Improve Your Kid’s Spatial Reasoning Skills with These 4 Apps

Spatial reasoning is an often overlooked skill that’s vital to develop in kids; we found some quality apps that can help.

Spatial reasoning is the ability to visualize shapes and objects in different ways and draw conclusions about those shapes. It’s this strong ability that architects use when designing a building or that a sculptor uses when planning a design. This skill is often overlooked in traditional schooling but is a vital skill to develop. Children with well-developed spatial reasoning skills often perform better at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) tasks. The following apps  help develop these skills, but it is equally important for early learners to play with hands-on objects such as blocks, puzzles, tangrams, or pattern blocks to develop these skills.

 

Spatial Reasoning App Reviews

 

Dragon Shapes Lumio Geometry Challenge (iOS only)

lumio

 

This app walks children through an introduction to shapes through tangram puzzles. As they are presented with a puzzle, a sidebar introduces them to the shape and distinguishing features about the shape.  The shapes include triangles, squares, rectangles, hexagons, trapezoids, pentagons, and rhombi. As children solve the puzzles, the ideas that shapes can form larger composite shapes or designs is reinforced. The shapes in the app are able to be manipulated and turned fairly easily. There are four levels of game play in the app, and there is a storyline involving the rescue of the village dragon that is developed through completion of each level. The app costs $2.99 and is available for iPhone and iPad.

 

Montessori Geometry – Recognize and learn shapes (iOS only)

Montessori Geometry

 

Montessori Geometry is filled with games, free exploration activities, and other learning gems in the traditional teaching style of Maria Montessori. There are games for playing with shapes, learning activities that connect kids to seeing shapes in the “real world,” and a dynamic 3D exploration activity for kids to rotate and interact with every side of the shape. The app presents the formal language for all of the shapes so you won’t just hear the words circle and triangle but also the specific technical terms, such as scalene triangle. The games are in the classic Montessori style, so kids are able to use self-correction and move from activity to activity. There is also a point tracking feature where kids can earn medals while they are playing. The app costs $3.99 and is available for iPhone and iPad.

 

Cyberchase 3D Builder (iOS, Android, and Kindle)

Cyberchase 3D Builder

 

In Cyberchase 3D Builder, encourages kids use flat 2D shapes to build 3D structures. There are eight levels of play to keep kids interested and really amp up the difficulty. The app strength is in developing the relationship between flat and 3D shapes. The app does provide prompts as the levels increase in difficulty for children who may need assistance. Overall the app is a fun experience where kids won’t even realize they are learning. The app is free and appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Tangram for Osmo (iOS only)

osmo tangram

 

The Osmo tangram kit comes with tangram pieces that interact with the iPad. Download the free Osmo tangram app to get started. Osmo offers a nice Getting Started section to familiarize your child with the use of the pieces and their interaction with the screen. The child must arrange the tangram pieces to match the on-screen arrangement. The Osmo system detects the tangram pieces to check to see if they match the shapes on the screen. While constructing the pictures, your child is developing important visual spatial skills. After your child completes the Getting Started section, the app offers different pictures for your child to choose from and construct with the tangram pieces. The app also indicates the level of the pictures from easiest to hardest by color-coding them yellow, orange, and red. The yellow puzzles offer color clues, and the orange puzzles offer black-and-white shapes. The app does offer a hint button if needed to complete the puzzles. The hardest level offers just one solid black outline. Arranging the tangram pieces is challenging, engaging, and also fun to complete with a friend.

 

Check out more apps that develop spatial reasoning skills here.

 

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3 Creation Apps to Try with Your Kids

Try these creation apps with your kids; creative play and activities play a central role in a child’s learning and development.

 

Try these creation apps with your kids; creative play and activities play a central role in a child’s learning and development.

 

These type of learning experiences help build connections in the brain that foster problem solving and communication skills. Often when kids are actively involved in the learning process they are more likely to remember the learning behind it. For example, you may remember the details of a volcano model that you made and how it erupted because you were actively engaged in the creation experience.

 

Duckie Deck Trash Toys

Duckie Deck trash toys

Create something new with virtual trash. Use the spray paint tools to decorate a tin can, a plastic cup, or an old jar to produce a new look. Then use springs to create arms, buttons for eyes, or silly string for hair. Save it to your camera roll when you are finished. Unleash your creativity and then let your child try some offline creative tinkering with similar objects. This app is easy to navigate and it’s easy for kids to work together to make creations. Duckie Deck Trash Toys is appropriate for children ages 3-6 and costs $2.99.

 

Art Maker by ABC’s Play School

Art Maker

Art Maker by ABC’s Play School offers an engaging scrapbook-style environment for children to create, narrate, and imagine. Children can choose from a variety of backgrounds with characters and objects to which they can add, resize, and manipulate. Each picture can be assembled into a storybook or transformed into an interactive video as your child narrates and moves the images. His creation can then be saved in the app to view again. A very informative “for parents” page gives tips and ideas to help you get started. Art Maker is $2.99 and appropriate for children 3-6.

 

Toca Builders

toca builders

Toca Builders is a virtual 3D playground where kids use characters to build and create their own unique world. Each character has a different way of contributing to creations in the virtual world. For example, Jum-Jum loves to spray paint (a favorite feature of our child testers) and Connie can lift and move blocks. Your child can create several different play-based worlds within the app that he can add to or adapt later. The app does not include any words or dialog so be sure to take some time to discuss the characters and their abilities, or perhaps create a story about the characters as your child manipulates their world. Toca Builders is a Minecraft inspired app but appropriate for children ages 4-8. Children can demonstrate their creativity as well as spatial relationships within a 3D environment. Be sure to check out their “for parents” section within the app for more ideas. The possibilities are endless for your child’s imagination in the Toca Builders world.

