In the era of tablets and smart phones, parents of small children may consider educational apps. Recently, the “Slashdot” online community discussed apps and kids. Nerdy parents chimed in with suggestions. This tech-savvy community is often reluctant to rely on apps, favoring “play time outside with soccer and baseballs, and inside with blocks, Hot Wheels, PlayDoh, etc.” But many parents found value in apps, at least occasionally.
Here’s a list of ten apps that computer nerds turn to when they want to engage their young kids in math and science…
Dragonbox – “My 3.5 year olds were doing algebra with fractions without realizing it” said a user. “I’ve personally seen a 4 year old get an elementary understanding of algebra from this app,” said another user, Thwyx. And “fascinatingly friendly and effective way to teach symbolic arithmetic to children,” said stonecypher. “Awesome and I highly recommend it, even to adults. It’s basically a series of algebraic puzzles, using cards that start off not as numbers,” said Roogna. This app was favored by several parents.
Isaac Newton’s Gravity — “You try to solve mazes by putting blocks in the righ place to let the ball roll down. My nephew has played that game since he was 3,” said codegen. Though user fermion notes that most kids need to be a little older.
Cut the Rope — “physics engine in it is a nice introduction to the likes of gravity, elasticity, etc.” said Kergan.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox — loved by the 4.5 year old of Thorrablot. “Definitely geared more for pre school aged like 2-4,” said iTunes reviewer jteyer.
Feed Me Oil – “The first levels are easy enough for a young child, and our little girl loves it. With the fans, boards, and other mechanisms its a good introduction to gravity and other forces,” said myxiplx.
Algebra Touch – “Amazing app that demonstrates how variables work in algebraic equations, highly recommended. Maybe too high level for a 3 year old but it’s about as mathy as iOS can get,” said mewsenews. This is not a game; it’s a simple drag-and-drop equation solver.
Monster Physics – “Both my 4 and 7 year olds love Monster Physics. And by the same author, Stack the States and Stack the Countries are excellent for geography,” said MojoRilla. A game creating and controlling inventions.
Intro to Math – “she got a huge amount of use from, which while just basic as the names would imply was good around that age,” said Roogna.
Nova Elements – “When she got curious about elements, we picked up the Nova Elements app, which answered her questions at the time pretty well,” said Roogna. This was a complimentary app to a NOVA broadcast.
SkyView — “I have a very smart and curious 3-year-old daughter… She has a wonderfully curious mind, and really likes SkyView already,” said Timothy.
And a bonus recommendation for older kids:
Numbers League – targeting older kids, “covers math down to simple addition and subtraction and up to multiplication, division and simple fractions,” says rreay. The app is based on a card game. “M three children love to play against each other and their Mom and Dad to see who can make the highest point captures,” says iTunes reviewer Sarah Chase.