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15 of the best apps to engage students outside the classroom

From kindergarten to grade 12, the vast assortment of apps can meet any student’s interests, all while providing valuable lessons.

Learning shouldn’t stop when students leave for summer vacation. Rather, this extended break from the classroom is the perfect time to introduce kids to a variety of mobile apps that can continuously promote creativity and critical thinking. From kindergarten to grade 12, the vast assortment of digital offerings can meet any student’s interests, all while providing valuable lessons that will appropriately challenge each user. Here are a few great options for rainy days, road trips or any time in between.

Grades K-5: (in no particular order)

Osmo introduces children to hands-on play through the iPad. With its offerings, like Newton, Masterpiece and Coding, kids use physical manipulation to navigate a variety of digital activities. Once they master one skill, they can move on to more challenging options.

LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 combines physical LEGO materials with virtual coding. Through project-based activities, students bring science to life in a fun, playful way. Plus, with no internet connection required, kids can enjoy this option anywhere at any time.

Comic Life brings out a child’s creativity by enabling them to create a totally unique comic with their own photos. A variety of fonts, templates, panels, balloons, captions and more give each child the opportunity to explore their imagination and tell a story.

SPRK Lightning Lab combines virtual coding with robotics. Built for students, instructors and parents, Lightning Lab also has an online community that shares activities with other users around the world. It’s a new way to engage with robotic technology.

Swift Playgrounds extends coding into a virtual world. The program provides youngsters the opportunity to learn Apple’s programming language, Swift, in a fun, interactive setting. As kids master the basics, additional challenges allow for step-by-step growth.

(Next page: 10 more apps for engaging students outside of the classroom)

Grades 6-12: (in no particular order)

Star Chart, Night Sky, Solar Walk and National Parks by National Geographic are perfect for those who love to explore nature. From stargazing to navigating through space and time, these apps allow users to immerse themselves in the limitlessness of the world around them in unique and inspiring ways.

Duolingo is a fun, free way to learn foreign languages. Perfect for a student who wants to maintain their skills or pick up a new language altogether, this program uses science to help guide the learning process. It’s easy to use, encouraging and positively addictive.

GarageBand and Edjing allow music lovers to record their own music creations by utilizing vast sound libraries that include instruments and voice options. Users can play, record and share their music with family and friends worldwide.

Paper and Prêt à Template are the perfect options for those with a flair for the arts. From capturing creative inspiration, to creating a sketch, a student can easily showcase their creative artistry using a vast assortment of digital drawing tools.

Swift Playgrounds, as mentioned above, is perfect for the novice coder. As students develop their skills, they can take on a series of challenges and step up to more advanced playgrounds. Learning Swift helps students understand Apple’s powerful programming language.

Coach’s Eye is a great tool for young athletes. By providing instant video feedback, the app allows students to capture and review their strengths, as well as see areas for improvement, while engaging in their favorite sports. They can then share their video with friends and teammates.

So whether kids need a break from the heat, or are seeking out things to do indoors while avoiding the cold, remember digital options are available to engage and educate kids on the topics they most enjoy all year long. And, with the endless variety of apps available, every student, whether in elementary, middle school or high school, has the option to exercise their imagination, test their skills and interact with their peers through age-appropriate mobile apps. Now’s the time to enhance their world with technology.

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