It is about time we took full advantage of the power of educational multi-player apps for kids! The amount of screen time and solo experience kids get while playing apps has been scrutinized from day one. To our delight, several developers have caught on to the possibilities of educational, multiplayer apps. With social interactions, friendly competition, and group cooperation all being carefully considered, TWA has put together our first list highlighting some of the best multi-player apps available. These apps are great in and out of the classroom and we highly recommend them. *Note: The apps are listed in age appropriate (toddler to middle school) order.
Toca Tea Party, by Toca Boca, is aimed at the preschool set. This delightful, non-competitive “digital toy” for iPad allows you to set the table, choosing from several different beautiful table cloths, plates, cups, and glasses, select your favorite cookies or cakes and serve the tea for your very own tea party. And the best part? Not a mud pie in sight! There are no winners or losers in Toca Tea Party – everyone has a marvelous time! If one of your guests accidentally spills some tea, don’t worry – there are plenty of napkins for you to clean up with, and there’s always more tea for a refill. When the party is over, just put the plates and cups in the sink and you’re ready to play all over again!
Monster Hunt – The Memory Game, by Innovative Moble Apps/Alligator Apps - Looking for a very basic visual memory app? Here is an another free and worthwhile app from Alligator Apps. This app provides customization of how many items are displayed, reveal time and sound and also offers single or multi-player options. As always, with Alligator apps, the app provides the ability to customization features according to the user's needs. In short, Monster Hunt is a very cute, motivating, visual memory game for kids to play. While most memory improvement games are boring and scientific, Monster Hunt has gorgeous little monsters that are begging to be found! You will have so much fun looking for little monsters, that you won't even know that you are improving your working memory at the same time. See other reviews of Alligator Apps by TWA here: Two Snappy Apps and Even More Fabulous Free Apps.
Word Games for Kids – Futaba, by INKids, is an incredibly fun and educational multi-player game. The idea is simple – each player takes a seat around the iPad and taps in to start. The game begins as images zoom into the playing area. Kids match the word to the visual, as quick as they can, to win a point. The first player to match the word to the image scores a point. Win 3 rounds and you’ll be awarded a giant (but very friendly) seedling. Futaba (Japanese for ‘seedling’) features beautiful, hand drawn illustrations. It contains a number of great learning sets, including Dolch Sight Vocabulary Words, Subtraction, Multiplication, Telling the Time, Currency, Countries and Flags and more. Full review
Futaba Classroom Games for Kids, by INKids, has introduced a powerful concept for the iPad, engaging multiple players in fast paced games for the classroom or home. These games, which vary in content, can be set to a specific skill or set to randomly display a mix... all by a simple visit to the settings menu. Presently, they have a pre-k section with animals, shapes, transportation, and “things.” There is a K-3rd grade math section, geography, and Dolch sight words. Also, they offer First Spanish Words and Japanese for beginners to learn the language. You can easily add your own content and create your own game based on any theme you choose. This is an amazing option for teachers to implement and customize to whatever they are studying. Full review
Operation Math: Code Squad, by Spinlight Studio, is a brilliant multi-player game that keeps kids current on all four math operations by jointly beating the clock. Code Squad is not for the faint of heart, and it does take teamwork and quick wit to reach all five levels of play. The premise behind Code Squad is to reach each level of difficulty through collaboration and cooperation. Our experience in the classroom proved this app to be a winner in getting kids engaged and working together! The app provides practice in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or any combination of operations. We did encounter some situations where the game was too fast paced for some students; we let the developers know that a timing option in the settings would give this app an even wider audience appeal. Spinlight does acknowledge that this app is not for those just learning their math facts and recommends the original Operation Math as better for students who are beginners, especially the training mode. TWA feels Code Squad would be an awesome addition to family time, giving siblings, friends, care-givers and parents an opportunity to play this action packed learning game together!
Figurative Language, by e Skills Learning, is just what every English/ELA teacher needs in their pocket! Bruce Brown, of e Skills Learning, has a great formula going here and continues to develop excellent educational tools for use at home or in the classroom. This app, as with all of the e Skills Leaning apps, is carefully aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Students can play in either a practice mode or a game mode. The game mode incorporates a bingo game which keeps kids engaged “forever” as they are determined to win that bingo game. Students are learning much needed language concepts while having FUN, so if they want to continue playing is there any harm in that? Students read a short sentence, then practice their understanding of figurative language by choosing the best explanation out of three that fits each literary term. Figurative language is speech or writing that departs from a literal meaning in order to achieve a special effect. While there are many types of figurative language, this app focuses on: onomatopoeia, idiom, alliteration, simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, cliché. The app incorporates photographs (many funny), which keep students entertained and engaged. Figuarative Language offers three levels of play, with controlled vocabulary and three ways to play: practice, single player, or multi-player. This playing with a partner feature is key for the classroom setting. Also, a detailed teacher’s guide is available for download on the publisher’s website, e Skills Learning. A few other apps by this prolific and premiere developer, Bruce Brown- Making Inferences, and Reading for Detail.