Best Kids Dictionary Reviews 2023

Dictionaries are invaluable learning tools for kids. For most, dictionaries are the first introductory resource materials that help them learn new words and improve their vocabularies. A good kids dictionary should safely introduce children to terms that are age-appropriate while presenting the information with clear prints that are fun to read and full-color illustrations to bring out the meaning more accurately. We’ve done our homework and reviewed five of the best kids’ dictionary brands in the market today. Let’s get started already!
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Our Top Choice
Simon & Schuster’s Macmillan Dictionary
With approximately 2000 titles annually, Simon & Schuster publishes a wide range of kids’ books of different formats, audiobooks, electronic books, hardcovers, and paperbacks among others.
3,000 color illustrations and images. Definitions are clear. Child friendly. Stunning design.
Some needed words not defined
848 pages
Synonyms, pronunciations
Best Value
Scholastic Children’s Dictionary
As a leading provider of both digital and print education programs, Scholastic aims to inspire the personal and intellectual growth of kids, beginning with literacy.
64 pages of fresh new content. Offers pronunciation guide. Includes multiple world maps. Full color illustrations. Sample sentences.
Lacks some basic words.
 864 pages
Synonyms, prefixes, illustrations
DK Merriam-Webster’s Children's Dictionary
DK produces books for babies, toddlers, and children. The company covers everything including human body, animals, craft activities and homework help, both in print and digital formats.
Modern pictures and illustrations. Clear and easy-to-read. Usage examples provided. In-depth entries.
Too heavy to carry around.
960 pages
Photographs, illustrations
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage has a team of professional educators dedicated to causing those moments when your students light up at the very moment the learning process becomes conceivable.
More than 25,000 entries. Simple, precise, and easy to understand. Includes photo illustrations. Comprehensive.
Lacks some common words.
896 pages
Hardcover, multimedia
Illustrations, synonyms, spelling
Theresa Fitzgerald Kids Math Dictionary
Theresa R. Fitzgerald saw the need to have a resource to help kids in elementary and middle school understand the terminology and concepts of math.
Over 400 definitions. Full-color illustrations and examples. Examples and illustrations are brief but clear.
Topics are scattered throughout the dictionary
272 pages
Paperback, library binding
Illustrated examples

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What is the Best Kids Dictionary?

Untrained kids may find it difficult looking up a word in an advanced learners dictionary. Somehow, the word is always somewhere else. But even after fumbling through the boggy paths of the alphabetical hierarchy to find the word, kids face yet another nightmare: The dictionary offers more than they need to know, too much explanation that makes it difficult to figure out what to write down on their assignment. That’s the reason kids’ dictionaries are critical as they give precise, age-appropriate definitions that suit the young learners. Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to go through our individual reviews and pick a copy that suits your needs and budget.
Our Top Choice
The revised edition of the Simon & Schuster’s Macmillan Dictionary for Kids comes with almost 3,000 color illustrations and images to expand your kid’s understanding of words. Looking for something compact and lightweight? Check out the Simon & Schuster Young Readers' Illustrated Dictionary Paperback that comes with approximately 5,000 concise and clear definitions with lovely full color illustrations.

Simon & Schuster’s Macmillan Dictionary for Children, Hardcover (July 10, 2007)

Founded in 1924, Simon & Schuster began as a partnership between M. Lincoln Schuster and Richard L. Simon. Today, the company has grown to become a major force in the consumer publishing field, dedicated to providing extensive high-grade information and entertainment in printed, audio, and digital formats to a global audience of readers.

Simon & Schuster’s Macmillan Dictionary is considered the number one dictionary for Kids, and for good reason. The now completely revised dictionary comes in an outstanding design with over 3,000 images and approximately 35,000 up-to-date entries, making it the most credible name in kids’ reference. Authoritative, fun, accurate, current, and easy to navigate, this dictionary is the classic resource for young readers and spellers.

