5 best iPad apps for after school play - and learning

by Derek Walter

October 16 2013

Feed the monsters with multiplication sushi
Feed the monsters with multiplication sushi

A common complaint from some parents is that connected devices are turning children into mindless zombies that stare for hours at screens.

However, several apps offer an interactive learning experience that may allay the fears of those worried that tablets and smartphones may be frying their children’s brains.

Splash Math

Splash Math offers an extensive variety of math games for kids ranging in age from kindergarten through fifth grade. The apps have several different chapters of games that are arranged by specific skills. While they are rather pricey at $9.99 for each grade level's app, there is a lot of content that can benefit students with all of the targeted practice. According to the developers the games are also aligned to Common Core, which most of the nation’s school systems are converting to this year.

Minecraft - pocket edition

Minecraft has been all the rage among elementary school students, and it is something that parents should embrace. The game has very limited violence and is an open world that allows players to create with almost limitless options. If there is one game that your child wants to spend hours playing, they could do far worse than Minecraft.

Sushi Monster

Math gets pretty fun and interactive with this game from Scholastic. Sushi Monster has zany music and multi-armed monsters that players must feed with sushi. Doing this requires answering multiplication problems correctly. It is great for improving multiplication and mental math skills. The rapid pace of gameplay will make kids feel like they are just playing another game and not that they are cramming through math problems.

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ArtStudio for iPad

The iPad has blossomed as a tool for drawing and illustrating. If the after school hours need some more right brain exercise then consider ArtStudio for iPad. This is a fairly comprehensive photo editing, painting, and sketching tool with capabilities that approach a desktop editing program. It may be too complex for the younger set, but those who have their sights set on serious art will appreciate its wide variety of creative tools available.

National Geographic Explorer for Home Learning

This digital magazine has colorful images and lots of high-interest stories about animals, science, the environment, and various people throughout the world. An annual subscription is $19.99, which gets you 10 issues. Along with plenty of science it can serve as a great source of nonfiction text and an introduction to the world of longer form magazine articles.

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