4 Superb Science Apps for Kids

Science topics are great to explore with young children because they are naturally curious and inquisitive.

Science topics are great to explore with young children because they are naturally curious and inquisitive. Delight in sharing these apps with your child! Be sure to include lots of natural dialog and answer and encourage their questions. They’ll be learning so much in the process. For more KinderTown approved science apps, download the free KinderTown app, the educational app store for parents, and check out the science category.

 

The Human Body by Tinybop

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The Human Body is an app made for exploring and asking questions. There is animation to accompany the 6 different body systems. Encourage and answer your child’s questions while exploring, and they will direct the learning that occurs. Tap different parts of the brain and an animation occurs depicting what that area of the brain controls. Also note that the app does perform functions of the body that may make some children say “yuck,” such as burping and throwing up. The app is not narrated, so parents need to provide the support for the learning In addition, the app offers a parent section and an option to set up multiple profiles for different children. Children can record questions while using the app, and parents can respond to them. Tinybop has even made a helpful parent guide to accompany the app. We highly recommend downloading it and using it with your child. It’s perfect for answering the tough questions your child may ask. In the parent’s section, the urogenital section is available for purchase so you decide when that is right for your child. This app is brilliantly designed for discovery and appropriate for children ages 6 and up and priced at $2.99 for iphone and iPad.

 

Happy Little Farmer

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Welcome to your own personal fruit and vegetable farm! This app is adorable and you will fall in love with it! Kids take on the role of the farmer and complete the tasks associated with growing food. The background music plays familiar nursery rhyme tunes. From the menu children choose the garden, tractor or monster area to play. Children are engaged in play but certainly learning about how food grows in a very age appropriate way. They can dig the holes for the seeds, plant the seeds, water the plants, and harvest the vegetables and even chase the unwanted bugs away. The app does not contain narration, so parents, talk to your children about what is happening as they complete all the interactive areas. Children earn stickers along the way for extra motivation and are able to navigate the app independently. This app is appropriate for young explorers ages 3-5 and is priced at $2.99 for iPhone and iPad.

 

Toca Lab

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Toca Lab is the chemistry lab for young kids! The perfect place for exploring how different materials interact. The app is geniously designed around the world of a science lab. The incredible part is that children do not have to be able to read or understand all there is to know about chemistry to engage in tinkering in the lab. As children tinker with the “elements” they create new “elements” for their own periodic table. Please note that the “elements” and periodic table are not based on the actual scientific reactions occurring, but rather give children the understanding that when elements are placed under certain conditions a new element can be created. Be sure to provide lots of vocabulary and ask your child lots of questions while using the app. For example: What do you think is happening? Encourage them to ask questions too. This app will make your child feel like they have all the tools of a mad scientist! The app is available for $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-8 and designed for the iPhone and iPad.

 

Kid Weather

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Do I have to wear a coat today? Will it rain? Can I wear shorts? Let your child check the weather and answer these questions with the app, Kid Weather. Created by meteorologist, Justin Berk and his son, the app makes weather interesting for young kids to explore. Like other weather apps, you can add your specific locations so try adding your hometown and other locations that are familiar to your child. In addition to showing the temperature and a child dressed appropriately for the current weather, the app includes a trivia and a graphing section. Use these sections with your child to support their understanding of weather terminology and trends over time. The app is available for $1.99 for iPhone and iPad and is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Show What You Know: Track the Weather

 

The weather is something real and tangible that children can relate to which makes it a great early learning science topic. Begin to record the weather daily using a weather chart. Create your own chart to hang in your home. You could choose different areas to examine each day according to child’s interests and science learning level. In addition, choose a common household item to represent different types of weather, for example a cotton ball for a cloud, a blue circle sticker for rain, and a round noodle for a sun. Each day examine the weather and choose an object to glue on the chart. For older students, you could track more complicated topics like the temperature, humidity or percent chance of precipitation. No matter which level you choose, after a period of time discuss trends, patterns and compare different categories. Which type of weather did we have most often? Which category had the least? What trends can you conclude from the data? You are now analyzing data with your child, a valuable science skill.

