Top 10 Educational Apps for Kids

by Rose Cabrera on May 9, 2016

Summer is almost here and that means lots of kids with lots of time on their hands. For the most part, we want our kids outside playing and having fun but there’s no getting around the fact that they will spend time on their digital devices. Here are some great apps that are safe, fun and can be educational.

Tons of educational apps are now available for download but this doesn’t mean that all of them are good for your kids. Bad educational apps can provide distractions instead of learning, and if you aren’t careful, there are even apps that shouldn’t be on your kid’s phone.

As a parent, you want to ensure your kids are learning from good sources and here are 10 of the best educational apps for your kids:

1. Kids ABC Letters Lite

This app will help your child become familiar with his ABCs. It includes fun games, such as creating letters through colorful puzzle pieces. This version, however, isn’t complete. As it’s a lite version, you may have to pay to get the complete app.

2. Marble Math Junior

Marble Math Junior mixes marble maze games with math problems. It’s best for children who are still learning to read as it includes a voice that reads the problems to your child.

3. Endless Alphabet

This is a monster-themed app that teaches kids how to spell. It doesn’t have a time limit and it doesn’t even keep scores. This helps assure that your child can work on spelling skills without feeling pressured or stressed out.

4. Superhero Comic Book Maker

If you want to enhance your child’s creativity, then this app is a must. It lets children write their own stories, just like a comic book. There are different scenes your child can choose from, and there’s also the option to move the character the way they want.

5. WriteReader Pro

WriterReader Pro is suitable for children age 5 and up. It allows kids to write their own stories while making sure their parents are able to monitor their progress.

6. Read Me Stories

Reading stories to your children is one of the precious moments you share with them. You can download this app which enables you to read a new book to your child every day or let them read a new story by themselves. It’s a good app for practicing, whether at the park or school.

7. Barefoot World Atlas

This app will familiarize your child with animals, people and everything about the world. It has a 3D rendition of the globe and children can zoom in or rotate the viewing angle to get a closer look at the descriptions and photos. It also has BBC presenter Nick Carter to guide your child. What’s great about the app is that it shows your child landmarks and distinct natural features from the comfort of their bedroom.

8. Poptropica

Poptropica is a role-playing app that adds a fun twist to mystery solving. It’s particularly geared towards children ages 6 to 15. In this app, kids create their own avatars which are used to conquer quests. They can change not only the avatars’ facial features but their attributes as well. The game can be saved for future gaming sessions.

9. The Robot Factory

The Robot Factory is created for school age children. It encourages kids to explore, design and create robots. After designing the robot, children can test their creation and then redesign the robot.

10. Duolingo

If you’re looking for a way to help your child learn more than one language, then Duolingo is one of the best educational language apps you can find. It’s great for visual learners and kids can earn badges every time they are successful with a new level.

Author Bio:

Rose Cabrera is the lead content writer for Top Security Review. She’s passionate about sharing security tips and tricks to help keep the whole family safe.

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Homeschooling Students With Dyslexia

by Atif Qazi on April 22, 2016

help-with-dyslexic-son1

It is quite common for parents of children with dyslexia to feel confused and frustrated about the way forward. However, there is no need to worry about a lack of study materials or education opportunities for children with dyslexia. You will find a plethora of study guides and curriculum on the internet. In this article, we are going to learn about the steps you should take to homeschool a kid with dyslexia.

Get Started By Learning What Dyslexia Is:

Dyslexia is a commonly diagnosed disability of learning. It describes a learning condition where an individual finds it difficult to learn and read by following conventional learning instructions. Dyslexic children have a different way of thinking. These differences are prominent in the case of learning and language processing. Contrary to popular belief, dyslexic children are brilliant sometimes. They can be very creative and gifted when in a system that addresses their needs. Dyslexia can run in the families.

Dyslexics can give an impression of being moderate or low achievers when they follow conventional learning methods. With proper guidance, they regularly accomplish against instructive standard benchmarks at all levels. By and large, they can be considered “profoundly visual” learners who have extraordinary trouble with dialect handling of non-visualizable words, (for example, relational words) and with the dominance of phonics and interpreting aptitudes.

Dyslexia is not a malady. There is no cure. It is not behavioral, mental, or social. It is not a mental issue and regardless of normal conviction, dyslexics definitely don’t see in reverse. Dyslexics decipher things by visualising it.

Should You Be Worried?

No. almost 40% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Just because dyslexic children face learning difficulties doesn’t mean they are gone cases. Despite their struggle with reading, writing, and spelling aptitudes, they have a host of unique and significant talents. Learn more about dyslexia to give your child the best chance of progress.