Here are more features that come with this children’s dictionary:
  • Synonyms to help kids select the correct words
  • Easy-to-read pronunciations
  • Full captions to add information and interest
  • Each letter comes with spelling tips to help children find them easily
  • A color reference section, with US Presidents and World Maps Atlas
  • Word history paragraphs tell the enchanting stories of how different words came to be
Best Value
The 2013 updated version of the Scholastic Children’s Dictionary comes with 64 pages of fresh new content at no extra cost. Want to help your kid become a spelling pro? Get the Scholastic Dictionary of Spelling with over 150 clever tricks to help children spell with ease.

Scholastic Kids’ Dictionary Hardcover – July 30, 2013

Founded in 1920 and with $1.6 billion in annual revenue, Scholastic is a global leader in publishing and distribution of children’s books. Today, the company distributes its books and other educational materials to millions of schools and homes, helping to provide a world of possibilities to kids across the globe.

Perfect for ages 8 - 12 years, the newly revised Scholastic Children’s Dictionary comes with some outstanding features including a new cover, emphasis on the rising technology terms, an additional 64 pages of fresh new content, and an updated and enlarged Geography section. The definitions and entries have been written by well-known lexicographers and scrutinized by a team of librarians and educators.

The Scholastic Kids Elementary Dictionary offers a short history of each letter, and precise definitions with charming illustrations.

Here are more features that come with this dictionary:
  • Includes ten page thesaurus
  • Has multiple world maps
  • Includes synonyms, prefixes, and suffixes for the featured words
  • Dozens of images
  • Includes cross-references and sample sentences
The 2015 edition of the DK Merriam-Webster’s Children's Elementary Dictionary comes with modern pictures and illustrations that make it appealing to users of between 6 and 9 years. Want an introductory dictionary for your kindergarten child? Get the My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things available in hardcover and perfect for ages 4-7 years.

DK Merriam-Webster’s Kids Elementary Dictionary Hardcover – May 19, 2015

Founded in 1974, DK is the world’s leading reference publisher for both adult and children books. With offices in London, Delhi, New York, Toronto, Munich, and Melbourne, the company produces content for readers in more than 62 languages and 87 countries. DK’s mission is to entertain, enrich, and inform readers of all ages through its print or digital publications. It brings unparalleled clarity to a wide array of topics with a remarkable combination of words and photos.

The updated 2015 DK Merriam-Webster’s Children's Elementary Dictionary features 35,000 updated words, images, phrases, and authoritative content, making it a must-have reference for elementary school kids. The definition of each entry is fully explained with notes on punctuation and spelling, and usage examples. Clear guide words, coupled with substantial use of cross-references, make it easy for kids to locate synonyms and definitions.

Here are more reasons why you should get the DK Merriam-Webster’s Children's Elementary Dictionary:
  • Captioned color photos and drawings bring life to the entries
  • Word histories included throughout the book
  • Usage examples included
  • Common abbreviations
  • Chronological listing of United States presidents and their vice presidents
  • Color-coded page borders for every letter of the alphabet
  • Word senses fully refreshed to demonstrate modern usage
  • New countries, flags, cities, and borders added
With more than 25,000 entries, the 2015 Children's Dictionary is very comprehensive and covers all the vocabulary young readers need today. Looking for an introductory dictionary for your young reader? We recommend the American Heritage First Dictionary for ages 5-8 years and include 850 full-color pictures and drawings.

The American Heritage Children's Dictionary, Available in Hardcover and Multimedia

The American Heritage is known for producing highly dependable English dictionaries and relies on the expertise of a panel of over 200 experienced writers, scientists, and scholars. The same expertise has been reflected in their kids’ dictionary which has precise and clear definitions coupled with comprehensive information relevant to youngsters. Their dictionaries include definitions for technical words in the field of science and updated geographical entries and maps. The publisher is dedicated to instilling a lifelong passion for learning with various books that entertain, inspire, and inform readers of all ages.

Designed for Grade 3 to Grade 6 (ages 8 to 11), the American Heritage Kids dictionary will serve those everyday learning moments. The refreshed version of this award-winning dictionary for kids comes with vocabulary keyed to grade level, stunning full color art that mixes rendered art with photography, and lively example sentences.

