Monday, March 20, 2017

Hey! There's an App for That!


I am a bibliophile.  There!  I admitted it publicly. I am passionate about reading books for facts, information, and fun. However, throughout 15 years of homeschooling I have found that sometimes a game or interactive device can be used to help kids understand subjects.  It was hard for me to admit.  But, once I decided that I did not need to be the “fountain of all wisdom” for my children, I actually became sort of excited about exploring the possibilities and wisdom of using computers.  I set out to  find the best apps on the internet. 
So, today I’d like to introduce you to my very favorite internet site for educational games, apps, and research in nearly every subject area:  Mr. Nussbaum is a genius at making educational concepts fun for students from Pre-k through middle school. But, this site is SO much more than just a “games portal”.  Mr. Nussbaum has worksheets, art projects, printables, research, and much more! It is subdivided in an easy-to-navigate and intuitive fashion.  The website is divided by both subject matter (math, language arts, social studies, geography, and science) as well as grade level. 
You’ll find links to 167 educational games. I am very particular about the content of games.  I don’t like “twaddle” or time-wasters.  Mr. Nussbaum’s games are both fun AND educational.  Not only that, you can use the games in what I call a “ladder” fashion.  For instance, your kindergartner can learn the foundation of the alphabet, then add some phonics, then blending sounds, some reading of simple words and finally, stories.  You can do it all with games on Mr. Nussbaum’s website.  It’s so easy (and inspiring) to envision adding these games to your curriculum to insure that your students are sequentially grasping important concepts. 

Here is the description on games from the website.  “ features 167 original, challenging, and exciting educational games for kids ages 4 – 14 that allow students to learn and practice topics through role-play, problem solving, critical thinking, calculation, and trial and error.” 

Tablets are ubiquitous in today’s society.  Most 4 year olds understand them better than I do.  So, if you have a tablet, the website has a special link that lists all 110 FREE games for your tablet.  “110 html5 FREE, Original Educational Games that can be Played Directly from Your iPad or Android Tablet Browser. No Need to Download! Each Game Comes with an Instructional Video.”  Here’s a link in case you want to go directly to the list:  If you want an ad-free games with no in-app purchases for your students, then Mr. Nussbaum makes it easy for you to download his 44 game super app at the Apple store or Google Play:  The super app is a super buy at just  $3.99! 

I have just one caution with the website.  It’s heavy on ads.  There IS a subscription rate for an ad free experience, but they are not taking any further subscriptions until 2018, when they are rolling out new, updated, and expanded options for Mr. Nussbaum’s no ads option.  As a result of the ads, which look an awful lot like buttons for more games, I truly would not recommend allowing younger students to use the site without supervision.  I always show my kids how to work the game and say, “Don’t click on any other buttons!”  However, I still feel very comfortable giving Mr. Nussbaum a hearty and well-deserved “two thumbs up!”