Summer Fun: Apps to keep little brains smart


They call it brain drain. The period over the summer when kids are out of school, frolicking in the sun, splashing around in the pool and hunting for bugs—forgetting all about the math, reading and science they learned in the previous months. But just as fun, playing educational video games (monitored closely, of course) is a great way to reinforce those concepts over the summer break.

Even with all the fun in the sun, kids are notorious for complaining of boredom. But here’s a set of apps that can cure even the most uninterested, making it easy to squeeze in learning and keep those concepts fresh. Your kids will have so much fun that they won’t even notice they’re filling their little heads with goodness. From preschool to big kids, when they return to school in the fall, with these fun games, they’ll be able to pick right up where they left off.  And you may never again hear those two dreaded words: I’m bored.

What are your favorite apps for summertime fun?

AlphabetCar Alphabet Car Lite. Kids will learn letters, words and spelling in this fun driving app. Using the phone as a steering wheel, kids “drive” the bus towards the correct letters to spell words. Even for pre-readers, this app keeps the fundamentals of reading sharp. With the paid app, kids get more than 40 levels that range from easy to hard, featuring 3D graphics and the ability to customize their own cars. Free!
CardDROID CardDroid Math. Who doesn’t love to earn gold stars? This app boosts kids’ confidence, accomplishing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems. It features large buttons for small hands, a timer for testing speed, fun narration and various levels of difficulty. Great for early learners and math wizards alike. $0.99
FingerPhysics Finger Physics. Though they may not quite be ready for the laws of physics, this app gets kids started on the concepts early by following simple principles to stack, roll, and move objects. Little kids will learn about momentum, gravity, and the importance of persistence in achieving a goal. Free!
Trex It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex! This app recreates the land of the dinosaurs, giving kids a look into what life might have been like for the ferocious T-Rex. Amazing graphics and powerful sound effects put kids at the center of an exciting adventure from prehistoric ages. Carefully reviewed by paleontologists at the Smithsonian Institute, it provides fascinating information and abundant learning opportunities for kids of all ages. $2.99.
JumpStart JumpStart Preschool Magic of Learning 2. Designed for little hands and big imaginations, this app takes kids on a magical learning adventure building math, pre-reading and critical-thinking skills that create confidence in learning before they even start school. It’s the perfect tool to keep your preschooler occupied and learning on the go. Free!
ConnectDots Kids Connect the Dots. All kids love to create pictures by connecting dots. Helping to build critical thinking, this app reveals common objects, fruit and animals with just a tap. Featuring more than 90 adorable, dot-connecting cartoons, kids are challenged with learning both numbers and alphabet sequences. Free!
LEGO Lego App4+. Lego Lovers from ages 4 to 7 and beyond can use their imaginations and building skills to engineer their favorite vehicles—whether a brick-up truck or even a truck-o-copter. Kids choose their bricks, then drag and place their pieces to create wild and creative models, move their cargo, and collect coins to earn more parts along the way. Free!
NASA NASA App. Exploring stars, galaxies and real space ships, this app is out of this world! The official NASA App is packed with outer space facts and details, and information about NASA missions. From streaming videos to interactive images and interviews, any kid (and parents, too!) interested in the solar system will love all of this app’s features. Free!
StarChart Star Chart. For kids who can go out at night, this app puts a virtual planetarium in the palm of their hands. Just launch the app, point your phone at the sky, and it will tell you exactly what you’re looking at. Very smart.  $2.99.
SuperWhy Super WHY. Give your kids the “Power to Read” with this collection of “Super WHY” interactive games from PBS Kids. Featuring Alpha Pig, Princess Presto, Wonder Red, and Super Why, children can play along with their favorite characters from the popular TV series while practicing the alphabet, rhyming, reading, spelling and writing. $2.99.

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