For months, the kids have played to their hearts’ content, watched movies, frolicked at the pool and done anything and everything but, well, math (with the possible exception of counting change at the lemonade stand). Now that school is just around the corner, it’s time to exercise that brain again. These apps for reading, math, science and more are a great place to start.
My First Day of School. First day of school jitters? Prepare your kindergartener or preschooler the best way you can: with a story. In this iStoryTime book, “My First Day of School,” Charlie is a little bit nervous about the first day of school, but with a little preparation and a lot of questions, he does a great job. And he can’t wait for day two! (99 cents, for iPhone and iPad, ages 4 and up.)
MeeGenius. For those nights when you just can’t find the energy to read “just one more” bedtime story, MeeGenius can do it for you. This virtual library gives you and your child access to hundreds of audio e-books, and with the read-along feature, your children can highlight words and continue their own quest to read. The site offers a few free books to try the service out, or your can subscribe for a monthly fee. (The MeeGenius app is available through the iTunes and Google Play stores.Recommended for kids up to age 8).
Math Academy. Hopefully, your kids have gotten lots of practice adding and subtracting the spoils from their lemonade stands this summer. If you’re ready to kick that math up a notch, download Math Academy, a math app aimed at elementary school aged children, which rewards kids with a virtual sticker collection. Free in iTumes. (Recommended for ages 4 and up).
Chicktionary. It’s easy to understand why Chicktionary, a spelling game of the chicken variety, was named Top 25 iPad App for Kids by TIME and a Top iPhone and iPad App for Grade-Schoolers by MSNBC, Mashable and Tecca. It’s just so darned cute! In the game, each chicken has a letter on it. Arrange them to make words and earn “eggchievements.” (Available for Apple and Android, $1.99, recommended for ages 4 and up.)
Ansel & Clair with Little Green Island. Does your little ecologist want to save the world? Ansel & Clair with Little Green Island is a great place to start. Kids can create their own island, plant their own trees, clear trash, clean up oil spills, replace pesticides with natural methods and more. This is the best kind of learning a kid or parent could ask for: it’s a blast. (Available for iPad and iPhone, $1.99-$4.99, recommended for ages 6 to 8.)