As we head into summer break I’ve put together our favorite apps to help prevent the summer slide & keep learning fun and easy while we’re on the go. There are a lot of educational apps available – and trust me we probably own most of them – but this list is more about quick and easy spirts of learning fun rather than full on lesson plans.
The summer slide is a buzz phrase used to define a decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school isn’t in session. Numerous studies show that kids who don’t read during summer vacation actually slip in reading ability by the time autumn rolls around.
If your summer calendar looks anything like ours you’re on the go from when the final bell rings in June until first bell again in the Fall. Most of us parents are pretty great at jamming a year’s worth of fun into 10 short weeks. We’re also pretty good at finding the teachable moments in all these summer adventures. But truth be told it isn’t always easy to be sure our kids have read 20 minutes each day or worked on their math facts. So I’ve put together a list of our favorite apps we loaded on the outdated iDevices we handed down to our daughter so on the drive to summer camps and gramma’s house she can keep her academic skills sharp and have fun at the same time.
Epic! Digital Library
Give your kids instant and unlimited access to 25,000 of the best books, learning videos, quizzes, & more. It’s a digital library at your child’s fingertips with built in features to help you reach your summer reading goals. My favorite feature is the Parent Dashboard which allows me to create “collections” of books, videos, quizzes and assign them to our daughter. This way I can guide her to the materials most appropriate for her to help reach our goals.
Right now Epic! is offering 3 Months for $3.99 with the code SUMMER18
Tinycards by Duolingo
This app features completely customizable flashcards. Invest a few minutes building personalized flashcard decks for your kids this summer and practice specific skills to get them prepped for the upcoming school year. With this app the sky is the limit. During the school year we use this app for working on our weekly spelling practice but this summer we’re taking it a step further to work on math facts, vocabulary, and history facts too.
It’s only fitting I follow Tinycards up with their creator – Duolingo. This app is the best way to start learning a new language or continue working on a language your child is already learning in school. Learning with Duolingo is fun and addictive. Earn points for correct answers, race against the clock, and level up. It’s easy to dedicate 5 minutes per day to these bite-sized lessons.
Threes is an addictive little mind puzzle that’s so simple, yet difficult, it will make you go insane. The goal: Combine the numbers in a 16-card grid to make larger numbers. You may only combine 1’s and 2’s to make 3. But for numbers 3 and up, every MATCH may be combined to create a larger sum. The larger the number, the more points you get. For example, combining 3 & 3 will get you 6. Then you’ll need to combine that 6 with another 6 to get 12. Then 12 & 12 to get 24…. etc etc etc. The beauty is in the design. Kids will love the animated faces on the cards and the celebrations for combining big numbers and parents love their kids are working on numbers that are divisable by 3 – which can get a little tricky in the middle elementary years. This app is perfect for waiting rooms and lines at the bank, grocery store, amusement park, etc.
Current Top Score in Our Family: 3,567
Sushi Monster is a game created by the Scholastic educational team in which players must solve addition and multiplication math problems. Numbers appear on sushi plates and are fed to a “sushi monster.” Players are given a series of products and sums. They must feed the correct sum or product of a combination of sushi plates (numbers) to solve the equation. Players are timed, and the faster they find the correct solution, the higher their score. However, more than quick mental math is required to succeed in the game. Players must demonstrate foresight, as the order in which they choose sushi plates will determine if they fully complete the level.
Khan Academy offers practice problems and instructional videos and articles on a range of academic subjects, including math, biology, chemistry, physics, economics and finance, history, grammar, preschool learning, and more. We love how the app is organized so your child can practice their skills, learn new content, and get rewarded after completing challenges. Khan Academy’s web browser offers many more features including Hour of Code lessons. If your school uses the NWEA standardized testing – you can input your child’s Math scores here – to focus their lesson plans on topics to strengthen their abilities. In addition, last summer they offered a free 6-week challenge for grades 3-12 called LearnStorm which focused on helping students start the school year strong. Keep your eyes on their site for a 2018 challenge here.
TED - Ed
Just like TED Talks for us parents, TED-Ed offers content specifically geared towards kids. One of our favorite features is the interactive periodic table, which gives mini-lessons about each element. You can create your own lessons specific to your kids interests or upcoming school year curriculum.
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