 

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Maker Inspired Apps

Another big theme of last week’s conference, SXSWEdu, was the current Maker Movement.

 

Another big theme of last week’s conference, SXSWEdu, was the current Maker Movement.

It seems funny to an early childhood educator that the idea of tinkering, experimenting and testing hypothesis with various tools, is a new idea. This is what children do naturally when they play. It really isn’t a new idea, but it’s rise in popularity and the vast array of products flooding the market is new. There are after school programs, kits, curriculums, and toys that speak to this rising movement. Computer labs and libraries are reinventing their spaces into a Maker Space complete with engineering tools to create towers, robots, and circuits. The exciting part for me, is that these types of educational products are now readily accessible to children as young as five. They can use them to experiment with and learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM), all at the same time.

 

Maker Inspired Apps

Download the KinderTown app, and find these selected apps under the Science category to accompany the “Maker” in your home:

 

Monster Physics

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 8.11.48 PMThis app cultivates the experimenter in your child. The app also provides guided tutorials in the beginning to get your child acquainted with the tools and how they function. I found this section really valuable with children, and a great way to discover the app together. The tools in the app include wheels, magnets, claws, wood and plastic. Children combine the parts to make their own unique creation and see if it will solve one of the 50 missions presented in the app. The app combines open-ended experimentation with problem-solving. Your child will not realize they are tinkering with physics concepts such as friction, force, mass, acceleration and more. Parents, after you guide your child through the tutorial section, stick around as the missions become more challenging. Help your child think through trying different solutions to the “Missions” or problems presented. This app is appropriate for students ages 5-8, and is available for .99 (at time of publication for a limited time).

 

Bobo Explores Light

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This app is structured like a book but invites exploration into the concept of light through the guidance of a friendly Robot named Bobo. The introduction provides a nice overview to the interactive book about light. The app has moments where children are invited to tilt the iPad while flying through space. As you fly through space, there are stops along the way that present facts, interesting tidbits, and questions to further investigate. The facts in the book are not read aloud to children, so parents, help your child read and understand the information presented. Bobo Explores Light is suitable for children ages 5-8, and available for $4.99.

 

I think that the most important concept to take away from the Maker Movement is that you can never cultivate your child’s interests with hands on learning enough. Whether it is math, engineering, reading, or art, getting in touch with our children’s interests is an integral part of parenting. Look for after-school programs, summer camps and clubs as part of the Maker Movement popping up in your area too. Now, I look forward to the ways in which “Maker” companies will more closely pair apps with their products to influence children’s experimentation and learning with the Maker Movement.

 

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Apps and Activities for Science Learning this Spring

Have a fun spring with children exploring & discovering science with these fun educational apps and activities.

Have a fun spring with children exploring & discovering science with these fun educational apps and activities.

 

Science Apps for ages 3 to 5

 

Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden

Dr. Panda’s Veggie Garden playfully gives kids the tools to be gardeners. There are 12 fruits and vegetables to grow. Over 30 activities such as plowing, digging, picking off insects and planting seeds are sequenced appropriately for growing each produce.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Dr. Panda Veggie Garden.

The app is more geared towards amusement and working through 1 and 2 step tasks than learning the sequence of growing fruits and vegetables. Each task is fun and easy for kids to work through, but there is not much free play in the games. There are links in the app so you might want to turn off the internet on your device when using this app.

 

Related Blog Post:
Gardening: Indoors With Apps

 

Hippo Seasons

Hippo Seasons responds to your child’s touch for discovering the four seasons. In each season kids tap, swipe, shake and blow to reveal and create with the thematic seasonal scenes. Winter has snow play, spring blends water and colorful flowers, summer an interactive lawn and fall is filled with leaves.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Hippo Seasons.

This free exploration app feels more like a toy than a traditional kids app. A very good app that uses no timers or directions, just your child’s imagination!

 

Related Blog Post:
Apps for Spring

 

Science Apps for Ages 5 and Up

 

Simple Machines by KIDS DISCOVER

Simple Machines by KIDS DISCOVER is a brilliantly designed app that keeps both kids and adults longing to learn more. This is a large app filled with animations, activities, vibrant images and more facts about simple machines than you probably remember learning when you were in school. Activities in the app include puzzles, a mind-bending spelling machine, ideas for simple machines you can make at home and a quiz to see how much you have learned.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Simple Machines by KIDS DISCOVER.

