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Top 5 Smartphone Educational Apps to Help Your Child Get Ahead

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Turn your smartphone into a personal tutor with these simple tools

Smart phones can either be a burden or an asset in educating kids; it’s all in the apps. If you fill your phone with time-wasters and games, it will probably be an unwanted distraction, but there are surprisingly effective educational tools that can help your child study for a test, double-check homework, and get curious about the world around them. Here are a few of the best educational apps on the market today, for Android and iPhone.

1. Project Noah (Android, iPhone)

If your child loves animals and being outdoors, this app is a great way to feed their passion, and even let them contribute to real zoological research (seriously). Any time your child sees a plant or animal that interests them, they can take a picture of it, tag it, and send it in to the Project Noah community for analysis. The app uses GPS to show a “field guide” of all the plants and animals your child is likely to encounter, along with sightings from other users, so they know where they can find them. Project Noah also partners with labs and environmental organizations, so they can be assigned to photograph squirrels, track birds, or look for invasive species. It’s a great resource for kids to have fun on a camping trip, or just get excited about nature. (Cost: free)

2. Kindle (Android)

If you or your child ever use public transit, or get stuck in a doctor’s office waiting room, it can be tempting to keep them busy with smartphone games; but with an e-reader app like Kindle, you can help them cultivate a love of reading instead. The brilliant thing about Nook, Kindle, and other e-readers is the abundance of public domain books that have passed out of copyright, so they’re available for free download at any time. Alongside the timewasters and frivolous apps, you can keep a full library of the greatest classic literature in history, so your child never lacks for something good to read. (Cost: free)

3. Wolfram Alpha (Android, iOS)

If your child struggles with confidence in math, Wolfram Alpha is a great tool to check work and view step-by-step solutions to tough math problems. Wolfram Alpha is capable of interpreting sophisticated commands in plain English. More importantly, you can expand the answers to view the steps Wolfram Alpha took to get there. A calculator can help you find the right answer, but Wolfram Alpha helps you understand the answer, and how to duplicate it. Wolfram Alpha can easily handle your child’s math questions up to and including second-year university calculus, so it’s a must-have for student laptops and tablets, whether they love math or can’t stand it. (Cost: free)

 4. Kid Genius: All in 1 (Android, iOS)

For younger girls, this app is a great way to introduce them to learning early on. It includes numbers and letters, basic arithmetic, as well as stories that build basic reading and science skills. This is a great all-around educational app to keep smaller children entertained in a wholesome, productive way. This app was designed for iOS first, so Android phones may experience more bugs. Our team tested it on Android phones without any difficulty, but your mileage may vary. (Cost: $0.99)

5. Google Sky Map (Android)

This app uses GPS and your phone’s accelerometer to display an accurate star map for whatever region of the sky the phone’s camera is pointing at. If you’re looking for a specific star, planet, or constellation, you’ll see arrows on the edge of the screen directing you to it. It’s a great way to pique your child’s curiosity and start great conversations about science, space, and technology. There is a similar app for iPhone, but it costs $11.99 and includes functionality for more experienced amateur astronomers. (Cost: free)


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