Discover the 5 best educational apps for your child's summer learning.

So, the kids are out of school for summer break and they're rejoicing in the fact that they don't have to do any homework for three months. But, as a parent, you want to make sure they don't backtrack and lose some of their hard-earned academic skills from the school year.

Hmmm... what's a parent to do?

How Educational Apps Can Help Students

First, understand that unless your child is in summer school or an active learning program, they're probably not going to be interested in structured learning until it's back to school time. But that doesn't mean that students (and teachers) can't benefit from the off season to brush up on classroom skills.

Here's where your screen time rules come into play.

If you've set up some ground rules for digital use with a family media contract, this will be easier for your family.

Now, all you have to do is combine those with our Summer Screen Time Checklist and you have clear guidelines for your family's internet use over summer break. 

When using screen time as a reward system, make sure you detail which approved apps your child can use before they're allowed their own recreational screen time. If you're not sure which apps to suggest, check out our list below or visit the educational apps in our App Advisor.

All of the apps listed below are great options for fighting against the "Summer Learning Slide," when kids can lose the skills they've acquired throughout the school year.

4 Tips for Spotting Good Educational Apps for Kids

Not all screen time is created equal and not all educational apps are educational. In fact, many learning apps and educational games have little to no educational value.

The Association for Psychological Science reports that, "more than 72% of the top apps for sale in Apple’s App Store come from the Toddler/Preschool category." And while this category is popular, this publication states, "more than 80,000 App Store apps are described as being education- or learning-based, however, there are currently no science-based standards to guide this determination."

So, how are you supposed to determine which learning apps are actually beneficial for your child?

Researchers and publishers of "Putting Education in Educational Apps: The Science of Learning" present four pillars that educators, app developers and parents can use to determine if an app has educational value for kids.

  1. Identify if the app is designed to actively engage your child.
    Is this app intended to trigger a cognitive response? Games like Minecraft and Roblox encourage the use of spatial reasoning, logic and strategic planning.
     
  2. Determine the engagement level.
    Unnecessary distractions within an app can confuse your child or possibly even keep them from their learning goal. While the best educational apps are able to balance the right engagement to keep your child's interest, not all apps are.
     
  3. Understand the intent and meaningfulness behind this app.
    Just because an app is categorized as educational or targeted to preschoolers doesn't mean the app is designed for educational benefit. Do some investigation of the app itself and the app developers to see if there are awards, nominations or positive reviews associated with it.
     
  4. Look for social interaction opportunities.
    Determine if this app encourages active learning outside of the digital world, since real-life activities that go beyond the app are important. After all, we understand that our kids are digital natives, but we also want to encourage socialization in the real world too.

The 5 Best Educational Apps for Summer Learning

Check out our list of the five best educational apps that are great year-round, but especially easy for kids to pick up during the summer.

  1. Duolingo - Learn Languages Free
    Designed to help users aged 13 and older to learn a foreign language, Duolingo - Learn Languages Free is a free app for kids to use and perfect for keeping their language skills sharp throughout the summer. Another perk of this app is that kids who haven't yet selected their foreign language of study can try out a few different ones over their summer vacation to see which one they prefer the most.
     
  2. Epic! Unlimited Books for Kids
    Epic! Unlimited Books for Kids is a subscription-based app that's great for bookworms and avid readers. It has over 25,000 books available for your child to read and is rated for users aged two through twelve. With such a wide variety of kid-friendly reads available, it should be easy for your kids to find something that piques their interest.
     
  3. Kahoot! - Play Learning Games
    If your child prefers their education gamified, try Kahoot! - Play Learning Games. This app makes learning fun by incorporating skill-building into fun games - perfect for capturing kids' attention. This app is great for younger kids and is rated for ages four and older.
     
  4. ABCmouse.com
    ABCMouse.com is designed specifically to help young kids learn by playing games and puzzles, reading books and singing songs. This educational app helps kids learn about math, science, art and many other subjects. This app is best for younger users ages three through eight.
     
  5. Khan Academy
    This app has been touted by many educators and parents as being great for older students, especially those in high school. The Khan Academy app can help students master the skills they need by providing guided videos and practice exercises.

Do you have an app recommendation to add to this list? Tell us in the comments or join our Facebook Group

 

About Jennifer Leonard

Jennifer Leonard is the Social Media Manager for Zift. She is passionate about connecting with people – in person and via social media. She spends her days writing, tweeting, pinning and using as many hashtags she possibly can. #Goals 

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