The countdown calendar at our house shows we’ve got about three weeks until the kids are back in school and it’s time to start thinking about plugging their brains back in to learning mode without freaking them out and sending them over the edge. Our IPad has been on sabbatical for most of the summer. But, now it’s time for some brain power and we’ve been busy downloading and checking out some new IPad apps this last week.
For me, the biggest thing with apps is that they need to be as fun as possible alongside the learning goodness. We’re moving into that stage with the big kid where she doesn’t want the “baby” apps any more. Things must have something about space or goofy. The bonus is that there are some great apps out there that work for the baby and the big kid too.
Anyway, here are a few of our old favorites and recent finds that made the grade (or are meant to help make it) with the kids:
1. BrainPop Featured Movie. This FREE App is all about getting kids plugged back in with cool daily videos (they run about 4 minutes) that are all about learning. I like the animated format that works for all school-aged kids. They load up a new video each day and I really like the idea of getting back into a routine by picking a time each day to watch the video and talk about it. There’s also a short retention quiz at the end to see what kids are picking up. Love. Brainpop.com is a great educational website that is worth checking out all its own.
2. 123 World. This is a GREAT world geography site that integrates coloring, locating, capitals and more. It works as a fun introduction to maps as well as a re-braining for older kids. Our favorite part of this app is that after you get the right color and the locale is identified you get switch over to Google Maps and get as detailed as you want in terms of looking at cities, mountain peaks, national parks and more. We have lots of fun with this one in the car.
3. MultiAlien. Time for a little old skool video gaming mixed with math re-braining. MultiAlien is all about getting kids back into the school mode with math while shooting up some aliens. This is the perfect game for boys. But, my big girl loves that she and her cousins (who are much older and both boys) love this one. Perfect deceptecon for learning.
4. ZooWho. While buying some paper Zoo Books recently I came across their new ZooWho App that is a super cool way to learn more about animals, practice reading, recognition and have fun. The initial App download is free and that version is OK. But, I splurged and spent the extra $4.99 to get all of the add-ons including the extra animals, a new landscape and baby animals. Very worth it as this is one of the most gorgeous animals discovery apps on the IPad right now. It’s easy to navigate after the initial pass and there is a fun parrot that repeats things the kids say (honestly not as annoying as it sounds). Lots of learning in the form of fun.
5. Harbor Master. This is a great app for kids who need to organize their brain a bit before heading back to school. In it, you are the harbor master directing boats, parking them, watching them unload cargo all while trying to avoid pirates, monsters and natural disasters. We have A LOT of fun with this one and it is really good in the brain department for sorting, motor skills and just plain old structure. I got it for .99 although it is usually $1.99. Look around for download code deals although the $1.99 is well worth it if you like this sort of thing.