We need to talk about educational apps right now. Whether your child’s school is closed because of the COVID-19 scenario or it happens to be their spring break, I know that you are looking for resources to continue your child’s learning from home.
As a mom, I know that engaging your kids in required learning at home may not be your forte or your child’s activity of choice. You also may not have a lot of time to gather resources! And trust me when I say that educational apps are one of the best ways to tackle it all in the least amount of time.
In our house, we choose to teach our kids about responsible use with technology + make it a part of our family life. I find that in doing so we are able to model responsible choice-making as well as viewing technology as a resource that can be beneficial when used thoughtfully.
I know that during this extended time away from school, our family will definitely be devising a plan around media use so that the limits are structured + expected for everyone. If you’re looking for more resources around setting these expectations, the first best places to start are the American Academy of Pediatrics + CommonSense Media.
In addition to getting those expectations squared away, it’s also important to offer your kids with the choices that best fit within your family’s media-use plan. In our house, we have minimal mindless apps installed–virtually all of the apps are educational. I have tried so many apps that I thought would be great + were a total flop (usually because they were not aligned to learning standards or had too little learning opportunities).
Here is my list of some of the best educational apps out there:
FREE TRIAL + Option for Monthly Subscription for $7.99
My students LOVE this educational app. There is a broad range of titles to meet kids’ reading levels + interests. There is also an audio component for many of the books so they can listen + read simultaneously. Definitely take advantage of the free month of access because your kids will love this one. Take advantage of this free month-long trial today!!
This is one of the newer educational apps we have been using in our house. While I have used Khan academy with my own students for years, this is a newer addition to their offerings + I cannot say enough great things about it! This is targeted really ages 2-7 so it’s great for so many younger kids from an educational standpoint. It is adaptive to some degree, but I think it takes a while for it to really get a sense of where the kids are at (which is normal for adaptive apps).
For now, my son is getting the same content as his sister but he is still loving it. It’s engaging and covers a wide swathe of content so it keeps things interesting! If you’re not sure how to get started, they put together this great tutorial for parents + teachers alike!
FREE apps + Base kits starting at $70
This is 100% an investment. I normally wouldn’t recommend something at such a high price point but it is an AMAZING resource. If you can try it or even check it out at your local library, definitely do it! Otherwise, watch the online reviews + decide if it’d be worth it.
With the range of literacy, math, creativity, + problem-solving skills covered in their games, it’s a worthwhile investment. What I probably love the most is that there are physical components to this kit that interact with the app, making it a little more hands-on that most educational apps. My kids both love the Oslo. I think some of the best starter games are the Coding Jam, Coding Awbie, Genius Numbers, + Genius Tangram. We have the Sticks + Rings for letter formation but I haven’t tried them yet!
My only complaint about Osmo is the Genius Words app because the spelling concepts covers have no rhyme or reason to their sequence and are often not phonetic, it’s something I hope they change further down the road because I think they’re really missing out on an opportunity to make an incredibly impactful product to teach basic spelling. Otherwise, these apps are solid through + through!!
FREE Starter Pack + $6.99 Starter Pack + All-Access $14.99
My son looooves Endless apps. This wordplay app focuses on spelling, word building, and rhymes to support early literacy learning. Kids work their way through different levels + worlds that really gamifies their learning, making it a simple yet engaging platform for learning!
FREE Starter Pack + $4.99 packs of 20 words
If your child is still learning their foundational reading skills, this is a great little app for the kids to use. I mean, it’s pretty basic in its format. This particular app focuses in on sight words (words that have an irregular spelling or show up most commonly in English). They introduce the new word, have the child spell it, + show a quick clip using the word in a sentence. For whatever reason, my son never tires of this one even though it is so straightforward.
FREE Starter Pack + $6.99 Numbers through 25 + $14.99
Numbers through 100 This is a good fit if your child is still learning to recognize numbers + counting sequence. There is some addition/subtraction, but that isn’t really what it targets. If you’re looking to build your child’s number sense, definitely take a look at Math Tango (next). This app is really basic (similar to Endless Reader), which is good for the littles.
FREE Starter Pack + $6.99 Beginner Pack + $8.99 Upgrade Pack + $11.99 All-Access
Of all of the Endless Learning apps, I think I like this one the best in terms of its depth + quality. It takes kids through different worlds + covers a good range of math skills. We got this when my son first turned 5 + it was a little too advanced for him, so I would say this is good for most kids in first grade through third. This app really focuses on the operations so if your kids are working on fact fluency at school, this might be a good way to mix things up.
FREE TRIAL + option of $7.99/mo subscription
Let’s get real, Leapfrog Learning does early literacy + math so well. They have a great team behind their products + I cannot recommend them enough. This educational app is no exception. There are a lot of great concepts taught in this app + it’s one that my son goes back to often.
FREE TRIAL! + option of $4.99/mo subscription
This is a newer educational app in our family. It is amazing! The format is access to read aloud, animated stories. Many are family favorites + to see popular titles in this format is so fun. Right now not only are they offering 1 month free, but they also are providing 2 weeks of take-home lessons (week 1 here / week 2 here) that align with stories on the platform. Really, check this one out! It is even on Apple TV, Roku, + Amazon FireTV so you can even put the books up on the big screen. So fun!
I know so many of you are looking for ways to support your kids’ learning about their emotions + this app is a great way of supporting that. There are options for art, stories, + games that explore emotions. I especially love that kids can take pictures of their faces that mimic Daniel Tiger’s facial expressions to learn how we communicate our emotions nonverbally. It is so well thought out! Definitely download this one for your younger kids!
I swear this is the app that finally convinced my daughter that going to the potty was actually going to be cool + worth her while! We seriously tried E V E R Y T H I N G to potty train her. She got hooked on this app + it made such a difference. So if you’re at that point + wondering what you’re going to do these next few weeks, maybe give potty training a go! Start with this app, it’s a laidback approach but meaningful.
FREE Through Libraries
I’ve talked about this one on stories before + it’s such a great resource that’s free through your library! There are ebooks + audio books so there are plenty of great options available to your family. It’s a matter of downloading the app + logging in through your library credentials. Definitely make use of this free resource that most libraries offer!
My son looooves this one. With a larger focus on sight words + basic spelling concepts, this is great for early readers or students who are developing their spelling. I don’t like a lot of educational apps that teach letter sounds because they’re often inaccurate (seriously, how is that even possible?!) but this one does a relatively good job!
Okay, from the same people as Monkey Word School Adventure, this one focuses on early math concepts like shapes, patterns, counting + sequencing, operations, + problem-solving. It really covers a good range of skills which makes it worth the $2.
Give a few of these educational apps a try. Some will be a great fit for your kids + others will not. I definitely recommend previewing them before showing them to your kids. Also take advantage of the free trials, it’s the perfect time to decide what might be worth your money in the long-run.
If you’re also looking for tips on how to engage your kids in reading books at home or incorporating some mindfulness learning at home, definitely check out the linked posts because I think you’ll find them to be incredibly helpful!
As these next few weeks pass, definitely make sure to follow me over on Instagram @becauseofjericho because I will be posting TONS of resources that I pull together for you in order to minimize the overwhelming time that this is for so many families. Hang in there, take care of yourselves (mentally + physically!), + reach out to me if there’s anything I can do to support you further at this time!
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