Take Parent Education Classes:

It is quite unfortunate that some parents forget to learn about their child’s condition while homeschooling them. It’s very important to know everything about your childs dyslexia. It lets you teach your children in a method where they can have optimum learning and also help them realize what dyslexia is. If you and your children know about the strengths and weaknesses of dyslexia, your job will become so much easier. Dyslexia is actually one of the most researched disorders. Therefore, you won’t find any shortage of study materials.

Advantages to Homeschooling a Child With Dyslexia:

Homeschooling has some great benefits for kids with dyslexia. Home school programs designed specifically for dyslexic students takes into account the fundamentally distinct guideline in every branch of knowledge such as spelling, reading, comprehension and composition.

It also considers children’s areas of interests and concentrates on those areas while setting up lessons. Homeschooling protects your child from being compared with his/her peers, with more trouble free learning. Homeschooling lets your child work at their own pace utilizing assets that work best with their unique qualities. Homeschooling essentially keeps your child away from an inflexible system and state sanctioned testing that is required in government funded schools.

Although it can be difficult at times, homeschooling a child with dyslexia can be an immensely beneficial activity for both of you. Work to build an atmosphere of comfort. Trust your own abilities to make the best out your child’s potential.

About the Author

Atif Qazi is the owner of SchoolingSOS and an Engineer by profession. He is a former homeschooler who has teamed up with like-minded people to spread his knowledge of this topic. You can follow his topics on Twitter @Schooling_SOS

 

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FOUR Outdoor Science Lessons for Warmer Weather

by Jamie Strand on April 7, 2016

Image via Pixabay by moerschy

Image via Pixabay by moerschy

As the temperature increases, so too do the opportunities for learning science outdoors. When kids explore their environment and connect classroom concepts to their own worlds, they develop not only a deeper understanding but also a more engaged approach to learning science. If you’re looking for ways to teach science to your kids outside as the weather warms, you’ll be inspired by these four outdoor science lessons for warmer weather.

1. Cannonball Splash Physics

Swimming is such an important life skill, and including swimming and water-related activities in science lessons is a perfect way to keep kids interested in what they are learning while teaching them water safety. That’s why one of my favorite outdoor science lessons for warmer weather is Cannonball Splash Physics.

Confident, competent swimmers love to do cannonballs, and using the popular swimming pool jump is a great way to teach kids the science behind winning the splash game. Learning about fluid dynamics helps jumpers understand how to make the biggest splash, so it’s a good idea to let kids experiment with dropping spheres into water first. Water displacement and fluid dynamics will make more sense to kids when they can see what happens on a smaller scale than when they watch people cannonball into a swimming pool.

Kids can experiment with their cannonball technique after learning about fluid dynamics and water displacement to see if they can make a larger splash using their new science knowledge. Try recording kids in slow motion on a smartphone or tablet so they can watch the science behind their cannonballs in action. This outdoor science lesson for warmer weather is sure to make a splash with your kids!

2. Water Balloon Drop

Allowing kids to experiment with water balloons helps them to cool off when the weather gets warm. It also gives them hands-on experience with learning the scientific method, as they form hypotheses about the experiment results in Water Balloon Drop. Kids may like to experiment to find the fastest way to pop a water balloon, which shapes of water balloons are easier to pop, the height of drop required to pop the balloon, and more.

Another option for Water Balloon Drop is to observe the splatter patterns that occur when dropping the balloons from various heights. This outdoor science lesson for warmer weather will help kids to determine whether a water balloon dropped from a greater height falls with more speed and has a larger spatter pattern than a water balloon of the same size dropped from a lower height. Consider adding paint to the balloons to help kids see the splatters more clearly.

3. Chalk Rockets

Most kids love to use chalk outside when the weather warms up, and this spring and summer you can use it to teach science through fun chemical reactions. Chalk Rockets require cornstarch, water, food coloring, film canisters, and Alka-Seltzer tablets. Kids can practice measuring by making liquid sidewalk chalk with the cornstarch, water, and food coloring.

Ask kids to make a hypothesis about what will happen when they add pieces of the Alka-Seltzer tablets to the canisters and put on the lids. Then, break the tablets into three or four pieces and drop them into one canister at a time, before quickly putting on the canister lid and flipping over the canister. Stand back and watch the rocket fly and then observe the chalk art it leaves behind. Students should observe each canister and record height and distance traveled. They may want to experiment by adding more tablet pieces to a canister or changing liquid amounts in each canister.

