By Jennifer Thayer*
With the increasing popularity of smart phones and tablets, today’s kids are able to learn just about anywhere. This new year, why not give your child a Christmas gift that will help making learning fun while giving them an invaluable edge in the classroom? The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 is an affordable and durable 10-inch tablet full of features to help your youngster make the most of his or her education, and with these 10 educational apps you can feel confident that he or she is enjoying learning to the fullest.
- Monkey Preschool Lunchbox. Designed for preschoolers, this fun-loving app features six games to help teach kids about numbers, letters, colors, matching and opposites. A cute little monkey guides them through the games, and quirky voices and sound effects add to the fun.
Super Why! This app from PBS Kids is based on the television series and helps kids ages 3 to 6 with their reading and writing skills. Mini-games focus on letter identification, letter sounds, writing, rhyming and word meanings.
Stack the States. Kids can use this game to learn about geographic locations, state capitals, and even flags from across the United States. When a level is completed, a player earns another state which appears on his or her personal map of the country. The more states a kid unlocks, the more mini-games he or she can access, so the fun never stops.
Toca Kitchen. Toca Kitchen won Google Play’s Parent’s Choice award in 2012, and it’s easy to see why. This app allows kids to learn all about different foods and how they are cooked. Kids can watch characters’ responses to the foods they slice, fry, boil, cook or microwave. Best of all, there are no time limits, scoring or stressful music, so kids can create at their own pace with pride.
Mickey’s Paint and Play. This game from Disney gives kids access to a boundless supply of colors, patterns, tools, stickers and other fun ways to create a masterpiece as they learn about colors, form, lines, and symmetry. There’s even a Mousekemusic Player that allows kids to create their own music to complement their artwork.
Duolingo. One of the most popular free apps on Google Play. Duolingo won "Best of the Best" in 2013. Lessons are short, which is great for little attention spans, and shiny achievements help learners chart their progress as they learn Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Italian or English.
Edmodo. Edmodo is a fantastic free app that allows students to collaborate with their teachers any time. Students and parents can use this app to view assignments, hold class discussions, share files, monitor grades and more. A classroom activity feed is a great tool for busy parents, and the resource library is a fantastic way to keep the learning going, even outside the classroom.
Blackboard Mobile Learn. With Blackboard Mobile Learn, it’s easy to keep up with schoolwork and grades. This app, which is free when supported by your child’s school, allows users to attach files, engage in discussions, monitor grades, view and comment on blogs and journals, and even take tests.
Mathway. It is a free learning app that doesn’t require network access, so it can be used just about anywhere and is a huge help to kids who find math a bit tricky. Use this tool to find the correct answers to math problems, and with an upgraded membership you can also access step-by-step explanations in basic mathematics, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus and statistics.
Quizlet. With Quizlet, learners of all ages can use flashcards to enhance their vocabulary, or they can employ Learn mode to gauge their progress and find out where any gaps in their knowledge may be hiding. They can even use Match mode to compete with other users in a wide variety of fun yet educational games.
(*) Jennifer Thayer is a technology writer who loves sharing helpful ways people can utilize technology in their day-to-day lives. Follow her on Twitter to see what other tips she comes up with.