Ah, Summer and all its sweetness! What to do so the kids maintain proficiencies, but still have fun? Well, we are here to help find some apps that will keep your kids engaged while still keeping those new skills fresh and committed to memory. Here is an array of some of the best “Sneaky Learning” apps we’ve found for summer. They are a great starter in maintaining skills, but most of all – they present learning as play for the sheer pleasure of it all. Here are five Sneaky Learning – Apps for Summer that spell FUN!
Magic Store Math by Gebo Kano ehf is a blast of wizardly fun. As the proprietor of the local magic shop, you’re in charge of selling jars of spiders, eyeballs, and wands. Designed for kids just learning to add numbers higher than 100; the game also has features for subtraction when separating the units of currency for ease of adding up the bill or to calculate change. The app spans a 15-week curriculum, and the challenges become a little harder as the game progresses. Selecting items from the shelves for the customers involves visually scanning and shifting focus – a bonus for reinforcing basic study skills. Rewards for the week are selecting new items to sell in the store. Each day consists of a few calculations keeping demands low and motivation high for repeat play. What I loved was the immediate engagement of play through the spooky but spunky soundtrack. It is just infectious and immediately has you thinking that you’re up to something while solving math problems! The graphics are spot on and completely entertaining for kids that are in grades 3 or above.
Highlights Everyday is an app that is packed full of fun. Based on the classic Highlights Magazine, this subscription-based app, delivers DAILY new content. Filled with stories, news, games, puzzles, and original videos – Did we mention the classic hidden pictures…the jokes, or the “Ask Highlight Kids” section? The app’s renditions of the tried and true favorites are outstanding. For over 70 years, Highlights have entertained, educated, and delighted children everywhere, and the app does not disappoint. Here’s more Fun with a Purpose™ from the publisher your family has trusted for generations to help kids become their best selves. Read more about this essential tool here.
The gentle and simply beautifully illustrated app, Forest Explorer by Piiig Labs for the younger ones, is an outstanding introduction to the natural world. Chipper the chipmunk is your guide as you explore the inner workings of the forest. In the app, kids explore the natural habitat of animals from the forest over a period of 24 hours, which include night and daytime features. After finding an animal, kids are rewarded with a puzzle. There are 12 animals to learn about in all. There is a soothing soundtrack with very little extraneous noise. This app has a calming aspect to it due to its pace and predictability. It’s also a perfect first app to play before a camping trip or nature hike.
Weirdwood Manor by All Play, No Work Inc. is a brilliant interactive book series for kids 9-11. Follow young Oliver and his other 2 companions throughout the world of Arthur Weirdwood. This series has everything a child could want or imagine: mythical beasts, a haunted mansion, and strange denizens both human and non-human who roam the grounds and mansion. There are plenty of clues and puzzlers spread throughout the series that help Oliver find his true power and place in the world. Tip: Make sure to locate the Findling to help you identify when to search further for clues, or to just sit back and enjoy the story. Noticing what the Findling is doing will save you tons of time searching or tapping around the room for clues. There are 6 books in all, with the 6th coming out this July. Each book is sold separately or as a bundle for $8.99 for all six. It is well worth it just to drink in the richness of the illustrations and the superb storyline.
Netflix’s Project MC2 has inspired an app for girls by MGAE called Project MC2 Case Files. It follows the gang in solving cold cases. By reading and investigating clues, kids perform experiments and collect data before providing the evidence needed to convict notorious evildoers. Although the show can be somewhat fluffy and continues to stereotype girls as giggly despite the acronym SITNC (Smart Is The New Cool), it is entertaining to figure out who did it – like a 21st century game of Clue for girls. Hopefully, this series will continue to grow, improve, and prosper. The app can be used in conjunction with a line of toys, particularly with the official A.D.I.S.N. Journal, making it like the Journal of the main character and secret agent, McKeyla McAllistar. The journal includes codes to unlock more clues in the app. The cases do involve thinking and problem solving using probabilities, and ya know…sometimes a girl just wants to have some fun.
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.