Smarter choices - 5 great apps for kids & teens

I feel it's time that I give you some positive app alternatives to those that you might prefer your kids didn't use (I'm thinking of Tinder, Hot or Not, YikYak, etc).

If you have attended one of my workshops or seminars, you might recall me talking about the incredible opportunities that technology offers our kids and how I feel it should serve as an enabler for their development, social lives and creative expression.

Today, I want to introduce you to 5 apps I have selected that offer very different but equally positive opportunities for fun, creative and positive use of technology.

I am hoping you will join me on a quest to get kids to replace Tinder with Tynker and YikYak with Duolingo.

 

Here they are...

 
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1 - GarageBand

AGE: 10+ 

WHY? UNLEASH YOUR KIDS MUSICAL CREATIVITY

 

GarageBand is a brilliant and very polished digital music workstation and multi track recorder for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod) . Kids can create songs and soundscapes in a number of ways, by playing virtual instruments (guitars, basses, strings, keyboards, and drums), or by recording live instruments and vocals in an intuitive and engaging interface. 

FEATURES

  • Great editing tools
  • Kids can share their GarageBand songs via social media, email or text
  • Export songs to iTunes
  • Guidance in learning how to use GarageBand

BENEFITS

  • Development of musical creativity
  • Promotes sociable and creative collaboration

2 - Duolingo

AGE: TWEENS & TEENS

Why? learn languages for free

 

With this great language app, kids can learn languages for free. Particularly suited to late primary and secondary school kids (and grown-ups of course). Users can choose from many languages including Spanish, German, and French. 

FEATURES

  • Push notifications asking users to keep practicing are optional
  • Multiple levels - encouraging progress
  • Fun, game-style system

BENEFITS

  • gentle, positive approach to learning a language

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3 - Evernote

Age: tweens & teens

Why? Organizational tool - helps kids manage their digital lives.

 

Evernote is an organizational app that facilitates lists, notes, photos, sound, links, pretty much anything! This app also give the user the ability to make separate notebooks and tag notes for easy access - very useful especially for kids with organizational issues.

Features

  • Separate notebooks for each subject area
  • Simple, with a clean interface for kids who can be easily distracted
  • Microphone feature can be helpful for kids who have difficulty with verbal memory
  • Share notes or links via email or social media.

Benefits

  • Great for organizing busy teenage lives (both on- and offline).

4 - Tynker

AGE: 7+

Why? Kids can learn basic programming concepts on iPads and Android-enabled tablets.

 

Kids learn on their own, at their own pace, and earn badges by completing game-like lessons. Tutorials teach kids how to apply concepts with step-by-step instructions to complete projects.

FEATURES

  • Learn to code by solving puzzles
  • Build games, stories and interactive animations
  • Web and mobile access to all their projects
  • Can work offline without Internet access

BENEFITS

  • Development of good story telling  skills & logical sequencing of events
  • Increases kids' technical proficiency and confidence
  • Development of computational thinking - algorithmic and design thinking 
  • Development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) thinking abilities 

5 - Threes

AGE: 8+ 

Why? improves maths skills in a fun way

 

Threes is a math-based puzzle game with elements of Sudoku and Bejeweled. It encourages not only math skills but also strategic planning. The app includes links to social media.

FEATURES

  • Links to social media
  • Guidance in learning how to play

BENEFITS

  • Development of math skills
  • Promotes strategic thinking

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Some of the apps featured offer in-app purchases or premium versions.The author and immunizeNet are not associated with any of the featured apps, are not commercially benefiting from including any of these apps in this post and are not affiliated to them in any way.