Best shape and geometry apps for kids

Best geometry apps for kids
Whether your child is just learning the difference between a square and a rectangle or solving complex algebraic problems, these apps will help them get to grips with shape and geometry.

Best for learning shape names

Shapes for Kids (Geometry Flashcards), £1.99, Apple

Sometimes keeping things simple is the best way to learn. Shapes for Kids is ideal for Foundation Stage and KS1 children, helping them learn to recognise a variety of shapes and learn their names.

The app presents your child with a series of flashcards, each showing a 2D or 3D shape with its name underneath. You can choose which card they view, or work through them all in sequence. There’s also the option to hide the text labels so your child can try to name each shape themselves.

The basic version of the app is free, but it’s worth investing in the paid-for version to have access to the full range of shapes – and to get rid of ads.

Best for learning to draw shapes

Shape Up! – Busy Things, 99p, Apple and Android

Designed for very young children, this app introduces them to basic shapes and how to draw them.

It features 20 separate pictures, all made up of simple shapes such as circles, squares, triangles and semi-circles. Your child’s task is to trace around each shape with their finger and then fill it using the paint pot. Once they’ve finished, their picture comes to life with animation and sound effects. Pictures to create include monsters, robots, a hedgehog and more.

The app will introduce your child to shapes of different sizes and colours and, through conversation about their creations, will help them start to name and describe shapes and develop their curiosity about them.

Best for pre-schoolers

Tiggly Shapes, £36.99 plus free apps, Apple and Android

Tiggly is a range of interactive toys that work with your child’s tablet, bringing another dimension to their learning. Tiggly Shapes is a set of four plastic pieces – circle, square, triangle and star – that can be placed on the screen, helping pre-schoolers learn about basic shapes in a hands-on way.

There are three free apps that work with Tiggly Shapes. Tiggly Shape’s Got Talent helps your child learn about the properties of shapes through mini games and free play; Tiggly Christmas allows them to use shapes to explore festive traditions and create ornaments; and Tiggly Draw is a tool for creating art, music and imaginary creatures.

If you don’t have Tiggly Shapes, all three apps can be played using touch instead, but your child will get more play value and tactile experience using the plastic pieces.

Best for learning shape properties

Math Geometry: Learning 2D and 3D Shapes, 99p, Apple

Primary school children are not only expected to recognise and name different shapes; they also need to be able to understand their properties, such as how many edges or corners they have. Math Geometry will help your child learn about the properties of both 2D and 3D shapes.

The Learn area allows your child to pick any 2D or 3D shape and read a description of it, along with an illustration (or animation, in the case of 3D shapes). It explains how many sides, corners, vertices, faces and edges the shape has, along with examples of how it’s used in everyday life, for example in architecture.

Once your child is familiar with the shapes, they can test their knowledge by taking a quiz with a variety of question types, requiring them to identify shapes by picture, name or a list of attributes.

Best for games-based learning

Dragon Shapes – Lumio Geometry Challenge, £2.99, Apple

Dragon Shapes is a games-based app that will teach children about shapes, symmetry and tessellation. Your child’s task is to help the Shape Arts Master rescue the village dragon by solving a variety of shape puzzles.

Each level starts with a video setting the scene, before moving on to explain the properties of a particular shape (triangle, square, hexagon, trapezium, etc). Your child then has to complete shape puzzles based on Chinese tangrams by dragging and rotating a series of shapes into the correct place on a template.

Aligned to the National Curriculum, the app will help your child develop a sense of how shapes work together, covering shape names, attributes, angles and more. There are 80 levels to unlock, and you can opt to have hints switched on or off.

Best for developing problem-solving skills

DragonBox Elements: Geometry Proofs, £4.99, Apple and Android

The aim of this geometry-based game is to build an army of critters to defeat the evil dragon, Osgard. Your child achieves this by interacting with the diagrams on screen, manipulating them with their finger to reveal the hidden geometric shape.

The app, recommended for children over eight, covers triangles, circles, quadrilaterals, angles and more, helping your child gain an understanding of the properties of shapes through play. By tracing, tapping and dragging, they uncover the shapes and release the creatures from within them.

With three levels of difficulty and over 100 puzzles to work through, this app will test your child’s problem-solving and critical thinking skills, as well as cementing their understanding of shape.

Best for understanding 3D shapes

Shapes 3D Geometry Drawing, £4.99, Apple

It can sometimes be hard for children to understand the properties of 3D shapes. This app brings them to life and helps them see how 3D is different from 2D.

It features 27 different shapes, ranging from simple cubes to icosahedrons and triangular pyramids, that your child can explore via tablet or phone. They can rotate each solid shape to see it from all angles and get an idea of what they look like inside, highlight vertices, edges and faces, see what a cross section of each shape looks like, and learn the difference between perspective and isometric view.

There’s also an accompanying website with lesson plans using the app, which includes ideas for activities that you can try at home, such as recording the properties of 3D shapes in a table.

Best for understanding nets

Shapes 3D Geometry Learning, £4.99, Apple and Android

The partner app to Shapes 3D Geometry Drawing gives a fascinating insight into nets, or what a 3D shape would look like if it was opened out and laid flat.

By clicking on their chosen shape, your child brings up a 3D image on screen and can then explore the various different nets that it can be composed of. The slider tool folds and unfolds the shape before their eyes. They can experiment with making their own nets and seeing if they work, or print out nets to have a go at making shapes from paper or card. There’s also a brilliant augmented reality function, where they can ‘unfold’ the shape on the desk in front of them.

The app helps your child learn about the other properties of 3D shapes, too, with the option to highlight faces, edges and vertices and find out how many of each the shape has.

This app and Shapes – 3D Geometry Drawing are also available in a bundle at the discounted price of £6.99.

Best for learning about shape formulas

Math App – Geometry 1, £1.99, Apple

As children progress through primary school and into secondary, they’ll begin to learn about the formulae that relate to shapes, such as Pythagora’s theorem, the angles within shapes and how to calculate measurements such as area and perimeter based on the information in front of them.

Math App – Geometry 1 introduces your child to the formulae behind common 2D shapes, including quadrilaterals, triangles, circles and more. Clicking on a shape brings up a clear explanation of what makes up that shape, e.g. ‘An isosceles triangle has two sides of equal length. The angles opposite the equal sides are also equal.’

There are also quizzes on each type of shape, with a handy pop-up blank screen where your child can write their workings and the ability to set a timer, challenging them to work quickly.

Best for variety

Friendly Shapes app

Friendly Shapes, £3.99, Apple and Android

Once boredom has set in, it’s difficult to keep your child’s attention on learning. Friendly Shapes, an app designed for pre-school and Foundation Stage children, will help keep them motivated with a selection of different games, challenges and fun activities.

Your child can choose to colour in shape-based pictures, or listen to an animated story featuring the Friendly Shapes. There are shape sorting exercises, jigsaws, memory games, tangrams and more, all of which will build your child’s knowledge of shapes and what they look like.

There’s a ‘lite’ version of the app that you can download free of charge, but paying £3.99 gives your child access to the full version, and makes it ad-free, too.