George Lucas Educational Foundation

Resources for Using iPads in Grades K-2

Looking for advice on integrating iPads in K-2 classrooms? In this curated guide, we've compiled resources to help you find apps, learn about best practices, and explore ideas for engaging activities.
Monica Burns
Author & Speaker, ADE , Founder of
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If you are teaching with one, a few, or a class set of iPads, finding the right apps and project ideas for your students can be a challenging task. We’ve organized some of the best resources from Edutopia and beyond to help you figure out what tools are best for your early elementary school students. Explore different ways to integrate technology into your instruction!

Favorite Apps

  • 7 Apps for Helping Others (Edutopia, 2015)

    Children can practice empathy through apps that encourage collaboration, whether it’s drawing pictures together, cooking for each other, or creating lessons to share their knowledge.

  • Social-Emotional Apps for Special Ed (Edutopia, 2015)

    On this list you’ll find nine apps to help special ed students build emotional literacy. It includes apps and activities to teach self-regulation, and focus on problem solving and task planning.

  • Student Apps for Winter Reading (Edutopia, 2015)

    This list of apps focuses on seasonal storybooks. These are great choices for whole group or small group instruction in an early elementary school classroom. Whether you have one or many iPads, this list has something for everyone.

  • 7 Great E-Books for Summer Reading on iPads (Edutopia, 2014)

    To engage young readers over the summer, hand them an iPad loaded with eBooks. Monica Burns reviews seven of the many reading apps available.

  • Participate Learning

    The teacher-reviewed database of apps from Participate Learning includes resources for K-2 teachers. Users can search based on Common Core Standards or browse the collections of favorite apps created by other educators.

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Best Practices

  • Common Core in Action: Manipulating Shapes in the Elementary Math Classroom (Edutopia, 2014)

    In this post you’ll learn how to develop a tech-friendly task that addresses the Common Core State Standards. Read about an iPad app that helps first and second graders create and identify geometric shapes while developing higher-order thinking skills required by the Common Core math standards.

  • 10 Tips for Smarter iPad Use in the Classroom (TeachThought, 2015)

    This article provides insight into thinking about the iPad as a learning tool, not just a device to play games. It includes best practices for integrating iPads into everyday instruction.

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Engaging Activities

  • Lessons for the Outdoor Classroom (Cheryl Steighner, 2014)

    This iTunes U course for teachers includes lesson ideas for taking students outdoors with their device. It was created by Apple Distinguished Educator Cheryl Steighner and includes apps and activities for students.

  • iTeach With iPads (iTeach With iPads)

    Kindergarten teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator Kristi Meeuwse documents her adventures teaching with iPads in a 1:1 classroom. The activities and student work she shares on her blog will inspire you to try out new projects with your elementary school students. You can watch her Apple Education feature that details some of the ways she has transformed reading in her classroom using iPad and iBooks Author.

  • Easy iPad Projects for Elementary School Students (Karen Bosch, 2013)

    Teachers will gather tons of ideas for engaging activities from this presentation. Karen Bosch is a technology instructor and Apple Distinguished Educator who has shared project ideas for elementary school students that can be used across the content areas.

  • 6 Ready-to-Go iPad Centers (Mrs. Wideen’s Blog, 2013)

    Apple Distinguished Educator Kristen Wideen shares tons of tech-friendly ideas on her blog. This post discusses iPad centers that you can set up in your classroom right away. As you explore Mrs. Wideen’s site, you’ll find links to iPad stations and numerous ideas for grades K-2 and beyond.

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Have you used iPads with students in grades K-2? Do you have a favorite online resource for gathering ideas? Share your favorite activities, apps, and websites below!

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Karen Lirenman's picture
Karen Lirenman
Grade One/Two Teacher from Vancouver, Canada

As an Apple Distiguished Educator, the 2013 ISTE Kay L Bitter Award Winner for Innovation in a PK-2 Classroom, and a grade one teacher who has been 1:1 with iPads for the past two years my students' "go to" apps are pretty much creative open ended ones. Some popular apps include Draw and Tell, Book Creator, My Story, Skitch, Popplet, Pic Collage, EduCreations, Chatterpix, Explain Everything, and iMovie. I have blogged about how we use iPads for choice. I also shared screen shots of my students iPads with direct links to samples of how they have used those apps. My blog can be found at . I have also begun to create a K-2 iPad resource on my district's website which can be found here. Please feel free to contact me for more information re using iPads in a k-2 classroom. I am @klirenman on twitter.

Ashley Cronin's picture
Ashley Cronin
Digital Resource Curator

Karen, thanks for reaching out and sharing the info about your blog and K-2 iPad resources site. Very helpful!

Kristi Meeuwse's picture
Kristi Meeuwse
Kindergarten Teacher, Charleston SC

Thanks for including my blog in this round up! What an honor! We work diligently in kindergarten to create content and not just consume it. The creation apps we use are very engaging and the kids always produce far more than I ever expect them to. We use Explain Everything, Book Creator, Popplet, Pic Collage, and iMovie the most.

Monica Burns's picture
Monica Burns
Author & Speaker, ADE , Founder of

Thanks Karen and Kristi for adding your favorite apps and helpful links!

Awawu's picture

Thanks ladies for sharing. I currently teach grade 2 and aside from Popplet, Book Creator, and the other apps you mentioned, I use Speech Journal for students to record their response to center activities - be it math or reading. This way, I can go back, listen to it and then plan for the next lesson accordingly.

Another apps that I am currently trying out is See-Saw. Students record and post their work on our See-Saw classroom account and then receive feedback from their peers and myself on how they can make the work better before.

Edu-Creation is another app that students can use to draw or write to show their thinking especially in Math. Then, they can record the explanation that goes with it.

Lamparo's picture

Thank you for sharing ideas for IPads. It was very helpful, I teach kindergarten and we just started using them in the classroom last year. I love using them! I also make use of the camera to take pictures of the students and activities. This really engages them and increases oral language.

Lamparo's picture

Do you use the camera as part of integration of language art? If so, how?

Christi's picture

What a great resource! I just started integrating IPADS into my classroom and have been researching the best apps and ways to use them. I will take your advice and try some of these apps with my students.

EmilyyRowe's picture

This is such a resourceful article! Definitely something I will keep in mind whenever I have my own classroom. I believe that technology should be implemented in the classroom and I will use some of these resources. Thanks!

John Edelson's picture
John Edelson
Founder of and

Karen, Do you have any experience with either of our two iPad apps (also available on the web)?

Science4Us: 2016 Winner of both the CODiE and BESSIE for Best K12 Science Program. It's actually ONLY a K-2nd program which while it is a science curriculum, is heavily focused on building and using core literacy and math skills.

VocabularySpellingCity: This app now has over 5 million downloads and is used daily in elementary classrooms around the world. Teachers like how it integrates and supports any lesson that they're teaching with phonological and vocabulary practice of the key vocabulary. Students like that it uses games.

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