Our 10 Favorite Apps This Summerby Elizabeth MacDonald
We all know that summer is for running barefoot in the grass, riding bikes around the block, catching fireflies, and sleeping in. Now that we are parents, we also know that summer means hearing phrases such as: “I’m hottttttttttt” “I’m bored.” “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mooooooooooooooooom.” There’s no judgement here, I hand over the kids’ iPads more often than I should too. We spend every warm day of the year in a swimming pool, at a splash pad, or playground. We are outside from about 10:00am until bedtime most days of summer. But we also build forts, watch movies, and camp out in the living room. There are those moments though – like every morning before I want to wake up, and every evening when I need 45 minutes to prep dinner – that the iPads make their appearance.
We finally gave in and our kids now have their own iPads, and my husband and I decided to fill them with age-appropriate, educational, but still super fun apps that would actually be more beneficial than another episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I’d like to introduce you to the apps that will be (educationally) babysitting my children at random times this summer:
Bobo Explores Lights: “A fully functional science museum for ages 4-12.” Friendly robot Bobo navigates you through 21 in-depth topics like lasers, lightening, and bioluminescence with gadgets, experiments, and interactive holograms!
Solar Walk: “This 3D solar system model lets you navigate between planets, see their positions on a specific date, explore how they move and why. You will see the entire Milky Way galaxy from a far and zoom in to study all the planets and satellites in close-up, learn their trajectories, inner structures, history of their exploration, and geography.”
Toca Boca: We love EVERY Toca Boca app, so skim their page and pick a few that would work for you. The new TocaLife Vacation app is our latest download. I’m not kidding when I say that our ipads have at least 8-10 Toca Boca apps on them.
iBiome-Wetland: This app is for grades 3-6, but my almost 7 year old is slowly getting the hang of its true purpose. (My 4 and 2 year olds just love playing with it!) You get to build bio domes in 3 different wetland settings. The goal is to build the optimum environment for the survival of both plants and animals.
MotionMath: Kindergarten-6th grade math concepts are learned through interactive games. My kids love the pizza game! They bake pizzas and serve them to customers, setting prices and collecting money. (My daughter’s favorite is the cupcake game!)
Tam and Tao in Numberland: This is for the younger learners. My 2.5 and 4 year olds both enjoy Numberland. Learning numbers through Montessori activities makes for a great foundation for building higher level math later.
Barefoot World Atlas: “It’s never been easier to explore the world’s continents, great oceans and changing environments. As you travel from country to country, you’ll meet different people from around the planet and find out about their way of life. With the tap of a finger, you can encounter amazing wildlife, and discover famous landmarks, fantastic natural features and remarkable buildings.” My almost 7 year old LOVES this app!
Nosy Crow Apps: Goldilocks, Snow White, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Little Pigs, and so many more (just buy the bundle!) stories have their own gaming-reading interactive app. Don’t let princess stories fool you, these stories allow anyone to play. You get to build the carriage for Cinderella and the Three Little Pigs and sneak around a giant with Jack!
ABC Mouse: You know an app list isn’t complete without this one. We are a homeschooling family and love how much our kids ask to ‘play’ with this app. Every subject is covered in an entertaining way, and each of our children has their own aviator and login so the content reflects their progress. They earn tickets to take care of their virtual pets, which is always a fun incentive.
Starfall: Again, this app cannot be forgotten. Reading, math, music, and fun create hours of learning. It is a definite must to continue kids progressing over the summer months.
What apps will you be adding this summer?