Thursday, July 12, 2012

These geography apps really stack up

From Chicago Now:  These geography apps really stack up

I am a geography geek, so it should come as no surprise that I got excited about my child finally being tested on all the states and capitals in fourth grade and she was ready for that test in part because of an app on my iPhone.  (Nope, she doesn't have her own phone yet, and that's a whole separate post, or more likely, series of posts.  For now, I am willing to share my phone on occasion for her to use apps that I preapprove.)  Here are three fun geography apps for all levels of worldly kids.

Stack the States was a great learning tool, teaching not only the shape of states, but nicknames, capitals and flags.  It was great for elementary school, but I think it has broad appeal if you want to help your little one or if your bigger one could use a refresher.

My young Tween is ready for a new challenge.  With the Olympics on the near horizon, I've been wanting to focus on world geography.  Her school exposure to world geography has been pretty minimal and while I know it will come, I want her to learn now. Imagine my excitement when I learned that there is Stack the Countries!  The app explains, "As you learn country capitals, landmarks, geographic locations and more, you can actually touch, move and drop the animated countries anywhere on the screen. Carefully build a stack of countries that reaches the checkered line to win each level."

I'm not the only one who likes Stack the Countries, App Store reviewers have awarded 4 1/2 stars out of a possible five.  Common Sense Media, which reviews apps in addition to all other media, gives it a full five stars and points out that it is fun for kids and parents.

If your tween is more geographically advanced, check out the GeoBee Challenge App, from National Geographic.  This includes 1,300 questions from the National Geographic Bee (which I may have spent some time doing as a tween, feel free to call me a geek, it's okay, but it really is great).  The bonus round of the app asks the player to locate what's in a National Geographic photo on the interactive map, although the user does not know where the photo was taken or what is in the picture. It's cool, but it's also tough.

Common Sense Media says it is best targeted at kids age 12 and rates is 3 out of 5 stars, detracting a bit for the fact that the app is "picky." It is an Apple Recommended Back to School App.

These apps can provide some very education screen time and help your child learn about the amazing world around us.


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