Appy Friday: Brain Training, Literature and Rhythm
by: Logan Chamberlain
This one’s for the parents out there as well! You’ve probably seen plenty of ads and such for “brain training” apps to make you smarter, and you'd be right to be a bit dubious. What elevates (pun intended) this app is that the games and activities are actually engaging, and you or your older kids will enjoy trying to beat their high scores. And while this is no miracle intelligence solution, you'll certainly close the app feeling like your brain’s gotten a workout.
Cost: Free, or Premium (Multiple Rates) Age: Rated 4+, recommend older Platform: iOS and Android
Shadow Puppet Edu
Shadow Puppet Edu is a great app for young kids to make projects for school or for home! The app allows kids to turn images and short video clips into long videos with voiceover, and they can additionally add text and labels. This easy to use tool is just what they need to make fun and engaging reports (or maybe even their own short films for the budding creatives!)
Cost: Free Age: 6-8 Platform: iOS
Quizlet has been a big part of kid's study habits for years; the website allows you to make your own custom sets of flashcards to study and practice for tests and quizzes. Now, everyone's go-to flashcard website is available as an easy to use app on your mobile devices. Studying just got a whole lot easier.
Cost: Free or Premium (Multiple Rates) Age: 4+ Platform: iOS and Android
Steve Reich's Clapping Music
Steve Reich, the famous minimalist composer, debuted a piece in the 1970s called Clapping Music; the piece is a master exercise in rhythm, and is still performed today. This new app takes Reich's work and turns it into a fun (and very challenging) rhythm game! Different game modes and difficulties allow for everyone to get into it, and even to learn a thing or two as the game is designed with a mind to teach essential music skills. A must-have for the budding musician in your life!
Cost: Free Age: 4+ Platform: iOS
Now this one comes with a bit of a warning tag; Litcharts, from the creators of Sparknotes, can be abused. The app offers overviews and detailed analyses of hundreds of books commonly read in schools, which students could try and use instead of doing their reading. But, if used appropriately in tandem with reading, Litcharts can be an excellent tool for developing readers to look at the text more critically, and to engage with their books in new ways. So be cautious, but if your young scholar can resist taking the easy route then Litcharts might be just the thing to get their literary brains going.