This summer, use the app store to help you create a list of fun and educational activities
for your 8-12 year olds. Children this age need to be kept busy, and with all the wonderful opportunities for learning available during the summer, there are plenty of choices. I have selected five of my most favorite apps that not only can be enjoyed on their own, they can also lead to summertime adventures for the whole family. Here are my recommendations for Top Five Summertime Apps and Adventures.
#1 Kids Discover- Ancient Greece (for the iPad only)
Are your children fans of Rick Riordan’s Lightning Thief, a fantasy-adventure novel based on Greek mythology? If so, Kids Discover- Ancient Greece is an outstanding app that describes what life was like back then. This app is from Kids Discover, one of the premier developers of non-fiction apps for tweens. Kids Discover- Ancient Greece offers facts and stories about the ancient Greeks, their way of life, the Olympic Games, and Greek mythology. For the child who demonstrates an interest in these subjects, it is also a great preview for a trip to a museum of ancient history to see genuine artifacts up close.
#2 Perfect Dog- Ultimate Breed Guide (for iPhone; can be adapted to iPad)
Perfect Dog- Ultimate Breed Guide by Preposterous Media LLC is a virtual encyclopedia of dog breeds that comes in a regular and a lite version. If your children are dog lovers, this app can occupy them for hours. It describes over 100 breeds and provides interesting information about each one. Once they have a pretty good idea of the different types of dogs, they can put that knowledge to work- at the local animal shelter. Shelters rely on volunteers, and many offer junior volunteer programs in which kids are encouraged to socialize and exercise friendly dogs and cats awaiting adoption. This option is also perfect for kids who need to complete service hours for school, scouts, or religious education. Read Review
Long summer nights are perfect for stargazing. GoSkyWatch Planetarium for the iPad (by GoSoftWorks Development Co.) is not strictly designed for children, but with the help of an adult, it is a spectacular look at the night sky. By holding your tablet upwards, it superimposes a star chart over the sky you are viewing. Your child can become an expert at finding Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, the Milky Way, Ursa Major, and many other objects in the night sky. If a planetarium is within travelling distance, a trip there would make stargazing even more enjoyable.
#4 Henrietta is Hungry (for the iPad only)
Henrietta is Hungry (by Nina Lim) is a story app designed for girls ages 6-10, who are fascinated with unusual and exotic food. Henrietta’s journey leads her to try all types of new delicacies, including snails from France, spring rolls from Thailand, and sushi from Japan. Using this story as a starting point, your child can find restaurants in your area that offer different types of food your family might like to try. How about Ethiopian or Moroccan cuisine, for instance? The more exotic the restaurant, the more interesting the experience. ... Read More
#5 Audobon Insects and Spiders (universal app)
Kids love bugs! Big bugs, little bugs, spotted bugs, flying bugs, noisy bugs, and creepy bugs. They’re all here in Audobon Insects and Spiders. This app, developed by Green Mountain Digital, contains over 500 species. Give your children a net and a jar (or a fancy bug cage) and send them on a Bug Safari. When they find something, they can identify it using the app. Whether it’s a grasshopper, a cicada, a cricket, or a ladybug, Audobon Insects and Spiders will help them identify them all.
During the school year, there isn’t time to explore all the adventures waiting for your children in your own community. Tell your child, “I’m loading this app on the iPad- check it out,” and see what happens. Let this be the summer you create lasting memories with your children, using apps to spark their curiosity.
Top Five Review by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14. She is using her iPad to plan her upcoming trip to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming.Did you check our 5 a day - 5 top apps gone FREE!