It was all so innocent when I offered to bring good educational apps to the attention of readers when we purchased the iPad for Reina (see previous post here). How hard could it be to find some great educational apps for young minds to absorb? With over 300,000 apps available, and more arriving daily, if just 1 percent are for childhood education, that’s still 3,000 apps to sift through. So here’s the problem: If I’ve got a 3:00PM deadline, 3,000+ apps to review and I need to highlight 5 or more apps in under 600 words, what time will I get to eat lunch? I hate this kind of math equation too.
Fortunately, Moms With Apps takes a lot of the guesswork out of trying to find great apps for children. In their own words, “Moms With Apps is a collaborative group of family-friendly developers seeking to promote quality apps for kids and families.” They have categories, suggestions, a blog, and a forum for developers. Best of all, every Friday, momswithapps.com highlights an app and the developer makes it available for free on iTunes for 24 hours. This past week was the website’s one-year anniversary and they offered freebies on all the previously highlighted apps. Unfortunately, I neglected to check the Friday special before it was mostly over. Note: it runs weekly from 8:00PM Thursday – 8:00PM Friday on Pacific Standard Time (i.e. west coast of the USA). So don’t get caught snoozing like I did if you want your free apps.
Armed with some leads from friends and suggestions from Moms With Apps, I’ve got 7 apps that will assist children of all ages in their quest for mastery over mathematics. The first is Approach to Montessori – Numbers HD for iPad from braincounts.com. It is six activities that help toddlers build their number skills from zero to ten. Good for ages 2 and up. Reina tested and approved!
Next up, the award winning MathGirl Number Garden from Icanology LLC. This program uses graphics like flowers and hands to encourage pattern recognition and reinforce addition skills. Players earn stars that can be exchanged for items to place in their own garden. Cute, simple graphics that are, as the name implies, a bit girly. Rated 4 and up, but Reina gives it her seal of approval for 3 year olds too.
Last is something for the kids in elementary school and beyond from iDevBooks, which has over a dozen apps that were all created by developer Esa Helttula as he sought to satisfy his daughter’s growing needs for math applications. I took a look at 5 of the apps: Column Addition, Column Subtraction, Long Multiplication, Long Division and Fraction Math. These are streamlined apps that in some ways replace sets of flash cards and book of math problems. They are designed in such a way that each step is clear and allows the student to solve each step in the process before continuing with the problem. Math and subtraction apps include puzzle rewards to encourage children to keep solving new problems. Great for kids and adults like me who need to brush up on their math skills (you know who you are). With apps like these iDevBooks is also helping ensure our kids don’t get too ahead of us in their math skills.
And the answer to our word problem is: around 1:30PM. I’m starved.