For some families, the beginning of school in the fall is a relief; for others, it's the beginning of an ongoing battle to get kids to practice reading, finish their math homework, and learn some basic geography. But learning outside the classroom doesn't have to be painful. If your kids attend schools that encourage (or even require) students to use iPads, you're probably already familiar with some of these apps. For the rest of us, here's a selection of educational apps geared toward the grade-school crowd.
1. Ultimate Dinopedia
Download: Ultimate Dinopedia for iPad
If there's a dinosaur enthusiast in your family, National Geographic Society's Ultimate Dinopedia app might be worth a look. You can peruse a gallery of more than 700 dinosaurs, complete with facts, size comparisons, and an audio clip of how to pronounce each name. There's also a dinosaur family tree, so you can check out your favorite dino's relatives. The app's developers advise that it works best if it is the only app running.
Download: Chicktionary for iPhone and iPod touch, iPad
Each hen in this game represents a letter, and you have to spell as many words as possible — the more the better! You can choose between two modes: a three-minute everything-you-can-spell Speed mode, and a Traditional mode wherein you have to speed-spell for two minutes to earn bonus points, then finish the game at your leisure.
3. Goofy Mad Libs
Download: Goofy Mad Libs for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
Do you remember mad libs? We hope you do, because now they've gone digital. The app lets you complete brief stories on various topics with zany, incongruous keywords. You can email your most hilarious efforts to family or friends. One caveat: Some reviewers have noted that $3.99 buys you only a bit more than 20 stories.
4. Sums Stacker
Price: 99 cents
Download: Sums Stacker for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
This award-winning math app gives you 3 stacks of numerals, with a target sum at the bottom of each column. Your challenge is to rearrange the numerals until the sum of each stack matches the target sum. You can change how the numerals are presented; smaller children might prefer dice or fingers, since they're easier to count, while older kids can increase the difficulty by solving puzzles where the numbers are presented as coins or Roman numerals.
5. Stack the States
Price: 99 cents
Download: Stack the States for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
The award-winning Stack the States app is a fun look at U.S. geography. The game requires kids to recognize states by shape, as well as match states to their respective capitals. For each level you complete, you earn another state on your own U.S. map; you also unlock more games as you advance. The app is available for iPhone and iPad.
Download: MathBoard for iPad
If your kids could use a little extra practice in math (and what kid couldn't?), check out MathBoard. You can create quizzes on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The app also covers squares, cubes, and square roots. If your math student gets stuck, the Problem Solver shows a step-by-step explanation of how to tackle the problem.
7. Britannica Kids: Solar System
Download: Britannica Kids: Solar System for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Kids who are fascinated by space might enjoy Britannica Kids' Solar System app. It has games, including a jigsaw puzzle based on the solar system and a game where you brush off layers superimposed over an image to guess which planet you're looking at. There are also quizzes, videos, and articles aimed at the 8- to 12-year-old crowd.
8. BrainPOP Featured Movie
Download: BrainPOP Featured Movie for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
BrainPOP creates engaging animation shorts about science and technology, math, engineering, arts, music, English, and health. The free app gives your kids access to one video a day and an interactive quiz to test if they were paying attention. A $1.99 monthly subscription gives you access to five clips per day, while a $6.99 sub gives you unlimited access to all 750-plus videos and quizzes.
More from Tecca:
- 8 educational iPhone and iPad apps for middle school students
- Which is the right back-to-school computer for your kids?
- How young is too young for a mobile phone?