It has been the busiest of summers, despite my best efforts to plan otherwise. Many days this summer my kids have had to accompany me to work and do their best to play quietly while I bang out registration for classes or curriculum changes or meet with other adults in their presence.
Needless to say, I’ve relied pretty heavily on technology during those times. In an effort not to totally succumb to “Watch TV” apps, I went to Common Sense Media to find a list of apps my kids could download and play that just might actually teach them something! At the very least, they wouldn’t rot their brains.
Here are our Kid-Test Reviews. For even more apps and information in a beautiful, category and age defined list, head to Common Sense Media’s Summer Learning Guide. It’s only July 25th after all!
The Girl’s App Pick:
Style Studio: Version for iPod Touch
Kid Take-“It was really cool.” You design your own outfits choosing from different styles of clothing that you can then choose the fabrics, patterns, colors, drape etc. Then you put them together to make outfits.
Mom Take: She loved this app but I’m not sure how much education she got from it. However, it is better than staring at television because it required her to think and use her creativity. Also, when I was a kid I TOTALLY would have loved this. It’s like modern day Fashion Playtes!
The Middle One’s Pick:
Terraria: Version for Samsung Android Tablet
Kid Take: ” It’s like a version of MineCraft and the Game Cube World kinda mixed together.” You start out in a random world with a sword, pickaxe and axe, and you have to find materials and build a house before night time when zombies come. The most fun part was that you were able to craft a different kind of work bench to make other things that you could use in the game. Mom Take: Anything this kid says is similar to MineCraft must be great because he still can’t get enough of MineCraft. What I love about these building apps is not the exploding that the boys love, but rather the fact that they are using spatial awareness and reasoning to come up with ideas to create the worlds in which they play and survive zombie attacks, apparently.
The Baby’s Pick (FYI The Baby is 7)
Amazing Alex: Kid Take: “It’s awesome! It’s basically a game about chain reactions. You have to build your way out of failure. That’s basically how the game works.” (I put that in quotes because I wanted you to know this is exactly what this crazy kid said!) What he liked best was that it made him “be creative”.
Mom Take: Similar in theory to the earlier game, he had to build inventions to get himself out of sticky situations using tools available to him. You can also see how others got out of a level if you choose but there is no direct interaction which this mom likes.
There you have it. In between bike rides and riding the waves, my kids still have screen time. Here are just a few ways I’m trying to keep it productive and fun.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.