Whether your school is closed for extreme weather, a long holiday, summer, or a global pandemic, keeping the kids learning is super important. But how? So many people preach the importance of limited screen time, and I get that. However, there are some terrific educational apps out there to engage your children in fun learning activities. Many of these educational apps are either free or low cost ways to entertain your kids while keeping them from losing any academic headway.
School Subscription Apps
These educational apps and websites have been purchased through your children’s school division. If your school is a member of any of these programs, your child will have his or her own log-in.
IXL This web-based program and app has K-12 skill lessons in math, reading, science, and social studies. As students move through questions, they get immediate corrective feedback. The explanations are short and clear. I’ve relearned pre-algebra and algebra with my daughter as she moves through her IXL assignments for school. If your district has a subscription, your child should be very familiar with logging in.
Xtra Math This is another web-based program that also has an app. Kids can use this app to learn their math facts. Timed quizzes with immediate feedback help students move through addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. If your child has an ID/password, Xtra Math is a must. If they do not, the app is $4.99.
RAZ Kids This is another amazing app that your student may have access to through their school account. RAZ Kids, also web-based, has thousands of books on all levels with matching comprehension questions that your child can work through at his or her own pace. Some of these books cover non-fiction topics in science and social studies on all levels. Additionally, there are fairy tales, fables, poetry, and cute fiction stories on all topics. RAZ Kids even has decodable texts. This simply means that kids can practice reading books with specific sounds, like /ch/, /-ck/, or long vowels built right into the story.
Math Educational Apps
Prodigy Math Game: This is an app and web-based program for kids in grades 1-8. It allows them to practice math skills on their level through an engaging video game format. Children get pets, have “epic” battles, earn prizes and go on quests—all for free! And, yes, they will learn a great deal of math!
Splash Learn: Formally known as Splash Math, this is a fun K-5 program to help kids practice a variety of skills in math. This app and web-based version has won several awards and is used by schools all across the country. It’s computer adaptive, so it tracks progress, and it gets more challenging as the student understands the concepts.
Photo Math: This is an app for parents as much as for students. I have this amazing unicorn of an app right on my phone, and it has saved my daughter and me on several occasions. All the math-challenged parent has to do is open the app, photograph the problem, and Photo Math will provide a solution and an explanation. This app has the power to prevent me my middle schooler from having a complete meltdown over math homework.
Language Arts Apps
Letter School: This is an amazing handwriting app for PK-1 children learning to write their letters. The free version allows kids to practice the first five letters of the alphabet, both uppercase and lowercase, five shapes, and the first three consonant-vowel-consonant word flashcards. The app is around $10.00. This is pricey, but the engagement factor makes it totally worthwhile. Numerous occupational therapists agree.
Handwriting Without Tears App—Wet, Dry, Try This is an app strictly for iPads. It follows the handwriting program used by many occupational therapists to help children who have a tough time with letter formation. Kids use a pretend “sponge” on a chalkboard to make a letter, they “dry” it with a towel, then they “try” writing. These movements help them develop the fine motor skills necessary to write all the letters.
Endless Reader: This sight word app is a fun way for kids to build and read words. As the child moves letters around and spells the word correctly, the “word” comes to life in a funny way. There are several other apps in this bundle—most of which have free versions. Endless Learning also has math apps!
ABCya: This app is free with the option of a monthly fee to remove ads. Kids can click on their own grade level to access both math and reading games on their level. Additionally, the site includes strategy and skill games that incorporate grammar, geography, science, and STEM.
Libby: All you need for this free app is your library card! You can find your local library in the list, click on it, and borrow ebooks and audiobooks just the same as if you checked out the books from the library. This app might save our family some money in overdue fees!
Hopefully, these apps will help you give your kids an academic boost during their regular homework time or during an extended school closure. If you’re interested in more links, check out this post! These are great ways to use your child’s daily screen time allowance!