Its Educational Appy Hour
How do you feel about screen time? Over the past year I have gradually come to embrace it; not because I’ve become a tech momma (well, maybe a little more so) but because I have been doing so much recognizance work on technology and kids. And what I have found has made me hopeful! Do you know about all the amazing, totally engaging learning apps available? I didn’t. For a long time I treated screen time as a sin to be avoided at all costs but I don’t feel that way any longer. At our house we have combined my research with many happy kid hours of testing different apps and now present to you our list of outstanding apps guaranteed to educate and challenge as much as entertain. You might even find yourself cuddling up to join in the fun! Don’t believe me? Read on!
Top 10 Amazing, Engaging Learning Apps (in no particular order)
WonderBox: There is just too much good stuff out there in the wide world to learn about BUT who has time to curate it? You don’t have to! WonderBox is an app that curates wildly popular topics for the pre-tween/tween set combining it with a clean interface that is ad-free. This app encourages interaction through challenges and even includes private email availability. My 8 year old daughter has learned about different dance styles, used art programs and it is our go to for topics we might have questions about because I don’t have to wade through tons of promotion to see quality media. This is another way she communicates with grandparents out of town. And it is FREE!
Marble Math Jr.: Are all kids collectors? My two kids who are old enough for this app absolutely LOVE collecting a new marble. This app mixes up a variety of math skills including addition, subtraction, and fractions. Because it is aimed at early or emergent readers, the app will read the word problem aloud. Both kids rush to me after tap-tap time (what we call using the iPad), to show off their new marble prizes. $2.99
Big Seed: What a challenge this app is (for kids and adults). Its focus is on visual math and problem solving. Kids play a game that reminds me of tetris and feels like Rubic’s cube. This is complex puzzle learning at its best. You and your kids will find this challenging and addictive (in the best sense–you REALLY want to solve these problems!) to see JiJi the Penguin cheer you on!
KickBox: From the same developers of Big Seed, KickBox is another problem solving app that offers challenges of placing mirrors so lasers can zing balls out of the way to let JiJi pass. It engages your puzzle-brain the same way building a fort or piecing together a sudoko might. Kids want to progress and solve, not realizing how much work they are doing.
Dragon Box Plus: Again, another puzzle app. This seems to be the way to learn higher level math; conceptually then learning the actual equations. Just how I think it is best to learn. My 5 year old loves this game and has yet to reach the higher levels when actual computational knowledge is necessary. But it is coming; I’ll be interested to see how he reacts. Lots of logic, puzzle thinking and problem solving. $5.99
Crazy Gears: This game starts easy but quickly progresses to harder tinker challenges. Around here we love to figure out how things work (by usually breaking something and trying to make it work again). I figure this is an easy way to get brains flexible and warm for real life tinkering. Touch pads are amazing and constructing the various gears to make the page flip to the next takes much ability to conceptualize how gears and pulleys work together. $1.99
Toca Town: This is an app designed for the littlest members of your family; my three year old is fascinated with doll play and this is a virtual dollhouse, open for interpretation. Think of it as Calico Critters without all the teeny tiny parts scattered all over the floor! What gets me is that my husband is all about open ended play in his video games, too, so now our kids can have the same imaginative virtual world. $2.99
iFaces: Mixed media art creation! My kids can spend a lot of time choosing various loose objects, sizing and resizing to make just the perfect face collage. Some are so clever and actually look like the person they are designing….like grandmothers or friends. The music can get rather annoying but the visuals are so appealing, the sound isn’t necessary.$2.99
Skybrary by Reading Rainbow: Although this is a subscription service, you can have access to a limited amount of books and videos without subscribing. I have found the price well worth what you can find in this app. Besides a huge library of books that children can read along with narration, there are high quality videos on engaging topics. If we can’t find what we are looking for with WonderBox, we take a look here before wading into YouTube. I especially love that an impressive quantity of National Geographic and other non-fiction is offered. $ Subcription price varies.
Tiny Bop: This developer has many different apps and offers a few different bundles. We have The Body and The Earth. While these are not games, per se, they are engaging and full of opportunity for free exploration. Each app has enriched various units we have studied and offers an “inside” view of a topic. My kids can watch the model eat and eat and eat on The Body; they are fascinated by the food moving through (and, ahem, out). $3.99
These learning apps are sure to keep your children busy, problem solving and discovering the world. They work well to supplement homeschool curriculum or as stand alone enrichment and engagement. What are your go to child and momma approved apps at your house? I’d love to know! Do you follow me on FaceBook? I am always posting something new and have started to engage with followers on FBLive. Would love to meet you there!