Unfortunately, studies show the equivalent of two months of learning loss between June and September. This summer, get a little crazy – change it up and try some of these apps from our list of FIVE Apps to STOP Summer Slide. Oh, did we mention they are FUN? Yes, all of these apps are gathered for their FUN FACTOR. Whether you are a parent working with your own children or a teacher working with multiple students, step back and look at the activity from a kid’s point of view. If it isn’t fun, forget it. Many students will quickly lose interest and your time will be for naught.
We LOVE BrainPop and Teachers With Apps reviewed the original BrainPop app for the older grades back in December 2010. Chances are your child is familiar with this wonderful educational tool from school, if not take advantage and have them meet Tim and Annie, the endearing characters that appear in each mini-flick. Young kids can sample a wide range of topics from science and technology to health and the arts with this polished, educational app — each animated short (a different one every week) comes with fun quizzes and educational activities. This app empowers kids to form their own ideas. BrainPOP Jr. content is designed to cultivate critical thinking skills and encourage children to ask questions and make connections. The app is designed for kids Ages: 5-9 and it is FREE! Side-note: BrainPOP Jr. site subscribers can log in and access all BrainPOP Jr. content directly from the app.
Teachers With Apps first noticed this terrific app, back in early October 2010, while introducing students to the iPad. After watching children of all different ages and abilities, react with total focus and lots of laughter; we were convinced this app was a winner and it still is along with Dan Russell Pinson’s other unique games! It’s a simple format, but ingenious concept for gaming. With Stack the States kids answer questions about each state correctly and “win” that state. Dan says it best, “The object of the game is fairly simple. You are asked various questions about the 50 states including capitals, state shapes, abbreviations, bordering states, location on the map and even nicknames. If you choose the correct state, you get to actually pick it up, move it, rotate it and place it wherever you want. Your goal is to carefully create a stack of states that reaches the checkered line.” States peer at you through cartoon eyes and blink and look at each other which boosts the fun factor, stacking is an incredibly challenging feature that keeps the game totally engaging. all while essential learning is taking place. Ages:6+ $0.99
3. MATH DOODLES For many children math isn’t viewed as an enjoyable activity. This app will turn that attitude right around and addresses much more than basic computational skills. Math Doodles covers thee following concepts: number & operations, number sense, angles and rotation, time and clocks, money, problem solving, and mathematical reasoning. We reviewed Sums Stacker in April 2011 by Carstens Studios Inc, and considered it an AMAZING APP. This version of “Math Doodles” introduces three challenges plus an additional Soap functional sneak peek challenge that will be made available in it’s finished form in a future free update. Each Challenge provides plenty of mathematical practice, within a recreational math setting. The mathematical puzzles allow users to play, explore, and experiment with mathematical concepts, while developing and strengthening their strategy and problem solving skills. Math Doodles challenges are designed to allow for multiple solutions and strategies. There isn’t only one correct answer. Ages: 10+ $2.99
4. Mobile Education Store Kyle Tomson is the founder of the Mobile Education Store and is one developer you can always trust to deliver top-notch quality educational applications. His first apps were developed with the intent to help elementary age children build their language skills. He has recently included the teen audience as well. Kyle’s apps are used by parents, educators, Speech Language Pathologists, teachers in ESL and yes, even in the general education classroom. All the apps engage the visual, audio and tactile senses, helping students learn language faster and retain what they’ve learned. He has such a vast collection of wonderful apps that we recommend you visit his site to choose which of his apps would be appropriate for each particular child. At present Kyle has # of apps in the iTunes App Store, with several big updates coming SOON! To get started try RAINBOW SENTENCES, it is designed to help students improve their ability to construct grammatically correct sentences by using color coded visual cues. It has a wide audience appeal and a wide range of levels with differing sentence complexity.
Words with Friends is notorious app created for the use of all ages. It is the traditional Scrabble game transformed into a unique online game. Almost any kid of reading age can play this game. It’s also a great way for kids to interact with far away friends and relatives. This revolutionary product allows many new and exciting features that are not found on the traditional board game. First, create your identity, next find an opponent, play: you choose a word to spell out on the board. There’s plenty of double and triple score strategizing, but also plain old literacy and word-building too. You won’t have to do much coercing to get you kids to play this game!
The single most important thing you can do to keep kids’ brains humming along nicely over the summer is to encourage them to read or read to them! Even reluctant readers love the novelty of reading on an iPad. Just be help them find the just-right read for them! Ages: 5+ Free (at least at first!)