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Busy Things

Rating Busy Things - 5 out of 5 - Best Rating 5.0

  • Website
  • Free
  • age 3+

About Busy Things

Busy Things is a cross-subject teaching and learning resource full of activities, games, and teaching tools for kids aged between 4 and 11. All the content is mapped to English, Scottish, and Australian school curricula and covers most of the subjects taught in these schools. These include Mathematics, English, Science, and History. It also addresses learning to read with phonics and supports various phonics methods.

Busy Things is a web app, ensuring it is compatible with desktop and mobile devices with modern browsers. Following a free trial which does not require payment details, Busy Things requires a subscription to access its 1,000+ activities.

Busy Things Review

What is Busy Things?

Busy Things is an award-winning web app compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and macOS devices through their web browsers. Its content is split across multiple categorisations that include all of the typical school subjects that kids aged between 4 and 11 will follow at school. Each also falls into one of the activity types provided by the app.

  • Games bring fun and stimulation to learning with colourful single and multiplayer games
  • Widgets are digital manipulatives which are great for explaining and questioning kids—think an interactive clock.
  • Worksheets come in a printable form that ranges from traditional paper-based exercises to opportunities to get creative with glue and scissors. There are also interactive worksheets for kids to complete within the web app.
  • Quizzes are multiple-choice tests to check kids' progress and spot areas for extra work. 
  • Slideshow-style demonstrations for teaching and reference
  • Tools for specific activities, such as a simple art package.

The app tracks its use, and parents and teachers can easily see how their kids have performed with their set tasks and independent interests.

What we love about Busy Things.

When we review an app that covers multiple topics across multiple subjects, there is always the concern that every activity is a reworked version of just a few basic ideas. It was great to see that this was not the case with Busy Things.

The app has a superb variety of activity types that suit their topic. Each one is presented beautifully, easy to understand, and educationally beneficial.

With such a quantity of content, kids might not cover all of it at school, so it is great that, as well as the tasks allocated to them, they can also choose to browse through the app and learn about things that interest them.

Many of the topics within Busy Things are not well covered by dedicated apps, so incorporating them into an app that also has the more popular subjects like mathematics and English is a real bonus.

What skills does it teach?

Busy Things contains content related to the main school subjects, including English, Mathematics, Science, History, and Geography. It adds to these with creative topics like art and coding. A phonics programme for early readers is also part of the Busy Things learning material.

What age is it appropriate for?

Busy Things has mapped all of its content against what is taught in England, Wales, Scotland and Australia. In England and Wales this covers reception through to year 6; in Scotland, reception to P6; and in Australia, foundation to year 5.

Is Busy Things easy to use?

A handy feature of Busy Things is that the moment you log in, it presents you with an overview video. This proved a quick way to get started as it gave a good overview of the web app's features and how to use them.

Once you use the parent tools, you'll find that the website is logically set out and that the different options make sense. You can hide the parent tools for kids to start using the activities or set up a simple login to access the web app with only content relevant to kids available.

Schools that subscribe to Busy Things are offered a remote training session by the app's publisher.

How will students benefit?

The variety of activities we mentioned earlier in this review of Busy Things carries through to the play style of the activities. Some even allow multiplayer on the same device, which will let siblings and friends do some competitive shared learning and be useful in classrooms with shared devices.

All of the activities are beautifully designed and presented. They are perfectly placed to appeal to kids across the targeted age range without putting off kids at the youngest or oldest ends. The app also balances planned education against ad hoc learning well. Kids can see what their parents and teachers have set for them to do, but they can also choose to work on other activities appropriate to their age and level.

Work kids complete on the website, for example, with the worksheets or art tools, is not trapped on the site. Kids can save them as images using jpg files or as documents in pdf format for printing or easy access.

How will parents benefit?

Parents won't necessarily have a clear understanding of what their child should cover in each subject each year, but Busy Things has a curriculum browser to help them. This lets parents drill down through subjects and topics until they find the relevant resource selection. Where appropriate, these can be fine-tuned further. For example, parents can adjust the times tables game to focus on specific numbers to match those their kids need to practice.

