Friday, May 24, 2019

3 Apps to Nurture Little Engineers

Kids and tech. 

This summer, many parents will be fighting this combination as best as they can. But keeping children off tech devices complete is unreasonable and unlikely...but very likely to result in a lot of resentment from both parties. 


So instead of trying to keep kids off of tech, it's better two take a 2-step approach by... 

  1. limiting their time, 
  2. and managing the content to which they have access.
(You can do both of these with a little help from Circle.)

Part of managing their content has to do with introducing your kids to fun and engaging games and apps that are also educational. At least that way you know that that there is some sort of redeeming value in what they are staring at for ages.


As part of my Summer Prep series, I'll be sharing apps and games that you can trust and that have educational benefits. But I want to be clear: These are for children ages 5 and older. I do not believe children younger than this should have screentime! And the older ones should be carefully monitored and limited, too.


That said, I want to share three games/apps that will nurture your child's engineering interest and skills. Take a look for yourself...





Name: Jet's Bot Builder
Subject(s)
Brief Description: An interactive app for kids in which they design and build a robot and travel through space with Jet and friends. 
Price: FREE 
Language: English
Ages: 5 and up
Device App Store, Amazon and Google Play, and for desktop play at PBSKIDS.org

Jet’s Bot Builder is one of the latest apps created by PBS KIDS. As with all of their products, learning is at the heart. According to them, this app is an adaptive gaming experience that’s uniquely designed to cater to children’s individual learning progress, providing scaffolding where they might need it and leveling up to match learning pace. Kids add new parts to their robots in order to get through obstacles as they go from Earth to the moon to Mars and beyond. Each planet has a new challenge for the robot. Kids can build new parts and swap them around to find the best way to solve each level, learning critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they do.

Features include:

  • Core engineering practices to foster flexible and problem-solving skills
  • 5 fictional planets to discover
  • 45 levels + 5 unique challenge modes that provide endless level exploration
  • 12 robot parts to craft, with endless color variations
  • Closed captioning support
I trust PBS KIDS products because I know that they are focused on children's well being and education. So that's why this fun game makes the list. I also love that it can be played on a desktop and not just on a phone or tablet.



Name: Inventioneers
Subject(s): physics, engineering, critical thinking
Brief Description: An awesome app that introduces children to learning about real-time physics and the science behind different features like air, fire, magnetism and jumping bunnies. 
Price: FREE (Sample version) $4.99 (Full version)
Language: English
Ages: 6 and up
Device App Store, Amazon, and Google Play

I love this app! And, more importantly, so does my kid. It is totally worth the $4.99 for the full version. In this game, you can create your own crazy, fun inventions! With the help of the Inventioneers - tiny helpers with unique characteristics - you can invent fun, creative and often quite weird inventions. A lot of inventions are included in the game, the more you solve the more parts you receive for your own inventions. Along the way, your child will learn about physics concepts such as force, push, pull, swing, launch, bounce, drop, and more...

FYI - My kid is 13 and still loves the challenge of this app. 





Name: Tami's Tower
Subject(s): engineering, problem solving, critical thinking
Brief Description: An awesome app that introduces children to learning about real-time physics and the science behind different features like air, fire, magnetism and jumping bunnies. 
Price: FREE (Sample version) $4.99 (Full version)
Language: English & Spanish!
Ages: 5 and up
Device:  ENGLISH: App Store, Amazon, and Google Play   SPANISH: App Store, Amazon, and Google Play

New from the Smithsonian Science Education Center, Tami’s Tower: Let’s Think About Engineering is an educational engineering design game that will help teach your student how to design a solution to a problem using basic engineering design principles.
Features include:

• Aligned to educational science standards for kindergarten through second grade
• Designed for emergent readers
• Grounded in educational psychology research
• Metacognitive prompts provide students an opportunity to monitor and assess their own confidence
•  Teachers can assess student responses to metacognitive prompts through an in-game 
summary screen
•  In-game tutorial to teach students how to play
• Introduces students to engineering design principles
• Students will learn how the shape of an object can help it function as needed to solve a problem
•  Students can reflect on previous attempts to improve the design
•  Students can design a level in Sandbox mode
•  Designed to be used in the classroom or at home

And I think MM readers will love that it is also available in Spanish!



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