Kids are often attached to their phones, endlessly messaging and searching for any information they don’t know. The mobile device is part external brain, part Star Trek Communicator. It can also serve the purpose of educational and entertainment tool, teaching kids about the natural world, animals, the cosmos, math, and history. The apps that are best for kids are the ones that are interactive, allowing them to play with the subject matter, to solve puzzles, and to think critically. The following science-related apps are the best for kids because they combine critical thinking skills with loads of important information, as well as stunning images.
1. The Night Sky
This app gives kids access to everything in the sky, from planets and stars to satellites. They can scroll through and view information on any heavenly body, and then view it naturally or grouped in constellations. Clicking on an object gives more information, so kids can learn about the size and temperature of a star of interest. The app’s geo-tracking means you can see the sky in real-time. Plus your children will be able to track satellites. Available for Droid and iOS.
2. Everybody Has a Brain
This app is for kids ages 4 to 6. It teaches them about what the brain is and what it does by means of songs and games. Meant for young kids, it can still be quite rigorous. It teaches the names of the brain’s regions and shows how they coordinate. It even compares human and animal brains. Kids using the app will visit the brain of a young girl named Phoebe who is learning how to dance. Other characters they will encounter are Sara Bellum, Sir Rebral Cortex, and Ms. Hippo. Available for iOS.
3. Ansel & Clair: Jurassic Dinosaurs
This app beautifully renders dinosaurs and allows children to interact with 7 different types of Jurassic species. There is a field notes section so children can note their observations, and there are a variety of games and puzzles. Kids essentially play as wildlife observers, learning about and photographing the prehistoric wildlife. Available for iOS.
4. easyLearn Simple Machines
This app is geared toward elementary and middle school kids. It presents them with a variety of simple machines, like pulleys and levers, that they can manipulate and learn about. It also contains puzzles and games that make kids use the properties of machines to solve problems. Available for iOS.
5. Robots For iPad
This app allows kids to explore over a hundred different real-world robots. They can interact with the robots, watch videos of the robots in action, and read their specs and background information. The app also features information about how to get started in robotics, so it is the perfect tool for introducing your kids to electric engineering. Available for iOS.
6. Britannica Kids: Solar System
This app contains articles, videos, and images from the entire solar system, and kids can email these pictures to their friends. The app also has matching, memory, and puzzle games for kids to play that involve some of the most stunning images available to mankind. The app is about more than just the sun and planets; it includes gravity and space, as well as the formation of the solar system. This is an engaging and beautiful learning tool to help children understand the enormity and diversity of our solar system.Available for iOS.
7. Britannica Kids: Volcanoes
In the same style as the solar system app, the volcano app features an interactive worlds map, information about tectonics, the birth of islands, lava and magma, and much more. Games and puzzles abound, allowing kids to piece together jigsaw puzzles. The images are again stunning, the information presented is thorough and engaging, and the hundreds of photographs will give rise to discussions between you and your kids about the nature of volcanoes and their effect throughout history. Available for iOS.
8. The Elements: A Visual Exploration
This app is based on the best-selling book The Elements by Theodore Gray. The app, however, goes beyond what any book can do in terms of interaction. The initial screen is the table of elements, but rather than containing just the letters and numbers that seem so cryptic to the non-chemist, it contains images of objects made of the elements. Tapping on one gives you a close up, rotate-able view, as well as information about the element’s make-up and history in human society. This is perfect for any kid who wants to know more about what the stuff of the Earth and the cosmos is made of. Available for iOS.
9. Saving the Frogs
This app was created as a way of saving thousands of frogs from being removed from their habitat to be dissected in schools. It is a virtual dissection tool with which kids can explore the frog’s internal organs without the cruelty of killing the frog. The app was created by a consortium of scientists, naturalists, and educators to create a realistic and informative guide to animal anatomy. Kids start by sticking pins in the frog, then slicing it open. They can remove organs and see them spin in three dimensions alongside information about the organ. It is the perfect tool for getting your kids interested in anatomy and physiology without harming any living animals. Available for Droid.
This app is actually pure math, which is what makes me love it so. Visual puzzles are solved by applying translation, reflection and axis shifting. The puzzles get subsequently harder, and kids incorporate what they have learned previously to solve future puzzles. The app teaches geometry by having kids physically move, rotate, and flip shapes. The game has 45 levels, so kids can work their way through as the difficulty increases. The visuals on the app are simple and void of a social media interface. This provides no distractions from the task at hand . It is simply kid, machine, and math. Available for iOS.