I think we all can agree: 'flinging birds' and slicing fruit are NOT educational afternoon activities. (Not that we haven’t all gotten sucked into the vortex of Angry Birds at least once—okay maybe twice.)
There are bazillions of apps and games made for smart phones and tablets that ‘claim’ to be educational, but fall flat on their ABC-knees after downloaded, played and quickly discarded.
Or worse, they turn out to be nothing more than frou-frou & full of fluff, with zero educational oomph.
When looking for truly educational apps I first checked out the hundreds of newest educational games and applications on Famigo.com. And then I asked my friends online to suggest their favorite educational apps for elementary age and older kids. (Facebook never lets me down).
I will now share my very un-scientific results.
Top Math and Reading Apps for 1st-6th Grades
Apple, $0.99—Very simple math, with levels but entertains even an older math student with the push to keep watering your ‘math garden’!
Matho (Like Bingo)
Android/Apple, $0.99—Play like a Bingo game supplying answers to easy (and VERY difficult) math problems, example: 165/11=? (Yeah I couldn’t solve that off the top of my head!
Apple, FREE (for limited time)—It’s much more than ‘just’ an app. My 5th grader creates her own books, acting as the author and illustrator all in one! I can’t say enough good about this iPad reading/writing/artist learning tool! LOVE THIS APP!
JibJab Jr Books
Apple, FREE (initial book), $7.99 additional books —Brought to you by the famous JibJab team, and with an iPad camera you take an image of your child’s face and they become the star of these hilarious stories and hijinks. Our 2nd favorite iPad reading/eBook app. (Kids of all ages love it.)
Top General Educational Games & Apps for Older Kids & Teens
The Moron Test 1 & 2
Apple/Android, $0.99 — Despite the terrible name, we are in love with this game. Speeds through memorization images and facts. Overall it’s a bit light in the ‘real’ education, but heavy on the fun and memorization skills!
Android, FREE— Simple testing to learn the periodic chart. My 2nd grader loves all things math and uses this game. But generally for 6th grade and older.
Apple, $1.99—Vocabulary 400+ words. Training mode as well as a challenge mode. There is cartoon violence so parents might want to test the game before handing to your child.
Android, Free—Flashcard based learning, and the range of topics is huge and growing, capitols of foreign countries, massive vocabulary (GRE, SAT etc.), and even languages to name just a few!
Words With Friends
Android/Apple, FREE —Generally I stay far away from social games. Especially ‘Facebook’ games. I add this game not because there aren’t other ‘Scrabble’ like games out there but because this particular social gaming app is very interesting to me as a mother with a teen.
I can play this game and keep my foot in the door with her online world. However I think the Famigo warning is a good one: “You can interact with anyone, not just family and friends. This should be a flag for parents to watch out for who their kids are interacting with.”
What educational games & apps have you tried, and were they REALLY educational?
Carissa Rogers is part of the Famigo Parent Advisory Board. Her comments and views are solely her own and she was not compensated by any of the games mentioned. She paid for many of them with her own money.
More from GalTime:
- The Ultimate Parent Fails
- Top Tips for Boosting Your Child's Self Esteem
- 6 Type-A Mommy Must-Haves
- 5 Ways to Parent a Perfectionist