 

Related Blog Post:
3 Top Book Creation Apps

 

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Best Building Apps for Kids

Building promotes creativity, imagination and spatial awareness.

Building with blocks has long been a favorite activity for kids and parents alike. Building promotes creativity, imagination, problem solving, and spatial awareness. Check out these best building apps for kids.

 

Toca Builders

toca builders

Toca Builders is a virtual 3D playground where kids can use characters to build and create their own unique world. Each character has a different creative talent in the virtual world. For example, Jum-Jum loves to spray paint(a favorite by our child testers), and Connie is able to lift and move blocks. Your child can create several different play-based worlds within the app to add to or adapt later. There are not any words or dialog in the app, so sit with your child and discuss the characters and their abilities or perhaps create a story about the characters as your child manipulates their world. Toca Builders feels like Minecraft but is appropriate for children ages 4-8. Children use this app to demonstrate their creativity skills as well as developing their understanding of 3D environments. Be sure to check out the For Parents section within the app for more ideas. Toca Builders costs $2.99. The possibilities are as endless as your child’s imagination in the Toca Builders world.

 

Bloxy World

 

BloxyWorld

Bloxy apps allow your child to build with blocks in order to create objects that they can play with in the virtual world. For example, build an airplane and construct an airport so your plane can land and take off again. In addition, children can build freely with the blocks. When a creation is complete, children can also upload them to Bloxy World or download other creations to play with or to inspire their own ideas. Parental permission is requested each time one of these actions is performed. There are over 330 bricks included in Bloxy World. Children can also use their theme collections for space, castles, trees, cars and a special girls’ world. Other features include the ability to add speech bubbles to the mini-figures and a snapshot feature to take pictures of the creations. Bloxy World is free to download but does have in-app purchases for selected blocks. KinderTown recommends the Buy all Bricks feature for $8.99. Bloxy World is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

BeBop Blox

BeBop Blox

For the youngest builder, KinderTown loves BeBop Blox. In BeBop Blox, children are presented with 12 different puzzles to build. Once the puzzle is chosen, the parts spin around the screen, and kids drag the matching pieces to complete the puzzle. For each matching piece, a musical phrase is played. Each added piece adds an additional musical sound to create a song that accompanies the puzzle. When the puzzle is completed, a song is played, and there are four additional sound effects that can be added to the song. BeBop Blox is a beginning creative environment for the youngest builder. BeBop Blox is suitable for children ages three through five and costs $1.99.

 

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KinderTown Loves Tiggly Shapes!

Using the iPad to learn about shapes provides another avenue for exploration and learning.

Shapes are one of the core learning concepts for early childhood development. Using the iPad to learn about shapes provides another avenue for exploration and learning.

 

Tiggly Shapes

Tiggly combines the digital world with physical manipulatives that are so important for young children. I value hands on learning, and when I saw the Tiggly Shapes I was instantly in love! Tiggly Shapes are hands on 3-D learning shapes (square, circle, star and triangle) that interact with the free Tiggly Shapes apps on the iPad. They are rubbery, durable and easy to grip for little hands. I think this concept is right on target for early learners and I could not wait to try them with children. As I suspected our kid-testers loved them too!

 

Most recently, Tiggly added a bilingual feature allowing you to choose two languages to engage with while playing with the Tiggly apps. Let me overview three of the free apps that go with the Tiggly Shapes. Also, if you aren’t up for purchasing the Tiggly Shapes you can use a lite version of the apps for free. Tiggly Shapes and their apps are appropriate for children ages 18 months to 4 years old. KinderTown rarely recommends apps for children this young, but we feel strongly that the hands on component of these shapes is appropriate for children as young as 18 months when used alongside an adult. Parents, please note that you must match the shapes to the screen when the app launches to allow the Tiggly shapes to sense the screen. Also, check out the parent section in each app for additional information. Tiggly apps are only made for the iPad.

 

Tiggly Safari

Screenshot 2014-06-05 17.36.21

Tiggly Safari invites children to match the correct shape to the outline of the shape shown on the screen. After matching the shape, the app shows the shape, and the coordinating word. Then the shape is made into a safari animal, all while hearing the animal sound in the background. In multi-language mode the name of the shape is said in both languages that are selected. Also, the word is shown in both languages. As the app progresses, multiple shapes are combined to make animals and different orientations of each shape are shown. Tiggly Safari is the app I would recommend using first with your Tiggly Shapes.

 

Tiggly Draw

Screenshot 2014-06-05 17.37.05

Tiggly Draw allows your child to create characters from the Tiggly Shapes. Add a funny face, a mustache or silly feet, and then save the creation to your camera roll. The shape characters come alive with animation and sounds after they are created. Choose from 10 different backgrounds, and the character combinations are endless. Parents, have fun sharing your child’s work with friends and family. In addition to learning about shapes, your child is developing vocabulary associated with character parts as well as giggling over their silly animations.

 

Tiggly Stamp

Screenshot 2014-06-05 17.36.49

Tiggly Stamp is an open-ended creative play scene to use with the Tiggly Shapes. Each time a shape is “stamped” on the screen it becomes an object to play with in the scene. Your child may create an animal, decoration or flower. Many of the scenes presented have a theme often based on the time or year. My favorite feature of Tiggly Stamp is the recorder. This is especially great for developing oral language and interacting with your child. Tell a story about the scene with your child and the voice recorder will record all your interactions. Play your story back or delete it and create another one. This will surely be something you will want to treasure as a parent. I love listening to my child tell the story and I like knowing that I have preserved the sound of her young voice. A great keepsake for any parent or loved one!

 

 

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