accessible than other strategy games that teach similar lessons.

Next: Best Educational Virtual Reality Games