Children love the iPod Touch, but put an iPad in their hands and their love is taken to a new high level. Several thoughtful developers have capitalized on that fact and built some awesome apps. Here are four of the best, that I’ve found.
Pocket Universe: Virtual Sky Astronomy – A supremely awesome app! It deserves it’s own dedicated article here, and will get it soon. This app enables a child to point an iPad, or iPhone/iPod Touch, at the sky and, using the internal compass, brings on screen the sky just as the child is seeing it. Children can then look at the iPad screen, see constellations, stars, planets, etc. identified, and more easily discover where they are located in the “real” sky. Move the tablet and the view moves with it. The iPad-specific version, which has an App Store price of $2.99, has graphics optimized for the device and additional features over other versions. The entire app is cool, but possibly the neatest thing is tracking the international space station in real time, at least, for this kid.
Chicktionary – An extremely popular word game for primary school-aged children. In this app, players unscramble chickens, each of which bears a letter, to form as many words as possible from the letters. The game comes in a free version with 12 word puzzles, or in a paid version, $1.99, with 300 puzzles. If you start with the free version, you have the option of in-app purchases of additional puzzles. The game has features to help the younger children (and adults) along, like shaking the iPad to get a new set of letters and an option to get help with locating smaller words within larger ones. The thing about this game is that adults will have just as much fun as children!
Mathemagics: Mental Math Tricks – This one is for older students, those nearing high school and older. Again, even adults. The app ($1.99), enables students to train themselves to reduce problems to smaller, more manageable pieces in order to reach fast and accurate resolution. The app is addictive. It teaches students to employ dozens of “tricks,” such as “Casting Nines,” “Doubling and Halving,” “Quickly Multiply by 11,” and “Squaring Any Two-Digit Number.”
Preschool Arcade – It’s a lot of fun seeing a preschooler discover technology. Preschool Arcade ($.99) is one tool that opens their eyes to it. The app contains four different games, ABC Invasion, Pinball 123, Claw-Crane Matching, and Whack-A-Mole Colors, each one teaching number and upper-case and lower-case letter recognition. The app is colorful, fun and engaging and will help them enter kindergarten with the skills they need already in place.
The size, ease of use and wide array of relevant apps makes the iPad a wonderful tool to help children, the youngest and the oldest, embrace technology.
Image courtesy titou.net.