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Tuesday, November 29, 2022  |  9 am – 9 pm

Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday: 9 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 – 5 pm

Apt for Apps!

School is back, and whether you’re in-person or virtual learning, it’s difficult. It’s hard for parents, teachers, and students. Try as I might (well, given the circumstances, effort was slightly reduced), summer slide still happened at our house (does that make me a terrible librarian?). My son totally backslid in reading especially, but he improved in math, though I am NOT an expert when it comes to that. I attribute his progress to supplemental screen time with educational apps.

I know that screen fatigue is real, and it’s important to give at least 10 minute breaks for every hour of virtual learning, but people absorb information in different ways, and virtually can be one strategy. Apps are also considered active screen time. Active screen time, as opposed to passive, can provide developmental benefits – especially if you’re there interacting along with your child.

I know it can be overwhelming to choose the right educational apps, but here are a few to start with that will to help your little one grow.

Pre-K

Alphatots Alphabet, $2.99
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Reviews the ABCs song and each of the letters individually with a specific activity. It only focuses on the capital letters.

Sago Mini Puppy Preschool, $3.99
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Sago Mini is a gem, and you can feel safe with any of their apps. This app highlights numbers, color matching, music, and more!

Early Reading and Math

Endless Reader & Endless Wordplay, paid and free
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Definitely try the free version first, if possible. Gamifies learning letters, sounds, and beginning words while appealing to kids’ needs for fun and collecting.

Homer Reading: Learn to Read, free
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Appropriate for all ages, and builds upon graduating skills. Also teaches letter formation.

Moose Math, free
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Comes from a solid app maker that you can trust. While this app includes fun ways to count and sort, it also dives into simple addition and subtraction.

Bugs and Numbers, $2.99
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Beautiful graphics, engaging games, all ages appeal, and fun all around. How could you go wrong?

DragonBox Numbers, $7.99
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
This app is interesting because the characters are numbers, called “Nooms”. It helps visualize numbers in a way similar to unifix cubes that coincides with early learning in school.

Upper Elementary

Scratch Jr., free
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Kids think they’re taking a break from school, but they’re really learning basic coding and video game design.

Khan Academy Kids, free
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Curriculum-supporting material that has something for every grade level.

DNA Play, $2.99
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Don’t worry, grownups, the “for parents” section has a sort of “DNA overview for dummies” to help you talk to your kids through this fun engaging app that allows kids to tweak genetic codes and create mutuations.

Marble Math Jr., $2.99
Available through Apple, Google, and Amazon
Also has a “Marble Math” version for older kids and harder challenges. Kids get to shoot marbles to solve a puzzle that happens to teach math concepts at the same time.

Middle School 

Middle school kids aren’t likely to sit down and do extra learning on apps, so these are more of a supplemental app choice to both help with school and possibly disguise the fact they’re still learning.

Artsonia Kids Art Museum, free
Available through Apple and Google

For the artistic student, this is a wonderful way for a child to stay social with their friends through a creative outlet. This app allows users to create a virtual gallery of their work for others to view.

3D Brain, free
Available through Apple and Google
This app is wonderful, especially being free. Users can explore the brain and its different parts in a detailed manner that helps with supplementing other studies.

Duolingo, free
Available through Apple and Google
Has premium content if kids take a shine to the app. Teaches basic fluency of a variety of language choices in a gamified and engaging method.

No matter what you choose, remember not all apps are created equal. Check out reviews and commonsensemedia.org. Be aware if there are options for additional purchases and premium content. Make sure the parental controls and purchasing options are password or otherwise protected both by the app and by your device’s settings.

Plus, websites that are fun for all!

PBS Kids Games
Nick Jr. Games
Education.com
The Lawrence Hall of Science
Learning Games for Kids

Don’t forget to check out the digital resources under “Digital Library” at gepl.org as well! Happy learning!

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