4 FAB Apps for Exploring the Natural World

splash-1456398-639x431 What’s this week’s splash all about? Here are some apps that just won’t wait ‘til school begins in September. Give them a look-see and download before the supply buying rush hits the area stores. You will want to have plenty of time to indulge and play with these puzzlers and natural world discovery apps. They are all easily translatable to activities throughout the summer months. 400x40000bb-1Busy Water by Edoki Academy is truly an original app that just screams problem-solving, sequencing and creativity. These are all the core skills for navigating through everyday life as well as the core foundation for coding. The app is based on gravity and makes full use of all the features the iPad/TV/Watch has to offer. The third in the line of Edoki’s superb “Busy” series for enhancing kid’s cognitive skills, this one is just as fabulous as the others. Intended for kids, a little bit older, both children and adults will enjoy playing the 100+ levels of puzzlers as they try to help Archie, the fish, escape from that pesky cat. Possible death and mayhem are all possible outcomes as one transfers Archie from a water tank to a nearby safety drain, boat, etc. It’s up to you, the hero, to get him home safely. Each level gets increasingly more complex with the presentation of obstacles and devices that need a workaround. With the Apple Watch or TV connection, it can be played on the run, or as a family event. I do wish there was an online link to access these features and enjoy the whole game if one doesn't have an Apple TV or Watch. Playing on other devices will earn you points to decorate Archie’s tank and keep him styling in the latest couture outfits. He looks rather dashing in his “Zorro” outfit if I do say so myself. Edoki has another winner on their hands with Busy Water, and this is a must have app for assessing a child’s cognitive or reasoning skills and their expense to the world at large. In conjunction with Busy Shapes and Crazy Gears, Busy Waters naturally extends cognitive challenges as a child becomes older and more capable. The coolest part of this app is the ability to create one’s own levels using all the items that one has experienced. Share these hand made levels with others via a privatized download code that ensures a child’s safety. Edoki rocks and a look at what they have to offer is a must. unnamedParkPal Kindness Rules by the Second Step teaches kids to be genuine and kind by learning how to be respectful, mindful, and safe. Available on Kindle and Google Play, it can also be played on via your browser on the web. It is not currently in the U.S. app store. The genius of this game is that the kids are trainers for different critters in these lessons, which send an important message in trusting kids to do the right thing when the opportunity is offered. On opening, design your trainer, and then get to work! Activities involving sharing, fairness, and being helpful and safe are challenged while obstacles of peer pressure or not doing anything at all are presented as choices. Earn stars by studying vignettes and help your trainee earn points to practice and master more difficult situations in the park. The thing I love about this game is the opportunity to play with children. It is not a game to play alone. It’s perfect for circle time or one on one play and would be awesome up on a large screen or whiteboard. These are all skills to be reinforced and practiced off screen. 400x40000bbAmazing World Ocean:Interactive 3D Encyclopedia by Dimitar Itskov is a feast for curious minds. Played in a cozy corner, it allows for little minds to wander and explore the depths of the ocean and all its inhabitants. The information can be scaled accordingly to a child’s capabilities and interests. The app displays relative size habitat and a narrative component that reads the information panel and more. One of the coolest panels is the 3D view and gallery where pictures of the fish in their natural habitat are displayed. 400x40000bb-2Namoo by Crayonbox takes kids on a journey to the microscopic level in the world of plants. This is a fascinating app for elementary students who are a bit older and have some understanding of science and the natural world. Hands on experimentation along with the sharing of knowledge are central to the app. From a plant’s crowning glory of flowers, fruit, and leaves to the health and mechanisms that are in play at their roots are covered in splendid detail. This is a fantastic app that easily could be used before a natural scavenger hunt or a trip to an arboretum. Preloading or exposing kids to the vocabulary of a place helps with retention and the broadening of perspective.   Jo Bojooth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of SEPA, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing on 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 have been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.  
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