When I was in school, I knew I wouldn’t end up with a career in the health field. So I have a good excuse for why I never paid attention in science classes. Not only did the pictures gross me out, but once they presented that formaldehyde frog, complete with tiny slicer and dicer, I was officially done with science. My loss. As it turns out, today I’m just fascinated by all things science. Don’t get me wrong—I still don’t want to dissect anything, but if someone else wants to do the dissecting and then tell me what they discovered, I’m all for it.

The truth is, science is a big part of nearly every aspect of life today. From powering rockets to the moon to combatting allergies, finding aptitudes to understanding personalities, to be in the scientific know is to be empowered and educated at a level that puts you in charge of your future. No wonder there’s such an emphasis on helping kids connect with science at ever younger ages! Science may just be “the future” of our daily life, and these free apps can ensure your kids stay fully engaged for classroom and life learning!

1. Science for Kids

This neat app is designed to get kids and parents working on science projects together at home. As a source of extracurricular enrichment (as well as fun), the app is rich in ideas, projects, video tutorials and even group science party how-tos! Sample experiments include such fun projects as “How to Create a Fruit Battery Lamp” and “How to Put Out a Candle Without Blowing It Out.” Cool, right?

2. 3D Brain

This fab app features 29 interactive images that can be turned and rotated in any direction to give an accurate 3D “map” of the human brain. Development of the app was funded in part by the Hewlett Foundation, and it’s so detailed that both kids and adults can use it to further their respective goals—and have a lot of fun while doing it!

3. Animals! Life Sciences Games for Kids in Preschool and Kindergarten

This app is based on the popular Disney show “Mighty Jungle.” The goal is to help the character Babu the Meerkat find his friends in their various hiding places in the jungle. Babu can do this with the help of the player, who must match clues provided with animals met along the journey. The app has been downloaded more than five million times already and won the 2012 Mom’s Choice Awards for “Best in Family-Friend Products.”

4. Species Finder (Center for Biological Diversity)

While it’s undeniably sad that an app like this must exist, if your child or teen loves animals, this app can tell them where endangered species are located—wherever they go on earth. The GPS locator system on your phone pulls up county-specific information on endangered flora and fauna. There are also extra, free perks like free ringtones that feature calls of wild, endangered species. Finally, there’s a comprehensive list of how to act on behalf of endangered species. The app also has its own web page: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/speciesfinder/

5. Nova Elements

Developed by PBS, Nova Elements lets students learn through exploring its interactive periodic table, play games and watch “Hunting the Elements,” a NOVA special, for free. Parents, kids and teachers all highly recommend Nova Elements.

6. Leo’s Pad

Leo’s Pad follows characters, Leo (for Leonardo da Vinci), Gally (for Galileo) and Marie (for Marie Curie), through a series of what Stanford University developers call, “appisodes.” Each appisode teaches kids using “adaptive gameplay,” providing just enough difficulty to engage and challenge players. Kids learn about famous scientists and their most famous inventions. Best of all, parents and teachers can use the tools on this app to track players’ progress.

7. The NASA App

Last, but not least, NASA has its own free app that teaches kids of all ages about what’s going on in our solar system. This app includes NASA TV streaming, a steady supply of recent images taken from space, satellite trackers, breaking NASA news, sighting calendar events and much more.


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KCL's Picks for Best Free Science Apps for Kids