This visually stunning kids’ dictionary features over 25,000 entries, and covers the vocabulary today’s kids need to know. The version was completely revised in 2010 with over 2,000 completely new words incorporated and updated. Some special features include hundreds of notes, a guide to spelling and phonics, and an appendix with a geographical dictionary.
With over 400 definitions, coupled with full-color illustrations and examples, the 5th Edition of the Theresa Fitzgerald Kids Math Dictionary is an ideal guide to help children find sustained success in math. Looking for something smaller and lighter? Get Theresa Fitzgerald’s “The Absolutely Essential Math Dictionary” available in paperback format with only 80 pages.

Theresa Fitzgerald Math Dictionary for Children (5th Edition), Available in Paperback and Library Binding Formats.

Since 1992, Theresa R. Fitzgerald has served the Linden Community Schools as a fourth grade teacher. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan-Flint and later earned her Master’s degree in Math/Science Elementary Education from the Eastern Michigan University. She has presented several workshops in math and science and staff development seminars locally, in addition to developing math and science curricula. She is a champion of increasing the use of technology within the curriculum and developing science activities. Theresa’s undoubted love for math and her overwhelming interest in helping little children understand the concepts led to the development of the kids’ Math Dictionary.

The Theresa Fitzgerald Kids’ Dictionary is equipped with the number one guide to assist kids with math homework. Kids will quickly look up the definitions and illustrated examples of math problems to help them solve several other math challenges they face. The fifth edition of this best-selling math dictionary covers everything from “addend” to “zero,” and offers kids in grades 4 to 9 more than 400 definitions with full color illustrations and examples to help them solve various math problems.

This handbook comes with illustrated, concise word explanations of the common terms used in general math classes and are categorized by subjects including probability, decimals, statistics, measurements, algebra, and problem solving. This new edition also explains how students can use basic math tools to improve their understanding and how to use a handy measurement conversion table. It’s perfect for both kids and their parents looking to help their children with math homework.

How Do I Choose the Best Kids Dictionary?

​The English language features millions of words we can never exhaust. The average speaker typically uses a small fraction of the total terms and phrases. Other than spellings and understanding new terms, a dictionary helps you expand your vocabulary and improve grammar.

For kids, using an advanced dictionary is like fumbling through the mucky muds as a fierce shark charges after you. Despite the time constraints, the words will not just come up where we expect them to be. An effective kids’ dictionary comes with comprehensive and easy to understand definitions accompanied by helpful photos and illustrations. Kids grasp new ideas and words better with a combination of words and visuals.

​One important aspect to look for in a kids’ dictionary is the edition. Technology is advancing at a very fast pace and we must keep up. In fact, most kids’ dictionaries are now coming in digital formats, so getting an affordable kids’ tablet could be a great idea. Some models even come as mobile apps that you can install on your kid’s smartphone for ease of access, portability, and flexibility. Instead of perusing through the alphabetical hierarchy to find a word, kids simply type in the words they’re looking for and the search returns a comprehensive definition with pictures and illustrations. Fantastic!

If your kid struggles to effectively learn new words from a dictionary, a good idea is to turn it into a game. Let your child randomly pick a word and quiz you on its meaning. You don’t have to get everything right. Trade places and pick words and quiz him/her as well. Using a kids’ dictionary this way makes the learning experience more fun and engaging.

If you choose to go with paperback or hardcover dictionaries, be sure to get your child a decent book rack to safely keep the dictionary whenever it’s not in use. We all know how young kids can be rough on their books, so we rather recommend hardcover dictionaries over paperback models.

