The Summer of 2013: S’mores and Apps

By Katja Schroeder and Dennis Anderson. Published by ACM Computer in Entertainment on July 31, 2013

The dog days of summer have begun. Schools are closed. The annual summer reading list is taped on the fridge. For many kids, the summer is not just about spending time at the beach and enjoying s’mores at campfires; an increasing number of parents send their children to camps that offer some type of educational value, such as learning a new language or exploring science.  Bookstores are stocked with summer learning books that promise to prepare their children for the next grade.  A new generation of tech-savvy parents has discovered mobile apps and online software as a learning tool for their children.

In 2011, already more than a quarter of all parents had downloaded apps for their children to use, according to aCommon Sense Media study. The higher use of mobile devices has accelerated the adoption of educational apps at home since then.  The Pew Research Center estimates that tablet ownership among adults in the United States rose from 10 percent in December 2012 to 34 percent in June 2013—and 50 percent among parents with young children. About 60 percnet of children ages 8 to 11 use phone apps based on a study conducted by the research firm KidSay.

The appeal of downloading educational apps for kids is simple.  The gamified approach of apps engages kids to solve math problems and other tasks that they may not want to do.  They can collect virtual coins and rewards for solving a variety of challenges. Like adding vegetables to favorite dishes to make meals more nutritious, practicing math via apps becomes fun, and makes the use of mobile devices for kids more beneficial.

Here are the five most popular math apps for children available on iTunes, which can make the summer more enjoyable.

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