Apps to Stretch Your Thinking

My goal has been to review apps that can be directly inserted into a curriculum. This review will be a little different. There are three apps that I think deserve some attention because they will stretch your child’s mind and foster critical thinking.

My favorite is Rush Hour. Our sitter clued us into this one as she has purchased the board game version in its junior size. Apparently my son loved it, and eventually she stumbled upon the app. The game requires users to slide cars in the traffic jam in order to zip the red car out of the exit. Sound easy? Well, it’s not! The paid version, $2.99, has four levels, and while E has mastered the Easy level, Mommy isn’t much help beyond the Medium level. Caution: it is addictive! Not only do you want want to win, but you want to minimize the number of moves needed.

Another great game is Amazing Alex. Let me start by saying that I am awful at this game. Apparently, when my mom gave me a chore, I did it in the exact same manner as she did. Boring! Alex, on the other hand, is incredibly creative. He uses household items to build all sorts of contraptions also known as Rube Goldberg devices to get his tasks done. Objects bounce, slide,and crash into one another if connected properly. E loves it, even if it’s a bit too difficult for him. But I love his determination. And it really encourages problem solving and critical thinking. My teaching partner is using a product called Amaze N Marbles for her guided exploratory. I think I’ll start with these, but Amazing Alex is a great digital version. Try it for FREE. The full version is $2.99.

Brain Bran is definitely for the upper elementary grades. It’s not as slick or sleek as the above, and users must be ble to read, but my class and I have fun trying to solve the puzzles as a group during transition times. There are five different categories and about seven puzzles or riddles in each category. Ever hear of mondegreens or ditloids? Yeah, me neither. But I’ve definitely solved riddles like “3 p in a p” (3 peas in a pod). If you’re looking for old-fashioned fun, try Brain Bran.