The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Leticia Barr.
Even though we enjoy carefree summer days and the many warm weather activities that go with them, the absence of school doesn’t quite mean that learning needs to stop. Interactive apps take learning on the go as you capitalize on the time you’re spending outside or during summer travel. Here are a few favorites for all ages:
1. Learn how to geocache with OpenCaching— If you’ve never tried geocaching, this summer is a fabulous time to start! According to Ranger Rick’s Geocache Trails, geocaching is “a combination of old-fashioned treasure hunting, while using GPS technology, and spending time outdoors.” It’s the perfect blend of technology and adventure in the great outdoors that teaches children coordinates, navigational skills, and patience. All you need is a GPS enabled Smartphone or a GPS device and a set of coordinates to find a container (geocache) hidden in that location. Before starting your geocache adventure, sign up on OpenCaching.com that will allow you to create an account to sign in so you can start looking for nearby caches. The free OpenCaching app will help you locate your treasure. You can also use the app to leave a cache of your own for other players! Just log the coordinates back at the websites so someone else can enjoy searching for your trinkets and treasures. For more information about geocaching, visit my post called Geocaching: Outdoor Fun for Tech Savvy Families for other tips and resources. OpenCaching is free for Android and iPhone.
2. Identify constellations with Google Sky Map— Designed for Android devices, Google Sky Map allows families to act as astronomers as they use the camera in their mobile devices to map constellations and identify other objects in the summer sky through a simple interface. This app is free and is a great tool for young kids to use with parents while older ones can probably use it more independently. Available for iOS and Android devices.
3. Practice a foreign language with Gus on the Go— Gus on the Go allows kids to learn 14 different languages, including Spanish, French and Hebrew with the help from Gus, an animated traveling owl who guides children on a series of ten interactive vocabulary activities for each language. After completing each lesson, Gus playfully encourages them to unlock the next adventure by reviewing what they have learned. Delightful animal noises, transportation sounds and vibrant animations motivate even the youngest children to see, hear and touch objects in a simply creative way. Gus on the Go also helps children improve their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and basic vocabulary proficiency. Gus on the Go is available for iOS ($3.99 for each language) and Android ($2.99 for each language).
4. Take your favorite books with you when you travel thanks to Storia— Motivate your child to keep reading over the summer through eBooks from Storia on a their favorite device. eReaders have been proven to be great motivational tools that can help kids keep reading over the summer thanks to having favorite titles right at their fingertips. Scholastic makes the Storia site easy to navigate when looking for age appropriate books. Shop by grade, age, reading level, or interest. The free Storia app works on PCs, iPads, Android tablets, and Kindle Fires and new users can download 5 free books upon signing up.
5. Practice communication skills with KidzVuz— If your tween is working on their communication skills, give them an opportunity to hone their voices and get comfortable speaking in front of others through KidzVuz.com. Developed by moms Rebecca Levy and Nancy Friedman, KidzVuz is a way for kids ages 7-12 to share their opinions with a community of same-age users by creating and sharing videos. Tweens can either make videos via the KidzVuz website or through their free mobile app for iOS. It’s a great place way practice oral communication skills in a low pressure and fun way during the summer months.
Leticia is the founder of Tech Savvy Mama, a site that assists parents in navigating the ever-changing world of technology. She uses her experience as a former teacher and technology specialist for a large DC Metro area school system to share new technology and educational resources.