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Boredom Busters: 50 Fantastic Play-and-Learn Apps, Sites, and Toys

June 18, 2011

Here’s an excellent compilation of interesting, skill building/educational apps, sites and games for kids. Located originally on KQED’s Mind/Shift blog, the list has something for everyone. I’ve posted a small portion of the items Tina Barseghian has found for us and encourage you to stop by the blog to look for more digital fun!  Also, don’t forget to browse through the KQED website, which is filled with fun/informational links, articles, videos and much, much more.

School or no school, there’s a world of learning opportunities for kids. When they’re not exploring outdoors, keep kids engaged in learning throughout the summer months with these enjoyable and educational apps and websites. For kids, playing these games is a cool pastime; for parents, it’s another way to get kids to exercise their thinking muscles.

  1. MINECRAFT. This online game lets you build entire worlds out of blocks. Minecraft’s visual simplicity belies what is a completely open-ended and therefore terrifically complex world. And the best of that world: it’s up to the player to design. Minecraft is what’s known as a “sandbox” game, giving players almost complete freedom to build within it.
  2. CAESAR III. In this simulation, you begin as a lowly citizen trying to eke out an existence in a virgin landscape. The student begins by learning about the basic needs for survival and graduates to increasingly demanding scenarios. By the end, students will have gained a very sophisticated understanding of the influence played by the environment on the development of a civilization.
  3. ANSEL & CLAIR’S ADVENTURES IN AFRICA. Ansel and Clair are aliens who must recover their lost spaceship parts, and as they travel the continent (the Serengheti, the Nile River Valley, and the Sahara Desert) they not only work on that mission but learn about the geography and history of the area as well. The app takes full advantage of iPad technology — audio, video, the touchscreen, “tilt the iPad” games, and so on.
  4. THINKING WORLDS. Kids enter a virtual world that resides on their personal computer. Their avatar can be somewhat modified, and engage in a wide variety of explorations. In the unit dealing with volcanoes and earthquakes, they not only learn about the details, they visit places such as Herculaneum subterraneous faults, and the ruins of Kobe in Japan. Continue reading →
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