All parents want their children to succeed in school, but sometimes there is a subject (or two!) that is less exciting than the rest. Every youngster has different interests, just like you! Luckily, the 21st century offers us a wider range of tools than ever before to maximize learning outside of the formal classroom and make things fun!
We’ve collected a few gems for you to consider — most of them free — and we’re pretty sure your kids won’t even realize they are learning after school and on the weekend. Yes, that’s correct! Let’s explore.
With all the digital options available today, sometimes it can be a challenge to pull kids away from the TV to pick up an old fashioned book! No worries: Award-winning app Epic! comes to the rescue with a virtual library of amazing literary adventures, all consolidated on your handy family tablet. How many books, you may ask? Shockingly, 35,000 options — at least a few for every personality out there!
Beyond all the classic stories, the subscription includes learning videos and new books added to keep up with the latest and greatest trends from top publishers. Best of all, each subscription offers four individual accounts so all the kids can keep track of their progress. A 30-day free trial makes it easy to check if the family loves it — and we think they will! After that, the four child account costs $7.99 a month with easy cancellation. Trick your kids into the world of books through the tablet they already love using! Remember: Reading is at the core of lifelong learning, and it’s never too early to start good habits. Membership information can be found here on the Epic! website.
Math: Pizza Fractions 1-7
Next, we have a top-ranked math app series that will help your kids learn those dreaded fractions. But it’s fun! Pizza Fractions uses visual games that explore math through pizzas divided into slices, which make the experience come to life in a wonderful introduction to this core subject.
The app is geared towards students in grades two to five, and we are sure that pizza will be a great way to ease into it. You can get involved, too: Rounds can be timed and players can compete against each other to increase engagement and learning. Best of all, an animated cartoon chef pops in as a friendly character requesting different amounts of pizza as the game goes along. We are impressed! Download the app here in the Apple Store for free.
Science: Solar Walk
Solar Walk was the gold winner in the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) category of Educational Tools for Parents and Children. And it’s not hard to see why! Solar Walk is a hightech 3D model of the solar system that brings the universe straight to your tablet. Children can have adventures right at home exploring the solar system through this innovative astronomy app with fun facts and amazing visuals.
If your child has ever been curious about spaceships and stars, they can explore the milky way and Saturn’s rings in various historical periods to see how things have changed. Animated videos supplement the core aspects of the app, and even adults can learn a thing or two! Six million users can’t be wrong: Downloading the app is easy here on Google Play.
Foreign Language: Duolingo
Duolingo was Google Play’s Editor’s Choice app and “Best of the Best” in 2013 and 2014. Why, you ask? The company says that 34 hours of app use on a single language are actually the equivalent of a college semester! The app can be used to improve a language your child partially knows, or even a brand new one starting from zero. But how does it work?
Reading, speaking, listening, and even writing skills are explored with games, and new words and grammar can be practiced everyday during leisure time. Some interesting languages were recently added: Swahili and Romanian! This complements the existing library, which is truly extensive: Polish, Portuguese, Turkish, Esperanto, Polish, Greek, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Greek, Hungarian, Norwegian, Hebrew, Welsh — and English! Available as a website platform and an app, Duolingo is free. That’s right, totally free!
History: Presidents vs. Aliens
Possibly inspired by the invasion America watched Will Smith battle in Indepence Day in the 90’s, Presidents vs. Aliens is a free app that explores history through a very light and fun game your kids will love playing. Many adults cannot say they actually know all these dates, quotes, and facts! Defeating aliens turns out to be an easy way to introduce a little bit of history in the house — and it’s exciting!
The game lets the user pick easier fact levels for younger ages, and kids (or adults!) can learn more about various events in history more in depth. A cool feature of the app is secret additional games that can be unlocked by completing levels, so the learning and fun can continue after using the first version for awhile. Music and various sound effects keep things interesting for one to five player profiles that come with the download. Start learning in space here at the Apple Store!