The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 20, 2013

Keep kids sharp during summer with these apps

By Hayley Tsukayama The Washington Post
The Mankato Free Press

---- — Right in the heart of summer vacation, it may seem like school will never be in session again. But now’s the perfect time to fight off the summer brain drain with educational apps.

“The Flying Alphabetinis,” from Fingerprint Digital, is a Boggle-like game, recommended for ages 6 and up, that pits players against each other, and the clock, to find as many words as possible in a grid. Players can get bonus points for finding special words served up by the game each round.

The game requires parents to register with Fingerprint Digital and also has the option for online play against strangers. The app will generate a random username for you, in order to keep kids from letting information about their true identities slip. This is not a complex game, but it can be used to expand vocabularies and the competition aspect could help your reluctant students get on board. Free, for iOS devices.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration or simply another way to slowly get the students in your house back into the swing of things before school starts again, drop in a little appreciation for the written word with the Poetry App from the Josephine Hart Poetry Foundation.

This poetry discovery app lets users find poems by mood, subject and poet, as well as by browsing through online audio files.

. You can even try to come across poems at random, with a poetry spinner that will pick two subjects (e.g. love and youth) and use those as a basis to recommend poems. Just shake your phone to have the app find two random subjects.

Users can save favorite poems within the app and also share poems they find via email, Twitter or Facebook. The app includes poems published in the foundation’s “Poetry” magazine as well as works in the public domain and a range of poems included with permission from the authors. Free, for Android and iOS devices.