Tech That Teaches: 15 Smart Apps for Curious Kids
By Alyssa Oursler, Mental Floss, 15 January 2016.
By Alyssa Oursler, Mental Floss, 15 January 2016.
Your kids may spend more time staring at screens on smartphones, tablets, and computers than books, but that downtime can still be educational. Check out these apps that can teach children of all ages far more than a game of Candy Crush - and might even inspire them to learn and live better.
1. Hopscotch (Free)
Want your children to get a headstart on coding when all they want to do is play games? Introduce them to Hopscotch. The iOS-compatible app, targeted toward kids ages 9 to 11, teaches users to create games using simple tools and tutorials - whether they want to replicate existing ones like Angry Birds or dream up their own.
2. Duolingo (Free)
It’s no secret that starting early makes it easier to learn a second language, but things get even easier with a fun app like Duolingo. Kids can choose from a substantial list of languages - including French, Spanish, Russian, Norwegian, and more - and learn through bite-sized lessons that feel more like games. Plus, this app is also great for adults. With a little screen time, family dinners could soon be in a foreign language!
3. Monster Math 2 (Free)
Image: Monster Math 2
There’s no better way to beef up math skills than by fighting monsters! This app, targeted towards elementary students, comes with a customizable curriculum and even adheres to Common Core standards.
4. Magoosh (Free)
It’s hard to spice up study sessions for standardized tests like the SATs, but Magoosh does its best. Its apps, like the Vocabulary Builder, offer fun and efficient ways for younger high school students to get a headstart on test prep without feeling overwhelmed or pressured.
5. Star Walk (US$3)
This app is a one-two punch: It will get kids outside and get them to shoot for the stars. Star Walk is an astronomy guide that’s sure to spark curiosity about the solar system by notifying users of upcoming astronomical events, pointing out the position of constellations and planets, and much more.
6. Treble Cat (US$5)
Image: Melody Cats
Treble Cat will make requests for more screen time music to your ears. This simple game - great for musical beginners of all ages - comes with 10 levels to unlock and, as the name implies, teaches players to read the notes of the treble clef.
7. Read Me Stories (Free)
Image: Read Me Stories
Upgrade their bedtime stories. This free app aimed at beginner readers - age 5 and under - comes with a new talking picture book every day. Each story is meant to teach new concepts and words. Young readers can even tap unfamiliar words and letters to sound them out.
8. Earth 3D - Amazing Atlas (US$3)
Image: Earth 3D
Kids can have the entire world at their fingertips with Earth 3D - Amazing Atlas. Users of all ages can spin and zoom in on a variety of world maps as well as learn facts about different countries and cities and much more.
9. This Is My Food - Nutrition For Kids (US$3)
Image: Urbn Pockets
An appreciation for food and cooking can serve a kid for a lifetime. On top of teaching users about nutrition and food classification, This Is My Food may also inspire them to get hands-on with their own meals, thanks to the app’s recently added recipes section. The app is aimed at kids ages 6 to 8 and can also be purchased as part of a “Science for Kids” bundle which also includes educational apps about mechanics and meteorology.
10. Quizlet (Free)
Not all learning apps should be completely separate from the classroom - that’s where Quizlet comes in. The app offers children a fun and convenient way to study on the go. Turn screen time into study time by creating flashcards, perusing study materials uploaded by other users, and more.
12. The Human Body (US$4)
Who needs Operation? The Human Body app offers a detailed, interactive model of the body with guts that actually gurgle and a heart that actually beats. This Tinybop app also can be purchased in a bundle which features education apps about the earth, machines, homes, and plants.
13. Blueprint 3D (US$1)
Image: FDG Entertainment
Blueprint 3D features over 300 levels that put the user's spatial reasoning skills to the test. Each level starts with apparently random dots and lines that must be organized into a blueprint image. For added fun, users can also create their own puzzles.
14. Lego Movie Maker (Free)
This movie-making app will encourage double the creativity: First kids will be excited to build more LEGO creations, then they’ll be inspired to turn their characters and buildings into stories. Using LEGO Movie Maker, your aspiring film-maker can create stop motion movies as well as add special effects.
15. Trivia Crack (Free)
Image: Trivia Crack/Facebook
Trivia Crack is as addicting as the name implies. Kids will only crave more once they start one-on-one trivia match-ups with friends, featuring questions about science, entertainment, art, geography, sports, and history. As an added bonus, this app is a trifecta: It’s entertaining, and relies on both knowledge and strategy.
Top image credit: edsys/Pixabay.
[Source: Mental Floss. Edited. Some images added.]