With that appreciation in mind, let’s take you through some important features to look for in a kids’ dictionary before you dive straight into our top picks.
Kids’ dictionaries are fairly priced, whether you’re looking for a print or digital version. A good one will cost you anything between $10 and $20. As mentioned before, digital dictionaries are more advantageous since your kid can carry them everywhere they go on their mobile device (laptop, tablet, or smartphone). Online dictionaries may be free of charge but are not appropriate for kids in school, given the complexities of managing the kind of content your kid can safely access. However, if you choose a print model, you’ll still find a good quality kids’ dictionary that will serve your young ones for several years to come. We don’t recommend very cheap kids’ dictionaries out there since the integrity of their content may be questionable and their print copies may be made of low-quality paper that will degrade over time.
Just like buying a pair of shoes or pants for your kid, choosing the right kids’ dictionary requires precise sizing. With the numerous dictionaries on the market, one size doesn’t fit all kids. Each model is designed for a particular age or grade. Here are the features to look for in more detail:
  • Age or Grade – Look on the cover of the dictionary for the recommended age or grade. Peruse through the dictionary and look up a few words you know, for example, the word “orange.” Was it easy to locate the word, and was the definition simple and straightforward? If it isn’t easy for you, your child will definitely struggle to use it.
  • Illustrations – Dictionaries with pictures are great for young children as they help to better explain the terms. Young kids dictionaries may have colored pictures with fewer details to make them interesting to read, but as they grow older, say high school, the pictures may not be colored but will have detailed labels and captions to expand their vocabulary.
  • Prints Quality – Look at the quality of prints to ensure easy readability. The print should be crisp and sharp while the cover should be smooth and shiny for protection against sticky hands.
  • Extras – Look for any available extras on the kids’ dictionary like grammar guides, formal letter templates, and much more.
Construction and Design
As the world quickly advances in technology, so should we. Today’s kids are more advanced than what we were a few decades ago. When shopping for a kids’ dictionary, think about your kid’s preferred mode of learning. Perhaps he/she prefers looking up things on the internet or loves flipping through the physical pages. Whichever way you go, most kids find it tedious to navigate the alphabetical order to look up a word. Digital dictionaries installed on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone provide a more efficient way of checking the meaning of a word in the dictionary. But that’s just us. Some parents, and even teachers, still prefer the old, rugged method for their kids to use at home or in school.

Consider hardcover dictionaries over paperback dictionaries if you want your kid to use it for a few years without falling apart. For digital format, consider models that come as CDs or DVDs or downloads that can easily be installed on your kid’s laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Some models may have recorded pronunciations, phonetic transcriptions, and a number of sentence examples.
Performance and Ease of Use
A good kids’ dictionary should be user-friendly and fun to use. If it’s a digital model, the app should allow kids to easily look up words and play recorded pronunciations without excessive clicking and scrolling. It should also include other input operations like copying, pasting, dragging, dropping, scrolling, and much more.

Kids tend to be more impatient than adults, so ensure the software’s responsiveness is fast enough with no annoying loading times. Additionally, the search engine should return relevant and accurate searches whenever a user keys in the word they want to look up. Even with typing or spelling errors, the search results should bring some relevant suggestions as opposed to error messages.

Finally, you want a dictionary that’s interesting and fun to use. Consider models with full-color pictures and illustrations to entice young learners to use it more. The print should be crisp, clear and readable without straining the eye.

Get the Best Kids Dictionary of 2023!

When shopping for a kids’ dictionary, consider the age of your child and find one that’s age-appropriate. Avoid plain text dictionaries that may be overwhelming for young learners. A kids’ dictionary should be engaging and easy to read and understand. Hopefully, we played a part in your quest to find the most appropriate kids’ dictionary for your child. These same brands still offer more options for different age groups that you should look at.

Our Top Choice
Simon & Schuster’s Macmillan Dictionary
Best Value
Scholastic Children’s Dictionary
DK Merriam-Webster’s Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
Theresa Fitzgerald Kids Math Dictionary

Kids Dictionary FAQs

What age should kids learn to look up words in the dictionary?
The best age for kids to learn to look up words in the dictionary is three years onwards. It doesn’t have to be one with words alone. Instead, the dictionary should include pictures so that the little kids can quickly grasp the meanings of words. At first, a parent or teacher may read the definitions to the kids. Afterward, the kids would have adequate literacy skills to read and understand the dictionary.
Where to buy a kids dictionary
You can buy a kid’s dictionary online. That’s because the options provided by sites such as Amazon are so numerous that finding a good dictionary is easy. If you are looking for a kids’ dictionary to buy, we have reviewed some of the best.
How to use a dictionary
The right way to use a dictionary is to start by following the first letter of the word. The best place to look is the top of the page, where you will find guide words. Once you find the first letter, look for the second, the third, and so on. Do that until you narrow down to the specific word whose meaning you would like to know.