As we commonly do on Geeks with Juniors, I always try to look back at what we have done over the past month and highlight some apps that stand out. In January, we witnessed the rise of many toy-like apps, and encountered a few great apps that are suitable for juniors aged 8+.
In the storybook category, we have five excellent apps that have provided great reading experience for Camila, Philip and me. One of them that I reviewed was Rounds: Parker Penguin, the second app in the Nosy Crow's non-fiction Rounds series. In the app, your juniors can learn about penguins, their habitats and their life cycles.
The other app that I reviewed was Be a Buddy, Not a Bully, a relatable story that centers around bullying. It also deals with ways to avoid, respond and recover from being the victims of bullying.
Camila reviewed two slightly dark storybooks, I Need My Monster and Amelia and the Terror of the Night. Despite their bizarre theme, they are only mildly scary. Both of these apps even have great illustrations and animations to make the entire reading experience joyful.
One last storybook that Camila reviewed just a few days ago is The Legend of Momotaro. Being a long-time fan of Japanese media and culture, this isn't the first time I am exposed to the story of Momotaro. Yet, this app is special. In addition to the stunning artwork and subtle animations, the app has over 120 interactive elements that allow you to discover and interact with many elements of the Japanese culture, such as hanakotoba, origami and even Japanese kanji.
As a parent, I appreciate toy-like apps. I personally find that apps without text, rules, timers, or penalties are perfect for encouraging creativity in juniors. After all, they need to play and have fun while learning. Most of the apps in this section offer great opportunities for juniors to experiment with new ideas.
Two fun apps that your younger ones would love are Wee Subs and Herd Absurd. Wee Subs allows your juniors to build submarines and explore an underwater world, whereas Herd Absurd allows them to experiment by combining parts of different animals to create a new breed. Both of these apps are colorful, fun and imaginative.
I also reviewed two other toy apps, i.e. Wombi Treasures and Bamba Post Office. In Wombi Treasures, your juniors travel around the world to collect buried treasures from past generations, whereas in Bamba Post Office, they learn to prepare packages and mail them from the post office. These are two great apps that I highly recommend as they would trigger precious discussions with your juniors about diverse topics.
Notable Apps for Younger Juniors
In addition to the storybooks and toy-like apps, we also reviewed many great apps for your younger juniors. First, we have two fun math apps, i.e. Jungle Panic and Bugs and Numbers. Both apps include several mini games that are suitable for juniors aged 3+.
I reviewed a great letter-building and word-building app that both my 3-year-old son and I enjoyed so much, entitled Tomo House. It's great for learning a few sight words and a blast to play with.
If you're looking for apps to introduce the concepts of opposites and professions, check out You and Me: We're Opposites and When I Grow Up…. Both are delightful and educational apps geared towards juniors aged 2-5.
For juniors who love nature and animals, we have Pepi Tree, which allows your juniors to learn and play with tree-dwelling animals, and Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures: Lions, an app for learning about lions and their habitat in Africa. Offering several mini games, these apps are sure to keep your juniors busy for a couple of hours.
Notable Apps for Older Juniors
For older juniors, we have Mayan Mysteries, a top-notch app for learning everything there is to know about the Maya culture. I really enjoyed playing this app and learning about Maya number system and calendar. The game also has a Mac/PC version, and a Classroom Edition for teachers to use in a classroom setting. Head over to my review to get a 55% discount on the single-user license of the online version of this app, valid until Feb 17, 2013.
Hit the road in Geography Drive USA and brush up your knowledge of US states, geographical conditions and key historical events. With lots of short quizzes to take and things to learn, this app is sure to make learning geography fun again.
Finally, Astroloquiz is a fun personality app developed by a teacher who wants to help teenagers to learn more about themselves and at the same time, improve their English. A fun and educational app, this one is also worth using in a classroom setting.
I personally feel that we're off to a great start this year. We're also planning some new and exciting stuff over the month of February that we can't wait to announce. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter and follow our Twitter account to keep up with the latest exciting news from us.