With the school year winding down, your kids are likely ready to trade in the books for some fun in the sun. And while we all need a break from the daily grind, teachers tell us that every kid needs a little learning peppered into the summer to avoid “the summer slump.” Kids who never read or brush up on basic skills during a lengthy school break lose precious forward progress, and are forced to spend the first few weeks of the new school year re-learning.
There are loads of online learning games and apps available now, and that’s a good thing! You may be able to coax your tech-savvy child to spend more time beefing up fundamental academic skills with a digital game than with other tools. Here are some of our favorites.
1. IXL – This high-quality site offers over 2,000 math skills ranging from preschool to upper middle school (even algebra and geometry!), and uses beautiful and engaging graphics to make math visual. The site offers feedback and analysis of how your child is progressing, and even compares his performance to public school academic standards for your state. It does require a subscription (around $10 per month), but the single-month pricing may be perfect for parents who only use the resource during the summer. Full-year subscriptions are available as well.
2. Sheppard Software – This great collection of online games is free, and covers a wide variety of academic subjects. From the fundamentals like math and reading, to extras like geography, history, and health. This resource offers an enormous range of skill levels from preschool to adult.
3. Game Classroom – This site offers a variety of math and language arts games, worksheets, and even full lessons for grades K-6. While the games may link out to other trusted sites, all have been reviewed and approved by a panel of educators. This resource is free.
4. Arcademic Skill Builders – When you combine academic skills and arcade-style video games, you get something kids will engage in without being begged. These K-5 games offer the option of multi-player games, so your competitive child can have the extra fun and motivation of going head-to-head with a friend or a random opponent from around the globe! This site is free.
5. Learning Games for Kids – With a variety of academic games ranging from preschool to middle school, this free site can help you cover the areas in which your child needs the most reinforcement. Also offers video lessons.
1. Math Bingo – Great on-the-go practice for basic mathematics, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This app offers three levels of difficulty, and is available for iPhone and iPad. ($0.99)
2. BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week – Designed for kids in grades K-3, BrainPOP offers fun and engaging material covering a variety of subjects. Available for iPhone and iPad. (Free. Expanded Versions available for an additional charge.)
3. Sushi Monster – A good resource for developing math fact fluency the fun way. Developed by trusted educational publisher Scholastic. Available for iPhone and iPad. (Free)
4. Reading Raven – A solid phonics-based reading app, customizable for children ages 3-7. It’s a bit more expensive than some other learning apps, but its multi-sensory features and quality content make it a good value. Available for iPod, iPhone, and iPad. ($3.99)
5. Word Bingo – A great way to help your early reader learn those oh-so-necessary sight words and other keys to reading fluency. Designed for preschool-3rd grade. It’s a universal app, so for one fee it’s usable on iPhone, iPad, and iPod. ($0.99)