We would like to celebrate these apps for all they do for the mind! This list is a mix of coding, strategy building, spatial relations, and visual motor activities to tease and teach using sequential tactics. Bloxels: Build Your Own Video Games by PixelPress Technology is a game and app for the whole family or any classroom. It is reminiscent of the old Atari or the early Mario Brothers games – except it puts the kids in the driver's seat for building game content and complexity. To begin, one starts with a story and the imagining of a hero, and then the storyline slowly begins to evolve. Simple child’s play, you ask? Nope. It takes creative thinking, problem-solving and the ability to visualize a cohesive whole from component parts. I love that there is physical play combined with cognitive challenges. As when designing, kids see and FEEL what works and what doesn’t. Read TWA Full Review HERE Lipa Knight by Lipa Learning is an exemplary educational game with addicting qualities that appeals to kids of all ages and provides boundless experiences in problem-solving, spatial relations, eye–hand coordination and most importantly essential critical thinking skills! Critical Thinking is logical reflective thinking that helps us focus on deciding what to believe or do. Critical thinking is best understood as the ability of thinkers to take charge and ownership of their own thinking.This app is spot on with just the right challenge levels and it promotes perseverance! Read TWA Full Review HERE Sembl is the new offering from the creative folks at Artgig Studio for kids that are a little bit older and adults. Players are presented with multi-colored designs that differ in shape, orientation of design, and coloring; and the task is to replicate it from the model. It sounds easy, but you’ll need to be fully aware and cognizant of how each feature is layered to be successful. It facilitates spatial awareness by challenging thespatial relations, system as well as critical thinking and problem solving. Both are necessary and work in tandem to learn the sequence of how things work. Through gameplay older children and adults learn to better navigate their environment, complete fine motor tasks, but most of all learn to wait to gather information before acting. TWA Full Review HERE Mussila - Musical Monster Adventure by Mussila is a wonderful app that brilliantly teaches children the basics of music, it is hard not to fall in love with the delightful characters and enchanting music. This app follows a comprehensive music curriculum and the player progresses through 60 skill levels. Kids need to select the correct instrument to go with the music played, it starts out with just two instruments and builds to choosing from a much larger selection. Later children need to decipher diverse instrumental sounds, enchanting rhythms and melodies, as well as reading and playing music all with the help of the captivating and unconventional characters. TWA Full Review HERE Swift Playgrounds by Apple is a revolutionary new app for iPad that makes it fun to learn and experiment with code. You solve interactive puzzles in the guided “Learn to Code” lessons to master the basics of coding, while additional challenges let you explore code and create programs that are engaging and unique. Swift Playgrounds requires no coding knowledge, so it’s perfect for students just starting out, from twelve to one-hundred-and-twelve. The whole time you are learning Swift, a powerful programming language created by Apple and used by professionals to build many of today’s most popular apps. And because it’s built to take full advantage of iPad and the real iOS SDK, Swift Playgrounds is a first-of-its-kind learning experience. Puzzlets by Digital Dream Labs LLC teaches early learners (K-2) the fun and joy of problem-solving through coding with the "Cork the Volcano" game. Why is learning to code for younger ones so important? - because it provides a ground or sequence of where to start when given a goal or task. The algorithms used in coding are simply telling the story of what to do, and in our increasingly complex world, kids need to know the how and why of how things happen in order to successfully solve day-to-day problems independently. Those early experiences of trial and error – and yes, failure are the building blocks for future success as it allows kids to explore and discover varied possibilities for action as well as to persevere. TWA Full Review HERE Additionally, these apps fit in this category and are included here, they were also are featured in the Best Play and Learn 2016 Post codeSpark Academy with The Foos – coding for kids by codeSpark is the #1 learn to code program for kids 4-9! This award-winning app has been downloaded and played by over 4 million kids in 201 countries. codeSpark Academy teaches the basics of computer programming through a variety of interactive learning activities including puzzles, games, step-by-step creative projects, game design and offline printables. Read Full TWA REVIEW→ Thinkrolls 3 – Kings and Queens by Avokiddo As with all the Thinkrolls episodes, is filled with puzzlers challenging your abilities to think logically using your super powers and knowledge of physics, mechanics, and most all – how to have fun.The focus is on building executive functioning skills of memory, persistence, inhibition and patience to learn from your mistakes and adapt accordingly. All levels are built with lessons learned from previous levels and introduce the ability to generalize knowledge. READ full TWA Review→ Busy 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. Read Full TWA REVIEW→
Written by Jayne Clare
Jayne Clare is dedicated to being in the forefront of the ever-changing digital landscape. She has been working directly with students and startups and recognizing what works and what doesn’t, along with the why behind both. Jayne co-founded Teachers With Apps in 2011.