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How to Build a Custom App for Kids: Types and Development Tips

How to Build a Custom App for Kids: Types and Development Tips

There is a high demand for child applications. Kids today start using phones at the age of three or even earlier. Parents often support this, assuming smartphones and technology are suitable for educational purposes. Although, according to the survey, 40% of parents allow kids to use phones to get some "quiet" time.

Whatever the reasons they pursue, the market for apps kids use is growing significantly. And if you consider exploring the opportunities of a new segment, check out development tips for apps kids will love.

Why should you build an app for kids?

So why do people create kids' apps?

You can reach a large audience because you will be targeting both parents and kids. Parents make decisions for preschoolers, and older kids can decide what apps to download and use. So you can cover a larger audience, including children and adults.

The kids' apps section in the App Store and Play Market always takes the top place.

There is ample space to cover. Programming an application for kids, you can select from many exciting sectors: games, education, apps for creativity, etc. It lets you not stick to one segment only.

Kids' apps are trending. Many educational institutions use technology, electronic devices, and applications in their classes. So programming an app for children is potentially a profitable and winning idea.

Development tips and types of apps

Before we get to the development tips for kids' apps, we should say that the app building process is not different from the normal development of any other type of application.

Below are the typical stages of app development:

  1. An idea of the app. Do the research and see whether the app's concept has any future. Maybe a similar product does already exist. Identify things and features that you can deliver in a better way. Research the market and evaluate the demand for your product. Explore and learn the potential audience and specify the user persona.
  2. Wireframing. To better understand how your app will perform, you need to visualize your idea and wireframe it before programming. You can even create some sketches and design the workflow graphically. Having the whole picture and elements connected will help better understand how the app functions.
  3. Technical feasibility. Various platforms have their technical requirements you should follow. Before selling an app, study those requirements to know how to comply. This process can also help to find weaknesses in the app and make changes before the development process starts. On the contrary, you may find new opportunities and functionality you didn't consider before.
  4. Build a prototype. At this stage, don’t try to make the app perfect. Concentrate on building the primary functionality you are most interested in and test it. It will help equally designers and developers.
  5. Design the interface. Once you've collected the feedback from testing the prototype, designers can start working on the design.
  6. Development. This stage takes up most of the time. Here developers must realize the complete functionality of the app to prepare it for the testing stage.
  7. Testing. Once the app is ready, you need to do a lot of testing. It is better to have several actual users try the app and provide their feedback. Based on the testing results, the development team makes improvements and prepares the final version of the product.
  8. Deployment. Get ready to publish your application to the store.
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What about app builders?

If you want to skip some steps in the development process or speed up the process, use no-code app builders. For those who want to work with the ready-to-use templates, check out Appie Pie Kids App Builder. Appie Pie Kids App Builder allows you to build an app in three easy steps: select the design scheme, add the functionality you want, and test before launching.

If you are looking for a more complex solution, explore AppMaster. The no-code platform generates source code for you and enables the building of native mobile apps for iOS and Android. Intuitive drag & drop builder will make it easy to create business logic for an app of any complexity. If you are ready to try it, you can register for a free trial period and test explore the platform.

Tips on the development of kids apps

There are many differences between apps for kids and those created for adults. When developing kids' apps, pay attention to the user interface as design principles for children are different. Use bright colors, avoid small elements, and too much text, as many of your users don’t know how to read yet.

Use a full-screen menu that will simplify access to different app sections. Use mostly click and swipe interactions as they are easy for children to perform.

Don't use just one scenario in the app. Allow kids to explore to get more engagement.

When designing the app, consider the participatory design. This concept uses groups of children and lets them develop their design ideas. It will be a great contribution to the designers' work.

In the kids' apps development, you should clearly understand how apps for kids differ from adult ones. Consider children's psychology:

  • children need to get feedback;
  • they love challenges;
  • they develop fast.
  • Whatever a kid does, he expects visual feedback. So the app should generate a response to kid's interaction and provide rewards.

When playing the game, children seek challenges. They love to explore. So make sure to create an engaging application.

What is more important: kids grow fast, so if you create an app for a 3-year-old, be prepared to cover a very small audience. A two-year gap is a good idea. So, build a universal app for kids aged 3 to 5. For example, you include different levels in the games, and depending on the age, parents can help children select the appropriate level.

App types

The most lucrative markets in the domain of kids’ apps are games, educational apps, cartoons, and movies.

Parents like to think that mobile and desktop applications help their kids learn. However, educational apps are more popular for a specific audience, such as teachers and professionals in the educational segment.

Games take the lead in the market. Although, sometimes, it is hard to distinguish games from educational apps for kids, as they are designed in a very playful way. But games are created for fun only. In games, you can implement new technology such as AR (augmented reality) and make the app even more interactive.

Kids get easily entertained by video streaming apps with cartoons or movies. Note that such streaming services should have age restrictions so that kids won't see inappropriate content.

Children also love apps for creativity — programs allowing children to create and do arts: painting, coloring pictures, and building things.

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What features should a kids app have?

What features to include in the app for kids? Crucial question app designers should answer and create a list of desired functionality. While you are making a custom app and can include anything you want in it, we suggest considering several essential features that any app for children usually has:

  • audio and video players (especially if this is an educational app): make it more convenient, and interactive;
  • photos: provide the ability to work with images;
  • quizzes: we already mentioned that kids love challenges, so allow them to take quizzes and tests and make achievements;
  • narration support is a valuable feature for apps designed for children without reading skills;
  • parental control: as kids do not yet understand what can be used in an app and what can't, parental control that enables certain restrictions will add value to the app.


You created an app for kids. What's next? Decide how you will make money on that — select the monetization model. There are several common ways to monetize the app.

  1. In-app ads. It is the simplest way to get money from the app. However, as the app is made for kids, you should select the ads carefully and make them appropriate.
  2. Freemium. Widely used by app developers. It allows users to download an app for free, but they can buy a premium version to access more advanced features.
  3. Subscriptions. That's an effective monetization model. Your users can always start with a free trial and then decide if they want to buy a subscription. But remember that this requires a lot of maintenance work.

If you include in-app purchases, add child-controller and require parent confirmation. It will solve the issue of uncontrolled purchases kids can make.

When choosing a monetization model, it is vital to ask yourself a simple question: who will decide regarding app installation – child or parents? Based on this, monetization can vary.

The best apps for kids

To give you an idea of a good app for kids, check some examples that children and their parents loved.

LEGO City Explorers

Engaging and educational application for kids. Allows children to launch the rocket. Space fans will love it.

LEGO City Explorers

Khan Academy Kids

The app for little ones from education leaders. Here children will find educational content and games. It allows to set the primary child's pressure points and arrange the content for them.

Khan Academy Kids

Toca Kitchen 2

It is a playful application allowing children to experiment with foods playing the role of chef. It has a straightforward and bright design and is free.

Toca Kitchen 2

Endless Alphabet

An interactive educational app many parents found very compelling. Even 2-years-old children learn fast with it and have fun.

Endless Alphabet


Let's summarize everything we discussed. A good app for kids should include the following:

  • colorful and bright design;
  • intuitive and clear interface;
  • narration: speech, sounds, music;
  • animation and interactive elements;
  • educational content;
  • parental control functionality.

Children's app programming is a massive responsibility for developers. Applications have a significant impact on kids' development. Create something that won't distract them but contribute to their knowledge.

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