This app doesn’t have the text read aloud, but our curious kids didn’t seem to mind making all kinds of meaningful connections from the pictures when we weren’t able to read aloud.

 

Related Blog Post:
Maker-Inspired Apps

 

Color Uncovered

Color Uncovered is a completely engaging app with interactivity, vibrant images that pique your interest and ton of cool facts about color. Over 20 pages present fun facts about color. The whole family can settle in with this app, allowing the colors on the screen to trick the mind.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Color Uncovered.

There is informative text and explanations provided in the app. They are not written for young children and there is no speech option. An app to use alongside your child, with content that’s interesting for adults too!

 

Related Blog Post:
From Doodles, to Drawing, to Writing!

 

GazziliScience

GazziliScience introduces young kids to Science topics in engaging and kid-friendly play. In the app kids progress through 6 science learning areas that teach through discovery and narration. After completing each area go to the Gazzili fun page where you use prizes earned in the game to build a unique contraption.

 

Read KinderTown's review of GazziliScience.

You’ll notice a tweet button on each page, parents can go into the settings page and turn off going to Twitter (but the icon remains). In addition to removing the twitter button we hope the developers add more learning areas, as the app can be a quick play for some kids.

 

Related Blog Post:
4 Superb Science Apps for Kids

 

Explore the weather and seasons with your young child with the following activities. We crafted each activity to be easy to do with very little planning. Enjoy!

 

Activity 1: What Can the Wind Move?

The invisible mystery of wind makes for great play with young kids. When you are out on walk one day, point out how a flag is blowing or the tree is moving and simply ask you kids, “Why is that moving?” You might get the response, “Oh, Dad, that’s just the wind!” or something wild and unpredictable (like our kids often are).

 

For a quick to set up lesson about the wind, join in with your child to find small objects around the house to test in the wind. The question you’re trying to answer is, what can the wind move.

 

Set up a table in the yard or clear a space on a windowsill. Set out your collection of items to test in the wind. Make sure to jot down your predictions too! Then wait and watch. (You might want to set it up before bed and then see what the table looks like in the morning.)

 

Talk about why certain things on the table were blown by the wind. Why some objects did not move, some moved a little bit and others ended up halfway across the yard.

 

Activity 2: Where Can We Make Rainbows?

A favorite craft in my classroom was coffee filter rainbows. All you need to do is cut a coffee filter in half so you have a half-circle. Then add your colors using markers around the arch, like a rainbow. A few squirts from spray bottle filled with water helps the colors bleed into a bright beautiful rainbow.

 

While that activity by itself is really fun for kids, stretch it out to get kids really thinking of what happens when the water hits the filter and the colors bleed. Challenge your kids to think about where else you can make rainbows:

 

• Can you make a rainbow on cardboard?
• Can you make a rainbow on  tissue paper?
• What happens when you use chalk on the sidewalk?

 

Activity 3: Modeling the 4 seasons

As the seasons are changing from winter to spring, kids are able to really notice the differences and form understandings of the cycle of seasons. Use this time to create books and crafts about the four seasons. Here are a few of our favorite 4 seasons projects:

 

4 seasons foods: Divide a paper plate into 4 parts and label each part with one of the four seasons. Think about foods that look like each season. I used split peas for summer, 3 colored pasta for fall, mini marshmallows and pretzels for winter, and colorful jelly beans for spring. Glue the food into each quarter, describing and comparing what we see outside to the colors and shapes of the food.

4 seasons trees: Gather small sticks from around the yard. Glue them into tree forms on 4 pieces of paper. Label is paper as one season. Kids then add the details to and around the trees to reflect each season. Change up the project by adding: tissue paper, ribbons, paint stamps in the colors of the four seasons.

4 seasons “I like” book: Using four pieces of paper, talk with your child about what they like to do during each season. On the paper write the prompt “I like _____ in (season)”. Fill in the blank with what your child likes to do and add an illustration to each page.

 

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