Technology for ESL

6 Great Apps to Help Children Learn Outside of the Classroom
By:Sally Wilson

It can be tempting to dismiss all technology aimed at children as somehow harmful or bad for them. And while it's true that plopping youngsters down in front of the television to ingest a week's worth of cartoons at one sitting won't help their development either mentally or physically, there are other options.

Apps designed with children in mind can actually help them advance academically by encouraging them to learn outside of the classroom. A secondary bonus of apps is that they tend to make learning fun for kids. It can be challenging to pry them away -- a problem that most loving parents would not mind having to deal with.

Here is a list of some great apps that will get your children learning outside the classroom.

Mathmateer

As your little one is encouraged to develop stronger critical thinking skills by working through a variety of problems, they will earn rewards for right answers in the form of play money. The money they accumulate can be used to buy rocket parts they will use to build their very own rocket ship.

Mathmateer comes highly rated and recommended by the New York Times and is a winner of the Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice Award.

Starfall

Starfall is a good choice for children with special needs and those who are learning English as a second language. With a variety of different activities to choose from, your child will have to work very hard to exhaust all the learning and exploration activities available to them. You won't have to contend with an app that is constantly pushing products at your child, because advertising is not allowed. Children from preschool through the third grade will find plenty to engage them.

Fun Brain

Fun Brain is a premier leader in educational games for children. Their primary focus is on helping kids master grammar, math, history, science and spelling. You can buy their learning materials, but there is no charge for your child to enjoy the games. Even the American Library Association stands behind them.

Professor Brian Cox Wonders of Life

Older children will have fun with this app, as the majority of their educational content is aimed at them. Although younger kids will have fun exploring the science and nature offerings -- it would make a fantastic introduction for them.

The videos you'll find are high quality HD and provide outstanding imagery as well as explanations of the history and the science. The science and nature you will find lands primarily in six categories: Elements, Microscope, Sensory, Australasia, Africa and North America.

PocketPhonics

This one rates highly with the under 7 crowd and their parents. Through the use of fun games, the app hopes to improve your child's speech and reading abilities. It will encourage your child to speak their first words and will have them sounding out letters and words. It will even have them writing their letters and provides plenty of feedback and encouragement to help them build up their confidence. It's easy for the little ones to follow along to the simple instructions.

Kids Piano Lite

This is a music app that will keep your young ones playing along and learning about how to make music while keeping them completely entertained. The app includes a few songs that are popular with children and gives them an auto-play option if they would prefer to listen along. Those children who are ready to try their hands at the piano can make use of the learn to play mode that teaches using music based games.






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