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9 Educational Apps that Are Actually Fun

May 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

educational appsLike most parents, you're probably worried about your kids' brains frying over the summer holiday. Research has shown that all kids experience learning losses when they are not engaging in educational activities during summers. With technology being a major pastime of kids, tweens, and teens, it is even more disconcerting to think that they could spend the next few months sitting on the couch consuming mindless screen entertainment.

While technology has many "mindless entertainment" options available for all age ranges, it can just as easily be used educationally. Avoid the pitfalls of summer learning loss by combining technology with learning through encouraging the use of educational apps

The key in finding mentally constructive apps that your kids will actually use is to make sure that they're entertaining. Help your kids foster their interests and expand their knowledge and creativity with these great apps:

  1. Stack the States is a game that makes learning about states fun! Kids can play the colorful game while learning state capitals, shapes, abbreviations, geographies, and more. Whether your child has already learned geogaphy of the states or will be learning about them in the future, the app can help kids absorb this knowledge in an enticing and long-lasting manner (Android, $0.99, Recommended for kids Ages 2+).

  2. Star Walk serves as an astronomy guide for users. By pointing your device at the sky, the app labels stars, satellites, moving satellites, and constellations. Star Walk also enables users to view astronomy layouts of the past and the future. Expand your child's repertoire of science subjects with this app (iOS, $2.99, Recommended for kids ages 4+).

  3. Sound Uncovered allows kids, tweens, and teens to explore sound and sight through an interactive book. Users are encourages to "hear with your eyes" and "see with your ears" through a variety of challenges (iPad, Free).

  4. MindSnacks is a language-learning app that provides kids with nine different games that build vocabulary and conversation skills. The app has 7 languages offerred in their game set and even has games that prep kids and teens for other subjects, such as the SATs, US geography, and math (iOS, Free).

  5. Geography Drive USA takes kids on a "journey" through all 50 states, sharing facts and history about states along the way. Geography Drive USA plays much like a board game, as kids are promted to pick their own car for the roap trip and must "clear as many states" as they can before they run out of gas. Users must get 3 trivia questions about a state correct before they are able to move on to the next state. The visually stimulating app has a retro theme that includes old-timey graphics, sounds and music (iOS, $2.99, Recommended for ages 4+).

  6. Max Journal is an app for the iPad that enables users to create and display journal entries. The entires are professional-looking and can be made quickly and easily. The date is noted and you can tags and "paperclip" photos to go along with entires (iPad, $2.99).

  7. Scribble Press is a multimedia creativity platform. Through the app, kids can write and illustrate their own books. They can even publish and share their iBooks with others. The app offers a plethora of book templates and illustration tools. Scribble Press is a very constructive app to have you kids play, as it encourages the development of creativity and story-telling skills (iPad, $3.99).

  8. Toontastic has kids and teens create their own cartoons through simple and creative steps. Users create characters, settings, plots, and animation. Kids can record their own dialogue for characters and add music to go along with the tone of their cartoon. Users can share their masterpieces with others and even enter them into contests (iOS, Free).

  9. In Presidents vs. Aliens, kids must answer questions about presidents in order to be able to toss the heads of presidents at aliens. The objective of the game is to "earn" presidents for a collection. The questions about presidents range from events surrounding their terms, questions about their political parties, vice presidents, dates of terms, and quotes. Players are also challenged with identifying presidents through their portraits. You can choose the level of difficulty based on the age of users (iOS, $0.99).

It's up to parents to help kids avoid summer learning loss. Many of these apps encourage abstract thinking and creative skills, beyond learning facts and quantitative knowledge. As an extra step to make sure that kids are engaging in high-quality digital activities, parents can use uKnowKids to keep tabs on their digital actions.

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Steven Woda

Written by Steven Woda

Steve Woda is the co-founder and CEO of uKnow, and a leader in the Internet safety and security field for over 15 years. He frequently speaks on the topics of Internet and mobile security, ecommerce and information economics. You can follow Steve on Twitter or on his blog.

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