The touchscreen revolution is in full swing and today’s children are on board. The iPhone can be a great tool for helping young kids learn and get a leg up in school. Some apps can be a bit pricey and, ultimately, not offer much. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent education apps for the iPhone that are chock-full of great content and absolutely free.
Agnitus – Games for Learning (Agnitus)
Agnitus is a great learning app for very young children. It’s broken up into three sections: Foundation Skills, Math Skills and Phonics & Language Arts Skills. Foundation Skills focuses on the visual component of a young child’s world, such as identifying colors and looking at shapes. The Math Skills section begins with recognizing numbers and then progresses to quantities and counting. Phonics & Language Arts Skills is all about letters and writing; it begins with identifying letters and moves on to tracing letters via touch, a valuable early step toward writing. While Agnitus is very basic, it’s a great introduction to both necessary early life skills and becoming familiar with the touchscreen technology that today’s youngsters will be everywhere by the time they hit junior high school.
Fit Brains (Vivity Labs)
Fit Brains is a brain-training app that aims to improve skills like memory and recall, problem solving skills, and concentration. The app utilizes hundreds of training sessions to help students hone their minds with very simple but fun games. The program recognizes the skill level of the user and tailors each session to adapt to their abilities and needs. Memory games test the speed and reaction time of the player, while spatial recognition games improve cognitive functioning. Best of all, it only needs to be used for a few minutes every day. While Fit Brains isn’t interested in specific school subjects, it’s a great choice as an overall brain-trainer to keep kids on their cognitive toes.
Math Evolve: A Fun Math Game (Zephyr Games)
Math Evolve is an exciting game that will keep kids engaged and having so much fun they won’t realize they’re learning at all. Like a regular video game, it has multiple levels and difficulty settings, with enemies to fight and bosses to conquer. Players progress through the game from the very tiny to the very huge in three phases: microscopic, ocean and space. Along the way, they learn math skills based on the setting chosen beforehand, which can be adjusted based on the player’s needs and math knowledge. The app also boasts a player history where parents can check on their child’s progress and make adjustments to the difficulty so they’ll improve.
Star Chart (Feel Great Publishing Limited)
There has always been a handful of things children want to be when they grow up. The President, a marine biologist, a fashion designer, a fire fighter. And an astronaut. Many children seem to have an inborn fascination with the sky, stars and planets. As countries continue to compete at producing college graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, it’s never too soon to help along your kid’s love of space. Star Chart is an amazing free app with a simple concept — point your iPhone at the sky. That’s it. The app does the rest, telling the user what stars they’re looking at, what constellations are in that direction, and even letting you fly through the solar system and check out the planets.
PBS Parents Play & Learn (PBS Kids)
The PBS network has long been a parent’s best friend. With its daily children’s programming and emphasis on education, mothers and fathers know they can sit their child in front of a PBS afternoon show and their little one will learn something new. Now PBS has entered the iPhone app age with Parents Play & Learn, an app that lets parents and kid play together. The app focuses on every day places like the zoo, the playground and the kitchen to teach children basics of the world around them. The app features over fifty different activities and even offers the choice of switching between English and Spanish.