4. Rainbow Bubble Snakes

Nicer weather means bubbles, and Rainbow Bubble Snakes is an outdoor science lesson for warmer weather that kids will love. This science lesson involves elasticity, surface tension, and chemistry. To allow kids to explore these concepts, help them to create Rainbow Bubble Snakes with an empty water bottle, duct tape, a sock, water, dish soap, and food coloring.

Cut off the bottom of the water bottle and slide the sock over the open bottom. Secure the sock with duct tape. Kids should dip the sock-covered bubble blower into the dish soap/water/food coloring solution and then blow through the neck of the bottle. Once kids see how the Rainbow Bubble Snakes form, they should experiment by blowing with more or less force, adding more dish soap to the solution, and measuring the length of their snakes.

Getting outside as the weather improves can be an educational experience for the whole family. Outdoor science lessons for warmer weather give kids the opportunity to experiment in a hands-on way while asking questions and gaining a better understanding of the scientific method and science concepts.

If you loved this post by Jamie Strand then you will also love Five Ways to Help Your Child Think Like a Scientist. 

Jamie Strand is an unashamed nerd. He teaches community college and loves spending time with his two daughters. He wants to share his love of science and math with kids today and that’s why he and friend got together to create SciCamps.org. Jamie enjoys hiking, camping, and doing science experiments with his daughters.

 

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5 Creative Writing Exercises for Kids of All Ages

by Jennifer Wise on March 31, 2016

Jenny Wise photo Blog 4565 Creative Writing Exercises for Kids of All Ages

Today’s adults prioritize communication and writing skills as the ones that will prime children to succeed in college and adulthood, a 2015 study by Pew Research Center reports. The percentage of adults with a college degree citing communication as the most important skill for children to master is 94 percent, while 81 percent of college-educated adults cited writing as a top essential skill. Creative writing exercises for children allow them to flex creative muscles while sharpening communication skills.

Research by psychologists in 2016 reported by Wiley Online Library found children as young as age three can recognize writing. For children who are not able to coherently write yet, parents can write out their child’s creative thoughts during writing exercises. Toddlers and preschoolers can follow along as parents write, which benefits reading skills.

No matter what age or writing skill set your child is, age-adaptable exercises refine communication abilities. Here are five creative writing methods children will enjoy while they’re honing writing talents.

Prompt Them to Think Critically

Present a unique situation to your child, have them analyze how they’d act in the situation, and ask them to write down their thoughts regarding what they’re presented with. Free creative writing prompts that ask children questions such as, “If you were a superhero, what would be your kryptonite? Why?” challenge them to evaluate their personal life and effectively communicate it to a reader. Thought-provoking questions paired with writing exercises may also incite positive behavior changes depending on the question.

Have Them Feature Characters They’re Familiar With

Have your children write a story starring their favorite movie or television character. Stories could range from a “day in the life” tale, to a letter written from that character’s perspective back to your child. Another option is for your children to write a narrative featuring multiple characters they’re familiar with and have them describe their interactions.

Use a Word Jar to Spur Ideas

Put dozens of age-appropriate words into a jar. Choose three at random, and have your children write a story that is inspired by and must use all three words. You could also segment multiple jars with different word categories, such as people, places and objects, and choose one word from each jar to be used.

Get Them a Journal

More than 20 years of journaling research reported by The University of Texas at Austin found daily journaling about emotions resulted in strengthened immune systems, better grades and improved mental health. Journaling may also benefit working memory, decrease anxiety and enhance sleep and social connections. Shop together with your children so they can pick out a journal they want with lines that allow them to comfortably write. Guarantee its confidentiality, and empower them to write outside the confines of reality and explore how they imagine their future.

Put Them in Charge of the Tale

Search for popular long titles of films, books or songs your child has never encountered, and ask them to write a story conveying what the title is about. Encourage creative expression through a variety of methods, such as poetry or songwriting. Play them instrumental music and have them write song lyrics based on what they’ve heard.

All these activities can be performed in tandem with your children, so they have a supportive creative writing mentor as they’re working. You could also create stories together, taking turns to add to the narrative. Remember, creativity is the focus. While pointing out errors such as spelling and grammar can be beneficial for accuracy, consider spotlighting the creative elements to encourage them to have fun and embrace creative writing as a hobby that also benefits their education.

Jenny Wise is a stay-at-home mom and home educator. She and her husband decided to homeschool when their oldest was four years old. During their journey, they’ve expanded their family and have faced many challenges. But they’re happy to have overcome each one. Jenny writes about her family’s experiences and homeschooling, in general, on her new blog, SpecialHomeEducator.com.

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