|image via Cat Physics app|
I love apps – for anyone who knows me, that’s no surprise. But I also love STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives. Yup, I’m a geek. And as the mother of four daughters (including 6-year-old twins), I’m pretty passionate about teaching my girls about cool STEM stuff. Barbies are fine. But brains are even better. At least in my book.
When Kim asked me to write a guest post for her new blog, I was thrilled. And even though summer vacation is well underway, learning doesn’t have to stop. Everybody needs a break from the pool every now and then!
So I thought you might enjoy reading about my favorite, must-download STEM iPad apps for kids. The best part? iPad apps are typically similar to games, which means kids are learning without even realizing it.
Without further ado, here are some of my favorites—and I’ve tried to include things for all age groups … here goes:
Cat Physics (99 cents): Seriously—who doesn’t love anything having to do with cats? Who knew that playing with cats could help you learn physics? In Cat Physics, you’ll pass the ball from one cat to another. Sounds simple, right? You’ll also have to deal with obstacles like flip boards, glass windows and trap doors, to name a few. The app includes 100 puzzles, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to test your cat physics skills.
Sid’s Science Fair ($2.99): My girls love, love, love “Sid the Science Kid. This app, designed by PBS and the Jim Henson Company is designed for kids ages 3 to 6. It features Sid, the star and uses three science fair games to help kids with experiential learning in core science and math concepts like classification, charting and sequencing. Love this app! It’s worth the price tag, too.
Coin Math ($1.99): My twin girls are going into First Grade, and are all about math and learning about money, counting and all that. That makes this game super popular at out house. Using coins, kids will learn how to count, add and make change. This is a great app that combines math skills with the practical application of handling money. Coin Math is recommended for users at the elementary grade level.
King of Math (free for basic version; 99 cents for the full version): This fast-paced game allows players to advance to various levels after answering math questions and problems. The subject matter includes addition, subtraction, division, fractions, equations, statistics and more. As you answer more questions, you’ll collect stars and achievements and can also compare your score with your friends. The app is ideal for middle school/junior high users.
Bobo Explores Light ($4.99): Billed by the app developer as “a fully functional science museum for kids 4-12,” Bobo Explores Light is an app that combines fundamental science concepts with humor and whimsy. Your kidlets can explore topics like lasers, photosynthesis, colors and bioluminescence, as well as 3-D holograms. You can also take pictures of your experiences with the app and send them as postcards to your friends or to other iCloud-enabled devices. I know the grandparents will especially like that!
TinkerBox HD (free): With this app, kids can learn basic engineering concepts while building machines and creating their own inventions. And, once finished, they can share it with their friends. TinkerBox also includes a puzzle mode, which includes physics-based puzzles and mechanical concepts. You’ve got to rely on creative problem solving skills to win—who doesn’t have a kid that loves that kind of thing?
The Chemical Touch (99 cents): This is a simple yet info-packed app that lets users explore the properties of elements, standard amino acids and nucleobases. Kids can learn about the elements using a touch-sensitive periodic table, and then organize by color depending on various properties. For even more information about each element, amino acid or nucleobase, the app takes users directly to the Wikipedia page for each object.
|image via The Chemical Touch|
SimplePhysics ($1.99): In this game, kids are tasked with building something structurally sound that accomplishes a certain task. Plus, they’ve got to build it with as little money as possible — a pretty cool challenge to begin learning at an early age, right? And, to make it even more stupendous, once your design is complete, you can test it with explosions or by smashing it. As with a lot of the apps, once you’ve created a winning design, you can share the blueprints with friends. Sharability is part of what makes apps so awesome, isn’t it?
AL Abacus ($1.99): An abacus on an iPad — the past has officially met the future! The abacus is a time-tested tool that helps kids learn math and arithmetic by encouraging them to visualize quantities, minimize counting and develop mental strategies. The app includes a double-sided abacus that’s grouped in fives and tens on one side, and trades to the thousands on the other.
Solar Walk ($2.99): I always loved learning about the solar system, and my kids do, too. Solar Walk is an app that features an interactive model of the solar system and Milky Way. The time machine function allows you to travel through space and time, and you can also see real-time trajectories of Earth’s artificial satellites. Learn about each of the planets, including name, mass, radius and internal structure. If you have a space-loving kid in your life, this app is a must!
Hopefully you’ll find one of these apps as exciting as I did for your kids this summer. Camp is great, the pool is wonderful and sports keep them in shape. But exercising those brain cells is pretty awesome, too. And when you can trick them into doing it with an app, so much the better.
Have I missed an education, STEM focused app that you love? If so, I’d love to know about it. Shelly Kramer is the Founder and CEO of V3 Integrated Marketing. A 20+ year marketing veteran, she's a strategist, brand storyteller, digital marketing pro, a wife, a mom and a geek. Mostly in that order.
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