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The best educational apps of August

by Monica Burns

With back-to-school in full swing you may have noticed all of the new apps and updates flooding the Apple App Store for iOS devices. There are iPad apps designed to help students prepare for the new school year whether they are entering preschool or starting their first year of high school. These five apps are all brand new or have been updated this month. Each one shows the power of the iPad as an educational tool when used at home or in the classroom. This list includes selections that push children to think deeply about simple tasks and interact with complex information. These iPhone and iPad apps use high quality graphics and interactive content to help students explore and learn about new concepts.

Cookie Monster's Challenge (iPad $2.99)

Cookie Monster's Challenge from Sesame Street is a fantastic app for kids getting ready for Kindergarten. Designed by PBS KIDS for children ages three to five, it presents a variety of activities for kids to complete independently or with the help of a family member. Your children will want to talk about each item that appears on the screen as they are solving puzzles and following instructions. These brain-building games cover a wide range of skills from task persistence and flexible thinking to observation and sound identification.

Mystery Math Museum (iPad $2.99)

This is an elementary school level math app that takes students through a journey to solve different problems. Along the way kids will have to work with operational math skills including addition, subtraction, and multiplication. The whimsical music and high-quality animation are perfect for grabbing and holding the attention of students. Instead of a simple skill and drill experience, Mystery Math Museum lets children move from room to room in different themed museums as they complete a mission.

Hat Monkey (iOS Univeral $2.99)

Hat Monkey is an engaging, interactive picture book for preschool students. It has a simple interface with a silly main character that will make users young and old smile. This app includes activities built in to each page so children can give the monkey a high five, send it text messages, and find it as it hides around a room. Sweet and simple, young children can explore with a parent or older sibling as they make their way through each scene of this delightful app.

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers (iPad Free)

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers was updated this month and middle school and high school students will benefit from the amazing content packed into the app. Students can explore different color palettes and get creative as they mix and match to see the relationship between each. This app includes a text with interactive multimedia features that provide a thorough overview of color and design theory. Students who are interested in art and art history will want to dive into this powerful app.

This is my body - Anatomy for kids (iPad $2.99)

This is my body - Anatomy for kids lets students explore the systems of the body and how each one works. Elementary schoolers can swipe across the screen to watch food move through the digestive tract and learn about the respiratory system. This app encourages students to explore at their own pace. Text on the screen can be read aloud with a simple tap, and students will see how the body reacts in a variety of different situations.