Another month has passed, and now it’s time for us to take a look at three best new apps for kids that were released in September. All of my picks are the best in their respective topics: telling time, cursive writing, and mental arithmetic. If you missed my reviews earlier this month, this post is a quick overview of what you can expect in these apps.
Tic Toc Time
Over the past year, I have reviewed several apps that can help juniors to learn telling time, but I can say that Tic Toc Time has the best pedagogical approach. Instead of jumping straight into the meat of the topic, the app teaches kids about compass, and how the sun’s movement throughout the day ceates shadows. This is a great way to learn about time; after all, the time in a day is determined by our perspective of the sun’s movement.
Next, kids can learn about the Earth’s rotation, AM/PM, and how to convert a 24-hour timeframe into an analog clock. The subsequent chapters then dive into playing with an analog clock, and kids can practice representing a point in time using both the hour and minute hands.
Tic Toc Time uses colors to help juniors differentiate between hour hand and minute hand, and associate them with its digital representation. I’ve never seen another app that is as helpful and effective!
Intro to Cursive
Throughout the past couple of weeks, I’ve reviewed three great apps that can help juniors with their handwriting. The first, Gappy’s Mystery Letters, motivates younger juniors to practice writing block letters. The second, Writing Wizard, helps older juniors to write longer words in smaller sizes. However it is the third app, Intro to Cursive, that takes a special place in my heart.
Suitable for juniors ages four to eight, Intro to Cursive lets kids practice writing lowercase and uppercase cursive letters in D’Nealian style. The app also teaches them to write two-letter phonograms, such oa, oo, ar, and ch, and even includes a sandbox for practicing lomger, free-form writing.
Not only did the app rekindle my love for cursive handwriting, but it has also intrigued my four-year-old son Philip to learn how to write in cursive. Cursive writing is a great way to help juniors tell the differences between similar-looking numbers and letters, and dyslexic students to learn writing in a longer form. Here’s a quotation from the app developer’s blog post on the subject:
Because all letters in cursive start on a base line and because the pen moves fluidly from left to right, cursive is easier to learn for dyslexic students who have trouble forming words correctly.
The final app on this list is an excellent successor to Quick Math, a solid math app for sharpening basic mental arithmetic skills. Called Quick Math+, this brand new app is designed for teenagers ages 11-15. It has three new modes which use a similar approach that measures how quick you can solve a batch of 20 questions, but they provide fun twists to keep the players excited.
Some game modes challenge the player’s short-term memory: the more that he can remember, the quicker he is going to finish the challenge. It is also generally useful if players learn to rely on memory, logic, and some basic math tricks to quickly come up with answers. The more tricks they have up their sleeves, the better they’re going to be.
I believe Quick Math+ is a great app to have around in your iPhone. I keep it alongside Quick Math, because I know I’m going to be playing it every once in a while to keep my brain sharp.
All three apps in this list are really the best in their respective topics. Telling time, cursive writing, and mental arithmetic are all essential for your juniors’ growth. These apps are able to provide fresh, beautiful, fun, and interactive learning environments on your iPad/iPhone. As a parent, I consider them as must-haves for my juniors.