The parent tools make it easy to guide kids' learning towards areas they need to cover, and they show engagement and progress well. You can easily get a good overview of how your kids have used Busy Things for the activities you have set and the ones they have chosen to play.

As well as helping you support your kids, this ensures that you will see how much use your kids get from the app for the subscription price. Value for money is important, so you need to see that your kids are getting an appropriate amount of use.

How will teachers benefit?

As well as the ready-made games, interactive worksheets, printables etc., there are tools for creating custom worksheets. They are easy to use and produce greatlooking pages for you to save as a pdf and print out. Teachers, homeschooling parents, and anyone who wants to take a hands-on approach to help kids overcome specific difficulties will appreciate this feature.

The widgets are great time savers as teachers with access to Busy Things won't need to create equivalent resources or search for them elsewhere. They're also instantly available should a teacher need to refer to one unexpectedly.

Good to know

Busy Things guides parents and kids through its content well, but you will need to do some setup to ensure it works at its best for your kids. As well as setting your kids' educational stage in general, you will need to fine-tune it in other areas.

Most noticeable is the phonics section. While learning to read with phonics is the most common method used in schools, there are more than one phonics programmes that kids can follow. You should set Busy Things to use the programme your child's school employs. Ask your kid's teacher if you don't know, as using a different method could confuse kids.

The regions option is to account for how pronunciations vary even within the same country rather than the programme followed. This is an uncommon but welcome feature for a phonics app. It probably isn't perfect in a country like England, where accents can vary significantly over a short distance, but it is a big help.

As a web app, users must have a data connection to access the Busy Things content and synchronise with their profiles.

How much does Busy Things cost?

Busy Things is a web app so you can access the content without paying for any downloads. When you create an account, you have the opportunity to begin a 7-day free trial that will give you access to everything that Busy Things has to offer.

What is included with the free version vs. paid?

The trial account does not require that you enter any payment details, so when the trial is up, you'll need to enter your details to begin a subscription. The cost of this subscription compares well with other apps. An annual subscription is better value than paying monthly, and, as Busy Things offers an ongoing educational programme, most users should consider using it for the long term and save some money by going for the annual subscription.

At the time of this review of Busy Things, there was a special summer offer to give your kids the chance to defeat summer learning loss by giving them access to all of the content for a single, reduced cost over two months.

A subscription to Busy Things allows families up to five child profiles which is more generous than some other educational apps.

Is app safe to use?

All of the content observed during this review of Busy Things was suitable for kids. The app's data policy is easy to find, and the account creation page gives you a link if you'd like to check it.

Parents can create a login and password for each child with a profile to ensure that kids don't use each other's learning area and overwrite the other's work and scores.

What can Busy Things improve on?

When you start the setup process, the Busy Things site assumes that the surname of the account creator is the surname of the family users with the prompt "Let's start customising Busy Things for the [surname] family…"

While it is possible to change this title later, families don't all follow this naming pattern, so it would be better to see Busy Things start without the assumption. Also, the app asks parents to enter their kids' birth dates at the profile creation point.

This is optional, but it is fairly justified with the reason that it helps the app to select appropriate content for kids. This will make parents feel like they should enter it, but the entry unnecessarily requires the full date of birth.

There is no reason why the app should need a kid's birthday to the day, and limiting it to month and year would be better. As parents are subsequently asked to enter the educational stage for kids, there should be no disadvantage to reducing the specificity of a child's date of birth.

Overall rating of the app.

Busy Things provides a rare breadth of coverage. Its support for the different subjects and the varied activity types are exceptional and provide extremely good value. Busy Things feels crammed with content that kids will return to time and again, parents will find valuable to support their kids, and teachers will be able to incorporate easily into their lessons. With such an array of excellent content, Busy Things could only achieve the top Educational App Store rating of five stars.

Busy Things Pricing

Pricing Plans

Free Trial

Paid Subscription

Busy Things for families costs £4.49 per month and £34.99 per year. For schools, pricing is tailored to the number of students.

Website Details




Types of skills developed

Creative Development
Academic Relevance


Busy Things

Screenshots for Busy Things

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